Monday, February 2, 2009

Tuesdays with Traci
Hello everyone! Jen hatched this plan that we would take a day to write on each other’s blog so I thought I’d take a moment to explain my blog to you. Actually, I have two blogs. One is for my kids, written from their prospective, and is humorous. It actually gets more hits than mine. Find it here. The other blog is about the things I’m excited about: gardening, couponing, cooking, etc. This is largely what I’m going to share with you each Tuesday. I’ll start by explaining why I do the things I do.

Why garden?
* It’s a great hobby. I love to see things grow out of the dirt. Last year was my first time gardening and when my carrots began to sprout I ran out in the mud and squealed, “I’m a gardener!”
* It’s a great education tool for your kids.
* It’s fabulous to grow your own veggies and know what chemicals are on them (or hopefully, NOT on them).
* Cheap! Once you have the initial investment of setting up the garden it’s very minimal cost. I grew roughly 40 peppers last year. At $1 each in the stores that is $40 I saved. Not to mention all the other veggies I grew.
* It limits your dependence on others for your food.

Why coupons?
* I was introduced to the underground world of coupons in June. From July to November (the last time I totaled my savings) I had saved $1,500. I joke that it’s an underground world because before someone showed me the ropes I was just clipping one or two coupons and not really saving much. Then I learned there are hundreds of websites devoted to coupons and deals. Other people find the deals at the grocery stores and tell you the coupons which match. Check out BeCentsAble’s Grocery Gathering to find couponers explaining the deals in your area.
* I get so much stuff for free, or super cheap, using coupons that I actually get a surplus. I’ve started challenging others to donate their coupon deals and together we make care boxes for our church. More and more people are coming to our church requesting assistance and it’s nice to meet a part of their needs by giving them food and toiletries.

What about cooking?
* I like to share tried and true recipes and those which have been requested by more than one person.
* I started a meal swap with some ladies from my church (we have been swapping for almost a year now). It has been a wonderful time AND sanity saver! I highly recommend it for any family who does not have picky eaters. For example, here’s the menu for this month’s meal swap: Chinese Pork Ribs, Chicken Taco Sandwiches, BBQ Chicken, Chili, Chicken & Wild Rice Casserole, Cheese & Pesto Manicotti, Joes to Go, and Oriental Chicken. Yummy!
* If you don’t want to swap with other women I would suggest you getting a frozen meal cookbook and put away at least a few frozen meals each month. It’s so nice to pull out a meal for someone who just had a baby OR a friend who’s having a bad day OR for your own bad days!

Finally, I have started sharing devotional thoughts which have made an impact on me. This is a new thing I’m doing but haven’t been as consistent with it as I want to be. I guess it’s kind of a fear of man. I think, “I’m a Christian and I should have Christian things on my blog every other day.” But honestly I don’t feel I have that many spiritually profound things to say! How’s that for honesty! I guess if you see me put something spiritual on there you should take note because it’s not going to happen again for awhile! Ha!

So that’s it for me for this Tuesday. I’m just going to challenge you to think about one of these three areas. Would you like to have an abundant supply of fresh veggies for your family? How about cutting your grocery bill in half? Maybe you need to plan your meals better so you are never caught without a meal come five o’clock. Feel free stop by my Fruitful Labor blog. The first time you come, leave a comment so I know you’re Jen’s friend. If you miss Jen on Tuesdays you can find her on my blog (Fruitful Labor); she will not, however be talking about coupons but I think I've almost got her convinced to try a garden this year!

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