Monthly Archives: April 2011

You Can Also Find Me At….

the From Scratch Club blog.

I have a post over there about dyeing eggs naturally and I’m going to do a post over there next week as well, although I’m not exactly sure what it will be about yet. I have ideas I’m just narrowing them down.

That blog is great and I’m super excited that Christina has allowed me to be a guest writer over there.

Stay tuned for a post about the homemade chorizo that Chris made yesterday. I’ll get it up before we leave on vacation.

>You say "cheap" and I say "frugal."

>

Actually it’s ok, I’ll call myself cheap. At least when it comes to certain things.

I have no problem spending decent money on quality food but when it comes to TVs I just can’t justify it. This leads to my like-new, $20 Craigslist TV that I got this week.

No, we didn’t add a second TV to our house. The TV we had (and got for free from HMF when she received a new TV as a gift) finally kicked the bucket. So I decided that if we were going to continue to have a TV it would be free or cheap.

So after a quick glance on Craigslist, an email, a few phone calls later, a trip up to Ganesvoort, and a universal remote from Target….we are back in the TV Netflix Instant View watching game.

Chris and I have decided we probably have the smallest TV of any Navy family we know. If you know many Navy families, you will get the joke. And we still have never upgraded to a flat screen. Our DVD player is also broken so when we want to watch a DVD we plug Jack’s tiny portable player into the TV. I know DVD players are super cheap these days, but I’m still too cheap to get a new one.

I should note that it doesn’t bother me when other people have big, modern TVs; I just can’t physically spend the money on that. I will gladly spend money on gardening equipment, bulk food orders, and stuff for derby though! Oh, and beer of course, can’t forget that.

>Beat.

>

Sorry, it’s kind of hard to see the strings. I was taking the photo from inside my house.

I’m glad I got all those couch naps in during this crappy winter because I’m getting no sleep now. I’m not complaining though, it just amazes me what a difference a week makes.

Chris finished the pea trellis and we installed it the other day. He made it out of PVC pipe and the whole thing cost less than $30. Plus it comes apart so we can store it over the winter. We used the internal part of a long strand of paracord for the string in the middle. We pulled out a strand and threaded it through a trussing needle and Jack actually did all the string weaving.

Today peas were planted, all 28 of them. I also planted radishes, romaine, mesclun mix, arugula, spinach, and cilantro. Yesterday I started the tomatoes and some broccoli. The pepper sprouts are doing so well, I’m going to need to start thinning them.

Word of advice, seed starting soil is waaaaay different from regular potting soil. My first seeds were started in my organic potting soil that I’ve had since last year, which is really good stuff. The other day I got some actual seed starting soil and once I saw the texture I realized my error on the first go round. Potting soil is heavy and has big chunks in it. I’m pretty sure that’s why my delicate oregano sprouts died on me.

Today I made corn tortillas and also learned another valuable lesson. Harina de maiz and masaharina are totally different although they look quite similar in the bag. Harina de maiz cannot be turned into tortillas. I had to make another trip to the store to get the right stuff, but when all was said and done, they turned out just fine.

I used the tortillas to make chicken enchiladas. Yesterday we roasted a chicken from KFF and today I shredded the last of it for the enchiladas. When I was done with that I took what was left and made stock. I’ve never done a 3 part recipe with a chicken before. I mean, I knew it could be done, I just never had before.

Other things I’ve made this week were guacamole, hummus, and these soaked granola bars. (I should note that the link explains the soaking/drying the oats, but I believe there is a link on there to her pdf for the actual recipe.) They are tasty but a lot of work. Ok, well not really, but take more thought and planning than traditional granola bars. I’m trying to eat better again and it helps that I have more energy to make healthy snacks.

Also, during the clear out process this week I realized how I’ve changed for the better, but still have a ways to go. Some of what I got rid of was clothing that just didn’t fit anymore, but a lot of it was just random nonsense. Like a bunch of mostly full perfumes and tons of old makeup. It made me sad for spending all that money in the first place, but I’m glad I’m a bit better with that now. Of course, there is always room for improvement.

I know more happened this week but I’m too tired and brain dead right now to remember. But…I will have a cool announcement soon!!! (No, I’m not pregnant!)

>A Spring Overhaul

>

I enjoy spring cleaning, I really do. It’s nice that it’s warm enough to open the windows and get things back to how they should be. The past few days I’ve been on a roll with getting this place in order.

Last week I cleaned out the fridge. It once again reminded me that for a person who hates wasting food, I sure do let a lot of leftovers go to waste. I honestly couldn’t even recognize some of the stuff. It was horrid.

In addition to the 2 huge garbage bags of clothes that I gave to a friend to donate, I did a second sweep and filled another trash bag that I’m hoping can go to the local consignment store.

Today I cleared off our front porch and swept it. Considering I had to purchase a cheap broom for this project, it occurred to me that I’ve never swept our porch before. Gross. However, since it was mostly dirt and cobwebs out there, I just swept it outside, and then swept the front walk. The whole thing looks much better and it’s easier to get around out there now.

I also completely cleaned our bedroom. On the dresser we had tossed some stuff when we first moved in and it’s just been sitting there….for almost two years! I couldn’t deal with it anymore so I cleaned it all up, threw a bunch of stuff away, and this week I’m getting some sort of container to put the rest in.

Tomorrow I’m going to tackle the craft room and upstairs bathroom. Friday starts Jack’s spring break so we are going to deal with that whole situation. When that’s done the entire upstairs will be complete and I’ll be very happy. I want to go on our trip without having to mull over what needs to be done when we return.

Happy Spring Cleaning!

>For the love of dirt.

>

So, Chuck (from Willowmarsh) delivered 4 cubic yards of compost Monday. Nature decided to cooperate and stop raining while it was dumped and smoothed out. Later that night it started raining again, which was the best thing that could’ve happened. It even rained the next day too.

His compost is stellar. It is beautiful and rich and full of worms. Perfection.

The day it came all 3 of us worked on it together. Even Jack learned how to properly shovel it, while I raked it. Yesterday Chris went out and turned it over. We may work on it a little this weekend as well.

As soon as Chris figures out his pea trellis situation we will be planting our 2 types of peas. Soon some of the greens will go in too.

We are definitely a family that is ok with getting really dirty together.

Regal, like George Washington.

Somehow I always end up gardening in DPH shirts.

He’s losing his mind because he can finally play outside again.

>The Dudes

>I was going to talk about our compost and the work thus far on the garden…but instead I’m going to talk about the cool things Chris and Jack have been working on.

Saturday night, while driving back from the bout my car was running hard. It sounded scary. it was running at 4000 rpm so Chris pulled over and then started driving again but it still wouldn’t shift. He had to pull over a second time and turn the car off. When he restarted it it seemed to be fine but we avoided the highway the whole way home.

I’m really glad this happened while he was in the car though. Had it been me I would’ve just pulled over and started crying. I know nothing about cars. Chris mentioned possibly taking it to a transmission shop up the road and all I could think was, “That’s going to be expensive, probably!” Thankfully he decided to check the fluid, and it seemed a little low, so he filled it (for less than $5) and it seems ok.

The other day he fixed the switch for his car window. It wasn’t working and instead of spending $150 to have our mechanic order the part and install it, he looked on ebay, ordered the part, and installed it himself.

Last night his car was smoking when he got home from work. This morning he went out to look at the hoses, found where the problem was, got some new parts, and fixed it himself.

I know I just gave sort of a boring litany of car problems that he fixed in the last few days, but the point I’m trying to make is the fact that he knows about this stuff just saved us a bunch of money. Money and time actually, since we didn’t have to wait around at the mechanic’s shop while figuring this all out.

I’m lucky to have him around. He’s a clever guy.

Jack recently got some stuff for Easter from his grandma. I let him open one of the boxes and it was a lego Ninjago set that he’s wanted. This morning he took all the pieces out and started messing with it. When we left for school he was telling me that he was a little confused about how to put it together.

When we got home he ran to his room and 30 minutes later he came down and it was done. The whole thing was done and perfect! It was this whole dragon thing with a ninja riding on top of it. It was so cool and I was very impressed. It boggles my mind that he can even figure all of that out on his own.

So there you have it….these dudes have talent!

>Feelin’ Antsy

>For some reason lately I feel like I need to be doing something more or something different. I think it has something to do with this odd in between time of the spring. We are supposed to get tons of compost dumped on our garden today. When it’s worked in I can actually start planting some stuff soon. Stuff that can hold up to the cold, like spinach.

In about a week I’ll need to get out more egg cartons so that I can start planting more seeds. I have lots of starts that need to get going 5-6 weeks before moving outside.

In a few weeks we go to Indiana. Right before that Jack has spring break. So basically I have to get through 2 normal weeks and the rest of the month can be spent doing whatever. Right when we get back, my parents come. Three weeks after they leave, Jason comes. You expect to say I feel overwhelmed. Quite the opposite. I’m incredibly excited actually. I enjoy measuring out my time in events.

I need to remember that in a few weeks I’m going to be crazy busy for the next several months. Before I know it I’ll be in strawberry season, which I missed last year. This means I’ll go out and pick for several hours, plunk down a decent amount of cash, and then spend the afternoon canning and freezing. This process repeats with blueberries, then raspberries.

I was talking to Mama Jillian the other day about how she and I measure out our time differently than most. Not that the way we do it is better or anything, but when your life takes a different course, many other things shift as well. For instance, Jack’s classmates’ parents are probably pondering various summer vacations. I’m planning on things that revolve around growing cycles.

Summer is a time of dirty fingernails and sore muscles for me. There are no lists of good books for “beach reading” over in this house. But I’m good with that.