Thursday, August 21, 2014

New Beginnings

Hi, All,

I'm not going to blog here anymore, but I recently started back with a new address.  If you're interested, I'd love for you to join me at....

A Quiet Country Life

It's not terribly different from 'here'.  I just needed a new beginning.  Thanks for your grace and understanding.  :)

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Printmaking

We did some printmaking last week.  Daughter used a piece of a clean meat tray to draw her image.  Her mom forgot to take a picture of that.  Sorry.




There was a lot of vocabulary to learn.  Daughter is using a brayer to create this pretty color on the ink plate.  The ink is water soluble printmaking ink, and now, Daughter knows all those terms and what they mean.



Here, Daughter is transferring ink from the brayer to her image.

Happy Cats?  That's where we volunteer once a month!



She printed her image in four colors.  She made the aqua color from blue and yellow, and the orange color from red and yellow.  Printmaking is a lot of fun, and she did a great job! :)

Monday, March 10, 2014

This Week's Dinner Menu

I've stopped 'planning' breakfast and lunch, because breakfasts are fairly simple things like cereal, oatmeal, toast or eggs, and because lunches are either leftovers from a supper or something fairly simple that we have on hand.  So...here is our dinner plan, along with a to-do list of things I need to make for the week.

beef fajitas with onions and peppers on corn tortillas, salads, cuties
turkey wings buffalo style, baked potatoes, sauteed asparagus with pepper and garlic, pears
eggs over easy, Portuguese sausage, steamed rice, kimchee, green beans, peaches
tuna salad lettuce roll-ups, crackers, carrots and celery with ranch dressing, minneola tangelos
hamburger salad with lettuce, tomato, cheese, onion, mustard, pickles, etc., apples
ham and potato soup with vegetables, fruit salad

I'll be scratch-cooking a lot of the items above.  In addition, I need to make:
popcorn
salsa
bread
something to take to church Sunday morning (I'm thinking pumpkin bread)
some gluten-free experiments

Did you plan meals for the week?

Friday, March 7, 2014

Frugal Accomplishments for the Week



We went to the supermarket to purchase some produce.  I had a coupon from the store that saved me $1 on $4 (or more) spent on fruit.  I really love Minneola tangelos, and they were .99 a pound, so mostly, I got those....and a banana.  The oranges I had picked out put me at about $3.80, so the banana put us over the $4 so we could save the $1.  I also stocked up on plain tortilla chips that were .80 per 10 oz. bag.  Cutie tangerines were available as a free sample, so Daughter and I each had one.

We used the wood stove to supplement our heating and reduce our propane usage.

The regulator valve in the master bath was acting up.  We called the manufacturer and got a replacement part (lifetime warranty, $5 shipping) and Husband replaced it.  We had already figured out the problem, but if we hadn't we could have called the manufacturer, described the problem, and they would have helped us figure it out.  So...if you're not sure, give them a call and see if they will help! :)

A friend and I are trading play dates once a week, so that our daughters can spend some time together and also so that we can do some things we need to do now and then that may not be fun, interesting or appropriate for kids to attend.



Grandma and Grandpa sent a Girls Day box for Daughter.  Girls Day is a special day in Japan when  tea, snacks and your favorite doll come together for a special tea party.  (Yes, this is very much over-simplified, thank you for your grace.)  We enjoyed having a special time to celebrate.  We invited a friend and her doll, and we supplemented with a few other snacks and some fresh fruit, served with lemon-ginger tea and honey.

We combined errands to save trips to town.  Some things were done Sunday on the way home from church, and the rest took place on Wednesday, when I had an appointment in town.

I've been subbing a little at the library, win-win for everyone concerned.  We borrowed movies, books and other media from the library at zero cost.

I made salsa, franks and beans w/rice, king ranch chicken, pork stew w/rice, deviled eggs,  roast turkey,  mashed potatoes, gravy, glazed carrots,  marinated 3-bean salad, strawberry slush and lunchroom cookies.  I prepped lots of fruits and veggies too.  All of the above was gluten-free - woo hoo!




I also made Irish Soda Bread for the first time ever!  It called for buttermilk...which I Mac-Gyvered out of water, milk powder, lemon juice and some past-date-but-still-fine half and half.  It was super good soda bread.  I can't believe I never made it before!  (This was not even remotely gluten-free.)

I continued horse and barn-cat sitting for a neighbor.  She told me it was OK for me to take some of the wasted hay for my bunnies, so I topped off my hay can.

We used some items we had on hand - some extra/scrap carpeting, a table that we've had for nearly 25 years and some carpet-grip backing - to set up a grooming area in the bunny barn.  I need to get the Angoras used to grooming.  I take them out first thing, put them on the carpet piece (traction makes them more comfortable) with a bit of hay and brush them lightly all over.  It's working well so far.

This one sort of snuck up on me.  I was going to buy some of that aerosol whipped cream to put on jello, hot cocoa, etc.  They were out, so I just bought some whipping cream instead.  It is much less costly per ounce.  Better, I was able to use it lots of different ways.  I did whip some for jello, but I also used some in a supper recipe.  The recipe called for half and half, which I didn't have (because I used it in the Irish Soda Bread)...so I used about 2/3 water and the rest whipping cream.  Later in the week, I added a bit of cream to frozen strawberry smoothies too.  Super yum.  We still have lots left, and the use by date is far away.  I think this is a better solution for us, since it's much more versatile.


Lunch at home, with a compendium of dragons.

Dollar Tree had some Nabisco Fruit Cookies - 10.5 oz packages of lemon ones.  I had coupons for .75 off the same cookies, so I was able to purchase them for .25 per package.  This is one of those random lucky moments when I happened to have a coupon that fit with an item they had on the shelf.  They also have the Asian Fish Taco Recipe Starters (Kraft), and I have .55 coupons, (so they would be .45), but they contain wheat.  The cookies can be used for snacks, but I don't really want to cook a dinner that one of us can't have, so I passed on those...though I might pick up one or two to donate to the food pantry.

Most of our laundry was done with homemade laundry soap.  I did one load with a free sample I got the other day - a pod pack?  I don't even remember.  All of it was hung to dry in our basement.

I picked up a small cabinet that fits really well in our dining area.  It was used, and only $10.  I paid for it with funds from selling some things we had that we no longer needed.  Also, this meant I could move a larger cabinet out of our dining area, which left it feeling much more open and spacious.  That cabinet was moved to Daughter's room, where it is probably full of legos.  I'm encouraging her to decide how she uses it, so I have had less input.  She's growing up, and it's time for her to feel more ownership and responsibility for her space.




Daughter started piano lessons this week.  In and of itself, I don't know that it's frugal...I mean, I'm not bartering for the lessons or anything like that, but I do very much like her instructor.  She is incredibly talented and makes the lessons fun.  Her prices are very reasonable I think - $15 per lesson - and we live near her, so we are not driving far for the lessons.  The other frugal things we do make these funds possible, and I am happy we are able to give our daughter this opportunity.

I hope you had a good, happy, frugal week!  I'd love to hear about it, if you feel like leaving a comment. :)

-Laura at TenThingsFarm












Monday, March 3, 2014

This Week's Dinner Menu

I didn't make a specific list for breakfasts, lunches or snacks this week - mostly because we just look in the fridge, see what needs to be used, and then we make it into something.  That said, asparagus was on sale for .98 a pound, and I have about a pound that I plan to roast and have with eggs for breakfast and as a lunch side.  I was also given some quail eggs, which I plan to hard-cook for one morning's breakfast.


Some of our fruits and vegetables (and quail eggs!) for this week.

I'm working several evenings this week, so I need some simple suppers I can either make ahead or make quickly when I get home.  Here's this week's supper plan.

franks and beans w/onions over rice, sliced oranges

king ranch chicken, salad, jello

Asian pork stew over rice, apples

nachos, strawberry smoothies

grilled steak, baked potatoes w/butter and sour cream, steamed broccoli

leftover night

marinated roast turkey, mashed potatoes w/gravy, 3-bean salad, glazed carrots

In addition to the scratch cooking listed above, I'll need to make some salsa, and I'd like to make some of those oatmeal/peanut butter/cocoa 'lunchroom cookies'.  That's the plan!


Sunday dinner this past week - cheese enchiladas, Mexican rice, lettuce, limes and sour cream - yum!

What are you making this week?


Saturday, March 1, 2014

Frugal Accomplishments This Past Week

We had a busy week with lots going on...at least for me.  I have friends who are on-the-go a lot more than I am, and I just don't know how they manage it all.  Anyway, here's a summary of our frugal accomplishments for the week.

We ate meals at home, even on our run-around days, to save money (and time!)

The weather was warmish?  Less cold?  There were days we didn't really need a big fire to keep the house warm, so I tried something a little different.  I shut the vents in all three bedrooms and kept those rooms closed off during the day.  That way, the heat gain we get from sunny windows, cooking, etc. in the main part of the house was more effective at keeping the main rooms warmer.

We turned an old sweater into a kitty bed.  We'll be donating it to a local cat shelter.




We got books and media from the library.  Daughter is currently reading Wesley the Owl.  She says it's the best. book. ever!!

I made popcorn, enchilada sauce, chicken enchilada soup, pico de gallo, salsa, taco salad, taco seasoning, enchiladas, Mexican rice, potato salad, kalua pork and beef stew.  It was a tasty week!  I also made the menu for the coming week, which will be up soon.

We had a free field trip to a falconer's home.  His falcons are currently out of town at a breeding program, but we met one of his hawks.  Sonoma is a female Harris Hawk.  Isn't she beautiful?  Many thanks to Bob of Wings Over Colorado for all the information and education.  It was amazing!






At the store, I did what I do - price match, match sales and coupons, and stock up where it makes sense to.

I sold some household items that we no longer needed - some clothes Daughter outgrew, a couple of kitchen items, etc.  See the cutters below?  I got them in a bag at Goodwill - $2, for two of each size.  I sold one of each size for....$2, so mine were free! :)



I did some subbing at the library.  Every little bit helps.

I answered an ad for rabbits, because I need some for a series of library programs.  We are not raising rabbits for meat anymore, so I knew I'd be getting some when the time came around.  I found a person who was willing to 'rent' the rabbits to me, which is wonderful.  It's less costly for me, and he will get back very tame rabbits that have been fed for several weeks.  Photos soon!

How was your week?  Did you keep things frugal?

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Connect.

'Connect' is my word for the year.  It's a touchstone of sorts, when I am trying to set goals, decide what to do or how to spend my time.  It's been a good word so far.




I started this book last year and lost momentum around the holidays.  I've decided to re-start it and complete it this time.  If you want to feel more connected with God, I would suggest this book - it is amazing.

I've also got this one that I think will help me with practical, down-to-earth ideas about how to connect with others in a healthy, positive way.



It has been good for me to think about what it means to connect.  I've been more honest with friends and it's made it a lot easier to say no to things that would take time away from what's important for me and for my family.

I've paid better attention to how I feel as well.  It has led me to walk more regularly and drink more water.  I'm making food choices that are a little better, and I've lost a few pounds.

To be honest, I've cried a lot.  That is starting to let up now.  I feel braver, more sure of what matters, and less uncertain.  I also feel like I'm just getting started!

Yes.  Connect is a good word for me right now.  What is keeping you busy these days?



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