Sunday, October 30, 2011

The Weekend Review

Well, the goal was to make some home made bagels, but perhaps next weekend! A sleep over for my daughter then an early pick up of our fruit and veggie basket cut into our planned bagel time so we are all looking forward to trying them next weekend for our Saturday morning! But we did manage to try a new recipe and carve our pumpkins before Halloween tomorrow!

Pesto Penne with Chicken and Tomatoes
Our basket pick up this week...we made out!!
Plus so excited on our large batch of tomatoes we purchased...sauce here we come!!
And pumpkin carving time...

 Don't forget the seeds.....YUMMM....

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Food Co-Ops, Farms and Organics

This is the best! I can't say enough about our food co-op, check it out to see if your state is listed-  
Bountiful baskets
We get a basket full of fresh fruits and veggies for a low cost each week- we also always buy their 9-grain organic bread which is so yumm and freezes well too (since you get 5 loaves at a time!) and then some times we'll purchase bulk specialty items.

One of our trips gave us this....then we added a bulk of corn and tortilla's. (The tortilla's also freeze well!)

To find farms local to your area where you can get fresh items, we love this resource:
Local Harvest
Our family plans on taking a few trips to different places within a few hours of us. We also found a farm that teaches homesteading classes on a variety of things- so exciting!!

Our area also has a drop point for Azure Standard-
Azure Standard
They specialize in natural and organic foods as well. We have yet to order but I did put in for a catalog and am patiently awaiting its arrival to see if we will pursue and order with them as well. But we have friends in town that use them for bulk items of wheat, rice and beans as well as specialty items too.

Where ever you may be located, there are always other alternatives to obtain the best food possible for your family. One day we hope to not have to use outside resources and grow what we need ourselves!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Reusable Sandwich Baggies

In ditching our ziplock baggies to opt for more reusable solutions, we bought several little containers for the kids for school for lunches. But I ran across some other mom's blogs who are sewing home made reusable sandwich baggies, so I thought why not?!

Made a couple today, different sizes and tried out sewing them different ways and they turned out fine- I think I'll order some fun fabrics and make some more very soon!

Just a plain green and purple for small items and my daughter requested the egg/chicken pattern for her sandwich bag: then a apple and a pumpkin for Fall/halloween....

Monday, October 24, 2011

Toothpaste, Tuna and Two Kids playing

Not all together of course....just a few other things from the weekend aside from our Halloween craft day!

Finally got around to making that home made toothpaste...had to do it- I literally ran out and couldn't brush my teeth that eve!

Simple, and done in just a few minutes! A few different variations I've found- but all with baking soda and your choice of flavor- they some add water to make a 'paste'...some dab toothbrush in water then in the powder form or use hydrogen peroxide. I made the paste this time.  The first two times the taste/texture got me a bit, but you know, its not bad and actually my teeth and mouth feel cleaner than previously with toothpaste! So A+ for this home made recipe!

Tried a new recipe for dinner- although it looked prettier in the casserole dish instead of the 'leftover' dish :) but this will have to do...Tuna, Cream of Mushroom Soup, pea's, milk, egg noodles and top it with bread crumbs with garlic and butter, bake...and you have dinner that my son had 4 scoop fulls of! So, if the kids like it- its a HIT!
Kids played so well together this weekend....moon sand and littlest pet shops make for some fun!

Splurge buy for the week...don't hate me! Ha...yeah mini-cupcakes, discounted at the bakery for $1.00.
And that concludes the weekend...Hello Monday!

Looking forward to my day off, a little laundry, organizing, meal planning...and looking for a great chicken noodle soup recipe as well as a home made foot scrub :)

Saturday, October 22, 2011

It's a Craft Morning - Halloween Style

Man, I am SO late!

Just getting started on Halloween crafts with the kiddo's! They love making their own each year for each holiday- forget buying any type of decoration in the stores, they look forward to coming up with their own new ones each year!

Mummy anyone?
Ghosts hanging from the lights....
CD and Rock Pumpkins!

Egg Carton Monster...drying then his EYES will be added!
A few signs...
And a decorated 'table' to set out for when we go trick-or-treating, so kids can still get candy at our home!

Fun, craft morning together - now for some lunch!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Cutting Spending

We've been looking for ways to cut our bills even though most the time we feel we live on less than most families and constantly do our best in the financial department- there's always room for improvement and to find new ways to save.

The first thing I pursued was:
No more buying Paper Towels/Napkins - we went cloth
Next to come is...
Homemade Laundry Detergent
Homemade Toothpaste

I came across a book at the library about cutting your grocery bill in half. I've also run across many idea's from other families blogs and combined with idea's from each I've decided to try and cut the groceries down.

The book, is from America's Cheapest Family- they also have a website- but I checked the book out at the local library-

I took some spreadsheet idea's from blogs instead of hand writing everything as it states in the book. I also, instead of shopping monthly am going to do it weekly. We already are a part of a fruit and vegetable co-op, so each Saturday we will see what we get (as we don't know ahead of time) and plan our meals around two things, what we receive from the co-op and what specials/ads/coupons are out there. We are giving ourselves 30 days to see if we can cut our bill!

Here's  snap shot of my in-progress spread-
The book talks a lot about freezing, hubbie and I priced chest freezers and think that for around $200 would be able to have additional adequate space.

Here are a few books I'm currently reading...
We want and try to not let any of our food go to waste, especially that from the co-op which seems that some of the items we receive you either eat immediately or its going bad too quickly, so I really want to preserve it so we can enjoy all of the food we receive.

This is the first week of grocery shopping, testing out the new system...keep you updated!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Cold Weather Cleaning?

I've come across several posts lately about starting "cold weather cleaning". Now first off, its not cold here...yet and second being that we just moved this won't be a re-organize the bedroom during a winter storm type thing. My kind of cleaning- oh lordy! Let's say, going through the entire house and getting things in order.

I loved how one woman put it on her To Do List...."To Make my House a Home".

So, my "to do list" now states as well...."To Make my House a Home". And now for the ugly- the before pics...and hopefully I'll have those wonderful progess pics and done pics in the next months to come!

The Front Room...
To Do: Wood Flooring, scrape popcorn ceiling, patch leak/discolored ceiling, paint.
Would love a nice rug and family photo's hung :)

Dining & Den....
To Do: Paint, again another patch leak/discolored ceiling, scrape popcorn. 
Get my 'office' set up and the kids desks and computer area set up and the kids 'bedroom' out of the den!
Can't say I have too many complaints about this, its big, roomy- I think its going to make me want to cook more just because of the counter space!
Kids Bedrooms....
Some wood flooring already laid in my son's room...and my daughters room is already painted....The kids have enjoyed looking at decorating idea's and planning out their rooms!
Master Bedroom- no picture but the same- flooring, paint- fix tile in the bathroom, leak in the shower, leak in the master closet.

Picture speaks for itself- needs a lot of work!!
The vision....a garden. Even with a small yard in the city, it can be done.

And that's the "Cold Weather Cleaning" that is before us...or rather the project, "To Make a House a Home".

Monday, October 17, 2011

Weekend Fun is Over

Grandpa, my Dad left this morning, bittersweet, seems the trips always feel too short. Yesterday we had fun shooting, even the kids got into it and had a great time...after of course making a tent in the back of my car and setting up a doll tea party!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Grandpa, my Dad is visiting...

Grandpa, my dad, is here visiting our family. He came in Wednesday and is leaving Monday. We've already had some fun days. The kids are enjoying him being here. My daughter got some special one on one time with him and of course I miss my parents greatly since our move.

Both the dogs were all over him when he walked in the door...good thing he loves animals!

The first day we just relaxed, the second day we took him to the lake....

Yesterday we had a picnic at the river, some shaved ice for a treat and movie night.

Vacations always seems so short, we have today and tomorrow and it will be months again before we see family but we are making the most of the time we do have and enjoying every minute of it!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Fall is Coming...

Another gorgeous weekend as we head into cooler weather. I am ready for fall and winter..
Something about it getting cooler makes me want to cook and bake. I love fires, jackets, boots and warm comforting meals. Ahhh....

A few things we did this weekend and the last week...

Evening walk at the river with the family- hubbie and I walked the dogs, the kiddo's scootered.
Water is so extremely calming. As my daughter said to me "I could sit here and just watch it for hours". I completely agree.

On our walk at the river- the kids collected wonderful rocks that they want to paint as well as found a birds nest....

I baked a Lemon coffee cake. I'm a coffee fanatic and without any brown sugar in the house (I wanted the Cinnamon one) I decided on Lemon. The home made frosting was delish! And the cake with a few tweaks will be awesome too...great flavor but a little dry and lacking something..

I also received a recipe from my mother for her holiday chile reano casserole. I haven't eaten it in years and have never made it. It was a bit spicy for the children but hubbie and I ate it and the leftovers for lunch for several days in a row! YUMM.
Two kinds of cheese, whole green chilies, tomatoes, olives, onion and a little egg and milk mixture to top it off...bake it and we made beans and spanish rice to go on the side with warm tortillas!

Missing our chickens dearly as I realize just how many eggs we really use!! Breakfast, lunch, dinner- egg salad sandwiches- positive thoughts about the future that we will have laying hens again!

My daughter took on a sewing project of a doll night gown with matching pillow and blanket. She worked on the pillow yesterday and is planning on the blanket today and I'm going to help with the gown.

I've been making a small list of things I'd like to do:

** Can fruit and make jam             (Waiting for a bulk offering of fruit from our co-op)

** Make home made laundry detergent       (Next time I need it I'm going to make it)

** Do NOT buy any more paper towels/napkins- go cloth!       (CHECK) :)

I also found some great recipes I want to try-

Home made mayo

Breakfast Custard

My mother's birthday is today and my dad is visiting next week. The children and myself are missing them dearly. Holiday's and birthday's are difficult being far away. A phone call isn't the same as a hug and a well wish in person. But it will have to do until our Christmas trip which we are all looking forward to!

Positive, uplifting thoughts today. I am so thankful. God has truly blessed our family. I may want more at times, but I have all I need all the time.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Pop tarts, watermelon, fires and great books

What a wonderful weekend even with some out of the ordinary unexpected events...

The good parts....I am thankful for...

A trip to the Library.

Play day in the warm sunshine at the park hearing my kids laugh and having wonderful conversation with my loving husband.

Kids went to bed early and with no problems, falling fast asleep last night.

Grocery bill that didn't make me faint and we got everything we needed!

Hubbie decided to start a fire in the fireplace last night.  And I had tea while he sipped wine and we both read our books and magazines. Him with Mother Earth News reading a milk and dairy cow article and me with See you in a Hundred Years by Logan Ward. I'm really loving this one. I found the recommendation on a homesteading blog that I came across, read the description and picked up that book along with two others that I have just not been able to put down.

Made home made pop tarts with my son this morning while sipping on my coffee and him telling me star wars stories.

Went to check on my daughters 4-H watermelon plant and found that there are 3 babies growing not just the one I had seen previously!

And now- my daughter is talking cooking to me while she wants to make crossaints herself in kitchen.

Hubbie snores as we all have been up for hours now, but that's alright, its nice for each of us to have our me time.

And on our Walmart trip I saw a pressure canner on sale and nearly bought it but I held back....hubbie said that we'd keep our eyes out and buy one soon :) I have a water bath one but really want the other one next can.

Its been a great first weekend of October.