Make being mortgage free a top priority

Looking to save some money and pay off your mortgage quicker?  My husband and I recently renewed our mortgage early to take advantage of the low interest rates.  
We were at a variable rate when we got the mortgage and freaked when the rates rose and locked it in.  I know better.  I know that historically data shows that variable is the way to go.  We renewed our mortgage early to take advantage of the low rates available right now.  Despite paying a penalty we will still save approx $1,200 in interest during the 7 month period.

Did you know you can haggle with the bank and their rates?  Oh, yes you can and should!  We went through a mortgage broker who deals with several banks and got a reduction on our interest rate of 2.6%.  Our mortgage rate is just under 2%!

First off,  make an appointment with a mortgage broker.  They will find you the best possible deal for a variable rate.  If you are uncomfortable with a variable rate make sure you can lock in a rate at anytime during your term.  Some lenders will also pay a bit towards your penalty, offer cash back or rewards such as Airmiles.  Also check that your new lender does not increase your rate as soon as Bank of Canada hikes it.  We are with ING and they change rates every 3 months.

Second, make an appointment at the bank where your current mortgage is.  See what they can do for you.  If you don't like what they tell you find out how much the penalty is to move your mortgage.  Don't be afraid to break up with your bank!

Thirdly- Make bi-weekly payments.  Say you have a mortgage of $200,000 amortized over 25 years at a variable rate of 2.35%(ING's current rate) If you paid once per month your payment would be $881.06.  An accelerated bi-weekly rate would be $440.53 that works out to $954.48 which is an extra $73.42 per month.  By doing these accelerated payments you could possibly pay off your mortgage in 22.5 years instead of 25 and could save up to $26,000.  So ditch your take out coffee and throw that extra money on your mortgage!

Here are 2 scenarios.  These are for demonstration purposes, I know that the rate will not be 2.35% for a 25 year mortgage but would be nice!

Mortgage amount $200,000 25year, monthly payment $881.06
Period   Total Paid       Interest     Principal     Balance
Year 1  $10,572.74  $4,613.55  $5,959.19   $194,040.81
Year 2  $10,572.74  $4,472.69  $6,100.05   $187,940.76
Year 3  $10,572.74  $4,328.49  $6,244.24   $181,696.52
Year 4  $10,572.74  $4,180.89  $6,391.85   $175,304.67
Year 5  $10,572.74  $4,029.80  $6,542.94   $168,761.74
Year 6  $10,572.74  $3,875.14  $6,697.60   $162,064.14
Year 7  $10,572.74  $3,716.82  $6,855.92   $155,208.22
Year 8  $10,572.74  $3,554.76  $7,017.98   $148,190.24
Year 9  $10,572.74  $3,388.87  $7,183.87   $141,006.37
Year 10$10,572.74  $3,219.05  $7,353.68   $133,652.69
Year 11$10,572.74  $3,045.23  $7,527.51   $126,125.18
Year 12$10,572.74  $2,867.29  $7,705.44   $118,419.74
Year 13$10,572.74  $2,685.15  $7,887.59   $110,532.15
Year 14$10,572.74  $2,498.70  $8,074.03   $102,458.12
Year 15$10,572.74  $2,307.85  $8,264.89   $94,193.23
Year 16$10,572.74  $2,112.48  $8,460.25   $85,732.98
Year 17$10,572.74  $1,912.50  $8,660.24   $77,072.74
Year 18$10,572.74  $1,707.79  $8,864.95   $68,207.79
Year 19$10,572.74  $1,498.24  $9,074.50   $59,133.29
Year 20$10,572.74  $1,283.73  $9,289.00   $49,844.29
Year 21$10,572.74  $1,064.16  $9,508.58   $40,335.71
Year 22$10,572.74  $839.40     $9,733.34   $30,602.37
Year 23$10,572.74  $609.32     $9,963.42    $20,638.95
Year 24$10,572.74  $373.80     $10,198.93  $10,440.02
Year 2510,572.74    $132.72     $10,440.02        $0.00

Mortgage amount $200,000 25year, accelerated bi-weekly
 payment $440.53($954.48/month)
Period  Total Paid    Interest       Principal       Balance
Year 1 $11,453.80  $4,597.97  $6,855.82    $193,144.18
Year 2 $11,453.80  $4,435.91  $7,017.88    $186,126.29
Year 3 $11,453.80  $4,270.03  $7,183.77    $178,942.52
Year 4 $11,453.80  $4,100.21  $7,353.58    $171,588.94
Year 5 $11,453.80  $3,926.39  $7,527.41    $164,061.53
Year 6 $11,453.80  $3,748.46  $7,705.34    $156,356.19
Year 7 $11,453.80  $3,566.32  $7,887.48    $148,468.71
Year 8 $11,453.80  $3,379.87  $8,073.92    $140,394.78
Year 9 $11,453.80  $3,189.02  $8,264.78    $132,130.01
Year 10$11,453.80 $2,993.66  $8,460.14    $123,669.87
Year 11$11,453.80 $2,793.68  $8,660.12    $115,009.74
Year 12$11,453.80 $2,588.97  $8,864.83    $106,144.91
Year 13$11,453.80 $2,379.42  $9,074.38    $97,070.54
Year 14$11,453.80 $2,164.92  $9,288.88    $87,781.66
Year 15$11,453.80 $1,945.35  $9,508.45    $78,273.21
Year 16$11,453.80 $1,720.59  $9,733.21    $68,540.00
Year 17$11,453.80 $1,490.51  $9,963.28    $58,576.71
Year 18$11,453.80 $1,255.00  $10,198.80  $48,377.92
Year 19$11,453.80 $1,013.92  $10,439.88  $37,938.04
Year 20$11,453.80 $767.14     $10,686.66  $27,251.38
Year 21$11,453.80 $514.53     $10,939.27  $16,312.12
Year 22$11,453.80 $255.95     $11,197.85  $5,114.27
Year 23$5,143.49   $29.23       $5,114.27     $0.00


Fall fun @ Chudleigh's!

When I think of fall a few things come to mind. Walking through dry crunchy leaves, the smell of a wood fireplace, big orange pumpkins and eating lots and lots of apples!

My family and I recently spent a morning out at Chudleigh's apple farm.  The kids were so excited as we had never been there before!

As soon as we got there the kids wanted to visit the animals at the petting zoo.  Goats and camels and sheep (oh,my!)  There was also a donkey, ponies, llamas, a camel and our favorite, super friendly dogs named Mac&Tosh and Blossom.
The kids were laughing @ this guys bad hair day!

Yee Haw!!

A fun wagon ride through the orchard
The girls had lots of fun in the kid's play area.  There were "horse" tire swings,  a sand pit, a straw maze, 2 towers with a bridge and two 20' slides, tractor rides, pony rides, face painting and balloons.  All these fun activities were included in the entry fee except for the pony rides($3)

We were starting to get a bit hungry and ready for a sit down.  I though it was a perfect time to have our hot apple blossoms!  I have seen Chudleigh's apple blossoms in the  freezer section of the grocery store but have never had one.  Let me tell you I was not disappointed!  It was warm and buttery and flaky with lots of fresh apples and whipped cream.  MMMMmm

On the way out we purchased our apples.  There were so many varieties it was hard to choose.  We came home with gala and honey crisp apples and a container of buckwheat honey.  Guess what my kids wanted to make with the apples?  You guessed it, apple blossoms!

Pricing for 2010 as follows:
 Admission per person $7.00 (ages 4 and up)
Family of 4 $25.00
Additional person $5.00
Seniors $4.00
Special Needs $4.00
Bus Tours/ Home Day Care (moms and tots) $4.00 per person
Prices do not include HST - Prices subject to change
Children 3 and under - Free (Family Members Only)
Season's Pass - $75 (with tax $84.75)
Pony Rides $3
Pick Your Own – sold by weight

For more info about Chudleighs please visit their website

I was given a family pass to Chudleigh's to facilitated in the writing of this post. 


Healthy packed lunches, time to take the junk out of the lunch bag

O.K. parents out there.  What do you pack for your kids school lunches??  I volunteer occasionally at my children's school and see first hand what some of these kids are eating.  I must say it is absolutely unbelievable.

Our children are special and we want nothing but the best for them.  That being said, why is it some children get lunches made of things they are NOT real food?  I have seen a child who would get a large bag of marshmallows and a can of pop for lunch.  Guess what?  This child could not sit still and concentrate if their life depended on it.  Talk about impeding their ability to learn.

It really makes we wonder what these children are eating for breakfast.  Perhaps a large bowl a sugary cereal,  a chocolate chip muffin from Canada's fave coffee shop.  Ever check the food guides?  1 chocolate chip muffin can have 430 calories,  16g of fat, only 2 grams of fiber and 40 grams of sugar.  That's like giving your child about 8 teaspoons of sugar.  Talk about crash and burn.

Cooking is not rocket science.  Healthy food does not have to be expensive or take a lot of time to prepare.  

Healthy breakfast ideas
-Whole wheat toast, 1/2 bagel or English muffin w/nut butter & 1 cup 100% juice/fruit salad, yogurt or milk
-sliced fresh fruit and cottage cheese or fresh cheese (Danino)
-yogurt parfait made with a low sugar yogurt, fresh fruit and a bit of granola, nuts or seeds and ground flax seeds sprinkled on top(make the night before)
-Smoothie made with yogurt, milk, juice and fresh fruit, a few whole grain crackers with cheese or nut butter
-homemade muffins with added fiber(flax seed, whole wheat flour) low sugar, low fat with a banana and milk  
-scrambled egg with veggies(peppers, onions, broccoli) a sprinkle of cheese and wrap in a whole wheat tortilla

Healthy lunch ideas
Purchase a steel thermal food jar from Canadian tire when they go on sale and use your Canadian tire money stash.  You may have enough to get it free!  This gives you the option of packing hot and cold lunches.

-Leftover chili, soup or stew in a thermal jar(great in the winter)

-a sandwich on w/w bread or tortilla.  I freeze left over meat like sliced roast beef, chicken or pork for lunch sandwiches.  If I am purchasing deli meat I only purchase pre-packaged Maple Leaf Natural Selections (no preservatives) Load it up with fresh veggies & add a bit of cheese. Go easy on the fatty things like mayo & sub sauce. 

-pizza buns-top whole wheat buns with leftover pasta sauce or salsa.  Add toppings like leftover meat from dinner, fresh veg and cheese.  To cook broil a few minutes until the cheese is melted.  This is also great made with the whole wheat pocket-less pitas which are about $1 a bag at Food Basics.

-Pasta salad-Cook whole wheat penne pasta, toss with fresh veg, small cubes of cheddar cheese or feta and a homemade dressing or try Kraft's low fat sun dried tomato or Greek dressing.   

Let's talk Lunchables.  My kid's tell me that they have friends who take these everyday for lunch.  I have never purchased these and never will.  They are:
A) Costly  I think the regular ham, cheese & cracker one is about $2.49.  So a quick calculation of 2 kids X 5 days X 2.49 is $25 a week not including snacks, fruits drinks and veggies.  $100 bucks a month for garbage.   Ham, cheese & cracker combo has 340 calories, 170 calories from fat, yep it's 50% fat, gross! 19 grams of fat, almost 50% of the daily allowance of sodium and 1 measly gram of fiber.

B) They are processed looking and I don't know what some of the ingredients are, I'm not a scientist!!  My kids said they look like they are made of fake cheese and plastic ham.  I guarantee you they would not eat it if I packed it for them!

I could make a healthy homemade lunch with all snacks, drink, fruit and veggies for 1 month for much less than that!  

2 loaves w/w bread @ $1.39 each $2.78
1 Natural Selections ham w/coupon $2.49
1 Natural Selections turkey w/coupon $2.49
2 lettuce $2
4 cucumber $4
3 red peppers from local farm $1.50
10lb apples from a local farm $10
4 oranges $3.50
bananas 2 small bunches $4
5-6lb plums/nectarines $6
kiwi 3/$1
organic carrots 1 bag on sale $2
organic celery w/coupon $2.50
4lb pears $3.50
yogurt on sale w/ coupons $10.50
1 brick low fat cheddar $4.44
soy milk on sale w/ coupons @ 2.74 each $5.48
2 boxes whole grain Melba rounds@ bread outlet $2.40
Homemade Hummus about $2.50
1 batch macaroni salad (dressing & noodles on sale + coupons) about $4.50
homemade pita pizza-pitas ($1),1/2 pack veggie peperoni($1.50),1/2 small jar salsa($1.25) & 1/3 lg brick of cheese on sale(1.50)  $5.25 for 6 mini pizzas
Homemade low fat high fiber zucchini, pumpkin and cranberry/orange loaf about $10
100% fruit juice 2 frzn O.J. w/ added calcium and Vit D $3.78
1 can 100% apple juice $1
leftovers in thermal jar a few days of the month

Grand Total $97.61 for lunches for 2 kids for the month including snacks, fruit, veggies, yogurt, soy milk and juice.  Far better then the $100 just for Lunchables, not including any snacks, fruit or drinks.  The good thing is you can read all the ingredients

I have seen the overweight children and the lunches eat at school.  Believe it or not a chicken nugget Happy Meal with fries and pop or a slice of pizza and a can of pop brought to the children at lunchtime is a staple for some.  It is not only a waste of time, money and energy but contributes to the rapid decline of your child's health.

These are just a few ideas to get you thinking in the healthier direction.  Check out site like Canadian Living http://www.canadianliving.com/food/ and Jamie's Food Revolution for more great food ideas! The possibilities are endless.   Try to buy local, in season produce to save some money.  Check your local flyers, use coupons and try to prepare as much food as you can rather then paying a company to do it for you.  Feed your children real food and you will see a difference in their health, their ability to concentrate and excel in school.


Spc deals! Double the discount

Back in July I told you about the SPC VIP card.  You don't need to be a student to get this Student Price Card but, you must get it through LouLou magazine.

For the first time ever it will take place for TWO DAYS.
the following retailers will DOUBLE their SPC Card DISCOUNTS!

20% off regular and sale prices.

20% off regular and sale priced merchandise.

20% off regular & sale items. Excludes markdowns/fragrances*

20% off regular and sale prices.

Aldo Accessories
20% off regular and sale prices.

Aldo Outlet
20% off regular and sale prices.

American Eagle Outfitters
20% off regular and sale priced merchandise.


30% off regular price and 10% off sale price.

20% off regular and sale prices.

20% off regular and sale prices.

Buffalo David Bitton
20% off regular and sale prices.

Champs Sports
30% off regular price and 10% off sale price.

Costa Blanca

20% off regular and sale prices. Excludes outlet stores.

Costa Blanca X
20% off regular and sale prices.

30% off regular and sale prices.
30% de rabais sur le prix régulier et en vente.

20% off regular and sale prices.

French Connection
20% off regular price.

Foot Locker
30% off regular price & 10% off sale price.

George Richards
20% off regular and reduced product.

Jean Machine
20% off regular and sale prices.

20% off regular price & 10% off sale price.*    

20% off regular and sale prices.

Lucky Brand Jeans
30% off regular price and 10% off sale price.

30% off regular price and 10% off sale price.

30% off regular price.

20% off regular and sale prices.

Shoe Warehouse
20% off regular price & 10% off sale price.*    

20% off regular and sale prices.

20% off regular and sale prices.

20% off regular price & 10% off sale price.*    

20% off regular and sale prices.

The Body Shop
$10.00 off $20.00 purchase.*

Tip Top Tailors
20% off regular and reduced product.

20% off regular and sale prices.

Urban Behavior
20% off regular and sale prices.

Urban Planet
20% off regular and sale prices.

Warehouse One
20% off regular, sale and clearance merchandise.*

*Terms and conditions may apply. Offers only valid for SPC Card and BMO SPC MasterCard holders
on September 25 & 26, 2010. 


Sears Coupon Codes-Expire Dec 31, 2010

mount pre tax         Code               Deal
         $75                  941612075     $10 off (reg or sale priced footwear, luggage, accessories,  housewares,lighting and bad and bath fashions when you use your sears credit cards)
         $100                941612074     $15 off(reg or sale priced footwear, luggage, accessories,  housewares,lighting and bad and bath fashions when you use your sears credit cards)
         $250                941612073     $15 off(reg or sale priced furniture, sleep sets, major appliances, snow blowers, hardware & fitness equipment when you use your sears credit cards)

Spend $250 or more pre tax and receive 2,500 sears club points!(that's a $25 bonus!) 941622897

Click here to visit Sears


New products available in your dairy case!

Yum!  In my household we eat a lot of yougurt. And when I say a lot I mean about 20-30 individual containers a week!  Astro is my usual brand because I find that it's not to sweet, comes in flavors that the whole family enjoys and I can usually find it on sale or have coupons for it.  I have tried out the new Astro BioBest  Plant Sterols yougurt and can attest that not only is it very tasty and affordable but it's also really good for you!   Please read below for more info.

The First Probiotic Yogourt With the Benefit of Lowering Cholesterol

Parmalat Canada is excited to announce the launch of Astro BioBest Plant Sterols yogourt to Canadians, the first and only probiotic yogourt available in Canada that offers a healthy and delicious option to consumers managing their cholesterol levels.
Each 100g serving of BioBest Plant Sterols probiotic yogourt is enriched with 50 per cent of the daily amount of plant sterols recommended to help lower your cholesterol. The daily amount of plant sterols shown to help reduce cholesterol in adults is 2g(1) which equates to an individual having to consume 100 pounds of raw vegetables daily or just two servings of BioBest Plant Sterols yogourt.
"Whether it's preventing the onset or finding ways to lower it, managing cholesterol is no easy feat," says Parmalat Canada President & CEO Nash Lakha. "Our goal at Parmalat Canada is to be able to provide consumers with a simple, everyday food that's easily incorporated into their diet with the added bonus of a functional ingredient that specifically lowers cholesterol, which is a significant factor in heart disease."
Health Canada warns that approximately 50 per cent of Canadians aged 20 to 79 have high cholesterol(2), one of the main risk factors for heart disease, and recently approved the addition of plant sterols to a variety of select foods in May 2010(3). Plant sterols are found naturally in vegetables, fruits, vegetable oils, legumes, nuts and grains and compete with cholesterol transporters in the body which help block the absorption of cholesterol into the blood stream and reduce build up along the walls of our arteries.
"Clinical studies on sterols, such as those used in our yogourt, have been conducted, proving that sterols significantly lower cholesterol levels," says Parmalat Canada President & CEO Nash Lakha. "It's exciting to have the ability to harness active ingredients found naturally in vegetables and fruits and incorporate them into other foods so that consumers can benefit in ways that weren't possible before."
Eating BioBest Plant Sterols yogourt everyday, combined with a healthy diet and exercise, can help manage cholesterol levels while maintaining regular eating habits. A reduction in cholesterol of approximately 10% may be achievable(4)
BioBest Plant Sterols yogourt is available in Canada wherever Astro BioBest products are sold, in the popular single serve multipack format in four delicious flavours (strawberry, blueberry, vanilla and raspberry). More information can be found at www.astro.ca

 I usually purchase soy milk for myself and was asked to try out Almond fresh almond milk.  It is made with California Almonds, comes in unsweetened, original and vanilla flavors, is lactose free, low fat, cholesterol free, and an excellent source of calcium, Vitamin D, Vitamin E, and rich in antioxidants. 

I purchased the vanilla and was anxious to try it out!  It made a really good morning latte.  The almond milk has a slightly nutty flavor and is not too sweet.  I will be trying out the unsweetened variety next for cereal and soup.


Benefits of Almond Fresh!

Low Fat & Cholesterol Free:
Almonds can lower cholesterol as part of a diet low in saturated fat.
Excellent Source of Calcium and Vitamin D:
Almonds play an essential role in bone health.
Source of Vitamin E:
Almonds are one of the leading food sources of vitamin E, which supports immunity and healthy skin.
The vitamin E found in almonds (alpha-tocophenol) is the most easily absorbed antioxidant known. It protects cells from oxidation by removing free radicals, which contribute to aging.

With the launch of Almond Fresh’s new website, the Video Contest is gearing up to give away over $2000 worth of prizes, including 2 stylish cruiser bikes, iPods, and digital cameras. Anyone is able to enter our contest, and contestants who submit a video of their Fresh Idea will receive 10 additional chances to win.

The contest is only one cool aspect of the website – check out the delicious recipes and learn more about the benefits of drinking Almond Fresh.

If you would like to try out almond milk be sure to go to the website and print out the $1 off coupon!

 just so we're clear.  I received coupons to try out the above products.  The above is my honest opinion of the products in this review.


Helpful websites for great advice and money saving quotes

There are so many great information sites on the web.  I am looking into getting quotes for our house insurance, vehicles insurance and medical insurance since our policy went up a bit and is going to expire soon.  

Doing something like this use to be a real pain but thanks to the internet you can simply visit a website and get instant quotes for business insurance health coverage,  business insurance quotes for U.S. quotes.  For Canadian quotes I would recommend using  getinsurancequotes.ca or kanetix.ca.  The last time I purchased travel insurance I visited several websites but found the beat deal through cheapticketscanada.com.

The great thing about most of these sites is that they quote several different products such as travel insurance, life insurance, car insurance and home insurance.  Some sites even do mortgage rate quotes as well.

For those of you reading this who have kids we all know that medical issues come up from time to time.  It could be anything ranging from seasonal allergies to fever.  Another great site to check out for lots of free useful information is WebMD.  I find when problems arise it is usually in the middle of the night so having some medical information available 24/7 is very, very useful.  Of course, contact your health care professional for further instruction with all health and medical issues.


Have you started your christmas shopping yet?

I was looking at the calendar this morning.  Fall is 2 weeks from today and Christmas is 107 days away.  I do have a few things already purchased for Christmas gifts but still have a ways to go. 

For Christmas I prefer to give homemade gifts or gifts that have something to do with the recipients personality or likes.   I think that the person on the receiving end appreciates the efforts and personalization of such a gift!

This year I was thinking of getting my kids custom t-shirts  My youngest is obsessed with our poodle.  If I could find a shirt with a tan coloured poodle like our Rusty she absolutely would may wear it every day!  My oldest loves horses.  I am sure it will be no problem at all to find a horse t-shirt for her.

My husband recently broke his travel mug and the one he is using right now doesn't fit well in our cup holders.   I'm sure I could find him a unique one for Christmas. P.S.~when you place your travel mug on the roof of the car to unlock the door don't drive away with it on the roof!

I was recently going through some photos and thought that a 12 month calendar with a different picture of the kids for each month would be a great gift for the grandparents.   It may take a while to chose 12 perfect pictures.  Since I only have 107 days left I better get started!

Don't forget- to help save you money on your Christmas shopping check for 
online coupons ,deals and money saving forums for the latest money saving scoop! 


Brand Sampler is up!

Head on over to P&G Brandsampler to get your freebies before they are gone!  I am receiving a full size febreeze plug-in, Head & Shoulders shampoo and conditioner 50ml sample, Pantene 50ml sample shampoo and conditioner, Crest3d white strips advanced sample, scope 44ml sample, Always samples and secret body spray 29ml, Tide acti-lift 1 use sample

Brand Saver coupons are available today!  These coupons should be available in newspapers this weekend as well.



Summer produce-processing for winter

Yes, it's that time of year. Nights are getting cooler and fresh produce is available in abundance!

I love to go to a local farm near me and purchase fresh produce. When I say fresh I mean FRESH as in picked an hour ago.

Yesterday the kids and I ventured out to the farm and here is what we purchased:
1 bushel of pick-your-own roma tomatoes $10
4 super huge green peppers @ .50 each  $2
2 large broccoli @ .75 picked while we were there!   $1.50
2 spaghetti squash @ 1.00 1 weighs 4 lbs!    $2
1 butternut squash @ .40/LB ours weighed 4 lbs! $1.60
A great deal for a little over $17!     

Now what I am going to do with all this?  Yesterday the kids and I made a large batch of chili sauce with 3 3lt baskets I had at home already.  I used 1 of our large green peppers too.  I canned 10 jars which should do for the year.

I plan on canning the bushel of tomatoes tomorrow and welcome the cooler weather since the house will get hotter than Haiti. If the rain holds off my plan is to cook and jar the tomatoes in the house then to process them outside.  We have a side burner on our BBQ which is hard to regulate the heat on but OK for boiling the canning pot.    

I will do some as crushed tomatoes with lemon juice added, some as whole tomatoes with Italian seasonings added to the jars and some with Mexican seasonings such as cumin, oregano and chili pwd. 1 bushel isn't nearly enough to last until next year but it will do.

I usually use 2 methods for storing peppers.  I like to go to the farm and get fresh green and red peppers.  I then wash then up and chop them finely in the food processor.  By chopping them finely some of the juices are released from them and allows the cube to be a solid block.  I then scoop the peppers into ice cube trays to freeze.  Once frozen I put the pepper cubes in a freezer bag.  When I need peppers I can just pop a few cubes into what ever I am cooking.

For red peppers we usually roast them on the BBQ until the skins are charred.  We then place them in a container with a lid and let it sit for 10 minutes.  The steam will help you loosen the black charred skin.  Once all the skin is removed I then remove the stem and seeds and slice the peppers into strips.  I lineup the strips on a piece of parchment paper and roll it up and pop it into a freezer bag.  When I need some I just unroll the parchment and remove what I need.


My kids absolutely love squash.  They will eat 2 or 3 helpings at a time. In early October I purchase 2 bushels of assorted squash. (usually a mix of sweet potato, butternut and pepper squash)  I put all 3 racks in my oven and bake them all.  I then mash them all together and freeze them in margarine/yogurt containers I have kept through out the year.  I may do 3 bushels this year since 2 bushels usually only lasts us until late January.

Other items that I can yearly with produce from my own garden or produce purchased at the farm are- 
-Pickled yellow beets 
-peach pie filling
-strawberry rhubarb pie filling
-rhubarb juice
-crab apple jelly
-assorted jams(strawberry, rhubarb pineapple, apple marmelade)
-pumpkin butter
-oriental plum sauce
-pickled asparagus spears

Happy canning!  If you have any canning questions please leave a comment below or email me.