Saturday, April 6, 2013

Our Deck is Ready for Sunshine!

A few years ago we built an addition on to our house which created a covered deck for us.  It is not a huge space but it is covered.  I inherited a wicker set from my grandparents some years back and decided that it would be perfect on the deck.  The wicker set is of VERY good quality but it was meant to be used as indoor was not meant to be used by two dirty yorkies who love to cuddle on it.  The cushions were faded out and just looked really bad.  I thought about selling the set but knew I could not afford to purchase a set of this caliber for a long time.  So, all winter, I thought and thought about what I could do to save it...

Here is what the set started out as...pretty tired and sad looking!

I found some very rugged outdoor material on the web on sale and decided to recover it.  The covers can easily be removed to be washed.  I love the color.

Then I had an idea for displaying a great croquet set that I had bought at an auction...for $20.00.  My hubby made me a peg board and painted it the same color as the house trim.

Now the other side of the deck is all tricked out and looks welcoming.

For about $200.00 and a weekend of sewing and ironing ~ we transformed our deck.  By NO means am I confident seamstress...but I just created an easy pattern based on each individual cushion.  The material was expensive but it is very good quality and I have every reason to believe that it will hold up really well.  I am totally in love with this space now.

Friday, April 5, 2013


Much of the reason that I have been couponing, menuing, cooking from scratch, etc. is because of our desire to get out of debt.  We have always had too much debt.  For many years we have lived the typical American dream...don't save for purchases....CHARGE them!  The tanking of our economy the past few years have made us reevaulate that notion. 

My hubby does his part by doing much of the household fixes himself and making repairs as frugally as possible.  For example our dishwasher door broke...and he scoured the intenet until he was able to find a part to fix it and he did fix it at a fraction of the price.  Recently our toilet tank cracked.  Instead of tearing the toilet out and getting a new one, he asked around and someone actually had one that they had found in a "bone yard" behind his place of work.  We got the toilet tank for free and it works and looks perfect.  By taking time to find a solution, he has saved us a bunch of money. 

My contribution is trying to buy food and personal products for our household as cheap as possible.  We cook from scratch as much as possible and try to eat out as little as possible (but that is always a work in progress).  I have also tried to stock up and preserve foods that are in season.  I am also starting my own seeds for the garden...and saving in the total cost of the garden.

It is not easy...we are very budgeted and there is not much room for flexibility.  But today...we reached a big milesstone....both our truck and our car are PAID OFF!  The truck was paid off early a while back but today our car was officially paid off.  We put extra on the principal and paid if off about 7 months early.  I cannot even remember how long it has been since we have been without a auto payment...may the last for many more years.


Thursday, April 4, 2013

Feeling Energetic

I dont' know if it is because it is spring...or if it is because I have been counting calories and limiting the bad stuff...but whatever it is, I have more energy then normal.

My butt, back and shoulders are sore from planting my red and purple potatoes yesterday...but I will blog more about that soon.  I am behind on my gardening.  We have had beautiful weather (up to today) but most days we spent out of town at a volleyball tournament.  I will need to get a bunch of starts going this weekend. 

Tonight I came home and cooked.  Actually, I came home with a good share of our dinner already cooking.  My favorite youngest daughter is home on spring break so I had her make pulled pork in the crockpot.  BUT...I didn't let her make it with bottled bbq sauce ~ rather, she got to make it homemade from a new recipe I just found.  I am going to post the recipe but I am kind of afraid because the website has this scary sounding warning about "duplication of any content...".  However it was adapted from Emeril Legasse and I found it on the Cinnamon Spice & Everything Nice blog.  Visit her blog...she has a TON of yummy recipes.

Crockpot Barbecue Pulled Pork

3 tsp. paprika (can use a combination of sweet and/or smoked)
2 tsp. dry mustard
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. dried thyme
1½ tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper, optional                                                                        
1 tsp. onion powder
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1 (6oz) can of tomato paste
1½ cups beef broth
1/2 cup cider or white vinegar (or a combination of both)
6 tbsp. brown sugar
1½ cups sliced onions
6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
3 pounds boneless pork roast

In a large crockpot whisk everything except the onion, garlic and pork together until well combined.  Stir in onion and garlic and add the pork roast (you can cut the pork roast in half first for a shorter cooking time).  Cook on high 4-6 hours or until you can shred the pork easily with two forks; after shredding pork, I continued to cook for additional 1+ hour.

I served the bbq pork topped with fresh made coleslaw all on a homemade roll that I had in the freezer.  I found the coleslaw recipe via what2cook.  I actually found both these recipes on Pinterest...I am becoming a total Pinterest junkie...but I will save that story for a different blogging day. 
KFC Coleslaw Copy Cat

8 cups finely chopped cabbage (I used one head)
1/4 cup shredded carrot (I used one carrot)
2 tbsp. minced onion
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper
1/4 cup milk
1/2 cup mayonnaise (I used more, I like a thicker dressing)
¼ cup buttermilk
1½ tbsp. vinegar
2½ tbsp. lemon juice

Mix all together.  Taste amazing!
Finally, in between getting the pork finished up and making the coleslaw, I made a couple loaves of regular bread, I got some pizza dough into the freezer and made my first ever batch of French Bread.  I got a lot done before 7:00 pm tonight!  I love when I have such productive days. 

This was my first attempt at making french bread...and one loaf turned out beautifully!  The other loaf doesn't look as good but I am sure it will taste just fine.  Right at this house smells wonderfully of homemade bread ~ no better smell that I know of.