Monday, February 26, 2018

March Meal Plan

With the (almost) success of February's grocery challenge, I thought I would intensify the requirements a bit more and require one meal per week to be cooked by using food storage.  This should also help reduce the costs of our grocery bill a bit further.  We have a nice storage of rice and beans so I'm counting this meal as meeting the requirement.  LOL.

Something my hubby and I feel strongly about is to be prepared for an emergency.  Food is a priority for me.  I never want to go hungry and I feel that I can prevent that tragedy by being prepared.  I've recently started researching food storage for this reason.  Not for the zombie apocalypse.

Hubby and I are just now really getting organized with our food storage with a huge walk in pantry that we have at our deer camp.  We have rice, beans, tortilla mix, and some dehydrated foods.

Recently, I found a cookbook for cooking from your home food storage.  It was created and published by the LDS organization.  It reminded me that on one of the Facebook's responses said that they can feed their family on $50 a month using their food storage.  Now, I have doubts that I can feed my family for one month on $50 a month...However, if I can reduce the grocery budget by any amount, then that leaves more money for my quilting addiction...I mean, hobby.

I have already been on the hunt for recipes that are meant for using your food storage.  I found a few groups on Facebook and also some accounts on Instagram that I now follow.  Do you have any favorites?  Please share them! 

So let's try this way at organizing our lives in the best way and easiest way possible...Introducing, Google Docs:  March Meal Plan.  As long as you have this link you will be able to see document.  However - the link is not available for everyone.  I'll work on learning how to publish the document in my blog posts.  If anyone already knows how to do so - please email me! 

My goal for this month is to incorporate food storage into our meals to save as much money as possible.  This involved me taking an inventory some physically and some mentally of the items that we already have on hand to try to use those in meals first before having to purchase additional items. 

My goals are to prep/chop/freeze onions for this month's meals and to add to my food storage (deep freezer).  I ended up with 6 pounds of yellow onions and it only took me 30 minutes in my food processor to chop it, bag it, and freeze it.  My attempt at meal preparation...LOL. 

I'm also stocking up on pasta as I can this month to keep in my food storage.  I'm considering purchasing the #10 size cans of pasta that have 22 servings to see how if that will really last me as long as I think it will.  It seems to be an inexpensive item to add to our food storage. 

I contacted Thrivelife.com to see about tasting their food before buying.  Did you know you could even do that?  It's considered expensive but it is suppose to be the tastiest.  One consultant said they would send me samples if I didn't want to host a tasting party.  I don't know many people who would want to build a food storage so I opted for the samples. 
 
With this month's meal plan, I have already grocery shopped for the next two weeks!  I love Kroger ClickList.  I have found that not every Kroger has their act together so if you are disappointed in your experience - you may want to try another store location.  I have one location that I love and another that I hate even walking into the store.

Happy Meal Planning! 

From my cabin to yours-


DON'T FORGET!  


Friday, February 23, 2018

My First Treadle Singer!

Yesterday while searching online for solutions to my sewing space here at the cabin, I found an amazing post.  A Singer 127 was posted for sale...with the treadle tabletop...with 6 drawers...and it still works! 

Now I'm all about a good deal, but this was a GREAT deal!  I couldn't believe it.  The seller only wanted $100 for it.  The table had the sewing feet in the drawers with it and all the extras and tools this Singer needs to be worked on. 

So what did I do?  Naturally, I drove the hour and a half to go look at it.  And shortly after - I drove back home with her! 



I'll try to post more pictures of her once I get her settled in.  These pictures are from the actual Facebook listing. 

If you haven't looked, check your Facebook Marketplace for some great sewing deals.  Most people don't seem to know what a great treasure they have and only ask what it's partially worth. 

What's been your greatest sewing find?  Greatest deal?  What's the farthest you have traveled for a deal?  This was by far my farthest...

Happy Sewing! 

From my cabin to yours...

The Mom DIet

We all idealize the way we will eat healthy once we are a mom and we will be a great role model for our kids to be healthy...
 (Photo from Mom's Health Magazine)



And then reality sets in...

As a new mom, I've been working on getting back to my pre-pregnancy weight and fitness levels.  As many of you know I've hit the plateaus that many of us hit when trying to lose weight. Many many variables have impacted this: the weather (no outside activities), family obligations, sleep deprivation, etc.

Several mom groups have exercise challenges each day that you can participate in and either comment you have done them or do a live video on Facebook. I've enjoyed these and do step challenges and plank challenges. We share meal plans and recipes. It's a great source of support.

Recently, Bailey woke up with a high fever. A doctors visit concluded she had an ear infection in one ear and another ear was covered in mucus-starting another infection.  Where did this come from?  No signs...no symptoms...just woke up with fever. 

As a result, she wants to stay in bed laying down. She tries to sleep but has some pain that wakes her up.  As another result of her not feeling well, I'm not allowed to leave her sight and most of the time have to lay beside her and she snuggles up. This has created another challenge to my workout routine and meals.  Unless you have a cooktop in your bedroom...I can't figure it out. 

On day 3 of this illness, I'm eating whatever's available and ready to be eaten. This means yesterday I ate two King Size Hershey bars and about 6 cookies.  The day before I don't even remember eating. On the first day though I did eat a hard boiled egg and a bowl of beef stroganoff at dinner when Hubby came home from work and held Bailey comforting her. 

Well, I just weighed myself thinking I would have gained and I'm only 6 pounds away from my goal now. In 3 days I've lost 9 pounds. I'm not complaining either but this was a hell of a way to do it. I hate it when Bailey feels bad and is sick. It's torture. I wish she wasn't sick and she was well and feeling 100% like herself. 



If anything, as I eat two Mrs. Baird's Apple hand pies and drink my coffee full of sugared up flavored creamer, this has brought up food storage to me.  How can I keep foods and meals here at the house with super easy heating abilities?  I don't want an MRE (Hubby suggested this.).  MREs have too many calories for a day like this.  It doesn't quite fit the bill.  I opened my last can of chicken noodle soup for Bailey...she loves it and finally ate enough to fill her belly for the first time in three days. 

Obviously, I need to buy more soup!  Honestly, I could make it and freeze it but then I have to have enough sleep to remember to thaw it and who really knows how anyone will feel the next day...My solution is still to buy some but to make more and keep it in the deep freezer for those days when someone is ill for several days. 

As a SAHM, sick kiddos are still new to me.  I'm still surprised how often they are really sick.  Bailey has had a good track record though, unlike her sister who is always sick.  I'm sure daycare doesn't help her health though.  I'd change it if I could. 

Well, I'm off to look up other quick and easy meals and foods for days like this.  I hate being unprepared and having my meal plan thrown off - but it is what it is. 

Monday, February 19, 2018

Let's Make Some Money...Part 2!

One thing I promised last week was to show you how easy it is to consign with Just Between Friends for one of the consignment sales.  Here it is...It's so easy that I was actually shocked at how easy everything is set up for us busy moms on the go.



FIND A SALE.  This is as simple as going to the webpage and entering your zip code to find all the great sales in your area.  You may not want to wait for the sale to take all of your things and may be willing to take a few things to a sale that's happening sooner.  I'm in this boat.  I have so much that I would be overwhelmed if I had to take everything and watch Bailey.  Thankfully, I can get my mom to go with me this Tuesday to watch Bailey while I take some items to a Just Between Friends sale in the Woodlands/Conroe area.


Did you find your nearest locations?  There's a lot, aren't there?  This is so great because you don't need to feel rushed to get all of your things tagged by one certain date.  You can spread it out if you need to.  One issue for me is space in my car.  I won't have time to make multiple trips to drop off items so I'm taking some items to the Woodlands/Conroe sale this week so that I have enough room to take most of my items to the North Houston sale.

The North Houston area sale is the closest location and it's huge.  The people are so nice and I'm hoping that if someone volunteered to work, that they did again this year.  THEY WERE THAT NICE!  So helpful!  I even met Cindy at the event...which may make you feel like a VIP, if you're like me.  There's something about meeting the person who puts the events together that really gives me a sense of transparency and the confidence that it's a legit and safe event to be a part of.  I don't feel like I'm being taken advantage of or getting the short straw.

REGISTER TO CONSIGN.  Here's what you need to know about your money.  You will earn 60% on your sold items.  You also pay a $10 fee for each event.  If you sell at multiple events...you will pay $10 per event.

If you agree to "HELP OUT" (work/volunteer a 4 hour shift) then you will earn 70% of your sold items.  If I could get a babysitter to watch Bailey - I would totally do this.

Your check will be mailed to you within the first 14 days following the close of the sale.  The website states that the average consignor will make approximately $300/sale.  So think of all those toys, clothes, and unnecessary items in your home and think about selling them quick and easily!  No need to post in the Facebook Marketplace and worry about meeting people or responding as quickly as you can during your day.  Just make one trip and sell it all!

Still have questions?  JBF has a consignor guide.  Seriously.  JBF Consignor Guide  Click and download this document from their website.  It will answer all of your questions.

Ready to sign up?  Register here.  It's so simple.  Fill out the contact form and then you will receive your consignor number on the next page with all the local events.  You can select multiple events that you can sell at.  You can sign up to help out at several events too.  It's all in one place.

TAGGING.  This is the step that made me hesitate last year about selling and now I wished I could go back in time and have sold part of this giant pile that is sitting in my living room.

Find safety pins.  If you are like me then you have them all over your house.  I find them in bathroom drawers, on the floor in my sewing area, everywhere.  It's ridiculous.  I'm surprised I haven't stepped on an open one yet.

White cardstock is required for tagging your items, not regular printer paper.  This is what made me hesitate the last sale because the thought of going to Office Depot to look for paper and lugging around a baby was just too much.  HOWEVER - Kroger even carries white cardstock so check your local grocery store!  I added it to my ClickList order and picked it up with all my other groceries.

Once you print (9 tags per page) - cut them, and safety pin them to your clothes!  It's that easy!

All of the clothes must be on hangers!  You will not get these back so make sure they are hangers you no longer want or need.

When you purchase clothes - you get them on the hangers!  It makes it so nice for the shopper.  I was ecstatic last event when I saw that I got all of the hangers with the clothes that I purchased.  For a new mom, this just made my day even better.

Make sure the clothes all hang the same way (check the guide for specifics) and you are pretty much ready for drop off!  You can safety pin the clothes to the hanger too.  There are pictures on the website to show you how to do this.

DROP OFF.  This is set up at the same location as the event.  There will be signs showing you where to drop off your goodies and someone will help check you in.  Expect at least an hour (longer if you have a lot of items) to complete the check in process.

If you have 300 items or more, you can make an appointment!

Once someone checks your items and makes sure everything is correct, you will then take your items to the assigned areas for the sale.  All clothes will be organized by sex and size (girls, 9 months vs. boys, 9 months).  Just hang them up in the designated areas.

GET PAID.  Then after the sale just wait for your check to appear in the mail!  During the sale you log back into the tagging website and watch and see which items sell.  This is an awesome feature for someone like me who likes to stalk the website and see how much money I'm making, as I'm making it!



 


RETAIL THERAPY!  Isn't it time you enjoyed some retail therapy without paying the retail price!  Shop early with the other consignors!  As a consignor - you get to shop early before the other shoppers.  There is a designated time/date for this so be sure to mark this information down when you sign up to consign.  

At the JBF-North Houston sale you can shop stress free knowing you are getting an amazing discount of 50-90% off the retail price of what you would pay in the stores.  Let's be honest....how often does a child/baby wear out their clothes when they are so young?  THEY DON'T.  It's  ridiculous to pay full price when you can get LIKE NEW clothes for so CHEAP!  


And of course, don't forget - Cindy Smith sent me this pass to give to my readers!  Show this pass at the door and don't pay the entry fee!  


SHOP EARLY ON MARCH 22, 2018 
FROM 10AM - 8PM FREE!

Still have questions?  Stay tuned for another blog on tagging your items!  I'll show you how I did it.  

Sign up to follow this blog for more JBF info and fun tales of my charming cabin life!  

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Valentines & Heavenly Turkey Goulash



I ran to the grocery store today...on Valentine's Day.  I couldn't believe how many people were lined up for chocolate covered strawberries.  It's not that hard.  Melt chocolate.  Dip strawberry.  Lay out on sheet pan in fridge to harden.  If I didn't need bacon for tonight's Valentine's dinner for the hubby - I would have waited until tomorrow to do any grocery shopping.

With my hubby -

So I ran and got the bacon and a few other things...So tonight I can make hubby a bacon wrapped pork tenderloin, mashed potatoes, asparagus, and a small salad that I'm sure he will cover in bleu cheese dressing.  I've made this dish before for his family when they visited and unfortunately he wasn't there to try it so tonight will be his first time.  He's going to love it.  It's so devine!

****

I've had some requests on how I made my goulash that Bailey & Hubby loved so much...




What You Need:
2 pounds ground turkey - 85% lean was on sale so that's what I used.
1 diced medium yellow onion
1/2 diced medium red onion
3 tablespoons mined garlic
1 can (14.5 ounces) stewed Italian tomatoes
2 cans (16 ounces total) tomato sauce
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
3 tablespoons of Italian seasoning
2 cups of water
3 cups uncooked elbow pasta
1 can sweet corn, drained
salt & pepper to taste
shredded cheese & sour cream for garnish



How to Make the Heavenly Goulash:

1.  Heat a large Dutch oven and add the ground turkey, yellow onion, and red onion.  Break the meat apart and make sure it cooks through. Don't drain the goodness...



2.  Add garlic and cook another minute, stirring continuously.

3.  Add tomato sauce and diced tomatoes.  Break the diced tomatoes up to very small pieces.  I broke it up in my hand before adding it to the pot.  Add worchestershire sauce, Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper.  Let simmer.



4.  Add pasta and water - let simmer about 15 minutes or until pasta is cooked.  (Mine took about 20 minutes.)

5.  Stir in corn.  Cook for another minute and then serve with cheddar cheese and sour cream as garnish.


I served 4 adults and a one year old who eats like a teenager already with this meal...
Each adult had two servings!  Yes, it was THAT good. 

And if you think that it makes too much...I had only one serving leftover...and Bailey ate it! 




****


From my cabin to yours - Happy Valentine's Day!  

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Let's Make Some Money!

In every mommy Facebook group page I'm in, and I'm in a lot of them, there seems to be a mom who always asks about working from home to supplement their family income.  I have to admit that it’s intrigued me too.

I've searched for ways that I could earn some money to help my family out as well...hey, quilting is an expensive hobby!   Lol.  Did I mention that we have two kids?  Kids are expensive too. Really...really...expensive but I bet I didn't have to tell you that!

I was surfing on Facebook when I saw an event pop up in my feed for JBF-North Houston.  It stands for Just Between Friends and it is a consignment sale for babies, kids, and maternity. It’s an event where everyday moms, like you and I, can take the items we no longer need or use and sell them.





Sounds great, right?  It is. I found this sale last fall and had to check it out to see if it really lived up to all the great photos that were used in advertising.  I knew about it ahead of time and thought about selling in the sale too. I talked myself out of that and said that I would go check it out and see how everything should be tagged. I didn’t have my girls’ rooms cleaned out to list enough items for the sale either - that's what I thought.  Momlife...it's busy.  If you just have one item - the tagging system is super easy to use and I recommend you take 2 minutes to tag the item you want out of your house!  You might as well get paid for it!

When I got there, I hadn’t had the time to print my ticket to get into the sale but I was greeted and welcomed into the sale with no hesitations.   For a new mom - that was huge.  I had my baby with me and pushed her in her stroller the whole time.

When they say this is an EVENT...they are not lying.  Have you even googled images of "Just Between Friends"?  It's unreal.  Those photos are exactly what you should expect.  It's HUGE!  In case you haven't checked them out...here's a few photos from Google Images for you to enjoy!





I had a mission for finding a jogging stroller and purchasing new clothes for both girls. I wasn’t able to get a jogging stroller because they had already sold.  If I had been there earlier, (by just an hour!) I would have been able to get one at a great price. I waited until the day before the last day to go. That was my MISTAKE!  I’ll never wait that long again.  Even so, it was a successful trip and I’ve been looking forward to the spring sale event!  And guess what...it’s next month - March 22-24, 2018!   




Check out the Facebook group link here: JBF-North Houston Event.  Following the Facebook group is a great way to stay up to date on all the updates.  If you decide to sell, Cindy Smith posts tons of tips and everyone is super helpful!

This time, I know what to expect and I am so excited to go and actually be more involved this year and sell some items my girls no longer need.  I’ve pulled out all of the baby’s clothes she can’t wear from newborn to 9 months old, her infant bathing tub and sling, bottle warmer, baby bouncing/vibrating seat, 3T clothes, 4T clothes, baby cradle, and so much more.  I'm excited to clear out the house of all the clutter and make some money at the same time!  This has been WAY easier than having my own garage sale.  I'm so glad I changed my mind about that.

This year I am on my A game!  I signed up to consign and received my consignment number. That was as easy as clicking a button and giving my email address. Then I joined the consignors Facebook group where others can ask questions about the sale or get advice on pricing, tagging, etc.  It’s been a great resource and often times when I have a question about how to do something.  The tagging system is super easy to use and you can print your tags off and then safety pin them to your clothing items.

Sign up to consign on the website!  Just Between Friends - North Houston Website 


           

These pictures are no exaggeration to the awesome amount of items that will be available!  
These are real pictures provided by Cindy Smith.  





To purchase Spring 2018 event tickets click on this link:  https://jbfnh2018ss.eventbrite.com

Another highlight of this sale is that if you are buying-you will not pay retail for anything!  This is a great chance to buy items for your children at drastically reduced prices. I bought my now one year all of her 12 month clothes, some toys, my 4 year old got a new wardrobe in her next size (5T), and some bottle feeding equipment for around $100.  My receipt showed me that I paid on average $3 per item!  That’s huge for me. I’m all about a good deal and this one was AMAZING !

I highly suggest that if you are looking to make a few bucks or find a great deal!  

And if you need some extra motivation - 
check out what Cindy Smith sent me to share with my readers!
This is a FREE PASS!  


Klein ISD Multipurpose Building -  
located conveniently on FM 2920 between Kuykendahl and the new Grand Parkway


Hopefully, I will see you there.  Sign up to follow the blog and I'm going to show you how easy it is to tag items and sell in the JBF sale!


Monday, February 12, 2018

My iPhone Dilemma

I am one of those people who have over 13,000 photos on their phone.  That's right....13,000+!

I love taking pictures of things all around me.  I think part of it is that I don't want to miss sharing a moment with family, friends, and the Hubby.  Sometimes I get some really awesome shots...but I'm no photographer!  No one would pay for these pictures but me! 

I have photos and videos of Bailey and Jameson nearly documenting every moment I am with them.  I have videos of the girls playing together...videos of Bailey laying on my lap laughing non-stop...I have pictures of diapers exploding with poop even.  I have pictures of quilts, fabrics, sewing patterns, nature pictures, my wedding photos, funny memes I want to use...the list goes on. 




Maybe I'm addicted to my camera phone.  Not so much the phone part.  Truth is, if you call me...I may not answer.  I hate talking on the phone because I did it so much at work.  I was required to answer the phone then.  If not, I faced possible disciplinary action, which is ridiculous to me now...life happens and supervisors should understand that.  (but I digress...)

I just tried to take a picture on my phone and it said out of storage.  Surely, I'm not the only one.  My phone has 64 GB of memory.  It's full.  When I check the breakdown of the storage, it's apparent I never delete anything and am afraid to be without...especially my beloved pictures.  Pictures alone take up nearly 38 GB of memory. 

I know what you're saying..."Why not use the Cloud?".  I'm not a fan of the iCloud...or any cloud relating to saving data.  Perhaps it's my lack of faith in the technology...perhaps its the cases I've investigated where the cloud was hacked and personal information and PICTURES were released and shared to millions without the owners' consent.  And...perhaps its from the lack of laws written that could have given those victims some closure and protection after the suspects were found and sent to trial. 

Today, I'm going to do something I've never done before.  NEVER. 

Today, after I download and save the pictures to my computer...I'm going to delete them from my phone.  Nearly all of them...well, maybe some...

I have so much saved on my phone that I can no longer download updates on the software.  Sometimes I think that's a good thing because the last time, it deleted half of my contacts' information. 

So here I go into my iPhone's storage to select and delete photos...



I have photos on my phone from 2015-present.  As I view these photos to confirm deletion, all the memories come flooding back.  It actually makes me sad to delete them.  However, I have to remind myself that I have them saved on this very computer that I'm typing on. 

(Fast forward two hours)  So I've gone through 2015 & 2016 and deleted a lot of photos!  A lot....

Photos only take up 29 GB now!  That's only 10,757 photos folks!  I'm gonna have to bite the bullet and delete photos from last year....but one step at a time people!  LOL! 

Maybe I'll do that software update now...maybe not. 










(All photos are Google images)

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Italian Turkey Meatloaf

I had a few questions about the picture I posted on Instagram of last night's dinner and where specifically to find the link for the recipe. 

I made Italian Turkey Meatloaf with mashed potatoes (with skins on) and green beans.  I've never made meatloaf for my Hubby because he always talks about how much he doesn't like it.  I was nervous to make this new recipe, to say the least.  I had already prepped myself for him saying he was going to order a pizza. 

After reading this recipe, I knew it would be good...correction, GREAT!  I just had to convince Hubby it would be.  I found Italian Turkey Meatloaf via Pinterest, of course. 

I used what I had on hand though...so some of the ingredients were modified.  I used real diced onions - 2 handfuls.  I used minced garlic, instead of granulated...italian breadcrumbs instead of plain...whole milk instead of 1%, and no provolone-just mozzarella and parmesan. 

The result was amazing!  Hubby - who loves cheese - said it actually had too much cheese.  This was my fault.  I did put in more than the recipe stated - as an accident.  OOPS.  I loved it. 

I'm making this post to encourage everyone that even if you don't have exactly the same items, you can still make great recipes and dinners for your family!  Don't be scared to modify a recipe to fit your pantry's needs. 

It tasted like a giant meatball!  Who doesn't love meatballs? 

This recipe has been Hubby approved and will be added to the meal rotation! 


I added some marinara sauce and sprinkled with extra cheese...Absolutely delicious! 

I'm excited for leftovers today at lunch!  Now who says that?  (This girl does!)

Happy Cooking!