Saturday, October 30, 2010


I am in the process of reorganizing our learning space (aka my office) and reorganizing the way I plan Maeve's lessons. Maeve needs a bit more structure than I've been giving her so I'll be doing more classical style learning stuff with her. Stay tuned for pictures of our new space and a layout of our lessons.

I also may go crazy and change the layout of this blog. I don't like having two blogs to update (Homemade Home is my other blog) so I want to find a layout that will combine homemaking and homeschooling.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Grocery List

We spent $120 on groceries for the next two weeks. We usually spend a bit less, but we went to the store too close to lunch time.

Here was my list:
fruit (apples, grapes, peaches, bananas)
potatoes (20 lbs)
tomato sauce
lasagna noodles
thin spaghetti
sour cream
tortillas (I prefer homemade but I'm out of good lard)
ice cream
red wine
tater tots (we rarely buy these, but I wanted grease)
chocolate chips

Friday, October 15, 2010

How to Eat on a Budget: Meat and Gardening

We buy beef and pork that has been raised locally. We do this for two reasons: it's cheaper in the long run and better for our family. I also think it's wonderful to support local farmers and know exactly where my food is coming from. I love being able to go out to the freezer, pull out any kind of meat and not have to worry about paying for meat at the grocery store. This helps tremendously when I make meals for the freezer or cook for a lot of people.

Gardening is another way we supplement what we buy at the store. We have had a garden for several years and learn something new each year. I already have a plan in mind for next year. I love having a garden and my kids love having a garden. I have no idea if our sugar snap peas were successful this year because every time I saw my daughter outside she had a mouthful of peas. I think we had a lot, but none of them ever made it into the house or onto the table. I plan my spring/summer/fall meals according to what we have harvested from our garden.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

How to Eat on a Budget: Grocery Shopping, Part 2

Once you get good at menu planning and shopping for what's on sale, you can branch out a bit and go to a local farmer's market. You can find all sorts of fresh, locally grown produce at a farmer's market. You can meet local producers and make a lot of connections on where to find other products you may need.

This Week 10/11

Maeve is stuck on dinosaurs so we've been working on a dinosaur lap book this week. We've been exploring a lot outside and yesterday Maeve decided to decorate the house for a Tampon Festival. That's right, a Tampon Festival. She cut up enough confetti to fill a bucket and she and Finn threw it all over the living room. I was told they were practicing for the festival. I'm not certain was happens at a Tampon Festival, but it did involve opening all of the tampons they found under the bathroom sink. Maeve said that everyone will receive two tampons and we will throw them up into the air at midnight.

Maeve found some fabric she loved at the fabric store and turned it into a purse. She did all of the sewing by hand with her tapestry needle and embroidery floss. She was very proud of her purse and said that it had great rock style. Maeve has great rock style when she wears the purse. Heck, Maeve has great rock style when she doesn't wear the purse.

Finn has been mastering a Wii game. He obsesses for awhile and will probably move on to something else by the end of next week. When he bowled last Saturday, he was able to tell me his score throughout the game. I didn't realize he knew his numbers that well. I was impressed. He absorbs everything.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

How to Eat on a Budget: Grocery Shopping, Part 1

Gather the ad of your favorite local grocery store. What's on sale this week? Is it anything use regularly use? Yes? Then buy as many as your budget will allow for the week. For example, let's say that butter is on sale for $1. That is cheap and can freeze so buy 10. If you do that every time one of your staples is on sale, you will eventually reach a point when you will be able to wait to buy that item until it is on sale again. Another example is we buy tubs of Electrosol dishwasher detergent from Costco (I tried making my own for awhile and hated it). We know that if we buy two tubs when they are on sale they will last long enough to get us to the next time it's on sale.

Another thing to look for at the grocery store is the in season fruits and vegetables which will always be cheaper. Not sure of what is in season? Let Google help you.

The lesson? Pay attention to the ads. I am not a coupon clipper because the coupons that come with the Sunday paper are all for products I don't buy. I don't clean with chemicals and I don't regularly buy processed foods. If you buy that stuff and pay attention to what is on sale, I am certain you will save even more money at the grocery store. As it is, we usually spend around $100 every two weeks for a family of five.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

How to Eat on a Budget: Planning the Menu

Look at what you have in your fridge, cupboards and freezer. What meat do you have? What grains? Vegetables? Fruits? What staples do you need?

I spend the least at the store when I am completely organized and plan every meal of the day. Breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks. I look at what I already have, what we like to eat, and what kinds of dishes I have the most ingredients to make. For example, if I have ground beef and tomato sauce I can make spaghetti and meatballs or chili and all I need to buy at the store is pasta or beans. I always try to make meals that have a meat, vegetable and a starch. We usually eat fruit for snacks. I also try to make certain that I have fresh fruit for the kids to eat and frozen fruit in case we run out of fresh before I can get groceries again. I only shop every two weeks and try not to go to the store between trips or I end up spending too much.

You can find an example of my menu here.

Monday, October 11, 2010

How to Eat on a Budget: Stocking the Pantry

Nourishing my family with good food is one of my priorities. Doing it on a budget is another. The first part of eating like kings, but within a budget, is how to stock your pantry. Here's what I always keep in the cupboard (or freezer):

coconut oil
olive oil
sesame oil
rice vinegar
balsamic vinegar
white wine
red wine
soy sauce
apple cider vinegar
chicken broth
black beans
lard (although I'm out right now)
maple syrup
chocolate chips
powdered sugar (I didn't say it was all going to be healthy. I like frosting.)
baking soda
baking powder
white vinegar
brown sugar
tomato sauce

I know that my list is probably very different from someone else's list, but if you're new to budgeting for groceries this is a good start. Just pay attention to the things you use the most and always make sure you have them in the cupboard. Once you stock up on your basics, you can fill in according to what is one sale.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

German Apple (or blueberry) Pancake

For the batter:
1/2 C flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
3 eggs
1 C milk
2 or 3 Tbsp melted butter or coconut oil

Sprinkle 1/4 C sugar into a cast iron skillet. Place apple slices or blueberries on top of sugar and sprinkle with another 1/4 C sugar. Place on cook top and when the sugar is bubbling, add the batter. Bake @ 425 for 15 min, turn the oven down to 375 and bake for another 15 minutes. Try not to eat the entire pan.

Buff Orpingtons

These lovely fellows gave their lives to fill our bellies.

This was our first experience wrangling roosters and culling? butchering? I'm not sure of the correct term in chicken speak. Anyway, they were headless.

My husband took care of the dirty, bloody work and I had the pleasure of plucking feathers. I dipped the birds into a turkey fryer full of boiling water and went to town. If you know anything about me, you know that this was a very big deal for me. I do not touch gross things like worms, frogs, lizards, etc. I pretend to be brave in front of my kids because I don't want to look like a wimp. And, more importantly, I don't want them to tease me and send me screaming into a corner. That's why we have frogs because they are not a big deal....right....RIGHT?

So the roosters are delicious. The end.

This post is part of Simple Lives Thursday

An Update in Pictures

Painting her barn

Finn had just knocked down the people and trees

Exploring a monument at the Capitol
"Can we climb on this?" Again, at the Capitol
"How does this thing tell time?" 
They discovered floating buckeyes which lead us on a hunt for the tree.
Beautiful roosters that are now in our freezer.
Learning to sew
Toured an airport and got to "drive" the plane
Berkshire pigs being raised on pasture
Our dinosaur world made of recyclables and homemade playdough

Comparing money
Dinosaur timeline