Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Hippity Hoppity Easter's on its way....

That's right, this Friday is Good Friday and Sunday is Easter. Saturday there is a HUGE Easter Egg hunt at the city park. Lil Mr. V will be able to go this year and enjoy it so long as the weather holds up. Speaking of, the weather has be absolutely amazing! Right now, we have our windows open and a great breeze is coming through the house. I wished summer felt like this. I'd have an almost zero electric bill during those months. But this won't last long, and it'll be very hot and stagnant and it'll make me weep. To get ready for Easter, lil man and I are going to be baking and decorating Easter themed sugar cookies. I'll also be decorating some eggs for him to hunt around the house. We're supposed to be going to Mr. V's mom's for Easter dinner tomorrow night as well. So we're going to be doing some of those things. I thought about making some Easter cupcakes. I still might.

Yesterday, Mr. V and his friend G mowed the yard. It took a while, but it IS the first mow of the year. So all the rest should be faster, though not as quick as with a gas powered mower. But it really does look so much better. So that's a purchase I'm happy with. We'll see how I feel in the middle of August when it's hot as blue blazes.

Onto sewing news...I think I know which crib quilt I want to do first. I want to do this for my friend who's having a baby in August. I'll have to find a way to get it backed and batted. But I KNOW she'll love it. Her gramma was a quilter and she has all her old quilts. Anyways, that's all that's going on in the land of Tracy.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

What to do when you have fruit a wastin?

Make something out of it, of course! I had some oranges that I picked up at around 13cents/orange. Which is an AMAZING price, and I went overboard. I bought way more oranges than we could eat, so today we're having Orange-ade!I squeezed all 8 oranges into a 2 quart pitcher. Added 1/3rd cup of sugar and some lemon juice to just for some tartness, and voila! Orange-ade! It is good. I have some bananas that we couldn't get to in time so we're having banana nut bread. On top of this recipe of pumpkin apple muffins that I'm making, that's a lot of fruit stuff. (the apples are good, I bought them for the purpose of making these muffins.

Anyways, I think the spaghetti is cool enough for supper now. Time to eat!

Built my Mower, started my seedlings, built my own grow lamp....

So I built the push reel mower that I bought. And it does cut the grass rather well. It will take longer to mow than with a gas powered mower, but I'll get the workout that I need. I also started my seedlings. so they are in the greenhouse getting ready to germinate and sprout. :) I can't wait. I built my patio garden thing. It has holes in the bottom of it that you can hang cucumbers or tomatoes and it's open on top so you can plant other things. It's a solid square food. So I'm going to grow onions up there and tomatoes and cucumbers at the bottom. I can't wait! I had to take lil Mr. V to the doctor today for a strange rash that was on his back. Come to find out he has impetigo. That's like cellulitis but only in the superficial layers of the skin. So we got antibiotic ointment to put on it. I've been getting him to bed earlier the past couple of days. Starting around 8:30 we go to his room where I change him to his nighttime diaper and into his pjs. We sit on the futon and we read a few books and just calm things down. Then around 9 or 9:30 I lay him down for the night. He still can't fall asleep without someone in the room with him. So tonight I took my laptop in there and worked on some homework while he fell asleep. He only woke up once too. :) He cried, I loved on him and gave him his paci and he passed out. :) Yay! Hopefully this schedule sticks. I'm hoping so. His staying up until 2 or so in the morning is killing me!

Now for sewing related stuffs. I was at the goodwill the other day to get my old sheets for our rug crocheting lesson on the 6th, and I found a crib quilt pattern book. I'm trying to figure out if I wanted to do something from there. I'll have to think on it. :) Some of these patters look pretty complicated.

Well, this is done, time for sleep. 7am gets here sooner and sooner every day!

Friday, March 26, 2010

More from where earlier came from....

So I got my mower yesterday. It was too wet to put it together or anything. Tomorrow though....It's supposed to be gorgeous. Mom and "Onya" as lil Mr. V calls her are supposed to come and push him on his new swing (that's if Mr. V and I can get it up) and whatnot. I'm going to put the mower together and go on and start mowing my yard. In the backyard I'm going to clear out a spot at the backside of it, so I can get my pumpkin patch started. Just a few pumpkins. And I'll be putting in some flowers and bordering grasses and such. Decorate it some and get it to look nice. Make my backyard more inviting and someplace I'd rather be. Now if my duplex neighbour would be the same. He has beer cans and crap strung all over the yard. Which I'll have to be cleaning up if I'm going to mow because I don't want to damage my blades already. So I found another awesome website. This is a cleaning and de-cluttering website. This woman makes an overwhelming house (which is what mine has become) into something seemingly more manageable. God bless her! *L* She's not necessarily "frugal", or "green", however, she is all about time management. Which is something else that being so over cluttered can kill. Anyways, she's got some awesome ideas that even the most tidy person could use. The Fly Lady. So far, just implementing her 15 minute tricks and making my sink shine and getting dressed down to my lace up shoes makes a pretty remarkable difference. We'll check out my to do list this afternoon to see just how much I've managed to accomplish. :)

Food Waste Friday

Since today is trash day, everything had to go last night. I had to only throw out a couple of small pancakes that had gotten stale from the fridge. Otherwise there is no other waste. I have some oranges and bananas that need to get used up within the next couple of days so I might make us some fresh squeezed orange juice in the morning as well as some banana bread/muffins, etc. more to come later!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Trying new things and I'm liking it

So, over here in Tracy Land, we don't generally have much of a routine or schedule. It's been pretty hard to since I was in school during the week at odd hours and working all weekend long and with Mr. V working thirds. That makes any kind of routine off and really wonky. And suppertime on Mr. V's days off has been rather non-existent because I was always in class and he never "knows" what I am going to make for supper. So nothing is ever out and it's "welp, lets get pizza/chinese/fast food/etc." So, I downloaded a free e-book from here and the lady who wrote it is a stay-at-home mom and she has a meal for the month plan, rather than just the week. Which I figured it was worth a shot. So I downloaded the book, read through her tutorial and printed the right pages and got started. As of right now I have 2 weeks worked out, breakfasts, lunches AND dinners. And this way Mr. V can look on the day of the week and check and see if that particular something is out, if not he can get it out for me. Isn't that awesome?!? :D I personally, think so. :) It also helps him figure out lunches for Lil Mr. V. Because sometimes I wonder if he is afraid to mess in my kitchen. I hope not. I want him to be just as comfortable doing something in here as I am, but you can never tell with some people, and since we're still fairly new at this living together business (and we really only get to spend any sort of time together a few days a week), we're still figuring out each others quirks. So this leads to me the reason for this blog post. So I went grocery shopping today. Yes I had a list, but once I got to the store I realized just how poorly done my list was. I still forgot some things so I'll have to go to the store again and pick it up before those particular suppers. I went on and got a lot of stuff for next weeks meals too, so I'm ahead. YAY, go me! *L* But I spent $93.88. And for the majority of the next two weeks that isn't bad at all. I LITERALLY have 7 things to buy and my groceries for the next two weeks are purchased. How awesome is that?!?!? I have BBQ Sauce (two bottles), sweet potatoes (5 potatoes for mashing), freezer baggies, can of soup for lunch, fries, 1 can of green beans and 1 can of corn. THAT'S IT! I feel good knowing that I'm saving some money now. :) I can't wait to show Mr. V. He has been a little skeptical about this method working better than just buying as we go along. :)

Friday, March 19, 2010

So in my attempt to de-clutter my life...

Yesterday was busy going through things and throwing out what needed to be thrown, putting in the donating box things that needed to be donated and trying to get my work space cleared up enough so that I have a space to work in. So far, it's working out, but it's a pretty big job. I had my desk all cleared off, THEN, I started to clear out the drawers so I could put the last little bits in there. And now it's back to being cluttered again. But that's ok. I have just to find the homes for those things and then it's going to be straight. And I'll be able to start working there again. Also in this binge of purging, I decided to take a note from The Frugal Girl and make myself accountable for my food waste. We actually waste more food than I care to admit here. So, we've come up with a solution to make every Thursday, left over night. Eat what we can, and then it's the fridge cleaning night. Everything that needs to go, is gone on Thursday. And since the trash pick-up is on Friday morning, no icky smells to deal with. UNLIKE her, I won't be posting photos. I'm proud to say that the only thing we needed to throw out was around 1/2 cup of leftover chicken noodle soup and 4 stalks of celery. Not bad if I do say so myself. Wednesdays are Laundry day here at our house. And unfortunately, we were also in the transition of going from winter clothes to spring clothes so that has melted over onto Thursday AND Friday. BUT! When it's all over, all the winter stuff will be up, and all the spring stuff will be out and laundry won't overrun us again for another 6 months or so. OH yeah, and this is the time that wee man has decided to outgrow most of his clothes. So we're washing up his newer ones and his old ones to be taken off to the Door of Hope. Yup yup, it's definitely spring over here at the Tracy Household....

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

A few new things going on here.

Still loving the homemade washing powders that I learned from C.Michele. As a matter of fact it's laundry day in the land of Tracy. This day started and I made some homemade blueberry/raspberry pancakes. Nathan was ok until he ate a raspberry. Then he made a very funny face. Afterward I went to school to learn about Hitler and came back home. I started going through my blogs that I follow on frugal living (something I'm dying to learn to do better) and on how to unclutter my home and life. Which I need to do better since there are three of us and we're living in such a small space. The stuff is starting to overwhelm me. And now that I have the extra time, I'm putting it to use to sort through and define what and where everything goes. That being said on one of the blogs I follow, The Frugal Girl she is forever baking and fixing homemade stuffs. So, upon reading her latest blog on her favourite cookbooks, a commenter mentioned getting a free Fleischmann's Bread Book. So sure enough, I looked into it, and they are. The order form is here. You just tell how you heard about that site from the drop down box and then click on the recipe book. It takes you to a page that you fill out and you just click your print option, mail them a dollar and they'll mail you your bread making book. So in about a month or so, I'll be sure to tell you how it goes with the book. Also in my attempt to figure out how to best, frugally, and responsibly do things I have figured out what lawn mower to get for us. I've purchased 2 different lawn mowers for myself at this apartment. Both times, my lawn mower has been "exchanged" with someone who has a broken one and they've taken my perfectly good one. Since I can't prove it, I'm stuck with a mower that doesn't work. My old roomie, took his with him when he moved. Which is perfectly understandable. But I hate having to constantly replace something I shouldn't have to replace so frequently. I feel like I'm wasting my money. Not only that, gas isn't getting cheaper. And every year, to keep that same mower running well and efficiently, you need to change spark plugs, sharpen the blades, change the oil, and make sure that the gas is good and not overtaken with water. This is in the mower and in the gas can. Since I have such issues keeping a good running mower and I'm supplying the neighbourhood with mowers, and my yard is less than .5 acre, I've decided that the old school manual push mower is my best and most responsible option. Thus my picture for this blog. So I shall be picking this up this week. That way we don't let the grass get too high and make mowing harder on ourselves. That's the news for the week.

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Sometimes it takes time to save some

Since I'm no longer employed, and we have to make due on his pretty small paycheck, I'm trying to figure out ways that will save us some money. I know I could cut out the internet and t.v., etc. However, having those also includes my phone. Internet I need for school and the t.v. just comes with it. Because we'd be saving a negligible amount otherwise. Besides, since we aren't going out and entertaining ourselves that we, it IS our entertainment. I've been looking at some ways to cut back on some money. First thing is food. We've not been eating out as much as we used to, but we're going to cut back even more now, if we eat out at all. This also means making sure that there is something packed up for him to take in his lunch every night. This also requires meal planning, which I'm going to sit down and start, especially now that I go back to school on Monday. We need to know what we're having, when so we can plan our grocery lists and we can know what to expect for supper. The only thing that can put a cog in this is whenever Gary and Mike come over. Since we never know when that will be. Always on Tues and Weds, if they come over at all. I have to plan my biggest meals for those two days.

Also, laundry is another area where we can save some money. Currently, we spend around $25+/month on laundry. That's laundry soap, fabric softener as well as dryer sheets. I got the idea from Cassie about making my own homemade laundry soap. So I went to my local Rural King and bought Borax, Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda and Fels-Naptha bar soap. Add a wide mouthed pint mason jar, a bowl with lid (for the grated soap), a cheese grater, a table spoon measure and a 1/2 cup measure and we're in business. I had multiples of the all the one time use items. So the soaps cost me $10.45. And since it is 1 part borax, 1 part washing soda and 2 parts grated bar soap, it's really not expensive. And I use 2 tbsp per large load. I have harder water, so it feels cleaner to me than using just 1 tbsp. However, if you have soft water, then you should only need the 1tbsp. I also want to get one of those drying racks that you can set inside or outside, instead of clothes line. I don't have any clothes line bars in my yard and since I rent, that's not very practical. However, I could just get one of those racks and on pretty days, I could set out clothes on it to dry outside, and on not so great days, I could always set them inside to dry, instead of using the dryer. Which would warm up the house, which would cause our air to kick on more often, etc etc etc. I think one of those racks is around 10-15$. Not bad, when you think of the savings you'd make. Anyways, just some of the thoughts running around in my head.

Friday, March 12, 2010

There's a lot more than just sewing going on up in here!

Sewing is something I'm interested in learning to do. It allows me to be creative without having to draw or any of the other things that I cannot do. Same as cross-stitch and crocheting. I have so many projects started, that I need to finish, and I have this sewing machine that's just sitting there doing nothing. So, as part of my yearly goals set for myself, is starting and finishing a project. This is also a means for me to get some Christmas presents made for family and friends, since we failed so miserably this year to get anything for anyone other than my niece and my son. And this year it's going to be worse because I'm not working. So, after some brainstorming, and some thinking, I've got 9 months to get to working on my Christmas projects for my friends and family. This is completely do-able. I'm also, going to keep tabs on how much money I spend on these things too, as I'm trying to find a way of living life more frugally than I have been in the past. Wes works too hard for me to throw his money away on things that I don't need to. Not if there is a cheaper means of doing the same thing. So, this blog is all about that. My projects, sewing and otherwise, and my desire to find a cheaper means of achieving a goal.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

absolutely new to this....

I'm more of a crochet person. Which I can post some of my stuff that I've done with that and am still working on with that. I'm also a cross-stitcher. I have this awesome sewing machine though that I want to make use of. So I've joined this sewing circle here in town, and I'm really hopeful to learn some things from these amazing ladies. :) I have a few projects that I'm wanting to do for my niece's birthday. And I wanted to make a bag for myself. But this is just the beginning of some serious fun. :) I can't wait. :)