Monthly Archives: August 2009

>Meal Planning: An Adventure in Self-Discipline

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Ok, it’s time. Generally I’m a very “fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants” kind of gal. Planning dinners is a very Soccer Mom thing to do and the very idea of it sort of makes me cringe. It completely negates my sudden urges to go out for dinner or to order pizza; which is exactly why I need to do it.

Part 2 of why this is necessary is that I’m an accidental food waster. It never fails that sometime during the week I find something that was leftovers or a fresh fruit or veg that has spoiled. Each time I want to scream. Just today as I was putting away new stuff from the Farmers Market, I notice 3 cucumbers all covered in gross slime. So sad and unnecessary. It’s not only upsetting that I’m wasting money, but that there are people starving all over within 50 miles of my home, and I’m casually letting stuff spoil. So I vow, from here on out, to grow up and pay more attention.

I did well at the Farmers Market today. I paid really close attention to what I was buying. As much as I really, really adore celery, I didn’t buy any because you literally have to eat it that day or it goes bad and gets all limp.

I didn’t overbuy either. I got just enough that I know it’ll be gone by next weekend. I stuck to the absolute minimum and I’m proud of that. Plus I only spent $30.

Now I’m going to use my handy Mac Calendars on here and print them out and start writing. I am not going to do a full month, maybe 2 weeks. I’m also going to try and focus on things that are large portions for leftovers or something like lasagna where I can make a second portion and put it into my freezer downstairs.

Overall, I need to not just decide at 5 pm, because then if I’m tired or craving something, I’ll give in. This whole planning adventure should help us save money and eat better. I can also track our food money better. Right now I just buy whatever, whenever I want, and that’s not the greatest thing to do. Plus it causes extra trips to the store, which is just a waste of gas and time.

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>Feelin’ Chesty!

>Thursday I’m getting a chest freezer!!!! yayayayayayaya! I know that seems like a stupid thing to get so excited about but I’ve wanted one since we’ve moved in and knew if I was patient I could get a perfectly good used one.

Well another mom on the Saratoga Military Moms forum that I’m on has one and she’s selling it for $90. Although I don’t really want to have another thing to pay for right now, it’s a good price and we really need it. Our freezer is full of blueberries and I plan on going picking for raspberries as well. We also want to buy a side of beef. So yeah, we need it.

Ok I’m a nerd, I know. Just let me have my freezer glory.

>I love a good find!

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I’ve been on the hunt for a food dehydrator. I really wanted the Nesco 700 Watt one, mostly for speed of cooking, but I read on PickYourOwn.org that the 500 watt one is fine too. Usually this runs for about $60. I had it on my wish list for my bday or xmas but since I’m a Craigslist fanatic I found one at a house just down the road.

Here’s the best part…they had a barely used one for $5! And they had an emergency flashlight/radio/alarm too. However the guy couldn’t prove that it worked and felt bad so he said that it probably did, but I should just take it anyway.

Now all I have to do is order 2 more inserts for making fruit roll ups (with shipping it should be less than $10). I bought a $5 package of D batteries today and the light works!

So for $5 I got both items and for a grand total of $15 I will be able to make my own fruit leather. This is awesome because I usually buy a box a week which is almost $4.

I found this gals great info on making it at home (you can actually do it with a sheet pan too) and you can use a can of pumpkin and seasoning. A large can of pumpkin is less than $2!

Woot!! Man I love saving moola.

>What now??

>So in two days I’m out of work. No, it has nothing to do with the recession. Jack is starting school and my availability will change, so it just won’t work out. Thankfully, the decision for me to leave is perfectly fine with my boss, since she wants a live-in au pair anyway.

But I have no idea as to what to do now. Of course I’d like to be earning money. I just feel like I have a lot of options but limited time. I want to be around when Jack leaves in the morning and when he gets home in the afternoon.

I think I may already have something lined up for Wednesday afternoons. I just would like to be able to replace the amount that I was making, or at least come close.

I want to volunteer, do creative things, make even more stuff from scratch, write, and just enjoy the stuff that usually flies past me daily.

It’s just odd how when you can finally do what you want, it’s almost so overwhelming that you don’t know where to begin.

>Oh I’m Obsessed with "The Colony"

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This show is damn amazing. If you haven’t seen The Colony yet, it’s on Tuesdays at 10pm. I don’t usually get into shows. I have my favorites, but nothing I’m committed to watching each week.

Basically this show is supposed to take place after SHTF and they’ve selected 10 people in an average cross-section of the American population, and they have to figure out how to survive. They are currently living in a warehouse in LA.

I think it’s very interesting that they are doing this, considering how many people believe that a situation like this isn’t too far away. It’s something Chris and I think about regularly.

Now that I’ll have a little more time on my hands I’m going to brave the spiders in my basement and get things organized down there. Then begins the major project of stocking up supplies. Canned food, water, blankets, first aid, manual tools, books, etc.

You may think this is bonkers, and I don’t think the Rapture is going to happen or anything, but I’d rather be safe than sorry if there was a huge disaster. Just remember, when SHTF everyone will be running to the grocery store and Lowe’s to get stuff they need. Supply will deplete quickly, and you’ll be putting yourself at risk by being out there. But if you already have that in your home, you can remain there and live for quite some time without relying on others.

If you still think I’m crazy, just look for Survivalist Forums online…..there are 1000s of people out there thinking about this. Yes, some are gun-toting rednecks, but most are just normal people with genuine concern.

At any rate, the show is kick ass and I highly recommend it.

>Sunday, Sunday, Sundaaaaaayyyyy!

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Wow, yesterday was crazy, to say the least. We got up at 8:30 to go pick blueberries before it got scorching hot. We went to Winney’s Blueberry Farm out in Schuylerville. It was incredible! There were so many damn blueberries and we ended up with 27 pounds. It cost us $62, but at the market that would’ve been closer to $160.

On our way home we stopped at Saratoga Apple to get some good sour apples and apple cider donuts. It’s a good thing I don’t live very close to there because I would be eating those donuts every day. Driving back we stopped at a store called Stitches & Time, which has antiques and new crafty things as well. I got a bundle of fat quarters that I’m about to sew together to make a quilt.

When we got home we had to clean, sort and bag the berries so that we could freeze them. It took us about 3 hours, no joke. But we ended up with 5 gallons of frozen berries. We also got Chris’ dad’s award-winning blueberry quick bread recipe and made some…and it’s really good!

We were going to grill our hot dogs from the Lewis Waite Farm but as Chris was prepping the grill we got a freak thunderstorm. That pretty much ended grilling for the night. We ate, Jack went to bed, and then when I went to the basement to put laundry in the dryer I realized there was about 2 inches of water on the basement floor.

So about 30 minutes later, after getting the sump going, we had it cleared out and had moved some soggy boxes to dryer ground. Note to self: Buy lots of plastic storage tubs and move things over!!! Luckily, in the process of moving things around, I discovered an unopened box that had the pictures in it that we couldn’t find. Now I can finish hanging them tomorrow.

Plus, a box of photos got all wet. Initially I was angry and horrified, thinking that they were all ruined. I dried them out and they are ok though. What was great about this was that I got to look at old pictures and laugh. So what could’ve been a crisis, was actually a blessing.

So that was our crazy day. We keep having eventful weekends now that Chris is on his new schedule. It’s going to be hard when he goes back to shift work, but at least he’s off the weekend that we want to go to the wool festival down in Duchess County. Oh yeah, I’m a freak for sure.

>Meat, Meat, Meat

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So most of my adult life I’ve avoided meat. Even as a kid, I was never very fond of it. When people say, “Ooooooooo Steak!” I just kind of shake my head because I don’t know how someone could crave something that I just don’t think tastes very good.

The whole time I was veg it was never really because of animal cruelty. I mean, I think that if that’s your reason, you should really be vegan, and if you aren’t, then you are a hypocrite. I just really wasn’t into meat, so it was easy to remove it from my diet.

Now I am eating meat, but only local, humanely raised meat. Since we aren’t made of money, and it’s really not that healthy, we don’t eat a ton of it. But now it gets me to thinking more about it.

For example, when you only buy a whole chicken, instead of just a package of breasts, you are really looking at that chicken. You can imagine how it looked when it was alive. It makes you appreciate it and respect it. Can you really “respect” fowl?? I think so. Same goes for all meat, especially when you get to meet the person who raised the animal and they are a nice, smiling, caring person, and not a giant, faceless, profit-hungry company. You become thankful for that person and their hard work, and for the animal that died to feed you.

It’s sort of like praying before a meal. Instead of thanking god, you are thanking that animal. And really, at the end of the day, you can’t just liberate cows and chickens. They depend on us. Cows don’t live in the wild. Sure, they don’t deserve to be piled together in unsanitary conditions, getting pumped full of drugs, but they can’t just roam the forests either.

My stepdad grew up on a farm and they had to kill their own animals. As a kid, I always thought that was so disgusting. But now I realize that my stepdad had a true understanding of where every meal came from. I just want a piece of that for my family too.