Friday, January 30, 2009

Frugal Living

We have been on the path of simplifying for quite some time. There may be more of you finding my blog by googling frugal, frugality, cheap meals, etc. It is time for all of us to really search within ourselves and our budgets as to how we can save money and be more assured of providing and surviving when things get even tougher than they are right now.

Usually on Friday mornings, I make a big family breakfast that we share around our kitchen table. There is where we share the highs and lows of the week, plans for the weekend, do-to lists, etc. After breakfast, we generally get busy on our chores and housework so that it can be done and the weekend officially started. This may sound strange, Friday,??? We have four day school weeks and so every one of our weekends are three day weekends because I also have Friday off as well Saturday and Sunday.

I start off my chores with making bread. Do any of you make your own bread? This has been a recent accomplishment for me. I was also afraid to try and fail. I told myself it was so hard. My mom didn't make homemade yeast bread very often and it wasn' t anything I learned as a child, so that also compounded my belief that I couldn't do it. My colleague from work, Sally, also raised a large family and she encouraged and taught me how to do bread. I am not nearly as good as Sally but I also haven't been doing it as long. I guess the true sign that I have mastered it, is will the kids eat it? A resounding yes. Almost as soon as it comes out of the oven. Not only is it so tastey but also saves money. I am sure you guys have priced good bread at the store so you know how much could be saved by making your own.

Another chore for our family is wood and heating with wood. We have heated our large home with only wood this year. This was the first year that we cut down trees, split wood, made kindling, and made our own fire-starters. We previously would purchase duraflame logs or fire-starters and that was such an expense but when we were burning energy logs you had to have a fire-starter to get them going. I found on one of my daily blog reads, a great home-made firstarter that utilizes waste materials that we have an abundance of around our home - dryer lint, empty toilet paper rolls, and leftover bits of candle wax.

We also have added an Alladin oil lamp. We have two other lamps (not Alladin) that I picked up at an estate sale but they are very low candle-power and make doing homework practically impossible. The Alladin has candle-power equal to a lamp with a 75 watt bulb. Much better. They are pricey, but we were able to get our economically from Ebay. If we ever find ourselves without power like friends on the east coast, we will be able to continue hopefully without a hitch.

Doing things on purpose to achieve the things for which you plan. I hope everyone will consider if what they are spending their time and energy doing is getting them what they want and/or need.


Dart Creek Farm said...

Kelli you inspire me! I read an article in Mother Earth News for a bread recipe that you make the starter batch and then put in fridge and pinch off a loaf everyday. Sorry I couldn't resist saying "pinch off a loaf", I hope that doesn't offend your blog readers. You really just don't get enough opportunities in your day to day life to say that without being crude. Here is the link:
Send our love to the fam and tell Christopher that we saw a movie with him in it "The Rocker" ya all need to watch it and call. Love ya guys!!

Carrie said...

I have been baking my own bread for about a year now. My family loves it and I love it. We can eat an entire loaf very quickly.

I have found the homemade bread sticks to the ribs a lot better than store bought bread.

Kelli said...

Kimmy - thanks for the kind words. I have also used the bread recipe from mother earth news that you bake in a dutch oven. Very good but not as quick as the one from Sally. I'll be sure to check out the link. Thanks and we miss you guys!!

Carrie - glad you found my blog. I hopped over and checked your out too....I know where I'll be spending some time learning. Your recipe for cream rice sounds yummy!!

Baker said...

For this last Christmas my mother in law gave me a grain mill attachment for my KitchenAid stand mixer which inspired my New Year's resolution to not purchase any store bought bread this year. The enhancement to my resolution was to also refrain from purchasing any crackers, tortillas, etc. So far I'm doing great with the bread, but crackers can be so inexpensive, especially when valuable coupons are easily obtained. Are you milling your own flour yet? Next time you're in town stop by for some toast and jam and I promise you'll never go back! So far this year I have made pizza dough, tortillas, pumpkin bread, waffles (which I freeze for toaster waffles on busy weekday morning), muffins, hamburger buns, and three different recipes of wheat bread - all with fresh milled Wheat Montana flour. I have found to be very helpful and that is where I have found my most favored recipes. The folks at Wishful Kneads in CdA are wonderfully helpful for the beginner!