Saturday, October 31, 2009

Grocery Budget Ramblings...

I am in a constant battle with our grocery budget. Trying to find new ways that I can tweak this and tweak that to save money and stretch our food dollars. Ideally I budget an amount at the beginning of the month and then we also budget another amount to split over the next month for fruit, vegis, and dairy. We are pretty picky about certain food items, try to avoid HFCS, and really just try to eat as healthy as we can. I have found that this limits what we can use coupons for as many of the items with coupons we do not eat and have no desire to buy just because its cheap. It means that I buy more ingredients than prepared foods and am constantly trying to find those ingredients at a lower price. This is turning into a whole different topic so I will save this for another day. Back on track...

Today was shopping day and I went to do our monthly Costco shopping. (With only one child who had eyes only for the samples, and a coffee in hand, it was almost like I was by myself. lol) I knew it was going to be a big shopping month. Last month we did not need very many things as we had a ton of carry over. However, by the end of the month we were almost out of meat and ate a large amount of lentils, rice, and beans. Luckily we all like lentils, rice, and beans so there was minimal complaining. :) As I did the shopping I kept track in my head and was getting concerned that I was seriously going over what I wanted to spend. At the checkout I was worried as it was ringing up. Oh how I hate checking out. Joe and I both usually try to guess what it will be. Kind of makes a fun game out of it, though unfairly I usually win as I track it on my shopping list. This time I was there with only Michael, who guessed $150, oh how I wish. lol I'm not going to tell you how much it was just that it was over my desired amount by about $100. I was really irritated with myself for going that much over budget. As Joe and I unloaded the car we were talking about this. He asked me what we could have not bought. There were a few things we didn't need for sure but not $100 worth. I sat down with a calculator and did some math that really surprised me! This month we are spending $3.01 per person per day to eat. That is not a lot for 3 meals and snacks daily. Since we homeschool five of us are home for all meals and snacks. Joe is home for 2 meals a day and takes his lunch and snacks from home as well. I also know that some of this food will be around next month as we usually have frozen vegis, some meat, and some snacks carry over.

So what I took from today is this: don't be so hard on myself! I am lucky enough to be able to overspend by $100 and not overdraw our bank account. I am blessed that I know how to cook healthy, nutritious meals for my family. And I am blessed for having a husband who helps me think things through rather than freak out that I went $100 over budget. lol

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Cooler days

We have no air conditioning so the baking that I do all summer is very minimal. This year it was so warm in the house that I even stopped baking our own bread. I dream of an outdoor kitchen or a summer kitchen but that is a whole different post. Now that fall is here the rains have come and with it the cooler weather. The kids and I have been baking up a storm lately. My waistline is going to pay for this, I just know it.

Apple pie

Micheal made his first loaf of bread with almost no help from me. He even kneaded the entire time.
Whole wheat bread

Blueberry muffin cake

The kids had a large say in what we baked this day. lol

Chocolate cupcakes, blueberry muffin cake, texas sheet cake, and buttercream frosting.

And because I think its just so funny. I leave you with:

Naked chicken feeding

Thursday, October 8, 2009

My New Sewing Room

We have been rearranging around here lately. My sewing stuff has been housed in the living room until recently. I now have my very own sewing room. Well kind of my own, I'll share it, maybe. We decided to move the three older kids into the master bedroom. Joe and I don't use our room except to sleep. Naomi is still co sleeping with us and naps in there but otherwise the room sits unused all day. We measured and moved our king bed and the side carred crib into the smaller back bedroom that used to be Madeline's. They were excited to move as they can have the bunk beds again if they are sharing a room. With the bunk beds, a toddler bed, and 2 large shelves they still have a huge amount of play space left in there. The living room is so much nicer now and looks twice the size. I will make sure to get some photos of the other rooms and post them so you can see the difference.

View from the door of the sewing room

Some of my fabric. Isn't it pretty. I love me some fabric. I like to feel it and pet it and feel it. Especially minkee, oh the feel of minkee. This is mostly flannel, wovens, fleece, knits, and felt. The small totes contain patterns, thread, and trims. The top three squares are projects in progress.

One half of the closet. The very top shelf is mostly storage items. The other shelves hold miscellaneous notions, the scrap box, my snap press, and yes more fabric. Fabric over here is corduroy, denims, terry cloth, and holiday fabrics. The other half of the closet contains my roll of newsprint for pattern making, bolts of fabric, and some storage totes that contain the two little girls outgrown clothes. These will become their keepsake quilts. Which I usually give them about age 4 as they can remember some of the more recent clothes by then.

There was room for Madeline's desk and her sewing machine. She has an older Kenmore we bought used at the local sew and vac. It is a great machine for her.

My precious, oh I mean my sewing machine and serger.

Table number two. This one is holding my new baby (sorry Naomi). Its a Brother LB-6770 sewing and embroidery machine and it arrived yesterday!! I cannot wait to use it. The drawer storage is really great. Everything in this used to be housed in a storage tote and I would have to dig and dig and it was always messy. Drove me nuts! So top drawer holds my business cards, postcards, magnets, and other miscellaneous advertising items. Second drawer holds my hang tags, ribbons I use for packaging, and labels. Third drawer holds my snaps for my snap press, size tags, sweater shaver, lint roller, etc. Last drawer holds my instruction manuals and poly mailers.

More storage totes. The first one on the left is completed items, middle is fabrics that shed (teddy bear fabric, oh my gosh its messy!), and the third one is wool sweaters that are waiting to become something else.

Kind of an awful picture but the sun was out today and letting in all this gorgeous light. Mmmm sun, must soak it up now before its gone. Okay back... This is the shelf for some of the homeschooling stuff. Books that we don't want Naomi to rip or Marah to color on. The older two kids workbooks and Madeline's scrapbooking supplies. There are a few empty shelves that I will fill with Madeline's craft stuff that she can't keep in her room because of the littles. Mainly her water color set and other messy like crafts. She can come in here and create at her desk without the interference of little hands. Unless I'm sewing then there will be littles in here as well. So see I am sharing. :)

And for your viewing pleasure. Some of the items created by the machines you just saw. Click on the photos to see the full size images over at Hidden Element.

And blogger spell check just so you know serger is too a word. Serger not a word. Sigh...

Friday, October 2, 2009

September Update

I love that this is considered fun for the kids. Michael found his Miquon math workbook the other day and asked what it was. I told him and he asked if we could do it. Sure! So Maddy got hers out to and they spent the next hour and a half or so doing math. At one point Michael was struggling with something and Madeline asked him if he wanted to copy her work. He said "No thanks, all the answers I need are in my brain." I love this, just love it. :)

Even snack can turn into a fighter jet. Didn't you know? In case you wonder its cracker with peanut butter, an apple slice, and banana slices.

Look it really flies and even has missiles.

We sold the chicken run and 5 of the chickens. I was really sad to see them go but its for the best right now. We still have the coop and 4 of the chickens. Maddy is hoping to take them to another 4-H chicken show in the next few months.

We have been canning. If you want to know what it all is head on over to Lally. I just did a canning post.
Kids being silly.
Our church, Living Hope Church, had a family fun night/come and meet the Kids World teachers. Marah's teacher asked if people could bring snacks. Cupcakes, yum! Marah got to choose the frosting color since they were for her classroom. Which she actually goes to now and no she no longer hits other children over the head with chairs. Amazing really how much she has grown in the last year or so. lol So soon when Naomi will let us take her to childcare we may actually get to leave the parents room.

Head on over to the Sewing Alley blog for previews of some items that will be stocking on October 6th over at Hidden Element.

What We Have Been Up To: Sept 2009

Barbecue Sauce

Tomato Sauce

Grape Jelly

Strawberry Cordial
Dehydrated Pears
Dehydrated Plums
Pear Sauce
Plum Conserve (plums, pecans, oranges, and raisins)
Plum Juice (cause I didn't want to see another plum, till next year)
Plum Jelly
Canned Pears, Pear Jam, Plum Preserves
The canned goods shelf. June's strawberry jam is in the top box. The empty shelves are now full of all of the above. Soon to be added are the 130 or so pounds of apples in the garage right now. This is now called the bantry by the kids. Its a bathroom and a pantry. It is the unused master bathroom. The shower leaks and no one uses the toilet in here so we converted it to better fit the needs of our family, food storage. Took me several days to decide to actually store our food in here. Some part of me was grossed out as it is a bathroom but now that we did it I am glad. It works really well and hey it's one less bathroom to clean. lol