Tuesday, July 5, 2011


Are any of you on MyFitnessPal?  I just joined last week and have lost a bit by tracking my calories and exercising almost every day.  If you'd like to "friend" me, my UN is Smidgeroo-ski (no dash).

What kind of success have you had while tracking calories online?

Friday, July 1, 2011

Happy Birthday

We don't have any set plans for the long weekend, but I'm hoping we can make a bat house to keep our incredible mosquito population down and a chicken tractor.  The chickens have eaten all of the greenery in their coop.  We can't allow them to free-range when we're not home since between our cats and the neighbor dog, we only have 6 chickens left (we started with 10)  :(

What do you have planned for this long weekend?

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

My most favorite find this Saturday

Well, if I'm totally honest, the Liberty Lake community garage sale was a bust.  I had the intentions of buying 1 year's worth of clothes for both of my kiddos.  I walked away with 2 pairs of sweats and a hat, yikes!

However, it was not a TOTAL bust.  I spotted this granite table and 2 solid oak chairs while all of us (8 family members) were getting a little cranky.  They wanted $100, but my wonderful mother-in-law bought it for me, as an early birthday present, for $80.  It's super heavy and really pulls our kitchen together.  I can't tell you how much I love it!!  It's bigger than our kitchen nook, that I really didn't like in the first place, but it fit the bill (free and small).  We just need 1 more wood chair...currently I'm sitting on the Costco special aka camping folding chair ;)  It appears these table retail for $500+

Did you find anything note-worthy while thrifting or g-saleing recently?

Friday, June 10, 2011

Made in the USA...at the Dollar Tree....whaaaaat?

You might be as shocked as I am, but it's true!  I love to buy their twisty crayons (aka unbreakable for Mr. J), but they're not Made in the USA.  However, all of these items are!
The clear bins are for holding my dry goods (BPA-Free) like beans, rice, etc.  I had an odd assortment of tupperware that was bugging me (didn't match).  I would much prefer glass, but we can't afford to spend $10/each on glass containers.

The Quick Erasers are a copy of the Magic Erasers and they are amazing!  I clean out the sink at the end of the day in under 20 seconds and it's beautiful and shiny.  Then, I just rinse it and re-use it :)

On to the sponges; they're thinner than others, but I don't use them very much since we have a dishwasher :)

Do you buy things at a dollar store?  If so, have you noticed things that are made in the USA?

Have a blessed weekend!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

The garage sale I've been waiting for...

...is this Saturday!  We're headed to Liberty Lake for their HUGE community garage sales.  The plan was just for me to go and The Hubbs would stay home with the kids.  However, now my entire family wants to go and The Hubbs is still on the fence.  Either way, we'll be sure to score on LOTS of stuff we NEED.  I'm hoping to stay away from stuff in the WANT category :)

Here is the link to last year's booty

This is a great article on preparing for a day of garage sales from Apron Thrift Girl.  However, I will be packing much more protein-heavy snacks :)

On this year's list is:
Tank tops for the kids and I
Rash guards for the kids
Fall/winter clothes for the kids
Butter dish *have proven SO hard to find*
Socks for the kids
I can't think of the other stuff on my mental list :)

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Summer travel budgeting

Who loves a spreadsheet?  This one is great for budgeting for summer travel.  Enjoy!

Where are you going this summer?  
What frugal travel tips can you share?

We're headed to the Washington cost and can't wait!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Thrifting Thursday

Does anybody else have the camping bug?  I do!  I do!  So, The Hubbs and I have been racking our brains to make a little list of things that would round out our stash of gear.
 Here is what I bought today...
Black/Orange mummy-style sleeping bag (for Mr. J) $2.89 & a Ready Bed (retails for $113 *choke*) paid $5.99 (for Miss A)

Chalk $.99, Net mitts $.99, Ping pong paddles $1.99, 7 plates $.79/each

Not really a camping thing, but we LOVE this game and it appears to be brand new, $1.99 (we'll be giving this as a gift)

Another non-camping item, but I was SOOOO excited to find this shirt for The Hubbs, $1.89!

Do you like camping?  
If so, do you tent, trailer, or something else?  
What's your favorite convenience item while camping?

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

AWESOME Heartsy deal today

Do you deal with wet swimsuits, dirty cloth diapers or other wet stuff?  Go get this awesome deal on Heartsy for which gets you a $30 credit for $14 :)

Monday, May 23, 2011

Go, go, gangbusters GARDEN!

21 tomato plants (all heirloom) from local sellers, a 1/2 flat of sunflower starts (free, woot!), and 2 banana peppers.  All in all, I spent $49 :)
12 onion starts + sungolds + yellow pears + heirlooms

11 more tomato plants
I'm hoping that in 3 months I'll be taking pictures like these :)

What are you planting this year?

Saturday, May 21, 2011

The chicken coop is finished

And it has been for 2 weeks, errr.  The grand total was $26 which was the green chicken wire!

Scratchin' around my garden

After LOTS of zip ties ;)

Scratching around the un-turned garden bed

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Gluten Free Strawberry Cupcakes *recipe inside*

My recipe is inspired by this cookbook.

Gluten Free Strawberry Cupcakes
Makes 24 cupcakes
1 cup brown rice flour
½ cup tapioca flour
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
3/4 teaspoon salt
1.5 teaspoons baking soda
12 large eggs
1 1/3 cups honey
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1.5 cups finely chopped fresh organic strawberries (plus more for topping the frosting)

Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F.  Line a cupcake pan with paper liners.  Set aside.  
In a large bowl, whisk together flours, xanthan gum, salt, and baking soda.  

In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, honey, and vanilla extract.  Add the wet ingredients, all at once, to the dry ingredients and whisk together.  You can do this by hand or with a handheld mixture.  Whisk until all ingredients are well combined.

Fold in the strawberries.  

Scoop batter into lined cupcake pan.  Fill papers to two-thirds full.  

*These can be breakfast muffins too, if you leave off the frosting

Sunday, May 8, 2011

All my Fred Meyer Mamas...this is for you!

As you may know, today started Fred Meyer's Founder's Days Sale.  I follow a local blogger, Frugal Chic Living who is a great coupon'er.

Here is her breakdown of the sale and here is the breakdown of the 7th Gen sale.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Tired of being different

This post from Natural as Possible Mom hit a chord with me :)

Does anyone else feel this way?

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Today's chores

It's 9:59am as I type and the kids are at my mom's for the day and I'm determined to get the house finished up before the weekend is here.  

Did you know that you can use dry-erase markers on your fridge?  It's awesome!  The circles represent how many times I have to do something and the HS packs are these.  I just found that site and TOTALLY love it!

What chores are you doing today?

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

More chicken coop progress + we got our chicks!

Free roofing = it's doesn't always match

Yup, another 3 kinds of roofing on this side ;)

Seriously love being married to this guy...he has nearly every tool we need :)

3 Araucana + 3 Wyandotte + 4 Barred (Plymouth) Rocks

Monday, April 25, 2011

Why I shop at 2 stores for nearly EVERYTHING

This sounds bizarre, right?  However, it's finally dawned on me that I can "make money back" money by shopping at Fred Meyer and Costco.  I shop at Freddy's every week and receive a 1% cash back check every quarter.  Plus, I shop at Costco 2-3x a month and we have the executive membership where we get 2% back every year, which should almost cover the cost of the $100 membership.  You probably already know what I buy at Costco every month from this post where I listed prices in our local area.

For those of you who are familiar with Fred Meyer you know that they have nearly everything.  On top of groceries, they have a great natural foods section, clothing, shoes, toys, games, garden, household, kitchen, bedroom, crafts...and the list goes on.  So, if I'm going to spend the money on shoes for Miss A, why not make 1% back?  I will say that Freddy's has a nice shoe selection and often has great clearance and good coupons too.

So, back to Costco; we spend about $200 month there, so $2400/year.  2% of that is $48, but I'm going to start buying things there that I've usually bought at Shopko/Target/etc.  Things like light bulbs, greeting cards, workbooks for the kids...you get the idea.  I estimate that our 2% reward will end up being about $75/yearly.

Yes, I still try to buy as much as I can used...especially clothing for all of us, but sadly there are a lot of items we need that are non-grocery items.

As for gift buying, I have found Heartsy, which is like Groupon for Etsy, but safer because you can use Paypal.  They have a handful of stores they feature every day and you can purchase "gift cards" for usually 60% off.  I have purchased 4 items so far, which are all gifts and I'm planning to purchase as many gifts as possible from here :)

Do you shop at stores that give you cash back?  

Are you an Etsy shopper?

Friday, April 22, 2011

Good Friday

Courtney at Women Living Well has a great Good Friday post

God Bless you all today!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

How are we supposed to celebrate Easter?

This question has been rattling around in my brain for the last month.  How would Jesus want me to celebrate his death and resurrection?  Easter eggs, candy, new clothes, a bunny.  Is that what he had in mind?  I highly doubt it.  Living in the country and time that we do, it is hard to celebrate a holiday without big business getting their profit too.

So far, I'm planning to make a sweet baked good in the morning with a side of bacon, giving the kids each a chocolate cross for their Easter gift and then having an Easter egg hunt.  Sometime this week we'll be dying our eggs for the hunt and then on Sunday evening we'll be having our Easter ham dinner with all the fixins.

How do you celebrate Easter?

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Gluten free pound cake recipe

I have to admit something to the interwebs.  I have become addicted to the show Cake Boss and have watched all 45 episodes on Netflix.  It's a little over the top on the drama side, however, the cakes they create are seriously outstanding.  I have become interested in making cakes from scratch in the last 6 months and received lots of cake making supplies for Christmas.  On Cake Boss they use pound cake almost always because it's dense and can withstand the man-handling of frosting/decorating.

I tried a gluten-free pound cake recipe last week and it was not very good.  Then I decided to make a gluten-free version from an original recipe.

GF Pound Cake
  • 2 1/2 cups gluten-free flour (I generally use a mix of almond and brown rice)
  • 1/2 cup tapioca flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon xanthan gum
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup butter - softened
  • 3 cups white sugar (I used a mix organic sugar and honey)
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon lemon extract (optional, in my opinion)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup buttermilk (can use cream, or whole milk in a pinch)


  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Grease one 9 or 10 inch tube pan (or two 9" cake pans). Mix together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, beat butter with sugar. Mix in the eggs, one at time, beating well after each addition. Stir in the lemon and the vanilla extracts. Gently mix in flour mixture alternately with the buttermilk. Pour batter into the prepared pan.
  3. Bake in preheated oven for 90 minutes (or 25 minutes of cake pans). When cake begins to pull away from the side of the pan it is done. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack and cool completely.
  4. Frost it with your favorite buttercream frosting, fill it with jam between the layers, top it with fresh berries...the possibilities are endless!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

What are your favorite books to read...

...to your kids?  Or what are their favorite books?  We've been depleting the children's section at our local library and currently have 30+ books on our "library book table".  I'm looking for your families favorites for ages 2-4 :)

Here is a list of our current favorites:
Bread and jam for Frances
Tikki Tikki Tembo
Duck! Rabbit!
Go Dog. Go!
Hilda must be dancing
Corduroy (any in this series)
Stone soup
Bats at the library
Bob & Otto

Thursday, April 7, 2011

The truth about our modern processed foods

Awesome video about a mother's journey through feeding her family and looking deeper into our food system

Hartke is Online

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Chicken coop remodeling *lots of pictures*

Last Tuesday they passed a new chicken ordinance so we are all legal to get our 13 chicks next month, woot!  I've been hacking away for the last week at the large bushes around our old shed.  The Hubbs estimates it's about 50 years old.  We have never used it for anything other than hose and toy storage.

All the wonderful moss :(

Front door

Even more moss on this side + you can see their chicken door (triangle)

The old hutch...we think a previous owner had rabbits or something

The 1 window

Demo time!  The Hubbs tore all of the roofing off of this side!

My job was complete :)

Kinda cool

The Hubbs + power tools = job well done

New plywood and tar paper which was free b/c it was leftover from building J's room

We found this white rope while we were working.  When you pull it, it opens the small door to let the chickens out...convenient!

What's next?  
New roofing on the whole thing
Power wash it inside and out
New paint on the outside
Put up the fencing (a wonderful man gave us 80' of chain-link for free)
Start buying feed, etc

I'm looking for suggestions on an exterior paint color...

Linked up at Far Above Rubies

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

How much could a cookie have changed?

While I ran some errands this afternoon and The Hubbs watched the kiddos, he made some cookies for the family.  These are cookies that have been sitting for 3 months on the shelf waiting to be made.  They are SO sweet that I didn't want to eat them all, so that's why I hadn't made them.  Yet, about once every other week The Hubbs would ask me to. 

He saved me 1 because he knows my problem with sweets...I will eat them all I was thankful to have 1 cookie to eat after dinner, a nice treat.  I bit into one and it seemed off-tasting.  I couldn't peg it, and I certainly didn't want say anything to him.  I then walked by it again and took another bite and The Hubbs comes up next to me and says "They are really sweet, huh?".  That is what the off-taste was.  It was so over the top sweet compared to what we have been eating.  I jumped for joy inside!  We were finally rounding a corner I so desperatly wanted for all of us.  We have cut nearly all desserts and treats from our diet.  We're certainly eating more fruit and it shows.  I still make sweet things, but they're good for us, not just sugar and flour.

I'm so happy that our Primal 1-week challenge has had lasting effects :)