Wednesday, May 13, 2009

How To Save Money on Fuel Costs - Thrifty Thursdays

The price of gas has risen to phenomenal highs and there's no end in site. This can put a serious crimp in your wallet, whether you're traveling across the country or across town. Now more than ever, it makes sense to get the most miles out of your fuel purchases that you possibly can. Not only will you save money, you'll also help clean the environment. So next time you turn on the ignition, keep these valuable tips in mind:
  • Don't top off your tank. - Gas that drips onto the ground or evaporates into the air as fumes can't help get you down the road. Don't pay for fuel that will only be wasted, stop filling your tank before it overflows.

  • Turn off the air conditioner. - Air conditioners burn through significant amounts of fuel. Open the windows instead and you'll save money.

  • Slow Down. -- The faster you drive, the more fuel you'll use, stick to the speed limit and you'll not only save on fuel, you'll save on tickets too. If you have cruise control, use it!

  • Stay off the breaks. - You'll use more fuel in stop and go traffic. Try to plan trips when you're not likely to hit rush hour traffic and you'll save time as well as money.

  • Lighten your load. - Don't carry unnecessary weight in your vehicle (or in any trailers you may be towing). The heavier the load, the more fuel consumed.

  • Tune it up. - To keep your vehicle running at maximum efficiency, always get regular tune-ups and change dirty filters regularly. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

  • Check the tires. - Check that your tires are properly inflated and rotate them on a regular basis, not only to extend the life of your tires, but to help achieve maximum fuel efficiency.

  • Multi-task. - It takes more gas to start up a cold car as opposed to a warm one, plan all your small trips and errands together to get the most out of your gas tank.

Thrifty Thursdays is a blog event created by my fried Amanda Formaro from Amanda's Cookin' blog. I've agreed to participate, so look for a frugal themed post here each Thursday. In addition to reading my posts, be sure to visit Amanda's blog for a round-up of all the thrifty home and cooking tips and recipes that came in this week from folks around the blogosphere.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Top 10 Reasons to Entertain with a Picnic - Thrifty Thursday

Hosting a picnic is a wonderful frugal way to entertain that offers many advantages to the savvy host or hostess. With a little creative thinking, almost any meal or celebration can be turned into a picnic. After all, what was the first Thanksgiving?

I've hosted romantic picnics in idyllic settings, marathon-long beach parties, casual lunches and brunches for small groups and huge crowds, raucous tailgate parties, midnight stargazing rendezvous, and casual snacks consumed at highway rest areas during road trips. Regardless of the occasion, a picnic always makes the day a bit more festive and memorable.

So what are the advantages of turning your party, event, or even romantic dinner for two into a picnic? Let's count the ways:

1. You don't have to go crazy cleaning the house because no one will ever see the house.

2. Not only do you not have to clean your house, there will be no "day after" mess when the party is over.

3. Nothing at your home will get broken and the carpet won't get stained.

4. The neighbors can't complain if things get too loud.

picnics, entertaining with picnics5. You don't have to worry about how to get those last straggling guests to finally leave your house and go home.

6. If your space is too small to accommodate a large crowd of say 3 or more, the sky's the limit with a picnic. Just pick a park, beach, or other location that's as large as your guest list and go wild.

7. Picnics are a wonderful way to entertain when your home might be less than ideal , ie: you live with your mother, you live in a dorm, your 8 room mates own 12 Rottweilers, etc., etc.

8. No leftovers! One of the tips for successful picnics is to make enough so that everything gets eaten.

9. Don't forget travel. With picnics you can entertain anytime, anywhere. A picnic is a great way to thank hosts for their hospitality while traveling, or have an intimate romantic meal in an exotic setting. If you want to get romantic, nothing impresses like a picnic.

10. Picnics can save you money! It's generally cheaper to have a picnic than eat out in a restaurant, and a public park is certainly cheaper than a rented hall for a larger gathering. Picnics can also make for a cheap date that comes off as anything but.

Need Picnic Recipes?
Click here for the archives of picnic recipes -- you'll find tons of creative recipes that are all easy to pack and tote along.

Thrifty Thursdays is a blog event created by my fried Amanda Formaro from Amanda's Cookin' blog. I've agreed to participate, so look for a frugal themed post here each Thursday. In addition to reading my posts, be sure to visit Amanda's blog for a round-up of all the thrifty home and cooking tips and recipes that came in this week from folks around the blogosphere.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Extraordinary Egg Art at the Dovetail Gallery

EGG HARBOR, WISCONSIN, USA – You’ll never look at eggs the same way again after visiting the Dovetail Gallery, Studio and Museum in (where else?) Egg Harbor, Wisconsin.

The town’s unusual name originally drew artist Kathleen Mand Beck to locate her studio with bucolic view of aforementioned harbor here. For what better locale could there be for an artist whose primary medium is eggs? Kathleen carves the delicate hollowed shells of eggs – all kinds of eggs from tiny quail to huge ostrich and everything into between – into incredible works of art.

A visit to her studio below Dovetail’s main gallery reveals boxes of nearly every conceivable variety of eggs, all perfectly cleaned, sterilized, hollowed and ready for Kathleen’s gentle touch with a dental drill. The tool’s high speed and delicate bits allow her to carve and transform the eggshells into truly wondrous and magical objects.

Giving a decorated egg as a gift is an ancient tradition. The art of decorating eggs is one of the oldest documented art forms. Kathleen makes it easy for modern gift givers to continue the practice by offering custom carved egg art for any occasion. Commissioning a basic carved egg from Kathleen starts at a mere $45.00 (as of this writing in 2009), and you’d be hard pressed to find a more unique gift.

Kathleen’s spectacular carved eggs are plenty interesting on their own to merit a stop at Dovetail, but there’s actually much more to see at this small, packed gallery and egg museum. Highlights include an authentic gold and cloisonnĂ© enameled FabergĂ© egg commissioned by Tsar Alexander III and Nichols II.

Another must see during a stop at the gallery is one of the most extensive collections of wild bird eggs on public display anywhere – over 100 eggs from 25 different species.

And if you’re brave enough to bring your kids into a shop filled with fragile eggs, they will able to wonder at the sight of an actual 70 million year old Hypselosaurus dinosaur egg! Accompanying CAT scans authenticate the egg’s age and displays show how the developing dinosaur grew within his temporary eggshell home.

In addition to egg art, the gallery, housed in an 1873 hand-hewn dovetail log home, also features fine art paintings, clay, tiles, jewelry, garden art, and glass. Kathleen’s husband Tom also designs a wonderful collection of copper garden sprinklers that are practical as well as artistic sculptures in motion.

Click here for more details of fun things to do, see, and eat in Door County, Wisconsin.


The Dovetail Gallery, Studio and Egg Museum is located at 7901 State Highway 42 in Egg Harbor, Wisconsin 54209. Phone 920-868-3987 or visit their website at

For trip planning, contact the Door County Visitor’s Bureau at 1015 Green Bay Rd. Sturgeon Bay, WI 54235 call 800-52-RELAX or 920-743-4456 or click to