Archive for the ‘Home helps’ Category

Really that’s a bit misleading, but I am trying to shop for major items just once a month.  We are paid once a month and have been for years!  You’d think I would have started this long ago.  I know, I know I’m a little slow sometimes 🙂

I realized as the food prices keep soaring, I am spending a lot more money at the grocery store.  I’m sure you are all feeling it too.  You go in for a couple items and come out $80 lighter in your wallet, and have only 3-4 flimsy plastic bags to show for it!

Obviously, we are not buying everything just once a month, fruit, veggies just don’t last that long.  (I am trying a new filter for my refrigerator that is suppose to help your produce stay fresher longer.  I’ll let you know what I think of it in a couple weeks :-))  I am buying toilet paper,(let’s face it, with a family of 6 this is a precious commodity in our home!:-)  We all get cranky if we run out!)  paper towels, (now my mom was super frugal and she would dry her hands on the paper towel and then lay it out to dry so she could use it again.  I have not resorted to that but my children know not to waste them!  If only I could get my hubby to understand how expensive they are.  And on that note, I realized I am a paper towel snob!  Yes, it is true.  I am strictly a Bounty girl.  My mom always said they were the better paper towels and she was right.  As thrifty as she is she is a paper towel snob too! :-))  Also meat, any canned beans, pasta, sauces, snack items, apples, oranges, and cheeses.  These are all good bulk items to buy at a wholesale store.  We have a second refrigerator so I realized I could easily store the extra in that.  I am having a little more work on the front end, in having to divide the meat into meal sized portions but the bonus of that is I have dinners prepped in the freezer.  If I buy the huge pack of ground beef, I can easily portion it for chili, tacos, burritos, and pre-make meatballs and then just pull them out for the crockpot and dinner is easy.  Steak, the same thing, add a marinade to it and store it in a ziploc in the freezer for easy grilling.

I’ve recently cooked up double batches of virus killing chicken soup for those times when a cold sneaks up on us and we need it.  Often it is just as easy to cook double of an item and freeze part for a future meal.  And this football schedule means lots of late evenings when it would be dinner out if we didn’t have a meal in the crockpot already.  Yesterday we prepared mongolian chicken in the crockpot, cooked the rice before the game, and when we came home just poured some of the chicken over the rice and it was a fast and easy dinner.   A little steamed broccoli, or a green salad and dinner in the time it takes my son to shower 🙂  Given the game was delayed for weather, we were so happy to have that meal all ready for us when we arrived home!

My go to marinade for steak:

2-4 tbsp of olive oil

3-5 tbsp of balsamic vingear

1 tsp of fresh garlic, or garlic powder

1 tsp of italian seasonings

1 tsp sea salt

1/2 tsp black pepper

Pour in a ziploc bag, add your steak, freeze for future use.  It marinates while it defrosts.  Delicious!

Tell me your favorite tips for keeping your grocery budget low.  Don’t you wish there were coupons for fresh produce? 🙂



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So my prize arrived.  It is as cute as the picture looked.  Blue and white.  Easy to use, you just fill the top with water and in less than 5 mins it is filtered.  The pitcher has a handy pour spout but also a spigot on the bottom.  My kids are loving it!  Our oldest daughter says it tastes like Dasani, which is her favorite brand bottled water.

I especially liked the water testing meter that came with it.  I was able to test my filtered refrigerator water, which needs a new filter so it was probably not fairly tested, but it was better than the tap water.  I tested the tap water and the water filtered at the sink.  The worst was predictably the tap water, and the best the filter at the sink.  But all of them were close.  (Must need to change all the filters!)  They were about 100 ppm above the zero water pitcher’s filtered water, which interestingly was 0! 😉

So there you go.  If you missed my original post about winning the pitcher, you can find it here.  You can also find coupons and more details about the pitcher there.

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 the lowdown on GMO foods.

From Wikipedia:

Genetically modified foods or biotech foods are foods derived from genetically modified organisms. Genetically modified organisms have had specific changes introduced into their DNA bygenetic engineering techniques. These techniques are much more precise[1] than mutagenesis (mutation breeding) where an organism is exposed to radiation or chemicals to create a non-specific but stable change. Other techniques by which humans modify food organisms include selective breeding; plant breeding, and animal breeding, and somaclonal variation. Since genetically modified food has been introduced into supermarkets, there has been much controversy as to whether it is actually safe.

Genetically Modified foods (GM foods) were first put on the market in 1996. Typically, genetically modified foods are transgenic plant products: soybeancorncanolarice, and cotton seed oil. Animal products have also been developed, although as of July 2010 none are currently on the market.[2] In 2006 a pig was[3][4] engineered to produce omega-3 fatty acids through the expression of a roundworm gene.[5] Researchers have also developed a genetically-modified breed of pigs that are able to absorb plant phosphorus more efficiently, and as a consequence the phosphorus content of their manure is reduced by as much as 60%.[6]

Critics have objected to GM foods on several grounds, including safety issues,[7] ecological concerns, and economic concerns raised by the fact these organisms are subject to intellectual property law.

How do they do it?


Genetic modification involves the insertion or deletion of genes. In the process of cisgenesis, genes are artificially transferred between organisms that could be conventionally bred. In the process of transgenesis, genes from a different species are inserted, which is a form of horizontal gene transfer. In nature this can occur when exogenous DNA penetrates the cell membrane for any reason. To do this artificially may require transferring genes as part of an attenuated virus genome or physically inserting the extra DNA into the nucleus of the intended host using a microsyringe, or as a coating on gold nanoparticles fired from a gene gun. However, other methods exploit natural forms of gene transfer, such as the ability of Agrobacterium to transfer genetic material to plants, and the ability of lentiviruses to transfer genes to animal cells.

The method to introduce new genes into plants requires several important factors such as specific promoter, codon usage of the gene and how to deactivate the gene. The specific promoter must relate to area that we want the gene to express. For instance, if we want the gene to express only in the rice instead of the leaf then we would only use an endosperm specific promoter. The reason is because we only want our transgenic genes to express only in the rice and not the leaves. The codon usage of the gene must also be more optimized for the rice since there are several different codons for each of the 20 amino acid. The transgenic genes should also be able to be denatured by heat in order for human consumption.

And then there’s this, as if the above isn’t scary enough!

Goats that produce silk in their milk: A company called biosteel has genetically engineered goats to produce milk with strong spider web like silk proteins in their milk.[36] This product is not used for consumption, but to make bulletproof vest and anti-ballistic missile systems for military contracts instead.

Should the milk from this be used to make that?

Who thought of goat’s milk to make silk for one of these? :-/

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I’ve won a blog contest!

I never win anything good. (We did win fudge one year at the roller rink on Halloween but we never received it.  We didn’t really need the calories anyway.)   I guess you probably have to enter contests to win, and I rarely enter any, but last week I did.  My fellow blogger notasupermom hosted a contest to win a zerowater pitcher.  And I won! 🙂  I’m so excited!  I dislike water in cities, not only because it tastes bad but because it is filled with chlorine and other contaminants.  We have a refrigerator with filtered water in the door but it still tastes funny to me. Our tap has a filter and it tastes better but still not like good well water.

Notasupermom was reminiscing about good well water she grew up on. I can totally relate.  I love to visit my parents and drink their water.  My kids say it tastes funny, but that is because it tastes like real water.  I love it!  It’s probably full of minerals and such!  They even have the old fashioned pump in the backyard where I grew up pumping fresh well water for the watering the garden and giving to our bunnies and chickens.  Those were the days! 😉

So in a couple of weeks I will be trying out the new zerowater pitcher, which should filter out all solid contaminants, lead, etc.  You can check out their website to see their products.  Here is a coupon, just in case you decide to purchase it after reading notasupermom’s review.  I’ll let you know what I think about the taste.  Nota says it is good 🙂  You could check out her blog too, she is currently having a Carter’s giveaway.  Lots of fun giveaways on her blog! 🙂  Not to mention a great sense of humor 🙂

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That’s me.  I probably would have done well in the late 1800’s or early 1900’s.  Let me rephrase that, I probably would have done well if I had money 😉 I can’t imagine myself milking a cow or butchering my own dinner, but I would be okay with limited electricity, and transportation. The beautiful dresses, the lovely front porches. I would have had to live in the South of course. 🙂 I’ve often thought the Amish have a nice lifestyle.  I know I’d probably not last one day 🙂

I feel like I am forever behind in understanding technology.  And some of it, I’d rather do without.  I don’t mean to sound whiney, I do love digital photography.  I don’t love trying to figure out the best ways to store and save it.  I do love air conditioning and my car, I don’t love maintaining and remembering to change filters, oil, etc.

I love appliances that are low maintenance-dishwasher, washing machine, dryer.  No real fuss with those, clean them occasionally, empty lint traps, I can handle that.  It doesn’t require much mental energy.

Those new e-readers, not my thing.  I love the old fashioned books.  Give me a cup of tea, a good book and I am all set for hours 🙂  I know they are easy to use.  It’s just not the same as going to the library or the bookstore.  I love the experience of browsing books.  Not clicking on them online and downloading them.  Then I am back to the same old computer problems, and storing issues!

My oldest daughter helped me “clean” my computer yesterday.  Turns out I had enough space on it for my new Bible software (Logos).  I just had to empty my trash, “throw away” things I wasn’t using, clean out blurry photos that automatically downloaded.  It took about 45 minutes, and a little learning on my part.

I guess maybe I’m lazy.  It’s learning something new, that really doesn’t interest me, that I dislike.  I’d rather learn about nutrition, or health, a new recipe, or a new resource for teaching my kids.   A new book, movie, those are fun.

At least at the end of it, I have the software installed and now I get to learn the new software :-/  I’m hoping it is as easy as they promised.  I’m hoping that it is a good additional resource to my lovely leather bound Bible.  I won’t give my physical Bible up and just read the passages online.  I will enjoy the ease of finding things with a few keystrokes and the click of a mouse.  I think I will enjoy the maps, the commentaries, concordances, and dictionaries at my fingertips.

I guess finding the balance is key. Not letting technology rule my life, but allowing it to enhance my life.  So as I tell my children, you can learn anything you put your mind to.  I need to adjust my attitude toward new things and embrace the changes.  I must admit my iphone and mac make life so much easier.  And google, who could live without google these days!  🙂  I’ll stop complaining now and start listening and watching my children.  Maybe one day soon I’ll know how to use my dvr, wii, and blue ray player 😉

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I have run out of space on my computer because I store all of my photos on it.  I know it is very bad!  So tell me how do you store digital photos?

I have uploaded some to Shutterfly, but I like having them available for easy access when we want to use them in a project.  For instance, this last Christmas we (I use that term loosely, because “I” didn’t really do anything) made slideshow dvd’s for our families.  Sort of a photo review of the previous 7 years.  I wouldn’t have been able to do that easily had the photos all been online.

Thumb drives are so small and easily lost.

My hubby has suggested maybe on a large hard drive he has, but honestly I don’t even know what he means 😉

Those of you who take lots of pictures, like me, tell me please. I’ll research your advice; or I’ll put my tech savvy daughter on it;-)

I need to free some space on my computer for the cool new Bible software we bought over a month ago!  I’m anxious to use it, but this is holding me up.

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Road Trip!

Not planning one anytime soon, but I was thinking about a vacation this morning 🙂  We would rather fly than drive any day!  We are not patient people, we do not enjoy the “journey”.  Maybe if we were driving somewhere new when we drove, but our drives are always East Coast drives.  We have been to every state on the East Coast but Rhode Island, and frankly, it is really like a big city.  No offense RI’ers 😉

Maybe if we felt like we actually went somewhere the first day, but it takes 5 hours to get out of FL!  All that driving and you are still in the same state you were in when you left!  Maybe we are spoiled by the New England states-in a 3.5 hour trip we would pass from NH, to VT, to MA, to CT, to NY.  You feel like you are making progress that way!

One thing I do to make road trips easier though is in the area of packing.  I learned a long time ago to pack one suitcase per night on the road.  So if we are going for a week but we will spend the first two nights in hotels, I pack everyone’s outfits for those two nights in separate suitcases so when we arrive at a hotel we only have to bring in one bag.  Necessity is the mother of invention right?  🙂  Back in the days of diaper bags, infant carriers, portable cribs, etc this was the only way to survive!  Now it is just so convenient.  Then when we pack to leave again, I repack those suitcases for the trip home.

When the kids were little I put their individual outfits in ziploc bags.  Each day’s bag had socks, underwear, shirt and  pants. That way I didn’t have to paw through the suitcase to find their underclothes, or that matching sock!  They could pick up a bag and get themselves dressed, all matching and clean without any hassle.

This works for packing two children in one suitcase also.  Put their underclothes in clearly marked bags and then there is no confusion about whose is whose.  And no major repacking for mom, after they have torn the suitcase apart!  When you have 3 girls, just a couple years apart, everyone socks and underwear seem the same!

Really I am not an organized person at all.  These are lessons learned just to keep my sanity 🙂  Happy Trails!

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