Author Archives: melanie

About melanie

living a small, lovely life in an airstream trailer.

Love Weekends: Williamsburg, VA

The Governor's Mansion at Williamsburg

The Governor’s Mansion at Williamsburg

This weekend we went to Williamsburg, Virginia with my family. We haven’t been on a family vacay in a looooong time. Like years. First we went to the Busch Gardens theme park. I didn’t take any pictures because I was too busy riding roller coasters. George and I took a test one time and introverts aren’t supposed to like roller coasters, but we both love them. We were the only ones in my family with enough guts (or stupidity?!) to ride Griffon– a 205-foot, 90-degree, 75 mph free fall.

The Silversmith

The Silversmith

Then we all trekked over to Colonial Williamsburg. It was a bit cheesy, but I did enjoy seeing the craftspeople.

George in the Magazine

George in the Magazine

The WALLPAPER!

The WALLPAPER!

Love the whitewash

Love the whitewash

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I took so many pictures of the gardens and the cellars of the old homes. The gardens were totally inspiring. I would love to be able to grow enough of our own food and can enough to support ourselves through the winter and be totally self-sustaining. Maybe one day.

I also got stung by a bee on my butt! It was such a bummer. My mom kept asking how my “bee-hind” was doing. It was super embarrassing. I’m actually sitting here with a pack of frozen peas on my bee-hind right now. Oh well, I tried to make the best of it.

Did you do anything exciting this weekend? Let me know in the comments!

Love,
melanie

101 Free Or Cheap Things To Do This Fall

101 free or cheap things to do this fallYou guys. Fall is almost here. Target has put out their insanely large, insanely cute display of Back to School supplies. I’m trying desperately to stay away from it. I’m also preparing to teach a course this fall. So crazy. Feel free to refer to me as “professor.”

I’m also still on this saving money kick, but it hasn’t been much fun. I’m the kind of person who needs something to look forward to– like a trip! Since a trip is out of my budgetary reach and the summer is almost over (boo!), I created a list of free or cheap things to do this fall. I hope it will keep my spirits up, give me me something to look forward to and maybe even get you inspired and excited for fall?!

  1. Set some fun fall goals
  2. Donate school supplies to a child in need
  3. Volunteer
  4. Donate your gently-used winter coats to someone in need
  5. Enroll in a class at your local community college
  6. Take a hike
  7. Admire the foliage
  8. Sprinkle pumpkin pie spice in your morning coffee
  9. Get up early to admire the sunrise
  10. Learn to knit!
  11. Get an early start on making Holiday gifts
  12. Host a pot-luck Friendsgiving (a Thanksgiving with friends)
  13. Put pumpkin in everything!
  14. Visit a pumpkin patch (or do what my mom did and tell us we are visiting a pumpkin patch, but really just go to the grocery store and play on the pumpkin display)
  15. Go on a hay ride
  16. Visit a corn maze
  17. Carve pumpkins
  18. Don’t forget to roast the seeds!
  19. Rake the leaves
  20. Jump in the leaves!
  21. Winterize your home (or your Airstream!)
  22. Visit the library and check out Autumn-themed books
  23. Bake a pumpkin pie
  24. Share the pie with your neighbor
  25. Camp in your own backyard
  26. Chop wood
  27. Find the perfect walking stick
  28. Build a fire pit
  29. Make hobo packets
  30. Roast marshmallows
  31. Tell ghost stories
  32. Enjoy a pumpkin beer
  33. Go on a bike ride
  34. Go on a fall-themed picnic
  35. Learn to can vegetables
  36. Plant winter veggies
  37. Or plant bulbs for next spring
  38. Do lots of autumn-themed crafts
  39. Donate or sell the summer clothing that you didn’t wear
  40. Pear down your winter wardrobe
  41. Host a clothing swap
  42. Or swap online on Swapdom
  43. Sell your wares at a flea market
  44. Go apple picking
  45. Bob for apples
  46. Make candy apples
  47. Learn to make apple cider or jam
  48. Pop popcorn and drizzle it in caramel
  49. Drink hot apple cider
  50. Drink hot chocolate
  51. Break out your crock-pot
  52. Make pumpkin chili!
  53. Don’t forget the cornbread!
  54. Eat your weight in fall veggies– squash and Brussels sprouts and cabbage, oh my!
  55. Get excited for fall fashion
  56. Break out the flannel
  57. Pull on those wool socks
  58. Don’t worry about bad hair days, just put on a beanie!
  59. If you are a lady, pull on those thick tights (and don’t worry about shaving your legs!)
  60. If you are a dude, grow a beard!
  61. Cuddle up in your oldest sweatshirt
  62. Wrap up in warm blankets
  63. Watch It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown
  64. And A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving
  65. Go to bed earlier
  66. Visit the fair or a fall festival (save money with these tips)
  67. Host a Halloween party
  68. Make your own Halloween costume and challenge yourself to use only stuff you can find around the house
  69. Dress up your pet!
  70. Craft creepy snacks like this Slimer Smoothie
  71. DIY candy
  72. Watch your favorite scary movie with a friend
  73. Read scary stories under the cover with a flashlight
  74. Listen to the Halloween station on Pandora
  75. Make spiced nuts
  76. Slurp on some soup and grill up an old-fashioned grilled cheese sandwich
  77. Make beeswax candles
  78. Discover your local farmer’s market
  79. Slowly sip a cup of hot tea
  80. Pretend that you like candy corn
  81. Discover the real meaning of Thanksgiving
  82. Be more grateful by creating a gratitude journal
  83. Make turkey hands! They’re still fun, even when you’re almost 30!
  84. Simply sit outside and enjoy the cool weather
  85. Join a local foraging group and forage for wild edibles
  86. Make acorn soup
  87. Or mushroom soup from the forage
  88. Make real cranberry sauce and put it on french toast!
  89. Pour maple syrup on everything!
  90. Enjoy the Harvest Moon on September 8th
  91. Invite your friends over and create fall-themed cocktails
  92. Make a pine cone bird feeder and keep those birds fed all winter
  93. Paint your nails an autumn-colored hue
  94. Celebrate Dia de Los Muertos and honor your deceased loved ones
  95. Break out the board games and your favorite jammies
  96. Give your mum some mums!
  97. Attend a high school football game
  98. Join a sports program for adults
  99. Participate in a zombie crawl
  100. Or a Turkey Trot for charity
  101. Take lots of pictures to document your memories!

Are you ready for fall? I’m feeling a little more ready and hopeful after this list.

What are your favorite fall-themed free activities? Let me know in the comments!

love,
melanie

Love Weekends: Slow Down Summer

Paddlin'This weekend flew by a little too fast for my liking. Come to think of it, this summer is flying by a little too fast. I’m starting to feel the crunch of the Fall Semester closing in, just as I was beginning to enjoy summer. These warm months fly by so much faster than their colder counterparts.

Ridin'This weekend I soaked in some of that summertime goodness. On Saturday, George and I, along with some friends went on a short motorcycle ride, then we paddled around in a pond and fished a bit. Sunday was spent doing my regular thing. Food prep, gardening, cleaning and dreading the week ahead. Haha.

Gone fishin'!

Gone fishin’!

Zucchini bigger than my forearm!

Check it out: zucchini bigger than my forearm!

How was your weekend? Let me know in the comments!

love,
melanie

Frugal Friday: Bang for Your Buck

Dollar photo c/o Wikimedia Commons.

Dollar photo c/o Wikimedia Commons.

I’m a little late on my Frugal Friday post today. I was feeling a bit uninspired. Sometimes saving money is not so fun. It’s easy to think, well, it’s just a dollar (or 5 dollars or 20 dollars) I’ll spend it on this random thing that gives me instant pleasure. But we all know that instant pleasure isn’t going to help us meet our goals. It’s so much harder to see how much bang one buck can really make.

I stumbled upon this article today from The Morning News and it snapped me back into saving mode. The article, Bang for Your Buck, interviewed two dozen people and asked them what they would do with one dollar. The answers were inspiring. I’ve never thought about a simple dollar could transform into perennial vegetables, an adventure or help for a girl in West Bengal.

I feel so much more inspired in my money saving journey and thinking twice about my “Well, it’s just a dollar…” excuse.

Happy weekend!
love,
melanie

Protein-Packed Pancakes

protein packed pancakesI’ve yet to find a protein powder that doesn’t taste like chalky chemicals or dirt. I’ve tried the organic, pea proteins, the body builder proteins, I’ve tried the ones that taste like “cake” (aka toilet bowl water) and the ones that taste like “cappuccino” (aka toilet bowl cleaner). I’ve yet to try a protein powder that I can drink just mixed with water. But not wanting to be wasteful and knowing I couldn’t gag down another smoothie (there’s only so much berries will cover up), I started making protein pancakes. God knows what Pinterest/blog/Internet hole I fell down to find my original recipe. But here’s the one I usually use. It’s not quite your usual fluffy pancake, but it gives you almost 30 grams of protein and doesn’t taste like dirt, so that’s an improvement!

protein packed pancakes with peaches!Ingredients
1.5 scoops of vanilla protein powder
1 tbsp of vanilla extract
1 tsp of cinnamon
2 tbsp of all-purpose gluten-free flour
2 eggs
A splash of milk

2 tbsp butter
Cinnamon and honey or maple syrup for topping

Melt 1 heaping tbsp of the butter in a pan over the stove top on low. Mix the 1st 6 ingredients together in a bowl. Put about 1/3 of the batter in the hot pan. When batter begins to bubble, flip over the pancake. Repeat until batter is gone. To finish, top with butter, cinnamon and honey or maple syrup.

Easy right?

Is there a protein powder that you love? Let me know about it in the comments!

love,
melanie

The Minimalist Challenge: Days 8, 9, 10

minimalist challenge 8,9,10

After week one, it became harder to find things to get rid of for the Minimalist Challenge. I did find some weird random stuff that I could live without and some clothing that I didn’t really need. One of the hardest part of this challenge is living with someone who loves to keep stuff (ahem, my lovely husband, cough cough). You know, “in case we need it one day.” Newsflash: We never need it one day. I’ve mostly been getting rid of my stuff to sell, donate or trash, but it’s going to get really difficult when I get to Day 20. My lovely husband is going to have to part with some junk! (And he isn’t going to like it!)

8 from top going clockwise: Empty box of Scotch Brite (whyyyyyy?!), tank tops, almost empty greased lightening, water bottle, olive oil container, magnetic notebook, broken carabiner, 1/2 empty Shout (poured it into the other 1/2 empty bottle of Shout)

9: 9 articles of clothing

10 from top left: damaged paper plates, old knife, peanut butter, broken lid, 2 basting brushes, knife sharpener (already have one), 3 DVDs

How do you deal with a hoarder in the family? Let me know in the comments!

love,
melanie

 

Love Weekends: To-Do List

Cleaning the AirstreamI’ve had certain things on my master to-do list for about a year. Talk about procrastination. This weekend I finally got the motivation to accomplish a few of the bigger tasks including major cleaning and taking quality pictures of the Airstream! I’m hoping to do before and after posts at the end of this month.

Because…. drum roll… The end of this month will be our year anniversary living in the tin can! Can you believe it?! I put together a little seasons in the Airstream collage and it was so gratifying.

An Airstream throughout 4 seasonsBrussel sprouts ravaged by wormsPulling up the Brussels sprouts in my garden was not so gratifying. Worms got to them even though I took pesticide precautions. Oh well.

My Desk in the Airstream

I also finally framed this print! I’ve had it for over a year and never got around to framing it. Yikes. George also got in on the to-do list action and built me a nice, little desk so I can get some more work done!

Even though I’m physically exhausted, I feel more energized than I have in a long time. Weird how that works.

Was your holiday weekend productive or restful? Let me know in the comments!

love,
melanie