Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Learning New Skills

To those who might be wondering where I've disappeared to - yes, I am still out here, just not blogging much lately! Between shoveling snow, taking the boys ski pants and boots on and off and on and off and (you get the picture!) and having a wee bit of a nasty virus last week, I just haven't had a burning desire to hop on the computer and create a post.

What I've been trying to get in the mood for, is to get started on my goal of making friends with my sewing machine. So far, not much luck! I am at a bit of a disadvantage as I don't have a spot where I can set up the machine and leave it out (although that's really no excuse). I have a number of projects I would like to work on, so it's not like I have no motivation. And yet, here it is the end of February already and I haven't gotten it together!

I think one reason why a lot of people find living more frugally such a challenge is that it often calls upon us to learn new skills, and while that can be fun, it can also be intimidating or overwhelming. For some reason, I was a lot less resistant to trying some new things in the garden last spring than I have been so far to working on improving my sewing skills. I wonder why that is?? It's really not that big a deal to try something new - the worst thing that can happen is that it might not work out, and you'll have learned a bit about what *not* to do. I need to keep this in mind as I convince myself to finally get down to business and pull out the darn sewing machine already!

I hope to report on some progress in this department by next week. I'd love to hear any tips or suggestions anyone has for sewing newbies like me!

Friday, February 16, 2007

Frugal Food Friday #7: Easy Homemade Donuts

A couple of weeks ago, I posted the recipe for Potato Refrigerator Dough, which I think should be in every frugalista's repertoire. I have figured out an easy way to make baked donuts with them (the dough should have already gone through its first rise in the fridge):

1 loaf worth of Refrigerator Bread Dough (1/3 of recipe)
melted butter (about 1/3-1/2 cup)
cinnamon sugar (about 1/2 cup - add cinnamon to sugar until it's spicy enough for you)

Roll out dough to about 1/2 inch thickness. Cut into circles using a glass with a large diameter. Cut out a small circle in the centre of each donut. Place on a cookie sheet and let rise for 1 hr or until doubled in size. Bake at 375 F for 8-10 minutes (don't overbake or they will be too dry!) Dip in melted butter, then in cinnamon sugar. Presto - donuts!

Friday, February 9, 2007

RECIPE: Chickpeas with Potatoes and Peas

I love ethnic foods of many types. Indian cuisine is perfect for the frugal-minded, as many of their dishes are heavy on the legumes and rice. This is really quick to make and if you have any around, some crispy pappadums or warm Nan bread make a tasty addition to the meal.

1 tbsp canola oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 onion, chopped
2 medium potatoes, cut in 1” pieces (use sweet potatoes for added nutrition!)
2 cups vegetable or chicken broth
½ cup crushed tomatoes
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp ginger
1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 ½ cups frozen peas

In large frying pan, sauté garlic and onion in oil until tender. Add potatoes, vegetable broth, crushed tomatoes, cumin, turmeric, ginger, chickpeas and peas. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until potatoes are tender (add more water to mixture as needed to prevent drying out while potatoes are cooking).

Thursday, February 8, 2007

Money-Saving Recreation Resources

It's been another busy week around here - who'd have thought February (usually the official month of "not much to do") could be so hectic! We had a surprise visit from my dad Monday night, a surprise visit from my brother-in-law and niece Tuesday, a day-long visit with my friend Jenn and her adorable 3-month-old daughter Paige (to whom I am an honorary Auntie) and a 3-hr playdate with one of the boys friends this afternoon! Whew. No wonder I'm a bit groggy!

Okay, on to some frugal ideas. On Tuesday, all four of us ventured off to the Hamilton Museum of Steam and Technology. The great thing about this (aside from how cool the museum was) is that our local library system has recently made available family day passes for the local civic museums. You reserve one and check it out just as you would any other library material, and you get into the museum for free!! This is really fantastic for us, since as homeschoolers we're always on the lookout for something new and interesting to do, and admission fees can really start to add up after a while. I also feel better knowing that if the boys get bored after half an hour I can leave without feeling guilty about wasting money. All frugalistas should know their library system pretty intimately of course, but it never hurts to ask the staff if they have recently added any new programs or resources. These passes will probably save us about $75-100 per year.

Another thing I learned about this past week is that our city offers substantial discounts (less than 1/2 price!) on Rec Centre Family Passes (normally $114 a year) if your family receives any Child Tax Benefits ("baby bonus"). Apparently this is not something they advertise (not sure why, if it is their policy!), but it is something I am definitely going to look into before I purchase this year's pass!

Even though I've lived in the same city for almost 15 years, I am still finding new programs and resources that will help save us money while having fun!
Related Posts with Thumbnails