Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Book Review: Pocketful Of Pinecones

I was a little apprehensive when I started reading it. I struggle with having my children do a Nature Study. I don't really understand how it actually works.  I think I am nature challenged to be honest. I have taken my children for their Nature Walks, but I don't really know how to direct them on what to put in their notebooks so we end up just quitting on them. I really WANT to do better. I just don't have an interest in it and so I struggle because I have no clue as to what to look for. It does NOT come natural for me. 

So this book has encouraged me to TRY AGAIN with the Nature Walks when the weather will allow that is. Maybe I can beat the monster this time huh?

Monday, January 28, 2013

DIY Shower Cleaner

We have TERRIBLE hard water. We are trying out a new system called ScaleRID for our hard water INSTEAD of a water softener. The water still smells bad, but the ickies don't stick. 

Frugal Bathtub Scrub

Vinegar
Dawn
Fillable Dishes Scrubber

Fill the Scrubber with 1/2 of each.  Scrub away... 
Here are the results for us. With enough elbow grease the rust is MOVING. YAY!

DIY Dishwasher Detergent

I have been TRYING to find one that beats the $1 store boxes. Well, the boxes at the $1 store got SMALLER a few months back. So now I am trying to find something AGAIN.  One of the groups I am in had a GREAT recipe for one that I thought I would try.  The verdict,  my daughter claims it works BETTER than the $1 store boxes. I think the price is about 1/2. Not as good as I hoped, but hey progress. Some day I hope I can find a recipe for the liquid kind rather than the powder.

Frugal Dishwasher Detergent

1 tsp Oxyclean
SMALL dot of Dawn

Vinegar in rinse container

Wash. Enjoy sparkling clean dishes.




Book Review: Cut Your Grocery Bill in Half

I thought the book was very good. I have pretty much tried just about every suggestion in the book. There are a few things I haven't tried I will admit. Not sure I will either.

The most interesting things about the book was it's title bragging that you won't have to use coupons to be able to save HALF of your grocery book. But IN the book they talk about using coupons?  I use coupons myself so it isn't that I oppose using them, I just thought the title was mis-leading. I was hoping it would help me do better WITHOUT coupons. I don't really think I can do much better than I already do.

They also talked about doing Once A Month Cooking or OAMC.  I really enjoyed doing it with the 3 different groups I was in. And every time I read up on it I wish I could do it again. I wish I had more friends that would be interested in it.  It is difficult to pull off by yourself, especially with 5 kids "helping". 

All in all I would recommend this books just for the IDEAS they presented. Things most people probably would not have thought of.

Walgreens Jan 28, 2013

I am  not sure WHY, but I am again doing the Walgreens Game. I keep kicking myself for doing it, but I do it anyway. UGH. They have GREAT deals, but I hate multiple transactions. Today, even though I know the rules I ran into a NEW one I didn't remember. "sigh" I ended up just cancelling part of it and doing it again.


So today's roll cost me less than $3 and I ended up with a bottle of vitamins, 2 bottles of dawn, 4 bags chex mix, 1 pencil, and 2 papers... (forgot to put them in the picture). Not too bad.  Now I want to go back and get a few combos and some more Dawn. I prefer Dawn so when I can find a deal I am all over it. :-)

So I still have some RR to roll again next week... yay... I mean I hope I am happy about it. "snicker"

Piggly Wiggly Jan 27, 2013

Piggly Wiggly had a great deal on Salsa this week. I only wish I had a few more $ get a few more jars of salsa. We easily eat a jar at one sitting with 6 of us. And when salsa in under $1 a jar, I like to stock up. $.69 is a good price. :-)

So for $14, I ended up with 11 jars of salsa, 4 cans tomatoes and chilies, 1 pkg chicken drumsticks, 2 loaves of bread, 1 bag of oranges, 2 bags taters, and a bunch of bananas.

Shopping at Festival 1/27/2013

I missed out on the deal at Piggly Wiggly last week, so I just scored the deal at Festival instead. Not as good as Pig, but I still got a few things things.


I payed $22 for 6 apples, bag of bananas, 4 pkg cream cheese, 4 pkg shredded cheese, 8 boxes of cereal and 2 boxes of granola bars.

DIY Colored Sugar





I hate spending so much $ on colored sugars to decorate Christmas cookies. Quite frankly I just didn't buy any and we never decorated cookies. I get worse mom award I know. Well in December of this year a friend posted this link and it had a recipe to make your own colored sugar. I was so excited.

So Friday we embarked on our quest to conquer colored sugars. And it worked great. The ONLY real issue is that the purple did not turn out as nice as we would have liked. We used almost all the sugars up decorating our left over Christmas cookies for pennies instead of $2 a bottle a bottle. I think I paid about $1 for ALL the sugars we colored. Maybe even less. No more store bought colors for us. And i am sure we will be decorating cookies more often!


 

Colored Sprinkled Sugar

Ziplock Bags
Food Coloring
Granulated Sugar

I put 3 heaping Tablespoons in each bag with the 2 squirts of the coloring.  I then gave the bag to my kids and they "played" around with the sugar in the bag until it was all mixed. 



As you can see even my 3 yr old was able to join in on the fun.


Egg Sandwiches



 This is NOT my recipe.  My husband makes the BEST Egg sandwiches in the world. He made them for me a few days ago and I decided to do some bragging on my chef.








He starts out my booking the eggs in his FAVORITE pan with olive oil.  Then cheese. He usually has Colby cheese. YUM.  2 slices of bread and some bologna make it perfect. He slathers on some Mayo and mustard for good measure.










The Master Chef and his gourmet sandwiches. YUM!





Jealous??? This is one of the best sandwiches ever.  I had it on Rye bread this time. First time ever. It is a GREAT addition to the PERFECT sandwich.

Weekly Goals for 1/28 - 2/3 2013

How I did with LAST week's Goals

Homemaking
Continue to work on soda kefir -I am still culturing them in water -Decided to buy the water ones after all. I really think converting isn't going to work.
Finish Kitchen Challenge for the week - Done 
Make colored sugar and frost cookies with them- DONE!


Family/Relationships/Ministries/Marriage
Game Night - DONE
Write a note - DONE

Personal
Memorize Ps: 1:1-4 - I am done with 2 verses so far
Start reading: Pocketful of Pinecones, Cheapest Family in America, October Song, Cut Your Grocery Bill in Half, Life Without Limits, and Life Without Limits, Almost Home, John, Shadows On Stoney Creek, Frisky, and James Harriot's Treasury for Children.   - Finished 2!
Keep up with Reading Through the Bible Ex.17- DONE
Walk/Run 3 days a week - DONE

Blogging
Menu, Book review, Coupon Trip, Recipe, and weekly goals - DONE!


What I want to accomplish THIS week

Homemaking

Finish Kitchen Challenge for the week
Make Pita Bread


Family/Relationships/Ministries/Marriage
Game Night
Write a note
Finish up dates with children 

Personal
Finish Memorizing Ps: 1:1-4
Finish reading: Pocketful of Pinecones, October Song, Life Without Limits, and Life Without Limits,Almost Home, John, Shadows On Stoney Creek, Frisky, and James Harriot's Treasury for Children.   
Keep up with Reading Through the Bible Ex.33- Lev 13
Walk/Run 3 days a week

Blogging
Menu, Book review, Coupon Trip, Recipe, and weekly goals 

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Weekly Menu 1/29 - 2/3 2013

Another week just flew by. WOW!  So busy that I hardly had time to make all the meals I wanted to. :-) Another try this week.

Breakfast:
Muffins - Blackberry/Banana with chocolate chips
Broccoli Quiche
Kefir/Yogurt
Cereal/Oatmeal
Breakfast Burritos

Lunch:
Lasagna with Green Beans/Tators and Garlic Bread
Chicken drumsticks with Southwest Salad
Bean and Beef Burritos with Mexican Corn Salad
Beans and Cornbread with all the fixings
Potato Bar with all the fixings

Supper: all soup served with Garlic Bread, biscuits, and/or crackers
Chili
Split Pea and Ham
Chicken Chili
Aarti's Lentil Soup
Garden Veggie Soup

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Book review: America's Cheapest Family

I have wanted to read this book for at least 2 years. But I was always too cheap to buy it. And for some really silly reason I never thought to get it from the library.

There is so much in the book. I think I could read it several times and still miss things. Talk about frugal... I thought I was... with the few things I can be.  It is so neat to see them as a couple and family work together to be frugal. That is something rare that you really don't see now days.

The few things I hope I improve. Making lists and sticking with it better. Being more frugal about shopping trips and activities I do etc.  I also loved the ideas for chores/rewards.  Also the ideas for how much to put away and for what things. Some times I had thought of, some not.

A good read, even if you are already thrifty. Trust me, they ARE thriftier. LOL!

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Weekly Goals for 1/21-1/27 2013

Homemaking
Continue to work on soda kefir -I am still culturing them in water
Finish Kitchen Challenge for the week
Make colored sugar and frost cookies with them


Family/Relationships/Ministries/Marriage
Game Night

Write a note

Personal
Memorize Ps: 1:1-4

Start reading: Pocketful of Pinecones, Cheapest Family in America, October Song, Cut Your Grocery Bill in Half, Life Without Limits, and Life Without Limits,Almost Home, John, Shadows On Stoney Creek, Frisky, and James Harriot's Treasury for Children.
Keep up with Reading Through the Bible Ex.17-

Walk/Run 3 days a week

Blogging
Menu, Book review, Coupon Trip, Recipe, and weekly goals

How I did on LAST week's Goals!

Homemaking
Strain Pumpkin - DONE and also CANNED!

Continue to work on soda kefir -I am still culturing them in water - Still working

Finish Kitchen Challenge for the week - DONE!

Make Chicken Dump bags for the Crock Pot - DONE!

Make muffins for freezer - DONE only we ate them. LOL!

Family/Relationships/Ministries/Marriage
Game Night - could not find our game...

Write a note - totally forgot. Oops.

Personal
Memorize Ps: 1:1-4 - Still working. I really struggle with memorization.

Finish Reading A Woman’s Place - DONE!

Keep up with Reading Through the Bible Gen 29-Ex.16 - DONE!

Walk/Run 3 days a week - DONE!

Blogging
Menu, Book review, Coupon Trip, Recipe, and weekly goals - DONE!

Friday, January 18, 2013

Book Review A Woman's Place by Lynn Austen


The title was almost intimidating for me. I really thought it would be very much a Woman have to stay in their place so to speak book. I was pleasantly surprised though, as I am sure you will be if you get a chance to read the book. :-)

The book is almost 450 pages. I can't remember the last time I read a book that was 100 pages, let alone 450!  The book moved a little slow in the beginning, but picked up after a while. The book covered the lives of 4 different woman. From totally different backgrounds and walks of life.  Some Christian and some not.

I think the person who stuck out the most to me was Helen. A teacher who came from a well of family, but was not happy. Just goes to show that money can't buy happiness.

The part of the book that impressed me the most was oddly enough the way the woman were allowing men to treat them. I really do not understand why anyone would want to marry someone who insisted that you MUST do what I want. I am sorry, but this quality isn't going to sell many people these days. If woman or man can't allow each other to be what they feel they need to be that is not going to work. That is the beauty of love. Being able to give and serve each other. I think that is a hard quality to find these days in the ME generation. 


Book Review: Unglued by Lysa TerKeurst

I really enjoyed Unglued. The cover alone had me in stitches. If I my purse was big enough I think I would be doing that.  I could really relate to her sticky situations that resulted in her becoming Unglued. 

One of things that made me think the most is about the sabbath. In our day and age we run from the minute our toes hit the floor until we drop into bed at night. No WONDER we become unglued on the silliest things.  The story about her son had me jealous. How in the world can someone not have ANYTHING on their mind. I can't imagine what that is like. I sure wish I could do that. I would fall asleep trying to think of nothing.

I hope I can follow more of her suggestions in taking a sabbath... ie Sunday to rest. Not make myself run ragged to accomplish everything. There is no reason that I can't get everything ready on Friday or Saturday for Sunday. Just sitting back and enjoying my family instead. If I don't plan ahead by the time Monday rolls around I am already unglued because I have no menu or plan to get things done that week!

Broccoli Veggie Salad


I have not made this salad in so many years. I think it has been over 8 years. It is so simple and easy, but GOOD!

Broccoli Veggie Salad
1 sm head of broccoli chopped into bite sized pieces
1 sm head of cauliflower chopped into bite sized pieces
4 carrots chopped
1/2 can olives sliced
4 radishes chopped
1 celery stalk chopped
1/2 onion chopped
1/2 cup Wishbone Italian Dressing

Combine and chill for 1/2 hour. ENJOY!

Beloved Olive Garden Salad

I think I could seriously just LIVE on their salad.. How about you?  Ever try making it yourself? I have.  It is now part of our menu. We eat it several times a month. So are you ready for my recipe???

Michelle's Olive Garden Salad

Salad
1 head of iceberg lettuce, torn
1 small red onion sliced
Dozen Black olives sliced
2-4 Pepperoncini
1/2 cup Croutons
8 cherry tomatoes halved
1/2 cup Kraft Italian Cheese Blend cheese



Chill one salad bowl in freezer for at least 30 minutes. Place bag of salad in bowl. Place on top of the lettuce the red onion, black olives, pepperoncinis, tomatoes, and croutons. Add some freshly grated Parmesan cheese if you like, and add plenty of Olive Garden Salad Dressing on top. Recipe below


Dressing:

1/2 cup Mayo
1/3 cup White Vinegar
1 Tbsp. Vegetable oil
2 Tbsp. Maple Syrup or Honey
4 Tbsp. Kraft Italian cheese
1/2 tsp Garlic salt or clove
1/2 tsp Italian Seasoning
1/2 tsp. Parsley Flakes
1 Tbsp. Lemon Juice
Instructions: 
1. Combine salad ingredients and toss.
2. Whirl all dressing ingredients in the blender and pour over salad, coating well. Toss if desired. Sprinkle parmesan cheese over top and serve.

All about Pumpkins

One Pumpkin's Adventure to the Canning Jar

We tried to grow pumpkins this year. But I got 1 loan pumpkin and a few gourds. Ooops. Not sure what happened there. We normally get pumpkins from our CSA, but with the drought this year we didn't even get 1. It has now been 2 years since we had pumpkins. So instead I went trash hunting for pumpkins. I found only 1 this year. And my husband bought the kids 1 loan pumpkin that we cooked up this year. So... the ode to the pumpkin... Murphy style.


I start by cutting up the poor babies... and the kids are sad. Hehe. I usually just rinse the seeds and bake them... that recipe for another day.  I borrowed my mom's steamer and steamed the pumpkin. It takes about 1 hour to cook up the babies. I had to do it in 2 batches. That pumpkin was BIG.  Once it is cooled I can easily slide the skin off the pulp.


Then on to the strainer, where the boys exercise their muscles to get the finest pumpkin puree.They think it is GREAT fun to strain the pumpkin. Don't tell them that it isn't because I have it MADE. I never strain tomatoes either. THEY DO!  One of the BEST perks to have boys. They like to do things that require muscles. hehe



I put the jars in the dishwasher to be ready for the pumpkin. Hot jars and hot pumpkin are READY.  Now I boiled the lids in water, and started the water bath on the stove, since it takes about 20 minutes to get the water boiling. 


I put the puree in the crock pot to make sure it stays hot.    I use a funnel to put the pumpkin in the jars. Without is a mess. Don't try it! 
 My mom bought me this wonderful canning set a few years ago. It has a funnel and one of those magnet things to get the lids out of the water without dropping them or burning yourself. AWESOME invention. EVERY canner should have one.





 I wipe the jars down with the a wash cloth and then add the lid with my magnetic tool and ad the ring. Now all ready for the canner.  Whew... the Pumpkin is done in about 1 hour.

Banana French Toast Casserole

I had an issue with the bread I made last week. Honestly it didn't turn out well. So instead of tossing it I thought I would try to save the scraps left to make French Toast Casserole. I used this recipe as a jumping point and kinda made up the rest...

Michelle's Banana French Toast Casserole

6-8 bananas sliced
1 loaf of bread
8 eggs
8 cups milk
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
dash salt

Slice bananas and cut bread into chunks.  Mix remaining items together in a mixing bowl. Grease a 9x13 inch dish. Then layer 1/3 of the bread chunks in the bottom. Layer 1/2 of the bananas. Another 1/3 portion of the bread, the rest of the bananas, and then the remaining bread. Poor the milk/egg mixture on top. Put in the fridge overnight.  Bake in a 350 pre-heated oven for 60-90 minutes or until done.  Enjoy with syrup. :-)



Jan 12 and 15 , 2012 Piggly Wiggly Trip

This past weekend was a GREAT coupon week at Piggly Wiggly. Buy 10 items and get $5 off PLUS box tops. Add coupons to that and MANY of my groceries were FREE!

I am stocked in Chicken now! Piggly Wiggly had a fantastic deal on chicken for only $1.39  a pound. I have not seen that price in AGES. With coupons the Hamburger Helper and Suddenly Salad (My husband uses this for his "special" meal) was free. We go through LOTS of biscuits (2 at 1 meal) since we eat soup daily.  Progresso Soup is one of my favorite Soups, Makes for a quick and easy meal.  And my daughter was making a special meal, hence the tomato soup. My husband asked for the Chicken Noddle. We recently went through a round of sickness 3 times. I am so thankful for canned soup!  My entire shopping trip costs about $35. Keep in mind $15 was MEAT! The whole wheat noodles were only $.25 per bag and I was able to pick up the all natural no HFCS jelly! YAHOO!



I went back again and only spent on $14 on the last trip. I found the rest of my coupons. I think we will be set for Hamburger Helper for a while. I found some with Orange Chicken. I never knew they even made those. I have had TERRIBLE luck making my own and thought I would try this kind before I throw in the towel and buy take out. HA!

Whats on the menu for 1/21-1/27 2013

Tempting Chex Mix!
Another week has slipped away from us already. We are now over half way through January. Where did the month go?

Breakfast:
Breakfast Burritos
Muffins
Quiche
Yogurt/Kefir
Cereal/Oatmeal

Lunch:
Lasanga with green beans
Italian Roast, Scalloped Potatoes with Olive Garden Salad
Tacos
Bean, Spinach, and Tomato Burrito and Mexican Corn Salad
Pizza with Cashew Chicken Salad

Supper: -to be served with biscuits etc.
Split Pea and Ham Soup
Creamy Potato Soup
Mexican Bean Soup
Mac N Cheese Soup
Chili

Snack:
Popcorn
Pickles
Chex Mix



Sunday, January 13, 2013

Goals for Jan 2013





Personal
Listen/Read through the Bible in a year – Gen 1-Ex. 40
Read through 4 books on my list 
Finish week 1 of the 5K program
Do 2 DIY projects
Focus on keeping 1 room company ready
Memorize Psalm 37: 1-4 (1 verse a week)

Marriage
Plan/Work on surprise date
Strive for 2 dates a month
Pray together for the kids
Read 1 books about marriage

Children/Homeschooling
Read 1 books to my children.
Take each child on a one on one trip a month
Do 1 fun outing/activity per month
Help Ashlianna establish her own devotional time
Teach each child a new recipe they can make on their own (pick recipes)
Read to EACH child 15 minutes their special book 
Piano and Violin lessons
Establish game night

Ministry/Family
Write a note weekly to encourage someone
Visit Grandpa once a month
Help or serve someone in the community or church
Call/Talk to my brother once a week.

Blogging
Weekly Menu
Weekly Goals
Monthly Goals
New recipe we tried
Book reviews
DIY projects

Food Menu 1/14-1/20 2013





Changing up HOW I do my menu this week. I am just writing down what we are eating this week and I can pick from the list, what we eat daily. Otherwise for some silly reason I am unable to make myself NOT do what I planned for xyz day. I have weird OCD issues. LOL! I will also come back and ad links to the recipes once I get caught up with my blogging for the week.

Breakfast:
Muffins- orange, cranberry, lemon, and banana
Kefir/Yogurt
Cereal
Scrambled Eggs
Quiche

Lunch:
Broccoli Salad – Ravioli
7 layer Salad - Budding Sandwiches
Mexican Corn Salad – Burritos Spinach/beans/tomato
Olive Garden Salad - Chicken “pot pie”
Chicken Cashew Salad – BTL Sandwiches

Supper:
Taco Soup with cornbread
Veggie Soup with biscuits
Mac N Cheese Soup
Split Pea Soup
Creamy Potato Soup
Aarti Lentil Soup

Snacks:
Homemade Chex Mix
Crackers
Pretzels
Pickles
Popcorn

Goals for 1/14-1/20 2013




Homemaking
Strain Pumpkin

Continue to work on soda kefir -I am still culturing them in water

Finish Kitchen Challenge for the week

Make Chicken Dump bags for the Crock Pot

Make muffins for freezer

Family/Relationships/Ministries/Marriage
Game Night

Write a note

Personal
Memorize Ps: 1:1-4

Finish Reading A Woman’s Place

Keep up with Reading Through the Bible Gen 29-Ex.16

Walk/Run 3 days a week

Blogging
Menu, Book review, Coupon Trip, Recipe, and weekly goals

Last Weeks Goals... how I did.
Homemaking
Cook up Pumpkin - DONE!
Make Soda Kefir (DIY project) - Still working on it. It takes a while to get milk kefir to water/soda
Finish Kitchen Challenge for the week - Done, but we are not able to keep it clean... will try to do better this week
Match up Socks - DONE!

Family/Relationships/Ministry/Marriage
Game Night - Done
Write a note- Done

Personal
Memorize Psalm 37:1-4 - I didn't even start. :-(
Finish Reading Unglued and A Woman's Place - Finished Unglued. I LOVED it.  Review to come
Keep up with Read Through the Bible - Done
Blogging
Coupon Trip, Recipe, Monthly blogs - I took pictures, but didn't get them  loaded. I will try to get that done this week.