October 31, 2008

Putting Up

As I learn to can, I get excited about what I can put up. I am amazed and in awe of people who put up hundreds of pounds of yummies.

Take Angie for example, she has been tracking what she puts up. Path to Freedom challenged people to record their harvest. Angie took that challenge and has put up almost 1,000 pounds! From apples to mung bean sprouts to zucchini! Then there is what she preserved and shared...wait shared??? blueberry jam???!!! ooooh...uh Angie we need to talk!!!

I can only dream of those numbers right now....

Maybe one day........

October 26, 2008

10/19 and 10/26 shopping

Okay got receipts from last week. Thankfully everything was still in my pouch!!

I posted about my 10/19 CVS in the previous post - so this is the remainder of my totals for that day

Spent: $5.20
Saved: $236.30 - 98%

And here is today's totals:

Kroger -
Spent: $3.75
Saved: $44.53 - 92%
Spent: $8.74
Saved: $196.19 - 96%
Spent: .03
Saved: $28.04 - 100%
(Spent $11.97 in ecbs and only got $7 ecbs. Used my ecbs to get the soda deal...wish we were not addicted to carbonated beverages!!!!!)

Awesome day! Mostly just got freebies today.

This is NOT just a couponing blog!! Promise! Just nothing else interesting is going on right now! Here I will show you....see next post

October 25, 2008

10/19 CVS shopping and TADA - Year Totals

Found my CVS receipts from last week in my binder.

spent: .87
saved: $97.20
Saved: 99%

(1-Powerade, 2-candy bars, 5-2pk. toothbrushes, 2-candy corn, 2-glow sticks, 2-toothpastes, 9-soap bars, 10-excederin, and 1-kleenex)

Since January 2008, I have tried to keep track of what I have spent on groceries and at CVS -

SPENT in 2008 (so far)
CVS: $138.37
Groceries: $963.55

SAVED in 2008 (so far)
CVS: $4,346.24
Groceries: $6,253.19

That's 97% at CVS and 87% on groceries. This includes all food, all personal care, all cleaning, and some but not all dog supplies. It's amazing to think back to when we had 7 of us in the house and I was spending around $1,000.00 a month on groceries. Now there is just 5 of us - my husband and myself, one preteen, and two teenagers (one is a vegetarian).

I don't do anything special to get these savings - I only buy something if it is close to free or free with sale and coupons. We do without some things but my pantry and freezer are usually completely full and my kids are never without food. I only shop, usually, once a week but will go during the week for fresh fruit and veggies, bread, eggs, or milk. (I miss my chickens!!) I have just started taking small trips to Kroger and Albertsons too.

I really want to rely less on stores though. I want to grow my own veggies, have an orchard of beautiful fruit trees, keep animals, etc. Call it homesteading, self-sufficient, or whatever. :) I am learning one step at a time.

October 24, 2008

10/05/08 shopping

Since I can't give totals for last weekend (see old post), I found the receipts from 10/05. I did not go shopping on 10/11.

spent: $36.40
saved: $282.95
Saved: 89%
(I don't usually spend this much but they had lots of clearance that I could maybe use for xmas. I got 2-razors, 2-vitamins, 4-12pk. sodas, 3-Barbie DVDs, 5-2pk. Disney socks, 4-lunchboxes, 10-disposable cameras, 3-3pk. mosquito bracelets, 1-Uno bucket, 2-spiderman games, 1-glucose meter, and 1-Always pads.)

spent: $33.92
saved: $326.38
Saved: 91%

October 20, 2008

10/19 Shopping

This is the day where I would tell you what I saved this weekend....I know I did good...spent somewhere around $5.00 for about $100.00 in groceries...but can I give you details...nooooooo...why you might ask? Well, see it was not my fault really...okay...see it's like this...

I have this really thick coupon book (the TOMB - I think the binder is 6" thick) and I also have this small coupon holder (plastic check divider). As I search for deals and such, I pull the coupons from the big binder and put them in the little holder. The holder is divided into Homeland, CVS, Other - and then in the back I put the receipts for the day, coupons I don't use etc. So anyway, for CVS I only need to take in the small holder and keep the TOMB in car.

Well, that little holder is still at CVS. I can't say how it happened. I keep track of my coupons like they are money (to me they are!). I know the manager so it is safe until next week. Next week - yeah - it's 30 minutes away - so with gas the way it is, it will have to wait until I can go next weekend.

Pear Jam

You are always told to read the recipe thoroughly (check), get everything out and ready (check), measure carefully (check)....LOL! What you forget to do is read the title page (nope) and read the side notes (nope). So I want to make pear jam with my pears. Got my new book, Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving, and looked in the back of it for just plain pear jam. Saw cinnamon jam, no biggie, I can just leave out the cinnamon. Turn to that page, read the whole recipe, get out all the ingredients, and off we go.

Step 1: peel, core, and chop pears...okay can do. Have this fabulous apple corer...has those pears peeled, cored and in slinkies in no time. It worked really well. I picked this up at a thrift store some time ago. I think it is from Pampered Chef - from the pictures I found on the internet. The slinkies are easy then to chop up. Now if I would have read the side note it says FINELY chop. I just chopped.

Step 2: Put chopped pears, lemon juice and sugar in a pot and heat to rolling boil (check), a rolling boil - add pectin, bring back to boil, and cook for one more minute (check). Well, when I added the powdered pectin in, it stayed at a boil - so one minute later, I took it off the stove. STOP! Mistake 1-Top of page says recipes for LIQUID pectin. Mistake 2 - side note says use directions from pectin box. What???? Called a lady I know that cans and she said it should still be okay....sigh.... So, I put it in jars and process it and tada.......

Oh did I forget to mention that when the processing was done, I made another..uh...boo-boo? Now for a new recipe folks! Step one - heat up a tall canner on stove top...not just heat it up - bring it to a boil and let it boil for 10 minutes with lovely jam in it. Step 2 - take one short person (that would be me HI!!) and have her turn off the dials at the back of the stove. But what ever you do, do not reach around (like a smart person), reach right over the top of it and do this - see pic - to the tenderest, softest, ouchiest underside of your upper arm.

Anyway, this morning the jam is still not set. Shouldn't it have set by now? Can I reprocess it? As in dump it all back into a pot, reheat it to a rolling boil and try it again? Maybe the pectin wasn't cooked enough because it was powder instead of liquid? Any ideas?

October 19, 2008

Wood pile

My next project...

My dad is going to come over soon and show me how to use a chainsaw to cut up this pile of wood (that I got off freecycle!). Now I can cut myself with a butter knife...how do you think a chainsaw is going to work?? Just call me "nubbs"! LOL

Looks like my storage barn could use a coat or three too! Another project...number 634 on the list! Need to mow too (#635)...sigh...

New garden spot

Thanks to Ron over at Homesteading Hickory Hills for the idea...here is the start to my garden -

Yep just a couple of pallets (fence?)
and a bunch of weeds!
Whoo hoo!

Greetings from the packrat...

Have you seen those shows that help packrats purge their houses...like Clean Sweep. They show these really messy rooms, convince people to let go of years of priceless momentos clutter, then clean up, paint it, and make it look all purty. I love those shows!! I can at least resign myself into knowing that my house is not as bad as those people. LOL I am the daughter of two packrats...it is in my genes. It is hard to get rid of things I like or love and might need one day. I fight it every step of the way! I put stuff on Freecycle all the time. Too bad I bring stuff in too!

What if I pass up this great find (insert any number of things here) and need it sometime in the future? I don't want to pay full price for it then! - Well this kind of logic has made my house full. I have things that I don't/have never/hardly ever use. But I can not seem to throw away. I plan to use "it" really I do....really...stop laughing...I hear you!!

October 16, 2008

Win this Quilt

I have been teaching myself to quilt over the past few years. I think I am more of a fabricaholic though! I came across this on one of the blogs I read.



October 13, 2008


I picked pears off a tree last Friday. I searched the web for pictures of pears and they all looked all pretty and perfect...mine don't look that way. So any idea what kind of pears these are? I think they may be Bartlett

horrid pics sorry

Most look like this and I think they are not ripe yet. I heard that was okay and to just let them ripen off the tree. They are hard still...it's been 3 days. What exactly does a ripe pear feel and look like???

Recipes for canning pears? I would love to hear from those that have canned pears and what to watch out for and what works best. Best recipes?

October 11, 2008

The Fabulous-ness that is He

There is nothing more sexy than a man who works very hard, puts his family first, holds your hand every moment he can, crochets, cooks, sometimes cleans, carves (crochet needles, magic wands, hearts, etc), and calls you during the day just to say he loves you and is thinking of you.

Just in case you did not know - my husband rocks! :) Good thing he does not read this..he would be embarrassed!

My hubby, who is on call, worked all week and most of last night - has did this so far today:

1. took our oldest son to work

2. went to work himself (he is on call at the hospital)

3. stopped by the grocery store and got milk, bread, sugar (because he knows I want to can pears), chicken (he found a great sale!), and my newspapers (for coupons). He even remembered to use the coupons for the newspapers!

4. made homemade fried chicken

5. vacuum sealed the remaining chicken (I can't believe he remembered!)

6. went back to work again!

All before noon. Yes, my sweetie is fabulous. I think I'm in love!! :) I am not worthy.


My daughter is waiting for....

We are all waiting for...

October 10, 2008


Any idea what kind of mushrooms these are? They were found in southern Oklahoma. Edible?

October 8, 2008

Catch of the day




I think he caught 10 or so that day. You can't tell from his face but he had a great time.

Life is Good

Fred/George fishing last week.

October 5, 2008


Went shopping this morning...have not added everything up yet. As soon as I walked in the door, my son gets called into work. Four hours to kill.....go to Target and Walmart to find a large container for sugar...no luck.

Does everyone know that Walmart carries canning supplies?! I didn't! They had pickling salt for $1, pickling lime $1, and PECTIN 3 pk for $1.50!!! (expiration date not until 2011!!!) I have found a single pack of pectin for a little over a dollar, and a 3 pk usually runs around three dollars.

Whoo hoo!!!

Now I think this was a great price....am I right? Is there some place to get it cheaper? Where does everyone get their canning supplies???

October 3, 2008

Another Friday

Ever notice the older you get - the faster time passes?

Ginny went to the unschool park day with her friends. Fred/George played Wonderland on the computer (he's reading!! sshhh don't tell him!). Ron did his college homework and played video games. Hubby worked then slept. I paid bills. Are you excited yet? (*snore*)

I have also spent the day looking at other blogs about canning, gardening, and homesteading. I realize I need to get a garden going again if I want to make it worth while. Last year the grasshoppers ate everything I planted!! Everything!! There were thousands and thousands of them. My four poor chickens did what they could but it was the end of my garden. (Our chickens were got by a skunk this spring). Now, I feel defeated...did I forget to mention it was my very FIRST garden???

I would love to have a big greenhouse, a large garden, and fruit trees and bushes. To can something I grew, how fullfilling! I have the room to do it....just not the know how. .....

October 2, 2008

9/28 shopping

When I went shopping on Sunday, I spent more than I usually do....but I got a lot of sugar and canning lids!

I spent $89.30 and saved $394.08...that's 82%.

I got 154 Easy Mac singles, 6 boxes of PopTarts, 4 cans mushroom soup, 4 cans refried beans, 11 canisters of Pringles, 24 packages of cookies (oh my!), 18 chocolate bars (think s'mores this winter), 10 bottles of juice, 10 Ronzoni meals, 4 TGI Friday frozen meals, 4 boxes of frozen waffles, 4 lbs. of bananas, 4 packages of lunch meat, 5 single pies, 20 packages of dog treats, 4 boxes of potatoes, 6 frozen burritos, 10 energy bars, and 4 packages of 1 lb. butter. For canning, I got 14 packages of 4 lb. sugar, 4 packages of Sure-Jel, and 6 boxes of 12 canning lids.

October 1, 2008

Homeschool 2009 - Fred/George

With Fred/George, we have mostly unschooled up until now. He is severely dyslexic. He is very bright and has learned so much by unschooling. He is wanting more now and is wanting to learn to read better so here we are. He has picked up workbooks and texts here and there over the years and done well with them if they are read orally to him. But like I said, he is wanting more, so I am giving him more. Many people think it is weird that we are so classical in nature (loosely following TWTM) but we are also unschoolers. I hate the labels. If you must label us....maybe interest-led? Well, I digress....that's fodder for another post. We need curriculum that is oral based....not finding much. He is very independent and does not like me to read everything to him, so whatever I can find that will read it to him so he can do it on his own will be FABULOUS!!!

Math: In math, we have worked off and on in textbooks and workbooks, but math comes easy for him to a point. He is also dysgraphic. I am thinking of using Teaching Textbooks 5 next year. It is on the computer and the program explains things to you step by step. Has anyone had experience with this?
Science: For right now, I think we are going with Prentice Hall Science Explorer series. I have picked out the ones that I think would interest him: Animals, Chemical (something), Chemical Interactions, Motion/Force/Energy, Electricity & Magnets, and Sound & Light. I bought, from PH, the Animal book on audio cd. If that works, I will buy the others on cd...they are expensive. I also bought the adapted workbooks for each of the above. The adapted ones just have a little easier words in them (4th grade level instead of 6th grade level I think). I am still looking for lesson plans for these. So if you have used these and have a lesson plan or you have seen one one the net (I have looked and looked), please let me know!!
History: We will definitely be doing History Odyssey Medieval Level 1. (My older kids did Level Two and really liked it)
English: Here I am really not sure. We have slowly been working through Spectrum Phonics. It is just enough for him and not too stressful. I am working with the diagnostician that did his testing and she is going to be helping me with this. But I am open to ideas.

So what we are looking for is:

Anything to help with dyslexia. Curriculum suggestions that read it to you (oral) but are able to be used independently. He is at the age where it can not be "babyish."

Any ideas????

Homeschool 2009 - Ginny

Our school year is almost over. We school year-round, so our new school year starts in January. So, now I am planning for our new year....and have came up blank! It should get easier every year!! Only two homeschooling this coming year, Ron is now in college.

Ginny - Ginny does most of her school on her own. She likes a lesson plan to follow but can deviate from it if she needs too (like mother like daughter). She learns differently in each subject.
Math: Math is hard for her. She is just not getting algebra. We have tried Saxon, Teaching Textbooks, Singapore, and even Key to Algebra. I am pretty sure she has dyscalculia. I have suggested just skipping algebra and doing a consumer math or personal finance, but she has her dreams and for some reason she thinks she NEEDS algebra. We have put it aside for now and she has been doing geometry. I am really considering getting "Life of Fred" algebra and seeing how that goes. Anyone used that? She doesn't want a tutor but I may have to break down and do that route here.
Science: She is finishing up Biology right now. She did 1/2 a credit of chemistry last year with my oldest but about half way through it was too hard since she did not know algebra (Spectrum Chemistry). So what next? She doesn't want to do physics. She would like to do Zoology but all the texts I have seen are way to advanced for her (they are advanced college texts). So has anyone heard of a high school level zoology course? It could be a unit study, online course, or text (w/lesson plan). Please let me know if you know of something.
Social Studies: Well, she has 1 credit in World History-Ancients, 1/2 credit government, 1/2 credit US History. A friend just gave us a course that is music/art history - starting from ancients. She hasn't decided if she wants to do this or not.
English: She has 1 credit for poetry. (She has spent the last year or two reading every poetry book she could get her hands on.) 1/2 credit for grammar (Easy Grammar plus), 1/2 credit for writing (we had a tutor for about 4 months)....and I think that is it. I will probably put her Shakespeare Studies (1/2 credit) here too but I'm not sure. She really needs help in taking sentences to paragraphs, then making paragraphs into essays. Also, we probably vocabulary. Any suggestions?
Other: She has 1/2 credit for Introduction to Business, 1/2 credit for keyboarding, 1/2 credit for Introduction to Computers, 1/2 credit for British Medieval Literature, 1/2 credit for Introduction to Psychology. Those are the ones I can think of off the top of my head. There may be more that I am just not remembering this morning.

So what we are looking for is:
Science - Zoology?
English - Composition (from sentences to essays...step by step), vocabulary
Other - Another psychology course, a computer course (get her more familiar with the computer ins and outs, or teach her adobe photoshop, or ????), digital photography course

I'm sure there is more but that's what I can think of now.

Now for Fred/George...........

Long time friends

Yesterday, as I was about to leave to pick up my two oldest kids from their jobs, I get a phone call from one of my long time friends. I have known her since I was 16 yrs old and trust me that was a long time ago. Time passes way too fast and we don't speak for a while (couple of years this time! How did that happen!!!) but she is always in my heart. Oh it was so nice to see her. We talked and talked and I finally had to have her come with me to pick up the kids because I was late! I miss her.

Sometimes our own lives get so busy with everything we have going....

Think I'm going to go email my other friends just to say hi!