Sunday, January 30, 2011

$50 a week

Hello everyone! Today I was able to get my $50 a week shopping done. I am protesting Whole Foods because of recent news which you should read about when you get the chance.  So today I headed off to New Seasons to find good deals and discounts. I think I did pretty good!

New Season's

$2.40 1 dozen large brown vegetarian fed free range eggs 

FREE (retail $2.99) organic French baguette bread
Used my  Chinook Book coupon. Sweet!

$9.95 fresh pasta made locally. Reduced price of $1.99 a box.  Snagged 5 boxes today!  Put in freezer for dinners later. Packaging can be used for starting seeds so I will save those.  Mini greenhouses!

$4.79 Brown Rice Syrup-looking to replace horrible syrups for pancakes. Will update this later when we use it.

$5.38 per pound red bell peppers. I bought four to take home, cut up, add some onions too, and freeze for later use. Adds so much flavor to anything.

$1.26 Bulk Dried currents to use with oatmeal in the mornings. Kid's do not like raisins so hopefully they like these.

$1.26 bulk organic coconut to add to oatmeal too.

FREE (retail $1.62) feta spinach sausage link. Another Chinook Coupon. Sweet!

$4.99 Organic gallon of milk

$8.97 organic russet potatoes. They sell these in 5lb bags. 15 pounds should get us through a week or two. Cheapest price I found! And its regular price! Just do not like the plastic packaging but can recycle it. Urrr!


Trader Joe's

$3.99 12 pk of recycled toilet paper. Will last us a long time since were doing the Clothe Wipe Challenge

$4.99 Pulled BBQ Pork. Okay okay I don't usually buy this but they had a sample of it and it was so damn yummy.  I promise to recycle all packaging and learn to make it myself. PROMISE!!!

$1.49 Half n Half hormone free  



Side note:The onions in the picture I bought from my neighbor Christy who bought a 50lb box of them for cheap. I snagged those large onions for only $1. 
The two large mason jars you see on the right are full of honey. I also went in on a gallon of honey from Azure Standard with Christy and my friend Tanya. Paid only $10 for it. I paid $30 last month for the same amount but from Whole Foods. I saved a bundle for sure. 

Also pictured is a small mason jar with pickled watermelon rinds. Christy made those and gave me a jar. OH my are they yummy! What a great way to use up the rinds. I just threw mine away last year. Not this year!

Anyways as you can see I did pretty good. Didn't have to buy any produce because I bought some from Azure Standard last week.   I have some produce my friend Theresa gave me that I can use for dinners too. Thanks THERESA!!! My nieghbor Jessica gave me some homemade apple sauce which was yummy. Thanks JESSICA!!  

Thursday, January 27, 2011

2011 Clothe Wipe Challenge

Okay so I am a little late getting this going this year. Last year I heard of people using clothe wipes instead of toilet paper which really intrigued me.  Why you may ask?  I spend a lot of money on toilet paper because there are five females living under one roof. My poor husband! My girls think they need a couple miles of toilet paper just to wipe their tiny butts. So while they were watching a movie I took a old flannel sheet and cut it up into squares. No sewing or anything. Just a rough cut was all that was needed.

Once their movie was over I called them over to me and explained that we would no longer be needing toilet paper to wipe when they go potty. I thought this was going to be a pain in the butt to get across but it wasn't. They wanted to go pee right that second. My oldest daughter who was 11 at the time, was not happy about it.  But she did do it. You will never ever hear about her doing it, talk about it, or even claim to know what I am talking about. But she does it.

And this is why I started my annual  Clothe Wipe Challenge!  I was inspired by Deanna Duke who writes the blog The Crunchy Chicken. She is famous for her awesome challenges.She started the The Clothe Wipe Challenge back in 2007.  My personal favorite challenge of hers is the   Freeze Yer Buns Challenge .   There are many more of them some of which I have yet to try and some I have tried. Sometimes I come through with flying colors and sometimes I fail miserably. Isn't that what a challenge is all about? Instead of doing it for a month I decided to try it out for a year.

You will need:
Heavy cotton fabric
Something to put your fabric squares in

Where to find fabric
-Thrift shops. Remember your just wiping yourself with them so don't get too personal.
-Old sheet in your closet.
-Maybe old fabric you never used
-Maybe you have old flannels in your closet
-Just get creative

It's pretty easy. No rulers or measuring tape needed. Just cut your fabric into squares about  12 inches by 12 inches. You could make them a bit smaller if you want.  Once you cut them just throw them into a small container that will fit on the back of your toilet or on a nearby counter. One sheet should get you at least two dozen squares. That should be enough for a family of 4-5 people.

Once you have used your clothe wipe toss it into the laundry basket. If you use them #1 and #2 I recommend washing each day because they might start to smell or your smaller kids might wander in there and you don't need that. Some people have even kept a small bucket with a lid in their bathroom just for the #2 wipes. This will keep them wet so it's easier for you to wash them. Simply toss the water and wipes into the washer.  Since we use them only for #1 We can go a few days without washing them. I was afraid at first they would smell but they didn't.  An added bonus is that I can just wash mine with the rest of our clothes.  And no we don't smell like pee.
Once washed they will fray slightly. This will stop after a wash or two. I have been using ours for a year now with no problems at all.  Although I will need to make some more because a few have been flushed. My squares a a tad smaller and these did not clog our toilets.

If you don't want to make your own then you can find them at etsy. They have some nice ones here or fancy ones here.  I have yet to see these in any stores though.

Now remember to have fun with this. The whole point of this is to reduce our tree consumption and save some money along the way. If you are having a problem getting your children to use them maybe try finding a fun character sheet ( like Disney etc) at a thrift shop and everyone get's their own. It's more fun that way and I bit they would use them.

Guess how much money I saved last year alone by doing this clothe wipe challenge?  $47.88 
I spend $3.99 for a 12pk of recycled toilet paper from Trader Joe's. It's the cheapest place I can find recycled toilet paper.  Now I know there are some of you who spend way over $5 per 12 pack of toilet paper so your savings will be much higher than mine.

So whose in? Leave a comment below and tell us if its for #1, #2 or both.  DONT BE SHY!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Free ways to save money

If you need to cut back and save some money then today is gonna be your day. There are several things you can do to save some cash quickly. Most are super easy and take little effort. And who doesn't love that? Imagine if you did all these all the time? You could actually save money and it will stay in the bank! Who would of thought? Every single one of these idea's are COMPLETELY FREE!

-Stop buying saran wrap, aluminum foil, zip lock bags, paper lunch bags, and disposable stuff like that. Instead cover food with a plate, use reusable containers, pack lunches in a lunch box and stop being disposable! Good for the earth and good for your wallet.

-Make your own spice combination's. No more spice packets!! It really is super easy and way cheaper. Head on over to here and type in what you need. Example:Taco Seasoning. They rate each recipe as well so make sure you read the ratings.

-Make your own broth. Learn how to here. You can freeze it for later use as well.  Best part is that you control how much sodium is in it. I leave it out completely. You can do this with any meat with bones.

-Before you make a meal take a look around your home. Look in the freezer for stuff you need to use. Have some shredded zucchini? Use it to make zucchini muffins.  Have some green beans to use up? Toss those in with dinner. Mystery meat? You get the idea. Sometimes I will only use what I have for a week so I can use it all up and it won't get frost bite. Get creative and have fun.

-Stop buying paper products. Example:Paper napkins, paper plates, and paper cups. Use those things in your cabinets called dinner ware. And those metal things you use to pick up food? Yeah eat with those. Need a napkin? Use a kitchen towel.  This will not only save you money but will cut back on your recycling and garbage. Make this a permanent  choice. 


-Stop buying dryer sheets, bleach, and whiteners. You don't really need dryer sheets and yes you will get over the fact that your clothes won't smell like fresh cut flowers. If you really need something in your dryer then make 2 aluminum balls with aluminum foil and toss those in when you put your clothes in the dryer. This should help with static.

-Hang dry your clothes. Have the space in your garage? Maybe your laundry room is big? Just use some string and nails and set yourself up a line. This saves you on your energy bill. 

-Wash all clothes in cold water. HUGE money saver. Rarely do I ever use hot water. 

-Cut your laundry soap in half. Instead of putting (example) 1 cup put in half a cup.  If your clothes are not dirt then just wash with water. Better yet make your own soap and save a ton of money. I show you how easy it is here. Were talking a penny per load people.

-Wear your clothes more than once. If its a sweatshirt, jacket, cardigan, or even a shirt. You can wear them a few times and be just fine. Jeans can be tossed in the dryer for a minute or ironed.  Again saving you on energy, laundry soap, and time.


-The best way you can save on your energy bill is to do the Freeze yur Buns Challenge. Ive been doing this for two years now and turn our thermostat lower each year. Just start wearing your sweaters, hats, thick socks and slippers. Your gonna need them!

-In the morning open up your drapes and let the sun in. This can help warm up your home. In the evening close them to keep out cold air. 

-Air dry your dishes instead of heat drying them. Seems like something little but it does help out.  Especially if you don't have a energy efficient dishwasher.

-Clean your lint trap out once a day to keep air circulation going. More air moving less energy used.

-Unplug appliances when not in use. This should become a habit of yours! Even though they are turned off they still use a tiny bit of energy.

-Keep lights off as long as possible during the day. Instead of turning on the lights how about using up those candles sitting there collecting dust? Yep, this saves on energy.

-Use a crock pot instead of your stove. Uses way less energy. Plus saves you time.

-Use blanket heaters. If you have kids this won't help. But for single people this is a huge energy saver. Why heat your home when your in bed sleeping? Blanket heaters use way less energy.

-Keep throws in your living room. If its gets a bit chilly just snuggle up with your honey and a throw.

-Have your kids run around before bedtime. This way they get all their energy out and will be nice and hot. Less fussy when they go to bed too. Your welcome!

-If you bathe daily try skipping a day. You will save so much water and energy by just showering every other day. Or if your like me take one when you need it. I can go three days with no shower and be fine. And no I don't smell. lol

-Cut your bath/shower time in half.  Less energy people!

-Try out my 2010 Clothe Wipe Challenge. This will save you a ton of money if you have kids. Been doing this for almost a year now and I haven't looked back since. I am still only doing #1 but maybe one day my girls will be open to do #2.

-Use towels more than once. Maybe write names on tags so each person has their own towel. Think about it, your only drying off your clean body. Do you really need to wash it after every use? Less washing, less energy, less soap and less hassle.

-If its yellow let it mellow. Basically if you go #1 let it chill out until someone else needs to go potty. Only flush when you go #2. This will cut back on your water bill. 


-Stop buying anything new. Let friends and family know you are on the hunt for clothes for you or the kids. Let them know you will take anything free from anybody. I get so many free clothes and shoes from people that I rarely ever have to actually buy anything.  Be sure to return the favor.  If I do buy anything its usually from a thrift shop.  Obviously you will need to buy undergarments for the family but you can also save money by handing down them to siblings. I have 4 daughters so everything gets handed down to each other.

-Don't buy dirt, start a compost.

-Don't buy plants just tell friends and family you will take any plants from anyone.  I give plants to my neighbor and she gives me some of hers. We share seeds as well. Anything we give away we always tell each other first. Someone can always use anything.

-Accept free food. I have a friend who gets organic produce delivered to her home. Whatever she cannot use up or doesn't like, she gives to me. We eat pretty much anything so she just lets me know when to come pick it up. Theresa you have saved me some cash so a BIG THANK YOU TO YOU!  Just again tell friend and family that you will take any food anyone doesn't want.  And be sure to return the favor.

-Stop going out to eat.  Holy cow can this save you a ton of money! Instead of going out to eat just stay at home and make it yourself. Wanna spice it up? Maybe have a indoor picnic. Blanket, drinks and all.

-Don't drive unless you have to.  Gas prices are sky high so try to bike, jog or walk anywhere within a mile of your home. You would be amazed how much this saves you. Plus you get exercise. Remember exercise? It's not just a resolution. Its healthy for you and the earth.

-STAY HOME. Yes this is a simple one but its effective. Don't have the money to spend? If you don't go anywhere you won't spend any money. Well that and hide your laptop or computer. Better yet put your credit cards in water and freeze them. That should stop the spending.

-Trade work for product. Example:My husbands friend needed truck work. We needed fire wood. We traded wood for truck work. No one spent a dime. LOVELY! This can be used in any form.  Work for food, babysitting for food, etc. Get creative and barter.

-Trade daycare with friends or relatives.  This way no one pays anyone. This alone saves us so much money. Be sure to return the favor always.

-Turn off your cable. We did this to get ready for when we moved and then never turned it back on. Saves us $50 a month. Sweet deal! Now days there are so many channels on regular tv.

-Don't rent movies or do online rentals (netflix). You can find many movies online for free. Same for some of your favorite cable shows.

-Get a library card. You can check out movies, music, books, etc. And its all FREE!

Okay so I should of saved you a ton of money with all these awesome idea's. If you implement them into your everyday life, just imagine how much money you will save over a year or lifetime? And your welcome!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Spring dreams

Hello everyone! What a beautiful day. Wait for wasn't raining here in Oregon. Can you believe it?  I was walking through my property and thinking of everything I was going to do to it. This year is my big planning year. Last year we were ridding ourself of toxic things in the yard, building the retaining wall and replaced 150 feet of back fence. And you better believe we recycled everything we could and saved all the wood for kindling. 
This is in side my new green house. My husband built a foundation for it and it's used for storage while not in use for gardening.  Everything but the two wheel barrels & tomato cages were from my grandmother's house. I will be putting all of it to use this year.  

This is my garden space.  I have a small retaining wall to the left that maybe or maybe not my raspberries survived the winter. Also have a snowball tree (don't know the name of it) that i'm hoping survived. My husband built that cute green fence when we first moved in to keep the dog out. My hammock will be moved out of there to make room for lots of flower beds. The garden tables will be moved along my house to the right in the picture. What you cannot see is the  3 bin compost system which is right behind the green house. 
 This is my big plan area. I will be hanging cattle fencing from my eaves so my pea's and green beans can grow up them. Should give my bedroom window lots of shade which we really need. The sun beats down on this side of my house all summer long. I can now open up my window and let the cool air in. Think I will put my hammock here too.
 This is the back corner of my property. It's also the beginning part of our retaining wall. We had to cut that tree half way down last year because we were afraid it would fall on our neighbors property. We decided to keep it so our girls can have some shade. They love taking wood scraps and making forts up in that area. 
 I love this little area.  What you see are lemon balm and peppermint plants that I cut down last fall.  They soon will start to grow really tall. I pick the leaves, dehydrate them and use them for tea. This year I plan on growing lettuce in front of them and maybe something behind them. Utilize my space as much as possible.
 Light green bin is for recycling,  red bin is for recycling glass, dark green bin is for yard debris, brown bin is the garbage bin and the black bin is my compost.  We run a tight ship here. Reduce our recycling by not buying any packaging, compost everything possible, and throw away very little. We also share our bins with our neighbor Christy.  Basically these bins are for 10 people. Great way to save some money.
And this is my lovely little bird I found at Goodwill. It catches water in it's mouth and the plant can live with less watering by me.  Come on how adorable is it? 

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Homemade Goodness "Tortilla Soup"

Anytime I have tortilla chips of any sort that go stale, this soup is what we have for dinner. You can add or subtract anything you like to this. Super yummy and a favorite in my home.

Tortilla Soup

1/2 lb of Organic Ground Beef (Or any meat you want)
1 28 oz can of Organic Crushed Tomatoes
28 oz of water
1/2 cup Organic onion (any type)
2 tbsp Organic Chili Powder
1 tbsp Organic Cumin
1 tsp Salt
1 Organic Garlic Clove Minced (or 1/4 tsp dried garlic)
1 1/2 cups of Organic beans (I had frozen kidney beans I had made& froze)
Stale Tortilla Chips
Optional:Sour Cream, Tomatoes, chives, or olives. Use what you have on hand.

Toss the ground beef and onions into the pot. Saute on medium heat till done cooking.

 Take your can of tomatoes and add it to the meat mixture. Take that can , fill it with water and add it to the mixture. While it comes to a boil get your spices ready and your garlic minced.  
Once boiling add your beans, spices and garlic. Since I used frozen kidney beans I had to wait till it boiled. 
Next add your corn and optional items. These usually don't need long to cook so I wait till the very end to add them. 
Bring back up to a boil then turn the heat down on low and put a lid on it. I usually will toss in a handful of crushed tortilla chips into it as well just so the flavor of tortilla's are in the soup. Some people don't like the crunchy texture in their soup but I do! 
Now this is the end result. Yummy! Crunch up some tortilla chips, add a dollop of sour cream, maybe add a tad of salsa and you have the best chunky soup ever. Sooooo good!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Voodoo lady and the dilapidated donkey

I did a bad thing. A very very bad thing. I went to Goodwill Outlet not once but twice. And then I went to a regular Goodwill two days later! I just might have a problem.....maybe. Okay its confirmed. But but (finger raised in the sky) I found some good stuff!

Okay now come on! Just look at this beauty. I have been drooling over heavy planter pots for two years now but just cannot spend that kind of money on them. I snagged this beauty for $6.99 which is a deal because brand new these things are $40 or more. This thing weighs about 25 pounds and yes I dragged it around till I finally resorted to getting a shopping cart. I'm in love with this.
Nothing drives my husband more insane than looking at bread on the counter in the kitchen. He hides any bread product and then I find it a week later all moldy. Urr! This was $4.99 but since it was a red tag it was only $2.49. Whahoo! My husband is happy now.

I squealed inside my head when I saw this on the shelf. I grabbed it and hugged it. I swear I did. It was only $3.99 and for some reason I justified it even though I really didn't have the money to buy it. I didn't care.  I wanted it. I mean just look at it. Smile on my face....
Look how earthy this is. Rustic letters and beautiful colors. I could die right now. Seriously. Sigh...
And now its at home with all its other friends.  Perfect size to hold one pound of echinacea. And when I washed this and went to put this away I noticed something. You might want to sit down for this. Well at least I needed to. It says "Nancy 78" on the bottom. MY NAME!! Now I was born in 77 so if anyone asks you, yes I made this when I was one. Yep, i'm that good. I have an obsession with buying herbs now so just call me the voodoo lady. I'm so okay with that. Ive been called much worst.

Other random stuff

Two years ago my neighbor Christy gave me three wooden boxes.  I sat out in my front yard digging up thousands of bulbs which took me a few hours to do.  I decided to put them into these boxes so I could put the boxes anywhere I wanted.  Most the bulbs are tulips and daffodils of many colors. So who knows what colors or flowers will be where. Random is my style.
Another freebie but this time from my neighbor Jessica. A large beautiful green pot which I also planted bulbs into. They are just now popping up through the soil.  Can't wait till they are in full bloom.  The rest of the bulbs I planted in circles under every tree in my back yard and along the garden fence. Should be so pretty.
Last year I snagged this beautiful colored pot for 50 cents from a garage sale.  It was in my garden until my husband broke it while building our fence. I was mad to say the least. Really...really...mad. So instead of throwing it out I planted it half way into the ground hiding the broken area. It's just cute and I had to keep it. 
A small story. My grandmother had a fenced off area right in front of her house that kept us children out of her pretty garden stuff. This donkey was inside. I would stare at it each time we would visit. I wanted to touch it. Act like it was my pet. I just wanted to pet its head. Okay I wanted to take it home. I was lucky enough to take it home this year.  Grandma I promise I will take care of it and love it as much as you did. Miss you grandma.

I saved the best for last. On the side yard of my grandmother's house was a filbert tree. Under the filbert tree was this bird bath filled with hens and chicks.  I loved it. I would touch the hens and chicks all the time wondering why they looked like a cactus but didn't feel like one.  All the grandchildren would hang out under the filbert tree because the adults would kick us out of the house.  There were many hot summers and the only refuge was under the filbert tree. And you better believe we ate filberts till we were sick. When my grandmother was sick and I was allowed to take some things that I wanted, this bird bath was the first thing I grabbed. It's in bad shape but I will fix it to its original glory.
I made my husband be careful not to damage any of the moss.  It's just so beautiful and I want to keep it that way.
Just look at those moss hairs sticking out reaching for the warm sun.  Okay I can die now. 

Monday, January 17, 2011

$50 a week

Hello everyone! Yeah I know its been a few days since I have blogged but I swear I have been super busy.  Now onto my $50 a week!

New Seasons

Fresh pasta mark downs. $1.99 each
I will only allow myself to buy these if they are marked down. At $4.99 regular price they are not in my budget. I simply put them into the freezer for later use. Added bonus is they are a local company to me. Sweet!

Chorizo Sausage on sale $2.99 per pound. 
They only had 3 links left so it must be yummy. Actually they are super spicy but so good. I use one link per meal. Crumble it and make sausage gravy, add it to soups, and so on. Love this frugal tip! Plus its super fresh and they make them in the store. Cant get much fresher than that!

Brown Eggs-20 cents each.
I usually buy them already in the containers but the white eggs are usually less expensive. I love brown eggs so I decided to try buying in bulk this time. Love the color of them:) Vegetarian fed and free range.

Organic Milk gallon. $4.99

Organic green onions 99 cents

Organic Navel Oranges 99 cents per lb
Picked up myself a little under 3 lbs. Perfect for lunches

Total cost plus bag refund $21.35

Whole Foods

Half n half $1.49
This will last me all week for my coffee. New Seasons sells this same exact half n half for $2.79. Way cheaper at Whole Foods.

Organic Rose Hips $12.64 per pound. 
Small bag I bought cost $1.52. Yummy touch to my homemade tea's.

Fair Trade Banana's .69 cents per pound.
Dehydrating these as I type. I buy Fair Trade because they are cheaper. Banana's really do not need to be bought organic because their thick peel protect them from pesticides.  I bought about 3 lbs of them.

Organic Minneola Tangerines 99 cents per pound. Bought only 3 to try them out. 

My bag donation was donated to a charity of choice.

Total $9.59


I have $19.06 left for my trip to Grocery Outlet which I will go soon. I had an extra child at my house and really didn't feel like driving over there with all the kids. 

Saturday and Sunday I went to the Goodwill outlet and bought about 30lbs of clothing total. I really needed a update to my wardrobe and found some amazing things.  Picked up 3 pairs of skinny jeans for my daughter Hailey, a pair of flats for her as well, and lots of shirts for myself. At 89 cents per pound you really cannot beat that price.  Plus don't forget its a form of RECYCLING!

To find your nearest Goodwill Outlet look here.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Free is a good thing

Yesterday I had plans to do a few errands but remembered that i'm broke and decided to stay home.  But then I  heard some news through the family which prompted me to go get some more wood from my grandmothers house.  Those not familiar with my  story here is a quick run down. My grandmother passed away last month and the family has been going through her property, house and stuff to get what they want. My grandmothers house is a 135 year old farmhouse which has no heat and old electricity. Years ago she had help fixing things around her home and they decided that her fireplace was not safe and they pulled it out. Leaving her only the wood stove which was her only source of heat.  Ever since then she has been getting wood delivered so she could heat her home. Well since I am the only one with a fireplace who needs the wood, I have been taking trips out there to get the wood. So yesterday I decided to go out and get some more.
I picked up a few more fun things while I was there.

A galvanized bucket-Found it in her cellar half buried in the dirt floor. I'm thinking she put her potatoes or root vegetables in there to keep good for a long time. This is the second one I have found. Not sure just yet what i'm going to do with them but I couldn't pass them up.

Old round bird cage with no bottom-I think she used this to put over some plants in her garden. I found it in a fenced in garden area by her front door. This area was kid free and we were NEVER allowed to go in there. I snatched that thing so fast! I will use it to put over slug bait so my dog won't try to drink it. I have a big slug problem and it's the only way to get rid of them in my yard.

I had to make the executive choice of blogging or getting free firewood. We have to stay warm so the firewood it was! You may be wondering why we use the fireplace for heat when we have central heating. Well to be honest its cheaper. Winter of 2009 we bought a few truck loads of wood and would have a fire here and there but also used our heat a lot.  It did lower our heating bill a bit.  In 2010 we bought a fan grate for our fireplace because the heat from the fireplace was only staying in our living room. So we put up a curtain in our kitchen doorway and hallway. This kept the heat in our living area which is where we all spent most the time anyways. Why heat our bedrooms when we only sleep there? At night its a different story. We let the fire go out, open up the curtains and turn our thermostat back on to 53 degrees. We have 4 daughters and do not want them to freeze at night. But each morning its turned back off and the curtains shut again.

A couple of months ago we again tried to buy some wood and have it delivered but for some reason the guy never came. One day a friend of my husband needed help with his truck. They truck up a deal for free truck help for free firewood. It wasn't pretty wood but hey it was free. We were lucky enough to do this two times. My husband is very proud when he fills our wood shed. He gets a big grin on his face and says "I did that". Its pretty cute. But we were not able to fill it completely which bugged him.

Now each time I go to my grandmothers house I try to fill my truck with wood. Slowly but surely were getting enough wood to last us these winter months. And my husband gets a huge smile on his face each time we bring more wood home. My children help load the truck and unload the truck. Our dog gets the smaller pieces of bark and proudly runs around waving her tail as if she is helping too. Once in a while she drags around a rather large piece of wood and chews on it. Then when were all done daddy says "You girls did that". I catch him staring at it often. Its funny.

He stares out our kitchen window at the woodshed he built last summer. Filled with wood he worked for, and fencing we salvaged from the fence we had to rebuild last summer. Great kindling because its FREE!
Wood from grandma's house is stacked alone our garage under the roof line so it won't get wet.
And now in the garage so we can just go get some more wood and not have to go outside. He is very proud of our hard work. Cracks me up really. I get my freezer full and feel this same way.

There ya go. Free is a really good thing!

Monday, January 10, 2011

$50 a week

Well today I went out on the hunt for bargains and sorta got off track. All in all it was a good day and I found some pretty good deals. Had my $50 for the week and an extra $8 I found in my wallet. That $8 will be used for things I needed. Here we go!

Grocery Outlet Bargain Market

3 bags 2lbs of Obrien Potatoes $1.29 each
3 bags of hashbrowns $1.49 each
My husband is addicted to these and I cannot make them at home. I really DISLIKE the plastic but it can be recycled I guess. Rarely do I find these at the Grocery Outlet so when I do I buy a bunch.

1 cantelope marked down 49 cents
2 packs of mark down mushrooms 49 cents each
These were mark downs and need to be used soon. They were so cheap I had to get them. Not organic at all but again super cheap.

1 box of organic everything crackers $1.99
Feta Crumble Cheese .99 cents
1 wedge of brie cheese $1.49 (WAY CHEAP!)

Samy Organic Mouse $1.99
Did a review on this company and snagged a mouse this time.

Total: $17.67

New Seasons

Organic gallon of milk $4.99

All natural bratwurst Sausage only $2.99 per lb!!
I picked up 2 lbs (8 links) which can be used for 4 meals. DEAL!

Pink Lady Organic Apples 99 cents per lb!
Picked up a little over 2 lbs

Organic French Fingerlink Potatoes $2.49 per lb
Only picked up 4 of them because I will let them start to grow and plant them in my garden. Yeah!

Organic Lettuce head. $1.49 each
Cashier charged me for cabbage so I was only charged $1.21. Didn't notice till I got home. I saved some $

Organic Garlic 1 clump of cloves 60 cents

Fresh Noodles 1 lb  $3.99
I found one for marked down for only $1.99! Will freeze for later use. Yeah!

Total with 5 cent bag credit: $18.80

NON $50 BUDGET (my extra $8)

Slippery Elm Powder $1.11
Dandelion Root $5.04
Licorice Root $2.73
These will be used for tea. Very good for when your sick. Slippery Elm will be infused into apple cider vinegar and made into cough syrup. I will tell you how that turns out. Slippery Elm is found in many cough syrups and cough drops.

Total:8.88 (oops .88 cents over)

Whole Foods

Red Banana .43 cents
My daughter wants to try them but at $1.49 per lb we only picked up one.

Half n Half $1.49

Eggs vegetarian fed free range 2/$4
Picked up 2 boxes of them. Boxes will be used to grow starts in later next month.

Rainbow Chard $1.49 on sale. What a deal!

Organic Tangerines .99 cents per lb.
Picked up a pound of these

Fair Trade Banana's 69 cents per lb
Picked up a little under 3 lbs of them.

Bag credit was given to a local art studio which Whole Foods will send to them. You can pick from  places and I always tell them to donate it to the one that rarely gets donated to.


GRAND TOTAL: $47.08 

add in my extra stuff and it's $55.96 which is under the $58 which I started with. 

I still have plenty of rice and whole wheat noodles to get by until payday in 2 weeks. I have meat I stocked up on as well and lots of veggies and stuff I froze from my garden. I will of course let you know all about that stuff when I share my food creations with you.
I feel pretty good about what I bought today. Well except for those crappy potatoes in a bag. UURR!

Oh and I also forgot to mention one small thing. ITS MY BIRTHDAY!!! My wonderful husband bought me something I have been drooling over for about 6 months now. Isn't it pretty?

I could of peed myself. My other one crapped out on me after 2 years of use. To be fair I paid $3 for it at a garage sale so it lasted longer than I thought it would.  My neighbor has been letting me use hers (just like this one but with a timer) and its amazing. Thank you Nathan, your the best husband in the world!!! You can snag one of these at Amazon by clicking on the link below.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Homemade Goodness Mac and cheese Salad

I few months ago I went out to lunch at New Season's with my best friend Dulcimer. I just love that place because they have creative food's in their deli area.  I have never been a fan of deli macaroni salad but when I saw this one I had to try it out. Oh my goodness is this so yummy.  When you order food they will put it on a glass plate and give you a paper with the price on it to give the cashier when you go to pay. I was excited to find the ingredients because that meant that I could try to make it myself. Yeah!  At $5.99 a pound I know I can make it myself. Off I went....

Mac and cheese salad

1 cup of sour cream
1/2 cup of mayo
1/4 cup of crumbled feta cheese ( we used blue cheese)
1 minced fresh garlic clove ( I used 1/2 tsp powder had no fresh)
1/2 tsp of salt
1/4 tsp of pepper
1 tbsp of organic milk
1 box of frozen spinach
1/4 cup of chopped shallot (I used regular white onion)
1 tbsp of fresh dill chopped (I used 2 tbsp dried dill)
6-7 cups of whole wheat flour noodles

Serves 6 people plus with extra left overs

Open up your spinach and set it in a strainer inside a larger bowl full of hot water. After about 10 minutes it will be defrosted and look like this. Take the bowl away and let all the water strain out of the spinach. I squished all the water out with my hands. Set aside.
 Next get your 6-7 cups of whole wheat noodles boiling in water. You can do the sauce while the noodles are boiling. Don't you love this glass container? About 8 years ago I bought this container full of really really large noodles for my mom as a Christmas gift. She finally used up the noodles and gave me this back. I can get a few pounds of noodles in it. Love the shape of it.
Next gather up your ingredients.  Chop the onion up into tiny pieces. As you can see I didn't use all organic but my sour cream is hormone free and my milk is organic.  Mayo and cheese were not.
Mix all spices, sour cream, mayo, cheese, milk and onion together until smooth.  Set aside until noodles are done.  Once noodles are done give them a cold bath in the sink.  Either set them in a ice bath or just put the strainer under the faucet with cold water running. Strain and make sure all water is off the noodles.  At this point add your spinach into your wet ingredients.
Plop all the wet stuff into the noodles and mix away.
And here is your end result. Yummy cold mac n cheese salad.

My girls are used to eating mac and cheese hot and were very thrown off by it being cold.  They ended up putting theirs in the microwave and said it was better hot. I prefer it cold. How great would this be during the summer on a picnic?

All in all this cost me maybe $2 to make. Next time I want to use feta cheese and have fresh garlic. Tomorrow is my $50 a week shopping day so I will pick those items up.  Today I basically did nothing exciting.  Caught up on laundry, did dishes, and fun stuff like that. For dinner we used a $25 gift card to Papa Murphy's Pizza to order some pizza's. FREE is always good! Wish the would offer the option of whole wheat but oh well.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Homemade Goodness Frugal Fried Rice

This is a staple in my home. It's different each time I make it because I use what we have on hand and what needs to be cooked before it goes bad. My brother's make this WAY better than I do but only because they do not care about how healthy it is or if it's organic or not. My brothers were raised in Guam and this was a staple in their home. Traditionally its made with white rice and regular soy sauce. Sometimes they add spam and other funky things they think are yummy. Canned meat? Um no thanks. But that's what is readily available in Guam so it's what they use. Anyways feel free to add or take out what you want. I would recommend keeping onion in because it adds a really sweet kick to it. Enjoy!

6 cups of cooked rice ( 3 cups white rice 3 cups of water or 3 cups of brown rice 6 cups of water)
Chopped vegetables your choice(2 celery stocks, 2 carrots, 1/2 a onion is what I used)
Bragg Liquid Aminos or soy sauce of your choice.
Eggs(all I had were 2) vegetarian fed/organic or whats on hand
1/4 lb Nitrate free bacon or what you have on hand.No bacon? Use 2 tbsp of bacon drippings if you saved them from another meal.
Pepper to taste.

 Get your rice cooking or put in your rice cooker.  Cook bacon in a large pot, spoon out the cooked bacon when done and set aside. You only need enough bacon drippings to coat the bottom of the pan. Strain out the rest and keep for another time. Can be left on counter at room temperature. You want your bacon to stay crispy so keep it till everything else is done then add it back in. Crack your eggs and mix in a small bowl with a tsp of liquid aminos. Mix  up and toss in the pan. Takes only a minute to cook then set aside with bacon.
Next add any vegetables you want. Saute till all the way done.  Do not overcook because it taste better when it has a bite to it.  Your rice should be done by now so add it to the vegetables, egg and bacon. Mix well.  

Next add in Bragg liquid aminos. Just add a little at a time tasting it occasionally. It's a personal choice so add as much as you want. I use just enough and my husband pours it on. Liquid aminos has way less sodium and is much healthier than soy sauce. It even has less sodium than reduced sodium soy sauce. Check out all the nutritional benefits here. This is the same company that makes my favorite ACV. Both can be found in almost any stores now. It can also be bought in bulk at Whole Foods.

And here is your end result. Yummy fried rice that's very healthy. It is a very filling dinner so you won't have kids asking for food thirty minutes later. Especially if you used brown rice to make it. This makes enough for all 6 of us to eat for dinner. We usually will have a little bit left which sits on my stove until my husband gets hungry after the kids go to bed. Which is good because i'm too lazy to put it away.

Total cost for this meal is about $$1.50. Theresa gave me the organic carrots and organic celery. Eggs were free and the bacon cost me maybe 50 cents. Rice was about $1 I used only a few tablespoons of liquid aminos. Its a very low cost meal that has tons of flavor and endless ways of making it.

Nothing too exciting to write about from today. I did manage to find a free mattress from a friend Liana.  My best friend Dulcimer and I drove to get it which was fun because I had no kids with me. My friend Liana was happy to have more space in her home and my daughter Hailey was happy to get a new mattress with no springs poking through. I was happy because it was free.  I simply posted a my status on Facebook asking if anyone wanted to get rid of a twin mattress that I would take it. Within 2 hours my friend Liana said she had one. You ask and you may receive!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Homemade Goodness Banana Muffins

Once in a while I go up to my local Albertson's store to see if they have any organic blackened banana's. Sometimes I find them sometimes I don't. Yeah I was lucky tonight! At 38 cents per pound its a deal. So I decided to make some banana muffins for my girls. I found this recipe online and they turned out pretty yummy. I did a double batch which made 2 dozen muffins.You can cater this recipe any way you like. I used organic yogurt because it has less fat than butter. If you don't have organic don't fret just use what you have on hand.

Banana Muffins
3 large organic black ripened banana's
3/4 cup organic sugar
1 vegetarian fed/organic egg
1/3 cup of one of these: organic sour cream, organic yogurt or organic butter
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp of baking powder
1/2 tsp of salt
1 1/2 cups organic unbleached flour      

Pretty simple instructions. Mix all wet ingredients with all dry ingredients.
Cook at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.  Done!

 Albertson's sells their blacked/spotted banana's in bags like these. Look how black these are! Please use black banana's. NO RIPE ONES! They will not have a intense banana flavor is you use ripe ones.
Each night I have a dinner helper. Tonight it was Megan's turn. She refused to smile so I told her I wouldn't put her face in the picture. He he sneaky mom! Please ignore the harvest gold counters and walls. We still have yet to update our kitchen.
Okay so I have to warn you. See these muffins I filled? Don't fill them that much. They will fluff up so much and will be hard to get out of the tin. So please fill them half way.
Megan was trying to show you these large baking cups.  If You Care baking cups are found in many stores now days. I found mine at Whole Foods for only $1.29 a box of 60.  These can be tossed in the compost or be recycled when done with them.  LOVE THIS!

Okay so I might or might not have taken them out to early.....okay I did. Which is why they have a indent in them. My second batch I left in too long and they are a tid bit darker. This is a pattern I have when baking. First batch good, second batch okay, and third batch usually burnt. Poop!
And as you can see by the muffin all over Emma's face, they must have been yummy. No complaints at all except that they wanted more. Win!!! Oh and don't look at my floor in the kitchen. UGLY!!! But I guess I don't have to worry about my girls getting the floor yucky. lol