Saturday, December 29, 2012

Grow Our Own, Make Our Own

One of the wonderful things about having a veggie garden is being able to grow ingredients needed for making our own products.
We are not able to grow everything we like but sometimes we get blessed from our friends who have had extra (hope to do the same for them).
Our first cucumber for the season. Have more growing :)

2 boxes of Broccoli thanks to dear friends.

Got right on to preparing them for the freezer.

Our basil growing in the garden. Have over 20 plants now around the garden. So using to make our own basil pesto. Will freeze some for the winter months.

We used the pesto here with risoni. And had a side dish of our courgettes with onion. Was a yummy quick dinner.

Started up a ginger beer plant to fill our cupboard's with the refreshing drink. And a good use for our lemons.

The ginger beer in bottles. making our own means we can control what goes into our drinks (less sugar, and real ingredients not chemicals)

And look what dear friends have blessed us with more. Plums and tomatoes. Our tomatoes aren't ready yet, so these were very welcomed for our salads. Plums will be cooked up and preserved for the coming winter months.
Waste Not Want Not - Be Thankful For What You Have

Friday, December 28, 2012

Starting the $100 Food Shop Challenge Again

Time to get back to our $100 Food shop. With our garden providing alot of fresh food and finding a great new shop called Reduced to Clear (sells cheap groceries), this shouldn't be to hard.
Just a reminder this $100 is just for food, not for non food items like toothpaste, toilet paper etc. And is per week (so $5200 for the year).
With menu planning, sticking to the shopping list and shopping once a week we hopefully should stick to the budget. Will shop with cash (and our homemade envelope system will help with that).
Also we are making our own products that we would normally buy like ginger beer, basil pesto, tomato pasta sauce etc that will help to keep costs down.
Finally the recipes, not having flashy expensive dinners. Not always having meat. Also times when we are using up leftovers.

Look forward to seeing what we can achieve this new year :)

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Christmas was Great

Christmas Lunch with family, simple with alot of love. We used compostable plates, bowls and cups (so not to fill rubbish bin, and less dishes to wash)

Our $35 Christmas Ham. We have already had 3 meals from and still going.

Veggies and flowers from our garden. Saw the same bunch of flowers in a florist for $10. I love sunflowers lots, and happy I don't have to buy them. We have to keep an eye on our courgettes now as some are becoming marrows.

Had to share our 3 different types of courgettes. Having them today for dinner, in a quiche and pasta sauce. Love the colours. That middle courgette is a heirloom variety, and our first year trying it.
We also have our 1st cucumber growing, will have to pick soon for salads. Have to prepare our stage 6 garden for planting more veggies.

Today will start to pack up our Christmas boxes, and get them ready for next year. Went to the Warehouse shop today to buy some Christmas items for 60% off. This helps with the Christmas budget alot. But also helps to have less trips to shops in the busy time of year. Being able to buy 8 rolls of wrapping paper for $1.60, and gift tags for .80c is a great saving.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas 2012

Looking forward to today. Having Pancakes for breakfast with my beautiful family (thanks to our dear chickens eggs). Then after time with our dear pets, they need care and attention too. We are going to have a lunch with more family :). The ham is ready, just need to make potato salad. With what other family is bringing it will be a yummy special time. The weather might not be the best. But time with family and friends make the day so special.
I will be able to share photos from our new camera soon. It was brought with Christmas present cash and gift card. Our other camera died on us, thank you camera for 8 years of memories :)
But before I can add photos I have to work out how to get them off the camera and on to the computer.

Hope you all have a blessed Christmas.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Christmas Is Coming

And it's going to be a very simple, old fashion Christmas for us.
With one thing after another happening in the past few weeks, have left us with very little to spend this Christmas.
But no worries, we will make it into a trip back in time to a simpler meaningful Christmas.
Reading this article helped make this choice for this year.
How has Christmas in New Zealand changed in 150 years?
So for us it means family time, picnic lunch (might be inside picnic, depends on the weather)
And presents will be either homemade or low cost. Talking with DH we decide that this year for us and the kids we are going to put our names in a hat and choose one. That is the person we are getting a gift for. Hopefully teaching the kids about the gift of giving.
The kids have been helping me with the Christmas cards, and soon will help with the Christmas baking.
And you know what it's making me excited about Christmas.

Looking forward to making popcorn and watching "It's a Wonderful Life!"with my family :)

Friday, December 7, 2012

Mary Mary How Does Your Garden Grow

Wow even with the bad weather we have been having, the garden has taken off. And has been helpful keeping our fruit and veggie budget down. Nearly every dinner has something from our garden now.
Section One has Butternut Squash, Black King Eggplant, Peach Melba Nasturtium, Sunflower x2, Cucumber x2, Black Krim Tomato, Green Basil, Lettuce, Blue Borage, Purple Beauty Capsicum, Green Courgette, Yellow Scallopini, Sun Gold Tomato, Marigold.

Section Two has Ivory Eggplant, Yellow Capsicum, Dwarf Sunflower, Cucumber, Yellow Courgette, Lettuce, Rocket, Butternut Squash, Swiss Chard, Red Chicory, Carrots, Beetroot, Roma Tomato, Green Basil, Celery.

Section Three has Lettuce, Orange Capsicum, Swiss Chard, Sunflower, Cucumber, Red and Green Spring Onions, San Marzano Tomato, Green Basil, Red Capsicum, Butterbeans, Black Velvet Nasturtium, Marigold, Spinach, Tomato from neighbour.

Section Four has Lettuce, Banana Capsicum, Rock Melon, Marigold, Tomatoes from neighbour x2, Green Basil, Purple Broccoli, Orange Long Capsicum, Squire Kale, Greenfeast Peas, Green Scallopini, White Cloud Capsicum.

Section Five has Tomatoes from our neighbour x2, Purple Basil, Carrots, Crystal Apple Cucumber, Dill, Celery, Red Acre Cabbage. Still have more to plant before this section finished.
Section Six has our chickens still at work on it. But in a couple of weeks it will be ready to plant more veggies.

I also did a list of our fruit plants that we have ( I look forward to get back to preserving for winter)
  • Brown Turkey Fig
  • Grapefruit
  • Peach
  • Crab Apple
  • Red Guava
  • Yellow Guava
  • Thornless Jewel Berries
  • Tangelo
  • Blueberries
  • Olives
  • Mandarins
  • Splendor Apple
  • 2x Fejoias
  • Ted's Red Tamarillo
  • Lemon
  • Passionfruit
  • Thornless Blackberries
  • Strawberries
Then we also have herbs in pots, like rosemary, thyme, mint, lemon balm etc

We might not be self-sufficient, but we are eating healthier :)

Saturday, December 1, 2012

We Have Our Christmas Tree Up

This year we are blessed with my parents Christmas Tree. We didn't make it as big as it can be, as we have little space. But it perfect in a pot with sand.
DS7 and DD11 decorated the tree. I'm so proud of them.
DS7 set up the Nativity Set under the tree.
Loving the children's excitement over Christmas season. And thankful that we can do it cheaply. Next the children are going to help me with the cards, maybe we can do a little family newsletter?

Friday, November 30, 2012

Moved Chickens

Have moved Cleo, Ebony and Victoria out back now on Stage 6 veggie garden

They are in here some where. They going to have fun attacking these plants.

Ebony nesting. Yay more eggs.
Before moving the girls we clipped their wings, and let them free range. But had to keep an eye on them around our veggie garden. Thankfully only Victoria made it into the garden. But now they have their own garden to be busy in.
So we are at the end of our long veggie garden. DH had just added some of our compost onto stage 5. Then we will get some vegetable soil to add on top. Then it's planting time. I have some tomato plants waiting to go in.

Here's the other girls. Caramel, Milkshake and Babe. They are bigger then our other chickens now. We moved their chicken coop to some fresh grass. But the bread came first.
Momma Hen is no more, so we have only 6 chickens (all that we are aloud to have). Momma had started to crow at 5am in the morn for an hour. Not very neighbour friendly. Only way to stop her was cover her cage. But she would start again after you uncovered her. So she is missed....abit.
After a good cleaning out of her cage we have Shadow the bunny back in it. And as long as he can see the others, he is happy.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Time For Our Christmas Boxes

Today brought the Christmas Boxes out of storage.
We have 3 boxes that have traveled with us for over 10 years.

Lots of memories and Christmas treasures in there.
We have decorations, dvds, books, cards, craft items, music..... alot of helpful items to make this coming season fun. Always good when you have children home with school holidays.
Looking forward to going through the boxes with my children. Or should I say my 2 youngest. DS14 and DS13 (both November birthdays) are typical teens who enjoy from a distance.
I'm making plans for Christmas presents. Will be a simple homemade Christmas this year.

Monday, November 26, 2012

I'm Doing the Daniel Fast

And finding it really good. It's like going vegan for 3 weeks, as well as a spiritual journey with my Lord.
More info here
I'm eating only fruit, vegetables, nuts and grains. Drinking only filtered water. And spending more time in prayer and reading my Bible.
I'm actually eating more then I did before, because often I would forget to have lunch. As well as where I would have one cupcake or a couple of biscuits for afternoon tea. Now its a handful of raw nuts, and some fruit and veggies.
I was expecting to have bad headaches with no coffee, but they have been mild. Must be all the water I'm drinking.
I finish on the 17th Dec just before the school holidays.
Sure does make me very thankful for our veggie garden. Have been adding more plants to it. Some just companion flowers. But also some peas, beans, kale.
Can't wait will be moving the chickens at the end of the week and finish off our long veggie garden.
Oh and with the Daniel Fast I'm not having any eggs, so more for the rest of the family.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Garden Moving Along

Our radishes great sliced in salads or sandwiches. And so easy to grow.

Section One of our vegetable garden has really grown. We will be having cucumbers.

Section Two not far behind. We will soon be having celery in our salads again.

Section Three has some lettuce ready for picking leaves already.

Section Four just planted. I found some Kale and can't wait to try.

Chickens at work on Section Five. Will move them next weekend to Section Six.

This is our Section Six. Our raised garden behind our garage. The Swiss Chard has gone to seed. I'm sure our chickens are going to love working on this Section.
Now if we could just get our fence fixed, we could have a Section Seven with another raised garden bed. It's just our new fence panels are heavy so need some extra help to get them up. Holidays are coming hee hee.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Had a Wonderful Thanksgiving Dinner

Simple table setting. DD11 picked the flowers for the table.

Roast lamb with roast veggies and our courgettes. Was a yummy dinner with alot of fun and talking with my family.

Dessert, simple but was very good :) Can't bet fresh strawberries and fresh cream mmmmm
Very blessed with my dear family :)

Had to add a photo of our 1st courgettes from our garden. Love the colour green :)
We will be having leftover lamb for dinner tonight with a salad fresh from our garden. Lettuce, radish and basil ready to be picked. Will just add tomatoes and carrots which we brought (hope don't have to buy to much more). I'm working on our 4th section of the vegetable garden today, while our dear chickens work on the 5th section. It's cute to have them watch me garden :)

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Today is Our Families Thanksgiving Dinner

It a good reason to make sure the dinning table is clean and ready for a yummy dinner. We having a leg of lamb roast with roast veggies and gravy. And some courgettes from our garden, 4 of them! With a dessert of yummy mini Pavlova's with cream and strawberries. It's our families way :)
Can't wait to hear what everyone is thankful for, as well as thanking the Lord we are together as a family safe and blessed.

"So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness."
Colossians 2:6+7

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Preparing for Summer

Organising Craft items into boxes and up out of the way in my wardrobe.
 Hope having the craft items out of the way will help not have the children make a mess anytime. But have to ask if they can. Helps me to know when there is going to be a craft mess then have a surprise mess on the floor. The colourful boxes are the kids boxes for school reports, certificates etc.
Vac packing the winter sheets away.
 Now is the time to get summer sheets on the beds. I vac pack the winter sheets and blankets as I find they store better and save on space. Have also been making sure I have one bag to go to clothing bin or rubbish bin each day. When the bag is full out it goes. Feel like making progress with having the house more clean and organised for the coming Summer Holidays.
Had to share my little $3 find. Have it over my veggie garden. As the veggies are a blessing to us.

See how well they are growing. With some more to plant out soon. Will be moving the chicken run one more time on this veggie garden. Then they will go to our other raised garden bed, and prepare that for more plants.
 Our dear neighbour gave us lots of tomato plants I have a couple in big pots, and some waiting to go into the rest of our veggie garden. Looking at the price of tomatoes, I'm so thankful for growing our own. Same with courgettes, we can't afford to buy them in the shops.
Look how well my green courgette plant is growing. I grew this one from seed. See how big the leaves are. This one leaf is 38cm across. Some of the courgettes are going to be ready soon to pick. Can't wait :)
Better go and get another load on in the washing machine :)

Monday, November 5, 2012

Progress in the Vegetable Garden

Moved the chickens along and now starting to plant seedlings into the 3rd stage.
1st Stage of vegetable garden

2nd Stage of vegetable garden

And now at 3rd Stage of vegetable garden. Loving this garden

Our vegetable guard - But really our cat Mischief caught before causing mischief.
We are able to grow a range of different vegetables, and growing at different paces. At the moment we have
  • Tomatoes
  • Cucumber
  • Squash
  • Eggplant
  • Lettuce
  • Radish
  • Basil
  • Sunflowers
  • Celery
  • Carrots
  • Spring Onions
  • Zucchini
  • Beetroot
We also have potatoes and swiss chard growing in other areas. So yummy salads and BBQ dinners to look forward to this summer.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Looking Out My Lounge Window

I have something pretty to look at now, as I sit on my couch in the lounge. Some we made as a couple, DH and me. Something that will last longer then a bunch of flowers. It also gives me HOPE and JOY that we can change this garden bit by bit together.
All planted and ready to grow.
Next I have more of the fence to paint, before adding some hanging planters for strawberry plants. And a plant to re-pot beside this planter. Busy, busy but very happy to be outside.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Painted the Planter

Planter before

Planter now, can wait to fill and plant with pretty flowers.

I had to add a photo of our veggie garden. Awesome progress. Have started to have mini salads for lunch.