And we are back (new camping adventures!)

Location: Belleplain State Forest : Woodbine, NJ
Distance from home: ~60 minutes, ~57 miles
Site: #15
Dates: 9/4/2019-9/6/2019 (two nights + afternoon)
Weather: 62 low, high in 80s.  light rain the first evening, sunny and breezy the rest of the weekend

We broughy our kayak, and since the site was right on the lake, we had easy access for kayaking! We took a day trip to cape may and enjoyed a morning on the beach

Day 1:
Dinner-spaghetti and meatballs

Day 2:
Breakfast: pancakes and sausage
Lunch: hot dogs/ hamburgers
Dinner: Tin foil dinners: keilbasa, potatoes and carrots

Day 3:
Breakfast: oatmeal and sausage
Lunch: ice cream and then grilled cheese
Dinner: tacos

up next…Trap Pond State Park and a post with our favorite gear!

Five Frugal Things



Five Frugal Things is a great practice of recognizing some of the frugal things in your life.  I first came across it on the blog TheFrugalGirl, and have jumped on that bandwagon!


Ok, well I should probably give an update post, since it’s been FOREVER since I’ve posted.  But i’ll come back to that at another time.

  1. Cloth Diapers: We continue to use cloth diapers for baby bird.  A huge money saver.
  2. No paper towels or paper napkins!  I posted about this in the past and I love how much it saves us! And now, I love that I don’t have to track down paper products during the COVID-19 pandemic!  One of my good friends switched over to cloth towels/napkins a year ago- she is loving it too!
  3. Homemade coffee: Ok, so this is somewhat frugal.  We splurge and bought ourselves a nice espresso maker 18 months ago.  It makes great coffee and has definitely cut down on our trips to starbucks.  So even though we spent some money up front, we have saved money in the long run.
  4. Buying used books:  Since Little Bird has been home and not in pre-K, we were in need of some new reading material.  I went onto thriftbooks and ordered a dozen.  I am always impressed with the quality and condition.
  5. Buying used clothes:  Since I am not headed into the office everyday, I needed some more comfy/work clothes.  I ordered a few casual dresses from ThredUp.  This is one of my favorite sites.  I know my size in specific brands so it takes a lot of the guesswork out.  The prices are not as great as thrift stores or goodwill, but I like that it is cheaper and more sustainable than shopping in a store.

What frugal things have you done this week?  What do you do to keep yourself motivated to be frugal?

10 year anniversary camping trip

Location: Belleplain State Forest : Woodbine, NJ
Distance from home: ~60 minutes, ~57 miles
Site: #17
Dates: 9/6/2019-9/8/2019 (two nights)
Weather: 58 low, high in 70s.  Cloudy/drizzling day one, clear and sunny day 2

What we loved: Quiet, peaceful campground.  Our campsite was right on the lake.  Easy access to trails, there was a nature center, lake area and kayaking available.

Meals: We kept things simple, stuffed peppers (made ahead), pasta and sauce, grilled cheese, pancakes and bagels.

And our family takes flight: first family camping trip

Location: Atsion Family Campground : Shamong, NJ
Distance from home: ~45 minutes, ~25 miles
Site: #43
Dates: 8/30/2019-9/1/2019 (two nights)
Weather: 65 low, 85 high (sunny)

What we loved: Camping as a family, making s’mores, racing with little bird around the loop (and our neighbors and a very awesome remote control car that little bird loved watching!).

Meals: burgers and dogs, french toast and sausage, grilled cheese, pasta and meat sauce, and pancakes (Lots of cut veggies and fruit)

We spent a good bit of the this trip getting re-oriented to camping- it had been a while! The weather was gorgeous and we enjoyed slowing down and being in nature.

Up next…10 year Anniversary trip to Belleplain State forest!



hungry harvest

I am super excited to try Hungry Harvest.  This is a great program that delivers produce directly to your door.  I got an e-mail yesterday telling me what is going to be in my box, and I am blown away!

Are you interested in checking it out?  Use the link below and you will get $5 off, I will also get a little bonus from Hungry Harvest too!

Easy Weeknight meal ideas!

As many of you know, I have been trying SO hard to adjust to my new schedule and find some make ahead re-heatable meals for us!  I don’t have a ton of ideas, but here are a few of the options that have been working well for us.

Turkey Meatloaf and Mashed Potatoes:  I posted this turkey meatloaf recipe a few weeks ago.  I will make this ahead in a 9×13 pan, and then cook up some mashed potatoes and store both in the fridge.  I will portion out individual plates and microwave, and make a quick batch of steamed green beans.

Tacos: I will prepare the meat and season it and then either store it in the fridge or freezer.  I make sure we have all the fixings prepped and ready to go.  We love to have Goya Yellow Rice with our tacos, which can easily be made ahead and re-heated.

Risotto:  This is one that I am super impressed with! There are tons of great recipes out there, but I am partial to this one from Deb over at Smitten Kitchen.  It stores great in the fridge for 1-2 days.  Sometimes I serve this as a main dish, or as a side to chicken that I have made ahead.  Plus, this is a great way for me to use my homemade chicken broth!

Rotisserie Chicken:  Ok so this one might be considered cheating, but a store rotisserie chicken is $7.99 in my area, which is cheaper than takeout, and always gives me leftovers for chicken salad, and I can use the bones to make chicken broth.  I have been able to keep a rotisserie chicken in my fridge for 2-3 days and reheat it whole in the oven or individual servings in the microwave.  I will make up some sort of potato or rice dish and serve with easy steamed green beans.

Indian Chicken:   This is another easy one, that also freezes well.  I will saute and brown chicken breasts or thighs (cut into serving sized chunks).  Then add some Indian simmer sauce (which my Aldi’s now sells!)  And simmer until the chicken is cooked.  I then pack this up to freeze.  I will defrost head and serve with rice, naan and a side salad.

This week I am trying a chicken parm casserole!  I’ll keep you updated!

Packing Lunch!

I have always, always packed my lunch.  Even when I was in school, my parents always packed or made us pack our own lunches.  One of the main motivations for us packing was cost.  Believe it or not, my parents were able to pack us a lunch that was cheaper than the $1.60 school lunches.

Flash forward 15 years, and now if I were to buy lunch it would be at least $10 per lunch!  I can certainly pack a lunch for less than that!  I try to pack leftovers for Mr. Bird for his lunch, and I used to take leftovers for mine. If we had no leftovers, would would take a bagged salads, which I try to keep on hand ($1.99 each).   In my new job, it’s not as easy to heat up a lunch and sit down and eat.  I find myself snacking in meetings or grabbing a quick bite in between things.  So I have had to adapt my lunch contents!  I have been taking crackers, hummus, vegetables, chips & guac or yogurt and so far it is working out ok, although I do miss a nice hot lunch in the middle of the day.

Honestly though, even though packing our lunches saves us THOUSANDS of dollars a year, it is also more convenient.  I am never stuck having to go buy food, if I am hungry I have something to eat.


What do you typically do for lunches during the day or at work?



5 frugal things


Five Frugal Things is a great practice of recognizing some of the frugal things in your life.  I first came across it on the blog TheFrugalGirl, and have jumped on that bandwagon!

Back on the bandwagon of posting!  I might not be posting as often, but I am going to try to post 1-2 x per week.  It was a much needed break last week, thanks for being patient!  Here’s a quick 5 frugal things post!

  1. Making cinnamon knots  I used the frugal girl’s recipe, and they came out fabulous and delicious!  I was serious impressed with how simple it was.  All in all it took about 3 hours from start to finish (but much of that was rising time)
  2. at home haircuts.  LittleBird and Mr Bird were due for haircuts. Years ago we spend $19.99 for a a hair clipper set.  I used to cut Mr Bird’s hair, but now he does it himself, and he tackels cutting Litte Birds hair.
  3. No paper towels or paper napkins!  I posted about this a few weeks ago, and I love how much it saves us!
  4. Planning our meals.  I meal planned and grocery shopped this weekend.  I have been spending a bit more at the grocery store for some convenince items to make eating at home easier, but it’s still cheaper, healthier and less stressful than last minute take out!
  5.  Homemade waffles.  Every now and then we love a good homemade brunch!  This weekend I made us some waffles.  A few years ago I bought  this  waffle maker!  It makes 2 belgium waffles at a time, so it is super efficient to make waffles for the whole family!

What frugal things have you done this week?  What do you do to keep yourself motivated to be frugal?

Stress and how to cope

I have been under an incredible amount of stress since starting my new job.  Some of it is just the stress of being outside of the house for 45+ hours a week and juggling everything.  But a lot of the stress is actually from people!  My new job requires a lot more interpersonal communication and building relationships with co-workers that I am used to.  All of this means that I, an introvert is exhausted at the end of the day.  I also struggle to understand some social nuances and I easily pick up on tensions.  All of this combined has led me to feel overwhelmed and stressed.  I have been forced to tap into my tool kit of stress relief.

Some of the things I am trying include some healthier lifestyle habits:

Eating Healthier: I find that eating healthier makes me feel better!  If I can reduce or eliminate gluten, processed foods and sugar, I feel less anxious and am in better tune with what is really going on.

Exercising:  I try so hard to do this regularly, but I had fallen off the bandwagon.  A fellow blogger posted a short review on Blogilates, and I decided to give it a try.  So far I have done several of the workouts.  Although not the most rigorous, they do help give me that extra boost in the morning.  And so far the ones I have tried have all been 10ish minutes. Which is about all I have time for!


I have only just instituted these things in the past few days, but already I am feeling slightly better and somewhat more in control of my stress.  What do you do to help your stress?