Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Been A While

I remember a while back I promised I wouldn't be slack with this site.  Well, the past 3 weeks have been crazy, working more days and being sick, but starting next week I promise I will get back on it.  I have 1.5 weeks off so I can fill this blog with a lot more information!!!  Sorry again for the delay!!!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Step by Step: Creating Your Own Compost

So, as I stated in the Gardening post (found HERE), making your own compost is easy and almost free.

  • rubbermaid container, 68L or more  $6.50-$15.00 at Walmart (I got a 68L one for $6.50)
  • red worms 25ct, found at Canadian tire for $4.39
  • shredded newspaper  FREE
  • food scraps  FREE
  • TOTAL COST:  $11 and that's only a one time fee!  Once you buy the materials, up keep is free!
And after about a month you will have compost!!!!!

So I took my rubbermaid and I poked holes in the top.  Not large enough for bugs to get in, well large bugs like SPIDERS, yuk!

Then I shredded up newspaper and put in a bunch of food scraps I have been gathering (bonus for me as I was drying out a bunch of fruit so I had tons of scraps).

Then I placed in these guys:

And placed it outside.  Now remember when the temperature goes lower then 0 degrees, you will need to bring this tub inside.  Even if its your garage, (as long as it's not colder then 0 degrees).  If you leave them outside below freezing, the worms could die on you.  It's not the end of the world though, if you do forget them outside, just go and buy some more worms!!!

Good luck composting!!!!

$1 For Children's Clothing!

For all of you who live in Okotoks, I was in WALMART this morning and they have a rack of childrens clothing, boys and girls from 0-3 years and EVERYTHING was $1 a piece.  I picked up 4 new shirts, 2 sweat pants, and a pj outfit (top and bottom).  Everything was $1.

There was a good amount of clothing so go on over if you are in need of anything.... I got things he would wear next year.... can't go wrong for a $1!!!

Coupon Thief..... in a good way!!

So, about a month ago, I was in Sobey's going down the baking isle and saw some coupons for Carnation's Evaporated Milk hanging off the shelf under the Evaporated Milk.  Well, we all know how expensive that stuff can be so I took the coupons BUT I didn't use them at Sobeys!!  I took 4 of them and put them in my purse because I knew a deal would come up somewhere........ well it paid off!!

This morning I was at Walmart picking up a few things and there in the grocery isle was a large stack of..... you bet Carnation's Evaporated Milk.... and not for normal price, on sale for $1.33 each!!!  I thought instantly, I've got a coupon for those!  I went looking through my coupon file and sure enough, there were those 4 coupons for $.25 off!!  So of course I grab 4 cans and my cost was $1.08 a can!!!

Always look out for coupons, you never know when you can use them to the best advantage!!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Veggies From YOUR Garden

I think of garden and the first thought that comes to me is WEEDS!!  Growing up my family had a massive garden and everyday after school, every weekend, and it seemed like every moment I had free, I was WEEDING!  I hated it and vowed I would never have a garden of my own because of the whole experience.... (mind you a lot of this was in Ontario where the summers are super humid!).  Anyways, I was at a ladies church activity and we learned how to do SQUARE FOOT GARDENING..... a way to do gardening that elimanated weeds 99%.  I couldn't believe it but it all made sense!  My next concern was the amount of space I have in the yard.  We live in a townhouse complex and our yard consists of 5 feet in front and 10 feet in the back..... I couldn't go and rotertill up my entire backyard.  Well, with this, I don't have too!

Instructions on how to do your own Square Foot Garden can be found HERE.
Supplies and other goodies to get started can be found HERE.

I would suggest going to the 1st link and getting the details and making your own.  Cheaper and it's not hard to do anyways, you may be spending much more then you want to have it all premade.

How to make your own COMPOST..... (step by step with pictures here)
  1. buy a rubbermaid container about 68L or larger to use as the compost holder
  2. grab some newspaper and make into strips.  Put on the bottom of the container
  3. go to Canadian Tire and buy 25 redwigglers, they cost $3
  4. take your rubbermaid top and poke a bunch of holes in it, making sure they aren't big enough for bugs like spiders to get through.  Pencil size holes will be good enough.
  5. put your redwigglers in the rubbermaid and place outside.  Make sure it's not to cold out, (like right now in southern alberta it would be to cold.)
  6. dump in all sorts of food remnants, like peels, leftovers, and grass clippings.  Just make sure you don't throw in any milk products, fat, meats, or bakery products.
  7. when you throw in scraps, place them on one side of the bin.  The redwigglers will go to the side you place the food.  Then the next time you put scraps in place them on the other side.  This way they will go from one side to the other mixing up your compost for you. 
Thanks to Rob Cooper for this Info! 

  • If you feel you don't have time or don't want to bother with making your own compost, compost can be found at many dumps for FREE!  Just ask when you go in where to find it!

I am so excited to get my garden going, I just have to wait for this snow to go away!!!   Another great tip to use when purchasing your gardening supplies is to go to DOLLARAMA for them.  I went on the weekend and got stakes (to put up netting for some peas) and a hand shovel and some netting for a total of $5!!!

Please let me know if you have any questions!!!!  HAPPY GARDENING!!  Once I get started I will post some pictures!!

Monday, April 4, 2011

The Start: Decluttering Your Home

So here is my first post about organizing.

If I took pictures of my house from 6 months ago till now you wouldn't think it was the same people living in it.  I was very unorganized and I always had something shoved somewhere.  But not anymore.  I decided I needed to declutter my life and it had to start with my house.  So it is what I did.
  • I went through each room with a large garbage bag and plastic container and a box.  I put everything that needed to be thrown away (things I hadn't used for over a year, papers, garbage) into the garbage bag, and things I thought would be good for my garage sale in May in the large container.  Everything that needed to go to a different room went into the box.  
  • I had to stop being emotionally attached to things.  If I picked up something that I hadn't used for over a year, I had to put it into either the garbage bag or the plastic container.  I couldn't keep it in my house anymore.  It wasn't being used anyways.
  • When it comes to the bedroom, you might want a garbage bag for clothing and one for toys.  These clothing and toys can be dropped off at a local shelter or thrift store to be used by someone else.  
Once I was done decluttering my entire house I had 10 garbage bags and a number of cardboard boxes full of things to be brought to the dump.  I couldn't believe we had been carrying around so much stuff!!!  It took me an entire week to do this from 8am till when I went to bed.  At the time my son was 10 months old which was nice because he would just play with his toys or eat or nap while I was doing all of this.

Here is a similar way to go through and declutter your house.  I did not make this up, I was at a church activity for the sisters that talked about organizing your life and the lady who did the organizing lecture gave this handout out after.  I do not take any credit for it but please read this and use it.  It can be such a help in decluttering your homes:

Decluttering and Organizing

Choose one area at a time
Have three containers –
Remember: The “put away” needs to be done immediately
The throw away needs to be tied up and placed in the garage or taken to dump etc.
The “give away” needs to go to Salvation Army or salvage etc.

Ask yourself these questions: Do I love it? Have I used it in the last year? Do I have
something else that can do the same job? Do I need two?

You can also check out www.thestripedbox.com  If you click on the label organization on the right hand side she gives a 21 day decluttering your home list.  I think this is a great idea if you have a lot of kids or are a busy lady.  Make sure you can stay committed though, I know for me something usually sticks only for a week unless I truly devote myself!!

Whole Chicken Ideas

The advantages to buying a whole chicken other then the price is that amount of meals you can make from one chicken.  Here are some easy ideas.  First, how do you cook it???  Well, the easiest and most moist way of cooking your chicken is in the crock pot.

Crock Pot Chicken:
  •  Take out your crock pot and put your whole chicken (make sure the giblets and guts are gone) inside as well as enough water to come up about 3 inches along the side.  Add in some thyme, a bay leaf, and some poultry seasoning.  You could also add in some cut up carrots, potatoes, celery, and onion to make it into a meal for that night.  Cook on high for 8 hours, making sure it really has time to let out all the flavors.
When your chicken is done in the crock pot, take it out and cut off all the meat.  There is a lot of meat that can come off a chicken.  Make sure you even get the meat on the bottom of the chicken.  Divide chicken into meals.  SAVE your chicken stock that has been made by the juices, you can use this for a soup.  Strain your chicken stock with cheese cloth or a strainer and store in a glass container in the fridge for 3-5 days or freeze in a plastic container for 6 months.

More Chicken Stock:
  • Take the left over chicken bones after you have cleaned it of all possible meat.  Make sure you don't throw out any fat while cleaning the chicken as this is great to add in when making a stock.  Add all bones into a crock pot.  Add in some onion, celery, carrots, a bay leaf, some salt and pepper and cover the bones with water (or at least 3/4 of the bones).  Cook on low for 8 hours, then on high for 8 hours, really letting everything simmer and drain themselves of all the tastes.  Strain your stock with a cheese cloth or fine strainer.  To get rid of any fat you can place all of your stock in a large container or pot in the fridge and once the stock has cooled, scrap the fat off of the top.  Then you can pour your stock into containers to freeze or refrigerate. 

Chicken Fajitas:
  • Just take some chicken and shred it.  Put it in the crock pot with a can of salsa and a bit of water.   Let cook on high for 4 hours.  Serve with fajita toppings (and rice to make the meal stretch even more).
Chicken Noodle Soup:
  • Cut up some of the chicken into chunks.  Take the stock that was made and place in a pot.  Cut up onions, carrots, celery, and any other desired veggies and let them simmer in the stock.  Also add a bay leaf and seasonings to taste.  Once you feel your stock is at a good taste, add in desired noodles (I usually take fettuccine noodles and break 3 times to get about 2 inches long of noodles).  When noodles are soft, serve with crackers and buns....
Other Chicken Meal Ideas:
  • Curry Chicken...... I add lots of veggies to my curry chicken to make the meal look bigger.  It's served on rice anyways.  I use 2 breasts when I make my curry chicken in an 8x12 pan (this amount is good for 2 servings each and leftovers the next day for both my husband and myself).
  • Chicken Casserole..... add white beans or a stuffing mix to your casserole to make up for the amount of chicken used.
  • Chicken on a Bun...... serve with lots of veggies and salad so when making the bun, you aren't using a large amount of chicken.
  • Chicken Salad...... serve with lots of fresh fruit that is in season.  Cut fruit to the same size as the chicken, this way your meal looks nice and full, also serve with lots of lettuce and add in some beans or potatoes to make it even more filling.