Thursday, September 27, 2012

Homegrown Chicken

So, we have officially butchered all the meaties (and one unfortunate Australorp that was bigger than the others, which led to a case of mistaken identity...)

Anyway, they are all gone.  While the yield was pathetic because of the blatant lies in the description from Ideal Poultry, we put it all in freezer bags and went on with our lives.

This week, I tossed one of the "midget chickens" in to the crockpot, preparing to make chicken pie.  Then we got texts from Chickfila for a free meal.  We went out.   I tossed the cooked chicken in to a container in the fridge, fully aware that it was probably going to be tough when I used it (after all, it has been before when I've had to put off a meal for a day).  Two days later, we bring out the chicken and realize there isn't enough meat for chicken pie- it will have to be chicken 'n dumplins.  Whatever.

I have to tell you- the meat is so freaking tender.  Yes, I crockpotted it, but remember, it's been sitting in the fridge for two days!  I warmed up leftovers for lunch today and it is still really freaking tender.

I am officially in love with homegrown chicken.  The flavor and texture is incredible!  Now I just need to figure out a way that I can grow some actual fast growing chickens next year so we can get more.  Yum yum!


Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Free Mug from Coldwater Creek!

Go to your shopathome account and login in or sign up!  Under Today's Best Deals! You'll see the Coldwater Creek Barcelona mug advertised for $0.00.  Click on the picture, select the mug you want, then enter "TAKE30" at check out.

The mug will be $3.49 after discount, and shopathome will put $3.49 in your account- plus you get FREE shipping!  This could be a great gift for someone!


Saturday, September 22, 2012

Shop Til You Drop!

Yesterday didn't start out being a full day of shopping- but it just kind of turned in to that.

We started off at Mimi's Cafe for lunch, since we had a B1G1 lunch coupon.  It was delicious and Tim and I both brought our huge muffins home, because we simply couldn't eat them.

Then it was off to Bath & Body Works to pick up my free 2oz. Aromatherapy Body Wash (coupon which is making it's way around Facebook, but which I can no longer post on the blog because of the format.  Sigh.  Run to their Facebook page to get it!).

We ran to Petsmart to take advantage of their Friends and Family 15% off event. The majority of my money left me here, since we stocked up on cat food, dog food and cat litter.  I had coupons to stack (just for the dog food) in addition to the 15% off, so we ended up saving around $30.  Hey, that's not bad at all!

We ran to Belk to get new pillows, since ours were flat and dead.  This is where we ran in to some unexpected news- Belk is having a huge clearance sale! I picked up five new shirts for work, since my others are definitely starting to be too big (yay), a t-shirt and the two pillows.

Kohls yielded a new shirt for Tim- also on clearance.  It was marked down to 80% off! Cha-ching!

We hit the local Goodwill stores, looking for items for our Halloween costumes.  We finally found a great shirt for Tim (once we do a little bit of dyeing) and he also found two new pairs of shorts! I picked up a pair of jeans that fit perfectly and are a size smaller than the shorts I was wearing.  Talk about a confidence booster!

Then, we ended up going to Texas Roadhouse for dinner.  Believe me, I hadn't planned on eating dinner out again but we were hungry and we were there.  Since we both ended up bringing food home, at least that helps cut the cost down.

A quick trip to "The Sock Store" in search of knee high black and orange striped toe socks was fruitless (c'mon Sock Store...), but I found a great piece for my costume at a Spirit of Halloween store. 

It was a full day yesterday, including our meals, we spent right around 8 hours out and about.  I feel great though, we got things we needed, our costumes are almost done and we did it all on one trip to the same town, which ultimately will save us money in gas!


Friday, September 21, 2012

Kohls Sales!

You should check out Kohls!  They have some awesome things on clearance (I bought some dishtowels and travel cups for almost nothing) plus you can save more with the following codes:


FREE2SHIP- Free shipping

What I love about is you can use BOTH these codes!  Don't forget about shopping through ebates or shopathome to get more cashback!


Petsmart Friends and Family Weekend

Head on over to to print their Friends and Family Weekend coupons!  You can save 15% off anything in the store, plus you can stack this coupon with a regular manufacturer's coupon.

It's a great time to score some deals on things you have to buy anyway for your pets.


Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Grow Food, Not Grass Movement

As the push towards healthier food and household sustainability continues, there is a movement making it's voice heard- the grassroots (vegetable roots?) campaign to "Grow Food, Not Grass".

They make an excellent point-  what benefit do you get from grass? You have to mow it, which takes time, effort and money (think gas for the mower, repairs to the mower, etc).  What do you get in return?  Sure, it's pretty when it's well kept.  That's about it. 

Instead, through some creative landscaping, you can replace some or all of that grass with plants that actually give you some benefit.  Fresh herbs in beautiful beds, vibrant reds, greens, and oranges as you plant edible plants in areas that were before just grass. There are tons of excellent ideas online about how to "upcycle" old pallets, croc shoes, etc. in to making decorative plant holders or no-weed garden plots.

Now, I'm not saying you have to give up your whole lawn, or even that you do have to replace part of it with garden beds.  It would be less attractive in the winter when less things are growing, I need somewhere for my dogs to go poop, and frankly I just enjoy walking barefoot on grass at any opportunity.  However, I am saying- think about that hard to mow corner of your yard- the one you hate.  Everyone has one.  What about putting some fresh herbs there?  What about a vegetable garden?  So you're looking to plant a few more trees...could they be fruit trees?

It never hurts to have some of your own food growing and really it doesn't take very much time to do it.  There are so many ways to cut down weeding, from container growing to putting down plastic or other sheeting that helps keeps weeds out.   Plus, you have the option of growing your own organic food or controlling what is on the plants.  You have the option of canning, freezing or eating fresh those yummy treats that you have to have each summer- like cantaloupe or watermelon.   You do it much more cheaply by growing your own. 

So maybe, one of those folks who finds yourself sighing and saying "I wish the lawn would just die" or "Gah, I have to mow it again"- just maybe growing food, not grass, is the right option for you.


Sunday, September 16, 2012

Make your own sugar scrub

If you enjoyed making your own bath salts, you'll enjoy making your own sugar scrub! This is also a fantastic gift idea.

You'll need:
1/2 cup of Sugar
1/4 cup of Olive oil
10 drops of Peppermint essential oil
1 drop Eucalyptus essential oil
1 half pint glass jar

Put your sugar in a medium bowl, then add your other ingredients and stir well!  Pour it in to your jar and seal.  If you are giving it as a gift, a bit of fabric between the lid and ring will make it gorgeous.  Feel free to play with the scent. You can omit the Eucalyptus and just use 11 drops of another essential oil if you prefer.


Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Feeling Good

I'm feeling pretty proud of myself lately.  I've done a lot of canning, I've started a second job- oh and I've lost 25 lbs :).

It wasn't an all at once thing and I'm actually at 26 lbs lost as of this morning.  Still working on getting down to my ideal weight, but I'm very pleased in general. 

We are going on our vacation in just a few weeks.  That thrills me to death, though I'm starting to stress a little just on general principle.  I've just got a few little extra things to do that can all be done in a day or so, but I haven't done them yet.  I'm planning on finishing up this week on the planning so I can do nothing but start packing and getting excited for a week off work!

The weather has been gorgeous the past few days- cool temperatures and sunny! I love this time of year. I don't think I ever feel as good as I do in September and October. 


Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Free Samples from Walmart

You can go here and get three different free samples! One is a cat food sample, one is a dog food sample and one is a dog treat sample! Woot :).


Monday, September 10, 2012

Babysitting a Geriatric Poodle

We are watching my friend's extremely old poodle while she and her husband are in Fiji for the week.

Spade is approximately 900 years old.  He's mostly deaf, mostly blind, partially incontinent and so needy that I think his fur is actually velcro.  He takes 100 medicines twice a day and two more once a day.  I'm not sure how he is still alive.


Spade is a good dog in general.  He is very devoted to Becca, my friend, and apparently females in general as he is suddenly glued to me.   Unfortunately, Becca and I train our dogs differently.   Spade is accustomed to sleeping in the bedroom with his owner, if not actually in the bed with her once her husband goes to sleep.

We don't let dogs sleep in the bed with us.

This led to the first fun moment of the night last night, when I put him in the bathroom for the evening, along with food and a loaner toy (and his blanket).  He proceeded to howl and bark for 20 minutes.  So in to the bedroom he had to come, since there is no place we could stick him that we wouldn't hear him.


Off came the collar, because every time he moved it was "jingle jingle jingle".   Diaper on (Yes, Spade wears diapers), in case he decided to lift a leg in the house (also not acceptable behavior).

Then came the crying to go out at 1am. He'd already peed in his diaper.   I hadn't managed to get to sleep at this point, so I was obviously annoyed at taking him out.

Fast forward a few minutes when I force him to come back in because he's just standing outside with his nose buried in the dirt doing nothing.  It takes him 15 minutes to settle back down, after wandering the room, rustling bags, etc.  Finally he curls back on his bed and goes to sleep.

5am in the morning, he decides he wants to go back outside.  Tim stomps him outside, because if Tim is awake, damnit, everyone else is going to be awake too.  Thanks Tim, I was finally working on getting some sleep.

Spade comes back it, it takes a few minutes to herd him back to the bedroom.  Then Tim forgot to put his diaper on.  The lights come back on, more stomping around the house, etc.  Finally, Spade is diapered and settles back down.

Alarm clock comes on at 7:40 am.  Just when I am finally sleeping hard.  I get up, get ready, take the dog out, he comes bouncing in thrilled to be up and even happier to receive his arthritis and heart medicines.  Then I shut him back in the bedroom because Tim is trying to sleep and I have to go to work.

He starts scratching at the door.  Also not acceptable behavior in our house.  As I left this morning, Tim was yelling at a deaf dog to "STOP IT".

Don't get me wrong, I don't mind dog sitting at all.  Becca is my bunny sitter when we are out of town.  I am just really hoping this first night was rough simply because he was being too nosy to properly go outside and use the bathroom.  He also needs to adjust to our schedules.  Becca and her husband stay up later than Tim and I do, so I'm sure that has thrown the potty breaks off a bit.

It does leave me wondering though....can I safely roofie a 15 lb, 900 year old dog?  Because I could really, really use a good night's sleep tonight.


Saturday, September 8, 2012

Storing Onions

Not my picture- wish it was!
Use panty hose to store onions!  Drop one in, knot the hose above the onion, drop in another, etc, etc.

Then when you need an onion, you can just clip the hose right below the knot.  Voila! It keeps them from spoiling and is convenient to use.


Thursday, September 6, 2012

Please Autumn, get here soon!

We had a bit of a teaser weather wise, with some beautiful days in the mid-70s.  It was the kind of weather where you walk outside to perfectly colored blue skies, piled high with the fluffiest white clouds you've ever seen.  Your heart literally just soars at the joy of being outside, of being alive.
It was glorious.

So, forgive me if I'm not totally excited that the week of perfection has been followed by humidity so thick it feels like you need a knife to cut through it.  I love walking outside and instantly beginning to sweat, while my hair curls in it's best Medusa impression.  Oh, the overcast skies and intermittent rain that actually only makes it hotter on a 90 degree day have really just been icing on the crap-cake.

Please, Autumn.  Get here soon. I'm longing you with a desire that is almost unholy.  Why do you never come early and stay late?   I miss you, Fall.  I miss you bad.


Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Make your own Bath Salts

Are you a bath salt junkie? You know, I don't mean snorting them, eating them, injecting them or whatever it is folks do now-a-days.  I mean plain old bath salts, that you actually put in the bath to enjoy a relaxing soak.

If so, check out this really simple recipe that will allow you to soak in luxury at a significantly lower price.

You'll need:
1 1/2 cups of Epson salt
1/2 cup of kosher salt
2-5 drops of food coloring, depending on what color you want them
2 drops of essential oils- whatever your preference is.
Pint Jar

Mix the salt together in the jar, then add food coloring drop by drop until you get desired color.  Add in your essential oil and mix again.

There you go! Seal up your jar and use whenever you need a little pampering!  This can make a beautiful gift as well.

If you are feeling particularly creative, you can use multiple colors of food coloring and layer your jars in lovely stripes. 


Monday, September 3, 2012

Harvesting and Storing

I have come to the conclusion I need more storage space.  Oh and about a billion convenient gadgets, but that is another story.

We put up two food-saver bags full of chicken- one of just the breasts and another bag with a whole chicken.  We also put up a back of thighs and legs- that will go to the dogs at some point, neither Tim and I like to eat thighs.  I don't want them to go to waste though!

We put up a few ears of corn- just four, since we had two with dinner and saved back two for another dinner soon.

I also finally put the apple chips in small food-saver bags.  They had been "seasoning" in mason jars on the counter (basically, I wanted to make sure there was no excess moisture to cause them to ruin, and it was easy access to snack on them!)  I went from four jars on the counter to just one- these will be the chips we eat first!

The garden is dying, but I've been reading about how to store green tomatoes so that they will continue to safely ripen.  Some folks have mentioned they have made green tomatoes last into November! I'm very tempted to give this a try, since it would be nice to not have to toss a ton of perfectly fine produce.   The cantaloupe vine is all but dead, however that last cantaloupe is very stubbornly hanging on.  I would have thought it would have been ready before now, but nooo.

I'm drying corn husks as we speak- these will go up for rabbit fodder in the winter.  If we have a mild winter like last year (unlikely) it will be unnecessary, but if not, it will be some welcome (and cheap aka. free) roughage for the rabbits.

Speaking of drying- I have more apple chips to make.  Not to mention a watermelon that is begging to be cut and dehydrated and another bag of apples being given to me soon!

Apple butter time, I guess!


Saturday, September 1, 2012

Sunburnt but fun!


We went to Hillsville Virginia this weekend for their annual Flea Market and Gun Show.  They estimate in 4 days 500,000 people will walk through there.

I believe it.

We just got home and I am sunburned (despite walking around under an umbrella that looks like a dinosaur- I got many compliments!) and exhausted, but it was so interesting to see all the junk people had.   Unfortunately, like everything I am afraid, the Hillsville venue has been overly commercialized.  Rather than regular people hanging out selling items, it was a lot of bulk socks, knives clearly purchased in huge lots, buy outs of places going out of business- oh and "antiques", aka so rusted no one can tell what it is.

I did manage to find a small Tigger plush dressed as Darkwing Duck (Let's get dangerous) which was adorable because it combines my favorite Disney character with Tim's.   I also found a beautiful painting for only $15!  I am painting broke now, I believe I'll have to sell a few of mine so that I can hand this new one!

Tim purchased a record and a 15 round magazine for his .30 Carbine.  My dad, who went with us, found nothing! That was the big surprise.

Oh well, we had a good time, spent very little money (yay for more money going in to the savings account) and we spent all day getting exercise instead of sitting on the couch!  I count that a successful day.

Now excuse me while I go recover by sitting on the couch and watching tv.