Friday, July 29, 2011

Frugally Smart or Excessively Scroogelike

As I reflect on this past month I can't help but see some areas where I could have saved money better. I also can see some areas where I could have been less tight too.

As a stay at home mom and beginning entrepreneur I have decided to save money where I can. The pathway to get to the point of successfully saving money is different for everyone. What works for some people doesn't work for me, and vice versa.  It only makes sense to learn by trial and error, keep notes on what works for you and what doesn't. Sure, you can always give people advice or take people's advice but what it boils down to is this: Does it really work for you?

Cooking meals a month in advance doesn't work for me. Sure, I could probably save loads of money by doing so but marathon cooking just doesn't do it for me. Plus it takes up precious space in my little chest freezer for storing food for the winter. Some things I just don't like canned so I put it away in the freezer. Preparing food like that works wonders for some families which is great, I'm so glad they found something that works for them, but for me it just doesn't add up.

I love hearing other people's tips and advice on what works for them. Maybe their way would work for me, maybe I would have to change things a little to get their way to work for me or maybe their way isn't for me at all.

I encourage everyone to figure out what really works for them!!!

My biggest saying is this: My time IS money.

With that in mind if I can save $3 by making my own diaper covers from some amazing cloth on sale great! Since I am still learning to sew properly I can't sew as fast as some women so my time (until I get better at it) makes me lose money. I would rather spend the extra $3 to buy premade diaper covers and spend my time doing something else at a higher priority and practice sewing than to waste that time (and money).

In a few months I may be able to save even more than $3 by using rummaged sweaters and other clothes to make diaper covers when I am better at sewing things like that!

So keep that in mind too, just because something may not actually save money in the end, it may pay off to try it in the near future to see if it will work for you!

Saving money is like the ocean tide. It comes and goes but it's always there. There are always ways to save money, sometimes you have to let a previous way go because all of a sudden it just isn't paying off, but then later on you can try it again because it can start saving again!

Now the other end of the spectrum is just being excessively scroogelike. The root of all evil is money. Money should never be our god. Some may say rich people can never have enough things because of all the money they have. Well I have another spin on that, poor or even middle class people can also never have enough money because they are so tight they try not to spend it at all!! In other words all classes of people can become slaves to their money!!!

Sure, I might rinse out freezer bags to re use on stuff later on down the line but if it had meat in it, I toss it. Why risk not getting it clean enough just for the cause of saving a few pennies?! Before I toss something in the trash I look at it and ask myself: Have I used it in the last year? Can I re-purpose it into something else? Do I have the time to re-purpose it? Is this object something someone else can use?

 If all the answers are no, I toss it, if someone else can use it I donate it. The most important thing is not to become a hoarder either. That is why I ask myself if I actually have time to re-purpose it. Remember, time is money!!!

I like to analyze my tactics on saving money. I also like to try to save time too. Another flip side is that I found that by saving money sometimes I am also being "green" too. Interesting. It's good to sit down, do the math and see if you can change anything. Weigh things out and be honest with yourself, are you being frugally smart or excessively scroogelike?

~Saving money one baby step at a time~

Monday, July 25, 2011

Catching Up

I looked high and low for a recipe for Fresh Tomato and Basil Bread. I couldn't find one so I made one up. I would do a few changes to it but here is the recipe and some pictures of the process follow.
Fresh Tomato Basil Bread
1 cup warm water
2 tsp (or 1 pkg) yeast
1/4 cup chopped basil
3-4 cups flour (again I used whole wheat)
1 Tbl sugar
1 tsp salt
1/3 cup powdered milk
1 cup chopped roma tomatoes (2)
1 cup grated cheese
Add water and yeast, then mix together all other ingredients. Add yeast and water. Let rise until doubled
Divide dough into two and shape into loaves. Cut an "x" in top and add some more cheese/tomatoes if desired. Let rise another hour. Cook for 30-40 minutes at 350F or until done.

Now I did mention that I used whole wheat flour. I wish I would have added some cornmeal or at least had some white flour to add half and half. Otherwise I think I wouldn't change a thing!

~Today is my daughter's 2nd birthday! I made her a sheep cake because she loves Shaun the Sheep. I let them watch one tv show a day and she asks for Shaun Sheep. 

~While I was getting ready to have people over for cake tonight I stopped by the garden for the first time since Saturday. I got to pick my very first squash of the season, a Coosa squash! I also picked a bunch of peas for the kids to snack on while I finish picking up the house. I ate a handful of bush beans and I noticed a few pole beans were ready so I tried them too. The bush beans were just so sweet and wonderful but the pole beans were bitter. I think I made a good choice for the types of beans to freeze and can!!! Tomorrow I can't pick and freeze the beans but I will have to for sure process them on Wednesday. The peas need to be picked and processed too but I think I will do that tomorrow when I get home from town. The pole beans will be ready next week so I have to get cookin' here! Plus I'm trying to get my crafting projects done for the fair in a month. Yes, the fair is in exactly a month! Yikes!!! 

Enjoying summer in the country,

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Heirloom Squash and Country Livin'

I can't believe how long this starter squash is! It hasn't even bloomed yet!!! I had to take a tape measure out there just so really prove how long it is and it hasn't blossomed!!! I'd say the package is right when they say this type of heirloom zucchini from Italy can get to be around 3 feet long!!! I can't wait to see how it tastes!!!
I took this picture on Monday, July 18 on my morning walk. I got up earlier than normal so I could fit my walk in before the heat and humidity got too high so I couldn't go on my walk. It made for a pretty picture!

I took this as I was leaving for my walk on Monday, that is my baby out there eating his morning grass. I've had him since he was about 7 months old and he is 9 years old now!!! I like playing around with settings on my camera, I am learning more about taking pictures every day, I love how this one turned out!!!

Well I checked the weather and since it's not supposed to rain I am going to call this day laundry day!!! I figured I better do it all today because this weekend looks like it might rain which means it will be a great weekend to really work hard on organizing and finishing projects for the fair in August!!!

Today I am thankful for my husband, my kids, and being able to live in the country! What are you thankful for this Thursday?

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Canned Carrots and Lillies

 This is the view outside my window that I was sitting near while I was working on finishing my cross stitching project. While it was too hot to have the window open I could still see the wind gently blowing the lilies as they stretch towards the sun! What a beautiful summer day! I love hot summer days!

Once my kids woke from their nap I put away my cross stitching for the time being to work on dinner and also something for my husband to quick grab for breakfast on his way to work in the morning. I was looking in the pantry and found a bunch of canned carrots. What to do with canned carrots? I have been wanting to make carrot cake but could I make carrot cake with canned carrots? Why not give it a try I said! So here is the recipe I used, it's just a regular joe carrot cake except instead of grated carrots I mashed up 2 cans of canned carrots and it's in the oven as we speak. I can't wait to try it out and see how it tastes! I bet it will be more moist kind of like a cake mix carrot cake instead of tasting from scratch.

Carrot Cake
2 Cups flour( I used extra fine whole wheat flour)
2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon
2 Cups sugar 
1 1/2 Cups oil
2 (14.5 oz) cans drained canned carrots (I had sliced canned carrots)
4 eggs
1/2 Cup chopped pecans (I added this but recipe didn't call for it)

~Mix all ingredients together in order listed. Add one egg at a time. Use a 9x11 or 8x11 pan, greased and floured and bake at 350 F for 25-30 minutes until tests done. Frost with butter or cream cheese frosting when cool~
(I greased and instead of flour since I only have whole wheat I used powdered sugar, I also mashed the carrots in with the other ingredients to save on doing dishes because I do them all by hand.)

Well I sure can't wait to try out the cake!!! I know my husband will appreciate the quick on the go "breakfast" too. I mean if people can have coffee cake for breakfast why not carrot cake?! Plus I am using stuff up in my pantry to make room for my preserved food this fall! 

Not sure if I posted an update on the bean cake but it turned out great! Except I didn't mash the beans up as well as I should have, when I make it again I will add a few more spices (cardamom would be amazing in it!)  and I would puree the beans first before adding!

Now I need to finish chopping up veggies for garden style stirfry and finish my homemade iced green tea sweetened with honey!!

Happy Wednesday!!!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Leaving Ur

The past few weeks I have been struggling with the thought of moving. My husband's heart is out west and I went to go visit him out there at the ranch he worked at so I could see what it's like out west too. I loved it but I live near the Great Lakes and I just love the lakes.

I love the history, the smells, the weather, the fish, oh goodness I just love the great lakes!

Well after much prayer I have not been so against moving out there although I know it will be hard on me. My husband wants to move in the worst way because that is where he feels most at home, the great lakes area is where I feel most at home. Well I am willing to try it out.

Today in my devotional time I realized that instead of constantly pushing for an itinerary for my life sometimes I just need to trust in God and let Him work out His will and His itinerary for my life and just trust Him.

Then God brought the story of Abraham and how he left his home country of Ur to go to God's land, which was completely foreign to Abraham. Knowing that is God's will for his life he leaves, without actually knowing why he needs to go. But the point is he trusts in God and he leaves his home country and he was blessed greatly, more so than if he just would have let his home get in the way of God working in his life.

My thoughts are that I need to leave my "Ur" and trust in God. After my prayer time I had the best peace ever knowing that if we really do move that it will be God's will and if it really is God's will then He will provide for us, and work everything out for us.

Oh how much better I feel knowing this!


Monday, July 18, 2011


Beets are such a versatile vegetable. A lot of people are in a love/hate relationship with the beet. What is great is there are so many varieties! Some are super sweet, some are not, some are ringed, some are yellow, some are white! Plus they can be snuck in food so no garden produce goes to waste!

I first started using beets in jelly. So far everyone that has tried my red beet jelly has loved it! Even if they were a beet hater! I have only used the dark red beets for making jelly, I haven't tried the heirloom ringed variety or any other color of beet. That would be pretty neat to try though if I can find some other varieties at the farmer's market!
Beet Jelly
4 Cups beet juice
7 Cups sugar
1 pkg powdered pectin
To make juice: peel 4-5 beets, slice and add enough water to barely cover, simmer until tender. Strain through strainer/jelly bag. Then follow instructions for jello according to pectin directions (I usually follow the directions for making apple jelly. Can't go wrong, I love this recipe!) Process in water bath canner.

My next venture was to make some recipes that did NOT taste like dirt. Seriously. A beet is a root vegetable so it can take a "rooty" or "dirt" taste. I have actually tasted some carrots that instead of tasting like a carrot it tasted like dirt, with an after taste. Not too pleasant.

For cooking for those people not sure about beets we don't want to accidentally serve them a strong earthy root vegetable which could turn them off. I found if I can go beyond the "pickled beets" of the beets I can help other people use the bounty of the earth for their own benefit! Plus its very frugal because beets are so easy to grow!

So besides the typical "chocolate" beet cake which I absolutely loathe because it tastes like dirt to me I decided to do some research and find out other recipes I can utilize the bountiful harvest of beets (uh, hello cheap food too!) and enjoy them!

I found red velvet beet cake (NOT the nasty kind of beet cake), red beet cookies, crunchy beet cookies, beet muffins, plus my beet jelly and of course the typical pickled beets. You can also make your own baby food puree with beets. I planted albino beets this year for that reason, except I am not going to make baby food puree's anymore. Too much money to buy them, too much time to make them. I will post on that topic later, it's actually very interesting and time saving and helps baby develop better!

So get creative, in the process of finding more ways to incorporate vegetables in our diet I came across different puree's you can make (if you have the time to make the puree's) and incorporate a huge variety of vegetables!

We fell in love with kohlrabi this spring too. I love the farmer's market, I can't say enough to people to get out and visit one!

Well, it's off to finish my bean cake! Happy gardening and happy cooking!!!


My next recipe to try from a friend who got it online somewhere:
Beet Cookies
1 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup pureed beets
2 Tbl oil or softened butter
1 tsp vanilla
white or chocolate chips

~Combine all dry ingredients. Add beets, vanilla, and oil, mix to combine. Stir in chocolate chips, if using in the cookie dough OR melt to drizzle on top of cookies after cooking.
Drop by tablespoonfuls onto greased cookie sheet. Bake 10-12 min at 350. Makes 1-2 dozen depending on size of cookies~

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Rye flour and Pinto Beans

Trying to be as frugal as possible in these very lean times (and without much choice!) I decided to use up the rest of my rye flour and other "pantry stock" items in the next month or two so I can get new stock this fall.

I was about to run down to the store and grab some more white flour (despite it's lack of health benefits!) and I decided no, I'm not going to buy white flour with the few cents I have left, I will make do with what I have. So I looked up and I saw I have a big bag of super fine whole wheat flour, rye flour and cornmeal left! I was so excited! So I made myself some cinnamon rolls with half white flour and half whole wheat and they were heavenly!

I have pinto beans soaking for pinto bean cake (recipe below) and I am going to make rye pancakes using a buckwheat/ old fashioned pancake recipe.

Tonight for dinner I pulled out my turkey hamburger that I pre packaged in what I call "meal portions" and let that thaw until I fried it up with some steak and burger seasonings, garlic and onion. I sliced some potatoes with the skin on, put in a can of stewed tomatoes, black beans, some chicken stock base, a few chopped basil leaves, frozen peas and after the hamburger was cooked I dumped that in my crockpot as well! Voila! A super cheap (depending on how much the products are because I got a 10# bag of potatoes for 1.99!)

I can't wait to see how it tastes! I will serve it biscuits or bread and possibly a grate or two of cheese on each plate.
I also forgot I had about 5 pounds of whole oats in my pantry too!!! Oh the possibilities there! Here I was thinking I didn't have anything to cook but once I got to thinking, menu's starting popping out like crazy! A little farm girl ingenuity and I can make sure my family eats healthy, has a filling meal and won't go hungry no matter what's in the bank (or not! haha)

A little thinking goes a long way, I encourage anyone to think outside the typical recipe card because if you have a decent pantry and a little creativity you can eat healthy and have a great meal all in once, without breaking the bank!

Especially with summer upon us and the farmer's markets starting to go strong in this area, gardens are starting to produce more than just weeds, oh happy day!

What we do save per month on our food bill this summer from my garden I am putting aside so I can have money to preserve food for winter. I need more cans, lids, rings, plus a few preserving ingredients and essential tools to make preserving the harvest even easier on me, since my daughter is too young to help yet.

So get creative with your food! It gives you variety, can save you money, and help keep your pantry rotated so nothing gets wasted, now that is what I'm talking about!

Recipe for Pinto Bean Cake:
1 stick butter
1 c. sugar
2 c. unseasoned pinto beans, drained & mashed
1 egg
1 c. self-rising flour
1/2 c. nuts
1/2 tsp. cloves
1 tsp. cinnamon
2 c. raw apples
1 c. raisins
1/2 tsp. soda
Cream butter and sugar. Add remaining ingredients. Pour into cake pans and bake at 325 degrees for 1 hour.
Now this is my base recipe. I will be using super fine whole wheat flour, I will be using apple sauce, I am out of raisins so I will be omitting them, and of course adding some baking powder and salt since I won't be using self rising flour. I will probably add pecans or walnuts and possibly adding some chocolate chips instead of the raisins. I have white and chocolate chips so I might add half and half of them.
I will be frosting the cake with a simple powdered sugar, butter, vanilla and water frosting (water is as good as milk in this quick frosting plus it's cheaper unless you own your own milk source).

Cooking Country Style

Friday, July 15, 2011

Pure. Simple. Healthy.

After reading the article from the new issue of MaryJanesFarm magazine I got quite disturbed. Not sure if it is because I am pregnant right now or not but this whole issue of GM corn shouldn't be just affecting pregnant women and their growing babies.

This whole Bt thing is overboard. There are not enough studies to prove to me that my growing baby will not suffer consequences in the years to come. This is too new! Why does Canada and Europe constantly find this stuff out when our country seems to want to sweep it under the rug.

If there is one thing that I absolutely must have is organic corn from now on. Sure, we eliminated corn syrup from our diets by about 95% (some still manages to sneak in so I can't say 100%) but what good does that do if we continue to eat corn products? They manage to sneak in corn and corn syrup into so many crazy things its ridiculous and quite sad. Corn is king but shouldn't have to have/be Bt or GM. I wish more people would realize that playing with your health isn't safe and why not stick to what is known?

I'm no "expert" in politics but I sure am an expert when it comes to finding out what is good and wholesome and healthy for me and my family. GM corn (and other gm foods) just don't have a place in my home. Sorry big money I will stick to what was good for my ancestors.

Pure. Simple. Healthy.

Healthy kids, healthy family all come from healthy food.


As for me and my house we will eat organic corn.


Thursday, July 14, 2011

The Beauty of Summer

This picture is going to be printed and hung on my wall! I took this on Monday while we were on our morning walk.
This picture I took in my garden when the sun was starting to get low in the sky. I actually had to extend my trellis for my beans because I forgot how tall those pole beans can get!
This picture is of my daughter's beloved cat "Bobby" who was sunning himself on my husband's old Mercedes.

I call this picture Tiny Dancer because the dandelion seed looks like a ballerina, as does the other flower, which the name escapes me at this minute.

These are my potato flowers, unfortunately I forgot to take a picture when they were first blossoming so I missed the whole beauty of them, but they were still such a pretty color I had to take a picture anyway! Potatoes have surprisingly beautiful flowers!

My blackberry blossoms in the morning dew, this picture makes me want a nice cup of warm coffee and a blanket. If it were only cooler :)

Monday, July 11, 2011

Fabulous Quick Summer Recipes!

Zippity No-Bake Cookies!
2 cups white sugar
8 Tablespoons butter, chunked
1/2 cup milk
1/3 cup cocoa
1 tsp vanilla
3 cups oats (rolled or instant, doesn't matter)
Mix all ingredients except the oats in saucepan on Med-Hi heat. Boil for about 3 minutes then turn off heat and add oats. The secret to using regular rolled oats is to let them cool for a few minutes to soften before spooning onto waxed paper/aluminum foil/non stick pan otherwise you get really thin cookies instead of nice chunky no-bakes! I just made them today, turned out amazing!

Peach Cobbler Cheesecake
I got this from a morning tv show I watch sometimes for their recipes, it's called Living With Amy~ I thought I would share this since it looks absolutely fabulous! I will be making this sometime this week!
Recipe from Lindsay Brooks.
16 oz vanilla wafers
5 oz melted butter
20 oz cream cheese
1 cup granulated sugar
3 eggs
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1 peach, stone removed and sliced
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp brown sugar
pinch cinnamon
Place wafers into a food process and pulse until crumbed. Pour in butter and pulse until combined. Press 2/3 of the mixture into the bottom of a greased 8 inch spring form pan. Meanwhile, beat together cream cheese with granulated sugar. Scape sides and add eggs one at a time. Stir in vanilla. In a smaller pan, saute peaches in butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon. Once peaches have softened add to cream cheese batter. Stir and pour into spring form pan. Sprinkle remaining crust mixture over the top. Place in a 350 degree. Place a small pan of water under the cheesecake. Bake for 40 minutes. Chill before serving.

Another wonderful day in the country!

Well I am 1/3 done with my Christmas afghan! I started working on the second color now! I am very excited and I am right on schedule so I can enter it into our county fair in August!

My garden is doing wonderful with all this humid weather we have been having, also we have been getting lots of little rain storms which I feel have helped my garden catch up despite the late planting. I am almost caught up with weeding as well and as soon as I am caught up I will post pictures of my fabulous garden!

I had an awful night sleep last night and I really struggled getting up this morning. Hearing my daughter say "mama it's morning" because she wanted to get out of her bed was so cute I managed to get myself together and get up! I love how when I walk into their room I hear "morning mama!!!" Sometimes she even says "morning" after their afternoon nap. It's so cute! I have been going on walks in the mornings to help stay in shape and this morning I am so glad I decided to force myself to go on a walk despite the humidity and despite how awful I felt. I feel wonderful now. A song popped into my head that I couldn't help but hum the tune as we walked. It was "Lord I lift your name on High". Perfect song for today! We saw some black bear sign along the road but I'm sure it was hiding deeper in the swamp to escape the heat and humidity! I brought my camera along this time and took a few pictures.

This winter I decided I would like to take up oil painting again. I do have to finish the oil painting I started last winter so I can enter it into the fair. Probably a good idea for me to get started on that this week so it has plenty of time to dry before the fair! Last year I entered in some paintings and they were dry to the touch but the severe humidity that week made it wet again so I didn't place at all because they said I entered a wet painting in. Oh well. I am new to oil painting and I had no idea that oil paint can become wet again! Lesson learned!

The rest of today I am going to work in my garden, work on my afghan and of course my favorite part : Be a mommy!!!
The biggest blessings in life usually come in small packages!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Friday Farmer's Market and Coffee

This morning started out absolutely awful.  But the rest of the day has been turning out absolutely wonderful! Thank you Jesus! I took the kids and we had to get diapers (another reason I want to switch to cloth, no more store runs for dipes!) Then we went to the farmer's market in town.

My new love is the farmer's market! I want to go every week and see what is new! I got 2 nice sweet basil plants for a $1 each and I can start picking from them right away they are so nice! (My herbs are not doing well at all, I doubt I will get to use them this summer so I need backups!)

I also got a huge bag of lettuce for $1 and a nice bunch of kohlrabi for $1! Kohlrabi is new to us, we never had it before so I figured for $1 why not give it a try, I hear how healthy it is but it was always so expensive (in a regular store) so I didn't want to risk wasting the little money we have even though I love trying new things. This way it's a $1 and if we don't like it at least I can give it to the chickens and for a $1 it would be like buying my birds a treat!

After the farmer's market I splurged big time and bought myself a coffee and the kids each a cookie. We sat in the coffee shop while I sipped on my coffee and the kids ate their cookies. I took some pictures but I will have to wait to upload them later. I am just so excited about the farmer's market! I hope I can get more people to go, you can save money, support local people, basically it really supports the local economy! Plus you can't get greener by purchasing food grown only a few miles away instead of from importing from another country or even across our own country! Fresh from the vine means fresh from the vine at the farmer's market!!!! Try it, you'll like it!

Well if I get to go to the farmer's market each week I can guarantee you I won't be stopping in at the coffee shop each week, this was the second time this year I made the splurge at the coffee shop and I just can't see doing that each week. Maybe once a month but no more! Well, time to get to house cleaning and laundry so I don't get too far behind this weekend whatever we end up doing!
~Livin the country life~

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Milk, Meat and Potatoes

 Last night I made my first BakeOver!!! I had some leftover hamburger that I fried up with some potatoes. I also chopped up two roma tomatoes that were starting to get over ripe on my counter so I threw them in too. I felt it was still missing something so I started thinking I was I had some fresh squash then I realized I had one bag of frozen beans from the garden I had two years ago left in the freezer! I put half a quart of beans in, put the crust on top and cooked in my big cast iron pan. It turned out great! I made some gravy and served it with gravy on the side. At first my husband didn't look to thrilled, as he had never seen anything like it before, but after he got a taste of it he had a few helpings! It was good for lunch today too!

This morning I went on a nice walk with the kids down the road and back, not quite sure how long it is. I will clock the distance a little later when the kids get up from their nap. It was such a beautiful day and oh the smells of summer were just wonderful! Cedars, pines, "weeds", sumac, the grass all made a wonderful aroma. It hardly felt like exercise this morning! 

So far today I crocheted 6 more diamonds but now I need a break, now that I am exactly half way done with one of three colors!!! I have a little headache so I am going to make some green iced tea (just hot tea steeped, then after steeping I pour over ice and voila!) and I have to get outside and do some organizing of some of our outdoor items. I want to have a big rummage sale this summer yet and I still have to get through some stuff before I can set up shop. I'd really like to have it sometime in August. Well I just remembered I have to make some phone calls yet today so I have to go out and organize before the kids get up because I can take care of the inside stuff when they get up before we all head back outside. 

I long to have a break in "paradise" (which in my terms is anywhere but here) but for now I will consider my backyard paradise until we can go on a little mini-cation to get away for a little while!

As for the milk part of my post I don't have time today. Dr. Mercola has an article on his website about that fda and milk thing going on so you can find that article there.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Coconut: Let me count the ways. . .

Today I was craving fudge so bad I decided to take things into my own hands. I knew I could find a good tasting HEALTHY fudge. I remember hearing a friend of mine say she made fudge with coconut oil. I love coconut products because of how much healthier they are and they help me burn fat! So I did a search and after looking through a few recipes I decided to just do the simplest one. 

Yes, only THREE ingredients make this wonderful fudge! For those of you who have had Mackinac Island fudge this is not like that. The texture is lighter and it melts in your mouth like a dessert chocolate and has a deeper darker chocolate flavor which I just adore! While I still say Mackinac Island fudge is the best I will be making this kind of fudge here at home! 

Here is the recipe which I tweaked and will call 
"Simply Fudge"
1 cup coconut oil (I used room temp since it is not solid since we don't have air conditioning)
1 cup cocoa powder
1/2-1 cup honey (depending on taste, I used 1/2 cup)

Blend everything in the blender, pour into pan (I didn't grease it because of the coconut oil in the recipe) and put in the refrigerator until hardened. 

Can't get simpler than that! 

Coconuts are so good for us. I feel they are even better for us here than where they come from! Mostly because we need that type of fat in our diets here in the US. I was craving coconut water and lo and behold my favorite store in a tiny little community (I have to drive 20 minutes just to get there!) sell fresh young coconut! Well of course I bought one! I can't even get one from the big name brand grocery stores from a store an hour from my house! Imagine getting something so healthy and luscious so close to home! Well I got home, cut the top off and in went a straw... YUM! culinary heaven! I let my kids try it too, Evelyn wasn't too sure she liked it but she did ask for more a few times but my Ruger man couldn't get enough! I did some looking online about the benefits of coconut water. It is a better source of electrolytes than the sugary sports drinks in the stores! Not to mention there is something in coconut water (I can't remember without looking up the webpage again) that is similar to mother's milk! How neat is that?! I felt so revived after the hot day after drinking some coconut water. I hope that store keeps selling them! I sure will buy them! 

Coconut flavored tea is amazing too. I saw they have coconut milk creamer in the store (that I got the coconut from) so I will have to try that! It pays to do some research and find out how buying one thing can save you so much money, because of all the uses you can get out of just one thing. Now that is smart buying if you ask me! Butter prices have gone sky high so I have been using more of my coconut oil up. 

My next post will be on raw milk and how the FDA wants to outlaw it and how they are raiding farms (even Amish ones!) at gunpoint. Is it not our right to choose our food? Why can the FDA allow these awful by products and ingredients and junk food to be eaten by us, but not raw milk? Will they outlaw fresh vegetables next because of all the salmonella poisonings? This is scary business everyone. This is something I need to look into more. It pays to be well educated no matter where you live. Country or City we the people need to learn more about what we eat and what we do and what is going on around us or other people will dictate to us what, where,when and "why" we do things. 

A quote I heard today that made me think:
"Marriage isn't about finding the right person, it's about doing the right things".

12 more diamonds crocheted today! 1/3 done with one color and 2 more colors to go!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

My new crochet project started this week!

I am making a Christmas star crochet afghan. My goal is to have it finished for the fair. This is what I did the past two days. I need to make 60 some in 3 different colors! I have a little over a month. I can do it! It will take me a good 30+ hours to complete, probably even more. I started with green. Go baby go! I want a nice Christmas afghan and I need to make it now before the new baby comes in November!

Independence Day, Projects and more

Independence Day was a busy day. The radio stations played great patriotic music, and also gave some history which was really nice to hear on the radio!

No parades for us this year, I am pretty heartbroke about that. We were able to see two rounds of fireworks this year and no matter how "small" they are seeing the kids reactions made them big to me! I'm sure they were the coolest thing ever for the kids! Especially little man!

On our way down for a 2 hour trip to see my husband's extended family I started a new crochet project. I am making a Christmas afghan and my goal is to have it completed by the end of the month so I can make two baby quilts and start on a squash blossom quilt as my first official quilt. I do like the log cabin pattern too but I would make it in two shades of blue with a yellow underside.

Today I am struggling with a cold so I am taking more vitamin c to help me get over it. I have so much stuff I need to do. I need to catch up with house cleaning, I have half the garden left to weed and get looking nice and spiffy again and I want to do some more organizing in the house and in the yard. By the end of the month I want this place looking nice and spiffy at least on the outside. I am giving myself until Sept/Oct to get the inside all organized and decorated. I figure if I can have the entire house organized and decorated by the time this new baby comes then I can sit down and nurse the baby without having the housework nagging me, or a bare wall that needs a photo or picture or something bugging me to cover it to make it homey in here. I'm tired of the plain look so I need to get out to the thrift stores and figure out what exactly I want to do. I'm torn between two "themes" for the living room and also for my bedroom.  The kids room is probably the best room in the house regarding how decorating is going as I already have the barn animal theme. The back room needs to be painted because the previous occupants had a NASCAR theme and the walls are painted red and white with black (yes BLACK) trim. I want to paint it yellow with white trim (oh joy for me!) and put some nice lacey curtains up and hang my beach pictures up. The kitchen is going to be red gingham with either cherries, barns or cows. I do have a few chickens left from my old house that I have put in my kitchen but I don't want a chicken kitchen. I think I am going to do a farm kitchen with cherries, barns, cows and a few other farm animals. I hate clutter so to me less is more so I want to chose my decorative pieces carefully so they have to be the right ones.

The entry room/mud room is deer and I have a few things in that room but I need to get that old piano into the garage so I can repurpose it. Right now it is half taken apart and taking up space and making it look like a mess in that room and since that is the first room people see upon entry into my house I sure don't want them to get the wrong idea about me!

My bedroom is torn between the color blue, brown and yellow. I love yellow, especially in the winter time. It makes things seem more warm and sunny. I don't know the theme either, I was thinking western/horses but I love the beach so that is there in my thoughts as well.

As for the main living/dining room I was going to go with a cabin/northwoods/mountains/elk theme but this is an old farmhouse and I'm thinking more along the lines of the way my Great Grandma may have decorated. Since my bathroom is Moose/canoes/ maple leaves I think I will keep that cabiny look to the deer entry way and the bathroom.

Well I have to get started on my busy day despite having the cold. Today is a good day to do the dishes, put the kids down for a nap and after I put the laundry away I can work on my afghan. Then later on I will go for a walk and then get working on dinner. Fitting animals chores in sometime in the middle.

Chuggin away at another hot, summer, country day!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Holiday Weekend

So far this weekend started out ok but unfortunately went down hill from there. The kids came down with some kind of cold earlier this week and being out later than normal for fireworks, despite the higher than average temperatures, was just too much for the kids. The poor things ended up getting worse and now my husband and I both are coming down with the same thing! We weren't able to get to church this morning because of how sick the kids were. I know they don't like and sometimes even allow sick kids to go to the nursery and it wouldn't have paid to go to church without using the nursery. The kids runny noses wouldn't have let them go to the nursery so we just stayed home and decided to take it easy today since tomorrow will be another hectic/stressful/busy day.
 On our way home from the fireworks on Friday night.
 Evelyn enjoying her hamburger at the freedom fest we went to on Friday.
 Ruger already finished his hamburger!
Evelyn playing with the girls at the freedom fest waiting for the program to start with fireworks to finish!

So today I cleaned up the front porch, it was getting cluttered and totally bugging me. I also got caught up with laundry which is still hanging up on the line. I will bring it all in and fold it tonight or on Tuesday. I hate leaving clean laundry but since it was supposed to rain on Tuesday and I won't be able to do laundry tomorrow I figured I better do it all today even if I can't fold it all!
Tonight I am looking forward to a nice little cookout outside with just the husband and kiddos! We are going to have fire grilled chicken, grilled veggies and of course, smores!!!

Well, time to get back to the kids!
I am so thankful we live in a free country, don't forget what celebrating Independence day is about!