Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Do One Thing...

I had to call the trash company today since our guy didn't pick up our trash yesterday. We've been with this company for 11 years, and this rarely happens, so no big deal.

However while I was on the phone with them, I talked to the customer service rep about the recycling program Waste Connections just started offering to customers and it sounded so good that I signed up. The program sounds really easy and there is no presorting, which is a great incentive to do it. Plus they take chipboard, paperboard and corrugated cardboard. Some places don't take this and that has been an issue for me since we end up having a lot of that after trips to Sam's. They don't take plastic shopping bags, which is no surprise, but they do take a really large variety of other materials which makes this worth the $3.75 a month fee that's added to our trash bill. I am working hard to make myself remember to actually carry my reusable shopping bags into the store when I shop, so I am hoping that the huge stash of plastic shopping bags in our house in slowly diminished as we use them for trash bags and other uses. We really have a lot of them--more than we should, but they make GREAT linings for the small wastebaskets in the bathrooms and bedrooms. When I was in Iowa, I picked up some really neat reusable insulated freezer food bags from the Hy-Vee grocery store. I have one from a local grocery store here in town, but it is not as big as these. When I hit Iowa again, I am going to pick up a couple more since I tend to buy all my frozen foods in one shopping trip and have three bags would be beneficial. I have quite a collection of reusable bags AROUND THE HOUSE, so the push is going to be to find all of them and divide them between the two cars so we have them no matter what.

Plus what we recycle is turned back into coupon points we get to use on other products. Yeah!

This weekend is going to be busy--I have a lace class at a yarn shop here in town, Jeremy and I have pottery class plus I want to get some fencing to mark off the section where the chickens will be. I am still looking at chicken coop plans and will be talking with hubby about building a coop. I plan on getting lumber to build some basic raised beds this weekend also. Nothing fancy, just boards nailed together with corner reinforcements to be filled with soil. I may build them at least 2-3 foot high so they don't require as much bending, but I'm still in the planning phase. That height might get raised. I am also making some clay garden markers at the pottery studio. I've seen these in gardening catalogs for a pretty penny. Since I am in pottery, it makes no sense to buy them when I can make them the way I want to for pennies.

My goal this season is to start getting my home in order both outdoors and indoors so I can be satisfied to stay home more often and create here. I tend to run around a lot more than I should, which usually ends with me buying something that I really don't need. This includes groceries. Our pantry and freezer are full, yet I tend to pick up a lot of extras when I run to the grocery store. I am working towards getting a chest freezer for the garage and making the effort to start freezer cooking (also called once a month cooking), plus getting a shelf for the closet under the stairway to keep extra canned goods when I find really great sales. This will allow me to go to the store less often and save $. Once we get the freezer I am going to look into buying half a cow from a meat company, then planning meals around that. I've noticed we are eating less meat lately, which is good. We used to eat really large meat centered meals. The boys have been happy with more green and starch centered meals with smaller servings of meat on the sides. That saves us money. I am going to dust off my cookbooks and start trying different recipes for side dishes -- I'm pretty bored with the current dished and prepared sides I've been serving. I am also going to dive into my "Artisenal Bread in 5 Minutes a Day" cookbook and make up the master dough for the fridge. I bought the storage container for it a couple weeks ago, I just haven't made the dough, which sounds pretty easy.

I've been lazy.

It would be nice to have a supply of bread ready when I want it and not have to run to the store for premade french bread or drag out everything to make it myself as I make the meal....

Monday, March 23, 2009


And how have you been?

I'd love to say I have been busy doing awesome budgeting and saving money, but the truth is that hasn't happened. I got off track with spending the past couple months, so I have found myself having to get back in the saddle and rededicating my efforts to pull us back in line.

So here is what is in the works:

1. This month we will start getting the chicken coop put together so we can get a couple chickens. I am looking forward to having fresh eggs.

2.We are also going to get a garden started this year to help ease the food budget. I think it would be great to be able to provide at least 3/4 of our greens this summer. I will be growing tomatoes again this year for both fresh eating and canning. In addition, I am adding peppers to the list so we can have salsa canned for the winter.

3.Getting a freezer: We have been talking about this for a while. I am trying to decide on the model and size, then we will get one. I think this will help save $ by being able to stock up, resulting in less trips to the store, and less impulse purchases.

4.Learning to bake more types of bread at home. When we were in Iowa, we had fresh boule bread and it was amazing. For the first time, I realized just how good well made bread could be. So I am going to brush off my bread cookbooks and start practicing.

5.Clean my house and focus on getting it assembled into a haven. We have a lot of stuff that can be done around the house, so I am starting to work on those projects. In the past I've had a lot of scattered projects that get half done...This season I am going to take one room and stay with it until it's done. This includes dusting off the sewing machine, pulling out the bins of unused patterns and making stuff for our home such as curtains and pillows. I have some great patterns that would be pretty easy to sew--I just have to sit down and cut the patterns and fabric, then sew them. I will probably start by getting the spare bedroom in shape so I can turn it into a guest bedroom and studio for my creative endeavors.

We are also working on getting better at recycling and composting. I found a great deal on a composting bin at Sam's last month and we have been pretty good about adding kitchen scraps and leaves to the bin. I am seriously considering getting a second bin since we filled up the first bin when we cleaned up under some of the trees last week. I know it will break down quickly, but I would like to have a bin to put the chicken coop cleaning into for use around flowers, which would keep the chicken droppings out of the food crop compost.