Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Working Vacation

I am a stay at home mom so I don't really get a vacation ever. But my husband is home this week because he has "vacation." Our finances have been pretty tight this past year so we are having a "stay-cation" which really means we are working around the house.

Our new raised beds we just built
Yesterday we shipped our kids off to grandma's house so my husband and I could build level and fill our new 4'x12' raised garden beds. We loaded our trailer twice with compost from our local compost site and once with mulch. We shoveled and shovel and shoveled. As I look out at my garden right now we have plantless boxes filled with dirt. It doesn't look like much but I know we spent a lot of time working on them. I can't wait for the threat of frost to pass so we can get the rest of our garden planted. We still have touching up the paint on the house to finish and spreading the mulch..

For the rest of vacation we are hoping to take the kids to the zoo tomorrow, having a babysitter and date night Friday, Saturday we have Easter with extended relatives, and Sunday a free day. So much for a relaxing lazy vacation... but our stuff needs to get done and it is wonderful to look at a finished project and know we did it.

Last years raised bed garden project
Do you think you need to go somewhere to have a vacation?

Friday, April 13, 2012

Recovering Consumer

I am a recovering consumer. I used to to clip coupons and then go and buy things that we didn't really need because I was "saving" money on them. I guess it isn't really saving when you are spending and don't need it.  OK I wasn't super crazy (I don't have my showers filled to the brim with toilet paper and toothpaste). The month of March we tried not to buy anything new. We purchased a few small things but nothing too extreme. At the beginning of April or very end or March we bought a Roomba vacuum (which is keeping my floors clean). Then a few days later we bought a SodaStream maker. Two nights ago I bought a slip cover for my couch. I didn't need any of it. But I wanted it all.

Last night we went out for supper since my husband wanted to and we had a few dollars in the "entertainment" fund. That lead to a trip to the liquor store because we are going to a party tonight and  our friends asked to bring something "fun" to drink. We then went to Walmart and spent another 30 dollars on stuff. Most of the stuff with the exception of food we didn't really need.

I am so frustrated with myself. We are trying to get rid of clutter and stop spending mindlessly. But every time we need something we buy some wants as well. I usually talk about my want purchases with my husband. He is such a pushover and says sure go ahead. I want him to talk to me about why we "need" something or what benefit it will bring us before he says yes.

So I declare today that I am not using my credit card anymore once it is paid off for anything other than my Consumer Supported Aggriculture (CSA) payment. I am not going to buy any more wants this month. I am a recovering consumer... I went on a binge but I am back on the program.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Sourdough bread

Golden brown and hot out of the oven!
I have been on a quest to find the perfect recipe for 100 percent whole wheat sourdough bread. After many attempts I have finally perfected my recipe. My recipe was inspired by Nourishing Frugal recipe. We don't buy bread anymore and we know what we are eating is whole wheat with no chemicals that we cannot pronounce. Hope you enjoy this recipe as much as my family does.

100 percent whole wheat sourdough bread

1 cup of sourdough starter

1/2 cup of water

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

1/4 cup sugar

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 cups whole wheat pastry flour

1 cup whole wheat flour

1/4 cup vital wheat gluten

Mix all ingredients in a mixer for 6-8 minutes until dough forms a ball and is moist but not sticky. Add more flour as needed. Place in an oiled bowl and cover to let rise until doubled in size. (I place my bowl on top of a yogurt maker to speed up the process) Usually 3-12 hours depending on how warm your house is.

Nice moist dough but not sticky
Doubled in size

Punch down dough and form into a loaf that will fit into a greased bread pan. Cover in a warm area until doubled in size. Usually another 3-12 hours or overnight.

Flatten into rectangle

fold over 1/3

fold over other 1/3

fold over 1/3

fold over 1/3

shape into loaf

place somewhere warm to rise

Bake at 375 for 45-55 minutes until golden brown. (I usually check the temperature and aim for 190° F)

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Roomba Guilt

I feel so guilty that we purchased a roomba vacuum last Thursday because we didn't need it. I have wanted a new one since my old one broke 2 years ago. We found this one on clearance and open box so it was even further discounted than I expected. We got it for a little over $100 at Sam's club. According to Sam's their price for the model we got was $250 and Amazon wanted $315. So comparatively we got a fantastic deal. The thing I struggle with is the guilt of buying it when we didn't really need it. I try to justify it by saying that it will keep our  house cleaner and that it will be my Mother's Day and Anniversary gift. Somehow it still makes me feel guilty. I really shouldn't feel guilty but I do. We tried to not buy anything new in the month of March and we almost made it. Compared to other months we did fantastic on our spending or lack of spending. I think for the month of April we will try to limit our purchases again to only things we can get used and what we need.

Speaking of purchases... last night we went to the Goodwill and found 3 sets of BOB books for 1.99 each. I have been looking for them for months and the cheapest I could find online was 11 dollars each. We also got another Magna Doodle for my children since they both are in love with them currently.We spend less than 20 dollars and got 4 sets of beginner reading books, a single princess book, a pair of new boots, and a doodle. We also donated about 6 boxes of things and only brought home 2 small bags of new things. So I think we met the criteria of one thing out one thing in.

So while I am still feeling guilty about purchasing our Roomba who we named Penny we have welcomed her into our house and I am more than willing to let her clean my floors with just a push of a button.