Greetings!     
   
'Tis the season to be flexing our green thumbs!  While it's not quite warm enough in my area for outdoor planting yet, I hope to get into the garden this weekend and start getting things organized. I usually do just a few raised beds and some pots of herbs. This year, however, I'm planning to expand things a bit. I hope to do a lot more canning and freezing of our own produce than I've done in the past.

seedling

Recently a reader asked me about growing zucchini in a raised-bed garden plan, and shared a few ideas that she had found on the Internet. If you've ever grown zucchini, you know it spreads like crazy! I will be planting mine in the bottom half of an old plastic trash bin.  I'll let you know how it goes! The square foot gardening website gives directions for growing zucchini on a trellis. That looks like a good option, too. Another idea is to grow it in a five-gallon bucket hanging on a fence post.  There's a cute new variety available now called eight-ball zucchini that I'd like to try. Do an Internet search to see what these look like--they'd be great for stuffing. (Thank you, Monica, for all of the zucchini tips!)

Zucchini can be shredded, drained well, and then frozen to be used in baking and cooking all year long. It's SO easy to grow, and so healthy! If you have a few square feet available, you can do this! New to gardening? The
February edition of Molly's Money-Saving Digest is packed with gardening information for beginners.
 
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On my blog this week I've shared some good ideas, and had great feedback and contributions from readers too.

Homemade condiments: find recipes for homemade ketchup and more!

Can't afford a room re-do? Check out
this post on incremental decorating.

Looking for some frugal dinner ideas? You'll find them
here.

And if you homeschool, you'll want to read ideas for a
frugal homeschool prom. Be sure and read the comments as well!

If you have a question that you would like for me to post on the blog, just email me--MollyGreen@Econobusters.com--I'll be happy to try and help you out!
 
. . . Look for more wonderful frugal tips and inspiring articles coming your way!
What's for Dinner
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This was a busy week at my house, and my menu plan went out the window! But I was determined not to go shopping, and just eat from what we had on hand. Here's what I came up with tonight after digging through the pantry and freezer. It was delicious!

Chicken, Corn and Black Bean Quesadillas

1 15.5-ounce can black beans

A couple of handfuls of frozen corn

1 cup (approximately) salsa

Frozen shredded cooked chicken (about 2 cups)

20 soft corn tortillas

A chunk of cheddar, which made about 2 cups when shredded

A couple of tablespoons sour cream

Oil for frying

Drain and rinse the black beans, then toss beans, corn, chicken and salsa in a bowl to mix together. Microwave for a couple of minutes to heat through.

Place one corn tortilla on the counter and cover with the bean/corn/chicken/salsa mixture to about inch from the edges. Sprinkle liberally with grated cheese. Place a second tortilla on top. Fry in an oiled skillet over medium heat until the bottom tortilla is crispy, then carefully flip it over and crisp the other side. Remove to a rack in the oven to keep warm while frying the remaining nine quesadillas.
 
To serve, cut into halves or quarters. (A pizza cutter works well for this job.) Serve with sour cream.  This served five people, with filling leftover for a lunch wrap tomorrow!
This Week's Tutorials
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Here are some wonderful tutorials and tips to check out this week.
 
Need to keep the kids entertained? How about this cute card table tent?

How  about some fresh "April flowers" made from fabric? Make a bouquet or craft a single bloom to embellish a purse or coat!

Looking for an easy, pretty, spring craft to do with your kids? You'll love these colorful butterflies.

Getting back to the garden--I found this great tutorial for making a tumbling composter for a fraction of the cost of those in gardening supply places. I'll definitely be wanting to make one or two of these!
 

Molly's Money-Saving Digest
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My April digest has a wealth of information and support to share with you for an incredibly low price! $4.95 is such a small price to pay for the great benefits you'll receive and the money you'll be saving once you dig into this E-Book!

Here are just a few topics that are covered this month--to view the complete description of the contents of the April digest, click here.
 
  • Beyond Coupons --Seven Ways to Save Money While Eating Well: You'll find practical suggestions to re-think ways of getting food on the table and enjoy healthy, creative meals without over-spending.  
  • Watch your waist, and your waste! Re-think portion control!
  • Are you menu planning yet? Get a free E-Book download link that'll make it so easy to get started!
  • Practice recipe substitutions. Get this handy chart to help!
  • Plan a cooking party or start a brunch club
  • Consider bartering and gleaning.  You'll want to hear what Molly has to say about it.
But that's not all! You'll discover a fresh supply of inspiration and motivation, more scrumptious recipes, organization ideas, and lots more . . .

  • The Tax Refund --What We're Doing With It This Year: What works well for one family and how they enjoyed using their tax refund (hint --not a vacation). 
  • How to Shop Yard Sales like a Pro! Wouldn't you like to afford luxury items you don't normally buy, name brand clothing you usually do without, and have a stockpile of gifts for later in the year?  
  • How Do You Hold a Successful Yard Sale? The key to success is organization. Plus 10 more tips that will help you earn more money!
  • Sowing Servant Hearts: In Parenting that Pays, Dena shares about teaching kids responsibility and gives wonderful ideas for making chore time easier. 
  • A Repurposing Project: An old kitchen cabinet door serves as a key rack and adds a touch of nostalgia and family history (with photos).
  • Home Financial Filing System: Don't get lost in the outpouring of receipts and endless papers! Save time and headaches when you start utilizing this simple filing system! 
  • Consider Double-Duty Furniture: "A place for everything and everything in its place" becomes much easier when you plan on furniture that will work double-duty!
  • Goal Getter Spotlight: Annie shares about being frugal to fund an adoption. Jennifer saved for her dream vacation fund. And you'll really be encouraged by Kris, on how her family reached their goal of a 3-month buffer in savings and took control of their finances. 
  • Store More Than Just Shoes: Tambra wrote in to share the most versatile item that she has found so far --the over-the-door shoe organizer. You'll be astounded at the many ideas she has!
We Want to Hear from You
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We have some great topics in the works for Molly's Money-Saving Digests, and would love to include your stories and ideas. Remember, if we include your contribution in a Digest you'll receive that issue FREE. Here's what we're looking for.
 
July's Digest will focus on clothing your family frugally. We'd love to get your ideas or inspiration on this topic! Email Editor@Econobusters.com by April 24th. Of course, we're always looking for "goal-getter" stories, examples of upcycled or repurposed objects, and frugal decorating ideas. Would you like a free Digest? Send me your story, and if it is featured, your Digest is FREE.

 
Until next week! 
 
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Do you have something to share?  Write to us at MollyGreen@Econobusters.com.  All submissions become the property of Econobusters.com and The Old Schoolhouse Magazine, LLC ("TOS") and will not be returned.  Making a submission constitutes full consent to the Econobusters' Submission Guidelines and Release, and a grant of unlimited permission and continuing, non-exclusive rights for Econobusters.com and TOS, to print, publish, broadcast and use all portions of your submission, including without limitation your full name, on Econobusters.com and other Internet websites owned or operated by TOS, in Molly's Money-Saving Digest and all other electronic, digital and print publications produced, created or published by TOS in accordance with the Econobusters' Submission Guidelines and Release posted at Econobusters.  TOS will make reasonable efforts to withhold personal names if requested at the time of original submission.
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