Friday, January 30, 2015

Shopping Changes

Let's talk food (again) for a bit.  How does one go from such an extremely commercial lifestyle to one very, very different? Baby steps, for me, it was baby steps.  First, we bought a whole beef from my Grandpa, then I got addicted to the thrill of the hunt at Farmer's Markets & finally, I joined the Iowa Food Coop.  These days, we do all 3 as regularly as possible.

The beef we get every fall/winter. Its always an exciting few weeks for us, yes, we ARE easily amused. ;) A couple of days after it is delivered to the locker, we have to call in our order.  The order is how we want it cut, what steaks & how thick or roast sizes, ribs on or off the bone, brisket cured or uncured, if any of the previous items want ground, bones, organs, & how do we want it all packaged? We usually start discussing these options about a month before the locker date because we both have preferences for different things or ideas of new things to try to fix requiring new cuts or a different thickness of cuts. The carcass hangs in the locker for 7-10 days, we prefer 10 as that can sometimes effect the tenderness of the meat, so we tell them that when we call in our order.  They will call when its all cut & ready to go.  We wait a couple of days, sometimes a week to pick it up to be sure its good & frozen as it is an hour drive back to our house & usually takes about 15-30 minutes to get it in the freezers once home.  >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>is a shot of our upright freezer in 2012 when we brought our beef home.  It gives me warm fuzzies and feels like Christmas! It can seem expensive the first time, but every night that you are pinching pennies in every other area of your life and can pull a package of rib eyes or t-bone steaks from your freezer, makes it all worth it.

The arrangement we have & that my Grandpa does with all of his customers, is that we all pay our own locker fee & then pay him whatever the market rate is.  Then, we like to add the 2 together, divide by the number of total pounds & revel in the fact that we have some amazing beef in our freezer for many dollars lower than the grocery store prices. We have gotten rather critical of beef dishes we order in restaurants or have out & about though.We love our beef! If you can also do pork this way, I would recommend it.  We tried one year but didn't eat it fast enough & pork does not keep in the freezer as long as beef before it gets to tasting 'gamey'. So when we are thinking about pork dishes, I get cuts from the coop or he picks it up from the store.

My grandparents were telling me the other night about 'back in the day' when he worked at the local locker & the people who rented the freezer space stopped on Friday or Saturday to pick up the meat for their week's meals. Can you imagine not having all of your groceries at home that you can pull out in a moment's notice, so planning a whole week ahead, making a special stop in town to get it AND actually having to follow that menu plan? Intriguing to me but so glad we have not one, but 2 deep freezes in our house.

There was a day, that we would stop at the store almost daily for supper ingredients, I know a lot of people who still do.  I like my weekly trips with the occasional stop during a week-usually for a jug of water our drinking water.   We started out getting the midgrade ground beef from the meat counter in our local grocery store, then upgraded to a higher grade, then we used to get a bulk package of ground beef or boneless skinless chicken breasts, some times both, on our monthly trip to Sam's Club. Those bulk packages were then split into smaller freezable portions for cooking later. Funny that at each time frame, that made me feel uber productive.  Funny how that definition keeps changing as my life changes.

.How has your meat shopping changed in the last few (or 20) years?  Do you think its a sign of the times, how society is changing or just us getting older?

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

One Little Word 2015

This year's word is still giving me fits.  Usually the word picks me in late fall before I start to focus on it in January, but this year, dang, nothing is fitting..

 I have tried Make: 1. Make do with what we have 2. Make more homemade food 3. Make my path for the future 4. Make it happen.  and I love them all but it just doesn't seem square.

This morning I woke up thinking about Clean: 1.Clean up our eating 2. Clean up my mind-kick judgy-mcjuderson to the curb permanently 3.Clean up the clutter in the house & childcare, well, life in general-if it doesn't serve a positive purpose, ditch it.

Its so strange to me to not have the word pick me & I am sure I am making it much harder than it needs to be, like I do most things in life.   so there you have it, January 14th & I am still with out a OLW for the year.

Help me out, do you follow a word or a phrase for the year? Share your experience.

Friday, December 19, 2014

This Moment

Linking up with Amanda & family over at SouleMama, which she describes as "A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember".  Every week I view her little moments & love the little peek into their world, today, I have one of my own from a few weeks ago, they were watching the snow plow going up & down our cul de sac...

Have a fabulous Weekend!

Monday, December 15, 2014

Holiday Baking

What's on your baking list?

I love to bake this time of year, I also think its the perfect time for sweets, so thinking, I might do some Swedish Pastries from this blog  post, and maybe some Snowballs  (but I use walnuts) & some buckeye fudge, which I have never done before but it looks good & easy. Since Tim is still pretty much boycotting my cooking & I don't need to eat all of each, I can stash some of each to send off to the school bus driver, mail carrier & garbage collectors. 

With the kids, I'd like to try these dark chocolate peppermint bars, and these cookie dough balls, and maybe some of these red velvet crinkle cookies.

What's on your list this month?

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

December Daily update-talking myself off the ledge

Assembling my December Daily did NOT go as I had planned.  I kind of freaked out when I opened the package the week before & realized there wasn't going to be enough room in the pre-loaded pages to do 2 pages for each day in the month like I have in years past & there is no way to load more pages. I took it on our Thanksgiving weekend away anyway, with a few supplies hoping to figure something out.  I did. I was able to follow most of the instructions, the good thing about projects like this, nothing is right or wrong so I just did what I wanted to; decorated the cover, put the pre-cut squares in the coin pocket pages, & laid the rest out to look at. I didn't end up sticking anything else down at the time but at least I have checked it all out & have an idea of what to do as far as what pictures to take & sizes to print, what to collect, etc. Sometimes limited options are a good thing but this had kind of put me into a tailspin. Ali may have read my mind when she posted this,
  • "On the other hand, the limits might help you. You can definitely use the structure to MAKE CHOICES about what to include in your album. I always leave something out - I choose what to include - and I'm okay with that. As I work with my photos I do pick and choose, being mindful of the overall story of the week. Limits can be a positive thing as long as you don't spend too long agonizing over which photos to use to tell these stories. "
 I really needed to hear that from someone else!

Since I have felt so limited on space, I haven't taken a single picture yet & I am writing this on the 5th.  By the time it posts, I will have appropriately photographed the weekend.  I have to remember that there will be 12x12 pages scrapped for anything not included in this mini, I am just used to it being the other way around, in that the mini is the bulk of December scrapping & the 12x12s are just to 'cover' the holidays in the big book.

Looking ahead:

  •  I did get my poinsettia last night, so when I take the plastic off of it, I will do some shots of it w/the big camera 
  • getting my van back from the shop-normally that would go in, but not sure about it in the limited space
  • Having our girls' shopping day tomorrow, so I should get some phone pics there.
  • celebrating a birthday tomorrow evening 
  • in 2 weeks I want to get pics of the couple I volunteer with for food coop
  • my family is doing our gathering on the 20th
  • not sure when Tim's side is
  • there should be a couple or 3 school programs coming up
  • if the box from amazon is as big as I think it might be, maybe a shot & story about that
  • snow, if we get more
  • ornament making, redbox movie renting, crafting with the kids during Christmas break
  • if I go past 25th, document how I took the leap to took the Fridays following the holidays off this year
  • cards received & sent -I really need to get on the ball
  • new Christmas movie added to the collection
  • document the few decorations used this year
So, I have plenty to document & yet not too much for the pages available, it will all work out, I just may not go with one of these albums again next year ;) 

Next week, I plan to have something of my own to share with you. 

How are you documenting your holidays? 

Monday, December 8, 2014

different isn't wrong

I am going against the blogging norm today, almost every blog is posting affiliate links to aid in your shopping (& earn them a discount or a few dollars) for household products, hobby supplies, even groceries & clothes. (I am totally not against those blogs or bloggers! to each their own, this is just my little spin on it.)  I am going to talk about how differently I live than that & how differently it is from how I used to live.

Doing childcare at home has enabled me to not need to spend a small fortune on wardrobe items each season, in fact, my work clothes become work the clothes when they are handed down from the 'good clothes' category.  They aren't in style in the least- although, if I keep being nice to them, they just may last until they come back in, they aren't flattering at. all., but seriously, they are comfy & make me feel good.  Today, I have on a pair of jeans that may at one time have passed as stonewashed, now they are just faded w/a hole in the knee-a wear hole, not an intentional-store-bought- one, a white turtle neck under a multi-stripe fleece v-neck pullover that might pass as tunic length.  That is one of my few winter work outfits. Yesterday, it was a pair of too big, navy, swishy pants an orange t-shirt & a grey hoodie w/navy screen printing on it.  The other day, I wore my black 'fight like a girl' screen printed hoodie & coordinating sweat pants w/a pink t-shirt. Still in my drawer, the shirts way out number the single pair of black yoga pants, but I do laundry at least twice a week in the winter -the dryer doubles as an added heat source if I run it during work hours, so often I do, I wear one pair of those pants twice.  The second time, I pair them with a different top. Long or short sleeve t-shirts, various hoodies, a fleece 'jacket' that buttons, they are all good clothes cast offs, hand me downs or bought new with the intention of using as work clothes.  Since a typical work day consists of burping babies, changing diapers & cooking, among other things, so, I refuse to wear anything I would hate to stain, splatter with grease or tear a hole in.

 My good clothes for winter, are a few sweaters (multi-shade brown stripe, dull blue/grey boxy, black short sleeve with a big cowl neck, & a red mock turtleneck) that I layer over a t-shirt or long john top, or some more good ole hoodies over t-shirts for something casual, several scarves of different textures & colors, & 2 pairs of jeans. I did bring home a vintage red/white/blue plaid long wool skirt when we were cleaning out Great Grandma's basement, that I am hoping to put to use this winter.

Hmmmmmm now that I think about it, I have more pairs of flannel pants than I do good jeans :)  I live in them most weekends & evenings if I have worked in my jeans during the day.  I travel in them with out question, if we aren't stopping to eat or shop.  Another drawer I have, is my 'running clothes drawer'.  In it, I have 1 pair of long pants just for walking/running/working out, a long sleeve dri-fit race shirt, a long sleeve base layer & dri-fit short sleeve race shirt.  I don't run in the winter, we walk 2-3 miles 2-5 mornings/week in the high school halls. I could wear my work clothes & not change when I get home to save on laundry, but I feel better about doing it if I am dressed for it.  Just like putting something little on the calendar makes it a bigger deal, that's why I will continue to 'suit up' for our morning walks. If I am working in the sweats, swishy pants or yoga pants later that day, I will wear them to walk in that morning just wear a different top.  Since I am not getting stinky, sweaty, I will hang my walking clothes up & re-wear them a couple of times until the next laundry day.

This is all so much different than I was 10 years ago.  I lived a very commercial lifestyle back then, I was buying clothes every month, my dresser and closet overflowed for every season and it would be so very tempting to go back to a lighter version of that if the checkbook allowed. Alas, it doesn't, so I will stick to my own version of the capsule wardrobe & enjoy the change in seasons as each change means I get to open that tote & re-discover all  new outfits.  I even currently have a pile of short sleeve race shirts to send to a friend to make into a couch quilt for me; getting them out of my closet & dresser, yet, still put to good use.

So, tell me, how differently do you do your wardrobe?

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Scrap Space

Over Thanksgiving weekend, we headed out of town. Traded the busy hub-bub of town for a quiet, star filled time at the cabin again.  I had packed more than enough -as always- supplies to keep me busy for the weekend.  I took my December Daily to put together but ended up doing very little of that, just couldn't imagine having it all decorated & then needing to try to move something to fit a page together... anyway, so I did a bit of that on Thursday evening when we settled in.  Friday evening, I scrapped on a party bus trip we took that I 'finished', on Saturday late afternoon. When I went to unpack on Sunday at home, I got back into it & decided to really finish those 6 pages, so they could go in the closet & that is exactly where they landed at 4pm on Sunday.  Now, on to one of the weddings for that summer. (we had 3)

Anyway... here's a shot of my weekend work space:

After this weekend it is confirmed I will never wish for a bench to sit on to scrap, but it was a perfectly acceptable space for the weekend.  We even got to experiment with me scrapping in the same room as he watches t.v. which is what I am envisioning for our next home. We didn't do too bad for being way closer together than I imagine in a house.