Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Homemaking Made Easy?

This is my home.

I'm linking up with today with several great blogs.  Check out the buttons at the bottom to link back to them.  The subject is homemaking.  I had an awesome example of a homemaker in my Mom.  Talk about resourceful, repurpose...my Mom was doing that my whole life.  

My Grandpa and Grandma Kincaid (her parents) were the happiest people - despite their financial limitations.  My Mom grew up learning how to sew, mend, bake, cook, can, forage, refinish and reuse.   All Americans were doing that...knew how to do that...due to rationing during WWII. 

Those skills she learned carried her through even to today.  I learned from watching her.  I know not everyone was blessed with this type of an example.  However, we all can learn.   

I thought it would be helpful to share some of the things I do to save time and money.  Here are my top 10 food/kitchen ideas:

1.  Buy a pressure cooker.  Do NOT be afraid of it.  A pressure cooker is my favorite tool in my kitchen.  You can take a frozen piece of meat (a cheaper cut even), put it in your pressure cooker and in a less than an hour have a flavorful, tender base for your dinner.

2.  Grow your own garden.  If you can't do that, go to the local farmer's market.  Learn how to can.  Again, I use my pressure cooker (I have like 4).  Canning is NOT hard to do.  Take a class at your local extension office, ask someone to mentor you or look on the internet.  If you are not into canning - freeze your produce. 

3.  Watch the sales ads.  I always buy local from a regional grocery store.  When they have their "in store" specials - take advantage of it.  I watch the 10 for $10 items.  I have a pantry and shelves downstairs to store extra food. 

4.  Buy in bulk.  Not everything is a "deal" this way, so watch your prices.  Invest in plastic storage containers with good lids.  Find a place to store extra items like toilet paper, which I always buy in bulk. 

5.  Raise your own meat (invest in a freezer).  Now, I know not everyone can do this.  However, you can go to a local butcher, ask if they know a farmer who raises or sells their own animal (whatever the species).  Craigslist is a good resource to find this too.  If you do raise your own, raise 2 - one to keep and one sell.  The one you sell with pay for the one you keep.  If you are unable to find a local farmer - watch for 1/2 a hog or beef bundle packages at a butcher plant.  These are really good deals!

6.  If you cook - then really cook.  I did a whole blog post about this: http://dickybirdsnest.blogspot.com/2012/01/week-of-meals-chicken.html
Invest in a Nesco, I use mine weekly.  I don't always cook this way, but when I do, it sure saves time and money.

7.  Cook real food, made from scratch.  Prepared mixes are often times more expensive and filled with higher fat and calories.  One exception I still buy is cake mixes.  These are a tool and staple in any pantry.  I take advantage of the times when these are on sale.   You can always make your own mixes - check out pinterest or google recipes for this.  My Mom use to do this too.  It will be expensive at first to buy all the ingredients to do this, however, it will save you time and money later!

8.  Buy quality cookware.  Go to Goodwill, thrift shops, estate sales - look for the good brands.  Don't get caught up in the fads - nothing beats a Kitchen Aid mixer!  I got mine from an auction over 15 years ago - it is sunflower yellow - I'm sure from the late 70's - works great!  Look for a Nesco or pressure cooker too. 

9.  Use your left overs.  Eat them for lunch, re-create them into a new meal for the next day.  Be creative when you cook.  Dice up left over meat or veggies for the next day, make a simple white or red sauce and serve over rice and noodles.

10.  ALWAYS eat together as a family.  This time is so important!  Catch up on what your kids did that day in school, share what you did at work, what your husband did, talk about future plans, whatever...you CAN NOT get this time back.  I feel Americans have forgotten how to do this!  

I hope you find some of these tips helpful.  Remember, dirty houses, laundry and a sink full of dishes will always be there....little ones won't!  Children grow up too fast.  When they are grown and gone - you will have a clean - but empty - house full of wonderful memories. 

Blessings from Wisconsin.

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