Monday, June 14, 2010

Baby Gifts

I had the material and supplies needed to make these for months. I had them for so long that two of the babies were born before I got around to actually sewing them. In my defense I have a tiny(!) travel size sewing machine. Doing any project is frustrating at best. A real, big girl sewing machine is on my wish list.

I made burp cloths and embellished onesies. I needed to make two girl gifts and one boy gift. The girls are getting bright floral designs. The baby boy will have a star pattern.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Recipe Review: Coconut Pops

I had a can of coconut milk in my pantry. I know I bought it for some reason, but I never got around to actually using it. When I saw this Coconut Pops recipe is a recent issue of Food Network Magazine, I knew it was the perfect way to use up that can of coconut milk.

You will need:
14 ounce can coconut milk
Zest of 1 lime
Juice of 2 limes
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup shredded coconut

I put everything in the blender until it was mixed well. I have a set of popsicle molds and ended up with eight popsicles. Dh did not like them as he is not a fan of lime. I thought they were delicious - a bit tart from the lime and slightly sweet. I plan to purchase another can of coconut milk with this recipe in mind.

Friday, June 4, 2010


I am continuing to follow the summer session of the Holiday Grand Plan on Yahoo Groups. Each week I am focusing on an area of the house. To this point I have cleaned the pantry, craft room, walk-in closet, and living room. The living room was the first main room of the house I did. It made the rest of the house look awful. I know that I need to take it one room or area at a time though.

This week I have been cleaning the desk and our storage building. My decluttering has motivated dh. He wants to tear down two-thirds of our backyard storage building. That means we need to get rid of some stuff. I have no problem with that. If we are not using and have no plans to use something I see no reason to hold onto it.

I have found that cutting back on the amount of things we have also cuts back on the amount of time I spend cleaning. I admit that I have never made it completely through the Holiday Grand Plan. This just might be my year!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Garden Blessings

If you have visited my gardening blog, you will see that we are not eating much from our garden yet. We have been blessed with fruits/vegetables from our friends' gardens.

Strawberries were our first blessing. I got about six gallons from my aunt and uncle's strawberry patch. Some went into a yummy strawberry pie. I froze some whole to be part of homegrown frozen mixed berries. I made dh some strawberry popsicles. Others went into the freezer for jam or ice cream. One gallon went to my in-laws.

My in-laws gave us some yellow squash. We also picked their garden last week and received more yellow squash, zucchini, and cucumbers. I shared some as we had more than we could eat. Everything has been eaten fresh. I do plan to blanch some of the squash and zucchini as part of a homemade frozen stir fry mix.

Snap beans from another friend's garden were enjoyed fresh. Some will also be put into the stir fry mix.

Blackberries from my parents' garden will complete the frozen mixed berries. We have also been enjoying onions and potatoes from the family garden.

The garden produce definitely helps my current grocery budget. I also try to freeze what I can to help the garden budget in the months when the garden is finished.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Menu Planning

Over the weekend I started to get serious again with my menu planning. I am making a menu for the entire month. My goal is do get my shopping down to one main trip a month. A regional grocery store often has good sales and is more convenient. I also find the produce is fresher and a better quality. Even better I can stick to my shopping list and am not tempted so much by impulse buys.

I do not stick strictly to the menu plan. For example if I have a meal planned for June 27 and we want it, we eat it even though it is June 12. My monthly menu plan is a general list of meals so I am not peering into the freezer searching for something I can fix.

The second part of my plan is to save my menus in my household notebook. In June 2011 I can pull out this menu plan and with a few tweaks have a working menu. I have decluttered my recipes and also have a folder of ones I want to try. Perhaps I will have meals we do not love as much or new meals that I want to add in. A year is a long time to wait to see how it works. I expect it will be fine or at least give me a good start.

I do know that the monthly shopping works as I did this when I worked. The less I am Wal-Mart, the less I am tempted to pick up this or that.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Taking in Homeless Animals

All three of our cats were rescued, and we continue that tradition by taking in two more homeless animals - a pair of white Cochin chickens.

My DH got to work building a very nice pen for them with a little roost and plenty of room to ramble in the grass. I named them Fred and Daphne (from Scooby Doo). They stay very close to each other. Daphne has already laid several eggs, which we are saving to hatch out.

Our intentions were to get chickens at some point anyway so when no one wanted these it seemed like a great opportunity. We will add to our little chicken family with a few more breeds in the future. I grew up around chickens, but it is fun to have some of my own.