Thursday, July 16, 2015

Celeste Longacre's Green Living + Savings Tips

Celeste Longacre has been growing her family's vegetables for 35 years . She and her husband live sustain-ably in their handmade octagonal home in New Hampshire. She shares her tips on saving money and green living below:

• Buying spices in bulk can result in substantial savings. Save your jars to re-use and collect the spices in the baggies provided. Organic can be purchased at reasonable prices this way.

Organic Gardening is a wonderful hobby and it's healthy. Veggies can be grown on the smallest plot of land or on your window sill, if you live in an apartment. Focus on vegetables that are easy to grow and produce abundant fruit, like tomatoes, and learn how to can and store the excess.  Opening up a jar of tomatoes in the winter that you grew yourself in the summer and canned in the fall is a wonderful experience – and it can really help with trimming the food bill.

• Shopping at Garage Sales and Flea markets are a great way to find  tools and utensils for the garden and home - at a fraction of the cost.

• Put an insulation blanket over your water heater.  This prevents heat from escaping and you'll save on the electric bill.

• When buying beets at the farmer’s market, make sure to keep the tops on. Wash and tear into smallish pieces discarding the stems. Steam for about 8 minutes, turning with tongs several times. Toss with butter, grated cheddar cheese and salt. Your family will love the deliciousness and you will be able to feel their exceptional vitamins and minerals on your teeth. The greens are actually better for you than the beets itself.

• Leftovers are a great way to save money. Whether it's chicken or hot dogs or fish that you have leftover, finish cooking them and use them then next day in salads or soups.

• Snacks like popcorn, purchased at the market can add up. Popcorn, can easily be made at home. Cover the bottom of a pan with 1/2 olive oil and 1/2 coconut oil. Heat until it swirls a bit. Add a layer of popcorn and put the lid on tight. As it pops, shake the pan so that the uncooked kernels will fall to the bottom. When the popping slows down considerably, dump the popcorn into a large bowl. Add brewer’s yeast—nutritional yeast (not baker’s yeast) and a seasoning salt such as Herbamare. Yum!

and More tips here : 
Throwaway wipes can be tremendously expensive. But sponges can be bleached on a regular basis to maintain their germ-free status. A ten percent bleach/ninety percent water solution is ideal. Once bright again, rinse with dish soap. Don’t leave them in the solution for too long; they will deteriorate.

When buying chicken, always buy it on the bone. The cost per pound is less so the bones are, in effect, free. They can be stored in the freezer until it is time to make soup. Put them in a large pot and fill with water. Bring the water to a low boil and slow simmer for several hours or a day or two. Vegetable ends can be kept in the freezer for a week or two and added to the stock. You won’t believe how delicious and nutritious this “free” soup can be.

Farmer’s markets are a great way to save money. Farmers will give you deals when a vegetable or fruit is in season. They have lots of them and often the cost goes down the more you buy. Get together with friends for even better deals. Then you can freeze the extra to eat in the winter. Berries can be frozen right on a cookie sheet then tossed into a bag. Most vegetables need to be blanched or steamed for about three minutes to kill organisms that would bother them in the freezer. Stop the cooking by placing them in ice water before filling the bags.

Summertime herbs can be dried for winter use. Pick and tie in small bundles on a windy porch. Keep them out of the Sun. After a few weeks, most can be removed from their stems and saved in tight-closing glass jars.

In the summer, if you have the space - rather than using the dryer, hang clothes on a rack or clothesline outside where they blow in the breeze and absorb the sweetest of smells.

 Celeste has been the astrologer for The Old Farmers Almanac for twenty years.  She's the author of CELESTE'S GARDEN DELIGHTS where you can learn practical ways to garden, live sustainably and save money. Visit her website at:

"RP Toys - Creating Fun For Kids This Summer!"

If your looking for some great toys to keep the kids occupied this summer, we've found a few with RP Toys, that will keep them busy and having a ton of fun!

Yummy Nummies -

candy, snack, and meal making sets that come with everything kids need to create no-bake, realistic-tasting mini foods! Magically fun and delicious, Yummy Nummies intrigue little taste buds with a creative activity that requires no oven or stove. The results are adorable little foods that look and taste just like the real thing – a hamburger tastes like a real tiny hamburger, and the cupcakes smell freshly baked! Made with only food ingredients from the USA, Yummy Nummies are a tasty and fun way for little chefs to explore and learn in the kitchen!

Yummies Nummies are a great activity for birthday parties and for kids who want to have fun creating and being hands-on! 

Age recommendation: 6+
Price varies according to product

This Air Pressure water blaster will leave you soaked! With 3 powerful adjustable nozzles, it blasts water up to 40 feet! Its two-tank system creates powerful blasting action with less pumping, and its massive capacity tank holds 74 ounces of water. Includes an Angle Meter for maximum performance capabilities.

The Buzz Bee Colossus 2 is great for outdoor fun in the sun on hot summer days!

Age recommendation: 8+
MSRP: $24.99

They're high-performance battery powered disc launchers with one-of-a-kind technologies and intelligent design! A focus on durability, value and safety makes mom happy, while kids cannot wait to rip off the patented in-store try-me packaging and see their Zoom-Os soar over 100 feet high! Includes net, six discs, and batteries.

Great for summer outdoor play at the park, in the backyard, or at the cottage.  

Age recommendation: 5+ 
MSRP: $11.97
Availability: Walmart

These bowling sets are great for indoor and outdoor play! Each bowling pin is 7.5” tall and features fun and recognizable characters from the popular Frozen movie. Includes 1 plastic ball and 6 plastic pins in different colors and with a different image on each pin.  

Age recommendation: 2+
MSRP: $14.99
Availability: Walmart, Shoppers Drug Mart

Your little superheroes will love these MARVEL Avengers dive characters from SwimWays! Our set of 3 soft, flexible water toys are fun to play with both in and out of the pool. Use them for dive and retrieval practice to encourage new swimmers. Three MARVEL favourites are included per pack: Iron Man, Hulk and Captain America.   

Age recommendation: 5+ 
MSRP: $17.99
Availability: Walmart, Shoppers Drug Mart

Great Ways to Save on Your Homeowner’s Insurance

The cost of living is certainly increasing with time. It seems like for every penny you earn there’s some inflation within some industry that causes the expenses to rise. That’s why it is essential to periodically evaluate your household budget and research ways to cut back on spending. The thing about it is, there are plenty of ways for consumers to save, but most companies are not going to willingly point it out to you…Why? Well, because they’re in the business of making money, not giving it away. Take, for instance, your homeowner’s insurance; did you know that there were several ways in which you could reduce your monthly premium? Neither did I until I did the research, and here’s what I found:

1.  Improve Your Credit Score
Your credit score and history change all the time. When you purchased your home, if your credit score was on the fair to poor side, you were probably given a high premium amount. Since insurers look to your credit score to determine your ability to pay, a lower credit score puts you in the category for high risk. As such, improving your credit score and requesting a new quote would bring down the rate you’re being charged.

2.  Package Deals
Insurance companies are always looking for opportunities to make customers loyal and to gain new business. As such, many of them offer great incentives for consumers who obtain more than one policy through their company. Check with your current homeowner insurance provider to see what other types of insurance policies they carry. You may find that obtaining your homeowner, car, and life insurance through one company can save you a decent amount of cash.

3.  Beef Up Security
Homeowner’s insurance is essentially “just in case” financial coverage in the event that something should happen to your home such as a robbery or natural disaster. The more vulnerable your home is (i.e. the age of the home, the type of security already in the home, and the area in which you live), the more you’re going to pay for insurance. To lower the premium costs, upgrading your security measures is ideal. By doing something as simple as upgrading the locks on your windows and doors, you can save a percentage on your policy. If you have more money to invest, you can also consider installing a home security system with monitoring services. The info at explains the various risks of not having a home security system and how installing one of high quality can benefit you. Also, insurance companies will view your home as less of a risk and offer a discount on your policy.

4.  Quick Smoking
This one can save you money all the way around as smoking cigarettes can certainly be a HUGE expense already. However, there are several insurance companies that will offer consumers discounts simply because they have a smoke free household. Why? Well because smoking has the potential to cause a house fire which makes your home a risk to insure. However, if no one in the home smokes, this risk is removed and discounts are passed down to you.

5.  Pay for the Year
Last, but certainly not least, if you can afford to do this, pay your homeowner insurance policy up for the year. Companies are willing to offer pretty decent discounts for customers who pay upfront as they want to show their appreciation for your business. You can save a few extra bucks each year by simply paying it forward. Other discounts might include receiving a percentage off for signing up for auto pay.

There’s nothing I love more than being able to save on the things you need. Homeowner’s insurance is one of those things you can’t go without, but can sometimes be more than you can afford. If you can invest in any of the above mentioned ideas, I’m certain you’ll see a large savings on your balance each year. Then you can take all those savings and put it into something like taking a much needed summer vacation