As kids we were taken to several different places that let you “pick your own” fruits and vegetables. My parents would take us because we would save some money by picking your own, but also because it was a wholesome family activity that would keep us busy for sometimes hours at a time.

My parents believed that fresh picked not only tastes best but is healthiest for you, and I agree. We often went to a farm that grew strawberries and we would load up the freezer with fresh strawberries – my mom’s most favorite fruit in the world. We also picked other fruits and vegetables, and we patronized a lot of fresh fruit and vegetable stands that lined the Maryland highways, buying everything from fresh peaches to cantalopes to green beans to sweet corn.

When my children were young, we continued that tradition with them and they have picked many things from other’s gardens as well as our own. But our favorite has always been to pick blueberries. Not only is picking blueberries great family fun, but they freeze and keep well, and can be used in so many delicious things from the kitchen. There’s nothing like a stack of grandma’s fresh blueberry pancakes with melting real butter and warm blueberry syrup!

The Elvis Sandwich

People have said for years that Elvis had a special sandwich craving that his private cook would make for him quite frequently – a banana and peanut butter sandwich.

I’ve been a fan of peanut butter sandwiches my whole life, but it wasn’t until I moved to the South and kept hearing about the Elvis sandwich that I ever got around to trying a banana and peanut butter sandwich, and to be honest, it’s quite good! It goes great with a glass of ice cold milk.

Another southern specialty is a fried bologna sandwich. Haven’t tried that one yet.

Debit Card Holds

A lot of the gas stations are putting a hold on your bank account for a high dollar amount when you use a debit card to pay for gas. Most of the time it is for a set amount, such as $75, which is much more money than what most people actually spend at the pump.I believe the average purchase at the pump is now averaging about $40-$45. The hold remains on your account making the excess amount unavailable to you until the hold is released – sometimes several days later.

Its not a scam but its a problem for a lot of people who keep low balances. The hold can be left on the account for several days, depending on which day of the week you buy the gas. If you buy gas on a Friday afternoon, it can be Tuesday midnight before the bank processes the batch orders to make your funds available.

The way to avoid this is to pay cash for gas or to put it on a credit card if you are good about paying the whole balance each month and not letting the charges carry over with interest added to it.

A lot of gas stations have ATMS inside their stores with no fees for using their ATM, like the Thorntons chain in Nashville. You can withdraw the cash and pay for your gas with no problems about fees or holds on your account. I pay cash whenever possible.