Cut-your-own-Christmas-tree permits go on sale later this month: for $20, you can cut down a Christmas tree in select areas of national forest. Bring your own saw and tie-downs to secure the tree to your vehicle! You can get complete details here. Christmas tree-cutting season for the Pikes Peak district doesn’t start until November 26th, but if you want it earlier, you can head to a couple of other areas that open earlier.
Home & Family
Seriously, this hot chocolate is so easy and it tastes so much better than any powdered mix! I’ve tried making hot chocolate using cocoa or unsweetened chocolate, but was never happy with the flavor or texture. This hot chocolate is super creamy and rich and I’m convinced it’s less work than those messy packets.
I’ll totally admit that I don’t normally measure any of this, so these are just approximations!
Super Easy Homemade Hot Chocolate
- 2/3 cup chocolate chips
- 4 cups milk
- Pinch of salt
- Dash of cinnamon
Whisk chocolate chips in a saucepan on low heat until melted, then whisk in milk, salt, and cinnamon. Serve to rosy-faced children who’ve come in from playing in the snow.
(Yay for snow in October!)
We may not have a “botanic garden”, but Colorado Springs is home to a very lovely xeriscape garden – and it’s free! It’s a great place to educate yourself about plants that grow well in our high-altitude, low-moisture climate, and I finally stopped by recently. Spoiler alert – you can have a lot of color and flowers and still have a very water-wise landscape!
The Xeriscape Demonstration Garden is operated by Colorado Springs Utilities and maintained by volunteers. Most all of the plants are labeled, and it was very helpful for me to see established plants at full-size, as I have a hard time imagining that when I’m shopping at the nursery. And while there might be some people who pay attention to the sizing that’s printed on the tag and measure everything out, I’m not one of those people – but, I’m determined to get better at it!
They had a wide variety of plants for everything from the hottest, driest places in your yard to places that might actually get a lot of moisture due to runoff or drip lines from roofs or trees. “Micro-climates” are a big deal in Colorado, according to the books I’ve read. (I think the reason they are able to grow those agave plants in the garden is due to all of the rocks helping to hold the heat from the sun!)
So many plants grow well in our hot, dry climate, and there are so many colors and shapes! It’s not all just native grasses and rocks – though I’m learning that there are ways to incorporate those ubiquitous grasses without just plopping them into a circle of rocks.
The lobby is open 9-5, Monday through Friday, and you can get additional information in there. The gardens themselves, however, are open all of the time, so you can pop in anytime. I’m hoping to stop by a couple of times this winter as I am really interested in trying to make our landscaping interesting in the winter and I’d love to see what many of these plants look like when they’re dormant.
If you are at all interested in gardening, hate the idea that water-wise landscaping means nothing but rocks and a few isolated clumps of native grass, or just want a pretty place to walk and get some fresh air, you really should check out CSU’s xeriscape garden!
I haven’t been, but there’s another CSU garden at Cottonwood Creek Park. You can check out the official information for both CSU xeriscape/water-wise gardens here. And, another small but free garden you could check out is the Horticultural Arts Society’s public garden display.
I also recently shared some of my gardening adventures in this post.
I am by no means a gardening expert and am never sure how answer the question of “are you a gardener?”, but I do love growing beautiful things! This morning I walked around our house and took a bunch of photos of what we have growing (good and bad!) and I’m throwing it all out there in this stream-of-consciousness-style post. I’d love to hear what’s growing well for you, too, if you make it to the bottom and want to leave a comment!
This is a culinary sage that I planted four-ish years ago from one of those very small plants that you can buy at the grocery store in spring. It’s now huge and while I don’t really use sage for cooking that much, I’ve grown to love this as a landscape plant.
Grasshoppers do seem eat it a bit, but not too badly, and when they do eat it the leaves don’t seem to shrivel up and look quite as horrible as some other plants.
This variety has never flowered for me, so I’m not sure what it is as everything I’m trying to link to mentions it flowering. I don’t recall exactly what it looks like in the winter, but I do remember that it looks nice for a good part of the off-season. I’ve never watered it specifically once it was established.
This is a variety of the veronica/speedwell groundcover. It blooms with tiny purple flowers in spring and I love it, but a bunch of mine died this winter and only a small part has come back so I’m a little hesitant to plant it again. I’d love to get some large patches of it like you can see here and I have lots of places that groundcover would be nice, so I’ll probably try it again at some point. It’s just so frustrating when it takes a few years to get something established and then it dies off!
(You can see the blooming veronica in the picture at the top of this post, draping over the rocks on the top left.)
I read about Dog Tuff Grass in some of my landscaping books and decided to try it out this year in an area behind our house that has horrible soil and that we’re not sure how to landscape. It’s basically a variety of Bermuda grass that is supposed to be super drought tolerant.
It was shipped in 1-inch square plugs and you’re supposed to plant them about a foot apart. It spreads by runners, so the idea is that it fills itself in over time. It took a couple of weeks, but we are starting to see those tufts get bigger and they’re definitely sending out runners, so I have high hopes that this will be a solution for that area. There’s no way we are going to bring in good soil for that big of an area, and even tilling the existing soil to loosen it up would be problematic because there were a lot of pine trees in that area that we removed for fire mitigation so there are roots everywhere. I’ll keep you posted on how it goes!
Oh, one thing that’s somewhat of a drawback to Dog Tuff Grass is that it’s a cool-season grass, so it’s only green from about May to September. I’m fine with that for this area, but I’m not planning to make it the grass of choice in the actual backyard.
In our actual backyard, we planted dwarf fescue grass seed in a decent-sized area three or four years ago, and I really like it. (It is pure fescue, not a blend.) It stays green a long time, grows slowly so it doesn’t need a lot of mowing, and does pretty good without a ton of water.
(In my experience, Home Depot carries pure dwarf fescue seed, but not Lowe’s. Here’s a link, though the bags I buy look slightly different.)
In that photo above, the bare spots that you see were just tilled and seeded with fescue – those are areas that either never got filled in well when we first planted, and that big section is an area that we’d not planted with fescue yet. I’ll spare you the long explanation as to why!
We don’t have a sprinkler system, so we water with a small sprinkler and then spot-water with a hose any areas that the sprinkler missed. I have no idea how often we water it, so I can’t tell you that, unfortunately! When it was really hot this summer, before the monsoon rains started, I slacked off on watering and it got brown, but then started watering it again and it recovered quickly.
I also had this grass aerated in mid-July – the wrong time of year, I know, but we’ve never had it aerated before and Jeremy and I disagree about how bad the soil underneath is. ;) I finally just decided that I was going to do what I thought it needed (and of course, the lawn is magically improved – just kidding – sort of).
So I had it aerated and then spread Happy Frog Soil Conditioner on top of it and overseeded. That happened right before monsoon rains so of course it looks fantastic now but it’s hard to say if that was a benefit of the treatments or just because of a lot of rain. I’m inclined to say that it all helped! Next spring I will definitely have it aerated again, in early spring.
I also use Richlawn’s Pro-Rich fertilizer on our fescue grass and I think it definitely helps keep it green. It’s primarily made of dehydrated poultry waste so it smells when you put it on, but I’d rather have that than some sort of chemical rubbing into my kids’ bare feet.
Oh! And I don’t know if this is a benefit from the Pro-Rich fertilizer or the type of grass, but we have very few weeds in this grass. In places where the grass isn’t thick, we get some dandelions and other weeds but where the grass is healthy, we rarely see a weed.
Last year, we planted a whole bunch of trees and I was very excited to see that most of them came back! We planted three Montmorency (sour) cherry trees for beauty, fruit, and privacy and they are doing well in their second year at our house, though I wish I could keep the deer from nibbling on them. I’m also not sure how or when to prune them so I’d love to hear your tips if you have them! One in particular is puzzling to me, as it has three branches that seem to be the “main” one so I don’t know if I should just leave it or try to get it to develop one main trunk.
We use this Tree I.V. bucket watering system for the cherry trees and it works great. You just fill up the buckets and let the water soak in through the “I.V.” that goes into the ground about a foot. The one drawback is that you do have buckets sitting around, but the system seems to work really well and it makes it very easy to water in the winter as you can just fill up the buckets and then be done, rather than have to remember to turn off the hose.
(The area behind this tree is where we’re seeing if the Dog Tuff grass will grow. The little tufts on the left middle side of that photo are our little baby grass tufts! The other grass is just pasture grass that doesn’t look too bad in the photo, but is really thin and patchy due to the rock-hard soil.)
We also planted a bunch of aspens lining our driveway. I know aspens are the most finicky tree out there, but we decided to take the chance. We’re planning to let the suckers grow and create their own little grove so that hopefully the grove can follow its natural life cycle of new trees coming up as the older ones die off. Once the mulch that we put here has started to decay, we’ll throw in some native grass and wildflower mix and let it all grow wild so that the aspen seedlings aren’t damaged by mowing.
I’m holding my head in shame here, because we staked all of our aspens when we planted them this year and didn’t realize that some of them had been staked too tightly and the straps were cutting into the trunk. Oops. They’ve all been released from their prisons now and we just had to re-stake a few that were still floppy.
We did lose a few aspens over the winter (and one suddenly this summer), but I think I’m going to wait until next spring to cut down the ones that appear to have died because various of them seem like they could only be, you know, half-dead.
We also planted some sections of Gambel oak (most of us call it scrub oak) for – can you believe this – privacy. Yes, go ahead and laugh that these twigs are giving any semblance of privacy – we laugh, too! It’s part of our long-term plan to have our house fully hidden from the road by the time we have grandchildren.
For both the oaks and the aspen, Jeremy set up a drip line system that we connect a hose to. We have been watering them about once a week for 5+ hours so hopefully that meets the definition of deep watering!
Yarrow is one of those plants that I didn’t really think I liked until I realized just how low-maintenance it is and how long the blooms last! I have several of these moonshine yarrow plants and they have been bright yellow for probably at least a month and have just now started to fade slightly. I’m a big fan!
I actually really love the red varieties like paprika yarrow, but discovered that the red seems to fade pretty quickly and I’m not a fan of how it looks once the fading starts, so I have neglected the couple of red yarrow plants I have.
Catmint is one of those plants that I’m not sure if I love or hate, but it is so hardy that I’ve decided I have to love it for now. The photo above is over this plant’s second bloom for the year. It was blooming in April – nothing in Black Forest blooms that early! – and after the blooms faded I trimmed it back to keep it neat-looking and encourage it to bloom again. This second blooming isn’t quite as full or bright, but I’ll take it.
Ironically, when we lived in Stetson Hills, we had catmint in the backyard and ended up taking it out because it attracted so many bees and we had such a small backyard that it wasn’t fun to have all of those bees so close to the kids, who were toddlers then.
We’ve been working on covering up this ugly cinderblock retaining wall for years now, and this year it feels like we’re finally getting close to our goal of mostly not seeing it. We planted several iceberg climbing roses last year and I was shocked at how fast they took off! They started as a very normal-sized rosebush and grew super fast. The above photo was taken this year, but they got about that big the same year we planted them. I did have to treat them for aphids this year and have fertilized them several times, but other than doing that and pruning dead flowers, they’ve been super easy to care for.
Oh, and these rosebushes seemed to leaf out quite early, too – I’m thinking it’s because they are south-facing and also because that concrete wall and the rocks help keep them warm.
On top of that wall is a Virginia creeper vine, and it’s true that in the first two years it creeps and in the third year it leaps! This is their third year and this has been the first time that I’ve actually had to trim some vines back. We planted them to go over and down the wall before we had the plant to plant rosebushes to go up, and now I think I might take the creeper out at some point and get something to drape over the wall that doesn’t take the whole thing over. For now, Jeremy is very happy to be seeing so much green on that wall so I will just keep it for now.
I also planted peonies and lavender in front of the rosebushes this spring. As soon as I planted them, I knew that I’d put them too close together, so I’ll probably have to do some rearranging in a few years.
I am done growing basil. The leaves never get big, they’re tough and chewy, the grasshoppers eat it, and hail destroys it. I will be buying those $5 pots of basil at Sprouts from now on.
On the right side of that photo you can see some oregano, which I don’t use a ton but it grows just fine, looks nice, and it’s a perennial. I also have rosemary (have to replant that every year) and thyme. If I had to replant the thyme every year I’d been done with it since, while I like thyme, it’s such a pain to stem and chop up, but it grows well so I’ll leave it.
Everyone in Colorado Springs has salvia, but I guess it’s for good reason, as it’s so hardy and the blooms last a long time. This is the top row of a little rock wall garden, and it has been the bane of my existence as nothing will stay alive in it except the native grass. I can’t figure out what the deal is, but this is the third year I’ve had to replant most of the perennials in this area. Maybe the third time will be the charm!
(The photo at the top of this post is a different angle of the same area, taken last spring or summer, but it looks totally different because the yellow coreopsis didn’t come back, and neither did two of the three hyssop plants. I also had alyssum planted there last year to fill in the gaps until the perennial flowers got bigger and the groundcovers spread. Looking back at that photo, I really liked how it looked last year and I’m kind of bummed that I didn’t plant alyssum this year and I miss the bright yellow of the coreopsis! Though, I did plant more snow-in-summer and native grasses to fill in on a permanent basis rather than having to re-plant alyssum every year.)
On the salvia note, my salvia (not the ones I planted this year, but plants that have been established for several years) has had horrible foliage this year and I can’t figure out why. I did fertilize them with this flower fertilizer once in the spring (affiliate link), and at first I thought maybe it was the fertilizer granules burning the leaves, but it’s continued having the issue throughout the growing season so I’m guessing it’s bugs? I’d love to hear anyone’s thoughts!
This stuff is the bane of my existence. It’s cheeseweed and it has a super long taproot that you basically have to dig about six inches down to get out. It apparently self-sows readily. We have it everywhere and I am on a mission to get rid of it once and for all. We’ve only found one weed killer that will actually kill it (I don’t remember which one it is, but if you need to know, tell me and I’ll look it up!).
We hired our 13-year-old son to be our “groundskeeper” for the summer so he’s been staying on top of it better than we ever have before, but there are still a ton of seeds lying dormant in the soil so whenever it rains, new plants sprout up. One of these days, it will be gone!
Ah, shrubs. Three years ago, we planted a bunch of shrubs along the top of that cinderblock wall I referred to earlier, with the hope that they would fill in to form a hedge. Well, all of them are still alive (we did have to replace one), but they just will not get bigger. Part of the issue is that deer nibble on certain ones from time to time, and then a couple of them are particularly susceptible to hail damage and I feel like they are just about to take off for the summer when they get shredded by hail and put all of their energy into recovering from that.
The two exceptions to that are the cranberry cotoneaster shrubs, which have spread nicely and also look nice all year long, and a low-growing sumac (I think it’s this one). The sumac, which is pictured above, has really taken off this year and I can’t wait to see what it looks like in the fall.
Well, all of my nice plants are in the back of the house, ironically. We have done zero landscaping in the front because, at some point, we have to completely redo the deck and porch which means we don’t really want nice landscaping in the way as we tear out a deck and a ton of concrete.
We planted some grass in the front a couple of years ago and it was ok but never great, and this year I just let it go so now it looks even worse. Sigh.
I’m going to leave you with a pretty picture instead of that one:
I don’t remember which variety of hyssop this is, but I’m loving it! It’s in its second year, I think, and is probably too big for this spot, but I don’t care right now. Flowers make me happy!
One more! This is my bleeding heart that bloomed this spring (mid-May). The blooms didn’t last very long, and the foliage dies back in the summer, but I just loved having something blooming in spring!
Landscaping in Colorado Springs’ high and dry climate is definitely a challenge, but it’s been a fun one! I feel like I’ve made a ton of progress in learning about what grows well, how to prepare soil for planting, and pairing plants, but I have so much more to learn. Until then, I’ll probably keep throwing plants in the ground, realizing that they need more or less sun/water or don’t look good with the other plants they’re with, and then live and learn and do better next time.
One of my sisters was coming for a visit recently, and I was motivated to clean the house. Rather, I wanted to be motivated to clean the house, but was having trouble getting going, so I decided I would buy a new bottle of fancy all-purpose cleaner to see if that would help motivate me to clean. And it totally did!
I used this little bottle all morning long and cleaned things that haven’t been cleaned in forever. It was amazing to me how well it actually cleaned things like my tile backsplash, which gets wiped down during kitchen cleanup but rarely with an actual cleaner.
I mentioned this to a friend one day and afterward, she told me that our conversation had motivated her to use a similar cleaner and how much better it performed than her normal homemade vinegar cleaners. I totally agree with this – I’ve said for years that anyone who says that baking soda cleans as well as Comet can’t have actually used Comet in quite awhile. (I used to believe that same thing until I actually tried Comet again.) I totally get that regular use of lots of chemical cleaners isn’t great but man, every once in awhile it’s nice to use something that works really great!
The other day I picked up what I thought was a piece of trash in our entryway and screamed a bit when I realized it was a moth – a gigantic moth, six inches across! We have some people in our household who are scared of any sort of moth and it’s somewhat of a joke just how bad that fear is, but this one was so big that I would have freaked out if it had been flying around, too.
It was mostly dead when I found it and I have no idea how it got in, though we’ve had a bat in the house before so apparently winged creatures can find their way in. I looked it up and I’m pretty sure it’s a Black Witch Moth, which can appear here when the winds carry it north. It’s the largest moth species in North America. You can read more about its life in Colorado in this PDF from Colorado State. Pretty crazy!
I’m going to say something about the next generation that will make me sound old, but I don’t care. I do not understand the preference for FaceTime calls versus regular phone calls. Not at all. I’m just barely counted in the millennial generation and I’ve often said the one thing about me that is definitely millennial is that I much prefer texting or emailing to talking on the phone. However, I have noticed that there are an awful lot of millennials and younger who do things like talk to their friends via FaceTime, and I just don’t get it.
I hate the feeling of wanting to watch the person’s face, but knowing that the camera setup makes it look like you’re not looking at them. I couldn’t stand talking to someone on speakerphone so that everyone can hear both sides of the conversation. (I’m sure you could wear earbuds to change that, but I don’t see many people doing that.)
And let’s not forget about the fact that people can, you know, see you when you’re FaceTiming and I rarely feel like the phone-video look is a good one for me when I do have my hair done and some mascara on, much less when I have been having a leisurely summer day and did neither of those things.
Well, anyway. Now I feel the need to divulge that I’m “only” thirty-three (ok, almost thirty-four) because I sound like an old fogey, and maybe that’s what I’m becoming! :)
We spent some time in Buena Vista recently, and did a 5-mile (roundtrip) hike to the former Interlaken Resort on Twin Lakes.
It was a beautiful hike and an easy trail, and a hike with a destination that’s more than a great view at the end is always good with kids. I’ll probably write a blog post about it at some point, but if you’re in that area this summer, you should check it out!
A couple of years ago, I somewhat regular wrote Random Chatter posts with just that – random thoughts and experiences from my life. I won’t make any promises that they will return, but hey, here’s one.
I love summer. A friend told me last week, “I think I was made for summer!” and I feel the same way. As far as seasons go, I truly love all of them, but as a homeschool mom, I get to summer break and suddenly have all sorts of energy and desire to do things that I thought had gone away forever! As a rule, I don’t feel super stressed during the school year, but there’s something about not having to do school that takes a huge load off me. Yay summer break! (Maybe this is not just a homeschool mom thing, but I’m pretty sure for me my new-found energy every summer has to do with being on a homeschool break.)
In the past year, I’ve gotten into mountain biking and last weekend, Jeremy and I did the Elephant Rock Sunrise to Sunset race as a two-person co-ed team. It was my first race and it was a fun* experience – and even better, we got third in our division (out of six teams). It’s a 12-hour relay, with the goal being to do as many laps as possible between 7 AM to 7 PM. I did better than I thought I would, and completed six laps (about 36 miles) while Jeremy did 10 (about 61 miles). I had only planned to do five laps, but Jeremy had issues with leg cramps so when I was on my fifth lap I had the feeling I was going to need to do one more. I wasn’t super excited about that sixth lap, but knew I was going to kick myself if I didn’t do it so of course I’m glad I did.
*Fun was not the adjective I was thinking of for most of the day, but now that it’s over, it was totally fun. That’s pretty much how I feel about most long rides, haha.
If you’ve read Springs Bargains for awhile, you probably know that I’m a huge fan of Cook’s Illustrated, America’s Test Kitchen, and Cook’s Country – CI/ATK because their in-depth articles and instructions truly taught me how to cook, and Cook’s Country because their recipes are less time-intensive and more wide-ranging than CI but still reliable. Anyway, when Christopher Kimball left that company, there was apparently a lot of drama which is unfortunate, but I have to say that his Milk Street cookbook is really great. (Affiliate link)
I got it from the library, and then actually bought it for myself because I was using it so much. It’s mostly international recipes that are very approachable but fresh and different than what I normally cook. The Browned Butter Cardamom Banana Bread is amazing, and my family loved the Japanese Fried Chicken, amongst other things.
In other cooking news, I just ordered a couple of new aprons, because recently I wore holes completely through my other three:
For the past few years, I’ve been using pinafore-style linen aprons to keep not only stains off my clothes, but also because I suspected that the holes that were always appearing in the belly of my shirts was related somehow to cooking. I know that I am not the only one who experiences this; Google has dozens of results with people discussing this very issue. I’ve done my research on this over the years and theories abound: it’s moths, it’s a chemical reaction between fabric and the metal in pants buttons, or – I think this is the right answer – it’s friction.
Specifically, I think it’s friction that occurs when you lean against a kitchen counter, and based on my totally unscientific survey, I think it mostly affects short people like me who have to reach farther or lean harder against a counter. None of my tall friends have this issue!
I used to think it was related to having a little “extra” in the belly area after having kids, but never fully believed that because for me the issue started after my first kid, when my belly was back to its normal skinny self in about two days. However, that’s also when I transitioned from working full-time to staying at home, and thus spent a lot more time doing things like leaning against countertops. If you are tall, you are probably trying to figure out how on earth this is an issue but if you are short I’ll bet you are nodding your head!
Anyway, so I got tired of wearing holes in my favorite shirts, and I bought an apron that was expensive but that I knew I would actually wear. Voila, I haven’t had a hole in the belly-button area of a shirt since I started wearing those aprons. They are pricey, but again, I buy these because I actually enjoy wearing them and therefore will wear them. My favorites are from the Etsy shop Not Perfect Linen, and it looks like that shop is on a break so I can’t link directly to the product, but here’s a couple of their photos:
I like that you can slip them off and on easily, and there are no ties. I love the way linen hangs, though you do have to lay it flat to dry or the straps get crumpled. I’ve had Not Perfect Linen’s short apron and the long one, and ended up liking the short ones better because being short in stature myself, I felt like the long one engulfed me.
It looks like there are a lot of other people selling linen aprons on Etsy now, so there may be some cheaper options (and maybe someone in the US of A is actually selling them so you don’t have to wait for shipping from Lithuania like I’ve done – a few years ago literally all of the linen apron sellers were in Europe).
We love popcorn around here, but the way it gets stuck in the teeth is super annoying. Jeremy says it’s like playing Russian Roulette – you know at some point a piece is going to get stuck in your teeth for hours, but you never know which piece will do it. Somehow I decided to look into different varieties of popcorn, and we have been using this baby white extra small and tender popcorn from Amazon, and it definitely does seem that it is not as prone to get stuck in the teeth. I also just bought this ladyfinger popcorn but haven’t tried it yet. (Amazon links are affiliate links.)
(With as much about food as there has been in this post, it’s a good thing I got into mountain biking because clearly, I like to eat!)
Did you know that there are several places where you can get free mulch for landscaping? The city of Colorado Springs offers a free mulch pile at 1601 Recreation Way, and north of the city, you can get free mulch at the Black Forest Slash/Mulch, where you can also drop off your tree trimmings for a small fee.
At Black Forest Slash/Mulch, the mulch is free if you load it yourself, or you can pay just $5 to have a loader dump a huge bucketful in the back of your truck for you. (We got a bucket-load last year and that is a lot of mulch!)
Usually, the city of Monument has a mulch pile available at the south end of Limbach Park, though I haven’t heard anything on that recently.
Yes, you typed the right site into your browser – Springs Bargains has a new look! Today, I’m excited to unveil a new look for the site, one that I hope is not only cleaner and faster, but also works well on your mobile devices.
I know change is never fun, but I hope that even if you’re a bit sad to have to adjust to a new site right now, you come to find the new layout easy to use and find the information you’re looking for – and maybe even some new stuff you didn’t know was here!
One of the things I’m most excited about is the Today / Tomorrow/ This Weekend area on the front page, where you can go to get a list of what’s going on right now or very soon. Ever since I started this site, it’s been a frustration that if I post something way in advance, the information gets buried quickly, but if I wait to post it, some people aren’t able to take advantage of it because they’ve already made plans. My hope is that this gives me the ability to somewhat please those who like to plan ahead and those who are last-minute.
We’ve revamped the Kids Eat Free page (I’m glad to be done calling restaurants to confirm their kids eat free night details) and expanded and redesigned the thrift stores page (my kids are glad to be done driving around to get thrift store photos). On both of these pages, you’ll now be able to easily filter by the specific information you’re looking for, or just scroll to browse the options.
I know some would prefer not to have to click on each post to read the details, but I’ve been working hard to make sure that the pages load quickly so that it’s not much of an inconvenience. In fact, external banner ads no longer appear on most posts until they are a few days old, so that makes the pages load faster and hopefully is a little perk for those of you who are regular readers.
My 12-year-old son is now gainfully employed helping me keep the Milk Price Tracker up-to-date, so I must recognize him for his weekly work in that area. (For a long time, I’ve toyed with the idea of adding an Egg Price Tracker, but haven’t done so yet – if you would use this, let me know, as we have the ability to add it if I knew people would find it useful.) He’s doing a great job with this task and I have some more things he may be able to help with in the future, which is fun to see – he was just 3 1/2 when Springs Bargains started back in 2008!
Thank you to those of you who have chosen to use our real estate company, Circa Group, when you buy or sell a home. It takes a great deal of effort to keep Springs Bargains going, and I’m grateful that Jeremy and I are able to advertise our business through the site and no longer have to spend time doing sponsored posts, giveaways, or a ton of banner ads to keep the Springs Bargains’ lights on!
I hope you enjoy the improvements to Springs Bargains, and if something isn’t working quite right, please feel free to let me know. There are always kinks to work out!