Frugal Friday: BYOB on Vacation

tropical drinkThe beginning of the school year looming just around the corner has caused major day dreams about my tropical vacation. The only thing that has pulled me back to reality is one of my biggest irks of travel: the price of an adult beverage. Can I get an amen? I might shell out for one tropical delight (umbrella, required!) but two tropical drinks and I’ll need a second job.

One of my favorite tips for travel is to BYOB. It’s just not vacation to me without a little tipple. On our last road trip I brought a box of my favorite Trader Joe’s wine and George brought a 6-pack of cheap TJ’s beer. It’s cheap, but tasty, and we get to drink it in the hotel room while watching cable television (such a novelty!). Vacation and traveling is too expensive to blow all your money on fruity drinks.

What’s your favorite tip for saving money on vacation? Let me know in the comments!

love,
melanie

Easy Crock-Pot Chicken Cacciatore

crock-pot chicken cacciatoreI know, I know, it’s kind of too hot to break out that Crock-Pot, but sometimes a busy girl has to do what a busy girl has to do. And sometimes that means cranking up the Crock Pot to make Chicken Cacciatore as the thermometer climbs into the 100s. It’s just too easy to use the Crock-Pot on those days when you know that 5,000 things will need your attention and you still have to work out and sleep and be a person. This meal is great for those days because you can throw everything in the Crock-Pot at breakfast and it will be ready for dinner or throw it in the Crock-Pot the night before and take it for lunch. It’s just good planning, people.

easy chicken cacciatore(Stupid) Easy Crock-Pot Chicken Cacciatore

Ingredients

  • 1 lb of chicken, cut up in pieces
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 jar of your favorite pasta sauce
  • 6 ounces sliced mushrooms
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 -4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 teaspoons oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

Throw everything in the Crock Pot and let cook for approximately 7 hours on low. Serve over pasta, rice or quinoa if you wish. I just eat it plain. No time for all that.

super easy, crock-pot chicken cacciatore

love,
melanie

 

Link Love: 1

Link LoveI read a lot. I surf the web a lot. Maybe too much. But I digress. I thought I’d start sharing some of my favorite links with you all in a post I’m tentatively calling… Link Love. Enjoy!

Expensive Markups of Everyday Products

5 inspiring people who each paid off over $100,000 in debt

Can’t wait to see Wild (the movie) this fall. Or read the book! I heard an interview from the author on NPR and I was enthralled.

Speaking of movies… 7 Ways to go to the movies for free.

I love finding fellow Airstreamers and Tiny Housers on IG. Favorites include @cabinlove, @farmstream @alchemydistillery and so many more! If you live in a tiny house or an Airstream, I’d love to follow you too, just leave your handle in the comments!

Airstream trailers enjoy a resurgence in sales, as fixed lodging. Living in an Airstream is the way to do it, I tell ya!

This video of an old man dancing totally made my day.

love,
melanie

Switching Things Up!

airstream 2Not one to stay stagnant, I’m in the process of switching things up over here. I’ve finally pulled the trigger and changed the name of this blog to “A Small Life.” I think it more accurately describes what I’m actually doing here. Love Library served it’s purpose, but it never really had anything to do with what I was writing about. It took me a while to find my voice and find what I loved writing about but I think I’ve finally found it. And just in time because soon I’ll be revealing photos of our completed Airstream! We’ve been living in it a year and I am still smitten with the small life.

So what does it mean for you? Hopefully nothing! The last time I attempted to do this, I ended up deleting most of my pictures and totally screwed things up. But this time, I’ve just set it as a redirect, so hopefully you will be able to see things under my old site name and my new site name. I’ve also changed my name on social media so look for me on Instagram as “ASmallLife” and over on Twitter @a_small_life.

Thanks for your support!

love (as always),
melanie

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