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Weekly Goals 8/1

Last week’s post with my weekly goals actually helped keep me on track! So I’m doing it again.

Here were my goals last week:

  1. Grade my online class
  2. Marinate and freeze chicken
  3. Bake 10 loaves of bread
  4. Blog about moving our barn
  5. Clean and purge one kid bedroom
  6. Work on our business books
  7. Celebrate 14 years of marriage with my hubby
  8. Purge plastic kitchen containers
  9. Clean 2 drawers in my kitchen
  10. Weed & plant new seeds in my garden. I have officially LOST the war with the cucumber beetles. I

Quick & Easy Way to Freeze Corn

Keep the mess and heat out of your kitchen with this quick and easy way to freeze corn!

Keep the mess outside with this quick and easy way to freeze fresh corn

I love freshly frozen corn for use in taco soup, vegetable soups, and other recipes as well.ย We (me, hubby, father-in-law, kiddos) froze 50 quarts of corn a while backย in fewer than 3 1/2 hours! Total cost – $1.25 and time! Three and a half hours of time was the biggest cost, but that’s all the time it took to shuck it, clean it, boil it, cut it off the cobs, bag it, and store it! I was shocked we got it done so quickly, especially since it’s usually all day affair featuring me and other female relatives. Turns out men are very hard workers and pretty industrious! Here’s how we did it!

How to Freeze Corn

shuck and clean corn

We’ve been pretty lucky the last couple of years to have awesome neighbors who grow the corn for us. We just have to show up and pick it out of the field near our little homestead. We brought the corn home in our tractor and then involved the whole family in shucking and cleaning in the shade of the garage. While the water came to a boil in the outdoor cooker, everyone was busy in the garage.

boiling the corn in a turkey burner outside is an easy way to freeze corn

The real secret to keeping the mess out of your kitchen is to clean and cook the corn outdoors in an outdoor cooker. Seriously, if you freeze a lot of corn, invest in an outdoor cooker! For real! Boiling the corn outdoors keeps my kitchen so much cooler and cleaner, plus the pot is so big I can cook so much more corn at once. I love using the outdoor cooker for freezing corn. Boil for 4-5ย minutes (after you’ve shucked and cleaned it).

cool the corn in an ice water bath

Cool in a big, clean tub until you can handle it. It’s helpful to use ice to cool the corn more quickly.

take the corn indoors to cut it off the cob

Take it inside to cut off the cobs. I’ve used a Pampered Chef Corn Slicer in the past and also a knife to cut the corn off the cobs. Cutting the corn off the cobs is the worst part I’m excited to try out the Kuhn Rikon Corn Zipper next time I freeze corn. Have you tried any special corn cutters?

bag cut corn, clean, label, and put in freezer

Bag it up, clean off the bags, label them and freeze! I use quart bags because I have a large family. But you can use whatever size baggies you’d like.

Quick & Easy Way to Freeze Corn

Quick & Easy Way to Freeze Corn

Keep the mess outside with this quick and easy way to freeze corn

Cook Time 4 minutes
Total Time 4 minutes

Ingredients

  • Tons of fresh corn

Instructions

  1. Bring water to boil in the largest pot you have.
  2. Shuck, clean, and cut off any bad spots.
  3. Once the water is boiling hard, add corn and let the water return to a boil. Once the water is boiling again, boil the corn for 4-5 minutes.
  4. Cool the corn in a large pot using cold water and ice until the corn is cool enough to handle.
  5. Cut the corn off the cobs and bag the corn. Flatten the bags, clean, and label then.
  6. Freeze!

Total cost for 50 quarts of corn: $1.25 for the freezer bags because I scored a super sweet deal. 30 minutes to pick. 3 1/2 hours to process. 15 minutes to tidy my kitchen. Those numbers make me happy. And my father-in-law’s sweet corn isn’t even ready yet. If we can keep the raccoons out, we may have more. ๐Ÿ™‚

Do you freeze corn? Have you ever used an outdoor cooker? This is our go-to method for freezing corn.

 

Eat Mor Chikin! Cow Appreciation Day at Chick-Fil-A

It’sย Cow Appreciation Day at Chick-Fil-A! Here’s why we went and how we dressed up. Have you been to this silly day?Cow Appreciation Day at Chick-Fil-AOnce a year it’s Cow Appreciation Day at Chick-Fil-A –

dress like a cow and get a free meal! I’ve known about it for the last couple of years but for one reason or another, it just hasn’t worked for us to get there. This year we made it!

My kids spent hours yesterday making their cow costumes. It was super easy since Chick-Fil-A’s own website has a print and use cow costume! We all got in on it, even my husband! In all, 7 of us (we took along a neighbor girl) got completely free meals this afternoon. The kids even got to spin a wheel and they won coupons for 4 free 8-piece chicken nuggets! If you read my blog, you know how much I LOVE coupons… :-)And, the staff thought we were so cute, they took our picture and gave the kids all a little stuffed cow. It was a lot of fun, even though it was initially a little embarrassing to walk in the restaurant dressed like a cow. We were by far the biggest herd there. At one point my husband remarked, “Where we the only people to get the memo?” He was such a good sport, though! It was fun being a YES Mom instead of a NO Mom.

Here are some pictures from our day:

cow appreciation day

cow appreciation daycow appreciation day

cow appreciation day

cow appreciation daycow appreciation day

Did you get your chicken today? If not, maybe you’ll do it next year! I’m pretty sure we’ll do it again, if it works out for us! Really, it was a lot of fun… ๐Ÿ™‚

Money Saving Homemade Laundry Soap that Actually Works!

Here’s a recipe for homemade laundry soap that actually works. If you’ve wondered how to easily make laundry soap to save money, this post is for you!
homemade laundry soap

This post contains affiliate links which means I earn a commission from your purchase.

One of the ways I have saved money in the past was to use Charlie’s Laundry Soap instead of buying more expensive laundry detergent. I used Charlie’s Laundry Soap for 3 years until the end of May, 2011. When I ran out of Charlie’s Soap in May, I decided to try to make my own. I have read lots of blog posts about making your own soap, but this one encouraged me to try. Visit Hayley’s blog for the recipe.

Money Saving Homemade Laundry Soap that Actually Works!

It was super easy to make using child labor! ๐Ÿ™‚

homemade laundry soap

Seriously easy. It took all of 10 minutes, and half of that was finding the ingredients! It smells nice and is so soft. We had a fun homeschooling lesson on making our own soap!

Here’s the dollars and cents:

  • Baking Soda – 2.16 (Should be Washing Soda, but that’s not what I found…)
  • Borax – 3.36
  • Ivory – free after coupon
  • Total : $5.90 after 7% tax

homemade laundry soap

My take:

I’ve been using it now since the end of May. That’s long enough to know it’s not much different from the Charlie’s Soap I was using before. It’s odor-free and tough enough to clean the dirty cloth diapers I use. I’m sold! For my $6 investment, I’ve got enough soap to last me a good 4 more months (and I do A TON OF LAUNDRY!) I’m convinced it’s cheaper than the Charlie’s Soap. And I like that! ๐Ÿ™‚

Have you made your own homemade laundry soap? What did you like most about it?

Money Saving Homemade Laundry Soap that Actually Works!

Well or Good? ~5 Minute Grammar Lesson

It’s time for a 5 Minute Grammar Lesson! Today’s topic is WELL and GOOD. Do you know when to use them correctly? ๐Ÿ™‚

Here’s a standard question:

How are you?

And here are two answers:
A. I am well.
B. I am good.

Which one do you think is correct?

Well or Good? ~5 Minute Grammar Lesson

A sounds more formal, doesn’t it? And some people insist that it is the proper answer, but they are generally WRONG. Usually the correct response to the question How are you, is B: I am good. (The exception is if you ask the question to someone who has recovered from an illness. In that case, A is correct.)

Why? You may ask.

WELL is an adverb (a word that describes a verb). GOOD is an adjective (a word that describes a noun). So, what noun is GOOD describing in the sentence I am good? Well, technically it’s not describing a noun and that’s what confuses people.

The exception to the adjective/adverb rule is that GOOD should be used to modify LINKING verbs. Examples of linking verbs are TO BE (am & is), seem, appear, feel (verbs that describe feelings).

WELL is used to describe ACTION verbs: run, jump, play. If you want to describe how your kids run, jump, or play, you should say: My kids run, jump and play WELL.ย  AND NOT: My kids run, jump, and play GOOD…

Since the question How are you? uses a linking verb, the correct answer to the question is:

I AM GOOD! ๐Ÿ™‚

Make sense?

Happy Sunday! Have a great day!

Science…Butterflies!

My mother gave my son this butterfly pavilion for his 5th birthday last November. He was super excited! We called him the butterfly stalker last year because he could literally sneak up on butterflies and catch them with his bare hands (very gently)! We he got this in November, he wanted to get the caterpillars right away. But, we waited to get them because we wanted to be able to release them into the wild and they can’t be released until the outside temperature is over 55 degrees. Winters in Iowa aren’t butterfly friendly.

The kit from Insect Lore came with a huge butterfly “cage” and a coupon for butterfly caterpillars. We did have to pay a $5 shipping fee, but it was worth every penny!

On May 3, our caterpillars arrived! They came in two cups with a special “nutrient” at the bottom so we didn’t have to feed them anything. Phew!

Here’s how small they were when they first arrived. There were 10 caterpillars total.

It was so hard to get a decent picture of the caterpillars because my camera wouldn’t focus. I couldn’t even manually focus it. In retrospect, maybe one of the kids should have held it like they did for the picture above.ย  Anyhow, after looking at these pictures again, I am AMAZED at how much those little caterpillars grew in a week! Can you tell the difference between this terrible picture and the one above?

After a week, they formed their cocoons.

This is what was over – nutrients and poop – in their original homes.

After they had all formed cocoons and we thought they were hanging quite solidly, we moved them into the butterfly pavilion so they could emerge. One cocoon had actually fallen from the lid of the jar. So, per the instructions, we placed it on a tissue on the bottom of the cage. When we did this, it started to shake violently and roll around! We thought it was about to emerge as a butterfly, but it didn’t. And we learned several days later that that behavior is normal behavior to deter predators… (oh well…)

On Sunday, May 22, they started emerging and by May 23 they were all out! Here is the last one literally crawling out of the cocoon! We were lucky enough to see two come out. They others were very sneaky and emerged undetected.

We fed them sugar water on flowers until their wings were dry and they were flying well.

And here is one of our 10 beautiful Painted Lady butterflies ready to fly away! They are gorgeous.

Interesting facts we learned during this process:

  • Painted Lady butterflies have over 10,000 eyes!
  • Painted Lady butterflies travel over 1,000 miles during their one year life.
  • The cocoons do not shake, rattle, and roll before the butterflies emerge… ๐Ÿ™‚

Yesterday, we let all 10 butterflies fly away. And this morning, one was back! But she has since flown away again. I doubt she’ll be here tomorrow. The kids named a few of them: Rocky and Sandy are two names I can remember.

It was truly a fun experience. We’re trying to figure out what to do next. I’m thinking maybe a praying mantis pagoda. A friend did this with her kids and said it was fantastic. What do you think? Have you ever done something like this? I highly recommend it, whether you homeschool or not!

Advice or Advise? ~5 Minute Grammar Lesson

Happy Sunday! It’s time for another 5 Minute Grammar Lesson.

Advice or Advise? ~5 minute grammar lesson

Here’s are two commonly mistaken words that I have to think about to get the correct one:

ADVICEย orย ADVISE

AdviCe is a noun. It means opinion or suggestion: My friend gave me really good advice.

AdviSe is a verb. It means to offer advice: She advised me to trust my “mom sense.”

The way I distinguish between the two is to simply pronounce the word. AdviSe sounds like it has a “z” in it. I always pronounce the two correctly, so if I simply remember that AdviSe is a hard S (z sound) and AdviCe has a soft C (sounds like s), then I can get the two words right. (An S can sound like a Z, but a C cannot.)

That may be overly complicated; alternatively, you could just memorize the rule! There are many rules in English that must simply be memorized, unfortunately.

Do you ever confuse these two words? Might this advice be helpful? Or should I find another way to advise you? ๐Ÿ˜‰

And that’s your 5 Minute Grammar Lesson! Have a great day.

How to Clean Porcelain Sinks without Bleach

Today over at Learning the Frugal Life’s Frugal Tuesday Tip, Sara’s talking about how to get a shiny sink – frugally and by green methods!

Her topic goes perfectly with my blog post on how I keep my grocery budget low using homemade cleaning supplies – Part 2 of my 10 Part Series.

How to Clean Porcelain Sinks without Bleach

I happen to have aย  really DIRTY sink. I wish I could tell you that it got that dirty on purpose, so I could write this blog post for you…Alas, that would be a lie! ๐Ÿ˜‰ It just got that dirty…

So after I read Sara’s post this morning, I also tried my hand at cleaning my sink with natural products. I don’t have bleach in my house, yet I would still like a shiny sink from time to time. So here’s how you, too, can get a shiny sink without bleach.ย 

  • Got out my baking soda and scrub brush
  • Got my sink wet
  • Smeared a whole bunch of baking soda on my sink
  • Scrubbed the sink with my scrub brush

The results:

A sparkly clean, beautiful sink! Fly Lady would be so proud… ๐Ÿ™‚

I am especially thrilled because it required minimal effort and baking soda is non-toxic! My house doesn’t stink and I have a clean sink using natural (and cheap) products.

borax for cleaning porcelain sinks

Borax

After cleaning my sink for a while with Baking Soda, I have learned that cleaning my porcelain sink is even easier and yields a better result with BORAX!

Have you tried any homemade cleaners? What do you think?

Here are more posts on frugal and green cleaning methods:

Decrease Toxins with 4 Frugal Cleaning Supplies

Green Carpet Cleaning

DIY Fruit & Veggie Wash

Do You Know What’s in YOUR Home Cleaning Products

 

I or me?

It’s your 5 Minute Grammar Lesson! Here’s a topic a friend suggested to me on Facebook:

When to use “I” and when to use “me.” These two words are often mixed up, usually at the end of a sentence. Here are the facts:

  • Use “I” as the subject (when you are doing the action).
  • Use “me” as the object (when you are receiving the action)

I or me ~ 5-minute grammar lesson

Here’s something you might hear:

Polly went shopping with Vikki and I. – Sounds formal, right? Must be correct. Well, it’s not. “I” shouldn’t be used because it isn’t the subject of the sentence, Polly is. “Me” should be used because it is the object – it is receiving the action.

Confused? Here’s an easy check. Simply delete the extra information and see if the sentence still makes sense.

Polly went shopping with I. That doesn’t make any sense. So, the correct version is:

Polly went shopping with Vikki and me. Even though it sounds less formal, it’s right.

Make sense?ย  ๐Ÿ™‚

Do you have a topic you would like me to address? I’d love to know. Comment on my Facebook page, send me an email, or leave a comment here on the blog. I’ll add it to the list!

Enjoy your Sunday!

DIY Fruit & Veggie Wash

I’m linking up with Learning the Frugal Life’s Frugal Tuesday Tip again! Last week I wrote about creatively using left-overs so I waste less food. Less waste = less to buy = less money spent!washing strawberries with a diy fruit & veggie wash

This week I’m showing you my fruit and veggie wash to reduce pesticide and bacterial residue. I am torn between the desire to buy organic produce and the reality that it’s just not in our budget right now. I do grow a lot of my own organic produce in the summer, but in the winter I buy conventionally grown produce to keep my family satisfied.

DIY Fruit & Veggie Wash

I used to buy special fruit and produce wash at the grocery store. But it’s really quite expensive and I started to wonder how effective it actually was. So, I started researching. Here’s what I found:

  • The Environmental Working Group (EWG – yes, it’s the same group with the sunscreen recommendations) has put together a list of the Dirty Dozen and the Clean Fifteen. As the names suggest, the Dirty Dozen are the fruits and veggies with the most pesticide residue and the Clean Fifteen have the least. You can read about it here.
  • In 2007, American’s Test Kitchen conducted an experiment to see which types of cleansers might be most effective at removing surface wax, pesticides, and bacteria from fruit and veggies. They concluded that rinsing or soaking in 3 parts water to 1 part vinegar was the most effective – it kills up to 98% of the bacteria in addition to removing wax and pesticides. The data were published in the 11-19-2007 edition of Newsweek magazine.
  • Peeling can also be a good way to remove pesticides, but you want to wash the fruits & veggies well first, so you don’t transfer the pesticides to the inside!

Here’s the very easy process I use to clean my fruits and veggies:

First, I soak my fruits and veggies in water and vinegar. I am not very scientific, so I just fill an old bowl with water and dump in vinegar. I swish the fruits and veggies around for a few minutes shortly before I want to prepare them. From my experience, if I do this too soon, they spoil much faster. So I wait until we are ready to eat them.

Next, I then dump them into a colander and then rinse well with cold running water. Then I prepare them however I need to and we eat them!

Unfortunately, I am not a scientist, and I cannot guarantee that this method is 100% effective at removing all harmful substances that may be on commercially grown food. In my opinion, buying or growing our own organic produce is the best way to stay safe. However, cleaning my fruits and veggies in this manner reassures me that I am doing my best to keep my family safe from harmful substances.

Do you use a fruit and veggie wash? I’d love to hear what you do! For more frugal tips, be sure to visit Learning the Frugal’s Life Tuesday Tip!

Want more DIY Cleaning Products that are healthier for you and your family?

Decrease Toxins with 4 Frugal Cleaning Supplies

Green Carpet Cleaning

Do You Know What’s in YOUR Home Cleaning Products