Monday, April 30, 2012

April Food Budget $337.14 and salt

I could of made it a few more days but I wanted to take advantage of a kid free day and get some shopping done. So its just going to have to be in my April Food Budget.

New-Dark Chocolate Peanut Spread. I bought this to try out and try to make my own version of it. I will use sunflower seeds instead but will be similar. 

Woot-Found bagels marked down to only one dollar. Woot! All but one will go in the freezer for later use. My kids love bagels for breakfast and I love that its made locally. No I have yet to learn how to make day one day.

Lunch meat-For some reason my husband thinks if we don't have lunch meat in the fridge, then we have no food at all.  He likes this kind of lunch meat and he has taken so much from my green ways that I let him have his favorite.  Gotta give him credit for that.

Salt-Whole Foods didn't have any salt in bulk this time. AARRRGG!! This container I bought was the biggest pain my ass. Tiny tiny tiny (did I say tiny?) tiny hole they give you to pour it out, well it sucks. There is no "pour" going on here.  More like shake the hell out of it. DON'T BUY THIS CONTAINER! And Whole Foods get the salt back in bulk. Ugh!

Total shopping trip-$32.86
Total April Food Budget-$337.14

A Mad Tea-Garden-Party Upcycled

This weekend I found some beautiful pink glass dishes for only $2.00 for the whole set(over 20 pieces).  I also found some vintage hand embroidered table clothe and napkins. The wonderful older lady said they were hers from childhood and only wanted to charge me .25 cents for each.  So in total I spent $4.00 on everything. I snatched them up quick! Perfect vintage tea set for my girls. All these will be in my green house for a spur of the moment tea party.  LOVE!!!

I set up the garden table next to the coop.  Plum tree will give plenty of shade and the gals for plenty of company.  Old table came from my moms which I spray painted blue, one old chair from my grandmother's place and the other was a $1 find at Goodwill.  Whats better than a garden tea party? Nothing!

I would like to encourage everyone to try to buy used before you go spend the money on new stuff. This cute pink glass set would of easily cost me $20 or more if bought new. Sure the set isn't complete but its a tea set for 7 year old twins. All they care about is how cute the set is. And just think about it, no packaging what so ever! Buying second hand is just another form of recycling.

Since it was rather warm out I decided to clean the green house.  I used my hose to wash off as much as the moss I could. I then used a large brush to scrub off the rest. No cleaners needed! Just some good old elbow grease. I not only saved myself money but also I'm keeping chemicals from my garden. 

My snowball tree is getting blooms finally.  Two years ago my neighbor gave me a start and it looks like it's finally happy in its new location. Woot!

Just look at this lovely tulip.  The colors are amazing! My neighbor has these in her yard and I think I might have to add them to mine as well.  LOVE!

This flower is the most amazing thing I have ever seen.  I really is the funkiest flower. I can see this in a fairy tale book. Love love love!

No words. Just look.

The first allium to bloom. Can't wait till they open all the way.

Filled all my feeders so the birds should be eating good. 

We had some circle paving stones laying around for about 2 years now.  My husband decided to finally use them to make a path to the wood shed. He also broke down wood from our fence and cleaned up the general area.  Most the wood you see was free. Friends gave us wood from cutting down a tree, some was from my grandmother's house and some was found.  Little by little we fill this wood shed for free.  Free heat is a good thing. 

So what did you do this weekend? Add in some soccer games and you can see my weekend was super busy and productive.  Cheers!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

April Food Budget $304.28 and I'm bringing home the bacon!

Did you read that honey? I'm bringing home the bacon!!! Let me see I will not buy bacon unless it's the nitrate free kind. And since this stuff isn't cheap I will rarely buy it.  I can get bacon ends and pieces for only $2.99 per pound and do buy that on a regular basis.  Nothing better than bacon drippings! So today I picked up one pound of nitrate free bacon slices for only $4.99 per pound. Since tonight is pretty busy for us (soccer practice/choir concert)  I will be cooking the bacon tomorrow.  Don't tell him!

I also picked up a all natural hot dog. Yes you read that correct "a" meaning one hot dog. They are $5.99 per pound which is why I have not tried them yet.  So today I bought one for $1.75 just to try it out. Sometimes I use a cut up hot dog in our meals to add a yummy sausage type taste to the meal.  Most the time they are not organic but are 100% beef. I really would love to switch to a natural/organic/nitrate free hot dog. 

Another thing I am trying is the Bragg seasonings you see in the picture.  Its full of dried herbs and a great alternative to salt.  I am not a big fan of salt and lately my husband has been wanting to cut back on it. Hopefully this will work out for us. 

One more note-Organic broccoli is only $1.49 per pound.  I will use this for one of our dinners and keep the large stem for broth which I will make on another day.

Total for today is about $29.00
Total for the month of April is $304.28

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

April Food Budget $275.28 & why I love Azure Standard

This my friend is a 25 pound block of roasted no salt sunflower seeds. Since peanuts went up in price, I have converted to sunflower seeds.  We go through lots and lots of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and I did my best to stock up on peanuts when they were regular priced.  They have literally almost doubled in price! Last year peanuts were $50 for a 25 pound bag.  Now they are $80.80.  So I did some research and found that sunflower seeds in Azure standard are only $50.35. They are roasted with no salt. I could of ordered raw and only spent $37.85 but would of had the task of trying to roast them myself. But I will gladly spent the extra money to have them already roasted.

Organic mustard in my local stores is $2.99 for this size bottle.  I paid only $1.75 from Azure Standard.  I pay $3.99 for a 3 pound bag of organic apples in my local stores.  Azure Standard has them for only $3.25. Not a huge savings but hey, its 75 cents staying in my pocket.

Since the sunflower seeds come in plastic I quickly put them into large glass jars.  I keep them in my garage which is cold and dark most the time.  They will last for months in there.  Anytime I need some sun butter I simply get about 2-3 cups of seeds and toss them in the food processor.  I then process them for about 3 minutes and add some peanut oil if they are not blending to a smooth texture.  Then I store the sun butter in a mason jar. Easy peasy!

1lb Home processed sun butter-$2.01
1lb of store bought sun butter-$6.99 and up

You can easily see the savings there. Homemade is always better!

Total for this food-$55.30
Total for the month of April-$275.28

Why do I love Azure Standard?

I am able to afford all natural and organic food on a budget. Plus its FREE to sign up! No membership fee's what so ever! Also they give you information on each item and even information behind the company. 

From the website

Getting Started @ Azure
We specialize in natural, organic, earth-friendly foods and products. We deliver directly to customers, buying clubs and retailers by semi truck and UPS.

What is a "drop" or "drop point"?

The terms “drop” and “drop point” are one and the same. “Drop points” are the places on the delivery routes where deliveries are made.

What's the minimum order for a "drop point"?

For the truck to stop at a particular location, that “drop” must have a total order of at least $550.00*. Any number of people can order as long as each order within the “drop” is at least $50.00**.

How do I find a drop point if my order is more than $50.00 but less than $550.00?

We will be more than happy to find an existing drop for you to join in your area. Please call our Customer Service Department at 541-467-2230 and ask for help finding a drop point near you. Let the Customer Service Representative who answers the phone know you are a new customer and either want to find a drop point, or would like to become a drop point. He or she will guide you through what you need to do next and provide you with more information. You will then need to contact the drop point coordinator, ask to join their “drop” and get their name, address and which route(s) they order on. They will then give you information about when & where to pick up your orders.

What if I already know what drop point I want my order to be delivered to?

If you already know of an existing drop point which you would like your order to be delivered to, please indicate that on your order. Remember that your order must be at least $50.00 to avoid a small order handling fee**.

What if I don't want to order on-line?

You can call us and let one of our Customer Service Representatives know you have an order ready and have found a drop. The Rep will then assign you a customer number and take your first order. (We do not pre-assign customer numbers.)

What if I used to have a customer number but it’s been a long time and I don’t remember it?

If it has been awhile since you ordered from us, and you don’t remember your number, give us a call... we will find your number for you. Please remember, you only need one customer number. That number will work for faxed, phoned, or on- line orders. If you move, your number will go with you. We will be more than happy to find you a new drop contact in your new city/town. We’re eager to help you through any problems you may be having, so feel free to call us or email us at We look forward to providing you the best organic and natural products!
~ All of us at Azure

Make sure to check their specials before you order. They have great deals on produce and don't be afraid to order a large quantity.  I have a friend that will split with me so its no problem for me.  Ask around to friends who also order or just order for the two of you.  You simply cannot pass up $20 for 38 lbs of organic oranges. Hello!!! 

Azure had made their website easier to navigate as well.  Check out their seven fun ways  you can use their website.

Also want to add that Azure not only sells big quantity items.  They also sell smaller sizes! But remember the bigger your quantity the less you pay per pound. Just keep this in mind. 

Last but not least if you live near me (those who know me) and want to order, simply call me or email me. I can give you the route #.  And if you want to go in on a order just let me know.  I'm always willing to split large orders of produce. 

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Shady lookin slugs

Hey you!

Shady looking slug...

 If you step one slimy part of your body in my garden, I promise war!

You hear me?

I promise you that!

Yeah that's what I thought.

Well you asked for it.

Don't say I didn't warn you.

Here are a few great idea's to get rid of slugs.

You can go out in the dark and hunt them down with a flash light if you want. I might make fun of you though. Or give me a tasty beer and I will join you.

Slug eggs are translucent like fish eggs and usually are laid in clusters.  So if you see some remove them.

Buy some cheap beer, get yourself some empty yogurt cups ( individual serving size) and head on out to the garden.  Bury the yogurt cup making sure the surface of the dirt is level with the top of the yogurt cup. Pour the cheap beer (slugs are not picky drinkers) into the yogurt cup and leave.  Next morning go fishing for dead slugs in the beer.  Yes slugs are alcoholics! This beer will need to be replaced ever so often. Slugs actually are attracted to dead slugs.  When the yeast no longer smells, compost the contents and refill with beer.

Another option ( me I know) is copper.  Its like a shocking fence to them! The copper needs to be at least 3 inches wide with no gaps between anywhere because they will sneak in and steal your riches! Or you can attach the copper (with copper nails or copper coated nails) to the top of your garden bed which is what I did. Also make sure no foliage is crossing the copper because the slugs will use it as a bridge.

But whatever you do, stay away from toxic powders, liquids or anything toxic. Especially if you have children or pets.

Now that your packed with lots of ammo, go get'em!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Whole Foods Volunteer Day and April Food Budget $269.92

A couple of months ago I emailed my local Whole Foods store.  I love this store in particular because of the amazing workers.  I'm always amazed how far their customer service skills go. I'm also in love with their organic produce.  Anytime I need anything (especially when my garden isn't going) I head on over to Whole Foods to get it. I also told them to keep me in mind if they need help with volunteering projects. So I was stoked when they replied to me and invited me to help out with their front garden.
So Saturday April 14 2012 we headed up to my favorite Whole Foods store. My 11 year old daughter Hailey loves to be in the garden so she jumped in as well.  We planted just about everything you could imagine.  The great thing about this project is that all the produce they grow in this garden will be donated to the Oregon Food Bank. Whole Foods donation will be distributed through their network of hunger-relief agencies to the tables of hungry families in Oregon and Clark County, Wash.

2 hours later we have a fully functioning garden. I'm not gonna lie, it felt good.  Very very good!  My daughter is excited to watch the garden grow each time we go to Whole Foods.  Thank you Whole Foods for making this day special for my daughter and for donating your space and plants to such a great project.  And a big thank you from me!

I also want to share with you my favorite garden book of all time.  This is the Maritime Northwest Garden Guide and you can find it in any New Season's Market store in Oregon.  It cost $14.95 and is worth every single penny.  Seattle Tilth's best selling Maritime Northwest Garden Guide is the "must-have" resource for Northwest gardeners.  The guide includes a detailed monthly gardening calendar that shows you what's happening in your garden through the seasons and when to plant vegetables, herbs and flowers. 
* Maritime Northwest Climate Zone Map
*Techniques to extend the growing season
*Vegetable, herb and flower variety recommendations
*Month-by-month gardening tips
*Beneficial insect identification
*How to beat common plant diseases organically
*Getting organic outside the garden
*Ideas for gardening with children
*Seed and compost sources

My friend Theresa gave me some more garden goodies.  Green beans, bok choy, kale and some red potatoes.  These will be put to good use so thank you Theresa!!!!

Picked up a few groceries the other day and misplaced my receipts.  I'm obsessed with organic cilantro and parsley right now.  They add such a great fresh flavor to any meal. Organic lemons were on sale for $2.99, navel oranges are .99 cents per lb, and organic cucumbers are .59 cents each.  Little green pack is some mushrooms were trying out.  Raw sunflower seeds, and toasted sunflower seeds will be tested. I also picked up some peanut oil to use for the test. Before I order 25 lbs of sunflower seeds I want to test if I can toast them myself and test to see if I can even make the sunflower butter myself.  The test went great so I ordered 25lbs of the toasted seeds. Peanuts are way too expensive for us so were switching to these.
 In total I think I spent around $28.00

Today I didn't need too  much.  Whole Foods Organic apples bagged end up about $1.25 per lb which is much better than $1.49 per lb or up for unbagged ones.  Organic Navel oranges were only .99 cents per lb at New Seasons.  New Season's also has lettuce only $1.49 each along with .59 cents for cucumbers.  Picked up some linguine noodles that are organic and whole wheat.  I think this will be a nice chance from macaroni noodles.  And only $1.39 a bag its pretty easy on the wallet.  Last but not least I found Seattle's Best coffee for only $4.99 at Grocery Outlet.  Not organic but somewhat of a local company to me.  I happen to love their coffee ever since my last trip to Seattle last year. 

My total for today was $21.94

Grand total for the month of April so far is $269.92

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

April Food Budget $219.98

Just a quick post to add to my April food budget totals.  Were having friends over for dinner tonight so I planned on having a taco buffet sort of thing. They can pick and choose what they want to make. Only needed to get a few things so my food budget for this week was very low.  Woot!

New Seasons
Organic lettuce was 2/$3 which is a great deal.  Organic Roma's only $1.99, organic green onions only .99 cents and ground 10% fat all natural beef only $5 for a pound. Black olives were $1.89 which was cheaper than getting them bulk.  Not bpa free that I could find but all natural with low sodium and no weird add In's.  Normally don't buy these but need them for taco's.
Spent $12.15

Swung by to see if they had any green tag stuff for sale and I'm glad I did.  They have free range vegetarian fed brown egg's $1 for a dozen!!! Will boil up 2 dozen for snacks n such and the other two will be used for the dog and breakfast. The eggs are dated to go bad in a week so I'm sure I will get creative with them.  For a buck you just cannot go wrong. Also picked up some knockwurst dogs for $2.99 which was half price. Hubby & kids love these. Banana's are spotted and only 38 cents per lb. They are much sweeter and my girls will only eat spotted ones. Which saves me money of course!
Spent $14.56 (saved 61% woot!)

April food budget grand total=$219.98
Rock on!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Steps to stop throwing your money away

I wanted to start this post in a few ways but couldn't narrow it down to just one.  So I will be blunt and to the point. Don't be stupid and throw your money away. Before you go sending me hate mail please hear me out.

I get tired of hearing people say how they don't know to save money.  Yet they buy useless products? I just don't get it. So today I want to share with you the many ways to stop buying things and save money. 

It's simple really. Stop buying useless disposable things because your basically throwing your money in the trash.

Kitchen items

1.  Paper towels-Instead use fabric hand towels

2.  Packaged food-buy in bulk. Less packaging means less you pay for the food.  Plus making our own food from scratch is always cheaper and healthier.

3.  Plastic utensils/paper plates-Use your own dishes and utensils. Seriously people this is the easiest one!

4.  Paper napkins-Fabric ones can be washed over and over for years. Don't have $$ to buy new ones? They sell them cheap in thrift stores.  Or better yet just use your fabric hand towels as napkins.

5.  Drinks-no more single serving waters, soda's or juice boxes.  Instead pack your own. Better yet just drink water!

6.  Food Mixes-I'm talking gravy packets, chocolate milk packets, and things like that. Here's a crazy idea, try to make it yourself with a recipe. All you have to do is simply google what your trying to make and try to make it yourself. Think about it people. The product you buy was made by someone so why not make it yourself?

7.  Plastic food bags-This step can be free if you get creative.  Two words people-Mason...wait for it...Jars. But that being said you can find fabric food bags in just about any store now days. One small investment will save you lots of money in the long run. Better yet make your own from scrap fabric and Velcro. Again just google it!

8.  Plastic trash bags-I call these time capsules because once your trash goes into there and you tie it shut, its there forever.  Now days you can find biodegradable ones but why waste the money? Instead I have a small trash can that we don't use any trash bag in. If you recycle everything you can and compost everything you can, there really is no need for a trash bag. Simply take it out often.

9.  Sponge-You use them for a few weeks and then they start getting that funky smell.  Yes you could soak them in bleach but bleach itself is toxic.  Once done with them you throw them away and they may or may not ever break down. Instead use a fabric wash cloth. Either buy one or simply use one you already own.  Once done toss into the laundry.

10.  Cupcake papers-This one alone doesn't save you a ton of money unless you bake a ton.  All savings is better than no savings.  Instead of using cupcake papers try spraying oil in the pan and pouring the batter right in.  Talk about beautiful rustic cupcakes!  Yeah your awesome like that!


1. Toilet paper-This step is for the hard core greenies out there.  Take a old sheet and cut up into squares.  Simply use those instead of toilet paper.  These can be tossed into the washer along with your clothes or separate if your freaked out by it.  We keep them on hand in the bathroom and use them for #1.  My girls use them when they want with no pressure from me.  This has cut down our toilet paper purchases by half. With 5 girls in this house you can just imagine how much we went through.

2.  Liquid hand soap-If your kids are anything like mine then you know how much soap they can go through.  How much do you really need to wash little hands? Apparently half a bottle! Instead I buy only bars of soap and sit them on a soap holder with holes for water to escape. Dry bar means less soap wasted. 

3.  No poo shampoo-You can wash your hair with baking soda and vinegar alone! I swear....again google it.  Having 5 girls in my home there is no way I can get away with this one.  One day I will venture to try it out. 

4.  Shower every other day-We shower when needed only.  I can go 2 days without showering because I don't roll around in the dirt.  This saves you on your water bill, electric bill and you use less shampoo products.  And no we don't smell!

5.  Shaving Cream-STOP BUYING IT! Use a good bar of soap, shampoo or even conditioner.  This is the most useless item you spend your money on.  Not to mention you avoid chemicals leaching into your skin.

6.  Cotton balls/pads-Just use a wash cloth people.  Seriously quit being wasteful.

7.  Bathroom cleaners-Head into your kitchen and grab yourself some baking soda and vinegar.  Yes that's all you need! Again google comes in handy here. There are hundred's of recipes for cleaners made with these ingredients. Stop wasting your money on toxic chemical filled cleaners!

8.  Paper hand towels-Seriously people don't even get me started on that subject. Just use a fabric towel to dry your hands. Just don't buy the paper ones that a "will not name their brand" have made. The single most dumb product I have ever heard was made.

Laundry Room

1.  Quit buying laundry soap and make your own(with my help!).  Or yet again just google it.  Ive been making mine for 4 years now and have saved a ton of cash by this step alone.  One small $5 investment will get your a years worth of laundry soap. 

2.  Fabric softeners/sheets-Crazy thought but you don't need them! They are there just to melt chemical filled fragrances all over your clothes and make you feel like your clothes are clean.  Your laundry soap does that people.  I don't use anything but many people use vinegar instead with good results.  But for the lazy people like me don't use anything at all.  I have 4 daughters so I do a ton of laundry to get done.

3.  Dryers-I'm not saying get rid of them! Just use them only when needed.  How about hanging the clothes on a line? With one small investment of clothes line, you don't need your dyer on sunny days.  Most summers my dryer is unplugged and out of use.  Nothing beats the smell of your clothes when you dry them on the line. For those who cannot have a line there are many different types of clothes racks.  You can find them in thrift shops for cheap. Or ask around to friends/family to borrow theirs.

Other random stupid things

Fire starters-Awesome people know how to start a fire without these. I am happy to report I am one of those people finally.  But if you have a hard time starting a fire then maybe you want to try your hand at making your own.  Start collecting lint, old wax and egg cartons.  Then head on over here to watch a simple how to video on making these.  Ironically I didn't make this video but another awesome Nancy did.

DIY Organic Bug Spray

DIY Cough Syrup

DIY Ketchup

DIY Bread Pudding

DIY Dried Beans

DIY Turkey or chicken broth

Do you see a pattern here? DIY which means do it yourself.  When you do it yourself, you save money for yourself. Not to mention all the nasty chemicals or preservatives.

So what did we learn from all this? Don't be a dummy and throw your money away. Try to make things yourself or do without.  Companies make you think you cannot live without their products.  When you buy their products they win.  So do you want them to be a winner or do you want to be a winner? I say me! Winner!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Beautiful blooms and April Food Budget $225.50

Look who came out to play!! I believe this is a Iceland Poppy. I have many poppy plants but I had no idea they were ready to boom yet.  It was a nice surprise.
I think they are Snowball...crud. I can't remember for the life of me what this is. I just love them!

Really love this plant for all the color it gives.


Tulips mean warm weather will soon be here.  So I welcome you tulips!

My flowering cherry tree is just amazing this year. I love the shape of this tree and how vibrant the white petals are.  The smell drifts into my house too.

A free fountain from my father in law turned into a nice hens and chicks planter.  Its filled out nicely this year and the girls wrote inspiring words on some rocks and sprinkled them in there. 

Last week my husband built this gate for the left side of the house.  I then stained it the best I could. 

Yesterday my husband built the second gate to match on the right side of the house. And then I stained it.  They both turned out so good.  Our last gates just about fell over because they were so old. This would of cost us several hundred dollars if we had someone build them.  In total we spent $250.

Last but not least we come to the April food budget. We have plenty of food so I just needed to get a few things.  Artichokes are 2/$3 so I had to get those. That was a no brainer! Grapes were $1.99 per lb so we will snack on those later.  I'm upset because my half n half went up in price by twenty cents! UURR!!! But it's still cheaper than most so I will stick with it. 

I spent only $32.23 because I used my $5 gift card Whole Foods gave me for volunteering Saturday.  I also rode my bike up to Whole Foods which saved me on gas.  I was able to buy so much because I used my new bike trailer my husband bought me.  No more backpack stuffed with groceries!! My back was very happy. 

In total for April so far=$225.50

Sunday, April 15, 2012

I can see clearly now the rain has gone

Girls should be laying anytime now. Please hurry!

Bleeding heart I planted last year. It was a marked down plant because they stopped flowering. This tip saves you a lot of money on plants.
My grandmother's wild bleeding hearts are so beautiful! Love how tiny and delicate they are.

Tulips are blooming and they make my coop look even more colorful.
My flowering cherry tree is finally blooming.  Mr.Hummingbird is so happy!

My neighbor gave me some old wooden planters so I put bulbs and perennials into them.  There is always something blooming in them. Extra wood makes a good art canvas for my girls.
Another free planter and a wire pot stand which was free from a different neighbor.  Frog was something I picked up from my Grams place.  I love all the color going on here.

My pear tree has blossoms but don't think I will get any fruit this year since I transplanted them last year.  So I'll just enjoy the beauty this year.

The girls were playing outside all day yesterday since it was warm out.  Love these moments.

And then this happens. Why they choose to pose this way? I have no idea.  But its interesting to say the least. 
Staining this fence today and will share some pictures of the garden. Stay tuned....

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

April Food Budget $193.27

Only I could go in a store and come out with 13 pounds of cheese. Let me explain! I found a way to get cheese with no plastic but it cost me $4.99 per pound this way.  I'm okay with that until I find a good deal.  Tillamook Cheese is a local company to me and I grew up taking day trips to visit the factory. Squeaky cheese is the best! Am I right everyone?? This cheese was only $12.95 for five pounds making this $2.59 a pound. Plus it expires next January so it can last a long time.  Best part is it's RBST free.  Local or not that is a must.  This cream cheese however is not local to me but is RBST free.  I buy this because it's the only cheese my kids will eat. Spent $30.88 at Cash N Carry. Cash n Carry is like Costco but no membership.  Businesses love this place because they carry everything you can imagine to run a food business.  From dishes, silverware, food and even cleaning goods.  Good quality products too.  Down side is they don't carry much organic so you have to read your labels!

Franz Bakery is another local company to me.  Just about anyone who grew up in Portland took a field trip to their bakery.  The smell of that place is permanently embedded into my brain.  Remember the bread highway??  They have outlets around Oregon that sell their day old break items for cheap.  This is a huge savings to me. I spent $5 on these 5 bags of bagels (which I haven't even figured out how to make yet). These retail for over $3 each usually. I don't buy boxed cereal usually so my kids eat things like bagels, English muffins or sometimes just bread and butter. I'm addicted to the "everything" bagels. Mmmmmm!

Needed the usual of milk and half n half. Sunshine Dairy is another local company to me and I love all their products. One day I want to take a tour of their building...hint hint Sunshine Dairy!!! I have a reader whose husband works there.  I'm all about supporting local companies especially the ones I LOVE their products.  Papaya's are only 5 for $5 so I snagged a few of them.  Wasn't much fruit on sale so I grabbed another bag of apples for $3.99.  This makes them only $1.25 per pound and that's the best price I could find for organic apples.  My girls will be eating this fruit in their lunches all week.  Total spent at Whole Foods was $14.47

I picked up some deals on organic bell peppers last week and needed to use them up before they went bad.  I usually cut them up the day I buy them but I forgot this time.  So I quickly chopped them up and put them on a cookie sheet and into the freezer they went.  I will always have peppers on hand because they always add such a great fresh flavor to just about any meal.  This saves me money by buying them fresh and freezing them on my own.  Look how beautiful the color is!

So my total for the month of April is $192.27

We have had a few days of sunshine here in Oregon so I took advantage and was able to line dry about 8 loads of laundry.  Woot! Ive also been getting things done around the yard. 

How did you enjoy your sunshine?? 

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

City lady country lady-plants even a city girl can grow

Let's face it, not everyone has a green thumb.  I am included in this group of people.  I grew up in SE Portland Oregon which.  The smell of asphalt on a hot summer brings back memories of my childhood.  We lived in a small apartment and there was no room for a garden of any kind.  So many times we would head out to my grandma's house in Dilly Oregon.  This town is so small that it literally has just a school and one highway running through it.  My grandmother (as many of my readers know) lived in a 100+ year old house and grew a garden each year.  This is where I learned to garden and harvest everything imaginable. Time flew by while playing out in her property, annoying the dogs, feeding the goats, eating wild blackberries, eating way too many tomatoes and watching my grandpa cut wood and stack it.

So as you can see I did get the best of both worlds.  I lived in the city and played in the country. And today my kids get to do the same thing. We call this life our urban farm.  We live in NW Portland now.  I'm one street away from the urban growth line, two blocks away from the city of Hillsboro  and one hour away from the coast.   And let me just say that I am as happy as any person can be. I love my life.

I do understand not everyone is as lucky as I am.  So today I want to help those who cannot have a garden but do have some space to put some plants.  Those who have no planting space can put these plants into pots very easily.  Enjoy!

Monks Hood-Aconitum
This is part of the buttercup family. These come in blue, pink, white, yellow and purple.  The roots of this plant is poisonouse and at one time were used for the tips of arrows to kill. This hardy and perennial would look lovely in any city garden.  I wouldn't use this plant if have small children or pets.  This plant grows 2-4ft tall so I would plant this in the back and smaller items in front of it.  Blooms in late summer.

Bell Flower-Campanula
These plants look like they came straight out of a fairy tale garden.  Would be perfect in any rock garden.  These come in blue, white, purple and pink so will go with just about any color scheme you have.  Most are perennial but some are not and only flower every two years but trust me they are worth the wait.  They are about 6 inches tall but can spread to about 36 inches.These would be perfect to plant in the front and let taller pants grow behind them. 

Bleeding Heart-Dicentra Spectabilis
These beautiful plants bloom a few times each year.  They come in many colors but my personal favorite are the pink ones.  They need moist soil and grow best in shady area's.  Most grow 2-3 feet tall and about 2 feet wide.  They die down in the winter and come back in the spring.  Wild bleeding hearts and much smaller and have purple flowers on them.  Best part is you can find them in any garden store. 

Hens and chicks-Sempervivum Tectorum
These are the easiest plant on the earth to grow. Hen is the main part of the plant and chicks are its offspring.  Colors range from lime green to burgundy and grow anywhere from 1cm to 20 cm across.  Once 3-4 years old they will start flowering.  After flowering the plant will die but the offspring will grow as normal starting the process all over again.  These can be grown just about anywhere.  I was lucky enough to get some from my grandmothers place.  She grew them in a cement birdbath which today is in my front garden for all the world to see.  Don't be afraid to grow these in creative places.  Tree pits, old boots or just plain pots.  These stay pretty all year long.

These come in many varieties.  They will grow anywhere from 4 inches tall to 3-4 feet tall.  Make sure to read the tag carefully.  They come in basic green leaves to green and white variegated leaves.  They are beautiful most the year but in the Fall they die down and come back in the spring.  Once a year they flower purple or white flowers which come through the center of the plant.  I have found out the hard way that chickens love to eat these plants.  Also hail can damage the leaves leaving small holes.  Otherwise its a great plant! 

There are anywhere from 40 to over 200 varieties so take your pick!   Plant these in Spring, Summer or Fall and watch them bloom in the Spring.  I know that when my daffodils bloom that means Spring is very close and the weather will clear soon.  These can be cut and put in a vase with no problem at all.  Once its done blooming you can simply cut the plant down to the surface of the soil and they will come back next spring.  These also do just fine and animals don't eat them.   They might dig them up but they don't like the taste of them.  Chickens also will not eat them.  They also multiply each year so if they are getting to much to handle simply dig up some bulbs and plant them somewhere else.  This makes them very budget friendly.

These are truly the cheapest plants ever.  Buy one plant and you will never have to purchase more.  They come in every shade of yellow, orange and red.  They can be anywhere from 6 inches tall to 4ft tall depending on which variety you choose.  Once the flower had died and the head has turned brown, you can easily pull the head off.  Use those seeds for next year or toss them on the ground to grow more.  They also keep some bugs/insects from your plants which is why produce gardeners love them. They can be grown in the ground or even in pots of any kind.  Best part is they are the cheapest plant you can buy. 

I saved the best for last.  Poppies come in many varieties of size, shape and color.  I recommend picking your favorite poppy by size then color.  These plants die off in the Fall and come back in the Spring.  They also are my favorite to take pictures of.  The flower head trying to emerge from the pod is like watching the birth of the plant. The colors are outstanding and so bright that its hard to get a good picture with the camera.  The plants do not like to be cut and put into a vase so leave them be and enjoy the plant outside.  These are what you call a show stopper. Everyone has to stop and take in their beauty.  My personal favorite is the California poppy which is a bright and beautiful orange. 

All these plants seeds can be found in any garden center. Even better they sell the starts! Right now is the perfect time to plant so head on over to your favorite garden center and get out in the dirt.  Also remember you can plant flowers over bulbs and have a continuous garden giving you plenty of beautiful colors each day.