I say this every year!

I want to garden, but really don’t know where to start! Our plans were recently to move, but we have just about changed our mind about that; we realized we’re stuck in that house for at least 3-6 years.

So now, it’s almost November. What should I do NOW to make gardening easy next year? I have never really been around a garden/farm so I need help to grow food as inexpensivey as I can!

Anything texture-wise you don’t like?

For instance, I have a really quick and simple broccoli and cauliflower soup with cheese that is really tasty and easy to make.

Use chicken stock and add a package of mixed broccoli and cauliflower, bring to a boil, then simmer for 15 minutes and when you are ready, add in either cheese powder (yes, there is such a thing) or some other quick melting cheese (anything but velvita!). Its really tasty :)

(And yes, I do eat it frequently, far more frequently than I should) :)

Chicken thighs or legs roasted with cut up butternut squash and sweet potatoes with a sprinkle of cinnamon and nutmeg makes a wonderful fall meal as well. And you can add in some prunes (sounds weird but it gives a lovely touch of sweetness which balances it out) in the final 15 minutes with a splash of chicken stock.

I go by the week

I double batch my cooked meals (half for the table and half for the freezer) on the weekend. Daily I also put a portion away in my next day’s lunch container (a post-it near my keys so I’m reminded in the morning that my lunch is packed and in the fridge). I also set my crockpot on low when I leave for work so it can cook while I’m away at work.

When the girls were younger

I always thought about what I could turn the leftovers into. now it is more of a what can they take to work. I have also found that if I make the individual containers and either put in the refrigerator or freezer, they will take those. If they have to make it, they won’t most of the time.

I would cook that whole chicken early in the week so I could get rid of the carcass in the next garbage pick-up and also so I would have leftovers and chicken stock. a pork roast could be turned into stir fry later. Salad is always on hand and I cut up a large container–usually lasts a little more than a day–remember there are 6 of us.

Veggies are a cheap way of extending the meal. My kids prefer the “sides” over the main dish–I should get stock in condiments when the time comes. A quart of rice is great when loaded with crystal sauce, chili sauce or soy sauce. broccoli, carrots, zucchini–given enough honey, balsamic vinegar or butter, not together–my kids would just eat that for a meal.

I don’t do anything like once a month cooking

but I do try to do some time saving things. For example, if I buy a family pack of ground beef I’ll go ahead and brown it all and then divide it up into ziplock bags with about 2 lbs. in each bag.

I also like to cook enough so that we have leftovers for at least one other meal. This cuts cooking down to every 2-3 nights. If we’ve eaten on a meal twice and there are still plenty of leftovers, especially the meat we will freeze it. That gives us a bonus meal later that I don’t have to cook from “scratch”.

Don’t forget about breakfast for supper. There are times we’ll have biscuits, eggs and sausage or bacon. Pancakes or waffles and bacon or sausage are quick comfort foods as well.

I’ve meal panned on and off and on and off, and couldn’t seem to keep with it

We both work and we have a three year old, and I have a one hour each way commute, and now it’s dark when we get home…..so it’s hard to come home and cook every night (yeah yeah, I cook with crockpots, but that doesn’t work that well with out schedule because we are away from the house for so long, and. I’m a food safety nerd).

What I figured out two weeks ago,w as that simply having to take the half hour after we got home trying to figure out what dinner was going to be was the major stressor and was what caused us to throw in the towel and pick up dinner. So I took an old picture frame and put a piece of paper in the frame with the days of the week, then each Sunday I’ve written in whAtt will be for dinner each night of the week based in what we have in the house (I write on the glass with a dry erase marker so each weekend I can just wipe it off…a Pinterest idea that actually work!). The big difference is that it doesn’t mean We need a huge complicated meal….I have “brinner” listed for tomorrow, and tonight was pizza from a crust mix. But, knowing what it is supposed to be stops us from resorting to picking something up.

Personally, I look at the ads

keep track of what is in my freezer, and plan meals around sales/what I already have. I check out recipes and save them and sometimes look to them to buy food for them when I shop. And I do it by the week but I have been putting items on a calendar by the day so I remember to thaw stuff. This is a work in progress for me, being a working mother of four kids and with basically no eating out budget to speak of at this time.
On another note, we restarted the Dave Ramsey plan in October, and just paid off our first debt. Feels great to cross it off.

Along those same lines

I’m not good with meal planning. Good intentions and all that…. I’ve even looked into those “services” and honestly, those aren’t foods that we’d eat. Plus… we don’t really know how to cook!! So, I came up with the brilliant idea of us taking cooking classes, but there aren’t any that I could find near me, so I’m counting on YouTube to teach us. Sundays are our only days off together, so we are going to start learning how to cook one thing together and make a LOT of it and start stocking the freezer with it. After a month or two, we should be able to start leaning heavily on those meals throughout the week. So, I’m specifically gathering info on freezer meals, OAMC, etc. Eventually, we’ll be able to base our big weekly cooking on what’s on sale, but for now, we’re concentrating on gathering supplies and learning and having fun.

It really depends on your preference

Some people prefer knowing if it’s Sunday it will be meatloaf.
Others prefer to check the grocery sales ads for the week to see what is on sale, then sit down and build their menu for the week from the sales items.
Another thing I might suggest to you, since it’s you doing all the cooking is invest in a small crockpot, one with a lift out pot that can go in the dishwasher for quick clean-up to leave meals cooking while you are at work. These should be on sale like crazy this time of year.
I’d also suggest that maybe you spend one day a week doing make ahead meals that you could just re-heat quickly when you get home.
There are all sorts of cookbooks and websites that could give you ideas on this. Plus all of us could help you work out quick fix meals from just some basic cooking. First thing we would need to know is what won’t you eat? Seriously, there is no sense in us giving your recipes that say call for broccoli if you loathe broccoli (as my dh does).

When I was doing it

I did it by the week with the intention of having people take the leftovers to work. Since DH’s “retirement”, he has been doing the I shop every 3 days and see what is out there method–unfortunately, this has resulted in the accidental allergic reaction for me and a little bit of budget adjustment.

Now that the lease has been signed for the karate school, I hope to be menu planning again after Jan 1, if not before then.

It was 1 year ago

that I came on this forum and made some dumb mistakes by trying to justify the mlm company I am in. Looking back I would like to apologize for doing that. I am sorry.

I was told by someone on here that in 1 year I would have spent more on my MLM than I made and I would most likely have quit. It was a more extensive conversation than that 1 sentence but that was the whole point.

After 1 year I did make more than I spent, no point in going into specifics, and I am still in my mlm company and get cash advance online without credit check from sinacash.com inc. But the success I did have could be tied to the burning desire of not failing and proving this individual wrong.

I did learn though over this past year it is extremely hard work to do a business and it is not for most people. Unofficial guess 95% of the people in MLM will fail. And it sucks, it really does.

Yes there are a lot of scams out there. I agree with you all on that. And it is sad and wrong that people do make these rediculous mlm schemes. But on the other side of the coin there are legit businesses out there using the mlm model. It makes sense, at least to me.

Before you all slam me, I know that I am biased on my opinion because I like mlm. That part is understood and I do understand your side az well.

So to the person that I had discussions with 1 year ago I say thank you for challenging me. I also apologize again for breaking the rules last year.

Menu planning

Dumb question for you who do menu planning. Do you just go per WEEK, or do you make a certain item every Monday, a different on every Wednesday, etc? I know I need to stop eating so much fast food, but currently fast food/processed food is much easier, and tastes better than anything I could make at home…

We have the same saying about our weather

about waiting 5 minutes if you don’t like the weather.. We are known here in south Louisiana to use a/c in the day time and heat at night at certain times of the year. Our weather is rainy this morning as a front moves through. Normally I love the rain, except today we have a funeral at church and I am taking a big pan of mac and cheese for the reception afterwards. I am hoping the rain slacks up or quits by the time we have to leave.

We use wood chips and shredded newspaper in her cage

I can dump it all in a bucket to brew for as long as necessary. We used to use hay, but ran out and have just been buying the bags of wood as needed. It’s not cheap, so I just sprinkle the bottom of her tray with it and fill it with (free) newspaper shreddings once a week.

I think I’ve found the spot for my next try. It’s on the west side of my garage, not very shaded, easy to get to. The water hose also reaches there. It’s almost impossible to get a lawn mower to it, so it’s very weedy and nasty looking. Would this be a good spot? Another reason I think it would be good is because it’s not on the main part of the yard and the dogs don’t go there. Anywhere else and we’d have to fence it off. We might have to block the entrance, since they can’t seem to resist digging in a nice cleared spot!

And if this is the spot, do I just smoosh the weeds down, then start putting wet newspaper on it? I don’t have much “green waste” except coffee grounds, which doesn’t go far!! I can start getting coffee grounds from work, if that helps. But I can get all the brown waste I think I’d need. I don’t want to make things too complicated. I’m already overwhelmed!!!!

Spent a little extra this week dining out

While we normally will have a fast food lunch on payday Friday’s we went a little overboard this last week dining out.
First there was Veteran’s Day and the free meal for Gary and the Senior Citizen’s meal for me, there went $11. On Friday we had Panda Express for our usual lunch.
Sunday, we were naughty, but had a VERY nice time by eating out for the third time in a week. We met up with Anthea and several of our mutual friends from the NewOkiePioneers, homesteading list and had a wonderful Cantonese meal to celebrate Anthea’s birthday –a very fun dining experience—where we hogged the restaurant for almost 3 hours. So much laughter and fun, it was great. A good way to end Anthea’s birthday week.
Meanwhile at home dh is still on over time and I’m still plugging every penny we aren’t spending dining out on the Best Buy bill, it’s below $1,500 now and sinking fast.
Ds was home for the weekend, but went back today to Calumet, however he may be home as early as tonight because of a lull in the work. The job isn’t finished yet, but ds and the crew have worked faster than those providing the drawings for them to work from so they may have to come and do the drawings themselves and then go back after Thanksgiving. BRRRRR!
Speaking of brrr! Only in Oklahoma… The weekend of the 8th it was near 80, two days later we were having lows in the teens and the days were barely reaching above the freezing mark. Yesterday it was near 80 again, Today it’s suppose to be 65 and the temperatures start going down again. Will Rogers was definitely right when he said “If you don’t like the weather in Oklahoma, wait 5 minutes, it will change.”
Luckily OK, the heart of tornado alley, was spared all the horrible destruction yesterday. My prayers go out to all that were hit by them and hope that all the missing are found alive and well.
Still plugging along doing deep cleaning on the house, it seems like the more we haul of the more we find to get rid of. At this rate we should be living in an empty house one day. LOL!
I’ve planned my holiday menu and am now watching for good sales on a small turkey. Ds wants turkey this year, so I’ll fix one for the two of us and ham for dh. Then after the holiday probably end up making a lot of turkey jerky for the dogs. They’ll be happy kids.
I of course blogged last week, thanks to all that visited and clicked.

I would probably set a cap

on the amount to determine where I pay for it from. If its less than 1000 I would probably stop the snowball or rather divert the snowball to this effort. If over 1000, then I would get it from my savings.

So, if I am looking at

a few hundred dollars for physical therapy, should I dig into my savings to pay for that or just reduce the snowball to cover it? Together, we do have about 10 thousand dollars in 3 different accounts so the money is there.

We would also have enough for me to just put it in the budget, but the snowball would be reduced significantly.