Tuesday, March 20, 2012 | By: Rita Hutcheson-Cobbs

Hidden treasures...

In the midst of the oddest places...

...are the strangest forms of life...

...the depths of those beings that touch of lives forever...
I am making a memory this week or that it the plan anyway...
I can't wait to tell you about it...
Sending positive thoughts and prayers that it is blessed as this amazing find inside this tree stump...
Life is loving like that, bringing friends and adventures into our lives...that is rockin' awesome...
Hugs, Rita

Tuesday, March 13, 2012 | By: Rita Hutcheson-Cobbs

Cow Patty Chocolate Cake Mix Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe PLUS a coupon...

OMGOSH! Can you see triple the chocolate! Chocolate in the cake mix, chocolate in the chips and then you got it mixed up in the combination! WOW! Talking about a chocolate explosion!!! So here is this amazing recipe...

Rita's Cow Patty Chocolate Cake Mix Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ingredients:
2 boxes of Duncan Hines Chocolate Cake Mix
1 cup of real butter, melted
4 eggs
2 cups of semi-sweet chocolate chips

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or spray with cooking spray.
3. Mix the first two ingredients well, then add the butter, mix well and then add the chips, mix well.
4. Drop by spoon fulls onto the cookie sheet and back for 10-12 minutes until done around the edges.
5. Allow the cookies to cool for 1 minute before moving them to a plate to serve or store.
Great with vanilla bean ice cream. Yummy....Enjoy....

Through the 11th of April, enjoy coupons for the chocolate chips and other sweet items for baking at
http://www.verybestbaking.com/Coupons-Promotions/Coupons-List.aspx. Loving it....

Hugs, Rita
Monday, March 12, 2012 | By: Rita Hutcheson-Cobbs

My New Couponing Notebook Organizer...

I am soooo excited about this adventure in saving money BUT it's the organization I am excited about! My home has been in such craziness for the past year due to storms that I have nothing absolutely nothing organzied and I just love to organize things SO this feeds that passion within me! It is my spiritual gift what can I say!! If you have been following my blog the last few days, I have started saving money first through price comparison in sale papers and now I am working toward combining that with coupons. First, I needed a way to organized the coupons. So here is the cover to my really thick 3" white notebook. 

 The cover to the notebook has plastic inserts for corporate presentation fliers, but not being a fan of shopping, I decided MY notebook had to be blingy or I wouldn't stick with this saving path so I took it to the scrapbooking crop Saturday and spend the day decorating...I will share more about that at the end...

 I labeled the back with my business card should this jewel so that if someone wants my contact information...hope, hope, hope so that we can meet and share how we can ALL save more money for our families and our HOBBIES then ((happy dance)) for us all...

 I won't go reinventing the wheel, so I went to The Krazy Coupon Lady website which had a free downloadable coupon binder. So, I printed that off. However, there are two things about this binding I didn't really care for (1) was that the content page may be in ABC/123 order for a grocery store layout, but I needed it in ABC order based on topic...(2) The title of the pages aren't positive reinforcement to my shopping experience =) so I twitted  that I will title each one "Come Stand By Me, Honey, and Let's $ave Money Together..." lol thought that was so much more fun...

I used my favorite Stampin' Up Punch to make these tabs using my scrap cardstock. Also, I used clear page protectors for the page dividers. Again, I put them in order, placing restaurant and art at the end since those are places I go on specific occasions.

 I did change the inside since I took this photo and I will show you that addition in a moment, but I have a ziplock for coupons I won't use and can swap with someone.

 Then I have my content page with the ABC/123 listing of my coupons. I may change this list as time goes on based on what I know I will use. I am not use to making store brand purchases so I don't know for sure what I will be using so for now I am clipping all the products I feel we will remotely use or that I can trade for something I will use. I also left the patterned paper on open on the right side as a pocket should I wish to use it to slide reminder notes or coupons inside...

 This is what I have added since Saturday...magazine holders to grip my sale papers!! Awesome right? right! Now, I won't worry about where they are and when I make my shopping list, I will have everything in my notebook...

 Another glimpse of the magazine holders should you not be able to find them...you could make them or punch holes in your sale papers and insert them in your notebook. I can't wait to hear how you organize your books...

Here is the layouts of the cover and the binding...
the embellishments are canvas!!! Love them...

and from Close to My Heart!
My friend Lori delivered this to me yesterday and it was perfect for this project!!

I am not an expert, I am a novice, a newby! I can't wait for us to stand together as good stewards saying we indeed stood together, taught each other, learned from one another and helped each other save money and made friends while doing so. ((happy dance/excited)) Through this journey thus far, I have heard about coupon coffees, coupon swaps, coupon circles and I want to start some of these in our community. Wouldn't that be awesome! 

So, what is your notebook tip?

Hugs, Rita

Friday, March 9, 2012 | By: Rita Hutcheson-Cobbs

Lacto-fermentation...not my old way of canning vegetables and fruits...

Maria Brindle, our class instructor, and me with my
Lacto-fermented jar of Kimchi, beautiful! 
Now for the story of my adventure in pictures....

This is one of the beautiful scenes from the top of Maria's mountain.  As I drove, I was trying to remember how I heard about this class; I think it was through the beekeeper's workshop I attended at Auburn, but I'm not sure. 

As promised in thorough, regular emails, the sign is located by the mailbox...

My adventure begins...
This drive has been beautiful and relaxing...very much a respite...

It is going to be a great day! Look who welcomed me...
Chickens...loving it already...

The Brindle home is totally solar powered and the walls
are built from wheat not hay...

Our work stations are set up in the side entrance to the house...
perfect...the day is overcast but not hot at all...

Plenty of room to work,
but not so far apart that we can't
get to know others attending...

Charlotte (left), one I understand has great knowledge of seeds
and has a seed bank, and 
Pat (center), who rescues dogs and finds homes
for them, were helping Maria with the class today...

All of my things ready to go to work...

The living room of Maria's home
and our classroom area...

The kitchen...

The wood heater/stove just inside the kitchen...

One of the classmates washing the vegetables...

The side porch...
love the shoe rack and the feeder...
plus there was a swing and rocker that I enjoyed during our breaks.

The solar panels are just beyond the garden...

...a view of the garden...

The south side of the house receiving the most sun...

This was the most well organized class I have ever attended...
The work stations were adequate and we had plenty of room.

There was plenty of equipment provided as well as vegetables.

Maria and her husband, Alden, compost and use
everything they have...I loved watching the chickens
especially hash over our scraps from the vegetables.
Can't wait to get our chickens...

Another view of the raised gardens...

Maria teaching our class...
she also teaches yoga which she lightly brought into the class...

Maria showed several jars of the Lacto-fermentation of
various types of vegetables and how they are stored.
When I left, I felt very comfortable doing this myself and trying a 
variety of items and combinations.

Maria is explaining the traditional canning verses lacto-fermentation...

A sample of how thorough the notes I received...
I was soooo pleased with not only the step-by-step written instructions 
but the hands-on tutelage we received as well. 

Most of the cabbage came from the teachers gardens, 
but oh how my mouth was watering! I love to eat raw cabbage... 

Maria's husband made these and 
we used them to press our ingredients into the jars...

Salt was pre-measured for us and then seasoning was added...

Martha (left) and Maria...

Pat (left with head down), 
Martha (next to Pat)
...Charlotte (far right with black vest)

The "KNIFE", me and the pepper...

The mixture for the Baechu (Cabbage) Kimchi...

My mess lol...

The mixture after it set for about 20 minutes...
aren't the colors amazing!!!

The weigh station...

An amazing rosemary bush next to the kitchen door...wow!

We let the mixture set in the jar for 30 minutes...

...wrapped in a towel...

...while Maria was teaching the second portion of our class...
THIS was sitting behind us...LUNCH! ARGH...amazing smells of a wonderful lunch...
I think we didn't pay enough, people...

Someone was selling homemade soaps/laundry detergents and homegrown eggs..

After the mixture set for 30 minutes,
we pressed the mixture down...
Throughout the pressing process, Maria continually
demonstrated how to press by "showing" us on our own hands
the delicate process...this just added to my confidence of the hands on experience.

...brine was added...pressed a bit more...

...folded leaves were added to the top...

This keeps the mixture suppressed under the brine
and allows breathing room for the mixture... 

Then the air-lock system and lid is added...

...check out that color!!!

Again, Maria was an amazing teacher and 
very kind in helping everyone as were all the teachers...

Time for lunch...

Maria preparing the toppings for the soup...

As I said earlier, I think we got more than our portion of the fee we paid! WOW! It was an amazing day spent in an amazing setting with a very well planned class and lesson plan. There were so many tips passed out throughout the day that I carried home with me more than a simple recipe and how to create my own lacto-fermentation of Kimchi. I took home the new awareness of a lifestyle that I can adapt to my home in tiny ways that will impact my life for the better in not only food but in everyday life. I am very excited about that. I can't wait to share the results of this day in just 2 short weeks!!! =) Thanks, Maria, Charlotte, Pat and Martha...

Hugs, Rita

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