Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Excited to start January!

Usually at this time of the year I could care less that it is New Years, it just never really mattered to me. This year I have been doing so well with all my goals including my weight loss that I am looking forward to another year to prove myself. I made it to my January 1st goal of 180lbs and couldn't be happier with myself. My next goal is 170 by Feb. 1st and I know that I am going to get there! My crunchy mama team over on SparkPeople is having a January Challenge and I know that that is going to motivate me a ton.

WOO HOO! Happy New Year everyone! :D

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Homemade Thank You Cards

Well we finally got to make our homemade Thank You cards for the Christmas gifts the girls received. I know they are pretty basic but I think they are cute and had to put up a pic of them. Plus they were simple to make and "free" since I already had all the stuff. The girls should have fun adding their touch to the I just have to find an envelope big enough for them!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Knitting Projects


As promised here are the pictures of my knitting projects. The blanket was my very first attempt at knitting and it was so loose that it is now for Hailey's babies, the scarf is for my momma and I think that it turned out much better than the blanket!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

My budget results

Well after one whole month on my new budget I have to say that I am doing pretty well considering it was Christmas and all! I was able to cut our grocery bill from $1,100 a month to $633....still $33 higher than I was aiming for BUT that does include a trip to Sam's Club for all the bulk products we will need for next month (25lb bag of flour, 25lb bag of sugar, case of soy milk, etc.). So I am shooting for a grocery budget of $500 next month.

I also have been keeping a notebook of categories for our spending and I have found some areas that need to be put into the budget so I will be going over the numbers again and re-jigging it all for a more accurate budget.

So I am happy to say that it IS possible to cut $500 from your grocery budget and live to tell about it, and I am not done yet!

Homemade "Pop-tarts"

Well I finally worked up the nerve to make these and I have to say that while they are not pretty they are really good! The homemade pie crust was the sticking point for me and this was my first attempt at making it. We shall have to see what the reviewers think of them, as you all know there is no one out there as picky as a 4yr and 2yr old!

Garden Update

A few weeks ago I managed to get all my new veggies planted and I am happy to say that they are sprouting! All of my zucchini are now up as well as my cucumbers, I think I have a bell pepper that just sprouted but it has been raining for days here and I have not been able to get out there to inspect. Still no tomatoes or onions but if I remember correctly they have the longest germination period. With all the tropical storms hitting us recently there is defiantly enough moisture out there! My last two attempts at growing a veggie garden failed so if this works I am going to be one happy camper. The first time we were in a drought and I didn't get them watered enough, the second time they needed more fertilizer and I didn't realize it till it was to late. This time I have both those fronts covered so we shall see..... I will get a pic up once it stops raining long enough to go out there!

My latest projects

Well I have been a busy little bee over here lately. I have started piecing a twin size quilt that when finished will be sold on, as well as starting knitting on a new baby blanket for Hailey's baby dolls and knitting a new scarf for my mom for her birthday. I will get pics of the projects up as soon as they are all finished.

In my effort to be more green I have also decided to cut out all paper products in the house (except toilet paper I am not willing to go THAT green!). I just found some cloth napkins on eBay that were a bargain, 12 napkins each 20x20. That is way huge for us so I am going to be cutting them down to 6x6 which will give me a total of 108 napkins for $9 not bad if I do say so myself. I also found some washcloths for the downstairs bathroom so I can stop using paper towels in there as well. Should be a great boost for my environmental effort as well as my budget.

I have also decided to try making my own cat litter as well. The clay stuff is just so bad for the environment as well as my pocket book. We are using old newspapers which we are shredding and then washing, adding baking soda, and then drying. My first batch is still drying so we will see how kitty likes the new stuff before I start making more.

Christmas was a blast and we had fun opening all our presents. The girls made Santa homemade Oatmeal Chocolate Chip cookies that I happen to know Santa loved. I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas as well and have a happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

My quilt


So I FINALLY finished the quilt I have been working on forever. This is defiantly my frugal and green thing for the week. I started this quilt over 2yrs ago when trying to conceive my second daughter as a way to stay busy and not obsess since it wasn't happening. I was at home visiting family and friends when I got the idea to make a quilt. Some friends of mine from college and I picked out all the fabric. We have since drifted apart as happens over time so it is a nice final outing that I will always have a physical memento of. I started cutting out the pieces as soon as I returned to England and magically once they were all cut out I got pregnant with Sara. We then moved to a bigger house and with unpacking, being pregnant, and taking care of an 18mo old I lost interest in the project. Fast forward two years later and we moved once again this time to Hawaii. I found the pieces in a box and became interested in working on it again. I pieced about half of it (by hand) before I had to start sewing new diapers for Sara so it once again got put on the back burner this on and off again work on it has continued since. When Bry asked me what I wanted for Christmas this year I said a new quilt for my bed even though I had this one on a shelf 1/4 quilted. So in the interests of my budget and being more green I thought better of it and told him I would just finish the one I had started. So after 2yrs of working on it I can finally say it is DONE! Woo Hoo :D It is 100% handmade (my sewing machine and I are not currently speaking after making the diapers) and will always have tons of memories for me.

I have some extra pieces left and I was trying to decide what to do with them. I think that I have enough to make a twin quilt (may need to add a little more white to pull it off) but I don't really want my daughters bed to match mine so I think when I finish it I will be putting it up on maybe with the incentive of being paid I can get it done a little quicker! lol

Monday, December 22, 2008

Homemade Bread


In an effort to cut down our grocery budget (spent $1,100 last month) and eat healthier we are trying to cut out all the processed foods in our diet. I finally got up the nerve to make homemade bread again after having some disastrous results in the past. The loaf I made tonight actually LOOKS like bread so we are already ahead of the game. I haven't tried it yet since it is supposed to cool completely before you slice it. It is kind of on the small side...maybe it is because I only kneaded it for about 4min instead of 10 but my arms were tired! We shall see how it tastes :D Not sure what the cost comparison is for making it at home versus buying it in the store...Since it only took 2c of flour and a little yeast/milk/butter I would think I could make quite a few loafs for the amount I usually pay for one pre-made in the store. The question will be if I can get my hubby and kids to eat it without complaining that it doesn't look like what they are used to. My next loaf will be whole wheat...that should be interesting!
My next baking project will be to make homemade "Pop-Tarts" the girls love them but they are so expensive when you eat them at the rate my kids do (about 1box per 2 days). They seem simple to make the most complicated part will be making my own pie crust, never tried that before but it can't be as hard as making bread!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Garden Discoveries

I was out working in my garden yesterday and I made a very interesting discovery. I have no idea what type of Caterpillar this is but I thought it was just to cool not to get a picture of. I started to show it to the girls but then I figured they would want to touch it and then well you see where this would have gone. I am going to do some research tonight to see what in the world it is....hopefully it is not the snails all over again!

I also found that my strawberry is FINALLY producing! I had completely given up and didn't think it was ever going to do anything. Well surprise surprise I have 2 strawberries on there.....quite the crop if I do say so myself ;P

I finally got everything planted. I just put in Tomatoes, Bell peppers, Cucumbers, Zucchini, and onions. The soil out there isn't the greatest quality so I raised the beds and put down a layer of peat moss and then topped it with organic potting soil. By back is killing me! But all the hard work is done and now I just have to sit back and wait for the plants to start growing. I will take some pics when things start to get going out there :D

Done Shopping!

Well I am finally done with my Christmas shopping for this year. I managed to get Bry and the girls all their gifts for $150....not bad if you ask me. Since the girls get SO much from their Grandparents it just seems silly for us to go broke buying them extra gifts, so we stick with the stockings. It is defiantly relaxing to have it all over and done, now I just have to wrap everything from the Grandparents and get it all organized.

We have a family tradition that every year on Christmas Eve we make homemade cookies for Santa. This year we were going to make some fancy vegan cookies that I saw in a magazine that looked great, but they were a little pricey on the budget. There were about 11 ingredients on the list and I had NONE of them! So instead we are going to go with the standard Chocolate Chip cookie that I have it on good authority Santa loves :D This will be the first Christmas that Sara gets to make the cookies so it should be fun!

Bryan actually has the entire next week off and I couldn't be more shocked. I of course still have to work but I am taking Christmas Eve and Christmas day off so that is something at least. I got all the stuff for Christmas Dinner today while I was out so it should be quite the feast over here :) Still not sure if we are having friends over or if it will be just us, either way it should be a wonderful day.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Cleaning Supplies

Thought I would share some of my favorite recipes for cleaning supplies:

Powdered Laundry Detergent- Top load machine
1 Ivory soap bar1 Cup Washing Soda½ Cup Borax
¼ Cup Oxyclean
-Grate soap or break into pieces and process in a food processor until powdered. Mix all ingredients. For light load, use 1 Tablespoon. For heavy or heavily soiled load, use 2 Tablespoons. Yields: 3 Cups detergent. (Approx. 40 loads)

All Purpose Spray
1/2 water, 1/2 white vinegar, 20 drops of essential oil (I like orange)

Dishwasher Powder-
1C borax
1C baking soda
1/4C salt (I used sea salt)
1/4C citric acid (I used 2 packets of unsweetened Lemonade Kool-Aid... has to be lemonade and un-sweeted or you'll dye your dishwasher.)
30 drops citrus essential oil (but I didn't add this to my mixture)
*put it all in a container and use 1T in each cup per load

Monday, December 15, 2008

Homemade Shampoo?

OK, so I still have to do something green this week and I was reading this article about how to make your own shampoo and conditioner. I admit I am a snob when it comes to my hair and face care products, but in the interests of being green and cutting back for my budget I am willing to give it a try. Now just have to find some soap flakes......

Anyone want to try it with me?



So I am working really hard on my organic garden. I got organic soil, organic fertilizer, even organic seeds. Then I find these snails have taken over my backyard. I at first thought that they were cute...I mean come on look at those shells...then I notice my plants are starting to die. So I come on here and I look them up and they are Giant African Snails. Not only are they known to eat over 500 different types of foliage including EVERYTHING I have in my garden, but they also carry meningitis! OK not cool! Apparently they have the junk in their mucus so EVERYTHING that they have crawled on is now contaminated! OMG! Everything in my backyard including all my veggies is now contaminated with meningitis?! Luckily I was about to rip out all the plants that are back there (they were dying anyways) and replace them with new but still! I have been EATING stuff out of there! Now Bryan has a headache and is convinced my tomatoes gave him meningitis! MEN! So my organic veggie garden is off to a WONDERFUL start :(

Christmas is finally here!


Well we finally got our Christmas tree up last night. Yes I know we are procrastinators :D Despite the warm weather I think that we are finally in the Christmas spirit over here. I still haven't done ANY Christmas shopping though. The girls get so much stuff from Grandma and Grandpa that it just seems silly to buy them more. We have already gotten 10boxes each with multiple gifts in each, and that is just one set of Grandparents! I think that I am going to get them some stuff for their stockings and say done, not like they are going to know the difference. Bryan on the other hand will know if I don't get him something so I guess I am going to have to brave the stores :( He finally told me what he wants for Christmas this year....clothes. This from the man who's list usually consists completely of new video games! He says he knows he is getting old when he starts asking for clothes for Christmas :D Of course he wants shorts and even though it never gets below 75 here all the stores have switched to winter clothes....could get interesting!

And here is a pic of our VERY small backyard that we decorated as well....

As for my goals for the week I opened an savings account for my farm and deposited my first $25. Feels good to be making a change :D

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Step One

Well it is all well and good to make a list of goals but what am I going to do about them? I think that once a week I am going to make an effort to make progress on each of my goals. So let's see.....

Goal #1: My farm....this one is going to take some serious once a week I am going to deposit $25 into a savings account for use in buying my farm. Yes I know that at this rate I will be 90 by the time I can afford it, but it is a step in the right direction and there is nothing that says I can't put more in once I have paid off my debt.

Goal #2: Becoming more Green: Once a week I am going to come on here and tell you lovely people my newest endeavor into becoming a more green family :D Lets see how creative I can become.

Goal #3: Raising little girls in a increasing sexual/morally bankrupt society: This one is easy right now. Since they are 4 and 2 it is really easy to control what they watch and come into contact with. I plan to continue on the path I have been following for the present and re-evaluate when Hailey starts school.

Goal #4: Debt free. This one is going to take some dedication on my part. I have my budget but I am not the greatest at sticking to it. So I am going to start writing down everything I spend and keeping within my budget. Once a week I will come on here and let you all know how wonderfully I am doing :P

Goal #5: Finishing Teaching Certification Program. I am going to start working with a tutor and I am going to pass this stupid final. I will let you all know how wonderfully I am doing :D

Goal #6: Ecological Volunteer work. I have sent out some emails looking for some opportunities locally and I will continue to do some research on this one. There is a wonderful conservation area close by but since it is on another island there is no way I can economically justify volunteering there ($700 round trip).

I defiantly feel better now that I have that all worked out. Now to stick to it!

My goals

So I have this image in my head about where I will be in 10yrs. It has been the same dream for years upon years and I just realized that I am doing NOTHING to get there! I know that unless I work hard and dedicate myself my dreams are never going to come true. So I thought that maybe having a place to put me thoughts down and work through some of my issues might help me stay focused and keep working at it even though it is not going to be easy.

So you may be asking what is the dream that has been rattling around in my head for the last 10 yrs? OK here it goes:

First off I want to own a goat/sheep farm in the highlands of Scotland. This is the one that is complicated. Since Bry is in the Air Force we are never in the same place for more than 3yrs, owning property is a big problem. I love to travel and I have SO enjoyed all the new places we have gotten to see. I would NEVER ask Bry to get out, I honestly enjoy the lifestyle. So this is one dream that has to wait till he retires, only 15 more years to go! The fact that this dream is going to have to wait till retirement is the thing that is pushing the rest of my dreams to the back burner....why bother I have 15yrs to work on it kind of thing. But I know that if I don't start working on it now I am never going to get there.

Secondly I want my family and my future farm to be ecologically responsible. I want us to live with the minimum of carbon off put and I want us to get away from all the chemicals that are everywhere in our society. I have started working on this one but we have a ways to go. I am growing my own organic veggies, making my own cleaning supplies, buying organic produce, and buying organic/responsible products. But as with everything there is a ways to go before I will feel like we have reached my goal.

Third I want to raise children that are morally and physically responsible. I refuse to allow anything negative to affect my children. There will be no Brats dolls or mid drift showing tops in my house. I want to raise little girls who are more interested in their government/society/environment than in what the latest "hot thing" is for their peers. I have contemplated homeschooling the girls to cut down on the amount of outside influences that are affecting them, but I don't think I will ever do it. I don't want to restrict ALL outside influences and I the world at large is not going to drastically change by the time they go to college (and they WILL be going to college) so I need to prepare them to live in the world as it is. They need to know how to deal with all those negative influences on their own because I won't always be there. So homeschooling is out and I need to figure out how to raise children who are true to themselves and strong enough to show it.

Fourth I want to be completely 100% debt free. I have worked out a budget and if we stick to it we will have accomplished this one in 12 months. The hard part for me is sticking to it though. There is a reason we have $8,000 is credit car debt and a car we couldn't afford, I have a little problem with impulse shopping. I LOVE to shop it doesn't matter what I am shopping for I just LOVE buying things. Need to get this one under control ASAP.

OK so there are my goals. I am going to use this blog as a way to stay centered and keep my goals moving in the right direction.

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