Jan 22, 2016

Making Raspberry Roll-Ups

Homemade Raspberry Fruit Roll ups
Cutting our grocery budget in half has really given me that nudge to use up what we already have on hand 

We always have an abundance of frozen Raspberries in the freezer and the boys needed little goodies for their lunches. 

So, fruit roll-ups it is.

A Super simple 3 ingredient recipe.

Raspberry Roll-ups

6 cups Frozen Raspberries
3/4 C. Sugar
1/4 C. Lemon Juice

Heat berries on medium heat in a sauce pan with sugar and lemon juice. Once berries thaw enough, add to a blender and puree. Transfer raspberry puree back into saucepan and simmer on medium-low to thicken and reduce moisture. This does take a little time. Prepare a  cookie sheet with parchment paper and protect up the sides. Pour thickened mixture onto parchment paper and out spread evenly. Place in the oven at 175 degrees for 4-5 hours or until mixture is dry enough to easily pull away from parchment. Once cooled use kitchen scissors to cut into strips leaving parchment intact until you eat them. Place in covered container and eat them up within week... Enjoy!

Jan 20, 2016

Saving a little.... equals SAVING a lot!

In the past 2 years we have taken on the 52 week money challenge, and I am happy to say, it really did pay off...

We were able to save up the $1378 a year and then some.

Wanting to step it up a notch for 2016, I looked into challenging our family into a no spend month, a $5 challenge, or taking a real hard look at our grocery budget and tightening the strings.

In the end, we decided that the grocery budget will get the cut!

On average, we were spending $200 a week for a family of four.

 Free styling and winging it, with no real meal plan, we did shop the sales and managed to build up our food storage in the process. Our grocery budget has always included pet food, toiletries, paper products, kitchen supplies and all Laundry expenses.

So our challenge this year is to cut the grocery budget in half!
That's $100 dollars a week for a family of four, 3 dogs, 1 cat, 12 chickens and a goldfish.

By the end of the year that will be a savings of $5200.....Wow really!!!

Who needs to win the POWERBALL anyways?

So we have been at it for 4 weeks now, and I have discovered that this is indeed do-able and to date we have saved $400.

Why oh why have we not been doing this sooner?

The weekly budget will now include:
  • a predetermined weekly meal plan  
  • no repeated meals in the month, unless there are leftovers from the night before
  • at least one meatless meal a week
  • and will include one new recipe from pinterest each week

Jan 18, 2016

Little Sprouts

Little sprouts are beginning to pop up in the seed trays....I have started varieties of Lettuce, Kale, Spinach, Broccoli, Cabbage, Cauliflower and Mache'.

I ran out of potting soil this week but will be needing to plant onions and peppers in.the near future.

Jan 17, 2016

The Disappointed Gardener

Time really got away from me last Fall... Sadly the cold frames were never planted. 

How did I ever let that happen????

Such a disappointment to shovel my way out there and find absolutely nothing. 

Well,I take that back...There were a some weeds and a a couple acorn leaves.

Why would I shovel my guts out, to get to the cold frames????

I knew I would be disappointed in my lack of planting and  have come to terms with that, but I do have ulterior motives...

I plan to keep the cold frames accessible so that spring plantings of cold hardy starts can be hardened off and added a little sooner in the Spring.

Jan 12, 2016

Winter Leeks

Yorkie in the snow covered garden
Tilly's little face cracks me up....She was so excited to find something in the garden and was so proud to point it out. but after sticking her nose clear down in under the snow, she quickly changed her mind. 

uncovering Winter Leeks in January in North Idaho
There in the snow...waiting patiently for Spring is a whole row of Leeks. I am not as patient and decided to dig in and enjoy a Winter harvest.

Winter Harvested Leek in North Idaho garden zone 5B.
Weighing in at 12 oz. this beauty will be mixed into a warm hearty soup.
Fresh chopped Winter Leeks from North Idaho garden zone 5b.

Jan 11, 2016

and "Sow" it begins

Today marks the day as the 1st. seed starting day of 2016 

Cold hardy varieties have been started indoors and will be added to the cold frames and raised beds in the greenhouse for an extra early harvest.

Jan 10, 2016

Winter Harvest

Enjoying my day gardening...Yep that's right gardening in the snow!

Parsnips have been left in the ground and heavily mulched and insulated with snow.  Nothing is sweeter than finding these little pockets of gold in  in the middle of Winter.

These three whoppers weighed in at a total of five and a half pounds and are the first official garden harvest of 2016

Jan 1, 2016

Evicting Spider Mites

Signs your plant may have a Spider Mite infestation
  • You may notice small brown or yellow dots on the leaves of a plant 
  • Upon further inspection, you should start to see very fine silky strands of webbing on the plant.
  • Up close you will notice the spider mites moving around in the webbing

My poor little Lemon tree has recently come down with a case of Spider Mites.

I want to treat this right away.

I wrapped and secure the pot with a kitchen trash bag to keep the potting soil dry.

  Quick trip to the shower for this little tree since it's only around 10 degrees outside today in North Idaho. If you live in a warmer climate you could save yourself the trouble and do this outside ;-)

The shower will wash away cobwebs and most of the mites.

Then apply homemade insecticidal soap using the following ingredients you  have around the house.

Homemade Insecticidal Soap 
  • 1/2 gallon of Luke warm water
  • 1 TB. Dish Detergent
  • 1/2 TB. Olive Oil
  • 1/2 TB Rubbing Alcohol

Shake well and add to spray bottle. 

 Apply liberally 3 times a day for 3 days and this should get rid of all Spider Mites.


It 's that time again to reflect upon this past year, to really think about what worked, what didn't and what changes you may want to implement in the upcoming year.

I am always amazed at how quickly time slips away and how fast a year can really slip through your hands.

Constant and true, time steadily and gently slips away.

As I ponder the past for a moment and take note, I can conclude...

My life is Simple, yet Good and I am Happy!

My mind wanders and delightfully leaps to thoughts of the future ahead.

Here are a few of my simple attainable resolutions I have set for myself this upcoming year :


  • Consolidate seed varieties 
  • Plant the seeds I already have and make minimal seed purchases
  • plant a small strawberry bed
  • Keep better records on garden production
  • Stay on top of succession planting
  • Purchase an All American Pressure Cooker for canning Season
  • Garden with Winter Harvest in mind and install and plant a low tunnel
  • Conquer the compost heap and turn on a regular basis

Family, Home & Finances

  • Better Meal Planning
  • Eat out less
  • $5 Buck Challenge (more on this later)
  • One no spend week a month  to be added to savings (more on this later)
  • Lower our Grocery Budget by $50 a week and consistently add this to savings
In the Coop

  • track egg production
  • track feed and chicken needs expenses

What Resolutions will you be making this year????

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