Showing posts from January, 2010

Garden Planning

Even though most gardens are still sleeping right now it is not too early to start thinking about this year’s garden.If you plan to start any seeds you will want to do this in a bit.I would love to do this myself, but seem to lack the space to make it happen.My hubby had a few ideas for helping me make an area for this, so we will see how it goes this year.
If you have never planted your own starters then you might find my friend Jennie’s article on this very helpful.She wrote this for my newsletter a couple of years ago and I have it on my website HERE.
If you purchase seeds online from the same place then you probably already have received catalogs in the mail.I love looking through them and dreaming.If you have not, then now would be the time to start ordering catalogs and making your seed lists.
I thought it would be nice to have a page of resources on my website that listed garden seed companies. Aside from a few I know, I am sure there are more seed companies out there! I prefer to…

Budget Minded: Homemade Floor Cleaner

Part of my grocery budget includes non food items such as plastic wrap, foil, zip baggies, cat food, and cleaners. So looking for ways to save on some of these items is a help.  I have found that making my own cleaners is quick, easy and a real budget saver.
Here is how I make floor cleaner…
I start with a ½ cup of vinegar…

Add one gallon of water…

A couple drops of essential oil of your choice is optional, but does add a nice scent…

All this plus a little elbow grease equals one clean kitchen floor!

I have more homemade cleaner recipes on my website HERE..

Trim the Budget: Calculating the Cost

After making tonight’s low cost meal I thought I would share how you calculate the cost of food items that are a little trickier to figure out.I am referring to things like pasta, rice, beans, do you determine what a cup of pasta or beans cost?You will need a small scale to do this.Having a scale in the kitchen is very handy.I bought a small postal scale from ebay years ago and have put to good use!
The first thing you need to know is the price you paid for your item and how much it weighs.Let’s use pasta for this example (I had to do this today to calculate how much I spent on my dinner, so it is an easy one for me to share).I bought a 10lb box of whole wheat elbow macaroni from my food co-op Azure Standard.I paid $21.35 for it.The next step is to find out is what 1 cup of dry elbow macaroni weighs.I put it on my scale and it weighed 5.4oz.
There are 16 ounces in one pound so I multiplied 10 pounds by 16 which is 160 ounces in 10 pounds.
Next, I take the price I paid of $21.3…

Updates from the Homestead

Well I think I have enough weddings for awhile!My friend Sarah’s son Aaron was married yesterday. The wedding was beautiful!I am so happy for Aaron and his new wife.. she is just the sweetest nicest young lady.
I was going to be a helper in the kitchen during the reception.The lady in charge of kitchen organization and all the food for the reception got sick that morning with the flu..Sarah called (a bit in a panic) and asked if I could handle that job.. “sure”.. I said..Well..let me tell you.. there were about 140 people there (maybe more) and it was a sit down dinner that we served.I had some helpers in the kitchen to dish up plates and my girls and a couple more girls from Sarah’s church did the serving..but that still left me in the kitchen the whole time.. coffee making, punch making as it ran out, dishes to wash (thankfully the church we were using had a commercial dishwasher that washed a load of dishes in less than 2 minutes..I will have to say one thing..I want one of those.. …

Trim the Budget: The Cost of Healthy Eating

The cost of some very basic items can really vary.I am thinking of things like milk, eggs, butter, cheese, canned tomato products, etc..I buy a lot dairy from Costco, except for my eggs.I buy them from my food co-op Azure Standard.This is where health vs budget comes into play.You ultimately have to make choices in areas that are the most important to you and maintain your grocery budget.If we make compromises to much in the area of food to save money we end up with health issues which could lead to other types of costs and in the end we really have not saved much.Also I feel like the nutritional quality of so much refined food is so bad that in reality even those cheap prices are way too expensive for the bad quality that we are getting.In the end the choice of how much you spend on better quality food and how much you save will be up to you.I think we have to be good stewards of our money.Shopping and spending wisely and living within our means must be a paramount.Sometimes the re…

Happy Birthday to Jacob!!

Yesterday we celebrated my son Jacob’s birthday. Jacob is my 6th child and second boy. He turned 16 years old.The years just move by so quickly and I find it amazing to remember my sweet little baby boy who is now growing up into a wonderful, responsible young man. We are very proud of him! 
Jacob enjoyed a sleep over at our house over the weekend with a couple of his good friends. And yesterday we had pizza and cake and ice cream for his celebration.Richard and Doneza came and so did Grandpa.It was a very enjoyable evening and here are a few pics to share…

Sewing on the Homestead: Make an Easy Table Runner

I have wanted to make a table runner for awhile now and with all of life’s busyness as of late I did not have the time. I looked at stores and on ebay to see if I could buy something and did not really want to pay the prices I was seeing. I knew I had lots of fabric around that I might be able to put something together. I liked the idea of “shopping at home” for my fabric! Something just feels good about being resourceful with what I already have in my hand.

So I had a calm easy going afternoon over the weekend (have not had one of those in awhile! LOL) and I looked through my fabric, found some scraps that would work and came up with a plan. Here is what I made (all seams were ¼ inch):

I had a fat quarter (the green farm fabric) and I cut it to 10 ½ inches wide (and left it 18 inches long).

I had another red fabric that has black outlines of chickens on it. I used this for the boarders. I cut 2 pieces of fabric 4 ½ inches wide and 10 1/2 inches long. And the other 2 I cut 2 ½ inches w…

Low Cost Basic Foods to Lower the Grocery Budget

The best way I know how to reduce the amount of money I spend on groceries and still feed my family healthy meals is to utilize low cost basic foods.Those basic foods are typically beans and grains.
When I plan a meal I think grains and/or beans first, not meat.The grains and beans are full of nutrition and the meat adds flavor to the meal.

Last nights dinner is an example.I made tuna patties.I used brown rice instead of bread crumbs(as I usually do) because I had cooked rice in the frig.On Wednesday night I made a big batch of brown rice.For dinner on Wednesday I combined some leftover meatballs (leftover in the freezer from the wedding) and added cooked rice and homemade bbq sauce with them.I put them in a 9x13 pan and sprinkled with a little bit of cheese and baked this until everything was hot.I served the meal with a salad.
Last night I took about 3 cups of leftover rice and combined this with 4 cans of tuna fish (drained).I added 4 eggs, 1 cup of milk, and about 1 cup of flour.I al…

New Year Goal: Trim the Grocery Budget!

Well now that the wedding is behind me I am on to thinking about my new year goals.One big goal is to cut the grocery budget.I still have 5 children at home and with the rising cost of food I am really refocusing on how to save money on groceries.I am not implanting anything new here..just a major refocus.It is so easy to get distracted by the things of life and end up buying more than I would like, or buying foods that are marginally healthy but still expensive.In order for me to save money I trade my time..I think it is a worthwhile trade!LOL..hubby trades his time for money and I in turn trade my time to be a good steward of that money.
So what are my plans?They included utilizing healthy, low cost basic food items to create some yummy and delicious meals!
Here is what I served for dinner last night and cost breakdown for the meal.I need to update all the prices of my basic ingredients since I did this last.When I updated the cost of my pinto beans I was shocked to see that I was pay…

Laundry Soap Kits are back in stock at Crystal’s Country Store!

I am happy to say that my little country store is restocked with Orange and Lemongrass Laundry Soap Kits.The Tide-like scent will be in stock very soon.Thanks for your patients and understanding!Click HERE for more info!

The Wedding!!!

Wow! What a day!Lots of planning and prep from so many.Details, lists, stress, and more details.. but then the big day comes and it all is worth the effort!  Yesterday my son was married to the most beautiful, sweet woman!I could not imagine a more perfect woman for my son.The wedding was small… a few close friends and family .. but was sooo nice, intimate and beautiful.The reception was at my home after the wedding.I did not get as many pics of the reception as I wanted.. but it was so much fun!I had 30+ people here.We served lots of food…I made lasagna, meatballs in bbq sauce, ceaser salad and Lolot made chicken adobo, noodles, clams and shrimp.I had punch and coffee.My friend Debi came to my house while we were at the wedding and set up the whole buffet.. I really don’t know what I would have done without her.. I had originally planned to come home and set it up myself.. that would have been a real tough job!So I was soooo thankful for her help!There was just so much good fellowshi…