Friday, June 26, 2009

Garden Update

This past weekend I spent 1/2 of Thursday and all day Friday getting caught up in the garden. Thursday I tilled the corn and the empty space between the corn and green beans.
And went through the bean rows a couple times. We have mostly grass "weeds" in our garden, so it takes a bit to get it tilled all pretty looking.
Here are the tomato plants and pepper plants. It's kinda hard to see the peppers... they are to the right of the front 2 tomato plants.
Friday the first thing I did was put nitrogen on the corn. Our soil is pretty "blah" to say the least. Not only does the corn need the nitrogen (notice the leaves yellowing), but it also gives it a nice kick in the pants and helps it do really well anyway. To do that I used the hoe to dig a trench down the side of each row (since I have double rows I did one on each side of the double row) and then shoogied the granular nitrogen into the trench. After that I covered it up and watered it to help it get started into the soil.
Then I planted more corn. 1 whole double row and 2 three-quarter length double rows. There were 2 volunteer squash or zucchini plants growing and I didn't want to eliminate them for the corn. If all the corn does well, I hope to have a bumper crop!! Last year we didn't have nearly as much as I wanted, so I'm all gung-ho on it this year.
And of course watered the newly planted corn :) I was a little surprised how dry the dirt was. It has been a bit since it's rained, and it was ALL dry. When I ran the tiller there was a nice cloud of dust kicking up around me.
At the end of the day I spent some time in the beans. I weeded about 3/4 the way down 2 of the rows. I hope to get the rest finished this week. They are starting to bloom, and I killed 2 bugs, too. I didn't notice lots of eggs, but I imagine they are out there. I just hope they don't do too much damage before I notice them and get them sprayed.
In the empty space above the tomatoes and peppers I tilled that all up and planted 1 whole row of squash (yellow straight-neck) and 1 whole row of zucchini. It is probably a bit late to be planting seeds for them, but we have a longer growing season so I'm hoping that we get a nice crop :) I know, it sounds like a lot to me, too, but so far I haven't had a season yet without something getting my squash/zucchini plants. I figure if we have too much I can give it away. I think I would rather plant/get more than not plant as much and not have enough.

Homemade Laundry Soap

Yesterday I did not get everything done on my list, but I did get quite a bit done and was satisfied with that. (I knew the list was pretty long and I probably wouldn't get everything done anyway.)

I did, however, realize when I started my first load of laundry that I needed to make more soap. I used the last scoop on the first load and had to do another load yet. So, I changed my immediate plans a bit and made a batch!

A while ago, Rebbecca asked about my laundry soap, so here it is :) Gayle introduced me to the idea last fall. Buying laundry soap has always been a big thing for me. I think I never realized how much moo-lah mom must've spent on laundry detergent. And she used Tide (because of allergies), so I'm sure she nearly had to take out a loan each time she restocked. 10 kids and a husband that all wallered around in either (or all three) manure, bovines or dirt at least once a day makes for some seriously dirty clothes. There wasn't any such thing as "this is clean enough to wear again". When Daniel and I got married and I had to buy laundry soap, I couldn't believe my eyes how expensive it was. So I tried different inexpensive kinds. I found out which kinds just made bubbles and the clothes were still dirty and still smelled dirty after washing. I eventually settled on a brand that was on the low-end of the "middle class" as far as expensiveness but did the job. Then I started my frugal journey and found out that you can make it homemade!! I read enough blogs and reviews and whatnot to be fairly confident that I could make it and it would clean Daniel's dirty, sweaty, filthy clothes and I would be satisfied with the end results - for pennies!

I don't remember how much the ingredients cost, but I'm fairly certain enough to say that a batch cost less than $5. And it is so easy and quick to make. It takes just a little longer to make than it takes to boil some water. See? Easy :)

You need: Borax, Washing Soda, and Fels Naptha, Ivory or Zate bar soap. Washing Soda is different than baking soda. I have only been able to find it at Kroger. I use the Ivory soap because I have yet to find a store here locally that carries the Fels Naptha.

You also need a 2 gallon bucket with a lid. I use a 1 gallon bucket because that's the size I had on hand - but it only holds 1/2 a batch.

For 1 recipe:
1/3 bar Fels Naptha soap or 1 bar Ivory or Zate soap, grated

Put grated soap in saucepan. Add 6 cups water.
Heat and stir until soap melts.
Add 1/2 cup Washing Soda and 1/2 cup Borax. Stir until dissolved.

Pour 4 cups hot water into 2 gallon bucket.
Add soap mixture and stir.
Add 1 gallon + 6 cups water to bucket and stir.

Stir frequently during the first couple hours to keep it from gelling into one big blob. It should be finished gelling after 24 hours. The finished consistency has been compared to egg noodle soup. It's kinda a slimy, gloppy gel, not a solid gel.

Use 1/2 cup per load of laundry.

Other notes: The soap is a low-sudsing soap so it is ok to use in the High-E washing machines. It also leaves NO scent on the clean laundry. If you like scented laundry you can add 1/2-1 oz of essential oil or fragrance oil of your choice.

Homemade Laundry Soap
1/3 bar Fels Naptha Soap or 1 bar Ivory or Zate soap
1/2 cup Washing Soda
1/2 cup Borax Powder
2 gallon bucket

Grate soap and put in saucepan. Add 6 cups water and heat and stir until soap melts.
Add washing soda and borax; stir until dissolved. Remove from heat.
Pour 4 cups hot water into bucket, add soap mixture and stir.
Add 1 gallon + 6 cups water and stir. Let stand for about 24 hours to gel, stirring frequently the first few hours to keep the gel broken up.

Use 1/2 cup per load of laundry.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

My Goal's For Today:

Since figuring out Kroger's tax system this morning, I feel like I can conquer the world!!!

Here's is what I would like to get done today. We shall see if I get around to it all. Perhaps with my boosted, I-can-do-anything power, I will.

Right now I feel a strong urge to curl up and take a nap. Must.keep.going... zzzz. Maybe a teeny, tiny, power nap. Shh.

Yes, what a yummy little nap. Now I feel better. On with the list!

- MAKE LAUNDRY SOAP so I can do the rest of the laundry
-2 loads of laundry washed and hung out
-Containers of old food that I pulled out of the frige on Tuesday emptied and the slop taken out to the garden
-Dust the Living Room & Dining Room
-Sweep all the floors
-Laundry FOLDED and PUT AWAY (this has been getting neglected lately)
-Front yard mowed
-Pull weeds in the garden
-Till the garden
-Plant more corn, plant squash and zucchini
-Clean in our bedroom
-Figure out what to make for supper
-Freeze hamburger that I bought yesterday
-AND spend some time in the Word

I will check back in from time to time to update :) Y'all are my best "accountability partners", so hold me to it!!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Weekly Shopping Trip 6/24

I haven't even figured it all out yet, so I'll be doing that as I go along. (Yesterday when I wrote this line, I had no idea.........)

Kroger & Food Lion:

17 (32oz.) Gatorade - $.58 ea.
Lettuce - $1.45
Gal. Orange Juice - $1.99 (Yippee! New sale!)
2 (1.4?lb.) pkgs. Ground Chuck - $4.56 ($1.5?/lb - I'm too lazy to get up and go look at it)
2 Breakfast Cheese - $.97 ea.
Mustard - $.49
*another* BBQ Sauce - FREE
Shamrock MMmmmilk - FREE (Thank you, MIL's neighbor who keeps giving her old coupon inserts!)
Wacky Mac Pasta - $.59
Beef Hotdogs - $.49
GrillMates Marinade - $.19
Doz. Eggs - $1.29
4 Peaches - $.99 (4th peach went missing at breakfast this a.m. :) )

Shelf (before savings/coupons): $58.64
Spent: $24.52
Saved: $34.12 / 58%

Kroger & Food Lion:

4 Chinet Plates - FREE
Edge Shave Gel - $1.25
40 ct. Hefty Trash Bags - $3.69
Dog Food - FREE
Lightbulb - $3.75

Shelf (before savings/coupons): $27.91
Spent: $9.45
Saved: $18.46 / 66%

Note of caution: Please don't try and figure out the math here. I promise that the item prices won't match the spent/saved stuff. For starters, I applied the bag buy back to the food items (since that's mostly what I bought). Then the cashier scanned in the free dog food coupon for more than the shelf price, and scanned a $1.00 coupon twice (I didn't notice it till I got home). So yeah, it's all mixed up. But, my shelf, spent and saved amounts ARE right. Just pretend like you never pay attention anyway and that this "note" is unnecessary. Thanks :)

And, now, for anyone who is interested in how Kroger figures their taxes, I have it all written out here on a piece of paper. And that piece of paper is going to go under lock and key. It took Daniel and I about 100 hours yesterday and me another 50 hours today to figure it out. It's simple - once you have if figured out. But before that it's just hairy, confusing, mumbo-jumbo.

And now that I have this all polished off and ready to go to press, I'm gonna run spell check real quick, publish this thang, and then go get on with my day. I could not get dressed, eat breakfast, do laundry, scrub the floor, or be super-woman until I got this taken care of. And I think a bird just flew into the window... I heard a loud "clunk". See, even the birds are confused over all this. I need to go tell them I got it all figured out, they don't need to bang their heads up against windows anymore.

Came back to edit. Heh-heh (*evil grin*) I had put the extra $1.00 towards the non-food. Just now I realized that if I put it towards my food I could come in under budget. :D Guess where I put it?? :D

Monday, June 22, 2009

Bloggy Blahs

If you follow my blog, or even come check it out regularly, my guess is that you've been disappointed each time when you find no new post. Sorry :(

I keep feeling like "there nothing exciting to blog about!" so I don't write anything. But I also remind myself what I like about reading other people's blog posts... it's their normal, everyday lives, and it's exciting to me! They might bake bread single week, yet when they blog about it, I'm like "They make bread, too!" and ooo and ahhh over their blog posts :)

This is likely to be a random topic post, so hang in there!

So far we have been gone EVERY weekend this month. And after next weekend (the last weekend for June) we will have accomplished being gone EVERY weekend of the month. Well, maybe not gone-gone, like pack your bags and go spend the night somewhere, but at least gone away from the house to a function or two or three. Come to think of it, we were gone the last weekend in May to a wedding, so till we're done it will be what, 5 weekends that we've not spent here at home. No wonder that the other day when Daniel asked what I wanted to do for July 4th, I said "nothing!!" July 4th even falls on a Saturday, which (fingers crossed) might mean that he gets either Friday or Monday off since they get a work-day holiday for the major holidays that fall on a weekend. He wasn't sure, but it would be so nice to have a couple days together here at home.

The house definitely shows that we've been gone for several weekends. Daniel started an outside project back in May, and it is still very unfinished. The big trashcans are full and have been for a couple weeks, waiting for him to be able to take a trip to the dump (I would do it but I can't lift them up onto the truck).

I have also been super-slacking in the daily to-do list department. Both in making the list and getting the things done on the list. So, last night, before going to bed I made the list for today. Thankfully the away time this past weekend was local, AND I got a nice nap yesterday afternoon (hasn't happened in a while), AND I slept like a rock last night, so I am ready to tackle my list today. One of those things on my list is to make the bed. I told ya, I've been slacking. I won't say how long it's been since I've properly done laundry... but lets just say that Daniel and I have both been getting dressed with clothes pulled from the "clean laundry" pile. :D And "make the bed" means "get the clean sheets out of the pile on the guest bed and put them on the bed".

But I have kept food in our stomachs and the dishes cleaned up in general. The latest big aggravation is the over-abundance of ants that want in my house this year. I do not know how ants, outside the house down in the ground wherever they are in the yard, know - or even find out - that there is an empty ice-cream bowl in the living room. Or how they know that I had pancakes for breakfast Friday morning and the empty, syrupy plate is on the kitchen counter waiting to go in the dishwasher. Now, THOSE ants really bothered me. They were the BIG kind. The small, sugar ants (or the even smaller ones, whatever they are) - the ones after the empty ice cream bowl - don't bother me as much, cause their only concern is to keep methodically plodding along. I still pull out the Terro and offer them a nice, yummy drink at the Terro Pond *evil grin*, but the big ants - *shiver* - they much have built in V-8 engines or something. They cruise around super fast and run and hide. They're the kind that might come take me apart and haul me off in peices while I'm sleeping. I didn't bother with the Terro for them last night when I found them... they met quick demise. There were 4 of them and one managed to escape under the stove, so I'm hoping that he didn't run to tell their friends that they need to come invade my house as payback for squashing 3 of their team members. I think I would surely have ant nightmares again. Yes, I said again. And believe me, ant nightmares are not fun.

And now that you're all caught up on the exciting happenin's around here, I need to go get dressed and get goin'.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Weekly Shopping Trip

I have to admit that I was hoping there wouldn't be any killer deals out there this week so I wouldn't be overly tempted to stock up on something. And there weren't too many - at least not ones that caught my eye. I finally managed to come in under budget (yay!) again.

All from Kroger:
4 gal. OJ - $1.99 ea.
2 cans Pineapple Chunks - FREE
Kroger AP Flour - $1.83
2 BBQ Sauce (yes, I know... MORE) - $.25 ea.
Bread Flour - $2.49
2 A-1 Marinade - $.50 ea.
Kashi Frozen Meal - FREE
Lb. Butter - $2.15
Shamrock MMmmilk - FREE
Breakfast Cheese - $1.28
Stew Beef - $3.52

Shelf Price - $46.68
Spent - $21.30
Saved - $25.38 / 54%

I'm pretty sure this is the last week for the sale on Orange Juice (if I'm reading the shelf tag correctly), so I wanted to get several to go in the freezer. When it's not on sale like this, the cheapest way to have Orange Juice is to buy frozen concentrate for $1.46/can, that only makes 1.75 quarts... so this is really the way to go. Plus this Orange Juice is REALLY good; much, MUCH better than the concentrate (well, if I bought high-end concentrate it might taste really good, but I don't...).

The Kashi frozen meal was free because I'd signed up for a FREE coupon several months ago. It expired the end of this month so I figured I better use it :) And the pineapple was a nice surprise! It wasn't on my Grocery Game list (I'm guessing because it wasn't a low enough sale price plus there were no coupons from Sunday papers for it), but I saw that it was on sale for $1/can. I like pineapple enough that I decided to look through my coupon binder just in case I had a coupon. Lo and behold, I had two $.50 coupons that I'd printed off the internet a while back! (The Grocery Game doesn't do IPQ's) I was tickled pink since the $.50 coupon would double to $1 making the pineapple FREE!!

Here are my non-food purchases:
Food Lion, CVS & Kroger:
4 pkgs. Chinet plates - FREE*
Schick Quattro Titanium Razor - $.19
4 Suave Deodorant - FREE
Clearasil facial cleanser - $1.93
2 dog food - FREE

Shelf Price - $33.82
Spent - $2.70
Saved - $31.12 / 92%

*In all fairness, I did buy coupons for the Chinet plates off of Ebay. *Ahem*, I didn't really buy the coupons, I paid someone for their time to purchase newspapers, cut the coupons and mail them to me. It came out to $.35 per coupon, so technically the paper plates cost $.35 + the store tax.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Misc. Pictures

Here are several pictures that I've wanted to post for the past couple weeks.

At my cousin's wedding last month, Daniel, Lucy, Katie, Luke & I had fun making an attempt to dance dancing. This is the only decent picture I had on my camera. I know there were other pictures taken on other cameras and I hope to get ahold of them someday.

This is Lucy and Daniel dancing.

Last week we had company over for dinner. Serving a scrumptious feast and wanting it to look pretty, too, I made "ice cubes" with lemon & lime wedges and red raspberries to put in the water pitcher. They turned out well and looked very pretty. I did a trial run with one of them to make sure they didn't just crack apart right away and discovered that they flavored the water with a very rind-y taste. Pretty, yes. Tasty... yes, but not in a good way. These would go better in a yummy punch recipe.

We have a boatload of raspberries in the freezer from my mom. I'm not super big on raspberry pie (the seeds get stuck in my teeth something awful), so I haven't used them very much. Last week I wanted to make something that could go in Daniel's lunchbox, so I made a bunch of raspberry tarts :) I used my Pampered Chef "Press'n'Seal" that I bought a couple months ago for the first time. It made it really easy. And the seeds still get stuck in my teeth something awful, but at least it tastes good and I don't have to feel obligated to eat a whole pie before it goes bad :P
Williamsburg... A friend of ours offered us a free weekend at a condo in Williamsburg to use some of her points that were going to expire. We gave her a list of dates that suited us and she made the reservations. 5 minutes after Daniel hung up from talking to her getting the information, a very good friend of ours from out of state called to say that they were going to be in Williamsburg at the same time!! None of us knew of the other's plans, isn't God awesome???
As it all turned out, we both arrived at the same time Friday evening and we hung out together. The next morning, Keith & Abbi, with their two girls, Hannah & Autumn, came to our condo so we could carpool to Colonial Williamsburg to walk around. Hannah noticed Daniel's guitar case and wanted to play his guitar. It was so cute!! She strummed and he made chord shapes so that she was playing Jesus Loves Me.That evening for dinner we went to Cracker Barrel. Hannah wanted to play with the "toys" at Cracker Barrel so Keith & Daniel played checkers with her. It was such a good visit! We don't get to see them often so this was a special, God-given weekend.

Last Sunday on the way home from church I noticed that the moon was especially bright... but it also had a red ring around it!! I don't usually carry my camera with me (and often regret it) but I had it that time so I asked Daniel to pull off the road so I could try and get some pictures. I don't take night pictures much so I had to play around with the shutter speed and whatnot (I need to dig out the instruction manual and read it!!) and was able to get this good one. It's a pretty close copy of what it looked like. The ring was a little bit "redder" than you can see here, but you get the idea. I'd never seen anything like it before and thought it was rather special.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Weekly Grocery Shopping

This week I had a very busy Wednesday and Thursday, preparing the house and meal for the company we had last night. I didn't get this posted right away, but at least I'm still in the same week :P If you read my last post, you'll know why there are no non-edibles in this picture. And also why the end total is quite a bit higher than my regular budget.

Kroger, Food Lion and WalMart:

*5lbs. Vidalia Onions - $2.99
2 gal. Orange Juice - $1.99 ea. (1 for freezer)
*Dry Red Wine - $6.00
*Salad Mix - $1.85 (markdown)
8 ct. Gatorade - $5.00
Country Crock - $.99
*Red Raspberries - $1.98
6 (8oz) cheese (shredded & block) - $.67 ea.
Grapes - $.99/lb
Head Lettuce - $1.45
*Broccoli - $1.00
*Zucchini/Squash - $.99/lb
*Lemon - $.48
*Lime - $.59
*2 Roasts - $8.49
*1 lb. Red Potatoes - $1.49
*Mushrooms - $1.65
*Bacon - $2.50
Eggs - $1.77
1.05 lb. Hot Pepper Cheese - $3.14 ($2.99/lb)
6 Candy Bars - $.22/ea

Shelf Price - $96.27
Spent - $54.70
Saved - $41.57 / 43%

* Things I bought to make the meal for our company last night :) VERY good and well worth it (the food was great and the company well worthy of the meal)! Of course I didn't use everything, I only used 2 of the onions and part of the wine, but those are items I'll use over time and won't have to go buy next time I need them :)

I bought the Hot Pepper Cheese before I realized that the other cheese was on sale and that I could use some coupons to get a super-duper-hot-smokin' deal. But now we are well stocked in the cheese department for a while :) It pays to grab coupons that are hanging around the store even if that item isn't on sale right then! I grabbed the 2% cheese coupons probably a month ago... and didn't feel bad taking several of them. I wouldn't normally buy 2% cheese, but when it's on sale and I can get it for $.67... you betcha I'm gonna get as many as I have coupons for! I did check the shelf tag to make sure I couldn't wait until next week, but the sale ends before I'd be going back to the store so I went ahead and grabbed them this week. Back to the Hot Pepper Cheese... Daniel loves it!! It's not very hot when you eat it, but the after-burn has a pretty decent kick!

I didn't get a picture, but here's the non-food items that I got this week. They will come out of a budget other than the grocery budget.

36ct. Chinet Paper Plates - FREE
2 Lysol Toilet Bowl Cleaner - $.49/ea
1 Lysol All Purpose Spray - $.59
2 Bounty Paper Towels - $.50/ea
12 BIG Roll Charmin Toilet Paper - $4.99
1 Gillette Venus Spa Breeze Razor - FREE

Shelf Price - $32.68
Spent - $8.23
Saved - $24.45 / 75%

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

I'm not MIA

I know it's been several days since my last post, and that one was scheduled to boot. I'm still here! We had a big weekend and Monday was such a good and productive day for me that I never got around to writing a post... though I did read everyone else's blogs :P Yesterday was still a good day but I ran out of time again.

Last night a huuuuuge thunderstorm rolled through. Plenty of lightening and thunder, though none of it happened right over us, we could hear it! We've had a couple in the past months where it lightnings and the thunder cracks simultaneously... the kind that make you wonder if it's the rapture! Even after the bulk of the storm was well past us, every now and then we could hear thunder rumbling... and they were looooong rumbles, like a train going past. It was pretty amazing. We got some good rain out of it - my rain gauge is an ice cream bucket that is on the back steps. It accumulated probably 3-4 inches the last rain, and this morning it looks to have at least another inch in it. I should get a proper rain gauge so I know how much water my garden is getting. I'm just glad that I haven't had to water it this week, and I didn't have to cart water out to our two little trees last evening :)

After the past couple weeks of grocery shopping and going over budget, be it a little or a lot, I was getting in a funk, wondering if a) I'm expecting too much out of $25 or b) I'm letting myself get to loose in what I'm getting.

With summer here, Gatorade is quickly becoming a real need item, and it's not cheap. Sidenote: Yes, the dry powdered mix IS cheaper. However, it makes Daniel sneeze, I guess something in it bothers his allergies, so we quit using it and shell out the $$ for the ready made. While it's cheaper than soft drinks, it's still a big hunk of $ to shell out when there's only $25 to start with.

And then when we feed extra people, either by guests or taking a meal to someone, it's nigh impossible... either before or after the fact. Before if we're out of something and so I have to buy extra to go around, or after when something has been used up and I have to replenish.

We're having 2 couples from our church to dinner tomorrow, and either way I sliced or diced it, I had to buy more _____. We didn't have enough of any one kind of meat in the freezer to feed 3 hungry men and their wives. And... I like to provide a good spread when we have company :)

I was drawing a complete blank on the menu. I wanted something summery, but we didn't have enough beef or chicken to do BBQ for that many people and I wasn't in the mood for pot-pie or casserole. I was looking for something light and simple, but yet super good. I had a lightbulb moment (don't you love those?!) Monday evening and figured it all out. But I will need to buy alot of stuff to make it work. A couple months later and I would have the veggies I want out of my garden, but it certainly helps that almost all the veggies I need for my menu are on sale this week!!!

Anyway, back to the budget topic, I went to Food Lion yesterday and bought just a few things that were on sale that were on the list for this week. More than 1/2 the budget was gone and I still have plenty more that I need to get! (Including toilet paper since we're almost out - and TP is another high $ item.)

Last evening Daniel and I were sitting outside enjoying the beautiful weather that included a nice breeze and I talked to him about it. Here's what we've come up with:

For just the 2 of us, we'll keep the $25 budget - but only use it for food things. Non-food stuff (toiletries, soaps, cleaners, paper stuff) will come out of a separate budget.

When we're feeding more than just the 2 of us (guests or taking someone a meal), it's fine to spend more than the $25.

Whew, that made me feel a lot better :) It's something that I've been hashing around and around and around the last several weeks. I don't spend lotsa $ on non-food, but at the same time for the past several months we've been living off our free toilet paper stash. Since free toilet paper is no more and I'm not ready to make the move to Family Cloth, we'll have to go back to actually paying money to wipe our behinds. Isn't it bizarre? You pay money for food to eat so you can stay alive and what your body doesn't use you have to pay money so you can be clean. Maybe we should just put in a johnny-house and go back to using newspaper and magazines :P We could kill two birds with one stone with our Sunday paper subscription that we only get for the coupons :P I wonder what people did back in the BC and early AD times? Leaves? Cloths? Bidets? Squatty-potties?

Uhh... I just realized that I've completely covered all topics from A-Z in this post. Sorry if it's a random jumble of subjects :P

For now I need to get a few things done and then go finish my shopping for the week.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Visit with Glen

Last week my youngest brother, Glen, was here visiting. We had a great time :) He unloaded the dishwasher every day, helped hang out and get in laundry, we played catch a couple evenings until the bugs got too bad, he mowed our yard, discovered several popped nails on our back steps and pounded them back in, cleaned out the car, helped Daniel put up baseboard, went grocery shopping with me, we went and picked strawberries together, cooked together....

and he had lots of "vacation time". He thoroughly raided our movie stash. While we were in Kroger he found a DVD pack of "18 Original Shows" of the Ninja Turtles, better known as "TMNT". He bought it and brought it home, and I think that by the weekend I could sing the theme song forwards, backwards, upside down and inside out. LOL, I was about to go crazy!

We also played a couple games of Settlers of Catan, and one evening while waiting for supper to finish, Daniel and Glen played cards. Daniel kept beating Glen, so Glen would change the game, and Daniel would still beat him. After losing repeatedly, Glen said he just wasn't going to play cards with Daniel anymore :P

When we played Settlers, Glen and I would have fun arranging our pieces.
Mine:Well into the game.This was the only game I won in this "tournament". A glass of water got bumped and our whole game board was officially baptized so we had to take it apart quickly. I had the most points at the time, so I was declared the winner.

Here are Daniel and Glen playing cards:
We had a good time having him here, and I hope he did, too :)

Friday, June 5, 2009

One More Reason Why I Love Him

Last night after crawling in bed the conversation went like this:

Me: Uggh, your breath stinks.
Daniel: I brushed my teeth!
Did you use toothpaste?
I did this morning.
Why didn't you use toothpaste tonight?
.... cause it tastes funky.
It tastes funky?
Yeah, it tastes funky, I don't really like it.
Huh. It's just mint, you don't like mint toothpaste? What kind do you like?
Uh, I dunno.
What kind did you have growing up? Did you like it?
I don't remember, it was "ok".
Do you want chocolate? (his last dentist visit included getting his teeth cleaned with chocolate flavored toothpaste! GROSS!)
No, that would be like going to the dentist.
Do you want bubble gum flavor?
So you don't know what kind you like, you just know that what we have now tastes funky?

And men think that we women are hard to figure out!! LOL!! Minty toothpaste is minty toothpaste - to me. It's just regular Colgate. The tube before it was some Quixtar stuff that was minty, too. Guess I'll have to get out all the different flavors and kinds of my free toothpaste and see if we can find a brand and flavor that twangs his buds (tastebuds, that is). I'll buy him whatever kind he wants if it means I don't have to kiss dungeon breath.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

This Week's Grocery Store Raid

This is a day late, but I just now got everything in the picture. The broccoli and meat are in "home" packaging for the freezer: 6 boneless/skinless chicken breasts, 6 leg quarters, 6 wings, 1 1/2 cups cooked/chopped chicken, 2 cups broth, 9 pints broccoli.

2 gal. Kroger Orange Juice - $1.99/ea
(1 for now, 1 for in the freezer for after the sale ends so I don't have to pay full price)
71-90 ct. Shrimp - $4.49
1.07 lb. Provolone Cheese - $2.99/lb
2 (36 ct.) Chinet Lunch Plates - FREE
Miracle Whip Light - $1.50
Salad Dressing - $.17
4.77 lb. Broccoli Crowns - $.57/lb
3 fryer chickens - $.69/lb

Shelf Price (before sales/coupons) - $56.67
Spent - $26.15
Saved - $30.52 / 54%

This trip was a little tricky :) I knew I wanted to get the broccoli because it was on sale for $.99/lb. Then I remembered that I had grabbed some coupons off of a display last week that were for $2 off a produce purchase. To use the coupon I had to buy 2 of certain Kraft items. So I looked, and sure enough, they had those Kraft items on sale. I checked, and I did still have a coupon for 1 salad dressing and 1 for the Miracle Whip! Oh joy!! I was able to get all three things for super-rock-bottom prices!

When I got home I cut up and froze the chickens and cooked the bones down overnight. I was able to pick off about another 1 1/2 cups of meat, and then had 2 cups of broth. This evening I cut up and blanched the broccoli and it is in the freezer :) Well, except for what we ate fresh last night and the 1 crown that I cut up to eat fresh this weekend.

It Left Without Me - Again

I swan, it seems like every morning I get up, piddle around a bit, and then the next thing I know, I turn around and see that the wagon already left and I fell off it somewhere along the way.

Maybe I've never gotten on it this week... or maybe I'm just dragging along behind it. I'm not sure which. I've gotten laundry done each day so far, and the dishes, and food made, and little snits of cleaning here and there...

I went grocery shopping TUESDAY and still haven't gotten my shopping post done for this week. I did cut up, cook down an freeze 3 chickens. I have 5 lbs. of broccoli in the frige waiting to be blanched and frozen ... and it's still in there. Funny how that stuff just never does anything on it's own.

I kinda jumped back onto the exercise wagon this week, though. Today's the first day I haven't gone for a walk - and that's 'cause it's drizzling outside. I guess I won't be drying my wash outside today, either.

And I need to get a ton of stuff done today because tomorrow afternoon sometime we're taking off for a much-needed, mini-vacation. (Note to any creeps: Don't even think about it.) I want to make some cookies, pancakes, and whatever else I feel like/have time to make to take along.

But I'm not sure what to make. I'm thinking maybe snickerdoodles. I'm out of oatmeal, I only have about 2 cups of Quick Oats, so Monster Cookies are out even though I have plenty of M&M's. Hey, I have a TON of kisses in the cupboard (chocolate ones, goofus), and TONS of peanut butter - I could make Kiss Cookies! They are fun to make and I love them :P It's a good thing there's a fitness center where we're going. Oooo, I could make English Muffins, too. They would be great for breakfast or sandwiches. I wish I had a good bagel recipe. The one I tried they flopped and were flat discs, though they tasted good.

If you have any great suggestions for vacation food that don't take oatmeal, raisins, or any other staple ingredients that I haven't restocked lately, please leave a comment!

Otherwise, thanks for listening to me while I thought out loud :) That's what bloggy friends do best ;P

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Simple Woman's Daybook

For today, Wednesday June 3, 2009

I am thinking...
about what all I want/need to do today. It's such a pretty day outside!

I am thankful for...
the thunderstorm we got last night. I had the soaker hoses turned on for the beans for about 1 hour last evening and I'm sure the "real" rain boosted the spirits for everything in the garden :) Hopefully for the 2 maple trees that we transplanted last week, too...

From my kitchen...
3 chicken carcasses cooked down overnight and I need to drain off the broth and pick the rest of the meat off. The floor is filthy. I didn't get to it on Monday like I wanted to, and it still has cake crumbs and icing splats from making 2 cakes on Friday.

I am going...
I won't be doing my regular grocery shopping trip today. I went to Food Lion yesterday and spent most of the week's budget. We'll be going to choir practice this evening and I'll probably stop by Kroger on the way home and pick up some Orange Juice. That's about the only thing we'll run out of by next week if I don't get some.

I am reading...
I just finished reading Mistaken Identity, the story about the 2 girls from Taylor University that were in an accident, one was killed and one survived and their identities were mixed up for several weeks.

I am hoping...
that the mole poles that I ordered online come really soon. The moles and voles are tearing my garden to pieces. I'm also hoping that I can get to bed early again tonight and that it becomes a habit and that eventually I feel "ready" to get up when the alarm clock goes off. I'm getting there, it was easier this morning.

I am creating...
Later on today I will be freezing 5 lbs. of broccoli :) Does that count? I also need to figure out a menu plan for the rest of this week, and might as well go ahead and do next week, too. I have SO fallen of the wagon on this and just can't get back into the groove. Any hints or tips for this? I don't want to keep making the "same old, same old" day in and day out. I want something new and exciting, or at least exciting!

I am hearing...
silence. That's one thing I miss about having the AC on is I don't hear the birdies singing every morning like I do when the windows are open. However, the heat and humidity is enough that I'm glad for the AC.

Around the house...
Daniel and Glen got more baseboard put up Memorial Day! That is exciting:) Last night Daniel cleaned off the end of the house where mildew had grown and turned the siding green. Now it's all clean and creamy white again. Yesterday on my walk I picked a couple wild daisies and they are in a vase on my kitchen windowsill. They look so happy and pretty there.

A few plans for the rest of the week...
I might donate blood on Friday! Daniel's work is hosting a blood drive and it's something I've always thought I wanted to do. I want to make some cookies and muffins and possibly find and try a salty snack recipe. Work at eating the rest of the strawberries that Glen and I picked last week, maybe freeze some of them. Daniel asked for a Strawberry Pie, so I might make that today, too.

One of my favorite things...
Fresh-baked bread. I made 3 loaves yesterday afternoon and it was just wonderful. I think 3 loaves is about the max that my KitchenAid mixer can handle, though.

A picture thought...
When it's warm/hot enough outside I like to set my bread dough outside on the porch railing to rise. It works great and I don't have to warm up the oven to do it, and it's faster than it rising on the counter.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Pot Pie Experiment

Last week I made pot pie one day for supper.

My method for making potpie is to take whatever chopped poultry meat I have in the freezer, whatever vegetables I feel like adding (corn, beans, peas, carrots), some cream of mushroom or chicken soup (I prefer chicken), some chicken broth, stir it all together and put on the topping.

My ratios are generally for 1 cup of cooked/chopped meat, I use about 2-3 cups of vegetables and 1 can of cream soup and 1 cup or so of broth (till it "looks right"). Since my brother was here and I needed to make a bigger batch, I was using 2 cups of meat. I had 2 cans of cream of chicken soup and 2 cans of cream of mushroom soup in the cupboard. I needed 2 cans of soup but didn't want to use all of my cream of chicken. I noticed that I also had a couple cans of chicken noodle soup that had been free... hmmm....

I used 1 can of cream of chicken soup and 1 can of chicken noodle soup. It tasted and turned out perfect!! I usually have to add a little salt to the mix, but with the chicken noodle soup (concentrate) it was just right. It was moist but not too runny. I didn't have to find or make broth and you wouldn't know the noodles were in the casserole unless you specifically looked for noodles (and how many people do?).

This might just become my new "recipe" for pot pie.