Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Sales and Free Shipping on Store Orders…. | Home Independence

Sales and Free Shipping on Store Orders…. | Home Independence

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Moving Smart: MOMMY, I'M BORED!

Moving Smart: MOMMY, I'M BORED!: “Boredom is a blessing,” I always say. Of course, when my kids were young they groaned when I said that because they were looking for me...

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

HOW TO STRETCH YOUR DOLLAR-MULTIPLE MEALS


    In the last month chicken has been that loss leader on sale most weeks for 99 cents at least one of our supermarkets.  So I have been buying multiple packages every week. Now yes my freezer is very full of chicken and I know for sure my family is going to get very sick of chicken very quickly so I have to come up with multiple ways to use it up.  But my goal is to get as many meals out of one package as I possibly can.
    So lets start with a family package of chicken thighs.  Now this package was approximately 5 pounds worth of thighs.  So that would cost about $5, which is what we will use for easy math purposes.  Now you could simply split that package in half and make two meals for $2.50 per meal, not bad but we can do better.
    I started out by boiling the thighs, half a package at a time, just to make it more manageable. Once the first batch was done, I DID NOT dump out the water that it had been boiling in, just set it aside. I then shredded the chicken into a bowl. I took the skin and the bones, placed them back into the pot with the boiled water, added some more water and preceded to low heat boil them.  This was the beginning of a chicken stock broth.
    With that shredded chicken I added homemade BBQ sauce (recipe will follow in another post), I had a tube of Artisan Pizza Crust, which I happen to have gotten on clearance in the grocery and thrown into the freezer for $1 when it was all said and done.  I also had several blocks of various kinds of cheese in the freezer that I had been accumulating over the previous weeks from various sales and clearances. From those ingredients I made Homemade BBQ Chicken Pizza with Mozzarella cheese. That entire meal cost less than $5 total and only about 1 hour of my time.
    By this time the chicken stock had been boiling for a while, I strained out the bones, skin etc that was cooking and placed the broth into a bowl in the fridge to cool down, once it was cooled I poured it into zip lock style bags to go into the freezer for future meals.
    Now I again placed the remaining chicken into the pot and began the process again. With the shredded chicken this time I wanted to make BBQ Chicken sandwiches.  Using the remaining BBQ Sauce, I mixed the chicken in to it, at this point I realized that I did not have any buns to put the sandwiches on. I did not want to drive somewhere-the closet store is 15 minutes away, I know that wasn’t far but it was 15 minutes each way and the time spent in the store I was looking at close to 45 minutes to just go and get rolls.  So I pulled out the cookbook and found  I had all the necessary ingredients to make homemade buns. 
    So I made the buns, while they were cooking, I added the chicken into the oven so that everything was cooked at once, not wasting the propane to heat and then later reheat the oven. I actually made more rolls than I needed for this meal and they too were placed into zip lock style bags, then off to the freezer with them.
    So if we tally this day up. I spent $5 on chicken and I got 2 meals and 2-½ gallons of chicken stock.  Basically if you were to buy that amount of stock in the store with all the extra sodium and things in it you are looking at about $3 each for a total of $6, a BBQ chicken pizza normally costs about $10, shredded BBQ chicken sandwich meat is often about $4 a container. So that should have cost me $28-including the BBQ sauce, cheese and rolls. I made all of it for less than $10 once you count the price of the ingredients for the rolls, cheese, BBQ sauce ingredients.  Not a bad way to make your dollar stretch. Yes it did require some time and effort on my part in the kitchen but in the process I gave my family a good healthy meal, taught my daughter a few new tricks in the kitchen and felt really good about myself.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

HOUSEHOLD BINDER



    It has always been my dream to have the June Cleaver kind of house. Where everything is perfectly clean, organized and running so smoothly.  Well reality comes running in, often in the form of children or animals in my case.  I tend to get UN-organized really quickly. I often have several projects going on at one time and am forever multitasking.  With having two special needs children, a Husband, dogs, cats and extended family it often falls to me to make it all work. Which I gladly take on this responsibility as it is my job as “Mom, Wife, Owner etc” to make sure my family is happy-mostly, healthy and functioning -reasonably well.

    I have searched online for various resources to help me find what exactly I need to go into this binder.  Well I keep taking bits and pieces from every place that I visit. Each person’s binder really needs to be a personal thing. No two families are alike which makes for very different needs.  I am currently working on what sections I feel we need to have easy access too.
   
    I have created a section for each family member. In the section is any medications that they are on first and foremost. Along with any pertinent  medical information, with Doctors names, numbers etc. Then a section on the dogs and cats with their shot records, medical information and veterinarian information.

    We are also on a mission to seriously become debt free-or as close to it as possible while raising our credit scores to be able to afford a place with more land in the future.  To accomplish that I have created a very strict spending plan and budget.  There is a whole section on that in the binder. That way I can open it up and see for the whole month, who is paid what, and what we are spending.  I have also gotten a small notepad that I carry with me with that weeks spending plan on it so I can see if I have the extra money to buy something when I come across a great deal. 

    Now I have also made a section for: Gardening, Shopping, Pantry Staples.  This is very much a work in progress that I am very sure will change constantly as our needs change.



Growing Home

Monday, August 20, 2012

A Garden Update

Ok here we are in the Middle of August and I thought that I really should give you  an update on how my garden was working this year.  In case this is your first time reading about my garden you should know that this year I tried three major changes. I created raised beds out of several different materials, I also started to use the Square Foot Gardening Method, I have also started all my plants from seeds that I purchased from Baker Creek Seed Company.  All my plants are Heirloom plants that I have not used on pesticides on.

Well I have to say that overall I am very impressed with the garden this year.  I do see that I am going to have to do re arranging and re organizing of my garden.  I think part of the problem is that I didn’t accurately think about the space that  some of my tomatoes and squash were going to need when I planned this out paper.

I love these “Amish Paste” tomatoes that I am growing. They are huge, strong, large producing plants.  But I failed to think about the fact that I needed to trellis them.  I kept thinking ok I need to stake them but it never seemed to happen.  So now I have tons of green tomatoes ripening on my counter since there was no way for them to ripen on the vines when the foliage is that thick. 

Also I planted Spaghetti Squash for the first time this year and  boy did I forget that it is a massive vine plant.  Well lets just say that I have runners EVERYWHERE.

So I have already planned-at least for the first draft-the new beds for next year. I have added several and re-arranged the placement of many of the plants for two reasons. One it is a very good idea to practice crop rotation and two I found out some of the plants really need more room-see paragraph above.

I have also put more planning into what plants I can plant in early spring into the beds that will be done prior to needing that bed again for warm weather crops, that will also offer me the ability to re-seed for a fall garden. 

This is where a Gardening Journal really comes in handy. You can have a central location for all the information on your plants, beds etc.  I am adding this a section to my household binder that I am creating to help keep my household running smoothly.


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Tuesday, August 14, 2012

How Far Can Your Dollar Stretch?






Although I am not crazy about the reasons that I am currently a Stay at Home Full Time Mom-out of work due to an injury, preparing for surgery, I do love the fact that I get to spend time in my kitchen.  I love to cook. I love to teach others how to cook.

If I could do that for a full time job I would be the happiest girl on the face of this planet.  But since that isn’t a reasonable job for me right at this moment…perhaps in the future. I am enjoying spending time in the kitchen and teaching my daughter how to cook.

In hard economic times like we have been facing for the last couple of years families are struggling to pay the bills and put food on the table.  Frugal living has gone and taken a brand new meaning in this day in and age. People are needing to stretch every dollar farther than ever before. 

I have decided to help people with this new series: How Far Can Your Dollar Stretch?

In this series there will be a variety of different topics from Meals to Saving money in little ways that can really add up all over your home. Being frugal means different things to different people, it doesn’t mean that you have to give things up necessarily, it means by making good choices on a variety of different things you can have the money to spend on the things you want.  By making things at home for your family it could save you extra money that could either be put to use paying a bill or allowing you to buy some special ingredients to help spice a meal up for a special occasion.

I have to admit that I hate to spend any more money than absolutely necessary on anything.  So I do try to shop around and find the best deal but I also don’t want to spend all my time doing it. I do use the knowledge of other bloggers, especially that ones that specialize in coupon matchups and sales.   I honestly don’t have time to do a lot of the matchups as there is always some work of some kind to be done here either with kid or animals, gardens etc..

Extreme couponing isn’t for me. I don’t know of any local stores that would allow me to make those kinds of purchases with that amount of coupons.  But the idea behind it or getting items for little or no money does appeal to me. So I have decided to try and  only do 1 or 2 items that I can really add to my stockpile. Like a week or 2 ago our local store had Ragu Spaghetti  Sauce on sale for 3 for $5 which equals out to $1.66 each, I had obtained approximately 30 coupons for 50 cents off 1, which our store doubled so it was $1 off each jar, making them 66 cents each. Ragu is the one spaghetti sauce brand that we are loyal to so when a sale like that comes up I work really hard to get as many as I could.  So I spent $19.80 for 30 jars of sauce which will last us most of the winter, normally that would have cost me about $60. So I saved $40 dollars that was able to go towards something else.

There are lots of ways to obtain coupons but please take a moment and think about if you are paying for coupons, that the amount you spend doesn’t cost more than the amount those coupons are going to save you. 
 

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Can a Garden really save you money?

Can a garden really save you money? The answer is YES. Especially if you start your plants from seeds. I buy my seeds-Heirloom Veggies at Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds.  I love quality of the seeds and how well they grow.

Photo Credit 

Lets just take a minute and consider the costs involved. For this example we are going to use Broccoli. For my package of Broccoli seeds it cost me $2.25 for 300 seeds. That is less than a penny a seed, if every seed grew into a plant that is a savings of anywhere from $1.99 to $3.00 per plant depending on where you would normally purchase your plant.

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If I bought a pound of Broccoli on sale of course I am still looking at $0.99 a pound. Every seed that grows into a plant has the potential to produce at least a pound of Broccoli heads. So you have a plant that cost you less than a penny, that would produce you at least a pound of Broccoli.

Even when you figure into the cost that you will need soil, perhaps a container if you don't already have some. It still works out that starting your plants from seed to be much cheaper.


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You can get soil as cheap as $1 when it is on sale or even at the local dollar store.  You containers can be anything that will hold some dirt.  You can use traditional seed cell starter kits, egg cartons, or plastic bins. You are only limited by your imagination when it comes to containers. I have used cell starter kits, plastic cups, bins, egg cartons, you could even use the shell of an egg that you cracked. Again you are limited only by your imagination.