$60.00 A Week Grocery Budget Challenge

Squash Tart
Can you believe I'm FINALLY posting about our weekly grocery budget again????  It feels like forever ago since I've posted, but I'm back!  While I have not had the time to actually blog about it, for the most part, we have been great about staying in budget.  I've continued to write meal plans which helps to make sure we are eating homemade food that is within the budget, and have continued to use a lot of what we have stockpiled in addition to adding to the stockpile during sales.

Almost all of the veggies on the menu come from our garden and the meat for all of the meals this week comes from our freezer.  You'll remember that we raise chickens for meat so all of our chicken comes from our home-raised flock, and the remainder of the meat and seafood I've purchased in bulk on sale throughout the year.  We use a vacuum sealer to store all of our meat in the freezer ensuring it's quality isn't compromised before we eat it.  We'll be sealing veggies from the garden this year too.

I ordered a pizza box for the grill so I can make brick-oven style pizza.  We don't have central A/C so turning on the oven in the middle of summer is not something I enjoy doing.  We should receive it this week and I'll be testing it out on Thursday.  Sunday isn't supposed to be as hot or humid so I will be turning the oven on so that I can make dessert this week too!  Because my zucchini is growing by leaps and bounds {I know....whose isn't???} I'm going to whip up our very FAVORITE Chocolate-Zucchini Cake recipe.  Yum!

Weekly Meal Plan


new coffee mugs!

our Cobble Hill Farm Apothecary booth

This weekend was all about craft shows and farmer's markets.  One of my favorite craft shows to participate in was this weekend - the "Made In The Adirondacks" craft fair at the Adirondack Museum in Blue Mountain Lake, NY.

Luckily for us the weather was great for almost the entire day with rain arriving about 4:15, 45 minutes before it was time to pack it up.

The museum itself is just beautiful, and add to that a bunch of very talented artisans and you have one great event!  Once I set up I walked the grounds and immediately fell in love with some local pottery.  Two coffee mugs and a batter bowl were quickly in my "going home" bag.

Rest In Peace Sweet Girl

We lost our sweet Caity Bug on Friday.
As you know, we weren't sure what has been going on with her, thinking she may have diabetes {it was confirmed on Friday that she did}, but waiting to test her again.
In the meantime, we discovered she had a tumor.  Thursday afternoon/evening, her cheek became swollen and her right eye was bulging.
Unfortunately, things had progressed too much before we saw the symptoms.

She was a super sweet girl {except when she visited her favorite doctor - that's when the cat gloves had to come out}.
As a kitten she was an absolute terror.
Once she turned 2 we brought home not one but TWO French Bulldogs.
She hated them.
Her dislike was so strong that she became a recluse, never coming downstairs.
She was J's princess and stayed tucked away in her upstairs castle.
Oliver and Emerson became obsessed with her the few times they actually saw her, I'm sure thinking she may be a figment of their imagination.

I'm not sure what we were thinking, but after the boys turned 1 we decided Caity needed a kitten.
She needed a partner - something other than the dogs.
Strangely enough, it worked!
We brought Jack home and lo and behold we started seeing Cait.
She turned into a loving young kitten who suddenly enjoyed spending time with her family.
Still hated being photographed, but loved being with us all.

She just turned eight years old.
One of the worst parts of having animals in your life is the short time they are with you.
Of course one of the best parts is the unconditional love they provide.
She certainly provided much of that.
Jack is slightly distraught and has become clingy.
As you remember, he LOVED micro managing her every move.

Rest in peace sweet Caity Bug.

10 Quick & Easy Things To Purge

Easy and purge in the same sentence?  Indeed I have lost my mind and used them together.  The idea of purging sounds great but the reality of purging can be overwhelming and emotional.  Overwhelming particularly if you have so many items that you aren't sure where to start.  Emotional if you realize, once you start purging, that they hold memories.  But it feels so much better once you can begin to let go of some of the clutter.

I am a purger.  Is that a word?  I get myself to the point where it all must go because I can't stand it anymore.  I can't stand dusting it or moving it or finding a new home for it.  If I could purge little by little I'm sure it would be a better system, but alas, that has not happened yet.  And so I wait until I'm at breaking point of clutter and purge away.

This list is comprised mostly of items that are less likely to bring emotion into it, making it the perfect place to start!

The BEST Beer Battered Onion Rings

So, I'm generally not a huge fan of deep frying anything but from time-to-time I crave a really good onion ring.  I've tried a number of recipes and they were good. 

But not this one. 

This one was GREAT! 

We couldn't stop eating them.  We both joked {partially} that we should skip the burger and just keep eating onion rings. 

They are that good.



How is it that Monday has arrived again already?  Weekends, especially in the summer, seem to go by at the blink of an eye.  Just when you feel as though you are getting things accomplished, you sit back and realize how much more there is to do.......

That is how this weekend went.

The garden is need of weeding {as are the flower beds}, the house is in need of a good deep cleaning, there is soap to wrap and products to label and boxes to pack and, well, the list goes on.

The Coop Girls are in good spirits.  The older girls have taught the newer ladies how to heckle us when we walk to the garden.  They chant and chime hoping for a goodie or two.  It's very cute.  And Allie, the matriarch of the coop, has become the loudest once again.  How can you resist a little old chicken heckling you?  So, needless to say, goodies they get.

Caity Bug


36 Ways To Make Money On The Homestead

Many of us have the dream to live and work on the homestead full-time.  After all, that is the sign you've actually "made it", isn't it?  It can be downright scary to make the jump {we're halfway there!} but there are endless ways in which to earn an income while homesteading.  Of course, check with your town/city and state prior to selling anything.

Here is a list of some of the ways:



What a beautiful weekend we had.  The temp's were in the mid 80's on Saturday and upper 80's/low 90's on Sunday with no humidity.  A weekend where making iced coffee and fresh lemonade were at the top of the to-do list.

We had a farmer's market that we do once a month on Saturday and our regular market in Saratoga on Sunday.  Saturday's market was a bit slow but it's such a beautiful setting.  Sunday was busy in the morning and slowed toward the afternoon.  I don't blame any of you who chose to shop in the morning anticipating the high heat of the afternoon.  It was toasty.  We were extremely fortunate to have shady spaces for both markets. 

And now updates on the animals.....

Coop Girl Hattie

5 Delicious Strawberry Recipes

Strawberry-Chipotle BBQ Sauce
While this doesn't use strawberries, per say, this is a GREAT use for some of your strawberry jam.  It's by far one of our favorite BBQ sauces!!

Slow-Cooker Strawberry Jam
No need to babysit the pot of boiling jam when you can throw it in the slow-cooker and let it do it's thing!!

Strawberry-Balsamic Jam
I was amazed at what a little balsamic vinegar can add to strawberry jam.   It's now one of our favorites!

Strawberry Pretzel Bars
These are one of our 2 top reasons for freezing strawberries!

Strawberry Shortcake Cake
Ahhh....the second reason for freezing strawberries.  This cake is DELICIOUS!!

Quick and Easy Chicken Parm

A quick and easy dish that tastes great.  This is one of our go-to meals.  You only use about 3/4 cup of spaghetti sauce, but you could serve the remainder with pasta as a side if you open a full jar.  Great on a busy weeknight!

This And That....

This is how Emerson sits on his bed when he is told to get all 4 feet on his bed.........he is VERY bull-headed.

This is where we spent last Friday.....Narragansett, Point Judith and Galilee, Rhode Island.  It was a BEAUTIFUL day to spend at the beach for a much needed day of relaxation.

That is Ollie's "happy to be hanging out in the sun" look.  Summer is here and the guy is thrilled!

This is our very popular shaving and grooming items.  I love designing the packaging and thinking up new items!

That's a little of what's happening around here.
Happy Thursday!!