Saturday, January 31, 2009
Thursday, January 29, 2009
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
Monday, January 26, 2009
- Making my own detergent.
- Working hard, and succeeding, at keeping the food/household budget down.
- a balance on my Starbuck's gift card!
- a rainbow.
- hugs and kisses from my boys
- fastening my belt one notch smaller!
- Homemade muffins made with wheat flour and applesauce.
- Figuring out how to make homemade sweet and sour sauce! (to go with homemade egg rolls!)
- Nursing my sick 13 year old back to health (not happy he's sick...happy it didn't require a dr. appt.)
- Using up the contents of my freezer.
- Dinner in the crock pot!
Life is good, no?
Sunday, January 25, 2009
Friday, January 23, 2009
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
On the menu tonight? Frozen raviolis with Ragu sauce (the 25 cent deal I got a few weeks ago!), caesar salad and garlic bread. Last night we had homemade clam chowder. I use the best recipe...it's so yummy and so easy and so quick! Not to mention frugal since I got the cans of clams at the 99 cent store a while back. 99 cents! That is a bargain for a can of Snow's clams. And I only bought them because they were brand name...I only buy brand names at the discount stores. I made the mistake of buying a can or two of chili sauce at the 99 cent store a year or so ago...some off brand I'd never heard of but I was trying to get over my self and my brand name snootiness...so I bought two cans. They sat on the pantry shelf for quite a while...I never could work up the nerve to open them up and use them. Then one night we're watching the news (actually, my husband was watching and I was sort of kind of listening from the kitchen as usual) and I hear about a chili sauce recall. I peek around the corner just in time to see a picture of the can and the brand name. I ran out to my "pantry" (a shelf in the garage) and would you believe it was the exact same? Yes...they were recalled because they were giving people food poisoning! Thank goodness I never fed it to my family!
I learned a valuable lesson that night...always buy known brands at the discount stores and always check the dates. Always.
Anyway...yeah, clam chowder...brand name...use it up...I get so distracted sometimes!
I figure the meal cost approximately $5 for the four of us, plus there's enough for me to have it for lunch today. There's actually enough for my husband to have some as well but he's not big on leftovers. I made him a nice turkey sandwich instead...because I'm a nice wife. Usually. Most of the time...for the most part.
Monday, January 19, 2009
When I would come across a new blog I'd check the date of the most recent entry. Many of them were only a day or two away...but many were from weeks, even months, back. I know I'm guilty of this with my own blog...not posting for weeks, maybe months, at a time. So why aren't we posting regularly? Why do we disappear for months at a time? Do we not have anything to say? Are we completely silent? I don't think so. Not for me, at least. I always have something to say...it's just not always pretty or helpful or encouraging. Many times it's real...it's ugly...it's sad...it's upsetting. And since it's not "on topic"...it's left unspoken.
This made me sad. It's sad to me that we can't just be ourselves and still be considered interesting...and worthy of spending some time with. Personally, I like to read about women who are like myself...a work in progress, imperfection striving for perfection...and no, it isn't pretty every day. No, the house isn't decorated perfectly. No, I didn't cook the healthiest meal every day. No, I didn't refrain from using that credit card or buying that item I didn't really need. But I'm trying. Every day I am working toward becoming a better person. It's the best I can do. It's all I've got to offer.
I have gone back and forth with trying to figure out a "theme" for my blog...so that it is "successful". But I can't seem to pinpoint who I am or what I represent or what I want to share with anyone who might happen upon this little corner of the internet. I can't seem to narrow it all down into one tidy little title. Or one catchy sub-title. This is life. And it's not one-dimensional. It's huge and it's crazy and it's hard. It's also beautiful and challenging and gratifying. So...I've decided that this blog, successful or not, will be real. The good, the bad and the ugly...
Saturday, January 17, 2009
To celebrate we will go to the movies...his choice. He requested to invite his cousin to come along and then to have a sleep over. We're going to make our own pizzas and then have cake and ice cream...homemade because he likes all things homemade way better than store bought. From jam to muffins to school lunches to birthday cake...he appreciates the goodness of homemade.
Happy Birthday to my sweet second born son...you are a blessing.
Friday, January 16, 2009
Thursday, January 15, 2009
Wednesday, January 14, 2009
I am continuing to feed my family with what I have on hand. Last night it was Sweet and Sour Meatballs. My family really liked it. I thought it was pretty good...but I think it could have been better. Maybe it's the ground beef throwing me off...maybe it would be better with the usual chicken or pork. But it was edible...and tasty...and filling...and I used what I had. Ground beef. (this wasn't on the freezer inventory because it was in a different freezer!) Months back my husband traded one of our friends from church an expensive tool he no longer needed for a half of a side of beef. Our friend raised it himself on his acreage outside of town. This was a good trade....we've been stocked with beef for a long while...and we've still got quite a bit left. Ground beef, steaks, chuck roasts, stew meat...it's great. Our friend even threw in an upright freezer because we didn't have one!
I have to admit that I did go and buy a green pepper. I wasn't going to but the recipe just really sounded better WITH one. So I went and bought one...and I was glad I did. It really added to the asian flavor of the dish. And, I didn't say I wasn't going to buy anything...I'm just not going to buy more meat until I'm out of something. I will use up all of my stores before buying more. And I won't buy more pantry items (inventory still not done...ahem) until I'm out of something there. I will buy staples such as rice and flour and pastas and bread, etc...to add to what I've got to make good meals. I may have to buy bulk flour and sugar, though, since I am going to be making more muffins for the family. Last night we made blueberry muffins from my Williams-Sonoma Muffins cookbook. They are GOOD. The recipe made 20 muffins. I wrapped 10 for the freezer and left 10 out for snacking. My family is liking this whole muffin thing...I'm glad. I am going to begin adding flax and wheat germ to the mix for added health benefits...I haven't decided if I'm going to tell them or not! I probably will...they need to know they can have healthy food that tastes good, too. My sons call me a "health freak"...which I really am not. I drink soda...and we eat occasional fast food...I crave a Hostess cupcake now and then! But I am learning...and I am trying to eliminate bad foods as much as possible. And I tell my kids about bad foods...and ask them to read labels to me when they want to buy a certain snack at the store (it also has to be on sale! I'm tough to shop with!)...I try to make them aware of the unneeded additives. And by doing this, they think I'm a "health freak". And that's fine. My feelings aren't hurt. They can call me whatever they want...we'll see what they call me when they're grown and they begin to care about what's in their food...and in their children's food. It's my job to teach...and that's what I am trying to do.
Tuesday, January 13, 2009
Monday, January 12, 2009
(1) salmon fillet
1/2 bag shrimp
(1) 4 lb. turkey breast (on sale after Thanksgiving!)
(4) smoked ham hocks
(4) chicken half breasts
(2) 1 lb. tubes ground turkey
(3) trout (thanks to Dad)
1 lb. cooked ham
(3) boneless pork chops
1 lb bacon
1 bag ravioli
1 package pitas
(4) roasted green chiles (from the farmer's market)
(2) bags edamame
1/2 bag chopped spinach
1 lb. shredded cheese
1 pack turkey lunchmeat
1 pack salami
2 lbs. butter
(4) packages waffles
(1) roll of dough
(2) packs guacamole (leftover from a party at a friend's...I usually mae my own)
(2) packs peaches in syrup (packaged by me last summer)
sandwich bag of walnuts
sandwich bag of pecans (from our monstrous tree!)
sandwich bag of fresh ginger
(1) bag blueberries Um...yeah. We are NOT starving, that's for sure. Last night I made club sandwiches and frozen fries for dinner...you'd have thought my family died and went to heaven! The only sounds at the table were "mmmm's". And I had everything here but the tomato! I am going to use what I have before I buy anything else. I will only buy what I need to add to the menu...such as fresh veggies, salad stuff, bread and milk, rice and pastas, etc. I've got a pantry shelf in the garage that is overflowing, too. I'll inventory that later today. It's mostly items to turn something else into a dinner...tomatoes, cream soups, stocks, etc. We don't eat a lot of prepared canned foods. I usually make my own soups and chilis and stews. The canned just isn't that good...and it's so full of additives. I can almost taste them. I can definitely taste sweeteners...especially aspartame. That's why I do my best to avoid it. I have the occasional diet soda when visiting friends or whatnot...but I don't choose it. I can also taste aspartame in yogurt. So I don't buy yogurt with fake sugars...I stick with the real thing and just eat it in moderation. Can you believe all of that was in my freezer? I can't. But I'm glad it was! I came across this cool web site...just plug in your ingredients and it gives you a list of recipes you can make using what you've got. Just what I needed.
Sunday, January 11, 2009
(Have you ever witnessed a sunset from above the clouds? I have. I borrowed this photo, and while it is beautiful, it does not do justice to what really takes place above the clouds when the sun goes down. It's the most beautiful thing I've ever seen.)
This scripture has been flashed in front of my face for months now. It started in October sometime...not sure exactly when..but I know it was definitely October because it really hit me in November at our women's retreat. I'd see it somewhere...on a bookmark, a magnet, a greeting card...and think, "Yeah, yeah, that's cute. With God all things are possible. Yeah, yeah...nice." and then move on. So for a couple of weeks before retreat it kept popping up...and I kept dismissing it. Then at retreat I was given a gift. It was a pretty paperweight with a really cool graphic...and...the words, "With God all things are possible." I told the gal who gave it to me that I'd been seeing that scripture everywhere lately...laughed and thanked her...and moved on.
And finally, He got it. It clicked. And I believed Him. I didn't just hear it, I believed it. And there's a difference. I believe that with God, all things ARE possible. ALL things. Not some things. Not a few things. Not certain things. ALL things. If we are in His will and following His lead and doing the things He's got planned for our lives, ALL of those things will be possible with HIM. Thank you, God, for taking such good care of me.
Saturday, January 10, 2009
Friday, January 9, 2009
Thursday, January 8, 2009
Last year at our annual women's retreat I was given scripture by one of our guest speakers...1 Thessalonians 4:11-12, 11 Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your hands, just as we told you, 12so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody.
This didn't "speak" to me at first...as a matter of fact I thought, "What? Me? Be QUIET? I don't think so...she was WAY off the mark."
Regardless,I took the little slip of paper and tucked it into my bible and forgot about it. Until about 6 months later, anyway. By this time it was summer and I had a little garden going. I was sitting on my deck reading my bible when I came across that scripture. Suddenly it made PERFECT sense to me. God was telling me to lead a quiet LIFE, not to be quiet by not speaking. Lead a quiet life...be easy on the earth...be easy on others...lead by example...quiet down, simplify, slow up. Mind my own business and work with my hands...of course! Gardening...canning...taking care of my own. It was a message to move toward that more self-sustaining lifestyle I was desiring...so that we will "not be dependent on anybody".
Yes. It makes perfect sense.
SO, tomorrow we'll be seeing about getting pre-qualified to buy 2.5 acres in the country. It's got a large home, a decent sized shop to run the business out of, a very cool little garden shed/greenhouse and plenty of acres for some small livestock. Should we be able to afford it, this will definitely be the next step in leading a "quiet life".
But didn't I start off shouting about "inspiration"? In researching self sustaining lifestyles and preserving food and raising small farm animals I have run across some amazing (and some quite interesting!) blogs. It wasn't so long ago that everyone raised their own food...even making their own sausages and cheeses and yogurts! We've really only been on this whole "convenience" thing for a short time. Doing it ourselves is not really so far-fetched. And it's better for us on so many levels. Just eliminating all of the additives is reason enough for me. But when you get into it, there's so much more. It's healthier, it's more economical, it's better on the environment...there's a purity about it. While it may seem like more work to some...to me it's seems much more simple. And I'm willing to give it a try.
SO,again, this inspiration I'm talking about...it's in the form of blogs written by women (men, too I'm sure...but mostly women where I'm looking) who are also on the path to simplicity and who are mindful of their spending. The two blogs that are really hitting home with me the past few days are: choosingsimplicity and grocerycartchallenge. At Choosing Simplicity Heather shares with us her journey toward a more self-sustaining life. Not to mention, her love for God is contagious! At Grocery Cart Challenge Gayle documents her efforts to feed a family of six, yes, SIX,on just $60 a week. Wow. She shares her finds, her budget, her recipes (including one for homemade detergent that I'm going to try out once my store bought container runs out) and her thoughts on living a frugal life. There are other inspirations out there...and I'll share more another time. But for now, these two amazing women are giving me so many great ideas that will fit right into my attempt to "lead a quiet life". What's inspiring YOU right now?