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Archive for August, 2008

One more dog down

September 1st, 2008 at 12:26 am

One more dog found a new home today. He went to a little boy for his 6th birthday. I think he will be well loved. We have one more to find a new home.

Meanwhile, we are beginning to plan our annual bonfire/hayride. We plan on around 200 showing up. It is all a Christian group for the most part and very mild in behavior as there will be no alcohol. We will provide the hotdogs, tea, watermelon, baked beans and paper goods, and outdoor games.

People from church will each bring a covered dish, or ice cream (home made) and a package of buns. Also they can bring a game or their fishing gear.

For entertainment, we have a lot of talented musicians who will sing around the fire, and we have 2 fishing ponds, volleyball, teather ball, a shooting range (limited to BB guns for this event and well supervised) horse riding in the areana, 4 wheelers, ping pong (in the barn if its windy) egg toss, spoon and egg race, 3 legged races, horse shoes, croquet, badmitten. Once it gets dark we will start the hayrides.

Last year we had some camp here the night before and the night of.

I already have the paper goods, bean makings and tea supplies. I still need to get the hotdogs yet. The watermelon will come out of the garden. We already have all the games, but I will need to get some more shooting targets (big pad of them from the gun shop), so we will pull this off for around $60.

Besides our church, we also invite those from the girls homeschool coop, neighbors, and the former Christian School where the girls used to go. Since the hotdogs will freeze, and people also bring a dish, I don't have to worry about RSVP's and it all goes real smooth. If it rains, we will reschedule.

1 Dog down

August 30th, 2008 at 11:11 pm

1 little boy beagle went to a new home today. We got $75 for him (broker said to try and sell him for $250, but the economy the way it is...people are buying gas and fuel, not dogs). But that is about the breakeven for his food, dew claw removal and shots.
We told the kids we would let them keep 1, so 2 more also need to find homes.

Freebie site

August 30th, 2008 at 05:33 pm

I have been getting daily newsletters from http://www.justfreestuff.com/
So far, what I have signed up for I have received. Just thought I would pass it on for anyone else to check out.

Planning on doing more beans and apples today. I did up a batch of okra yesterday and we have been eating stuff from the garden at about every dinner. I also got some corn in the freezer last night as well.

We have someone coming today to look at the beagle puppies we have for sale. I hope they buy one.

Updates

August 27th, 2008 at 08:12 pm

Make several pints of crabapple jelly and syrup last night. Also picked some beans to freeze.

Got the kids all registered for homeschool coop. It starts next Friday. Tution and supplies total $76--thats for all of them, not each. Not bad for a semester-that incldues everthing. I dare say that is a lot less than a lot of public school families spent on clothing, shoes and supplies.

They meet once a week on Fridays through late November, then they will have their winter program and be done till January. Then we repeat the process.

Tonight we will be processing beans. Green and waxed, and if time permits okra as well.

100+ ways I save money in the kitchen

August 26th, 2008 at 10:29 pm

1. I don't buy paper products such as napkin, paper plates, paper cups or paper towels. I use "real" products and wash them.

2. I plant the largest garden I can manage and harvest a much food from it a possible. This includes several types of beans, corn, tomatoes, watermelon, squashes, okra..... I then can and freeze what we can't eat during the garden season for the winter and next spring. We also have an orchard with various fruit trees, a small vineyard, and blueberries.

3. We try to grow our own meat-this includes beef, fish (in our ponds), pork and poultry.

4. I have my own chickens and ducks for eggs. I sell the excess eggs. During nice weather I let the birds free range (eating worms, bugs...) and save on feed.

5. I watch freecycle and craigslist for free or inexpensive kitchen items. I have obtained numerous items this way including a canner, jars, flats and seals, kitchen gagets, recipe books and even food (a case of soup once-lady bought it by the case then found out she was allergic to one of the ingredents).

6. I shop Aldi's and bulk stores when I can. The best bulk stores I have found to date are the Amish ones. I can get oatmeal, flour and spices in bulk (up to 50 lbs bags) for way less than in the regular grocery stores. I store what I am not using in the deepfreeze to keep fresh and bug free.

7. I bake our own breads, cakes, pies....

8. I take note on food dates and rotate them as necessary so that they do not go out of date.

9. I freeze leftovers for future lunches or meals.

10. I pack my husbands meals for work.

11. I make 'scrap soup'. I have a large container in the freezer that I put leftovers of all meats and veggies in. When it is full, I dump it into the stockpot and cook it down for soup. Usually I have to add either beef stock or tomato juice as a base. Sometimes I also add rice or noodles. It is always good, but since leftovers vary, it rarely tastes the same twice.

12. I will confess, I am a baggie washer.

13. I wipe off used foil and put it in my husbands BBQ locker. When he needs it on the grill, he uses this foil instead of new foil.

14. I save the wax bag liners in cereal boxes. They are great for rolling out dough on, or putting cookies on to cool.

15. I buy limited amounts of cereal. For breakfast we usually eat eggs or oatmeal. Less sugar and less expensive.

16. We make our own potholders from fabric leftovers or from old socks--just cut them into loops (yes, that is what potholder loops are made out of!). We also make our own placemats (good sewing project for teaching beginner sewers).

17. We buy high end appliances for less than the normal costs because we get them at the scratch and dent. You get the same warrenty. What difference does it make that the refrigerator has a scratch on the side when it is slid into the cabinet and you can't see it?

18. I make our own ice for events instead of buying it at $2.19 a bag.

19. We make our own ice cream and popcicles. I also make my own "shake and bake" and dressings.

20. I save yogurt containers and such instead of buying the more expensive tupperware containers.

21. I buy generic on most items, but I also make sure they will be eaten. For example, DH won't eat generic peanut butter on his sandwhiches, but he will eat peanut butter cookies with generic peanutbutter. So, I buy a small jar for him, and the large instutional size for baking and cooking use.

22. I try to combine coupons with sale items, but I also compare this price to the generic prices.

23. I keep my kitchen CLEAN to avoid sicknesses caused by improper food handeling. I have one cutting board just for meat use and it gets cleaned with bleach. I run vinegar with every load of dishes for a disinfectant.

24. I try to bulk bake and bulk cook, then freeze items if need be.

25. When cooking during the winter months, I can turn down the heat a few degrees. Usually when I bake, the kids are all gathered in the kitchen anyway (playing a board game waitin for bowls to lick) and the stove keeps us warm.

26. I don't use a food coop (because I don't want to pay the fees), but I have friends who do, and I can sometimes split items with them (such as a 100 lb bag of flour, or 25 lbs of pecans). Also, since some of them get a rebate at the years end based on how much they bought, then are more than happy to buy an item or so for me when I ask them to( yes, I pay them for it).

27. I don't buy junk food or soda. Yet, we still eat snacks. We make cupcakes, popcorn and our own potato chip. I don't buy chips, candy, gum..(grandmas do that for me!)

28. I wait till the dishwasher is full to run it.

29. I turn off my oven, or burners several minutes before my item is done cooking. Most items will continue to cook in the heat already generated.

30. All my kitchen lights are CFL or LED bulbs to save electricity.

31. Kitchen scraps are given to the animals (chickens love them)-helps save on pet food and feed

32. I cook from scratch, and I bake from scratch.

33. I use our crockpot and microwave a lot--saves energy over the stove and oven.

34. Take advantage of "free" foods, such as nuts, wildberries, mushrooms. Just be sure you know what they are, if they were sprayed, and if its not your land, get permission.

35. We grow our own herbs and sprout our own sprouts for salads. This is one of my kids projects.

36. Try to use resealable and reusable containers instead of foil, seran wrap and such.

37. I make my own "convience items" such as hamburger helper and cookie mix when times are slow. I then store away. Then when needed and its busy, we get those out and just add the last remaining ingredents (wet ingredents) and cook or bake.

38. Remember kitchen items make great gifts (cookies, cakes, spiced tea mixes..) for teachers, delivery people...

39. Keep your appliances clean so they don't have to work a hard to run. This means cleaning burners, heating elements, vents and around fans and drip pans.

40. Keep your windowns and light bulbs and fixtures clean to allow for max lighting to avoid having to use a higher watt bulb.

41. If you can't afford a cookbook, get your recipe collection on line and make your own book or card collection of recipes.

42. I buy very few kitchen cleaning chemicals. I want it safe around my food, so I mainly clean with baking soda, salt, lemon juice and vinegar. All these items are cheaper than remade chemical cleaners.

43. Using your stoves exhaust fan in the summer will keep your kitchen cooler and saves extra work from your AC.

44. I try to do the majority of my cooking during nonpeak hours that are posted by our electric coop. Same with the running of the dishwasher. I normally run it while we are sleeping, as that is when our rates are the lowest.

45. At least once a week we have a meatless meal.

46. Beans and rice are good inexpensive food items that will fill you up.

47. Cheaper (and sometimes tougher) cuts of meat can still be tasty. Marinate them over night, then slow cook them in the crockpot and they will be tender.

48. Watch for meat that is reduced. Use or freeze ASAP.

49. If you really like (or dislike)a food product, email the company. sometimes they will send you a coupon.

50. Make your own compost for your garden or house plants. If you have no room, you can at least crush eggshells and put in water to water your houseplants with.

51. Plan out your menus before you go shopping. While shopping buy necessary missing ingredents to avoid extra trips back to the store(and fuel).

52. When making your kitchen/grocery budget, don't include non kitchen items. This includes items such as pet food, cleaning supplies......They are not items you eat!

53. Drink water at one meal (or more) a day.

54. If you are a coffee or tea drinker, make it at home and take to work with you instead of buying it at work or on the way.

55. If the banannas go bad, make bananna bread. It can be frozen--so can the banannas--just mush them, bag them and freeze them until you have enough for bread.

56. I keep watch over my freezer, pantry and refrig contents. Sometimes I have to change the menu to use something so it doesnt not go bad or out of date.

57. If you purchase a food item and it is bad, or goes bad before the date, or buggy--take it back. Our local store will double your purchase price.

58. Don't buy more of something than you can use or freeze just because it is on sale.

59. Next time you want to invite someone to go out, instead cook and stay in. Rent a movie or play games and you can save quite a bit of money this way.

60. Substitute. I have several that I use--such as white fish for crab meat, or a little vinegar in milk instead of sour milk or sour cream.... Why buy the more expensive item for only one recipe.

61. A baked potato is a great way to use leftovers up. Small amounts of meat, cheese, chili,...make great toppings. It makes for a very good and inexpensive lunch at work or meal.

62. If you buy premade frosting....Put it in the blender or mixer on whip, and it will double in size. That means you can frost twice as much with it, and eat half the calories.

63. We have a diabetic in the family. So, instead of frosting cakes, cupcakes and cookies, we sometimes sprinkle a light amount of sugar (or splenda) and cinammon over the top. Its real good on a yellow cake for a brunch with some fruit.

64. Buy produce and meat when in season. Freeze what you can as it will go up in price during off season.

65. On "pizza" night, we each make our own small pizzas, just they way we want it. Usually saves us about $30 compared to buying pizza for 7 at pizza hut.

66. If you are one of those people who already has everything you need, suggest at birthday and christmas time that you would like gift certificates to your favorite grocery store or resturant.

67. Buy 2% milk instead of whole milk, unless you have a toddler in the house on milk.

68. I make my own noodles. Costs 1/3 of the price of a bag of them ready made.

69. Don't grocery shop when you are hungry.

70. Don't grocery shop at convience stores or drug stores where prices most likely will be higher.

71. Don't buy impluse items. stick to your list. avoid items on endcaps-they are usually priced higher.

72. Shop without spouse or children when possible.

73. Try to combine your grocery shopping with other errands to save on fuel.

74. I take a cooler with me, and my coupons incase I find an unadvertised special or meat reduced.

75. Watch store ads, and try to buy what is on sale and plan meals around them.

76. spices can be frozen, if well sealed.

77. Don't fall for all those kitchen gagdet TV ads. Most people who buy all those never use them.

78. Stale bread makes great crutons (just brush on butter and spices, cube it, broil it, let cool and I put in a zip lock baggie and freeze). stale bread also makes good cheesy bread--add shredded cheese to the top and broil. Good for a snack or with tomato soup.

79. Never turn down zuchanni You can make ANYTHING out of it....

80. If you buy a whole frozen chicken, it is usually cheaper than a cut up fresh one.

81. If you are not into making and baking your own bread or rolls, then buy the ones that are already made and frozen. I can get 6 loaves of frozen dough (for loaves) for $2.59. That is cheaper than buying 1 loaf of bread. You can bake them all at once, or one at a time.

82. Label your canned and frozen food with the name and date.

83. If your freezer is not completely full, fill it with a couple of milk jugs with water in them (3/4 full). Helps your freezer to use less energy. Same applies to your refrigerator. Less air space is less to cool.

84. Keep your kitchen clean, organized and decluttered so you are not buying more of what you already have. Store things in the proper environment-away from moisture or heat. If you need kitchen organization ideas, check out some websites or a RV kitchen (they have a place for everything in them)

85. Time is money. So organize your kitchen to save you time. For example, in one area I have all my baking bowls, mixer, flour, sugar..... When I bake, I am not running all over the kitchen. Another corner has the oatmeal, cereal and toaster for breakfast....I know where my items are at. If you get distracted while cooking, you will make mistakes and waste food.

86. When our knives get dull, I have my husband sharpen them. I have a friend who throws them away and buys more....I have had some of the same knives since 1980.

87. If you have a high water bill, or have to haul water, save water in the kitchen. Don't let the faucet just run. If you are waiting for it to get hot, stick a pitcher under it to water plants with, or brush your teeth with. When I was a kid my aunt used dishpans to wash her dishes with. When done, she would then dump the soap water down the toilet (housefull of kids, so it always needing flushing) and the rinse water went to the garden or the houseplants.

88. Wimpy celery and peppers can be revived in cold water.

89. recycle. I save glass jars for several things--one, they make great cups for husband while on the tractor (they have a lid, I can make the tea in them the night before and freeze, so it stays colder for him longer) and good containers to keep or freeze leftovers in , or to freeze produce in. Plastic containers are great for lunches and storing craft items. Some areas pay for trash pickup by the bag, so this can save you in that area as well.

90. An inexpensive way to make kitchen curtain is out of kitchen dish towels. If you want to change your decor, just turn them back into dish towels again. (Real easy, just hem one end for the curtain rod, or sew on tabs)

91. Check out your local farmers market, or check the local paper for ads put in by farmers who have excess produce. Roadside stands can be a good deal also, but if in a touristy area, they can also be a rip off.

92. If you like plants in the house, grow inexpensive ones in the kitchen. Potato, sweet potato, red pepper and pineapple tops are all fun to grow, and are basically free since you eat the rest of the veggie. My kids also like to save avacado pits to grow as well.

93. This one I am always drilling into my kids--DONT leave the kitchen while you are cooking. Usually after burning 3-4 things, they understand that one.

94. I keep a bulliteen board in the kitchen to keep coupons, menus, and recipes on. At a glance you can tell if Thursdays supper is the same as the school lunch that day. I keep this above my baking area. I put my recipes in a plastic protector sheet hanging from it while I mix, so it serves dual duty.

95. If you are bad at planning menus, and great source is the website or newspaper where the publish the school or senior center menus for the week.

96. save small peices of meat and veggies for grilling. bake kabobs out of them. Just freeze till next time you grill.

97. Sometimes my husband will grill or smoke 1-2 weeks worth of meals at once. It saves charcoal and woodchips. We just freeze till ready to serve.

98. Don't call a repair man if your stove burner or heating element go out. These can easily be ordered and you can do it yourself, unless you have the type where they are sealed in glass.

99. Check out your local park department to see if they offer cooking or baking classes. Most do at a very reasonable price, and you get to eat what you cook! If they don't and you are handy in this area, then see what it takes for YOU to teach one. I taught such a class years ago (it was snacks for kids, a cooking class for kids) and make $4 for every student. I had 10 students, so $40 for a 3 hour class. Plus, the park department also gave me a free family pass to the pool good for 1 year.

100. If you don't buy the paper, check online for coupons. Some will even email you coupons you can print for free.

101. I have kids, and kids sometimes have unexpected company. So, I keep "cheap quick meal makings" on hand--items such as the makings for speghetti or chili hotdogs.

102. Make your own french fries and corn dogs.

103.Asign each family member their own color for the kitchen. We each use one cup all day long. Cuts down on dirty dishes.

104. Esp. those with picky kids or husbands--if you are at a church dinner or event and see your kids or spouse eat something well--get the recipe. beats making stuff they won't eat.

turning $3 into $28

August 26th, 2008 at 07:30 pm

With sugar. I have been making jams, jellies, syrups..... A bag of sugar cost me $3. I added up one after I processed it, and I got (compared to store prices) $28 worth of jelly.

Later this week I will be going into the city and I can get a bulk bag of sugar and save even more. We have apples and crabapples that are ready. So, the only ingredent I have had to buy is the sugar. I reuse my jars every year (some I even got free years and years ago), and I got some flats free off of free cycle several months ago (brand new, still sealed in the box). All are off our trees, so no money out buying the fruit.

We also have been working up our beans--green beans and wax beans. Mostly I am putting them in the freezer, along with the okra. The corn should be ready in a couple of days, and then we will be working up corn also.

This will help feed us this winter.

busy summer

August 9th, 2008 at 03:49 am

Whew. I almost see the end. What a busy last few weeks. Church camp, VBS, 4H county fair, church camp again (I go also-I am a dorm mom), family reunion (and we bring back all the little cousins with us for a week or more). Right now we have a house full of little ones. They have been chasing chickens, swimming in the front pond, fishing in the back pond, horseback riding, bike riding, playing board games...keeping us busy.

My next project (after all the kids leave except my own) is to move our homeschool classroom from upstairs to the basement. We are going to use a part that is not finished, so I can finish it anyway I want. It does have a kichenette in one part, and a bathroom off of it. If anyone knows of anything I can add to my "dream classroom", I am open to ideas!