Thursday, April 30, 2009

Beach Bag

Okay, I said I wouldn't be here. but here I am! I found a new to me blog that I'm sew excited about!!!!;) Click here for some really cute and usable gift ideas. I've got sew many Christmas
ideas just swimming through my head. In fact!



Here's a simple and Frugal one! (I'll post on Frugal Friday). Anyhoooo. What makes it sew frugal you may be asking??

Well, this is left over quilted fabric from the little chickadees bedroom. The quilts were for full/queen size beds. So I cut (you don't know how hard that was to do to a brand new to me quilts) and hemmed the side facing the wall leaving the pretty scallop to dangle over the bed skirt (i guess i should post some pics of that project- but i still have a couple of things to finish up).

Then I used a heavy duty grosgrain ribbon for color and durability. Some simple straight stitching ( don't look at my imperfections) and I have a wonderful pool/swim team/ beach bag for all those big,bulky towels!

I'm so excited about this - just because the fabric makes me happy!

Check out Life As Mom for more Frugal Friday tips!

A girlfriend of mine just sent me an email on how to make a bar-b-que out of a shopping cart.....SCARY!!!

Blessings,

julie

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Taking a Break

Just stopped by to let you know I'm taking a bit of a break... Some days just getting done what really needs my attention is all I can do. Anyone else like me?

We've been busy working in our little garden, setting up a new pantry, getting ready for a garage sale, putting another school year to bed and trying out a new spelling curriculum. Besides other things!

So hopefully I'll have a bit more zip in my step and be back later this week!

blessings,
julie

Friday, April 24, 2009

Seeds

Oh Happy Day! Yes it's Frugal Friday........but even better than that today Superman and I celebrate 16 wonderfully fun, crazy, happy, at times rough, creative years of Marriage! I said to him last night that it seems like it should be a big one, like 20 or something.We plan on spending a great unplanned weekend together. We may even get to sleep in!!!





Back to Frugality! Did you know that Home Depot is selling Ferry Morse seed packets for 1/2 price this week. Out gardening season is just about over down here, but I picked up all my seeds for fall. I hope to try again and start from seed in the house during mid summer. I had a disappointing time of it last year and ended up having to buy a bunch of grower veg packs;(

You have you choice of organic, regular and even seed tapes. I'm trying the carrot tapes and such. I just hate thinning out all the those beautiful little plants!



Here's what I'm using to keep my seeds stored in. I'll place this in the fridge. I used to keep just zipper bags but, we had some seeds that somehow still got wet. I had this around and thought it would work for now. I keep small zipper bags of seeds inside.

Before you think I'm organized.... the thought came to me that I should be dating my baggies!


So that's my small, but frugal tip. Have a great weekend and get outside! Don't forget to head over to Life As Mom for more great tips!

Hey does anyone know how to make onions bulb that are supposed too??? Please share any info!

julie



PS. I love you Superman. I'm so thankful the Lord had you pick out just for me!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Hanging Onions

It's another WFMW post. Click on WE ARE THAT FAMILY for a whole bunch of useful tips!

As I stated above mine is hanging onions. I arrived home from a meeting last night to find School Girl and Superman hanging them so nicely in our garage.
This freaked Urban Girl out who stated that this is only okay to do if we lived in the country, but not for us suburb folks!

A couple of books I read said to hag them so the skins could dry. I know someone is laughing out there because we have probably got it all wrong?? Help if your laughing- I'll gladly take constructive advice!
As you can see by the pics the onions didn't exactly bulb. I've never been able to get them to do it. I MUST be planting them wrong?? Again, any advice? Well, they are still somewhat usable.
When the tips are young I pull a bunch for cooking and use the green parts for dehydrating. Great for soups and such. I think I've mentioned it somewhere before?
Anyhoo... It Works For Me, and I didn't have to do anything!
Please comment with your suggestions!
julie

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Playing Tag

Cross 1 more thing off the list of things that "I never do". Amanda over at Encouragement Along the Way has tagged me. So I'll give it a try, don't blame me if you find it boring........

8Things I Look Forward To:

1. Our 16th Wedding Anniversary
2. A Very Frugal Romantic Weekend
3. Sewing with my girls
4. A summer break
5. Fitting into my old clothes
6. Having grand babies!
7. Relaxing with my Man
8. Giggling with my Girls

8Things I Did Yesterday:

1. Made 6 gallons of laundry soap
2. Weeded and planted some flower beds
3. Florida Notebooks
4. 1/2 of the laundry
5. Edit photos
6. Stuck to food plan
7. Cleaned out the yucky, gunky rain barrel
8. Had a coffee shake!

8Things I Wish I Could Do:

1. Lose all the weight I need to in 6 months (overnight would freak me out!)
2. Move to the country, near mountains
3. Dance all night long with Superman
4. Save and give more
5. Start a family business
6. Have our house be debt free
7. Spend unlimited time in My Father's Word. Some days I just want to snuggle in and read, and read...
8. Travel with Superman with and without the Chickadees (although they would have to invent some other way of getting me there - airplanes freak me out)

8Shows I Watch

1. Lost ( because I love my Man)
2. Leave it to Beaver
3. Occasional oldies
4. British Sitcoms
5. Netflix- We don't have cable.
6. A&E's Pride and Prejudice
7. Anything else Jane
8. I listen to talk radio and books on tape with the Chickadees

I now Tag!
1. Baby Gator News
2. The Gilbert Gang!
3. Holly's Blog
4. Fun Chaos Times 4
5. Superman
6. Alex
7. Anyone Else Who Would Like To Jump In!!!!

Have a Great Day! Off to explore our local Community.

julie

Monday, April 20, 2009

So far...

I've: Made tea!
-Planted pumpkins
-weeded and planted calendula
-drained (into the garden) & clean out rain barrel
-exercised the chickens
-found, uploaded, and ordered Fl notebook photos
-have girls cleaning school room
-started laundry
-woke at 6:30 am
-quiet time (i think i need more)

Whew!
Here's what I did on Saturday!


Yup. I canned my own apple pie filling. Go here to 4 Reluctant Entertainers. I never would have tried this if she hadn't made it look so good! It was pretty simple and we had a huge surplus of apples. I would do a couple of things differently next time.

1. Add a bit more sugar
2. Not fill my cans so full!

No we can make apple pie any old time w/o as much work.
Give it a try and let me know how it goes.

julie

Sunday, April 19, 2009

The List

Things I like to get back or accomplish this week.

- Get up at 6:30
- Writing/Scripture
- Bake Bread
- Clean my bathroom (yikes!!! :0)
- Finish Florida notebooks
- Hair cut
- Clean out School Room (I'm CONSTANTLY doing this)
- De clutter craft room
-Laundry
-Get ready for our anniversary!
-Organize portfolios and school work for storage
-Continue food plan
-Plus all the other stuff that comes and I'm forgetting!


Do you have anything big planned this week?

julie

Friday, April 17, 2009

The Dump

Frugal Friday
We've been involved in a couple of unit studies this year where we have had many fun, free and interesting field trips. This one pictured below was to our County Dump. I'll admit my favorite part was riding around on the air conditioned bus, but truthfully I learned so much.

Did you know that many counties/cities recycle paint? While we were at the dump I was able to pick up two 2/3 gallons (of very expensive & fresh) blue paint. (My younger chickadees have been wanting their room redone in blue) So this was perfect timing. All the other moms were either cheering me on , or just thinking I'd lost my mind!


I did have to add white (which I had on hand ) to bring down the color a bit ( now, I know why someone got rid of it). It was one of those colors that gets much darker as it dries. But it still turned out great. We also received bunkbeds that we modified a bit and painted white. Country Blue and White, I'll post more on the makeover when I'm truly finished with it.

You can also find free landscaping mulch there. Lay as much as you need, then put a layer of the pretty stuff from the store on top.
They also have all the free firewood you can haul.


I never thought I would say check your local dump for Frugal Finds! Check out http://www.lifeasmom.com/ for more Frugal Friday tips!


By Request:
Strawberry Syrup Recipe:
- 1 flat of fresh, ripe strawberries
- lemon juice

- 8 to 10 cups sucanat w/honey, sugar in the raw or granulated white sugar (this is really to taste- so you may add more or less)


1. Double wash fruit, hull tops and slice off any blemishes.

2. Quarter berries

3. Add all ingredients to a large pot (use about 1/4 cup real lemon juice w/no additives)

4.Cook down on a medium heat, stirring regularly for about 1/2 an hour.

5.I usually put it the fridge over night because it's to late after picking all day to start canning. Now that it's cold out of the fridge, blend all the sauce and pour through a strainer, jelly bag, or any thing mesh. This takes out all the little seeds.
6. Heat back up to boiling hot, check for sweetness, add sugar if needed.

7. Follow canning instructions as usual.

This makes 1 1/2 gallons of syrup! Enjoy on pancakes, waffles, ice cream or shakes (Superman's favorite).

Attention! Has anyone used and like Pomona Pectin??? I really need some feed back! Please comment.

julie




Wednesday, April 15, 2009

pectin

Has anyone ever tried Pomona fruit pectin? I usually use Sure Jell Low Sugar but I can't find it locally. I've tried the Ball No Sugar but my stores seem to be out of it also....Hmmm. I live in suburbia and I can't find pectin!

Any help on different types like Pomona etc would be appreciated. I think I'm going to have to order online. I'm also having trouble getting lids.

Help! I need a bit of advice on pectin.

julie

Reusable Cartons

Today's installment of Works For Me Wednesday: Storing Fresh Eggs, but first School Girl asked that I show her Star Wars eggs!


L to R: Princess Leah, Jabba, Darth Vador, Luke, Hansolo, C3PO, R2D2, and Chubakka.


On to today's subject. We just bought our first store eggs for dying. It's been almost 5 months since I've had to do this. So needless to say my store egg cartons were shot and we were starting to lose eggs on the floor. What a mess!


So here's what I came up with. They are deli meat keepers from Tupperware and come with egg trays! Each box holds 24 eggs and are they sturdy. They are also easy to clean and help me keep track of what needs to be used first.



Here's what I do:


The orange container is for freshly laid eggs. Eggs go into this container, but they don't come out until the at least 1 tray from the gray container is empty. I then slide the trays forward in the gray container to make room for a tray from the orange container to go in the back of the gray box... Got that?


There is a pull tab on one corner of the container. That always goes in front so I know what is the front of each container.

I know this sounds a bit difficult, but it really has gone smoothly. I was going to label the containers, but everyone seems to get the system.

I picked these up brand new on eBay. A bit pricey, but ohhhh so worth it!


Check out more WFMW post at http://www.wearethatfamily.com/

julie

Monday, April 13, 2009

i'm here...

Just stopping in to say, "i've gone a bit mad and torn almost every room apart!" Gotta get back to it. I just want it all cleaned up, sorted out, put in it's proper place, put in sale pile, put in give pile and kicked to the curb!

Get cleaning Ladies!!!!



We've had a couple of new additions over the last week!


This little one was born Palm Sunday...

And this one was born this morning. We have a pecked hole in another egg and expect a new chick tonight. The Silkies are getting a bit testy with us! Aren't they cute?

Okay, now get to cleaning!

julie

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Strawberries

It's finally that time of year again, when the strawberry farms open their fields to all us pickers!
We headed to Plant City on probably the last cool day we will have for quite awhile. The temp was 70 degrees. Perfect weather for bringing in the berries.

Before we started we sat down to a great picnic lunch of apple butter and pb sandwiches.

Here's Grammy showing us the proper way to partake of a Teddy Gram. She makes them look soooo good. She's also a computer geek and likes a good adventure!

Superman and Urban Girl (sporting her Country Girl cap) washing up after lunch.

Farm Girl and School Girl hanging around, ready to get this show started. Farm Girl and her younger sister (the Little Chef) come for the all you can eat strawberries and horses.


The fields... Not as good as they looked last year due to nematodes, but there are still strawberries out there!



The chickadees eating strawberry twizzlers and being sisters. Do they count as strawberries?


Now we're getting to some work. (sorry about the hand) Picking all those delicious berries!



Oh, here I am taking a break. Keeping count of the quarts and making sure everyone is working!


The Little Chef enjoying the berries..............

She really makes them look good. Remember, "God made dirt and it don't hurt!"
We picked 24 quarts of berries which equal 4 flats. It took about 2 hours of the adults working. Superman is the best at picking! Although this year he and Urban Girl were a little busy having rotten berry fights! The weather being nice made it so much easier. The little chickadees were busy talking with the farmer, picking enough to fill their tummies and spending time with new colt.
We also hit my favorite new spot! The drive thru produce market. I got a case of vine ripe tomatoes and a 1/2 jalapenos. Salsa anyone? We ended up picking up a couple more flats of berries. The price was outstanding.........and now I know why.
We started picking organic last year. Strawberries are the #1 fruit to eat organic (the are sprayed with you name it), so we decided to save a bit more from groceries and take the plunge. A flat of org. last season were $9 and the sprayed variety were apx $7-$13 a flat depending on the type. So for $2 more I get a healthier product with minimal pest control that is done naturally.
This year when we went to my "secret market" we could pick up a flat for $5! Well, when Grammy got home and started processing....she found that about 1/2 of her flat was bad. I found that the berries didn't taste as good as the you pick organics. So we've decided to just pick them from now on to get a more quality product.
This brings me up to today. I've 2 flats of jam to make, 1 flat of syrup, 2 to freeze and a lot to eat!
What do you make with Strawberries? Please share.... I'd really like some tips!
I'll be taking a bit of a break the next couple of days. Spending time with my family , cooking and celebrating the wonderful gift that was given to me and all of mankind. The Resurrection of my Lord and Savior.
Blessings,
julie

Monday, April 6, 2009

Cake Pops!

Have you seen these? If not head over to www.bekerella.com ! She makes the best and I think it's her idea! Such creativity. Seriously.

These bunnies and chicks were a bit more difficult than I thought. Then throw in perfectionism rearing its ugly head, which made for a not so fun project... Just keeping it "real" folks...



Here's the problem we (I) encountered.
1) ME!
2) The chocolate would crack after it dried. Leaving you with a bunny or chick with a cracked back or face!



3) They also did a bit of sweating. It's been very humid here, so I don't know if they are a good Florida food craft???

Here's what my girls said (and yes they forgave me for my attitude), "OOOOh, there so cute!" "I could eat them all, who cares about cracks!"

I plan on trying these again with the chickadees after I get some more tips.

Any suggestions for cracking chocolate? Bakerella, do you make house calls?

I'd love to hear from you all!
Blessings,
julie





Friday, April 3, 2009

Not Organic!

Remember when I said, " Nobody always does it this or that way?" Well I wasn't kidding! This are NO were near are normal diet of delicious organic and raw foods! But the sure are Yummy and Cute! Chocolate Covered Peeps


Waaaay to easy to make and very frugal if: you by them on sale or with your ECBs. I wouldn't suggest stocking up for next year( although I doubt they'll go bad- hee hee hee). You can stock up on the dipping chocolate! I did and a little secret "always" put some really good chocolate chips into the dipping chocolate for extra flavor!


Basically warm up the chocolate, dip peeps and dry! These are going to field day with us today! I think 1 per child is enough and Moms won't be freaking out:)
I do plan on putting them on a nicer platter, but truthfully I don't think the children will mind?
Also they are super fast to make, 15 minutes for 30!
Check out more great Frugal Friday ideas over at www.lifeasmom.com
Also check out this really neat NO KNEAD french boule recipe. It keeps for up to 2 weeks in your fridge pulling out what you need, when you knead (hee hee) it!
julie

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

French Boule

Bread dough that can be kept in the fridge for up to 2 weeks and pulled out and baked fresh as you need it! That Works for Me!

AND..... You don't have to knead it!! That really works for me!

I was taking a breather this weekend and perusing a bunch of magazines that had been sent our way. I came across a FABULOUS recipe for French Boule. Artisian bread (you know that fancy stuff from the bakery). It was in an old Mother Earth News Magazine.

I headed straight to the kitchen. I mixed together:
6cups warm water
3 tablespoons yeast
3 tabalespoons sea salt
13 cups of whole wheat flour (you can use unbleached white or all purpose- you may even get a better rise than I get with WW flour)
You'll also need corn meal and a pizza stone for baking.
I mixed it all together really well. You can use a mixer if you want, but by hand works. DO NOT KNEAD!!!! Let rise in a loosely covered bowl for 2 to 5 hours. I do about 2 1/2.
Transfer bread to a covered bowl/dish for store in fridge. ** Make sure your bowl doesn't seal tight. We want some air. It can be stored and used up to 2 weeks. The longer it sits the more it takes on a note of sour dough. I haven't had it around long enough to find out!

This is what it looks like after a day in the fridge (I've used some dough already) Refrigerate for a least 3 hours. (My 1st batch I threw in the freezer for 1 hour because I couldn't wait- it turned out great!)

This recipe makes apx 8 loaves ( a bit small if you ask me!) So it makes 6 my size loaves!

Here I cut off a hunk with a serrated knife and pulled the sides down and under to make ball (boule). Then I did some pretty slicing for rising. Let it rest for 40 minutes.

Before I pop it the oven I slice it again for extra rising. It really works! I also preheat the oven to 450 degrees and put a pan of hot water under the stone. (i do this during the last 10 minutes of rising)

Please make sure you DO NOT KNEAD the DOUGH!

Above I mentioned a stone. You need a pizza stone or some other sort of baking stone to get that great bottom! I hear bricks work?

You'll also want some corn meal for moving your dough easily. In the above picture I placed the meal on then let the bread rise. It then slides easily from this pan (it has no sides ) into the oven!The recipe suggests a pizza peel. I wish I had one now! I'll be making this a lot.

After you have quickly (do lose that steam and heat) slide your dough into the oven you'll want to bake for 30 minutes. Take out and let cool until dinner if you can! It has a crispy crust and chewy,yummy texture. Taste great with butter and jam.

Here is a pic of a longer loaf, it looks flat but it really isn't. You can shape it anyway you like. I made mini ones to put chili in for dinner tonight. You can also make pizza crust, pecan or cinnamon rolls out of this dough! It's so versatile. This will almost always be in my refrigerator!

This really works for me! Check out other great tips at http://www.wearethatfamily.com/ for WFMW

julie