Sunday, November 29, 2009

Grocery Shopping

We swung by Hannaford today to pick up a few things to see us through the week. Nothing too spectacular by the way of sales this week except they did have clementines for 5.99. My kids could eat a whole crate of those in a day! We also found a whole chicken on sale, a 20lb turkey for $8 and a spiral ham for $12. Plus chicken breast were also on sale for $1.99 a pound. I marinated them and then froze them. This way I can just pop them in the pressure cooker for 7 minutes and we are good to go. Gotta love that pressure cooker! This weeks grocery bill was $195:( Not as good as I would like but we still stayed within our$650 a month budget and I did stock up on some meat - that chicken, turkey and ham are good for at least two weeks worth of meals!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Baking Weekend

Wrap up on baking weekend
I actually got to everything on my list in one day! I am pleased with all I accomplished today. I have cookies and muffins for snacks and lunches this week. We had individual pizzas for lunch and I have 6 more in the freezer. The freezer mash potatoes won't actually even make it to the freezer - I am bringing them to work for a Thanksgiving luncheon. As for the cheese crackers, well they ended up in the garbage can. No one liked them, including me. Oh well, I figured it was worth a shot. I also got a little one one one with the boys too. My youngest helped make the muffins, my middle son helped with the cookies and my eldest helped with the crackers. I even got to use some of my new appliances today - food processor and pressure cooker. I made frozen chicken breasts in the pressure cooker and it only took about 15 minutes! Tomorrow will be the land form project, Christmas crafts and house cleaning!

I have decided to have a baking weekend this weekend. I really have a relatively manageable list of items to make - half of which a already made(with the help of some little boys). I guess it pays to get up at 5am! Here's the list

Chocolate chip cookies - DONE and in freezer
Chocolate chip muffins 1 doz - DONE and in freezer
Pizza dough MADE 9 PIZZA SHELLS - in freezer
Freezer mash potatoes - DONE
Cheese Crackers - DONE

I am also planning on doing some Christmas gift crafts with the boys and my oldest has a land form project we are going to start tomorrow. I am so happy this is a slow weekend - just a field trip with our Tiger Cubs to the library. This has to be the first weekend in awhile that we have not been running around. I should also try and get some housework and laundry done!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


My new command center. I am determined to get a handle on all of the paper, notes, and schoolwork that comes into this house during the school year. Thus my new command center was born. The boys put their agendas, school papers, and homework in their assigned bin when they first get in the house. They also have to put their lunchboxes on the counter, backpack in the basket and hang their coats up on their hooks. This helps contain some of the clutter. After following this system for 2 months now, we are just starting to get it down. My middle soon will unpack without being asked. My oldest son forgets to do with this without a reminder from me but this is also the child who currently has NO coats at home because all THREE of them are sitting in his classroom.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Worms Eat My Garbage!

I have been composting with red worms for over a year now. It is such a simple thing to do and takes a small amount of time and effort, unlike a compost pile. I feed the worms all of our fruit and vegetable scraps, usually once a week.I purchased the worms and a how-to book from here. I have so much rich vermicompost in my two bins that I am planning on putting on my vegetable garden in the spring. Read on to learn how to start your own worm bin!

Setting up your worm bins:
You can basically use any type of plastic bin or make your own out of wood. I choose to use a plastic bin a friend gave me . She had used worms in the past to compost until she got chickens. Now the chickens eat all of the leftover foods. Added some dirt and shredded newspapers to create a layer approximately 6 inches deep. Sprinkle with water to moisten and add your worms!

Get Your Worms:
Red Worms are apparently the best kind to use. I ordered mine online and received them in the regular mail. They were wrapped up in a box and placed in a brown paper bag. I put the entire package in the bins since it all could be composted. I ordered one pound or approximately 1000 red worms. I split my bins after 4-5 months and now have two very full bins.

I usually feed the worms every week or so. I feed them all of our fruit and vegetable scraps. I store the scraps in a canister in the fridge. I bury the scraps in a different spot each time and then cover it with shredded newspaper. I usually don't have a problem with the bins drying out, but sprinkling a small amount of water over the shredded newspaper helps. I keep my bins over an empty container that the excess water can filter into. This vermicompost tea is awesome to use in your gardens.

I store my bins outside out of direct sun until the threat of the first frost. At that point, I transfer the bins into my three season room and cover with an old comforter.

I have only harvested the vermicompost once but found it to be a relatively simple process. Simply dump the entire contains of the bin on newspaper that has been place in direct sunlight. Wait for about an hour. The worms do not like the sunlight and will go to the bottom of the pile. Scoop the top third of the vermicompost and return the remainder to your original bin. Add scraps and shredded newspaper and the worms will begin the process again. Mix the harvested vermicompost into your garden soil. You will most likely lose a few worms along the way but considering the amount you typically start with and the fact the worms begin to reproduce after 6 months, it is nothing to stress about.

I think that my worm bins are pretty cool and I am planning on using them for a Tiger Cub Activity in the near future.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

One Book One County

I finally have decided on a book for vote for the library's one county one book! I blogged about this program here and mentioned what a difficult time I was having choosing one book to vote for. I really enjoyed reading the first four books, Skeletons at the Feast, Hotel at the Corner or Bitter and Sweet, Still Alice, and Strength in What Remains, but wasn't too keen on reading the last book, World Made by Hand. I honestly don't think I really understood what the book was about and wasn't planning on reading it at all. I did find myself at the library about 2 weeks ago and decided to give it a shot. It was so worth it!! I love this book and voted for it without a second thought.

For those of you who haven't heard of the book, it is set in the future after we, Americans, have pretty much destroyed all of our technological advances of the past 2 hundred years. People are forced to live lives similar to the 1800s. It really makes me what to do back to a simpler time but still have some of the technology we have know, like medicine. Anyways, I highly recommend this book and am crossing my fingers that it wins.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Cooking Night

I have been so inspired by these ladies here and here, that I attempted a last minute freezer cooking evening. While the kids watched a movie with my husband, I threw together a few meals for the freezer. I went to Price Chopper last evening for our weekly grocery shopping and picked up about 8 pounds of ground beef. We hadn't had red meat in awhile and it was on sale, so tonight, I made up 2 1/2 dozen meatballs, a meatloaf, and made 10 hamburger patties to freeze. I also make a large batch of chicken noodle soup. The meatballs and meatloaf came from the same recipe, so it was really quick to put together. I actually started the chicken soup the other night, making broth from a leftover chicken I had made on Tuesday. The directions for this are found here. I am crossing my fingers that the soup comes out good, considering I didn't have a recipe for the soup AND I made a lot if it! I chopped up some celery and carrots, threw them in a large pot with leftover chicken, the chicken broth and added water and pasta with a bit of salt and pepper. All in all, I don't think that's too bad considering I worked a full day today before I started this cooking! I still have a few more items I would like to try and cook and freeze this weekend, including the chocolate chip muffins I had planned on making but never got around to on Tuesday.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Target Trip

I make a trip out to target last night and scored some fab deals! Target was having a buy 2 get the third Wii game free plus I came across a Target coupon for $10 off 2 Wii games. Coupons can be found here. Three Wii games for Christmas for the kids came to $75. Nice. I also had a $5 off a lego set and bought a small one for a stocking stuffer for .99c. Target was also having a sale on some Kellogg's cereals - buy 3 get the 4th free. The cereals were 2.66 each. I had 3 Target $1.00 coupons plus a $1 off 3 Kellogg's cereal coupon. They ended up costing me about 1 a box! Another great find!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Baking Day Wrap Up

Alright I have finished my baking! I managed to make 2 loaves of strawberry bread, 2 loaves of banana bread, a chicken in the crockpot and scalloped potatoes. I never got to the chocolate chip muffins. I ran out of steam and wanted to spend some time snuggling my sick little boy. I did get to complete one craft project (more on that later) and catch up on laundry. As for the housework, well it will always be there tomorrow!

Baking Day

I am home from work with a sick little boy today so I decided to take advantage of this free time. I am going to try and get caught up with some housework, laundry, crafting and baking! Go here for more info on this freezer cook along. Since this was an unexpected day off and I do not have anything ready to cook meals, I figured getting some snacks/breakfasts done would still be help for me. Here's what I have planned for today:

Strawberry Bread
Banana Bread 2X
Chocolate Chip muffins
Roasted crockpot chicken

I have a lot to do today!!!