Friday, September 09, 2011

More with less - or for heaven's sake I need to stop spending so much!

So it became official this week!

I am going to be a stay at home mommy.  For the next while anyways.  The hope is until the little ones start school, but we'll see how things go.  I'm both excited to be able to have the opportunity and a little bit petrified of giving up that security that having a job provides.  

I'm hoping to do some work on my degree while I'm off - I had started a few years back taking courses through Athabasca University, and may look at going back to it.  I am just not sure if the degree I was originally pursuing, (BA in Communications) is what I still want to do.  Time to think  on it, I suppose. 

With fall in the air and the realization that I need to tighten the belt when it comes to spending if I'm to be a SAHM, I've been thinking a lot about making more with less so to speak. I do alright with that already, but will be exploring more and more ways to make things stretch.

My Mom has always been good at that sort of thing.  And a fantastic cook.  She has a  knack for tossing a bit of this and a bit of that together and coming up with something fabulous!  I try to be like her in my own cooking and I think I'm measuring up pretty well, but every  now and again a call or visit to Mom is in order for a recipe.  Often times I'll get a basic outline of the ingredients (That little bit of this,  little bit of that I just mentioned? Lots of times recipes go like that) I've called on  Mom's expertise a couple of times recently.  Especially on those days between my bi-weekly grocery shop and the fridge is looking a little bare.  The first was a recipe for Beet Soup.  Mmmmm.  I do love me some beets.
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Mmmmmmmm. Love beet soup!!
Here's my variation:

Place the following in the crockpot:

One onion, chopped
Four or five large beets, chopped
Two or three stocks of celery, chopped
Three or four carrots, chopped
Four large potatoes, chopped
(add in here whatever other veg you have in the crisper needing to be used up - the other day I threw in a handful of green beans)
Four cups of stock (I've used beef or chicken - all depends what's on hand)
Salt and pepper to taste

Turn on crock pot to high and  cook for  three to four hours.  About half an hour before serving, I pour in 2 Tablespoons of vinegar and give it a stir.  I like to serve it with sour cream to garnish and a fresh from the oven homemade beer rye bread. Nom. Nom.

Reminds me I'll have to be making a trip to the local farmer's market for some more beets.  I think I'll make up a couple of batches and freeze for winter for quick easy meals.

Yesterday I got a hankering for chocolate syrup to go in my coffee.  I don't live close enough to town to hop in the truck on a whim and drive to the grocery store for something like chocolate syrup, not to mention it would definitely fly in the face of my new more with less mind set to do that, so I called Mom.

She had a recipe for me in a jif, and shortly thereafter I had chocolate syrup and a very happy little toddler (Treats? In my milk?  Mmmmm!)
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Who doesn't like chocolate??
Mom's Chocolate Syrup recipe from some old well used book in her collection. (She thinks it was her old Five Roses Cookbook - or I think that's what she said anyways!)

Mix 1/2 cup cocoa powder and a 1/2 cup cold water in a saucepan to make a paste.  Add 1/4 cup boiling water and a 1/2 cup sugar.  Boil on stove for three minutes, cool and add 1 tsp of vanilla.  Put in a jar.  I store mine in the fridge.  The cookbook said somewhere cool (written before refrigerators were around Mom figures!)

Easy peasy and a whole lot cheaper and tastier than Nestle Quik!!

Less spending in the kitchen is an awesome start I figure.  Hopefully it'll also help reduce the stress when I go through the check out at the grocery store.  It darn well near gives me heart palpitations these days!!

We've been busy around the house too!   LTM has moved from his crib to a "big boy bed".  We wanted to re-do the floor in his room before doing the switch over, so (BF)G took two vacation days off the other week and got it done!  He had lots of help in the process!

And in case you're wondering what happened to my sewing and knitting efforts, no need to  worry.  That obsession still stands firm.  I finished the baby outfit  gift that I mentioned needing to work on last time.

Inspired by the "Comfy Sleep Set" I'll dub my little puffed sleeve dress the "comfy dress".  It has an soft interlock bodice and a cotton skirt.  Bloomers are a hybrid between Simplicity pattern #4243 and Fishsticks designs "Newborn Bloomers".  The socks are of course from  my very favourite baby sock book, "Cute Knits for Baby Feet".

I also whipped up a taggy block for a friend's little one as well.  Why have I not made these before?  They are so unbelievably simple and cute!  I only wish I'd added more taggies, but I was working with what I had at home that went nicely with the fabric - remember that whole more with less thing?  It also means less fabric and notion shopping too. (which I think I may find considerably harder than other areas of thriftiness...)

I'm still plugging away at finishing my Jane with a Pop top (I have a weird thing going on with one side seam at the hip - not sure what I did there and I can't decide what I want to do for sleeves or how to finish the whole thing off... so many things to think about!) and have got absolutely no where on my Amy Cardigan.  Not so much as a pattern drafted even. Although that's high on my list.  I really want to have it done for the cooler weather!

So, as I embark on my  next projects I'll have a full belly, a warm cup of mocha to enjoy, and all the time in the world (well, that the boys allow me that is) without my having to think about going back to work!