Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Homemade "Convenience" Foods

Homemade or from scratch foods and mixes can normally be made for a fraction of the cost of the convenience foods you find at the grocery store. Not only are they cheaper, but they are better tasting and you know what ingredients are in them. Look at a cake recipe and you can easily pronounce the ingredients. Now pick up a cake mix. Can you pronounce the ingredients - let alone know exactly what they are?

There are numerous mixes listed on the web, including some of my own favorites. Although there are lots out there, you really don't need to follow a mix recipe to make your own. Pull out your favorite cake recipe. You can mix all the dry ingredients together, put them in a baggie or other air tight container, label it, and put it away for the next time you want to make a cake. Now all you need to do is pull it out, add the wet ingredients, and your finished making a scratch cake with the ease of a mix! You can do the same with pancakes, brownies, etc. Just use your imagination.

Breakfast is usually the most rushed meal during the day, especially on weekdays. According to a report on Good Morning America this morning, store purchased cereals can contain up to 50% it's weight in sugar! It's so easy to make some wonderful homemade granola that you control the sugar and the ingredients to fit your family's needs and preferences. Maybe you like the ease of instant oatmeal. Did you know that you can just put one part quick oats to two parts milk in a bowl and microwave it - and it's done about as quickly as instant. If you like the flavors, add raisins and cinnamon, brown sugar, maple syrup, dried fruits, nuts.... the sky's the limit. Save some time by measuring out and putting a serving in a baggie with the dried fruits,nuts, & flavorings of your choice (no wet ingredients). Make enough for a week, and you'll have the ease of the packets for a fraction of the cost.

Maybe you love pancakes or waffles. On the weekend, you can cook up a batch, cool them, then stack them with a sheet of waxed paper between each one. (pancake, waxed paper, pancake, waxed paper...) then put in a container and freeze. During the week, you can pull out the amount of pancakes (or waffles) you want and just warm them up in the microwave. Waffles can be warmed in the toaster. If you have problems with the pancakes sticking together, put them single layer on a cookie sheet, then freeze for an hour or so, take them out and stack with waxed paper between each one, put in a container and freeze.

Start looking at the recipes you use most. Ask yourself if you can measure out and pack some of the ingredients ahead to save you time. Just by doing this, you'll be buying less convenience foods from the store, and making more from scratch in the same amount of time, with the wonderful taste of homemade. And the best part - you're saving money to use elsewhere!!

Monday, February 4, 2013

Re-purpose Furniture

We didn't officially move into our new home until the kids were on winter break from the university. It seemed like the most logical decision because of the travel involved, plus it was exciting coming here all at the same time as a family. The kids love our new home, even though it is small. They say they love the cozy feeling plus the area is amazing - an added bonus!

One of my largest issues at this time is the downsizing we need to do. Storage space is almost non-existent, so I'm at that point of deciding what really is important and what can I live without. Not only that, but most of our furniture won't work here, so we are slowly acquiring "new" furniture.

One of the items we won't be using is our old waterbed - sorely outdated and one of the few things I was glad to get rid of. Instead of tossing it all, hubby repurposed it into a nice new bed for us!

Waterbed frame cut, resized and legs added.

Next came the support posts.

Then a nice stable surface to put our new Memory Foam type mattress on - But only after we covered the plywood with something that would protect the mattress.

The finished product.
We still need to add a headboard. I want to make an upholstered headboard (like this one), but am waiting until I find the perfect fabric. I'm thinking of a red and white print or something with red in it.

I have many projects ahead of me - refinishing, repurposing, and making new. I plan to furnish our home as cheaply, yet beautifully as possible! I would love to hear what you have done for your home.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

A New Home - Different Dreams

If you go back through my old postings here, you will see that I had always dreamed of a homestead - acreage and a farmhouse way out in the middle of nowhere. That didn't happen, and for the longest time, I couldn't understand why. I believed with everything I had that God was leading us in that direction, but it appears after all these years, I was mistaken. Maybe it was my own focus that I was listening to and not God's.

You see, back in December of 2011, hubby lost his job and we were excited because now we had no excuses to not look for that dream homestead. He applied to more jobs that one could imagine, but with no luck. Just as his unemployment was to run out, a contract job was offered to him - and to a place he never ever thought he'd ever have a chance of working at - his old Alma Matter! He took the contract and was hired permanently!! That was so exciting until we started looking for that dream place that we found out would never be a reality.

I was heartbroken for a while - goodbye dreams... But God kept nudging me and letting me know there was something he had planned, and I started to listen. When you truly listen, God does give you something that will make you happy, but you need to hear with an open heart. That was difficult in the beginning when house hunting. We went to an area that was much higher in housing costs than we were used to, so I wanted as much from the house as we could afford, and got caught up in the glitz of gorgeous homes.

After a while, the houses started to all look the same. Many were, as they were the cookie-cutter type in a development all on no more than 1/3rd of an acre. I wasn't satisfied with those either. Our realtor had shown us a very small house in a small town just a few miles away from hubby's job, but I stuck my nose up at it. It wasn't anything like I wanted. We went on looking for quite awhile. Funny thing is, guess which house is the one we bought :)

Every day I find hidden treasures - things I didn't notice before... and every day I am coming to love this home more and more.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Time To Revive...

I had thought I'd retired this blog as it was difficult keeping up with 3, but as time has gone on, I have found I want to separate posts - giving each their own place. So, the necessity of reviving my homestead blog. Life here has changed, so it warrants a new change in my postings...

I hope you will follow in my new adventures!!