Saturday, January 30, 2010

Eat From The Pantry Challenge~Last Days

The Eat From the Pantry Challenge is now officially over, but, we could keep eating from the pantry if we needed to.  I'm feeling pretty good about that.  I did go over my $75 budget.  I knew that was kind of low...guess I was being a little overly ambitious.  I ended up spending $125.  That $125 included 2 days of eating pizza out...once because it was just an incredibly long and exhausting day and once because my knee was acting up so much that cooking was just not going to happen.  It also was because of an unexpected visit from family that required extra drinks and fresh veggies.  That is one of the best things about having a pantry...I was able to whip up spaghetti, biscuits, salad and a cake with 15 minutes notice that they were coming. 

My most important goal was to clear out my freezer and use up older items in my pantry.  I definitely succeeded there.  The last of the frozen meat I wanted to use up is in the oven cooking.  I also used up some flour and grains that were getting older.

Another goal was to get things more organized.  Still not completely there yet, but I have a much better idea of what I have to get to my goal of a year supply of what wee need.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Outback Restaurant

Dh took me to an Outback Restaurant last night for a date night.  This was a first time for me.  Can I just say that their food is outstanding!  They served us these little loaves of a dark bread first.  I remember looking at it and wondering if the bread was going to be hard.  Not at all.  It was soft and had a slightly sweet taste.  Dh and I ate almost 3 loaves of it.  Can we say...piggie, piggies? 
For the main meal I had a 7 oz. sirloin steak, garlic mashed potatoes and seasonal vegetable.  The steak had this exceptionally yummy seasoning and was so tender the meat practically shredded as I cut it.  The seasonal vegetables were a mix of the freshest broccoli, carrots and squash. And the garlic mashed potatoes?  Oh my, my... I am a huge mashed potato fan...could eat them everyday.  These mashed potatoes were outstanding.  Every bite was a wonderful mix of potatoes and garlic.  My hips don't want to know how many calories I had...I just know that I am definitely going back again! 
Big thumbs up Outback!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Bible in 90 Days~Day 18

Well, it's 18 days into this challenge and I'm pretty happy with the fact that I'm still on track.  I've been finishing each days reading on the same day. Ok, wait.  Last night I fell asleep while reading Day 17. I had 3 pages left. I finished them as soon as I woke up.  Talk about feeling a little guilty...

My plan had been to blog about what I was reading as I was going along...but, that's not happening.  It's hard enough keeping up with the reading.  Now the plan is to read the full 90 days...pull out some bible studies for the different books...and then blog as I read the studies.  I have quite a few questions and feel the need to study the different books more in depth.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Evernote Challenge~Notes 1 and 2 (Food)

I decided I need to declutter my Evernote account just as much as my house this year...considering that I have almost 800 notes of information in it...and, yes, that is more than I had in it when I did the original post. "Sigh"...   Is there a program for people with an information gathering addiction?

Today I'm trying out 2 food category notes.

Todays dinner is coming from the cdkitchen.  It called What's On Hand Soup.  The recipe is just the way it sounds. I had some leftover chicken, frozen veggies in the freezer that need to be used up for my Pantry Challenge, an excess of stewed tomatoes I've been trying to figure out how to use up, plus the many potatoes also needed to used before they start to sprout.  It's all in the crockpot and making the kitchen smell wonderful.

Note number 2 is a recipe for Masonades.  I found this recipe over at the  Cold Antler Farm blog. I've made these before so I can give then official thumbs up! Nothing like fresh lemonade....

Masonades are soda-can sized servings of hand-squeezed lemonade or iced tea. 


Box of pint mason jars (with lids)
Fresh organic lemons
Ice cubes
Natural sugar
Natural lemon juice
Organic black tea bags
Fresh mint or lemon verbena from the garden

Take your jars and fill them up halfway with cold water. Cut half a lemon and squeeze its juice into the jar, and then plop the whole half into the jar as well, making the water tart and filled with little bits of pulp and flavor. If you really want to kick the tartness up - add some fresh lemon juice (about a teaspoon) to the mix. Then add as much sugar as you feel appropriate (depending on mood and heat it could be as little as a teaspoon or as much as 2 tablespoons) and then top it off with ice till it's nearly overflowing. Seal the lid and shake the hell out of it untill it's one big, frothy, delight. There you have it. Farm fresh, all natural, and ready for travel.
Masonades can also be made into iced tea - which is a healthier alternative. Pour hot water from a kettle into room-temperature jars with an organic black tea-bag and let it cool on the kitchen counter. Then add in a little lemon slice and a pinch of sugar, some ice, and a sprig of lemon verbena or mint and let it sit in the fridge alongside the jars of lemonade. When it's cold enough to condense water off the sides, it's manna from the still. (Taken from the Cold Antler Farm site.)

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

And the winner of Power of a Praying Wife is....

ChicMama!  Send me your snail mail address and I'll get your book out to you.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Pantry Challenge

It's now day 10 of the Pantry Challenge.  I decided against doing set menus for last week because I wanted to use up leftovers in the fridge and I knew there might not be enough for full meals.  It worked out well with there being some days where there might be 2 different things served up for dinner or lunch.  My fridge is now pretty cleared out...there's no old food or science experiments.

I've made one trip to the store for bread, bananas, salad and some other items for a total of $44 spent...and yes, I will admit that $5 of that was for a Caesars pizza because I wasn't feeling well and just couldn't cook.  I'm feeling pretty confident that I'll make it to the end of the month on my $75 budget because my freezer is still full. 

Over the next week the plan is to get my pantry organized. Too much of my stuff is scattered. I'd really like it in one central location because I've found a few things that were expired because they shoved behind something.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Evernote Challenge

A few months ago I found Evernote...a wonderful free resource for saving and organizing all of the information that can found on the web.  I have used this to help me save all of the great ideas I see on other peoples blogs but don't have time to get to right at that moment.

Well, just like ideas scratched on paper can get out of control, so can ideas saved on the web.  I have over 700 pieces of information saved in my Evernote account ranging from recipes to try to preschool activities to ideas to improve my marriage. 

I think it's about time I actually tried them out, don't you?

So, my own personal challenge to myself is going to be that this year I'm going to try the recipes (and write them down in a notebook if they're keepers), do the activities with dd2 and kids in my classroom, and bless my dh with the wonderful ways of improving my marriage...along with the many other categories I have in my Evernote account.

I have come to terms with the fact that I'm an information it's time to use it or lose it... :)

Small Things~

I'm excited to be getting back to doing the Small Things from Home Sanctuary regularly again.  They are wonderful for keeping me on track.
Monday was all about saying goodbye to your trash.  I'm feeling really motivated right now about getting rid of clutter...I got rid of three bags of trash and stuff to donate.  The plan is to keep it up for the rest of the year.
Tuesdays Small Thing was Minimum Maintenance....pretty much doing a routine.  I kind of have that down...been doing Flylady since 2000...but, I find myself falling off the wagon regularly and this was a good reminder.
Wednesday was about giving yourself permission to do something less than issues with me there!
Thursday was about making yourself clear when communicating with others.  How many problems could be alleviated if we were just clear with others? I needed to make myself clear with ds15 that day...
Friday we celebrated the beauty around us.  It's so easy to neglect this area of our lives because we can get so busy.  I bought some flowers to plant in my garden so I can have some year round beauty.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Menu Plan for the Week of January 4-10~Rotating Foods Through

One of my problems in keeping a stocked pantry is making sure that everything is rotated through.  I have an excess of brown rice, potatoes(about 40 pounds), cornmeal, home canned applesauce and homecanned meats.  Some of these need to be used because they are coming close their "expiration" dates.  Next time I will store smaller amounts because I'm not using them as much as I used to.

Menus for the week:

Breakfasts will be a choice of: cold cereal (when it's gone, I won't be buying any more until Feb), leftover cornbread muffins, oatmeal, farina, toast, pancakes (weekends when I'm not working).

Lunches will be peanut butter/jam sandwiches plus extras (for son who goes to school) and I will take  leftovers to work.  Anyone at home will also eat leftovers.

Dinners will be done differently this week. I didn't have time to take everything out and do an inventory because of preparing for parent/teacher conferences next week so...I'm taking a meat out of the freezer each evening before and we will have either a rice, pasta or potato side dish along with a vegetable.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Getting rid of the CLUTTER

Amy at The Finer Things In Life also has decluttering as one of her goals for the year. She's planning to get rid of 730 items over a year long period. Getting rid of stuff is one of my goals for this year. While I don't know if I have 730 things to get rid of I know that I do have a lot of stuff that needs to go. I do like her idea of keeping I've decided to keep an unofficial tally of what is going out of our home. Today a bag of 12 items and 1 item for consignment left the house...never to return. Hmmm, I wonder if there's a counter of some sort I could use to keep track of the numbers?

Friday, January 1, 2010

My One Year Blogoversary and a Giveaway!

Oops! The day is almost over and I just realized this is my one year blogoversary. Kinda hard to believe that I started writing stuff down a whole year ago. I've never been one to successfully keep a written journal and my lists always seem to be all over the place. This blog has helped me to get more focused and has allowed me to keep my thoughts all in one place. As Martha would say, that is definitely a good thing.

This seems to be a good time to have a first giveaway. I have a copy of The Power of a Praying Wife by Stormie Omartian. I'm a big fan of her books. I've read through this one several times.. If you'd like a better this book. If you'd like to win a copy of this book please leave a comment....any comment is good. :) Giveaway will end Monday, Jan 11 at 6pm PST.

I guess I need to say that I'm not getting any money for doing this giveaway...I just happened to have 2 copies of the book and thought it would be nice for someone else to have it.


I was watching a young man on the Judge Judy show yesterday who had borrowed his girlfriends car to go to a job interview. Afterwards he decided to go visit his grandparents and got into a car accident. The girls insurance would only cover half the costs of the repairs and she was suing him for the other half. What was amazing is that no matter what was said this young man (23 yrs) didn't believe he had any responsibility to pay even though he was responsible for the accident. Judy Judy grilled this man up and down and he would not change his stance...he believed someone else was responsible for his actions. Even at the very end he said that it was his girlfriends fault because she knew he had been in accidents before and she shouldn't have loaned it to him. Pretty unbelievable, huh?

I began my journey this morning in reading through the Bible in 90 days. As I was reading in Genesis I was struck by how Adam and Eve did the same thing. In Genesis 12 and 13 when they were asked why they had eaten from the tree of knowledge Adam first said, "the woman you put here with me, she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it." Sounds like Adam doesn't want to take responsibility for his own actions...almost like he's blaming God for giving him Eve in the first place. Then when Eve is confronted, she says "the serpent deceived me , and I ate." She is blaming the serpent even though she made the choice to take that bite.
Later in Genesis 16:1-5 we see Sarai blaming someone else for her choices. She didn't want to wait on God to conceive so she gave her servant Hagar to her hubby Abram. Well, you can imagine what happens there, right? Hagar gets pregnant, Sarai gets upset when her servant has lost some respect for her and she tells her hubby that he's responsible for her suffering. This one always gets me when read put another woman in your husbands arms and then get mad over the consequences?
And yet, we've all been there, haven't we? You do something you just know isn't quite the right thing to do (or maybe you do think it's the right thing to do) and then when things happen you don't's very easy to play the blame game. I see this everyday with the young children I work with...but, sadly I also see it regularly with many adults. I have to challenge myself regularly as well to look at my actions and not try to blame someone else if I don't like the way things turn out.