12/31/2016

Mmmm Homemade Bread



 Guys!  I love bread, I love not spending money, making my own bread is pretty great as it serves both.  The trick is, it takes patience to do it well.  My mom ran through everything with me, and adjusted the recipe to fit my KitchenAid when we made buns for Christmas.  Now that we've run out, I was inspired to keep going with this baking business.  Her method, requires we let the bread rise three times!  So start to finish, this takes 3-4 hours or so.


I love bunching down the dough!

Too much fun.

I couldn't find my third bread pan, I think Little Man might have put it in another cupboard somewhere.  So, we wound up with two loaves and six beautiful buns!

They aren't quite as smooth as my moms, but I'm super happy with how it turned out.

It's simple really - water, sugar and yeast to start.  A little butter or margarine, skim milk powder, then some brown flower and some white flower - more of the latter than the former.


12/23/2016

Soup Stock



 

There is nothing like a cold winter day to have me wanting for soup!  I haven't done it on my own before, but I've had my mom's home made soup a lot and watched her make it too.  So today (well, I started yesterday), I'm making my own!

Starting with the stock, I pulled out a bag and a half of veggie scraps that I have kept in the freezer (just adding to it when we have carrots, or bits of onion, even a few potato peels), next I tossed in a few steak bones that were also in the freezer.  I had room in the pot, so tossed in a bit more celery and a limp carrot from my fridge that hadn't quite made it to the freezer yet.

I didn't have enough bones, so my mom gave me a few that she had picked up at the farmers market.  They were raw, chopped up small, from a local beef breeder/butcher.  Those bones I roasted for an hour, and then tossed in the pot too.

I topped it up with water ~ about 12 cups fit in my pot, and turned it on to low.  I added salt and pepper to taste, and a bit of garlic.  I tasted throughout the day and added a bit more salt a few times because I was pretty conservative with that.

It bubbled away for about 8 hours yesterday, and then we just stuck it in the attached garage overnight and I popped it back on the stove for a few more hours this morning.  Later today, I'll strain off the veggies and make the soup!

My mom lets the stock chill so she can scrape off the fat on the top, then, using the big pot, melt the fat, and add onions/celery until they are fragrant.  Then she adds the stock, any other veggies she wants, plus a tender cut of beef like Sirloin.

Yum, yum!






12/20/2016

Electric Heat Woes

Guys, electric baseboard heat is expensive where I live :(

Billing is every 60 days - from October 20th to today, the cost is $773 for 6,582kWHs! November wasn't even that cold! BCHydro breaks the rate down into a step 1 and step 2 rates. It's meant to encourage conservation, which might work for homes that have alternative heat sources (my community has a lot of wood heat), but for homes with electric heat, the rate jump is pretty brutal.

  • Step 1: $0.08290 /kW.h for the first 1,350kW hours 
  • Step 2: $0.12430 /kW.h for the rest.


Our house in Alberta, which was about 2,700 square feet cost us about $450 for the same time period.  There of course was electric on top of that for lights and the like - maybe another $100?

The home we're in now is closer to 3,300 square feet - a fair bit larger.  We have all LED lighting, the thermostats are set to 17 or 18 degrees during the day and closer to 15 in the evening.  We have put up insulating plastic on all of our windows and have rolled up towels at the bottom of our doors for draft reduction.  We hang up most of our clothes and cloth diapers to dry, and wash them using cold water.

Given the temperatures, I'm now expecting the bill for December 20th through to the end of February is going to be closer to $1,000.  I'm not too sure what else I can do to manage the cost.

Do you guys do anything other than what I mentioned to save money on electric heat?  Are our rates here, more or less then the electric rates that you pay?

12/12/2016

November Spend Report

We went to Alberta twice in November, but split the gas, so that's why eating out is quite a bit higher than normal.  Gas, groceries, and the rest are all pretty average - though we'll do an annual review in January sometime.

Gifts represents that for about 12 people, plus each other.  I feel pretty good about that.  In years past, we've spend thousandS not one thousand and change.  Next year, I'm sure it will be even tighter - depending on how my job hunt goes.

You might notice a new category here - Costco.  In the past, I've tried to split a Costco shop in groceries, home maintenance, clothes, etc. but it's never been very precise.  So, instead, I'm going to track what we spend overall at the place!

12/10/2016

This and That

Guys, I am so, so tired.

Baby sleep is a big deal, momma not getting her sleep is a big deal.  Daddy too - but he's not writing this.  Kiddo slept in his crib for the entire night last night for the first time.  While he was sleeping that is.  The rest of the time he was crying, fussing, and being passed in the dark hallway between Jordan and myself.  It's been like this for months.  Fingers crossed he figures this stuff out soon.

In other news, I have been on four job interviews in the last few months...so far, no job offers.  It's starting to get, well, I guess I'm just disappointed in myself.  I'm either well, or over qualified, but no dice.  My severance is going to end in February, and while I'm not nervous about it, I am a bit anxious.  We have a plan, but it's going to be very hard if I'm not able to contribute to the household financially.

On the money front, our networth is actually now higher than it was when I was let go and started my maternity leave last year.  It went down steadily until we had our house re-assessed after the renovations were finished.

My grandmother passed away last month.  She had dementia for a quite a number of years, and had been in a care home where she was well loved and well looked after.  I say that to say that I knew it was coming, but my heart still hurts.  This would be my dad's mom (my dad passed away almost six years ago) - so my family understands, and are sad for me, but it feels a bit like I'm grieving on my own.  That might not be fair, and maybe other people feel the same way.  I think too that it's hard because I don't feel it every moment.  Just the quiet ones, when I'm alone, my son is napping and my husband's at work.

All of that said, I am actually looking forward to the holidays.  I've been doing something related to Christmas each day so far this month, and am keeping the momentum going.  I haven't been this excited for Christmas since my dad passed away.  I think because of Little Man's age.  It's going to be great to build and share new traditions with him.

Here he is in awe of the Christmas Tree.  This is just moments before he took three or four bulbs off while I was snapping photos.  They are all plastic this year, with the breakable ornaments on the top half of the tree.

I hope you all are enjoying this chilly winter so far, and are spending quality time with your favourite people.


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