Monday, January 31, 2011

AMAZING DEAL! $1 for a box of children's clothing, includes SHIPPING

I know I just posted a deal a few days ago, and I told myself that I wasn't going to post deals on my blog, but I can't help it. I'm weak, and this is one I really MUST share.

This is a deal from Deal Pulp . It's a site similiar to Groupon, or Eversave.
Todays deal is , buy any box of clothing from threadUP for only $6. This includes shipping. This is a box of "preloved" children's clothing and you get to pick the gender and size. The site says it normally has about 15 articles of clothing and that 95% of mothers who receive the box give it at least 3 out of 4 stars. BUT, it gets better...  If this is your first time to make a purchase from Deal Pulp , then you get a $5 credit. Making a box of clothing, SHIPPED only $1. I can't even pay gas to go to the garage sales for that much. Even if there is just a few thing in the box we like, it's worth it for $1, especially since they deliver it to my door. I bought 2 boxes, (one for each kid) and paid only $7 because I had one $5 credit to use. Sorry to post my good deals, I get excited though...

The future of our food.....

"He who controls the seeds, controls the food."

I ran across this DVD at the library ( YAY library) this past weekend and I stayed up watching it with my husband last night. It's pretty crazy scary. Here is the link for you to watch it onlie for free! Watch The Future of Our Food .

Just from my own research and the field of work that I am in , I have learned some about ag history, seed saving, corporate greed in relation to seeds, genetically modified seeds etc. But this documentary really sheds some eerie light on all of the above.

I think one of the things that is most scary to me is the fact that corporations, Monsanto being the biggest one, actually claims patents on types of seeds. These seeds now actually belong to them and in many cases you have to have liscenses in order to actually possess these seeds. In the late 1990's they actually sued farmers who they alleged were using these seeds without proper liscenses. The film talks about that in great length.

Another scary factor of the movie revolves around GMO crops and how they are actually modified. The scientific ways that these tiny little peices of DNA are woven into a cell of one seed is pretty amazing. It is a scientific wonder for sure, however my concern is with the modifications that are not natural and in my opinion are not healthy.

So if you have a chance please check this out, let me know what you think!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

A few easy things to get you started on your Homesteading Quest

I have a few friends, mainly from work and from church, that have asked a good place to start in their own personal homesteading quest. I am by no means an expert, but it's nice to give them a few little tidbits that are both easily done and effective.

1. Stop eating out!
The fact that I'm a Dietitican by trade, may also play into this, but eating out is crazy expensive, and there is always a question of what exactly is in the food. I live in a rural area, and unfortunatly the restraunts available in the closest town are mainly fast food, and not only does it cost probably $25 to feed a family of 4 at McDonalds, just think of what you are getting. Greasy food, processed EVERYTHING, and a lot of calories. So I always tell them to stop eating out. Make a menu, cook at home, cook from scratch when possible and save that money! I honestly feel like you are also saving your health. Do we ever eat out? Yes, we will, there are a few restraunts when we go to our favorite vacation spot that we enjoy, and the town where both my husband and I work has several locally sourced  options, so we treat ourselves sometimes.
I could write more about this, but since these were supposed to be "short tidbits" I'll stop.

2. Compost
This is something very very easy to do and provides great all natural  soil for your gardens. My mother keeps a gallon ice cream type bucket under her sink, and uses that for her food scraps. It doesn't have to be a big fancy deal. I actually did treat myself to a bamboo compost pail from Amazon. I put the link to it below.

I got it about a year ago using credits I had saved up from Swagbucks. This is absolutely not a necessity, but I use mine so often, I like to keep it on the counter and it just looks nicer I think. My actual compost pile is very low tech. I used some leftover concrete blocks to form kind of a 3 sided square and built it up about 3 feet . I just put all of my produce scraps, tea grounds, egg shells, leaves, grass clippings etc in it. You don't have to have one that is that large either, you can have a smaller space.

3) Garden
Just garden. Yes a huge garden takes a ton of work, but you can get a nice amount of fresh fruits and veggies from smaller plots. You can even use container gardening on your patio or ledge. Just start somewhere and you will be hooked, I promise. If by chance you do have extra produce, learn to can, freeze or dry it. Use every last speck.

4) Plant fruit trees
Yes, some take several years to grow, but think about how pleased you will be when you have delicious fruit to enjoy. Even just one apple tree can produce a large amount of fruit,  more than enough for one family. Same with nut trees, I can not tell you home excited and blessed we are with our 2 pecan trees. Tons of pecans for all year. And in case you haven't shopped for pecans at the grocery store lately, they are EXPENSIVE.

5. Utilize your local library.
We normally only go once a month, but we find all kinds of books, both for pleasure and to use as guides for everyone in the family. These are of course free to check out, and it just makes sense. Especially during the winter when you can't go out much.
So this is very , very , very basic, and I have so many more things to write about, but this will certainly get you going.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Update on January Shopping for the month

Well I am happy to say that I have not been back to the grocery store since I did my January shopping. I just started making my February list and am pleasantly pleased. I didn't use a lot of the stuff I bought in January . There were a few things that I noticed.

- We eat a lot of leftovers. Just like tonight I made burritos with leftover chili from last night. Quick and easy and didn't actually "use up" any of the meals I can planned for the month. It was just a few tortillas which I always keep on hand anyways.

-We eat a lot of corn on the cob! I knew this, but this month reconfirmed it. Back in late summer I put up tons and tons of corn. Mostly on the cob since that is how we like it best. We've been eating it all month and it tastes very fresh and delicious just like when I put it up. We still have probably 75 ears left, although I doubt that last until our next corn harvest. This year I do plan on doing an early variety so that will help a bit.

-I bought a giant package of toilet paper ( 24 rolls) and we still have over 14 rolls left. We only have a week left in the month, so I could probably make due buying a 24 pack every other month. ( unless there is a super great sale of course).

- I ran out of cinnamon :(   Very sad. I was really liking making the cinnamon rolls with dough from my breadmaker and I didn't realize we were about out. I'll learn to do inventory better for next month.

There are several other little lessons I won't bore you with, but overall I'm pleased with my first montly attempt at once per month shopping. For around $185 I fed a family of 4 ( fed well, I should say), as well as bought toilet paper, and other household products. I also have to buy 2 jars of vitamins a month for the girls. Each jar last 2 weeks. This is something my husband kind of insists on since we are vegetarian. I realize it's not necessary but sometimes it's not worth the struggle. I had budgeted $285, so I still have $100 left in our grocery envelope. I'm not sure what exactly I want to do with that, logic says savings, but I kind of am thinking of a few items from my wishlist at Lehman's :)


I'm making my list for February and can't wait to see how it goes next month.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Get some awesome toys.....

It's never to early to start thinking about Christmas, holiday gifts, birthday gifts etc. I have 2 young girls and it seems like there is a birthday party every time we turn around. I of course feel blessed by the beautiful little ones in our lives, and that my daughters have so many playmates. I do try to get them either homeade gifts or educational gifts though, or even both if I can. I ran across this deal this morning and bought it, and wanted to share with you guys.

Eversave's Deal - $15 for $35 worth of Bright beginning Toys

Today's Save: $15 for $35 worth of Melissa and Doug, Klutz, and more toys and games from

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Spring Seeds, so exciting

Yes, I am aware that I am a total nerd. I get that.

Today I made several seed orders for the upcoming year. I get a pretty good shopping high off it it I must say. Some women like to buy shoes, me- I love my seeds.

So today I made an order for 1 lb of corn from Gurneys. This is a Sweet Corn that we really like. It's called "Gotta Have it" and we love it. It's great to freeze on the cob , and in fact last year I froze over 200 ears. Just ears, that doesn't count what I cut of the cob. So yeah, I'm pretty excited about that. If the weather cooperates we will have a year's worth of corn for our family , and several others for less than $12. ( My Gurney's catalog came with a free $20 off coupon, so that is why it's only $12).

I also made an order from Totally Tomato. They have some really fun seeds that we will start inside then plant later in the spring. I ordered my very favorite Tomato the Snowberry, which is a tiny , sweet little yellow tomato. These are PERFECT for the girls to pick right off the vine and eat. They are also great in salads and stirfry. I also ordered several varieties of Salsa and canning tomatoes. I also ordered several "fun" varieties for the girls like the Purple Russian, which is similiar to the Roma, but it is a very nice purple color when ripe.
I ordered several varieties of peppers from them also. We can a lot of them for things like quesadillas, pizzas etc. We also use them to can in salsa. We enjoy eating them fresh too and I love the Sweet Bell peppers in salads, stir fry, and stuffing them for baked peppers.

To round things out I ordered radishes, carrots, several varieties of squash and cucumbers, and some lettuce mixes.

Such fun.

I know plan on ordering some flowers, herbs, beans, other vegetables such as okra, zuchinni, onions, etc. fruit bushes ( we can never have enough blueberry and blackberry bushes, LOVE them) and I'll probably be finished.  We had plenty of grapes and muscadines last year, so I don't think we'll be adding any more of those for a few years.

I'll spend less than $100 total for seeds and plants, which may seem like a lot to some people, but it will be used for many families other than our own, and will be our main food source during June and July, and will also serve for a ton of our food throughout the rest of the year.
Last year alone I myself put up over 100 jars of just jelly!

I have grand visions for this year. Looking forward to it for sure......

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Survival Kit- Sale at Eversave

I have bought a few things from Eversave, which is similiar to Groupon. Anyways, todays deal is a $50 Survival preparedness kit for half price. Although most of us probably have a more comprehensive survival kit than this , this would be great for a college student, friends, families etc. I normally don't post "good deals" but this is a good one I think, that might be helpful to some of my readers.

So to get started go to Eversave and sign up. You should get a $5 credit to use, and you can use it for this deal. No shipping either!
I'm going to get one for my little brother's car. He is 16 and invincible and would never put one of these together himself, but I think he needs one.

PS: When you sign up you can use whatever city is closest to you. This particular deal is found in Memphis though, and anyone can use it, not just those in Memphis. ( I'm not in Memphis and mine when through fine).

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Baby it's cold outside!

Now before anyone starts to make fun of our tiny snow and with my fascination with it, please realize that we just don't get snow around here. I mean really just don't get snow. I think we had one dusting all of last year and it didn't even cover the grass.  So we started getting snow on Sunday evening while at church ( which was beautiful by the way, our church has large windows we could watch it snowing through), and continued throughout the night. Monday morning when we woke up this is what we saw. So beautiful. So of course no work for my husband and I , and the girls were excited to see actual snow.
Snow angels anyone?

What a crew right? We walked everywhere yesterday and Clifford (the goat) and Waffle ( the dog) were right there with us. They really enjoyed the snow also it seems.
I just thought this was a cool picture. It is our muscadine bush on it's arbor . Can't wait to taste those sweet little things here in a few months......
So that's all the snow for us, we probably won't have any more until next winter, but it was fun while it lasted.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Saturday- prep day

I have a full time job during the week. I was a SAHM until last year, and even though I would still love to be at home with the girls, I really do love my job ( in the agri- nutrition sector !) and the girls have a private babysitter, so I'm pretty pleased with the arrangement. But anyways....

I try to get a lot done on Saturdays. I got up early this morning and went into town before anyone woke up and was back home before 8:00. There are several things that I did today that will help me during the week.

-The girls and I made a double batch of homeade chocolate chip cookies. That should last us the week.
- Made pizza dough and homeade pizza, for todays lunch and will have leftovers for dinner.
- one batch homeade pretzels for snacks throughout the week
- hardboiled and peeled a dozen eggs, for breakfasts, to add to salads, and the girls like to eat them sometimes for a snack
-Chopped mushrooms, onions, and lettuce and put in cute little Tupperware containers, ready for salads, sandwiches, and quesadillas for the week.
-Made 2 Spinach artichoke lasagnas. One will be for tomorrow for lunch and have at least one batch of leftovers for the week, and one was frozen and will be enjoyed another day.

Spinach Artichoke Lasagna Recipe
Please note this is not my own recipe, I got it several years ago, I'm not exactly sure where and have updated it a bit here and there.

-9 Lasagna noodles
-Ricotta cheese ( normally 10 oz)
- Parmasan cheese ( 1/2 c.)
-16 oz Pasta Sauce ( i used canned from our garden, it's kind of chunky)
- 12 oz frozen chopped spinach
-10 oz ( or about) artichoke hearts
- 2 eggs
- Topping ( we like a mixture of feta and parmasan)
-other things I normally add to the sauce are : garlic, onion powder, dried oregano, dried basil, parsley

Cook the noodles until al dente.
While noodles are cooking add pasta sauce, artichokes, spinach and spices to a large sauce pan and heat throughout.
In a seperate bowl add ricotta cheese, parmasan cheese and eggs and mix all together.

When everything has been heated and mixed, spray a glass casserole dish with non stick spray. Start by layering 3 noodles on the bottom. Pour one third of the pasta sauce mixture on top and spread evenly, then pour 1/3 of the cheese mixture on top and spread evenly. Then add 3 more noodles and repeat layers. Top layer should be the cheese mixture. On top of that add the feta and parmasan, then cover in foil and bake at 350 for about 45 minutes. These freeze well and great as leftovers. The girls both love it and it's full of some yummy veggies.

What are some things you guys do to prepare for the upcoming week?

Monday, January 3, 2011

A Few resolutions of my own

My friend over at Maple Hill Farm inspired me to make a list of some of the things I would like to accomplish in the new year. She had some really great ones that I may try to replicate.

One of the things I would like to do ( and at least keep track of) is to "put up" 600 pints of goodies this year. This will include canned, frozen and dried. I've made this cute little ticker, although I'm not sure exactly how to keep up with it, but I'll try.

It's at the bottom of my page also, and should always be there.

A few other things I would like to do this year
- complete 20 scrapbook pages
- Read 10 books
- Make rock candy with the girls
- Go camping at least 5 times this year
-Plant the girls a large wildflower patch for them to make bouquets out of
- plant 2 additional fruit or nut trees
- Earn at least $100 in Amazon codes from Swagbucks and/or Irazoo  - use these for Christmas
-Make fresh, homeade peanut butter with the girls
- Host a giveaway on my blog
- have 50 followers on my blog

I assume I will add more either to this list or throughout the year. I wish you all the greatest year yet!