Thursday, February 24, 2011

What is buying local?

I've been thinking a lot about buying local lately. I do enjoy patronizing local small businesses. There is something about going into a small shop and visiting with the owners/workers, and hearing their passion for the products that makes shopping more fun.
It is easy to think of the small simple storefront as buying local -- I of course like Little Padded Seats, Mr. Chewy seems to be fond of Quill and Nib.

Then I start thinking about "area" owned businesses. For example, I do the vast majority of our grocery shopping at Fareway. Although it is a chain, it is an Iowa company, and they do carry a lot of Iowa products. I think, at least in my mind - this is a more "local" choice that going to the "Super Center" to get my groceries. But what about franchises with local owners? What is "local" business anymore?

I enjoy shopping locally and visiting smaller shops whenever possible. This is also very true in dining out - nothing like that local gem - (Flarah's is nice and close to the office!) and Nan's Nummies beats the super center bakery any day!

What is shopping local to you? What are some of your favorite "local" businesses?

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

What was for dinner last night?

I knew dinner last night was going to be a challenge -- I was going to be out for the afternoon, and it was the Chewy Kid's 4th grade fine arts night at school, so the boys would need to eat early, but Mr. Chewy and I wouldn't eat until we got home afterwards. Sounds like a job for the crock pot! For some reason, I decided to google "Crock Pot Fried Rice" It sounded good - and a good use for the various things sitting in my fridge and freezer. I should have known that Stephanie over at would have tried fried rice in her slow cooker at some point. So I glanced at her recipe here: ... and then went into the kitchen.

I didn't have any "leftover" rice, so started some brown rice in the steamer. Meanwhile, I rescued a sad onion and some very sad looking carrots, cleaned and chopped them. After cooking and cooling the rice I put the following in the crock pot (sprayed w/non-stick spray)

about 1 1/2 cups cooked chicken
2 1/2 cups veggies (I had carrots, onion and garlic - could use whatever fresh or frozen you have)
3 cups cooked, cold rice
about 3 Tablespoons soy sauce
a few shakes of Worcestershire sauce
black pepper
I mixed all this together then added 2 well beaten eggs and mixed again.

Cooked for 4 hours on low - and had fried rice! It was just about right 4 hours later.

Fast forward 2 more hours - and the grown-ups ate - It was still ok -- and I would have thought it was more that fine - but the consistency was better two hours earlier. At this point - we added a sprinkling of dry roasted peanuts on top of ours -- and Mr. Chewy added a little hot sauce.

Overall - it's another keeper of a recipe. The Chewy Kid and the Chewy Tot both had seconds. Easy, inexpensive, tasty, and a great way to use leftovers!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Re-using and Remembering

Mr. Chewy loves notebooks and pens -- it doesn't matter what size - he likes to always have something handy to jot down a quick note, or a nice journal to encourage writing. He has always liked "build your own" systems, custom creating systems to fit his needs. He recently bought a Levinger punch to create his own custom notebooks. He also began cleaning house and decluttering. We save WAY too much stuff - especially from vacations. Using some of our "Key to the World" cards, he created these mini-notebooks perfect for jotting little reminders, lists, and such. Our vacation memories will literally be in our hands every day. Pretty cool.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

New Year's Resolutions

So last year, I made my "New Year's Resolution" on my birthday - and it was to read my Bible every day in the next year. Well, today is a new year, and time for a new goal. Now that reading my Bible daily is habit - it is time to hone another discipline. This year I want to focus on prayer.

I am committing to spending time each day in prayer, and setting aside a SCHEDULED time for prayer each week with Mr. Chewy. I'm sure there will be days that it is easy, and days where I really don't want to. I know that for both Mr. Chewy and I, keeping a streak is a great motivation, or at least enough motivation to help keep us in the habit.

Happy New Year!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Winter Weather

As we are settling in for the incoming storm - I've been wondering if any of you have "Winter Storm Traditions" What do you do to feel warm, pass the time, and make it "fun"?

I usually do some baking, and as long as there is power we might have to have some wii challenges if there is no school. (Mario Kart anyone?) Of course, board games are always an option too!

What are your plans?