Saving Money a la Breadcrumbs

We are trying to save money any way we can, like most people we know. So I have been cutting corners in the kitchen and laundry room with homemade options to store bought stuff! Thanks to Pinterest, most of the time, I have been able to make laundry detergent, cleaning products, yogurt, bread, graham crackers, cheese crackers, granola bars and a few other baked goods!

When I’m not being totally lazy about needing to clean up after my baking projects this has really saved us quite a bit of money! We buy bulk at Costco for almost all the ingredients which really helps to cut down the costs as well.

What I noticed though, was that even though I was saving lots of money with all these homemade goodies (which also have much better ingredients) we were still pretty wasteful in other areas.

One such area was bread butts. We don’t use them. In the past I have used them for homemade stuffing but the family doesn’t really like stuffing outside of Thanksgiving dinner. So what’s a girl to do? The other day I had an epiphany… BREADCRUMBS!

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I spend money on dried up, seasoned, crumbled bread all the time! We use them in meatloaf, burgers, on top of casseroles and baked meats. Yet here we are throwing away perfectly good bread because we don’t like them in sandwiches or French toast! What kind of crazy is that!

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First I toast the bread. We go through a lot of bread, about three loaves a week. I take whatever butts are hanging around our pantry, stick them in the toaster.

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Break the toast into large chunks and toss them in my mini food processor.

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I then add some seasonings. Because we use it for so much I stick to about a half a teaspoon each of garlic powder and onion powder. Then I process until the bread is fully crumbled!

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That’s it! It’s so easy that I wonder why I never thought of doing this before! We store it in an airtight container in the pantry. Super simple, saves you money and uses things you already have in the pantry!

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Warning: Entering Indoor Tornado Zone

The sun barely creeps through the tree lined surroundings. The crisp air gently flows through the windows. The Cicadas lend their hum to the symphony of crickets and grasshoppers that lulled me to sleep last night while robins and jays begin praising the wonders with their harmonious sounds.

So far the experiment is successful. The melodious harp that resonates from my phone each morning has been able to stir me from my slumber before the sounds of little feet reverberate through the halls. My warm bed invites me to stay for just a few moments longer. I linger in the warmth and enjoy the orchestral movements that greet my ears.

I allow myself the comfort of a lazy wake up. My phone awakens me with a bright light that stings my eyes as I thumb through apps to get to my daily bible verse. I greet the word and open with prayer as I try to build a relationship and not just go through the motions. Somedays I greet The Lord as an old friend, other days more like a chore, I’m trying to grow. The news app beeps and I thumb through with disdain and despair as I read the days events. I close the apps that make me think so early in the day and instead open the mindless chatter that keeps me connected to an outside world I often forget exists. I relish in the photos and memes shared by friends. The prayer request of others are noted and I take a moment to pray with them in solidarity. If time permits, a stroll through pinterest allows me to daydream or gather ideas for the day.

I could use that time to shower, clean or to organize but I am a slow waker. It takes an hour of minimal thought processing to get me ready to greet my day. I could wake earlier and possibly work out, but I do not and will not. I do not like to wake before the sun and waking with the sun is as early as I can muster for now.

Here come the little voices. The feet still trying to find their way as eyes still grasp for light. Some mornings laughter fills the house before light. Others begin with screams of indignation at the action of one sibling or another. Today is a day of laughter.

Greetings and hugs are shared as their little legs climb onto the bed as if it were Everest. Giggles and tickles find their way around soft bellies. Today it is just the girls. Giggling, playing and already full of imagination.

The princess must find the baby before the dragons come.

I remind the girls that today is different. Today we move furniture and toys. Today we rid the house of the beast!

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Over the course of the last few months we have had the same fight every week. This is the state of the girls room.
Unacceptable!
Inconceivable!
Outrageous!
How can they live in such a wretched state?
This room was cleaned less than two days before!

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If only it were the only room. Alas it is not to be. Every room they touch looks as though a tornado has recently flown through. We have organizational systems in place. We have clean up times twice a day. We have tried to implement one toy at a time.

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All to no avail.

They will learn…

They will grow…

However, I cannot withstand this environment for very long. And so, today is a moving day. We shall say goodbye to our beloved playroom/schoolroom and split up the army of little girls. Toys will be divided amongst bedrooms. Sisters will be split up.

Perhaps…

Maybe…

Just this once…

Hope can fill me once again, cleanliness and order can return, and maybe my day will be as lovely as my wake up.

Fall Nature Explorations

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Have you ever spent so much time planning that you forget to do? It happens to me all the time. I research, study, schedule, and all together plan out every aspect of how I want to do stuff and then reality sinks in and I get upset when it doesn’t go as planned.

It happens often enough that I’ve written before about needing to let go. Needing to embrace the imperfections. I need to live out life and teach on the cuff because that’s how they learn!

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Once a week we spend a whole morning at a local park with a small man made lake. I have been trying to do nature studies with the kids and some days they worked but most days I spent all of my time trying to wrangle my children back to focus on this small insect or that flower.

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Today I followed my instincts, brought a few empty baby food jars as specimen containers, a few journals, some colored pencils, a ziplock bag for collections, a ruler and a magnifying glass. No printouts, no lesson plans and no preconceptions!

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We used our morning to do science (fall, migration, butterfly life cycles, frog life cycles and insect pollination), math ( measuring a small caterpillar, discussing fractions and making patterns with leaves), art (nature journal drawings and photography), and music (singing to the animals and trying to copy bird calls).

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It’s been an amazing morning and absolutely no whining! After fully exercising they are calmer and more attentive. The actually want to sit and read. They have pulled out tanegrams and blocks and have not yet fought more than 10 minutes later!

We gathered some lake water with the intention of using a microscope to get a closer look. The children also collected a good amount of leaves to use in a collage and an acorn to dissect. It maybe too much for us to explore today but it will make for some great projects tomorrow!

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The more I let go, the more learning takes place. These kids are amazing on their own, they don’t need a dictator telling them what to learn. They need a tour guide that introduces new possibilities while answering questions.
This is definitely a journey. It’s an adventure and I’m learning as I go!