Pop Bottle Greenhouse
Last Sunday I started a few basil seeds in my new mini ecosystem thingy which I mentioned in my last blog post. The idea is to use two 2-liter pop bottles to make an enclosed mini greenhouse. I planted and watered the seeds in on Sunday and placed the bottle on a warm radiator and by Wednesday tiny seedlings were popping up. Cool! So far this system is working great. I will continue to give updates and experiment with other seeds to see how they fare in this kind of environment.
30 Day Challenge
A few months ago I challenged myself, my husband and my son to a 30 day challenge. We would not eat out, get take-out or go through the drive-thru for an entire month. Yeah. This was tough for us. I love to cook but by the time I get home some nights I have seen too much food and too many dishes and I would rather just order a pizza for dinner. This kind of eat out lifestyle had left me feeling very mediocre. I used to be the wife that would have a great meal on the table every night for my family. It was always balanced with a protein, a carb and two veggies.
After opening my bakery in 2010 and leaving my desk job as a legal secretary our home meals were rushed, quick and downright, yes, mediocre at best. After working a 12 hour day standing on my feet, I had no desire to stand even a second longer making dinner. My husband doesn’t cook but he is the best at ordering take-out.
Now that my self-employed career was done and I had a full time job again I was itching to get my mojo back when it came to cooking. We were spending a ton of money eating out and why should we eat out when my husband would say my cooking was better! What really got me into this challenge was having dinner at a local BBQ joint and it cost me over $85 for three of us to eat! Not cool! I knew I could do better and I knew it would be a lot cheaper if I cooked for us at home.
Now this was a self-imposed 30 day challenge. I came up with the idea myself so I made my own rules.
Here were my rules:
1. No eating out at a restaurant, ordering take-out from a restaurant or going through the fast food drive-thru.
2. No eating out at all including not just dinner but breakfast and lunch too.
3. No coffee out or fancy drinks like Lattes, Mochas or Frappes. Yes that meant no Starbucks, Dunkin Donuts, Tim Hortons or local coffee shops. We own three coffee machines so we would make our coffee from home.
4. Meals had to be made at home. They don’t have to be made from scratch either. I don’t care if you want to eat a bowl of cereal for dinner, just make it at home.
5. Farmers markets and grocery stores are your friends and should be your daily inspiration. If you have room to grow a veggie garden than all the better. Can’t get much healthier or more inexpensive than growing it yourself.
6. The only exceptions would be school lunches. (At only $1.40 a lunch I couldn’t pack a lunch less expensive than that) and if we had already planned a dinner out a month in advance we could still honor our previous commitment and go out that night.
I have to say we really enjoyed our month cooking at home. My son enjoying cooking with me. Our garden was still alive so we could harvest lettuce, carrots, swiss chard, cabbage and herbs. Working at the store was helpful because I was already there and I made myself stay and shop so there was no excuse for not wanted to go to the store. I also got my love for cooking back. I really missed it.
I did slip a couple of times. I was summoned to jury duty that month and it was pretty tough to bring a bag lunch even though I did stash some fruit and granola bars in my purse. Also once, we went to Subway on a night where I was completely wiped out and we figured that was the cheapest, healthiest way to enjoy a night out.
I might have to do the challenge again. I really didn’t like paying $30 for a small pizza and 12 wings yesterday. Would you try a 30 day challenge like this?
Work at the store gets very slow this time of year. After the hustle and bustle of the holidays people tend to hibernate after December. Here in Western, NY we have been plagued by many snow storms including our November super-storm which brought national attention to southern Buffalo.
After such a slow week last week I decided to jump-start people and get them in the spring and summer event planning mood with a few pictures on my Facebook page. I posted 5 different categories of goods that would be perfect for baby and wedding showers, custom cut-outs, character cakes and small weddings.
If you have an event coming up in the spring or summer of this year it is best to start getting your thoughts together now while it’s quiet. Bakeries love to hear from people well in-advance of an upcoming event. This gives them enough time to order or hand make special decorations for a cake if needed and gives the person hosting the event the peace of mind that their wishes will be met correctly and their event will be perfect. What kind of event are you planning for the summer? -MM