Our life in B-town

Attempting family life that is frugal, organic and eco-friendly

Spaghetti Sauce September 16, 2012

Filed under: Eco friendly,Frugal,recipes,Self sufficiency — rorosarahbeth @ 8:52 pm

I had a mamma ask me how to make spaghetti sauce home made. It’s SUPER easy and there is TONS of room for experimentation and customization! My mother makes it with mushrooms in it but I hate mushrooms so I leave them out.  Are you a vegetarian? Just use veggie stock instead of chicken!

Anyway here is my personal recipe. Be warned this makes a HUGE batch. I have enough for 4-5 large meals easily.

  • 4 (28 ounce cans) of tomato paste
  • 2 (28 ounce cans) of tomato puree/sauce
  • 2 (15 ounce cans) of stewed tomatoes
  • 2 (28 ounce cans) of peeled ground tomatoes
  • 2 (14.5) cans of diced tomatoes
  • 1 bell pepper (I like to use a little of each color but you can use just green or any other color)
  • 1 quart of chicken broth or stock (I have used both veggie and beef as well, both work but change the flavor slightly, I just usually have chicken stock more then the other two)
  • 2-4 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons of fresh minced garlic
  • 1/4 cup of brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of cinnamon
  • Basil 2 tbsp of fresh/frozen basil- I buy the tube in the produce section and freeze it to use as needed. Dried basil just doesn’t cut it for me. (Here is the tube I get from Haggen)
  • 1 tsp of oregano
  • 1/2 tsp of parsley
  • 1 tsp of rosemary

Put everything into a VERY large pot and mix together well. Cook on stove on LOW all day. Store overnight in the fridge and bag up into plastic bags or mason jars based on what your family will eat in a sitting and freeze.  Stores very well for 2-3 months in a freezer. This batch usually lasts my family about a month!



I did not want to cook tonight! August 6, 2012

Filed under: Johnathon,recipes,Sean,Self sufficiency,Solomon,Zephaniah — rorosarahbeth @ 11:00 pm

So I guess I will make crock pot mac and cheese. I found this recipe on Pinterest and it is the best and easiest one I have found! You don’t even have to cook the noodles!  I do pop it into the oven and add a crumb topping . The original recipe is here. I find this is a great recipe for sneaking veggies into! Tonight I added shredded zucchini and summer squash and even Sean couldn’t tell! I mean yeah he knew it was in there since it was greenish but he could barely taste it!  Johnathon thought I was super cool for making GREEN in the Mac and Cheese! He is pretty good at veggies but it is always good to sneak in a few more!

2 cups  milk
1 (12 oz.) can evaporated milk
1 egg
1 1/2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese (Or a little more if you like it cheesy!)
2 cups uncooked elbow macaroni
1/2 grated summer squash
1/2 grated zucchini
Salt and pepper to taste (my family is not really a fan of either so I don’t add any to the pot and each adds their own)
Crumb topping(optional)
1/4 cup of bread crumbs
1/2 cup of wheat germ
2 tbsp of butter
Grease or spray your crock pot really well. Then just put everything into your crock pot and mix well. Don’t cook the noodles before adding them! Turn the pot on LOW and cook for 3-4 hours. I like the slightly browned crisp edges so I usually cook it for closer to the 4 hour mark.If desired then mix the bread crumbs and wheat germ and melt the butter, mix this all together and put on the top of the finished macaroni and cheese and pop into the oven for about 10-15 minutes at 350 or until the crumbs are slightly browned. This feeds my family as a main dish easily and has enough for left overs.

Mac and Cheese crock pot style!

With the crumb topping!

My bowl of yuminess!


Rainbow Newborn Fluff July 31, 2012

Filed under: Cloth Diapering,Eco friendly,Johnathon,Self sufficiency,Zephaniah — rorosarahbeth @ 2:39 am

I cloth diaper my kids. Mostly because well, I am cheap, but I DO care about the environment too and want to do my small part to live greenly. When I found out I was pregnant with this babe I ordered a dozen rainbow-colored Alva newborns through a co-op because the price was very good and almost all of my newborn diapers I bought with Zephaniah were shredded thanks to Rockin’ Green. I think these will work pretty well for this baby and they are my favorite style of diapers!  I love pockets because they are super easy to use but still can tailor the absorbency to my babe’s needs.  Most of my stash is Sunbaby one-size diapers! I just love them! They work well and Johnathon can wear them if he is sick or at night. (Well if he doesn’t pee through them at night!) I prepped my new fluff yesterday since I got them on Saturday and they look good! A stacked rainbow of baby diapers! I think I will need about a dozen or so more before baby gets here but I am not sure if I will get more Alvas or if I will go for a more locally made diaper again. It depends mostly on finances since everything looks a little uncertain at the moment. I would prefer to help a local mom send her child to ballet classes or swimming lessons then help an executive buy his third vacation home but I have to be able to afford it.

Rainbow newborn fluff!

Zephaniah passed out after playing with Fergie’s fluff!

I also need to make another batch of laundry detergent. I am thinking of adding a few drops of lavender essential oil to this batch because I LOVE lavender! It is by far one of my most favorite smells. It really does relax me and just makes me just happy. In my happy place there are fields of lavender that go for miles. I really like making my own detergent since it saves me so much money and in my opinion it just gets my clothes and diapers so much cleaner.

The recipe I use is
1/3 bar of grated Fels Naptha Soap
1/2 cup of WASHING soda (Not baking soda!)
1/2 cup of borax
6 cups of water
4 cups of very hot water
1 gallon plus 6 cups of water

In a very large sauce pan heat grated Fels Naptha soap and water until combined and the soap melts. Slowly add washing soda and borax and stir until combined. Add 4 cups of very hot water and transfer to a bucket (Or if you are like me and using a HUGE canning pan remove from heat and add the very hot water) and stir well. Now add 1 gallon plus 6 cups of water stir and let stand over night. If you are like me let stand about 24 hours until kids finally go to sleep again! Then transfer to your container of choice and use 1/2 cup per load and 1/4 cup per diaper load.


Preschool July 27, 2012

Filed under: Johnathon,Self sufficiency — rorosarahbeth @ 4:52 am
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Who thought preschool would be so complicated? I am calling around to preschools all over and trying to talk to someone. I would prefer to send Johnathon to a Christian preschool if possible but we may not be able to afford that right now (they seem like they are all over $100 a month!) So I am also looking into more affordable state run options for him too. I worry because of his immune problems but he really really wants and needs some big kid time, especially with this new baby coming. He heard me talking about sending him to school and he got so excited. He asked me all day yesterday and all day today if we were going to school yet. I keep telling him that it is a bit off still but he insists it is very soon. He even went and got his backpack ready to go, packing the essentials: Piplup the penguin Pokemon, Jesse the yodeling cowgirl, Buzz Lightyear, and raisins in case he gets hungry. He decided that he was going to wear just his Buzz Lightyear underwear and his Cars shoes to school. I explained to him that while Cars shoes and Buzz underwear where find for home that there were rules at Preschool about what you need to be wearing. He seemed to understand that pretty well. Then I had to explain to him again that school was not today. I am very excited to take him school shopping this year but I am dreading having him away from me a little every day. I don’t like that he is growing up so fast but I am so proud of his accomplishments. He is such a smart and caring little guy, he always has time to take care of someone who is a little down. He loves playing with other kids his own age, or even those a little younger or older.  He has patience for others and sometimes is a little over-zealous in his love and need to help.

Gosh I sure do love this little guy ❤


Self-Sufficient Kids July 18, 2012

Filed under: Johnathon,Parenting,Sean,Self sufficiency — rorosarahbeth @ 5:51 am

I was going through old papers and ran into some old school work. In high school I wrote a short children’s story in creative writing . The jist of the story is Bethany Bunny gets lost enjoying nature. She is so busy noticing things along the way like flowers and bumble bees that she doesn’t realize how far away she had gotten away from her mamma. She was lost in an unfamiliar place! She remains calm and  figures out how to get back on her own by remembering the things she saw on her way. I also read through the criticism cards I received from when I read the story aloud in class. Most said it wasn’t a safe story because it taught kids not to stay put and ask an adult for help when they got lost. Which yes, I get but it showed her using her noggin and the good sense she was blessed with to be self-sufficient and get back on her own. I guess it was a small hint about what kind of parent I would be.

We can’t expect kids to grow into self-sufficient adults who can think for themselves and get out of a situation if they are always standing around waiting for someone else to “Rescue” them or tell them what to think or how to think it. I knew this as a young teen but I didn’t quite understand how to express that then. I want my kids to know that yes, there are adults you can trust and it is okay to ask for help the only person who can get them out of a jam every time is themselves. I want them to use their heads and try to reason a way out of situations safely.
I am trying to give them tools to do just that. He knows what to do when he is lost in the store or a crowd, (Try to find mamma and find a cashier or police officer if you cannot) but always follow your instincts. If the person, whoever they are, seems creepy then stay away and it is never okay for someone to do anything to you that makes you uncomfortable.  My most recent endeavor is teaching Johnathon to call 911 and in what situations this is needed. Learning when and how to ask for help with the appropriate tools to do so. Daddy is having a seizure? Dial 911 and open the front door. Tell the dispatcher “My daddy is having a seizure and I need help.” Going and getting the medication and medical history list from the refrigerator and staying on the phone until the fire department gets there and showing them where daddy is and handing them the paper with my contact number and all of his medical information on it. Thankfully he has yet to be tested on this skill but we are going for a dry run here soon and I am nervous for him. I know he can do it and I trust his ability I just never want him to have to do that for real.