Saturday, September 6, 2014
I have been searching for a good breakfast sandwich to cook and freeze at home. Fast food breakfast sandwiches are a favorite breakfast of mine, but when they are inexpensive, I wonder about the ingredients, and when they are all-natural, locally sourced, I fret over the spending the money.
Today I stumbled across the perfect recipe. The Breakfast Sandwich from the Demarle at Home website is easy, adaptable, and quick. And while I would highly recommend investing in one of their perforated baking sheets, the round tray, and a Silpat, I'm sure folks could find a way to make them without these items.
I made a batch today using Tillamook white cheddar sliced cheese, Trader Joe's English muffins and apple smoked bacon, and eggs from our local grocer. While the eggs were baking in the round tray, I fried the bacon. Then I built the sandwiches, baked them a few more minutes, and enjoyed! I think the whole process took 30 minutes, which is how long it would have taken to drive to a local fast food joint, order the food, and bring it home. Better yet, I saved money (I spent approximately $12.00 for the ingredients, not including the baking trays, which I already owned and use often), and I know exactly what is in each sandwich.
Best of all, however, is that one recipe makes 6 sandwiches. Only two of us in the house eat them, so I individually wrapped four of the sandwiches after they cooled and put them in the freezer. We have two more breakfasts waiting for us!
Next time I intend to add to the eggs before they bake. I'm thinking saute onions and mushrooms with baby spinach mixed in, like little quiche patties. Maybe source local sausage for patties and try a different cheese, like pepperjack or provolone. And double the recipe to make even more to freeze.
Oh, the possibilities!
Friday, September 5, 2014
|I adore this skirt. It fits my daughter, but I do wish I had one, too.|
This week's Frugal Friday post is all about thrift shopping. It's back-to-school time, so I rocked the thrift stores for clothes and accessories and whatever else jumped out at me while browsing.
This year I went to two stores, Red White & Blue and the Goodwill Outlet. The first is by far my favorite with great selection, awesome prices, and usually a surprise or two. The first time I went, I found a package of gorgeous day-planners. I like to use them for day-by-day journals. They are outdated now, but I cross out the old date and add the new, which is usually off by only a day or two.
The second time I went, I found a couple of goodie bags full of interesting office supplies: a couple cans of air for keyboard cleaning, a business card holder, a couple more journals, and a lovely wall calendar full of historical photos of Oregon. It was current for the year and still hangs on my wall. Some of the images are breathtaking.
The Goodwill Outlet is an experience. If you've never been, you should give it a try. Rather than racks and shelves displaying clothing and home goods, the entire floor contains huge bins. Each bin is about ten feet long and four feet wide and filled with items. Some might hold clothing, others electronics, some filled with books, and still more with a variety of things from pottery to magazines to bedding. You are literally searching through the piles to find something of interest. And when a new bin is brought out, shoppers flock to it like seagulls to a crust of bread.
Red White & Blue's clothing is laid out by color, so to find the size I need, I gravitate to colors each of my family would wear and then start looking through each for the right size. For the Goodwill Outlet, where there is no order except selection of bin type, I walk the aisles, looking into each bin until something catches my eye. Then I'll stop and hunt through the bin.
Both shopping styles served me well this year. For less than $150.00, I picked up:
|New clothes for Buggie|
*Shirts for adults. I found four for me, one work shirt for my husband, and a shirt that I think my brother might like for camping.
|Books and magazines!|
Clothing, books, and magazines are always a given when I go thrift shopping. The treasure this year was the huge package of knitting supplies I found.
|A bevy of knitting supplies|
|Someone put a lot of work into this blanket.|
It was an eventful thrift shopping experience. I look forward to my next trip in a few months when The Boy starts to outgrow all of his clothing.
Friday, August 15, 2014
I haven't written a Frugal Friday post in awhile, mainly because we weren't being so frugal. I've recommitted to living frugally, however, and we've made some wonderful progress in the past few weeks.
Our first move was to cut all eating out. It's been difficult, as I'm still readjusting to meal-planning weekly and cooking daily, but I'm proud to say that we've resisted well.
Our second move was to take all the grocery budget out of the bank and leave the debit card at home. This has been amazingly useful. I'm loath to spend grocery money on unnecessary purchases.
At home, I've continued to declutter and downsize and also to incorporate fun storage solutions. One I've wanted to try for some time uses jars to store snacks. I've been collecting jars all summer.
|Jars of snacks, ready to grab.|
|The latest cucumber harvest.|
|Play 'find the cucumber.' There are three in this photo.|
|Two zucchini coming along.|
|Two more pumpkins.|
|And two more pumpkins.|
|Surprise! There is one more pumpkin.|
|The cucumbers have taken over the garden!|
|Mutant cherry tomato plants.|
Our other frugal accomplishments:
* Movie night on bargain Tuesday to see "Guardians of the Galaxy," which was awesome.
* Baking zucchini bread and stuffed zucchini using our zucchini and ingredients from the freezer and pantry.
* Using our refillable water bottles and taking them out with us so we won't be tempted to buy bottled water (frugal and eco-friendly).
* Packing Buggie's lunch each day of drama camp. Great practice for the start of school.
* Packing snacks for me and the kids when out on playdates and park visits.
* Purchasing discounted tickets to the county fair in July to attempt last week.
* Purchasing a discounted yearly zoo membership.
* Sold back two boxes of books to a local used bookstore from the books I culled and received over $30 in credit.
* A friend gave me a couple yards of two different fabrics in exchange for some zucchini and cucumbers.
* My husband makes his coffee at home before work each day and takes it with him. He also discovered that his workplace offers fruit-infused water, so he takes a water bottle with him, too.
It's been a good month so far. My plans for the rest of the month include a couple of crochet projects, a couple of sewing projects, thrift shopping, and as many park trips as we can fit in before school begins!
Tuesday, August 12, 2014
I'm usually saddened to hear of the death of a celebrity, even one whose work is unknown to me. I can't help but think of the person's friends and family and the grief they face, having faced it myself. But I'm rarely moved to tears.
Yesterday's new of the death of Robin Williams was different.
I didn't know him personally. Of course, don't we tend to think we know celebrities we admire? They put so much of themselves into their work, bringing to life characters and personas with such vividness that it is deceptively easy to fool ourselves into thinking we know the real person. I didn't know any more about Robin Williams than the next fan, and while I enjoyed his work, he wouldn't have my first thought when asked to name my favorite actor or comedian.
My sorrow comes from the fact that I could never thank Robin Williams enough for how two of his movies helped me during times when I needed help and didn't know where to find it.
I could break down the movies and the events, spill parts of my life into this and make it all about me, but that isn't my point. My point is that I'm sad and I'm grieving his loss. I'm sad for the grief his friends and family are facing.
But I'm so thankful, so very thankful, to him for those movies and for sharing his gift of joy and irony and laughter. I wish I could have told him what it meant to me. I will always remember him kindly for it and smile when I think of him.
Tuesday, July 1, 2014
|Can you see me? ~Owl|
Instead, I watered the garden and trimmed Delilah. Delilah is our weeping cherry tree. I find it ironic that I have to trim her long branches back each year.
I also weeded a garden bed. And found that we do, indeed, have grapes growing on our grapevine. It's quite exciting! We also have cherry tomatoes, strawberries, and radishes coming in. And lettuce.
Impromptu movie night last night to see Moms' Night Out. I took Buggie and she enjoyed the movie, but I think she enjoyed being out with the big girls even more!
I'm participating in Camp NaNoWriMo this month. It's been a long while since I've written anything and I'm looking forward to it. I haven't actually gotten any words on paper yet today, but I woke up thinking of the story I'm going to tell, feeling the nuances of the first few events and how best of open the story. I have the first line mentally written. If that's all I get down today, I'll be pleased.
I'm enjoying my new laptop very much.
Buggie is sitting across from me at the table, typing a story on our borrowed laptop. It's a story about a dragon. She's very much into dragons. She's been reading the Wings of Fire books series and is on book three. She had me order books four and five yesterday and we discovered a sixth book being released in January. She was so very excited! It's her first book series crush. I hope it is the first of many.
I finally changed the curtains, just in time for a 90+ degree day today. I feel domestic when changing curtains out.
Plans for today: write, do dishes, cook some meals, maybe sneak off to see another movie, stay cool.
Monday, June 23, 2014
Back in mid-May, I made a momentous decision. I gave notice at the theater where I've worked since last June and set out to start my own freelance proofreading service.
This wasn't an overnight decision. I'd toyed with the idea of pursuing proofreading several times before, but put it on hold for many reason. Most of those reasons have since been resolved, overcome, or just forgotten, and the idea of working from home has become more and more appealing.
I know starting a venture of this nature isn't going to be quick. I've given myself a year to build a client base and I'm developing marketing strategies and setting monthly income goals to reach by the end of that year. I know I'll have to put more time and energy than I'll see return on to make this work once my I'm quit of the theater, but that hasn't dampened my enthusiasm.
I'm excited! I'm ecstatic! When I think about my new-found career, I'm happy and cannot wait to start.
Sadly, I must move slowly until the end of July because I'm still working four days a week until then and spending the remaining three entertaining two children on summer vacation and putting the house back together. But at the end of July, I hope to hit the ground running.
In the meantime, I've been doing small things to keep moving forward. I named my service: C. Jane Proofreading. I ran a survey to better understand what writers would expect from my services (it's still open if there is a writer who would like to take it). I built a website: www.cjanereid.com. I created and ordered business cards (see above). I took out an ad in a friend's newsletter (no bites from it, but it was a good experience trying to design an ad). I have an updated copy of the Chicago Manual of Style (my older one was two editions behind). And yes, I do refer to it often. Usage can be a slippery slope, especially when commas are involved, and I like to be certain of my recommendations.
I'm also in the midst of finding a new-to-me laptop with which to take my services on the road. My hope is to make the local library my office for a couple days a week, and also make my porch my office, a coffee shop my office, a friend's back yard my office, the park my office . . . I love the idea of working anywhere that sounds relaxing.
I have a couple of clients already (bless them!) who have allowed me time to do the work within the limited hours I have currently available. I'm also putting together a list of possibilities for advertising, but honestly, I believe word-of-mouth is going to be surest way this business will grow.
I'm also excited about having time once more to pursue my own writing. It's been since January that I've done anything more than weekly writing exercises, and while those are fun, they do not get current drafts completed or rough drafts edited.
It's a whole new world for me and I am loving it. Only five more weeks before I can focus on it full-time. I appreciate any referrals or leads anyone might like to pass along!
Sunday, June 1, 2014
|The boy in my gardening hat, ready to tackle the outdoors.|
I also had way too much luck with parsley, no luck with basil, and started a rosemary and lavender.
This year, I cut back a little on the number of types but still filled all the beds. I have zucchini and cucumbers again, carrots and lettuce and radishes, four types of tomatoes, squash and peas and sunflowers. And pumpkins. Lots and lots of pumpkins. Because I have always wanted to grow pumpkins and for several years now of trying, having only gotten one single itty bitty pumpkin to show for it. So I went a bit overboard this year and am trying two different garden beds to see where they will grow, if they will.
Last year, I started my seeds using a technique I learned from a friend. You cut an opaque gallon-size milk or water jug almost in half, leaving a bit on one side to act as a hinge. Cut holes in the bottom, then fill with garden soil, add seeds, water, then close up the top. It acts as a mini greenhouse. Last year it did wonderfully and nearly all my seeds started that way.
This year I only had a couple of jugs, so I used egg cartons for the rest. And what a difference! It's hard to see from these photos, but they are the only ones I took.
Another beauty about this system is the seeds start outside, so I'm not worried about them having to acclimate like the ones going from inside to outside. I also have far more space to start seeds outside than I do indoors.
I'm already saving jugs to use for next year so I have more to use.
I'm quite excited about my garden this year. My rosemary has doubled in size, as has the lavender. I planted seeds under my little dogwood sapling and hope to have bachelor buttons and California poppies in a few weeks, plus a couple of cosmos that have come back from last year. Now if I could just keep the neighborhood cats out of the beds . . .