12 Goals for the New Year – Week 11 of 52

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I came up with 12 goals I’d like to accomplish this year with the hopes of being able to cross one off my list per month to make them more manageable. I thought a great way to hold myself accountable to the things I want to accomplish this year would be to do a weekly update.

After all, we all need a little help staying motivated sometimes. Here’s how I am doing so far:

Tips for Organizing the Laundry Room

1. Clean, de-clutter and organize my entire home in 30 days or less. Done!

So far this year I have cleaned my closet, decluttered my bathroom, organized my office, gutted the garage, and tackled the laundry room. My house is still CLEAN. Can you believe it? I think I might steam clean my carpets this week. Oh what fun.

old jeans

2. Fit into the same jeans I wore 8 years ago when we moved into our house. – I’m sorry, did I really say that? Yes, I’ve been using my pedometer and yes I’ve been logging some pretty good milage {about 3-6 miles a day} but I think I’m going to have to sign up for some sort of training program if I’m ever going to wear those pants again.

london eye

3. Travel. The Girl and I have rested up and are now in the planning stages of our next trip. Ahhh, it never ends, does it? There are just so many places to see in this world.

4. Send my daughter to college without having a nervous breakdown thus spending a week in bed sobbing. Not going well. She registers for her classes pretty soon and I’m pretty sure I am going to lose it at that point.

5. Get 3 new teeth.  So. I went to the Oral surgeon yesterday for my check-up and he said everything looks good, but not good enough to get teeth yet. Nice. Maybe I’ll have teeth by the end of the summer? Who knows.

paid

6. Pay off my car.  Done!!! How cool is that? :)  

mavis butterfield rug hooking

7. Finish the primitive folk art rug I started 4 years ago. – I’m still plugging away. Apparently that rug hooking frame I ordered had a ship date of 1-3 weeks. I wish I would have noticed that when I placed my order. Oh well, it will be here soon enough. I don’t expect to finish this until the end of the year, but my goal is to finish 1 star a week and so far I’m on schedule.

8. Family Day. Do one thing together as a family every Sunday. This past sunday we all went to see Non-Stop with Liam Neeson. We all liked it and to tell you the truth, I totally thought XXXXXX’s character was the bomber. Who knew?

9.  Secret Plan #1 - Working on it!

10. Secret Plan #2 – Still scheming away.

11. Secret Plan #3

Homes of Colonial Williamsburg, Va

12. Convince the HH we should buy a Salt Box Style House in Colonial Williamsburg. – This week I’m thinking Vermont would be a pretty cool place to love. Maybe it has something to do with me watching Baby Boom over the weekend. ;)

daffodils

13. Spend at least 1 hour a day working in my garden. – We’ve had beautiful weather that past few days! Our daffodils are just starting to bloom in the backyard, by next week it should look pretty awesome back there. :)

So there you have it, my goals for the new year.

How about YOU? How are your 2014 goals coming along?

~Mavis

P.S. YES, I know I wrote down 13 goals. I’m fairly certain I won’t be able to attain one of them. {gee, I wonder which one?} :) But I wanted to add it in there anyway because I believe in miracles. 

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Easy Slow Cooker Recipes – Hobo Bean and Bacon Chili

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Hobo Bean and Bacon Chili

My friend JJ can cook a mean, well, anything really. I’m always trying {and loving} her recipes. So when I saw this one {which she technically found in a book about Casey Jones, of all places}, and she raved all about it and about how her children were begging and harassing her to remake it daily, I knew I had to put it on my list. And those kids have some taste buds I agree with. It was awesome. Every last spoonful of it!

Hobo Bean and Bacon ChiliIngredients

6 slices bacon, cooked and chopped
1 pound of ground beef
1 large onions, diced
1 pound dried red beans, cooked
1 cup crushed pineapple
1 cup brown sugar, gently packed
1 quart of tomato sauce
1 tablespoon brown spicy mustard
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon of vinegar

Directions

In a large skillet, fry bacon until crispy, drain and set aside. Leaving the bacon grease in the pan, add the ground beef and onions and cook until meat is browned.

Throw all ingredients into a slow cooker. Cook on low for 4 hours. Enjoy!

~Mavis

Looking for more easy crock pot meals? Check out my Crock Pot Meals recipe index or check out my Crock Pot Board on Pinterest,

slow cooker crock pot cookbook

My favorite Crock Pot - Crock-Pot Cook’ N Carry 6-Quart Portable Slow Cooker
My Favorite Slow Cooker Cookbook - Fix-It and Forget-It Big Cookbook: 1400 Best Slow Cooker Recipes!

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting One Hundred Dollars a Month.

What’s In My Food – How Commercial Milk is Made

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How is Commericial Milk Made

I know I’ve asked before, but do you buy raw, local or commercial dairy? This year we are getting our milk delivered from a local dairy. After going back and forth about it for awhile, we decided we’d rather pay a little more for our milk, and know where it is coming from.

The thing is, commercial milk is one of those kind of borderline if-y sorts of foods.  One gallon could contain milk from literally thousands of different cows–and it has been heated, fortified, homogenized, separated and reconstituted.  If you want to get right down to it, it is a shadow of its original self.  It is stripped of a lot of its health qualities.  In days gone past, people drank milk straight from the cow.  It had inconsistencies, cream at the top–and occasionally, it wasn’t white, but instead a cream color.  When pasteurization was born, mostly out of a response to poor milk handling practices, people started to believe that real, raw milk wasn’t safe and “grocery store milk” became the standard.

To make commercial dairy, the milk is put into HUGE industrial centrifuges, where it gets separated into fats, proteins, etc.  Then, the parts are recombined to make whole, low-fat, and skim milk.  It is pasteurized and then bottled and sent on its way.

A lot of peeps I know are starting to go back to local dairy milk or raw milk, so I think it’s starting to make a comeback.

So, do tell, what is it for you:  raw, local, or commercial milk? And can you taste the difference?

~Mavis

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting One Hundred Dollars a Month.

Mavis Garden Blog – Setting Out Transplants

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broccoli starts transplants

It never fails, we get one really nice sunny day up here in Washington and before you know it I’m rushing outside to transplant seedlings. And this time of year, it’s a total crapshoot.

If we get another cold snap, all the seedlings will die a horrible death. But, if the weather stays decent, I’ll totally be ahead of the game. And even though I know the odds are about 50/50 I still do it every year. ;)

mavis butterfield garden planting broccoli

Yesterday I transplanted broccoli starts to the center of  8 wire cages. I planted peas around the edges of the cages last week and am waiting for them to pop up through the soil anyday now. I figure by the time early June rolls around both the peas and broccoli will be ready to harvest and then I’ll be able to plant something else in their spot. growing leeks

Check out the leeks. Aren’t they gorgeous? Too pretty to harvest if you ask me. growing garlic

And take a look all the garlic. Whoa Momma! The big ones in the center of the bed is elephant garlic. red onions

Red onions. I’ll be sharing a little more about these later in the week. Typically I like to grow 3 types of onions. Red {for salsa}, Walla Walla {for salads and sandwiches} and Yellow onions {for cooking}. I’m sure they are a gazillion different varieties I could try, but I like to stick to what I know goes best in my garden.

raised garden beds boxes

My backyard garden. It’s not much, but it’s a start. Before you know it all those raised garden boxes will be full of vegetables. Yee-Haw… the light at the end of the tunnel is finally here. :)

Spring – Bring it on!

~Mavis

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting One Hundred Dollars a Month.

Free Kindle Books, Sewing Deals, Linen Pants, Natural Health, Safety Deals, Tide Coupons and More

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lucy puggle dog

Happy Wednesday everyone! Yesterday Puggle love and I spent the afternoon in the garden transplanting a few starts and pulling weeds. Sunshine is in the forecast again today so you can bet I’m headed outside as soon as the sun comes up.

Have a great day everyone. :)

Mavis

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This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting One Hundred Dollars a Month.

How to Care for Terra Cotta Pots

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How to Care for Terra Cotta Pots

Terra Cotta pots are awesome.  They are super porous, so over-watering is pretty tough to do, and they are a great natural option for housing all of your plants.  Because they are made of clay, caring for Terra Cotta is important if you want the pots to last growing season after growing season.

terra cotta flower potsFirst, it’s important to clean the pots from year to year, for the same reasons you clean your seed trays, you don’t want to pass any unwanted bacteria or fungus along to your next plant.  To clean them, first empty them completely of dirt, etc.  Brush the inside and out to make sure all debris is gone.  Then, you can choose one of three ways to clean them {I’m sure there are more, but these are the only ways I know, so if you do it differently, I’d love to know how in the comment section below.}:

  1. Bake them.  Bake completely dry pots in an oven set at 220 degrees for about an hour.  Let the pots cool completely in the oven before removing them.  I for one have way too many pots to even consider this option.
  2. Clean them with a diluted bleach solution.  Using 10 parts water and 1 part bleach dunk pots completely into the bleach solution {or thoroughly clean them using a rag if they are too big}.  Allow the pots to dry for several days before planting.
  3. Clean them using white distilled vinegar.  This is probably my favorite option.  Vinegar is cheap, and it is not as harsh as bleach.  Follow the same method as described in option 2, substituting the vinegar for bleach.

terra-cotta-potsIf your pots have developed white deposits due to hard water or salty water, make a paste of baking soda and water and gently scrub away the stains.

Once you have cleaned the pots for the year, it is important to soak them in water before filling them with dirt.  This stops the pot from pulling water away from your freshly potted plant.  After it has been soaked for about 24 hours, fill with potting soil and plant as you normally would.

Once Terra Cotta pots crack, they are pretty much done for.  Once, one of my big ones cracked and I tried to seal it up with clear silicone.  It held for the rest of the growing season, but the plants did not do as well for some reason.  A crack is basically an omen of death for the poor pots, so it’s best just to handle them with general care and avoid cracking them altogether.

Do you have any wise words of wisdom on caring for your Terra Cotta pots?

~Mavis

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting One Hundred Dollars a Month.

Are You Feeling Overwhelmed?

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mavis-butterfield

If you have followed my blog for any length of time, you know that I love to peruse through NPR articles.  Early this morning {you know, when most normal people are actually sleeping?}, I came across a new article about being overwhelmed by not having enough hours in the day.

The article was all about a journalist, Brigid Schulte, at the Washington Post and her experience juggling work, family, marriage, and life.  Her jam-packed days and overwhelming to-do list led her to write, Overwhelmed:  Work, Love, and Play When No One Has the Time.  She discussed the pull of working and the guilt of not being able to do everything for the kids.  She also kind of touched on gender roles–how men and women have different demands and how it affects their leisure time.

She even went so far as to consult a sociologist who studies time.  She provided him a list of her day, he showed her where she had leisure time.  The total leisure time came out to 27 hours per week, but unfortunately, it was in bits and pieces, rather than satisfying chunks of time.  She decided she was going to set out to redefine her priorities and make space for the things that mattered.mavis butterfield garden blog

While I have always been a housewife {though, this little blog has turned into a full time gig, so maybe I need to redefine myself?},  I totally identified with making more space for things that mattered.  We’ve all said “yes” to things that maybe, in the end, took away from what mattered most {baking 8000 cupcakes for school functions comes to mind}.  I go through cycles where I feel like I have all my priorities squared away and I am spending my time exactly how I want, to then having so much on my plate I think that I would rather sit in a dark room and chew on my hair than tackle my to-do list.   I think that’s why I came up with my list of goals this year.  I wanted to take control of how I spend my time–and cut out the things that don’t matter or take away from what I love the most.

Is the feeling of being short on time a universal problem?  How do you manage your time?  Do you feel like there are enough hours in the day?  Are you over-scheduled?  Do you need to say “no” more often?  If you have enough, how do you spend your leisure time?  How would you spend it, if you could find the time?

~Mavis

Overwhelmed Work, Love, and Play When No One Has the Time

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting One Hundred Dollars a Month.

DIY Milk Jug Greenhouse – Winter Sowing

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DIY Milk Jug Greenhouse , Winter Sowing

Winter Sowing – have you heard of it? Basically, for those in colder climates, it’s magic says my friend Heather from Massachusetts.

Here’s what she had to say about the winter sowing and the milk jug greenhouses she made:

Milk Jug Greenhouse

It works like this: around January through March it’s time to make little tiny greenhouses from see-through milk jugs. Place your moistened soil and little seeds in there and seal it up. Then simply put it outside {without a lid} and let nature with all of it’s rain, snow, ice and wind do it’s thang.

Come pre-springtime your seeds will freeze and thaw as if they were out in the wild outdoors but we get the benefit of plants getting a head start and protection from the crisp air. Come springtime during the day open the lids for sunshine and air, be careful to close at night. When it’s time to plant your seedlings, put them directly into the garden – Mother Nature has already hardened them off.

This is especially awesome for perennials that take a while to get started or plants that need scarring because the freezing and unfreezing action does the scarring for you.

Milk Jug Greenhouse

Step 1: I texted all my friends with three or more kids {I was impatient to get started} :) and asked them to save their milk jugs – no explanation needed, they’re used to my bizarre projects.
Step 2: Discard the lid and cut around the milk jug except where the label is – it’ll act like a hinge.Milk Jug Greenhouse
Step 3: Punch holes in the bottom for drainage. This is surprisingly harder than I thought – I tried a knife {too skinny}, heating a screwdriver with a lighter {didn’t work} and finally settled on my handy-dandy drill which worked great.Milk Jug Greenhouse
Step 4: Fill with a couple of inches of moistened potting soil {I used a mix of potting soil, vermiculite and peat moss} in the jugs and plant your seeds according to directions.Milk Jug Greenhouse
Step 5: Seal your little mini greenhouses up with duct tape and label them so you know what’s-what come spring.
Step 7: Ready for Mother Nature!

Like seedlings, when the plants emerge in early spring, you’ll want to open up the lids during the day, watch them closely so they don’t dry out, and feed them a light liquid fertilizer.

Mother Nature does all the timing – sweet!
~ Heather

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting One Hundred Dollars a Month.

Free Kindle Books, Garden Deals, Extra Long Tees $5.99, Mattress Topper, Pizza Coupons and More

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lucy the puggle dog

Yesterday 2 young woodpeckers stopped by for a visit and Lucy the puggle dog was totally mesmerized with them. She didn’t bark once. It was weird. Poor puggles, she wants to be friends with every living creature she sees and I think it breaks her little heart when she can’t run out and play with them.

young woodpeckers

Is your dog like this too?

Mavis

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Available Kindle Books I think are cool…

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Here are a few more gardening deals:

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Belle Chic has some beautiful necklaces and bracelets starting at $8.99 from Jesse Janes Jewelry of Portland, Maine on sale today.  I might have to get the bird necklace for The Girl.

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This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting One Hundred Dollars a Month.

Broccoli and Cheddar Soup

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Broccoli and Cheddar Soup

There was a totally awesome sale on broccoli so I snatched a bunch up. Then I sat there staring at it, wondering what I was going to do with all that broccoli. So I decided to whip up some broccoli cheddar soup. Holy cats it was good. Like so good I thought about making massive batches, bottling it and selling on the street corner. ;)

head of broccoli
Ingredients

1 large head of broccoli, stalk peeled and all cut into small pieces
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small onion, diced
1 carrot, peeled and cubed
1 large potato, peeled and cubed
3 cups chicken broth {can sub out water if preferred, but I like the richer flavor it gives}
1 cup water
2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
2 tablespoons sour cream
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

Heat oil in the bottom of a large pot. Saute onions in oil until soft, about 3-5 minutes.  Place 2 cups of broccoli florets in a small bowl and set aside. Add the carrot, potato, chicken broth, water, and remaining broccoli florets and stalks to the pot. Salt and pepper to taste and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes, or until carrots, potatoes and broccoli are soft.

Remove soup from heat. Puree hot soup in small batches using a blender {I used my Blendtec}. If you don’t have a blender lid that has an opening, you might want to remove the lid and throw a towel over the blender while carefully pureeing, otherwise the steam from the hot soup can blow your lid off!

Return the pureed soup to the pot. Add the reserved broccoli florets and simmer on low for about 10 minutes, or until tender. Stir in the cheese and sour cream and heat until melted. Salt and pepper to taste and serve! Enjoy.

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting One Hundred Dollars a Month.

Recipes Garden Frugal Canning Chickens Travel