Saturday, March 31, 2012

Poop Queen !

All the cow poop is now on the new garden bed. It took me all day and my arms ache, but a good kind of ache.

We had snow on the ground this moring. So March came in like a Lion and out like one too. But the rest of the day has been comfortably nice.

Gill I have been unable to post on your blog the last few days. An error sign keeps coming up. And Paula I have not been able to comment for a few weeks now. Wordpress tells me I have an account with them and must use it?????????A Mystery to me. I shall comment on my site to you until I can figure it out. Just to let you know I have not forgotten you, my friend.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Roman Not Build in A Day

I have been really busy working up the new part of my garden. It all began in January when Dearest chopped down four Manitoba Maple trees that began to give my garden more shade then I would have liked last year. he had trimmed them back a few times over the course of the summer, but he decided they needed doing away with.

I spent the warmest two weeks in March moving wheel burrow by wheel burrow of this wood away to the driveshed to dry. It will be chopped in May and given to eldest daughter as we don't burn Manitoba Maple, it is a soft wood that to me stinks when burns.

It was after the wood was moved I could see the potential of the gardened expansion. The soil under these trees is really good. So I proceeded to rake all the leaves from around the house yard. That is about 1 1/2 acres of raking so it took time, and I put the leaves where the trees were. Then a layer of ashes to neutralize the leaves ( which give up too much acid). Then a layer of straw. And then I put black plastic over much of it to rest a bit.

Today I moved wheel burrow after wheel burrow of rotten manure from the cow barn to the plot. I spent all morning on it and got only half done. My arms gave way on me by noon hour. It is getting the manure up as it is caked in layers that is hard.( well rotted)
My helper!
I have moved the black plastic to south of the garden to deaded the grass. It will remain there until fall when I will will transplant the raspberry canes that are creeping into the vegetable patch. I have two variety of raspberries, summer and late fall types.

We are to get snow tonight and a miserable weekend but I really hope to get all the manure down and let it rest a week. Rake it out and put top soil on it, and this will be a huge extension to my garden. I am excited about it.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Grocery Shopping

I mentioned that I went grocery shopping yesterday and was right on the ball with savings. years ago I had to shop different stores to get such deals. I remember going over different fliers and deciding which stores I would travel to in order to keep my grocery shopping down. I have always used coupons and generic brands and thought I was doing really well.

Recently I read this book called Be CentsAble which I ordered though my library. I strongly suggest everyone read this book to see where they can save more on their grocery bills. They also have a web site called Becentsable. Yes they are American but some of the things they mention are relate-able to us Canadians.

They list the different types of grocery stores including club stores, and how to deal, hackle and get bargains.Now I do not belong to any club stores. My idea of paying a business to shop their store just is all wrong to me. The principal behind it is wrong, expectually when I can get just as good a deal elsewhere.

I always shop at NoFrills which is a discount store here in Ontario. I think just about every major center in Ontario has one.Its only downfall ( I think) is that they do not give rain checks.I shop there because it isn't a Superstore and I shop with my Dat who has dementia. A regular routine is good for him. He knows where everything is in this store.

Lately the city has acquired stores. Two of them in the city close to me and they are giving NoFrills a bang for customer loyalty. But if you look at the bottom of your NoFrills flyer you will see it says they will match any competitors flyiers just bring them in and show them.

So the night before grocery shopping I go through all my flyers and circle anything I would like to get but the store I'm shopping in does not have these deals. Yes it takes time but I saved $15.73 this week. That is like making $15.73/hr ( if it were a job!)doing what I would have to do anyway. That is above minimum wage!

This week I Can't Believe Its Not Butter was on sale at for $1.00. At no frills it was $3.69 each. I was limited to four, but got four at $1. each. So simple and I now have a stock of margarine in the freezer. I also got Glad wraps for free. I didn't need them right now but they were free! had them for $1., but NoFrills for $1.79. I showed the flyer, got for a dollar, and then I had $1. off coupons. Free, well almost free, still have to pay the taxes, but heck I now have them for further use.

Also Ontario shoppers, The Bulk Barn has $3. 00 off coupons at their store right now, one for each of the first two weeks in April. You buy $10. worth and get $3.00 off. This week I bought brown sugar at $.19/100grams and cocoa. They have coupon events three times a year ( Jan, Mar-Apr, Oct) and are well worth for stocking up the bakery pantry.

Anyway I strongly suggest you check out this book for ideas on how to work the grocery system.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Hero Cookie Please!

I do believe I deserve a Hero Cookie today.

Eldest daughter has gone for training for work. She is a single mom thanks to worthless and needed a babysitter for two nights and two days................straight!!! Hers are 4 and 2 both female. Reminder, I have a 4 and 2 year old as well!

My mom called. She needs a ride to her diabetic clinic.

So this morning I piled four toddlers, all in car seats, snacks and sippy cups to the city. Picked up mom and brought her to the diabetic clinic. This is always a long visit, so I went to the Bulk Barn with the kids. The two year olds in the cart, the four year olds helping me.I had a $3.00 off coupon when you purchase $10. worth of goods. I bought $14.13 and got my $3,00 discount.

Shopper's Drug Mart is in the same plaza. So we all walk to it and get the weekly needs.I also had coupons for some free items, in cosmetics for daughters gift giving. All excepted

Back to the van and fur car seats to lock in (It takes forever). Mom still was not done. We sat there for 25 minutes in car seats playing 'eye spy'.

We drive mom home, only my dad is there waiting with his grocery list and bags. Great! With four kids, well okay I felt somewhat ready.

I had done my homework on meal planning for the next two weeks and have some in the freezer. I had a grocery plan and list and flyers and coupons with me. Not ideal company, 4 kids under four and a dementia father but we did it. I got everything but potatoes on my list. I hackled the cashier down with flyers from competitor stores, reducing my bill by $15.75. I also stocked up of mega sale items for future meals. My groceries was $62.03 including a hugh bag of dog food. I also got some free items with coupons.

Back to my folks and second daughter was there. She took the kids to the park so I could strip my folks bed and do the wash, wash the kitchen floor, and the yucky bathrooms. We left around 3pm. Kids knocked off in the van one by one. I slipped into the small farm produce center for potatoes ( half the price of grocery store) where I could see the kids from the window. Yes I left them in a locked van! And we went home.

Unloading was terrible as they wanted everything in their sight. Now we are getting ready for supper. I would love some duct tape........please. I am looking forward to chores tonight. Cows are more quiet then this!

Another Sundress

This is for my size 4 teenager. I was going so well on it and then put it down one day, when it was time to put the zipper in and there it sat for over a week. Today mission accomplished dress done.
Total cost for dress with zipper and taxes $9.95,.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

A Rooster

I finally got a little fellow for my girls.
A Cochin rooster to breed with my Rhode Island X Columbine hens.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Completed Quilt

Finally completed the quilt for our toddler.
I could not get a matching backing for the lattice work, but heh purple works in any girls room.
My favourite patch.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Recipe Costs

One way of keeping my grocery cost down is by taking a chunk of meat like a roast and dividing it for different meals. We had a roast on Sunday.I cut off how much we would eat that day, and kept the remains away from the family, hidden from view so that I could use the remains this week for other meals. Yesterday the teenager made a stir-fry with a portion of roast. Tonight we are having some soup and Thursday a Sheppard pie. For a larger family a $7.00 roast has to last. Vegetables and starch is the key to stretching a meal.Of course variety is also required.

Sometimes it is really nice to know how much you are saving by costing out your meals by scratch. I found this site really interesting as it breaks down all the ingredients you use in a recipe. The site is here. and some links are here.

I found this interesting and thought to share.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Children's Chickens

My granddaughter LOVES my chickens. The moment she is here she wants to go to them. Oma they need feeding! Oma they need water. Oma we need to collect the eggs. It is non-stop.

She asked me in the winter if she could have chickens at her house. She lives on a few acres so the answer should be yes, but knowing my daughter the hens would have an early death from neglect.

One day while I was browsing on-line.This is something I do and then order in books I think I might enjoy, and then order them in from the library. I stopped buying books years ago. I ordered in this book ( along with this book)Both wonderful books. But out of the first one I made these for granddaughter.
The hens along with their eggs.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Re-Amping Once-a-Month Again

When my older children were younger I had a regular routine. Farm chores, homeschool, supper, farm chores and their extra curriculum activities, like hockey, figure skating and 4H. Everyday had an agenda and it only changed with the season. Then came the now 4 year old and the older ones moving out, then my 2 year old, and both sets of parents aging with illness in the process. I got lost in the blender. The mayonnaise of the sandwich generation. Things just aren't that simple anymore, and I'm not any younger either.

It occurred to me that I was working over time in certain areas of my life and really not enjoying myself. I hit upon the answer when cleaning out the pantry last month. One of those DAAAA! moments! I found my old house journal and it all in plastic pages were years worth of my" Once a Month "cooking menus.

I pondered over this for quite a few days.Did I want to go through this again?

It meant having food on hand, preparing, organizing and cooking in large amounts, doubling recipes, and freezing it all.

At night I would ponder over my writings, and recipes. Then one night I went to our library on-line site and ordered the books I had used to help me get started with this whole project in the first place. Most of the books have come in and I have been reviewing them and have come to the ultimate conclusion that when I cooked Once a Month I always had supper ready in the freezer. There was always a selection if unexpected visitors came. There was never a panic moment when I got held up in the city, or the cows broke out the fencing, or problems lambing. Even a youngster can set the oven and pop supper in to warm up.

Yes I was heading into this project again.

For starters one needs to have a calendar. I print them off from.Organized Home but another good spot is Donna Young, (she also has smaller calenders as well for a pocket-book). I usually print off two. One for organizing and one to post on the fridge.

Then I go through my recipe books keeping in mind what I have in the house. I arrange that each week we have the same sort of meal one day of the week. The hustle here at this farm is Tuesday nights. This is soup night and homemade bread.Monday night Dearest plays two hockey games so we eat pasta on Mondays. Ofter I slow cook on Wednesdays because I am in the city that day.Our biggest meal ( turkey, roast beef, ham ) is Friday and the leftovers made into other dishes for later in the month.Variety is the key.

Good sites to look up of the subject of Once a Month cooking are listed here:
You can click on each title for the site:
And here are some great books to order in through your library to sit and ponder over.
Click on each title to get to the book site.)

This is the book I just finished reading. An excellent read for those wanting the most for their grocery dollar. It is practical and they are honest that they make mistakes and can laugh about it later.They also advocate Once-a-Month cooking. Cut Your Grocery Bill in Half. They have numerous You-tube videos as well to show how they shop. It starts here, and you can see others on the side panel of their You-tube.

I also just got this book called Family Feasts.and her blog Owlheaven, where they raise their ten children.She is so honest in her approach to grocery shopping and cooking I felt like we were friends.

My twist now to cooking Once-a-Month is my rather Vegga diet I put myself on. But I have found in general we are shopping less, eating more veggies because of me and less meat. My very favouite cooking site for recipes is Rachael Ray. She has a lot of Vegetarian recipes and ones I can mix up with or without meat. At present I have this book from the library. I have made four of her meals this week, all excellent.

My grocery bill this week was under $50., my monthly bill will be under $300. which includes dog food and cat food.

Once-a-Month does save month as well as time.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Plaid Sundress

I made this for the teenager.
The smallest size in the pattern was size 8 but she is a 3/4.
Every seam had to be taken in twice the seam width.
Isn't it lovely to be that petite?

She loves plaid and this looks simply lovely on her.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Animal Crackers

Animal Crackers is the name of this pattern by Patons Pattern company in the 1970's.
Left over yarn was the inspiration for making it.
All the animals and designs were leftover balls I had.
The main colour of sage green cost $3.39 at Micheals with the 40% off coupon.
I made a size 3 for next winter.
Lovely colour for a red head.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Planting Seeds

Little helpers
Old yogurt containers and salad trays make great seed starters.
Leeks and Pepper plants.
Cold lettuce and herbs.
In the house until they are ready for cold frames.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012


I made these on the weekend.
The Teddy Bear on for the smallest Munchkin. A size 2.
Bunny one for Punky. A size 5.
Details of the bunny

I was given a few boxes of fabric from a friend who was moving into a senior home. She opened me to her sewing room and said take whatever you can use. 

This lenght of Cambray a shirt weight fabric was in that stash. I was saving it for a mens shirt, but decided to make something a little sweeter! 

I used mom's Janome 9000 for the embroidery. A machine I will inherit when the time comes, but use for fancy designs now.
Stitching on the hem using my Janome 6000.

The pattern is a Toddler Kwiksew no longer sold.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012


The morning sunrise.
Morning housework.
Welcoming morning
From a morning walk.
Morning checking
Spring Time delight.

Each morning
Is the birth
Of a new
 Sri Chinmoy