Monday, June 26, 2017

Firewood Frugality

Clever people are abound. As I mentioned in a previous post, I recently went camping at a campground in New Hampshire.

This campground had a lot of people who stayed all season in RVs, in addition to folks who were there for just a few days (mostly tenting) like I did. On Sunday, when most folks were packing up to go home, some guys were going around in their pick-up truck to all of the tent sites from the non-seasonal campers. They were collecting the unused, leftover firewood that was purchased at the on-site camp store. That's a big savings. And so smart. They told me they also bring firewood from home, which is much cheaper than buying it at the camp ground. (Be cautioned before you attempt to bring firewood from home.  Many campgrounds do not allow this. One reason of the prohibition is because you can easily and unintentionally bring invasive pests and diseases to the campground which can destroy trees.)

I practiced a little of the firewood frugality as well. We gathered some wood from the nearby forest within the campground, though we purchased most of our wood. Before the guys came around, I had returned an unopened package of firewood a neighboring camper had left behind. Cha-ching. I made an quick six bucks.

New Tricks I Learned in NH From Some Fans

This past weekend I was camping in New Hampshire. We had a wonderful (frugal) time with old friends and new. I also did a speaking event on Frugal Living. I'm happy to say it was well attended and we all learned so much.

I am always learning new things. At the talk a couple of new methods of savings was mentioned by some of the attendees.

1) Buy text books on line

2) Get digital text books

3) Ask the professor I you can purchase older editions, which would be just a few dollars.

4) And most exciting for me, and similar sites for making purchases on Amazon. They claim 15% to 25% savings.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Volunteering has many benefits

I think volunteering is great. You can't get much better than helping others.

Sometimes there are tangible bonuses
as well. Given the opportunity to help clean up after an event, consider jumping on that. An awesome side benefit is you often get the spoils such as leftover food.  Usually, that's also a benefit to the charity as well since they often must get rid of extra food.

Another volunteer opportunity that our family participates in is that we are among the handful of volunteers who go food shopping for events at our synagogue on a regular basis. The synagogue sends us a long list to buy food at Costco, they reimburse us, and we get the points towards cash back on our credit card.

These volunteer opportunities are win-wins. The charity gets your hard work and efforts and you get a bonus!!

Friday, April 21, 2017

Shlissel on my table

This picture is from last year.  It's the the final product on my shabbos table from the Sisterhood schlissel challah making event.

Good Shabbos y'all!!

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Schlissel anyone???

It is the custom among some Jews to make a challah in the shape of a key or with an actual key baked inside it for the first shabbat after Passover. This is called a schlissel challah, literally "key" in Yiddish. The schlissel challah is supposed to be a good omen for livelihood.

Last year, the local synagogue's Sisterhood sponsored a huge community challah bake for women and girls. It was so much fun. We learned how to make challah from scratch, several braiding methods, and the spiritual meaning of the mitzvah of challah baking.  Afterwards we went home and baked the bread.

Below are a series of pictures from the event:

I make my family's challah in a breadmaker on the dough cycle, then take it out and braid it.  I'm not used to the manual method.  It's messier but you can make more or larger loaves.  It also seems more spiritual to make it by hand without a mixer or breadmaker.  I may have to do it on my own more often.

Here's the recipe we used...

BTW, NONE of the fancy braiding below is done by me.  I haven't been able to get the hang of it though I my tween daughter can.

The baked product.  My schlissel didn't come out that pretty this time around, but it sure tasted good.  Plus I had a really nice time making it.

The non-schlissel challahs came out much more attractive.  That's something, right?