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Banana muffins made by Ginny in her countertop oven

I recently read an informative bit of information from the Middlesex County Division of Solid Waste Management: Did you know that 30%-40% of food is wasted?  That’s an awful lot of food!  It’s estimated that each resident of Middlesex County throws away approximately 500 pounds of food each month, and they’re looking to change that! On their website, they explain the differences between a Best By date, a Sell By date, and a Freeze by Date, and how to check food for freshness.  You might not have to throw away everything in your refrigerator, it might still be good to eat.  Check before you toss! There are more great tips for you on that website, so make sure you visit!

Another tip not on their list but one I take advantage of is the Manager’s Special at the grocery store.  I already understand the differences between the dates listed above, and so I know that just because it’s a manager’s special doesn’t mean it’s going to go bad the day after I buy it.  I introduced my daughter to this concept of shopping in the manager’s special section when I visited her recently in North Carolina; I found a two-serving container of Mediterranean-style pasta salad for $0.60.  I had lunch for two days while at her house, for thirty cents each day! Lunch for $0.30!

When looking at food in your own house, it pays to know what to do with good that is about to go past its expiration.  A great example is bananas.  I’m pretty sure that some of you reading this have at least one banana that you think is too ripe to eat.  Don’t throw it away!  if you have a countertop oven or large toaster oven, make 4 little banana muffins! This has been my go-to recipe for a while now. Everyone I know who’s tried it falls in love with it,  Even the kids can make muffins with this recipe!

With just a little planning and a little creativity, you can definitely save money and enjoy good food by checking dates and reducing waste!

9 Items That Will Transform Your Backyard Into A Summer Oasis

If theres something here you decide you just must have, weve provided links to the product websites.  If you click on the link and make a purchase, Beasley Media Group may earn a commission.  Have an idea for a fun theme for a gift idea list youd like us to create?  Drop us a line 


Hey guys! I used to love the outdoors despite living in a small town with mosquitos the size of a dime. LOL! They weren’t that big, however, if I had some of these items to transform my backyard, I would never leave. I hope you enjoy these backyard summer Must Haves.

  • Outdoor String Lights

    Im starting here guys because, in my decor world, I take something small and build around it. These string lights are perfect. The will work well under a gazebo, walkways, and more. This company is awesome and offers step and deck lights. Ill include a few of them in this article as well at the end.

    Get It Now From Amazon
  • 2. Insect Repellent Dunks

    I would love to have a koi pond in the backyard. That is something that really takes things up a notch. While I may not be adding a link for a koi pond, I am adding something that is well needed. Remember those mosquitoes I spoke bout earlier? These mosquito dunks are perfect. Water is something that could attract larvae, so this is a great way to go. Mosquito bites hurt something serious! This helps keep those bites down.

    Get It Now From Amazon
  • 3. For The Love Of Gazebos

    This list wouldnt be complete without a gazebo. Gazebos can be spiced in so many ways with decor. The lights I mentioned earlier are a perfect way to go as well as a few other items in this list. We are on the way to creating a great backyard oasis.

    Get It Now From Amazon
  • 4. Outdoor Dining Table

    This outdoor dining table will take your outdoor oasis to another level. This table is extended so the more people, the merrier. The look, style, color, and design of this table allows your creativity to flow.

    Get It Now From Amazon
  • 5. Smoke Free Fire Pit

    What is better than a wood-burning fire pit? A wood-burning smokeless fire pit, thats what. This fire pit needs no gas or propane and its smokeless. This makes for a perfect family moment.

    Get It Now From Amazon
  • 6. Outdoor TV enclosure

    Nothing screams oasis-like being able to sit outside and watch Law & Order or any of the shows I love so much. This enclosure allows you to put yourself a television outside and still keep it protected. That right there is everything!

    Get It Now From Amazon
  • 7. Bar

    What would take your outdoor oasis to another level? A bar! Thats what! Make yourself feel like youre on a resort every time you walk out the door by adding this bar!

    Get It Now From Target
  • 8. Pellet Grill

    I bought my husband this pellet grill for Fathers Day and he absolutely loves it. He wished he had this before his gas and charcoal grills. It cooks evenly and more. This grill will take your love for the grill to an entirely different level.

    Get It Now From Ace Hardware
  • 9. Inflatable Hot Tub

    Ok! I know youre thinking why would someone want an inflatable hot tub? Easy! You can pull it out when needed, and deflate and store it when you dont. That simple!

    Get It Now From Amazon


Please note that items are in stock and prices are accurate at the time we published this list. Have an idea for a fun theme for a gift idea list you’d like us to create?  Drop us a line at