Saturday, October 18, 2008

Road Trip!

I'll be gone for four days to Central Oregon, so I won't be a posting a blog for a while. I'll post some pictures when I return. I am blessing a few of my girlfriends with a spontaneous getaway to Eagle Crest Resort in Redmond. We will get to have some girl time and connect with each other. I am looking so forward to relaxing in the pool and spa, pedicures, a day of bargain shopping, hiking, and playing cards etc.... Girl time, Me time, Oh My!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Rip off the Bandage

This week I was given a message from God through an episode that took place at home. My pre-teen son had injured his leg at school and one of the office staff gave him this rather large bandage to cover the wound. Later that night he wanted the bandage off. His shin was very sore and to touch it was even worse. He didn't want me to touch it and tried to take the bandage off for about and hour by himself.

He tried to peel the bandage off little by little and then he went and got his dad's tiny pair of scissors from the bathroom drawer. He would cut the hair from his leg that was attached to the sticky bandage. (Yes I said hair, my little guy is growing up). It took forever and he was in pain. I noticed that he was still working at it and I came into help. He said "don't touch it Mom, I know that you will rip it off". He knows me quite well. Not that I wanted to hurt him more, just that I wanted him to stop being in pain over it.

I told him to get a wash cloth and soak it with warm water and place it over the bandage and let it get wet. It will help get the adhesive to loosen up. He did and was still trying to work it off. He was struggling and was in agony over it. When he had his eyes closed in pain I grabbed the bandage and yanked it off. His eyes flew open in disbelief and in anger and then realized that it didn't even really hurt. He wasn't happy with me that I ripped it off, but was happy that it was off none the less.

After the whole ordeal he thanked me and went off into his room to put his leg up and watch a movie. I thought about it and realized that in life we all have wounds (not just physical) that we are covering up or put bandaids on in hopes to heal them or hide them. God wants us to expose our hearts, our wounds, our burdens and our sins to Him, that we are hiding behind the bandage, so He can heal them.

I have been hiding behind a bandage not wanting to open it up to God (even though He already knows everything about me, duh?). You can't hide anything from him and when we have a burden we need to give it to God. His message to me was to Rip off the bandage and expose your wounds to me and let me heal you. In order for me to heal I needed to expose them to God and allow him to work in my life.

Be Inspired to expose your wounds to God.

1 Peter 2:24 He personally carried our sins in his body on the cross so that we can be dead to sin and live for what is right. By his wounds you are healed.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Recipe Ratings

Well, last week I tried two new recipes. The Chicken Bacon Ranch Pizza was really good. The homemade pizza crust was really easy too. On half of the pizza I added thinly sliced zucchini, minced red onion and diced tomatoes. I heated up the leftovers on my new pizza stone from pampered chef and served it at my Friday Coffee Gathering for Brunch. It was a big hit and the kids loved it too. My husband and pre-teen said that they would prefer a tomato based sauce rather than the garlic ranch sauce. Too each their own. I loved it as did my girl friends.

The Chicken Spaghetti was wonderful. It made three meals for our family and I froze one of them for later. I mashed it up a bit and it made wonderful baby food. However, even though it sounds light, it was pure comfort food and was probably loaded with tons of calories. Hence the sharp cheddar cheese, Velveeta, cream of chicken soup and pasta, if you get my drift. I would like to find a way to make it lighter, healthier and cheaper.

This weeks new recipes are Quiche Tartlets and Penne Pasta with Italian Sausage Links, peppers, onions and fresh canned tomatoes.

Menu Plan this week

Breakfasts: Cereal, Pancakes, Yogurt, *Quiche Tartlets

Lunches: Sandwiches, Egg Salad, Leftovers, PB and J, Fruit

Sunday - *Penne Pasta w/ Italian Sausage Links, peppers, onions and fresh canned tomatoes
Monday - Cobb Salad
Tuesday - 15 Bean Soup with hamburger and tomatoes
Wednesday - Chicken Parmesan with Spaghetti Marinara
Thursday - Burritos
Friday - Tuna Casserole
Saturday - Leftovers

*New Recipe

Friday, October 10, 2008

Inspiring Decor

I have been dreaming and researching blogs and magazines on restyling and decorating spaces in my home. I found three blogs that have inspired me to add some creative touches and thought I'd share.
What blogs or sites Inspire you to Restyle or Decorate your home?

Take a look and maybe you might be inspired to restyle or add a creative touch to your home.
If you have any sites that are worth bragging about, please do tell!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

How did I determine our grocery budget?

That is the question of the day. How did I determine the dollar amount of our grocery budget? Well... I chose $400.00 for my family of five. How did I choose it? Well... First let me tell you the grocery spending habit I had created in our home and the changes I had to make.

I am a foodie and for me going into a grocery store is like going in hungry, which is sooo wrong. The first rule is never go shopping when you are hungry. The other problem I had was I would start to plan meals going down the grocery isles. Big mistake. I was like Oooh that sounds great!! Aahhh, that sounds delish, in the cart it would go. There was no menu plan (written down) and that was one of my biggest problems. The other big problem was that I was wasting food. It is a shame to throw food away due to spoilage.

So, when I used to get home from my grocery shopping trips I found I'd be missing items to complete the meals. Then I would have to go back to the store for a few items and then came back with more items than I intended to purchase. I would also change meal ideas and then back to the store for other stuff. Then there was eating out too many times. I would guess that my grocery spending was well over $800.00 a month. I have no firm amount, due to DENIAL and was scared to really come to grips with it.

So, I decided that if I didn't change my ways I would end up going to F.A.A. (Food Addictions Anonymous) or S.A.A. (Spending Addiction Anonymous). LOL If these groups are real I apologize in advance. I was only poking fun at myself. I was out of control and in severe denial.

In order to change my ways I had to have a plan. These are the things that I would have to tackle and put to work.

1) Get Organized!
2) Take Inventory of Pantry, Freezer and Fridge.
3) Write a Menu Plan with items on hand.
4) Don't be Wasteful. Find ways to use food to eliminate spoilage.
5) Determine a Weekly Grocery Budget.
6) Grocery shop only once a week.
7) Award my Family/Myself if I stayed on or below budget, by putting leftover grocery cash into our vacation/Christmas fund.

My goal in the next 10 weeks is to live simply on the stockpile I have in my pantry and freezer. I am only to purchase the basics like dairy and produce. I am not purchasing processed foods and mixes and am trying to make homemade if at all possible. I've been canning, drying fruit and stocking up for winter. I will be journaling along the way and will determine what works, what challenges I had to overcome and what changes I will have to make.

Now.. How did I come up with $400.00 a month? Well it was what I thought was about half of what I was spending. I guess I could have tried to lessen the amount too, but I'm taking baby steps. This is an experiment for me, we'll see how I do. I'm not sure if it will be feasible after the 10 weeks once the stockpile is down, it will help me to be creative and coupon clip too. But for now there is a goal in mind and I like a challenge.

Be Inspired to Challenge Yourself!

Monday, October 6, 2008

Weekly New Recipe

Do you ever get in a rut and run into preparing the same old go to recipes/meals. I am sparking a new change and have decided to add a new recipe to my weekly menu planning. This week I have two new recipes that I want to try, because I have the ingredients and am inspired to be creative in the kitchen. These will be recipes that I haven't tried and will rate them for you at the end of the week.

I am also working on launching a recipe co-op exchange with family, old friends and new foodie friends too. I will post the new recipes in the recipe blog that are a hit with my family and guests.

Be Inspired in the Kitchen!

Menu Plan this week

Breakfasts: Cereal, Oatmeal, Eggs and Bacon, French Toast

Lunches: Sandwiches, Leftovers, Salads,

Sunday - Leftovers
Monday - Shredded Beef Enchiladas, chips and homemade Salsa
Tuesday - Philly Cheese Steak Sandwiches, baked homemade Fries
Wednesday - Meatloaf, Roasted Potatoes and Carrots
Thursday - *Chicken Bacon Ranch Pizza and Garden Salad
Friday - Leftovers
Saturday - *Chicken Spaghetti, Corn

* New Recipe

Menu Plan Results

Well my last weeks was my first time at Menu planning and I found that it was well organized and kept me on track each day. It was also a big savings to my normal out of control grocery budget. What budget? I didn't have a budget.

Menu planning made me look into my fridge, freezer and pantry and choose meals that could be made with what I had on hand. No running to the store for a couple of items and then coming back with 15 more unintended items. No purchasing food because it sounded good that day or at the moment.

The only grocery items that I purchased this week were:

Milk - 4 gallons
Farm Fresh Eggs - 2 dozen
Sour Cream - 3 lb container
Corn Tortillas
Salad Greens
Soda Pop - 4 two-liters (for our weekend guests)
Vanilla Bean Ice Cream - (Dan's birthday)

My budget was $100.00 for groceries for my family of five. I spent about $25.00 this week. Soda and Ice Cream were party items and are not normal purchases or items we have on hand. I was more frugal knowing that the money saved will be vacation and Christmas spending money.

It also helps buying in bulk on some items, to be able to make more meals and recipes from them and helps save money. I am coupon clipping and that will benefit our family and grocery budget too.

My husband brought home four bags of whole grain sub sandwich buns (FREE), also known as sample bread, from his work. Sample breads are new recipes for loaves of bread, rolls, buns etc.. that are being baked to perfect their recipes before going out into the markets and restaurants. I plan on using some of them this next week for lunches and for Philly cheese steaks for one of our dinners. When he brings home an abundance of sample bread we also try and bless other families too. Free is a very good price and helps cut costs down too.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Last Day of Farmer's Market

Well our local Farmer's Market has ended its season. Whaaa!!! This is my last Farmer's market find until next Summer. I am gonna miss the fresh fruit and veggies. Here are some baby lettuces that make wonderful salads. Some organic spinach that went into chunky baby food. Spinach Apple sauce is a hit around our home (Dr. Seuss would be proud). Some more heirloom tomatoes that are just tasty and a loaf of "Stars and Spice" bread from Julie the Bread girl. She named this type of bread after a friend of hers whose last name is Star. It had wonderful Fall spices and currants in it. Yummo!

Good Bye Farmer's Market! Until next year we will meet again or shall I say eat again.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Farm Fresh Eggs

Here is my hen Henrietta sitting near a basket full of Farm Fresh eggs out in my front yard. There are brown eggs and green eggs. They are really cool looking and taste just wonderful. F.Y.I. Henrietta didn't lay all those eggs. Matter of fact she didn't lay even one of them. You see... Henrietta is my ceramic (fake) hen. She lives up above on top of my kitchen cabinetry. I have a Rooster too, his name is Rocky, maybe you'll meet him someday too. I live in a subdivision where I can not own any type of fowl within the city limits. Boo hoo!!! So I purchase my farm fresh eggs from my dear friend Teriann who lives on a farm. Lucky her!

Here is a close up of some of the eggs. The pale green and brown eggs are just about the same size. They are so large that sometimes the egg cartons can't shut close. Then there are the teeny tiny eggs from Teriann's Banty hens. They are just too cute.

Hope that you didn't mind my spoof. The funny part is that my neighbors were watching me put Henrietta out on the front lawn with the basket of eggs and taking photos. I must have looked like I had lost my marbles. Oh well, it was all in good humor and laughter is contagious, even if it is at yourself.

Thank you Teriann for such wonderful eggs and delivering them to me on Friday mornings when we get together for coffee.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Welcome Fall

Oh... how I love the Fall season and the colors. I purchased these vibrant mums for my front porch. Normally I buy and decorate my front porch with mums, assorted gourds, a few types of potted kale/cabbages, a few bales of straw and go all out. This year I am being frugal with our money, so I only purchased six of these mums to put on my wicker table on my front porch. I put up our fall wreath on the door and added silk mums to the old bucket that I have had for a few years.

I spent a little over eight dollars and felt that was all I was going to do this year. It is real easy to spend lots of money each season for decorations and flowers and I just decided that this year I want to spend less and save more.

Be Inspired to be frugal!