Friday, October 28, 2011


We hope you like the new design of our humble little blog. 
There is more to come. 
Hopefully, a button that you can post on your blog, etc.
Suggestions always welcome.
Please leave them in the comments section.
Have a wonderful weekend!
{ this moment }

a friday ritual - a single photo - no words - a moment I want to pause - savor - and remember
inspired by soulemama

Thursday, October 27, 2011

The Pinterest Challenge. Take Two.

It's on people!
 I'm excited to be put to the test again and see what everyone else is making too.

Ever since the last challenge I've been mentally earmarking things on my boards as possible contenders for the fall edition.

Here are some of the pins up for consideration:







I'd love to do something more home oriented but funds are a little short for that sort of thing.
Sewing tends to be my go-to because I already have all the supplies and fabric.
Plus, I feel awesome after I've created something for one of us... like a real renaissance women!
This time it will probably be something for myself.
The big reveal will be next Wednesday!!!

These are the lovely ladies hosting the challenge:
katie - Bower Power
sherry - Young House Love
ana - Ana White Homemaker
erin - House of Earnest

Please visit there blogs for more details and inspiration.
You can follow me on pinterest by clicking the badge in the sidebar!
Please follow.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The Lake.

Still trying to soak up as much nice weather as we can.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Grocery Challenge Update #2

The budget is blown.
But I have to say this challenge, for me, was not a waste of time.
I learned alot about what I'm buying, where I'm buying it and who's charging what.

So far I have spent $549.94
This includes two dinners with guests.
I have also included non-consumables in my total budget.
I decided to include them because I make a lot of our cleaning products myself (including the laundry detergent) using inexpensive ingredients such baking soda, vinegar, peroxide and castile soap.
We also use cloth diapers most of the time.

Totals for non-consumables came to $62.96.
If I hadn't included them, my total for the month so far would be $486.98.
It's not shockingly over budget. Not to me anyway.
I'm not gonna lie, I've watched a few episodes of Extreme Couponing just to see if I could learn a thing or two.
Unfortunately, I don't often find coupons for the quality of food that we eat.
I also don't need 72 bottles of mustard.

My two best money-stretching and ingredient-using recipes this past week were macaroni and cheese and a chopped salad.

For the macaroni and cheese I was able to use up all the scraps of cheese I had in the fridge along with Wegman's "Super Macaroni"(not paid to say that) which I purchased using a store coupon a while back.
I sprinkled some shredded parmesan and bread crumbs over top, baked it for 45 minutes and voila, dinner...and lunch....and another lunch....and maybe even a breakfast.

I also made a chopped salad using iceberg lettuce (cheap and crunchy). I saw this storing technique for lettuce on pinterest (you can follow me there using the button in the sidebar) and I have to say it worked quite well. I washed and chopped all the lettuce. I reserved some plain in one jar for miscellaneaous use later. The rest I mixed with chopped bacon, pumpkin seeds and broccoli and filled another large jar with it and stored it all away in the fridge. 

When I was ready to serve the salad I simply placed it in a mixing bowl (it already had the bacon, broccoli and pumpkin seeds in it), added chopped boiled eggs, crumble feta cheese, dressing and tossed it all together.

The leftover salad made a nice little lunch along with some leftover sweet potato soup later in the week.

October is not over yet. We'll see what the rest of this week brings.
Did I mention we will have house guests this weekend?
Oh yes, that will surely bump up the numbers.

Friday, October 21, 2011

{ this moment }

a friday ritual - a single photo - no words - a moment I want to pause - savor - and remember
inspired by soulemama

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

2011 TDL: Checking In

It's been a while since I've done an update on this list. 
In case you're just joining us, you can get up to date here and here.

2011 TDL
1. purchase mushroom growing supplies and make preparations for logs
2. pot rack for kitchen
3. organize phone and message center in kitchen
4. clean and organize under kitchen sink
5. purchase supplies for maple tapping for next spring
6. new couch for living room and general living room design
7. paint dining room
8. figure out a better situation for shoes/recycling by the front door
9. finish reorganizing and clean dressing room
10. clean windows
11. start and finish handmade gifts for Jenny, Helen, Becky, Melissa, Allison, Carol, Sarah and Pat.
12. new lighting for Iris's room
13. organize and backup iphoto
14. clean out pantry and wipe down shelves and bottles (ANTS!!!)
15. find and purchase vintage ceramic egg holder
16. sort through wardrobe and donate, trash or repurpose
17. learn one new knitting pattern
18. learn one new crochet pattern
19. paint giant urn and candle stick holders
20. finish mending and repurpose projects
21. plant salad greens, tomatoes and kitchen herbs
22. keep blog up to date
23. start etsy shop
24. buy more vintage/secondhand goods and hand make more of our clothing
25. run in at least two 5k's 
26. organize baby's outgrown clothing

I've checked off everything I've done to date.
#22 will likely go unchecked as it is more of a goal and ongoing process.
#1 is going to require a bit more research. I've tried to get books from the library but they haven't had what I'm looking for. I'm turning to the internet next and, if I must, I'll buy a book.
#24 has been a huge success and there will be a "fashion" post about that soon.
#26 has been done for a while and you can find out more about that here.
The couch is probably a pipe dream as it has not been the best year financially. Maybe next year.
#13 is going to require some real discipline but if I get through half of it by the year's end, I'll be happy.

Time is ticking away but I feel good about the things I've done so far.

Monday, October 17, 2011

The Pumpkin Patch

This was last year's pumpkin outing. It was just me, baby and the husband. 
It's always kinda been our thing to get pumpkins and carve them together, secretly competing for the best pumpkin.

And this is now...

Iris and her BFF Vivian

Cousin Matthew ringing the "Fun" bell.

The cousins.

Snack o' war.

Finally, a smile.

She enjoyed being pulled around in her wagon and she didn't even try to jump out.
That wagon used to belong to her Aunt Nicole (my sister from another mister) who is now 17.
I think that's pretty cool.

We haven't carved our pumpkins yet. 
I'll post some pics when we do and you can be the judge.

Friday, October 14, 2011

{ this moment }

a friday ritual - a single photo - no words - a moment I want to pause - savor - and remember
inspired by soulemama

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Grocery Challenge Update #1

So far this month I have spent $196.26 on groceries.

To be clear I have also:
 -included non-consumable items in the total.
-not included wine/beer
-not included eating out

We had a pretty well stocked pantry to begin with. Lots of dry ingredients like grains, rice and beans. Also, we are not vegetarian so there have been meat and fish purchases which can significantly bump up totals at the register. I only buy organic produce, meats from a local purveyor and get my fish from a quality monger. That alone can make already high prices, even higher.

I've had fun utilizing my resources and being creative in stretching meals.

One night we had salmon over curried lentils...

...and the next morning I had leftover lentils with a fried egg and a piece of naan.

Our fish monger also sells local dairy and by returning our glass bottles we recieve a discount.

I also made use of some cookbooks I had gotten from the library like this one.
Flipping through it I realized I had an unopened container of ricotta cheese that I had no plans for and made this "Warm Ricotta Custard" recipe which provided multiple desserts, snacks and even lunch for the nugget.

We had a dinner guest on Monday so I whipped up a crock pot meal of country style ribs and served it with a sweet potato and swiss chard gratin.
I used the veggie scraps to make a stock and that was used in the braising liquid, along with some red wine, for the ribs.
Taking this challenge has pushed me to use cheaper cuts of meat. A challenge I happily accept. They usually have more flavor but take longer to cook. In my opinion, it's worth the little extra effort.

I also whipped up my famous blender chocolate mousse which is little more than chocolate chips, hot water and 3 egg whites. A recipe I will share later.
 I saved the yolks and used them in the gratin.

This meal is still feeding us.

All in all I don't feel like we've had to sacrifice much. We still have guests, we still eat meat and fish (not every night), and we still eat local and organic produce. 
I've just had to be more creative in how and where I spend our money. 
The next trip to the grocery store will have to be well planned out and heavy with coupons if I'm going to stay within the budget though.

If you want to find out more about this challenge and/or follow along with other participants, click on the  Grocery Challenge badge in my sidebar.

Happy Saving!

Friday, October 7, 2011

{ this moment }

a friday ritual - a single photo - no words - a moment I want to pause - savor - and remember
inspired by soulemama

What, in god's name, is this thing?

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

The Grocery Challenge.

I seem to be on a kick with these challenges.
First, The Pinterest Challenge, now...

$400 Grocery Challenge

I was reading one of my favorite blogs, Beauty That Moves, and saw this.
At first glance I thought, "Wow that's a lot of money for groceries every month." 
But thinking about it, I realized I spend at least that.
There are some exceptions that she has listed. Thank god wine/beer are not included!
But we don't have pets and I'm not planning a trip to the orchard ( maybe when Iris gets older).
I plan on including any trips I make to the farmer's market in that budget.

I also discovered that if I go to the farmer's market right before it closes I walk off with a lot more bounty and a lot more money still in my pocket.

I spent some money this weekend but I have to find the receipt. 
I'll post an update once a week on what I'm spending, where and how I'm saving and how I'm making the most of what we've got.

Monday, October 3, 2011


It's October.
The weather has been frighteningly rainy. Like... apocalyptic rainy.
All of our fall/winter shoes and boots were covered in green fuzzy mold.
It's hard to fend off the humidity when you don't have air conditioning.
But a cool crisp fall air has moved in, for now, and even though there is still more rain in the forecast, we have this...

It is our primary source of heat other than some radiant heat in the kitchen and bathroom and it burns consistently (and by consistently, I mean 24/7) throughout the fall/winter season.
So it's safe to say that things are drying out. Finally.

This is also knitting weather and, as my 2011 TDL indicates, I wanted to learn a new knitting pattern this year. I've accomplished that and we'll have to talk more about that list soon.
I taught myself to knit in the round (with the help of books and the internet) and am becoming more "pattern literate". I still have a lot to learn but I feel much more confident as a knitter now.

Currently,  I'm working on these booties. This book "Knitting For Baby" has to be one of my greatest library finds. I recommend it for anyone just learning to knit and looking to tackle more involved projects. It is soooo user friendly. There are lots of patterns that use only the knit stitch so learning the structural part of knitting isn't clouded by trying to remember when to purl, knit, yarnover and blah, blah, blah. Plus, all the pieces are small and can be completed relatively quickly.

I might need to own this one some day but for now I'll just have to renew it from the library a few times.

In other news... I'll be participating in the "under $400 grocery challenge" this month. 
You can find out more about it by clicking on the "Grocery Challenge" badge in the sidebar.
Happy October!