Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Tour Tuesday.... Lean times but full pantry

I haven't don a TOUR TUESDAY in a long time and think I'm due to post one.... I haven't posted one since last summer!!

Thanksgiving through the first of the year are typically 'lean' times for my husband's work. Not too many folks are wanting new floors over the holidays so things slow down. He has had work (don't worry) but not compared to 'busy' times. We plan for these months by saving every penny we can during good times and have it for the lean ones. Another way that I prepare for the slower work months is by keeping a good food supply in my pantry (or pantries). I buy in bulk when it is on sale, I can fruit, veggies and meat, and I cook from scratch. The larder is full and we are going to be eating from it the entire month of January. I took these pictures back in September, but they my cupboards are still as full, just with a slightly different inventory. I always pull the older product to the front and place the new purchases in the back. It really is amazing how much you can save on the grocery bill by stocking up when prices are at their lowest. January's grocery budget will be slim... but no worries there is plenty to eat. I am going to participate in Money Saving Mom's 'Eat from the Pantry' challenge.

Anyway, for a little tour....
The first picture I am standing in the family room looking towards my kitchen (my back it facing our second bath/laundry room). The wood cabinet with the lace curtain is pantry #1! Below you can see the contents.... This yard sale cabinet has been with us for many years and has been used in multiple ways....

I LOVE old jars and use them as both decoration and for food storage.

We have a shelf in the laundry room that I store over flow of cereal and chips.
When I can get good deals on cereal I stalk up... if there isn't cold cereal the kids eat oatmeal, toast and peanut butter or pancakes from the freezer.

In my kitchen I have an island cupboard that is such a blessing... I can keep a few items that I use often while cooking.

Down in the basement I store canned goods and anything else that won't be damaged by moisture (even though we run a dehumidifier). Right now I also have home canned meat, squash and applesauce. I also hit a wonderful potato sale so we have about 30 lbs of potatoes to use up. It is so good to have a place to store these things. Notice the peanut butter stock pile... hey when it is on sale for $1/jar I take advantage!! :)

We have a nice closet next to our second bath. I am standing by the wooden pantry shelf looking the opposite way across the family room. I use this pantry to store everything from toilet paper and toiletries to pop, coffee and snacks. We make use of every storage option we have.

You can see a little of our *new* bathroom! Having 2 bathrooms with 6 people is WONDERFUL!! I am so blessed to have a husband with all the skills we need to do construction ourselves!

One last picture.... my beloved up right freezers out in the pole barn. No room in the house, but I don't mind having to go out to the barn..... I am BLESSED to have these babies!! It makes raising our own meat and hunting for deer possible... without them we couldn't do it. They aren't pretty, but they do their job.

I hope you have enjoyed my pantry tour! I will be posting more about our pantry eating challenge over the month of January. God is so GOOD!! I am always amazed at the deals he leads us to or how he provides meat. I am also blessed to have been well trained by my Mom and Grandmother in the art of cooking, canning, gardening and food storage.

I would love to see your pantries!! Let me know if you give a tour... I would love to stop by and take a look!!


Simple Family Supper

Promote Your Page Too

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Updates on life.....Poo, tv and daily living

Update time, but first of all I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas celebrating the birth of our Savior, Jesus!! We had a special time with family and we are now back home and planning to enjoy the rest of Christmas vacation.

Some updates....
Still no POO and loving it!!! I don't plan on going back to shampoo or conditioner. The baking soda and apple cider vinegar work marvelously for me! I also use coconut oil as a leave in conditioner/freeze treatment for my curly hair. I am down to only using 2 store bought products (down from a total of 5-6). I still use a bit of hair gel and hair spray... not much just a tad. If you haven't given the 'no poo' thing a try what are you waiting for??

TV/Screen time DECREASE! Over Thanksgiving break we celebrated the week 'old fashioned' style with NO tv or computer. How did it go?? Well the first couple of days my children suffered from MAJOR withdrawal..... MAJOR. That right there convinced my husband and I that our family had indeed slipped into a serious problem with screen time. So for 2 weeks... it was off. then we decided that we would only allow tv for movies on Friday or Saturday nights and if they asked any other time they forfeited those weekend privileges. How is it going now?? WONDERFULLY!! The kids are playing more games, reading, coloring, doing puzzles, using their imagination, building things and getting the toys back out again. We have also played more games together in the past month than we had in the past year! We have had a TON of fun and plan to keep the LIMITED screen time policy in place. As you have noticed I haven't been blogging much either... it has been a good detox for me, too. Living life is much more valuable than passively watching or reading about what others are doing.... Living MY life, the life that GOD has given ME, is my priority. DOING things with my own family takes precedent over reading what others are doing with theirs. (though I will still read blogs from time to time.... just keep my priorities in check!)

Life's challenges..... yeah, we have had some this fall. Yeah, we are still dealing with some difficult issues, but we are working on them and have been blessed to have some very wonderful Biblical guidance and counsel that had been extremely beneficial. Through Jesus we are more than conquerors!!!! The victory is already won!!!!

Looking towards 2010 God is giving me some new convictions, goals, dreams. He has also given some opportunities to just completely trust him because my human eyes can't make heads or tails from what I see. Living my life DAY to DAY, with my heart in tune with what GOD desires is going to be a huge thing.... Heart issues, peeling back more layers of ME and replacing them with GOD.... that is what I pray happens.

Living Simply... this God given desire is growing even stronger as I have had a renewed passion for the ways of God. God's way is peaceful, God's ways are different from the world. The world chases after so much and even as Christians we get sucked in to the rush for more.... stepping back farther from the mainstream world is another family goal. It is so easy for my heart to get filled up with things that distract me from the most important things in life. Defining 'simple living' for our own life will be a continual journey but one that will take on more priority this coming year than last.

I look forward to writing on this blog and sharing with you the journey that God is leading me on. I'm not sure how consistent I will be posting, but will post as I feel led. My HEART must be right..... I can NOT post to feed my pride or gain popularity. My HEART must please Jesus, not myself. I learn so much from you all and will continue to do so. I have been so blessed by friends that I have met online and know that God guides us to each other for divine purpose!!

Happy New Year!!


Thursday, December 17, 2009

EASY fudge!!

I'm a HUGE fan of chocolate and I am a HUGE fan of simplicity! Put those two together and this fudge recipe is perfect. I posted this recipe last year, too.... it is just so good I had to post it again. I usually start making it around Thanksgiving and make sure to have plenty to share and enjoy all the way through New Years. This is serious chocolate, one piece of this rich delight with a cup of coffee.....

Anyway, here is my favorite fudge recipe.... simple, easy and frugal!!

Amy's Amazing Fudge

Combine the following in a large bowl:
3 cups chocolate chips (semi-sweet is the best!)
½ lb. (2 sticks) butter, cut into chunks

In Sauce pan measure:
4 ½ cups sugar
¼ tsp. cream of tartar
1- 12 oz. can evaporated milk

Mix together and stir constantly over med-high burner. Keep stirring until it comes to a full bubbling boil- NOT a rolling boil. Time for 6 minutes. Remove from heat and pour over chips and butter in bowl. Add 1 tsp. vanilla, stir until chocolate is melted. Add nuts if desired. [Try dried cherries too- yumm-o!]
Pour into GREASED 9x13 pan and cool.
Cut into squares and serve. Keep refrigerated or at least in a cool place.
Warning: Very rich- you must have a glass of milk or a cup of coffee. Eating more than 3 pieces at a time is known to give you sugar overload.


Simple Family Supper

Promote Your Page Too