Tuesday, September 29, 2009

A Trip To Remember

Our first field trip - Sea World - was a trip I'll never forget.  My daughter and I went with two other home school mom's and their children.  Having never been to Sea World, I wasn't sure what to expect.  The exhibits that were open were fabulous. 

It was a totally new experience for me to travel without my husband.  I was a little apprehensive about doing this - especially since it was going to be a five hour drive.  I printed maps from mapquest, had a Texas map, and a GPS.  Think we didn't get lost?  Think again!   Here, how that story began:

Our trip to Sea World went smoothly.  After Sea World was over, we all wanted to go see the Alamo.  We had no problem finding the Alamo.  But, that was a weird experience in itself.  It seems that we were so "strange" looking, that the security guards watched us like a hawk.  Can't you tell by the pictures that we look like we're up to something? Needless to say, it made us uncomfortable and we didn't stay long.  One of the other drivers needed gas for her vehicle, so once we left the Alamo, we were trying to find a gas station.  Evidently San Antonio, doesn't believe in having a gas station on every corner.  We drove around for what seemed like hours before finding one.   We were so turned around, it reminded me of one of those games where you put a ball under one of  3 or 4 cups and switch them around and guess which one it's under!  At this point, rush hour was starting and I'd gotten separated from the other vehicle.  Now, I come from a metropolis with horrid rush hours, but I think this one took the cake!  I can officially say, I've seen parts of  San Antonio that I would probably never see on a normal day!   The GPS I used took me all over the place before finally getting me to the highway I needed!  The other group finally found their way out around the same time I did. 

San Antonio is definitely a tourist trap - once you get in, it's hard to get out!   We finally made it out of San Antonio around 7:00, exhausted and hungry. 

Would I do the trip again if given the chance - absolutely!  In spite of the trials of the day, we totally enjoyed this trip.  My daughter and I took a different route home that gave us the chance to enjoy the beautiful rolling hill country, or as some people call it - God's country.

It drizzled most of the day on Thursday.  Thankfully, the downpour held off until it was time to leave Sea World.  We got pretty wet at the Alamo.  That being said, I felt it was appropriate for my slide show to have raindrops in it!

Friday, September 18, 2009

So Much Learned...

I've learned so much since I've started blogging, especially concerning menu planning, recipes, and living frugally.  There are so many blogs that I love visiting because of the good, down-to-earth information that's coming, not from some company, but from other mommies who are in the same situations I am in.  Just today, I found a wonderful blog that posts gluten-free crockpot meals - http://www.crockpot365.blogspot.com/.  I was very excited about this because my husbands step-dad was diagnosed with Celiac disease last year.  I can now help them out by giving them recipes for foods he can eat without breaking the bank. 

I've started making more of my meals completely from scratch which is healthier and cheaper.  Am I one that absolutely loves being in the kitchen?  Not really!  But with all the advise that I've read about on other blogs, I am beginning to like it more and more.  And I know my family loves it because they eat just about everything I've been serving (with exception to my youngest - she's a very picky eater and we are working on that one!)

So to all my bloggy friends - kudos!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Update on making my own bread....

A few weeks ago, I posted my review concerning making my own bread.  At the time, I had not made the "Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes A Day".  Last Thursday, I made my first batch of this bread.  It was so simple.  And it tastes fabulous.  I made a full batch of the light whole wheat bread which can make four 1-pound loaves.  My first loaf was actually probably closer to a 2-pounder due to the company I was having that night.  Being my first loaf, it didn't look as great as the pictures in this book, but it was scrumptious.  My kids asked for more.  So, the next night, I made a pizza.  It was the best pizza I've ever made.  And it took all of 10 minutes to pull it out of the fridge, roll it out, put my toppings on and put it in the oven.  I did not use my pizza stone for this since I wasn't sure how I could roll it out, put all the toppings on it and try to put it on a very hot pizza stone.  I still need a pizza peel, but for now what I have will work.   This bread had a total of 5 ingredients - unbleached flour, whole wheat flour, kosher salt, yeast, and water.  And the great part was no kneeding!  I've still got enough in the fridge for one more loaf. 

The next part will be to figure out the exact cost for 1 loaf to see whether it's helping my budget.  I use unbleached flour and that is not as cheap as regular flour.  And of course the wheat flour is more expensive too.  The salt and yeast are very inexpensive considering it will take me awhile to use it up if I make one batch a week.  And I've been spending around $1.97 for Mrs Baird Honey Wheat Bread and I purchase 3 loaves bi-weekly.

The one thing about making items from scratch is that I must think ahead.  I can't throw something together at the last moment.   Making out a two-week menu helps in this area since I can look ahead and see what I'll need to prepare in advance.  But sometimes, I forget to look ahead and then I'm left scrambling.  But at least I keep trying. 
This bread is definitely tastier than store-bought and it's fat free.  I will probably still buy store-bought bread, but I will be making this more often.