Monday, November 2, 2009

Life goes on

Canning season has come and gone. I canned hundreds of bottles of various items. Halloween is now over YAY! I put the costumes and Halloween decorations away. I often wonder how much money people spend on costumes every year. I tend to be very cheap in this area and recycle costumes or I pick them up at 2nd hand shops. This year I purchased a Minnie Mouse costume for my 5 year old daughter. I picked it up at "Savers". I spent a whopping $4.00 on the costume. She loved it!
Another great way to save money I've found is freecycle. Just go to, put in your city and sign up! People give away so much! Even in these hard economic times we are still so blessed to live in such and abundant country. I recently showed my oldest daughter, who is planning on getting married next year, the joys of freecycle. Her and her fiance have made it their goal to furnish their entire apartment off of items they receive on freecycle. I think they can do it!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009


My hubby acquired some apples for me at a local farmers market. I've spent the day canning applesauce. He paid about $40.00 for 2 bushels of apples. I wound up getting 24 quarts. That ends up being just under $2.00/qt! My applesauce has no additives or preservatives. I only add a few spices and maybe a little sugar if the apples are still slightly bitter. It winds up being very healthy and rather cheap in the end. I wish there was a way I could track how much money I save by canning my own fruits and veggies.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Falling behind

My goodness! I have not been good keeping up with this blog. I really need to be more vigilant. However, in my defense I have been really busy. First of all school started the end of August. This is the first year that all of my children are in school. Of course the start of school marks the beginning of canning season. My garden has been abundant in cucumbers and tomatoes. I also managed to acquire peaches, pears,concord grapes, and apricots from neighbors and a local farmers market. So far this year I have canned pickles, stewed tomatoes, peaches, pears, apricot jam, blueberry peach jam, and grape juice. I've canned literally HUNDREDS of bottles of yummy goodness that we'll be able to enjoy over the months to come. My next project will be to find apples for applesauce and apple pie filling.

I'm also busy now looking at ways to earn income from home. I did go to some classes and became licensed as a mortgage loan officer. However, I quickly discovered that the real estate market is not for me! I absolutely detest it and dealing with it stressed me out to where I was making myself sick. So, I'm leaving that line work.

After some deep soul searching I decided to go back to what I know and love. I'm going to be starting a children's music class. I'm looking at teaching children between the ages of 3-7 the basics and fundamentals of music.

I've also decided to give of myself. I have been so blessed in my life. I really want to give back. I am starting a foundation called "Warm Hearts, Warm Hands". This foundation will be comprised of knitters, crocheter's and people that can sew in general. The goal here is to make hats, gloves, mittens, blankets, and toys to be donated to shelters for women and children who have left a domestic violence situation. Hats, blankets, and toys will also be donated to hospitals for babies and children. Of course donations will gladly be accepted. I really want this foundation to grow.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

My garden

My garden is coming up beautifully! I can't believe how fast things are starting to grow. Of course out here in Utah we've had a lot of rain lately. This has not been a typical Utah summer. We're in the desert so usually our summers are hot and dry. The rain has been a nice treat for our plants out here!
Between the rain and the "super soil" my veggies are coming up rather quick.
I am amazed at how little time and effort I am putting in to my garden right now. The hardest part literally was building the boxes and mixing the soil. I have so much coming up right now. Today, as I was out surveying I found that I now have radishes, green beans, corn, cucumbers, peas, beets, spinach, lettuce, and I saw a pumpkin coming up too! Of course I planted a few tomatoes.
Here's a few pics of my garden that I took a few days ago. I'll take some more some time next week so that you can see the difference.
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The last picture is my strawberry bed. I put it in a different spot in the yard. I used the same soil mix but didn't section it off. I have both June bearing and ever bearing strawberries. I probably won't see too many strawberries this year but next year I should have enough to can a nice batch of strawberry jam. YUM!
Unfortunately some of my strawberry plants are having a tough time. My neighbor brought them to me, but they had been sitting in a hot car all day. A few of them have snapped out of it, but I think some of the other plants have died. No biggie though, the plants that survived are already sending out runners.

On the rest of the home front. The children are adapting rather well to no TV. That's right we have canceled all TV services at our house.We don't even have rabbit ears around here. At the beginning of the summer I put together an art box for the kids. I keep it well stocked with various craft projects, construction paper, glue, scissors, markers, crayons, colored pencils, etc...
Last week grandma sent the girls a book of paper dolls. Earlier tonight they were busy cutting out the dolls and some of the clothes for them.
I must say that canceling the TV was one of the best things we ever did. It not only saves us $$$ but it's allowed our children to become more creative with their time.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

It's been awhile

I know it's been awhile since I last posted.
I've been quite busy. In my efforts to stimulate my household economy (since Uncle Obama won't) I've branched out to a new career. I recently took a course in becoming a Mortgage Loan Officer. 20 hours of in class time was required by the State of Utah. The course was mainly Real Estate law (yawn). Upon completion of the course I was then required to take a State and Federal test in order to get my license as a loan officer. Amazingly I passed the test the first time I took it! YAY!
The cool part is this job will allow me to work from home. I can get work done while the kids are in school and be home for them when they get home from school.
The next trick will be figuring out how to not allow Facebook games to distract me LOL

I've also been quite busy with yard work. We now have a decent yard for the kids to play in.
The main thing here that applies to my blog is the fact that I also now have a vegetable garden! I love home grown fresh veggies.
This isn't just any old garden with rows and furrows. The ground here is terrible! It's like clay. I somehow managed to talk my husband in to building me garden boxes for raised beds. I have adopted the principle of square foot gardening. I must say this is the coolest thing to happen to gardening in years!
If you've never heard of square foot gardening here's a link It is so easy! I think the hardest part was mixing the "soil". So far I have planted radishes, green beans, peas, spinach, beets and a few tomato plants. Tomorrow I hope to get out and plant some more veggies.
I'm going to anxiously await the harvest. I'll be sharing some of my veggies with friends and neighbors, but I'm also planting enough that I'll be able to can and freeze some for future storage.

I'll try to take pictures of my square foot gardens and post them here.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Children's clothing

My children are on a mission right now to get rid of the clothes that are full of holes and/or that they just don't wear anymore. They put them in a box or bag and I then go through the clothes. I toss only what is badly stained or torn. Some tears can be easily fixed. Pants with holes in the knees can be cut off and hemmed to make shorts for the summer. This can save a lot of money on summer clothes for the kids. If you don't know how to sew go to any fabric store and pick up some "stitch witchery". It's fairly inexpensive. If you can iron and know how to use a measuring tape you can easily hem with stitch witchery. For jeans though, make sure you get the heavy bond stitch witchery.
The rest of the clothes I save and hang on to for younger siblings. There is nothing wrong with a child wearing "hand me downs". My youngest daughter loves getting her big sisters old clothes.
If you have any left over clothes check with a neighbor that may have younger children, see if they want them. If not take them to a second hand shop. Bless someone else's life with them.

If the clothes are in good shape look around your area and see if there are any consignment shops that may take them. Where I live there is a store that will buy "gently used" children's clothing, furniture, and toys. I have found that if I choose to take store credit they give me an extra 20% than if I would have taken cash. This is almost like getting children's clothes for free.

There are times that you will need to buy clothes for your children. Like I mentioned earlier, look at second hand shops and thrift stores. I have found some really nice stuff in these shops for dirt cheap. I also buy clothing off season from the big retailers. In today's economic market I've been able to find some really good deals for not a lot of money. I recently picked up a pair of boots for one of my daughters at a local retailer for $3.00. They were on clearance. I tucked the boots away in my closet for her birthday.
Right now I have good sized stack of brand new(name brand)clothes stashed in my closet for several of my children. I've bought jeans, hoodies, sweaters and t-shirts. All together I don't think I've spent more than $40.00. I picked them all up on clearance or from stores that were going out of business. These clothes will be given to them for birthday's and will be used for school clothes next fall.

A tip for buying shoes: I have 5 children, so shoe buying can get pricey. I wait until Payless shoe store runs it's BOGO sales. I also have AAA auto service. At this store I get an extra 10% discount with my AAA card. Check in to things like that. You never know...
Don't be afraid to hang on to shoes for younger children that your older children grow out of quickly. I put out grown shoes in a bag or box and when a child needs new shoes we check out the "shoe bag" or the "shoe box" to find something there first. If no luck then we wait for BOGO and go to Payless.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009


I will be adding a new tip sometime this week. I just have to find the time.