Well we are doing it - we are selling our beloved carriage house and the front house too (because they can't be split and belong together). Check out my journey of renovations on this blog. It all starts with the before photos, during photos, and finally After-part 1 and After-part 2! An adventure I will always be grateful for. Let's see where the next adventure is. . .stay tuned! Here are more details. . .

Keep up to date on my classes and events at www.tinatames.com!

Scratch Cooking Workshop at Asa Ransom House- October 13th

Scratch cooking can be so easy and rewarding with the right recipes and guidance. Go back to basics and learn how to cook from scratch – saving money and most importantly – feed yourself and your family with non processed foods.

In this daylong workshop you will learn the staples of scratch cooking from breakfast to late night snack. This includes fresh baked bread, grandma’s macaroni & cheese, chicken noodle soup, stovetop popcorn, brownie sundaes and more. We will also sample all of our finished products!  Join us in the kitchen of this nationally acclaimed Inn for this fun and delicious day of cooking!

Your instructor – Tina Tompkins Ames – Owner/lifestyle blogger of www.CourageousChick.com and healing art company Artsy Inspirations (www.artsyinspirations.com). Tina teaches many classes throughout NY State on food, gardening and arts /crafts.

Date – Monday, October 13th, 10am-3pm,

Where – Asa Ransom House Inn & Restaurant
10529 Main Street
Clarence, New York (NY) 14031

Cost - $39.95 prepaid (by 9/13) $49.95(9/14 and after) includes all supplies, handouts and refreshments. Call Asa Ransom House at 716-759-2315 to reserve your spot.  For questions email your instructor at ttames@roadrunner.com . Class size is limited to 15 – so don’t delay!

 Cancellation fee $10

This is from last year . . .but feelings are the same :)
All I want is simple from my two sons . . . no fancy dinners or presents needed . . .  

Be one of the kind people in the world . . .give your seat up for the elderly man on the subway,  smile at the baby at the grocery checkpoint, hold the door for the person right behind you coming out of the bank, shovel the sidewalk for the elderly women next door, pet the dog when you walk by.  

Don’t be afraid of love. Don’t chase it down – but accept it when it finds you.  There is nothing like it – even if you get hurt – it’s worth it. 

Honor the earth.  Do your part to keep it healthier for the next generation.  Recycle, save water, plant a garden – but most of all – appreciate that beautiful flower and intricate snowflake and see that things like that don’t happen on their own . . And there is a higher power. 

Do what you enjoy and have a passion for – not what makes the most money.  Follow the scenario “If money wasn’t an option- what would I do.”  Believe me – it is worth it – and the money does come. 

Give to others – whether it is time, food, a room or whatever you can at the time that does not jeopardize your situation. Give what you can – it comes back to you. But – give unconditionally – with no expectations. That’s how it works – and your gift back will be a surprise when you need it. 

Take time to do nothing. Remember when you said “I’m bored” when you were little – and I said "good" . . . that’s what I mean. Take the time for your mind to rest and rejuvenate.  

Be responsible for your actions.  If you say something mean – apologize, buy something – pay for it, make a mess – clean it up 

That’s all I want for Mother’s Day – but from what I see so far – I already have it!

Eating well is hard . . . and the rules keep changing on the news. Something that was good for you this week is now bad and vice versa.  I try to block the noise of the media and eat what I enjoy and, most importantly, doesn’t make me feel like crap after eating it. I am going to give you the details on what I buy every week in our household. I spend $5 a day for myself, my husband and my 11 year old Jack Russell mix(I make her food). More details on my recipes can be found throughout this blog and more to come. The most important advice I can give is to start scratch cooking. It only takes a minute more and it has less chemicals and additives. For example - Dried rice from a bag actually looks like rice compared to Minute rice. Less processing, less expensive . . . and only takes a few minutes to put a pot on the stove to last all week (freezes well too). OK – getting off on a tangent – but back to basics. I shop at Aldis and Wegmans.  We have a coffee addiction in our house – so the cost for coffee/creamer is a big part of it (plus –my sons visiting drink the coffee on a daily basis too). What can I say – it is our only vice (well maybe cheese too). Another staple – we  have to have chicken parmesan with pasta (homemade sauce) on Friday night . . . it is a tradition! That is why I say I am eating well and grateful for it! I do have an organic garden that helps – but you don’t have to for this budget. When I have the veggies coming in the summer – I save even more on the groceries. As far as take out is concerned - we do eat it on Saturdays and spend $20. Hey - we are human after all and need some greasy goodness!

Here is the weekly breakdown: $35 a week- food only

 Aldis -$25

Every week items– $13

  •                 Half & Half -2
  •                 Fresh fruit- 1
  •                 Breads-English Muffins/rolls - 1
  •                 Breakfast-Muffins /breakfast bars-2
  •                 Veggies-2
  •                 Meat- 5

Every other week items–$5

  •                 Mozzarella Cheese-3.50
  •                 Parmesan / Cheddar Cheese – 2.50
  •                 Sugar – 1.50
  •                 Butter -2.50

Once a month items - $5

  • Frozen Chicken Breast-fried 5
  • Canned items/dressings -3
  • Baking supplies- Flour, pumpkin, spices, cocoa, bouillon, etc-2
  • Peanut Butter- 2
  • Dried rice. Beans, mash pot.-1
  • Drinks – milk, drink mixes-3
  • Oils – Olive/ Vegetable Oil-2
  • Cereals/Cream of wheat, oats -2

Every week misc. & sales- $2

Wegmans- $10

  • Wegmans French Roast Coffee – 33 oz – 5.99
  • Wegmans Pasta -.69
  • Wegmans Eggs – 1.50
  • Misc-$1.80- coffee filters, coupon items