Friday, June 18, 2010


I have spent the past few hours pouring over images of various sewing rooms, craft rooms, scrapbooking rooms for ideas of how I want to set mine up. I am both overwhelmed and elated at the prospect of finally having a sewing room again. I haven't had one since we lived in Texas, before my youngest daughter was born. There I had a whole room and bathroom that originally was a two car garage and had been converted by the previous owners. Of course it ended up turning in to a storage/junk room. Then we turned it in to our oldest daughter's bedroom so youngest daughter could go in to a room. You see, since we had a 15 year gap between the two girls, and since we had room, we didn't want a high schooler sleeping with a newborn. LOL

At any rate, I am so ready to start the work on the two bedrooms and not really sure where to start. One room is now empty due to son moving out. However, he left behind a ton of stuff that needs to be dealt with. I have talked to him about the clothes and things left, he has said he has gotten all he wants, so deal with it all I will. I may even make a little money off of all of this mess.

It will be slower going than anticipated since I recently was told that anything done would be done by me. But, I am not helpless, do have some experience with minor carpenter work, and of course I do know how to google the information I need as well. So the experience will begin.

Tomorrow I will get started on going through more clothes, purging as much to the trash as I can, and then get the room ready to paint. We have family arriving tomorrow, beach trip on Sunday, then a week of family reunion so will be camping for that. I hope to have the empty room painted, new carpet in, and youngest daughter moved in before the new grand baby arrives. We will be taking a trip to meet him of course. Then, after the first room is done, it will be time to start on the second room. New paint and wood floor in there as I think it will be much easier to clean up from sewing and scrapbooking. I will then get all my supplies and machines moved in there and set up. I am really hoping to be able to have it all ready so I can make a few clothes for my daughter and I for fall, new quilt and some clothes for new grand baby then have the rest of the year to work on Christmas gifts. I have determined quite to my sadness that it will be necessary to find part time work unless I can figure out something else. It is also quite clear that I am unable to handle full time employment due to health issues. So, like so many other people, I will just have to suck it up and make the best of it.

So there you have it. The plans are in the works, and I am now motivated to get the new "studio" up and going as soon as I get youngest daughter all squared away in her new digs. This is going to happen. I will have a room by football season (hopefully) that I can retreat to that will house my sewing machines and supplies, crochet supplies, comfy chair, a TV, the computer and printers (have to have them in order to print photos for scrapbooking and load design card for embroidery machine), scrapbooking equipment and supplies along with also having access to my beads and embellishments for crazy quilting embroidery. My menu planning for all the meals will be done in there as well. Oh, I am giddy with anticipation.

Thanks for dropping in and please leave a comment.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Thursday blahs

I am sitting at the computer, playing the farm games, waiting for the doctor's office to call so I can take hubby in. It is so frustrating to sit and wait. We could have already gone to the urgent care and been seen and some type of treatment started. I called them six hours ago.

Have been doing very well at cooking from the pantry.

Sunday - steak, baked potato, salad

Monday - taco ring, corn, beans

Tuesday - slow cooked chicken, mashed potatoes, green beans

Wednesday - leftovers

Thursday (tonight - depends on when we go to doctor) - beef fajitas with rice

Friday - slow cooked Pork Carnitas, carrots, noodles

Well that has been the week and the plan at any rate. I rarely plan for weekends because I never know what is going to come up. Tomorrow morning I plan on cooking up several chicken breast. Although, if I can get a hold of the grill early enough, may just grill them. They are for cutting up and packaging so I have cooked chicken meat on hand.

Okay, so far, have spent right at $150 on groceries this paycheck. Of that, about $70 was actually food. I am planning on using the massive stockpile I have on hand and except for milk and bread and an occasional stray item, should be all I need for the month. We have one week we will be gone camping in there. Tonight, I plan to actually write out two weeks worth of menu plans and get back on track with that. Will join the internet group and post my menus on each Monday. Will also be posting how the recipes add up cost wise.

Back to the subject of the $5 Dinner Mom's Cookbook. I posted a comment about the inconsistencies in cost of items on the author's site. She wrote me an explanation explaining that when she made the various recipes some were with ingredients from sales and some were not. I do understand, but still think that it was just a bit misleading as to the cost. In my opinion she should have gone with the normal price and then if a person happens to hit a sale it is just extra savings. She also gave me a link to a comment from a fellow Californian who commented that prices were not so bad out here. I say bullcorn, they are ridiculous compared to the northern or eastern states and from what I have read on postings from fellow members of some of my internet groups it gets worse the farther west you go. However, I will say this about the $5 Dinner Mom's Cookbook. The recipes sound good and look forward to start trying them out. They look to be budget friendly and for the most part seem to fit my family's taste as well. What I would call normal foods, normal ingredients, not a lot of processed or pre-packaged stuff. One other thing that is a bit misleading is the title itself. One recipe that is under $5 does not make a $5 dinner. If you spend almost five bucks on the main dish, you still have to make a couple of side dishes and desert to go with it. Granted, a lot of the recipes are casseroles or include a pasta or rice, but really does not make a full meal. I like the book, just don't like the little details that are really wrong. I think the cost is very misleading.

Along that same subject, an interview on a talk show with a mom of 4 has been circulating the group postings lately. This woman apparently feeds her family of six for next to nothing because she uses coupons to cut the cost. She walked through a buying trip with the reporter and showed how she does it. I understand the concept of coupons, but there are some major reasons that it just doesn't work for me, and in all honesty never has. Here is why.

1. I can never get the amount of coupons she seems to. I have always looked through newspaper, mailbox, magazine ads, begged family and friends, joined groups that traded coupons, even paid a fee to subscribe to a coupon service, am big enough to admit that I have even stooped so low as to tear out a coupon or two from the magazines at the doctor's office. I know that you can download them and print them on the computer as well. The coupon queen pulled out coupons for meat, produce and milk. I have never come across those.

2. Not one store in our area doubles or triples the coupon value. Nor do they allow me to use a store coupon with a manufacturer coupon for extra savings. Not one store in my area (and by area I mean town) will accept a computer printed coupon.

3. Most of the items I buy on a regular basis are readily available in generic or store brands and the price is a lot cheaper than the brand name even after the coupon is deducted.

So, that is my thoughts on the subject.

I started this on Thursday but was sidetracked when I had to take hubby to doctor. He has some type of stomach bug that is causing severe diarrhea. They gave him IV fluids and a lot of lab work. He is still down and has no appetite, has lost almost ten pounds the last three days. Normally this wouldn't be a worry so much, except for the fact that when I almost lost him due to colon cancer a few years ago the symptoms were very similar. He told me not to go there, but it just happens. At any rate, I am forcing myself to wait until all the information is in before deciding anything. The doctor feels it is some type of infection, but needs lab work to tell if it is bacterial (antibiotics will be prescribed), viral (has to run its course), or if it is due to some type of parasite. At any rate, I felt bad when I woke this morning, but seem to be doing okay this evening. On the side of caution, I have decided to not visit mom for a couple of days. I would not want to get her sick or any of the dear oldies that live there.

Needless to say, my menu plan has changed since I started the post. Last night I fixed fish and mac & cheese for daughter and me, hubby didn't eat. I need to grill the fajita meat, but have no idea how to cook it on the grill outside so have to decided to just freeze it in the marinade until everyone is feeling better. For tonight, I have homemade chicken soup going in the slow cooker. Very easy for everyone to eat, easy to cook, and easy on the budget as I used left over chicken from Tuesday's meal. Still have no idea what I am going to make over the week end, guess it will pretty much depend on how everyone is feeling, but still working on planning next weeks meal.

Thanks for stopping in.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Getting Started

I spent all day yesterday cleaning out kitchen pantries and feel really good about what I got accomplished. Only made it through one and a half cabinets, but the one cabinet is a converted small closet and the half of cabinet I completed is the top half of the main pantry and while isn't huge is nice size. I am upset that I had to throw so much away but found lots of expired food and those blasted brown moth's and their maggot looking babies were quite a few things as well. So, here is how the kitchen work has played out so far.

The small closet was converted by previous owner's of the home. It is actually located by the front door right across from the kitchen and am sure it was a little coat closet. I figure it is about two and half feet wide and about eighteen inches deep. There are four shelves and then the floor area. I mainly use it for extra storage of kitchen ware, not much food. One entire shelf is hubby's liquor collection. Of course, my friend Capt. Morgan, and his sidekicks amaretto, peach schnopps, raspberry liquor, and mixers are visiting there as well. For a couple that doesn't really drink much we are well stocked. Hubby likes a good margarita but I found that I have three bottles of tequila. Hmm, maybe some tequila chicken or margarita marinade is about to show up on the menu. LOL I keep my potatoes and onions in a big bowl in the bottom and yesterday when cleaning out I did however get rid of the healthy start in that bowl to homemade vodka. Man do potatoes and onion smell offensive when they melt in to mush. Some overlooked home canned goods were found underneath the fifty boxes of swifter refills. Okay, not fifty, but did count five open boxes. Two were the refills for the duster and three were boxes of the floor swiffer. I had no idea that ants were so attracted to those floor rags. I saw somewhere a pattern to make a crocheted swiffer type duster that goes on the handles and then you just toss it in the washer. I kept a copy of that somewhere and it is going to be one of my first projects when I get my little craft room up and going. Other than that, the cabinet mainly has baking supplies. You know, foil pans in all sizes, a box of chocolate chips, paper goods and lots of empty storage containers. The bottom is where I keep my gizmos that I have to have to help me cook...but never use. Like the meat slicer we bought when the boys were smaller and ate us out of house and home so we bought bulk cheese and and cooked hams and breast to slice up our self. It was a huge savings, we could buy a five pound block of cheese for about what one pound sliced from the deli cost. I would slice off part of it, grate a big bag full, then cut the left overs in to cubes for snacking. Now it is just the three of us, and most times just one or two for a meal. And, of course there is the big griddle, canning supplies, and the rice cooker. Although, I quit using the rice cooker because it just didn't seem to make enough, so it might get brought out again. Found a recipe yesterday that uses the rice cooker to make oatmeal and am going to try that one out for sure. I also have a two foot high, literally, stack of assorted Jell-o molds. There is a flag for patriotic holidays (never used), mold to make jiggler jelly beans (used a little), eggs (used a lot) and then the cars, footballs, Christmas shapes (never used) and for a lark when I was involved in a frog themed dinner there are some little frog molds as well and two molds to make what looks like a bundt cake or ring of Christmas trees. At least now I can see it all. Hubby was impressed so we just won't mention the three shelves in the garage that have baking sheets, enamel water canner (huge), roasters, canning pans, shaved ice maker, ice cream maker, pressure cookers (one large for canning and two small for cooking) pasta maker, coffee makers not used any more and the food sealer (which needs to be moved to the house because we use it a lot). Oh, and I just put an electric orange juicer out there too. That is left over from when we would go to the coast for the day and come home with a twenty pound box of juice oranges for $4. I would juice them and freeze the juice.

I am a gadget junky. Along with all I already mentioned, there is also a deep fryer, electric skillet, milk shake maker (won it at some picnic) blender, food processor, hand mixer, the thing you stick in a cup or bowl that blends, about five different crockpots (various sizes and shapes) and of course my bread machine that also makes butter. I found something yesterday that resembled what only a ninja warrior would carry, one twist and a zigzag of sharp blades would come out and cut what ever you had sticking in it. I tossed it. LOL

As for the actual pantry of food stuffs? I got the top half done and now know that I have seven cans of cream of celery soup (for example) to use in a recipe. This where I was very wasteful and threw so much out. Found jars of miracle whip that expired in 2008. It may have still been perfectly fine, but just wasn't willing to risk being sick or making my family sick. Same with all the cans and jars that had expiration dates. I am for sure going to keep a better eye on what I have and make sure to use it. I also put the items back in the cabinet and stacked the older ones in front so would use them first, putting like items together. Now all my green beans are with green beans in the same spot, corn together, peaches, and such. It is only half the cabinet, or all the canned goods, but I am seeing that pretty much all I need is some meat. Even found four cans of chilies in adobo sauce that I had on my list to buy because they were used in a recipe I saw on TV.

Now for the bottom half, which should go a little quicker. Mainly baking mixes, flour, sugar, cereal and such. What I call the boxed goods as opposed to the can. I know that when I get done with all of that I will be well stocked in that area as well. My goal is to get through the bottom section and then finally go through my spice cabinet. A little small cabinet by the stove, but loaded with spices and flavorings. I have been writing everything down as it goes back in to the pantry so I know what I have on hand and will probably spend tomorrow entering it in to my MasterCook program. From there I can enter recipes, create menu plans from the recipes, then create a shopping list which will check my pantry list to see if I already have it. Great help for the goal of organizing the meals. Only draw back... if you have five recipes that call for milk, it will list five milks on you grocery list. LOL I am thinking that when I plan my menus, I need to start trying some pressure cooker recipes along with at least twice a month try some new ingredient, like the chilies in adobo sauce, or a new vegetable or fruit.

Oh well, enough talking, I need to go to Facebook and check over my farms then back at it in the kitchen. I still have a cabinet full of pans that needs to be cleaned out as well and am hoping that Monday I will able to start on clearing out the vacant room so we can start painting. Here is the plan for that. Oldest son has moved out. That bedroom is going to be cleared, cleaned, painted, new carpet, and youngest daughter moved in to it. Then, her room will be vacant. That room will be cleared, cleaned, painted and new floor. Hope to get wood flooring down in there as it will become the craft den. I will move my computer in there, need it to load designs on card for machine embroidery. I will set up all my sewing machines and move in all my supplies for quilting, sewing, crocheting, machine embroidery and scrapbooking. My daughter and I will hang out in there. I even saved my dad's recliner to put in there and will sit in it, think of him, and do the hand work. I see my crazy quilting coming back to life. Oh yeah, of course there will be a TV in there as well. LOL I AM SO EXCITED just thinking about it. I can sew til all hours with worrying about the light or sound interrupting any one's (mainly hubby who seems to have to go to bed by nine) sleep. Although he snores like a chain saw, I am told I keep him from getting a restful sleep. I am thinking I may have to find a dressmaker's mannequin now that I will finally be able to make some clothes. Of course quilting will be first, and am very motivated to get it all set up so I can make new grand baby a quilt. Now that I am not working, I think it will probably be a homemade Christmas all around. LOL Hmm, wonder if daughter would accept some handmade infant wear?

Well off to other things. Will post my progress when I have any. Thanks for visiting.