Saturday, January 30, 2010

It's the little things....

 Something that is very, very important to me is my marriage. Marriage is something that God created to happen between one Man and one Woman and I feel so very blessed to have a wonderful husband to be married too!

   Though I think marriage is super important to me, I have hesitated to write about it much for a couple of reasons: 1. Some parts of marriage are intimate and I don't ever intend to talk about that on this blog.
2. I don't nessarsarily feel qualified, I am not the perfect wife, we don't have a perfect marriage.

Neither reason has changed but there have been a few things that have prompted me to want to write more on this subject. As I have visited with others, some who have been really struggling with their marriages, I have seen the need for encouraging others in this area.

   I am still not perfect, and I often don't know the right thing to say or do but I am trying to always grow in my role as wife and if I can encourage anybody else in that area than I want to do that too! In doing some thinking on this subject lately, I have come to realize that having a happy marriage often relies on little things. We are faced with little unimportant choices each and every day, but what we chose will often ulitimately effect our marriage.

   I can chose to smile, even when I am feeling blue or have a headache. I can chose to reach out and touch even when I am busy. I can chose to trust his decisions even when I have a different idea for how something should be done. I can chose to pray for him that he will do what is right. I can chose to serve him even when I might feel like being served. I can chose to laugh with him . I can chose to do things on the schedule he wants and respect his needs. There are so many little things we can chose that can strengthen our marriages.

   This year it is one of my goals to find some way each day to do something that please Ken. Something beyond making his meals and doing my normal housekeeping. I am trying to think of something each day specifically that I know he will appriciate and doing it. I have to admit I haven't remembered to think about this each day, but I have been trying.

    This next month I decided to help me to be more accountable and hopefully to encourage others in this journey as well, I am going to try to post something each day about Loving him day by day. Most days it will probably be an idea of something to do (everything here will be for family friendly reading- you will have to be creative in the other department!) or it might be a verse that I have found encouraging. I am hoping that you will encourage me also in this walk!

      "For this cause a man shall leave his father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife; and the two shall become one flesh." Ephesians 5:31

Friday, January 29, 2010

Saving money with mending.

As I have been trying to clean, organize and declutter around here I have found a bunch of clothes that needed mended! It amazed me a little just how much there was! Mending is something I definetely consider worth doing ( I am curious how many others do much in the way of mending?). I like it for a couple of reasons: 1. We can wear something longer and not have to spend money on anything new. 2. We eliminate something else from heading to the dump.

Here are most of my finished products! Jonathan has the largest pile with 6 pairs of pants and a shirt (there was also a coat that isn't pictured and I need to do a few more pairs of pants!), I wonder what it is with 8 year old boys that make them so hard on their clothes?!

   This did take me a few hours (a little bit of time here and then a little time there- I don't often have long stretches of time to work on things like this) but having all these clothes serviceable again is totally worth it.

 We had a lot of worn out jeans to mend. Obviously these jeans will never look wonderful again but something we do is have "good" clothes to wear to church and other times out and about and we have "everyday" clothes to wear when we are just going to be around home or going berry picking or something like that. Even if the clothes are just going to be worn around home it is nice (and more comfortable) for them not to have big gapping holes so I do a very simple patch.

The way I do it is to simply cut out a piece of denim (from a sacrificial pair of jeans) that is bigger than the hole. I round the corners. Then I stick the piece on the inside of the jean leg, line it up and then pin it in place. Then comes the wrestling match with the pair of jeans and the sewing machine! I am thankful to have an arm on my machine but you still have to do quite a bit of manipulating to get it so there is just one layer under the foot feet at a time! But it is possible and once you get the hang of it, it doesn't take to long. The finished look is obviously not that polished but it works just fine for us for jeans to wear around home while gardening, playing, building tree forts, you know all those rough and dirty jobs. :-)

Another "mending" job was actually more covering up a stain. Mara had worn this dress to church and ended up leaning into a stamp pad in class. I tried to get the stain out and it was pretty light but I still thought it would be better to cover it up if possible.

We chose a dark green ribbon to go around the seam line and it covers up the stain pretty well. That was a very simple fix!

Do you have any favorite ways to mend or fix up clothes? I would love to hear your ideas!
For more frugal tips visit Life as MOM.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Business card giveaway!

   This weekend is my first Bridal Show of the year. These are always a lot of work but they are fun too. I get a booth where I display a sample of my work (In fact I am waiting for the flower delivery right now) and also I have my portfolios available for brides and grooms (and mothers and friends) to browse through. I love getting to visit with them, listen to their dreams for their wedding day and answer questions.

  Obviously I want them to remember me after they leave too so I try to make sure that they get a brochure and business card to take with them. Which brings me to my giveaway today. UPrinting has generously offered to give 500 full color business cards to one of my readers! Check out their Print Online website to see all of the neat things they have available.

  Business cards can be used in many ways. Obviously they can be used for your own business but that isn't the end of what they are good for.

   Have you ever thought of having personal business cards? Some friends of mine had some made that have their names and contact information on them (along with a graphic and I believe maybe a verse) and they keep them handy in their wallet or purse so that when they meet somebody new and want to exchange information they don't have to go hunting for a scrap of paper and a pen, they can simply whip out their "business" card and hand it to them. They are very active in church and try to reach out to others and this has been very useful for them. I think it is a great idea!

   The same friends recently had some printed out for our church as well. It is handy to have something small like that handy to give to someone you invite to church or invite to have a bible study with you. Bloggers can also use business cards to help promote their blog. Do you have an Etsy shop or something of that nature? Business cards can be good for that too. Do you tutor, teach music or art lessons, baby-sit or anything of that nature? Business cards would work well.

   This post is actually making me want to get a bunch more business cards!! I could have like 5 different ones to chose from depending on who I was talking too! (At present I have a tendency to give my bridal ones to the music lesson people and then they wonder why in the world they have it later!)

Okay, now for some details....

  • You will win 500 cards.
  • You can chose from 4 different sizes: 2 x 3.5”, 2 x 3”, 2 x 2” (square card) or 1.5 x 3.5” (skinny card).
  • You can chose from 3 different papers: 14 pt gloss cardstock, 14 pt matte cardstock or 13 pt recycled uncoated cardstock.
  • They are full color on both sides (Check out all the cool options here!) with 3 day printing.
  • There is free shipping!
How to enter:

  • For your first entry please leave a comment telling me what would be your favorite way to make money. Maybe it is something you already do or maybe you would love to have your own photography business, sell your homemade things or whatever. I would love to hear your ideas! Entries that don't answer this question will be disqualified.
  • For a second entry I would like to say thank you to my faithful readers. So if you are a follower of my blog, subsribe in a reader or have Proverbs 31 Living in your blog list on your blog you can leave another comment telling me how you follow my blog.   OR if you are new here, you can become a follower of my blog or subsribe in a reader or Proverbs 31 Living in the bloglist on your blog and then leave another comment telling me what you did for a second entry.
This giveaway is open to those in the US. (Sorry international readers!) and comments will be closed on February 4th after which I will randomly chose a winner.

And the winner is: Marine's Wife.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

What really works for me

 While I was growing up my family tried to live a pretty healthy lifestyle. There was no nicotine, alcohol or any other drugs in our home, My Dad and brother raised our own meat, milk and eggs (we all got to help in that process a little), the majority of our produce came from our organic garden and we had a pretty low-stress family life. Doctor visits were very rare and for the most part any sniffle was treated with time and good old fashioned remedys. That was a really good start for life!

  When I got married I was of course suddenly in charge of the meals in my new home and in charge of being "nurse on duty". Home life was in many ways like growing up but we didn't raise our own meat or animal products. I did have a garden every year (except one when we moved during that season) but most years we were a long way from producing most of our produce. My in-laws did give us a grain grinder so I slowly learned about all sorts of whole grain foods.

   As time has gone on I have become much more interested in health matters. I guess that is only natural as my parents had many books on the matter and I enjoy reading and then my Mother-in-law is basically a health food guru, and many other things in life have caused me to learn more about health matters.

   In many ways this learning has been very fun as I like to read, I love to experiment (like stopping buying cleaning items and making everything instead) and I have a high desire to live to the highest potential possible for God's glory. However sometimes I just end up feeling frusterated! I hate to admit that but it is true. Sometimes on a certian subjects I can get as many different ideas as books I read and then some more when I talk to my chiroprator, mother-in-law, mother and a whole bunch of other people. I hear No dairy vs. any dairy vs. raw dairy. Then there is the whole debate about which fats are okay or wether you should eat any at all. It goes on and on and on....

   Sometimes I wish I were like some of my friends who follow recipes as written (using white flour and all the sugar called for), drink pop and eat whatever they feel like on a regular basis. I feel amazed that they don't even seem to ponder whether that is the best for their bodies. They don't seem to have those questions about what is really right concerning how to eat. This post doesn't really have a conclusion as to what is the perfect diet, I am not sure if that is possible to know. To be honest I am still trying to figure things out in that area.

  However I do know what really works for me. I might not have the answers in black and white on how exactly I should care for mine and my families health, but you know what? That isn't really what matters most. This life is only temporary. We aren't going to live forever no matter how well we take care of ourselves. So though I still think living a healthy lifestyle is something that pleases God (since we are taking care of the body He gave to us) I think also realize that our major concern needs to be that we are making sure that we are ready for our eternal life.

   And you know what really works for me? There is no guessing! We have one book that comes from God and in it He tells us all we need to know to be prepared for eternal life. If we look at all the books that people have written on religion we might get as confused as I sometimes feel about how to live healthfully but when we just simply read and follow God's word in the Bible we can prepare for life forever with Him.

"The grass withers and the flowers fade, but the word of our God stands forever." Isaiah 40:8

And life in heaven someday....... That works for me!


Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Eating from the pantry menu

I am still having fun with my eating from the pantry challenge. We have been able to use up some stuff that has been hanging around for a while and freezers and shelves are looking a little roomier.

 We have also been as a general rule eating pretty yummy and healthy food. I am happy with this experiement. We actually still have a lot of food around so I think February will be another month of trying to not buy very much but rather do a lot of eating of what we do have.

I had hoped to share actual dollar amounts today but I don't know where Ken has the reciepts right now and he is busy so I will try to add that up and share it later. I am pretty sure I have done fine with my goals.

One of our favorite meals from last week was a Mongolian recipe that we tried.

It is called Buuz. (I wasn't sure how to pronounce it so I said it the same as Booze, it made for some interesting conversations.) It is a steamed dumpling.

At the same meal we tried their special tea with milk. They also add salt. We weren't so sure about the salt part but we liked it with honey and spices (more like chai tea).

 I shared some of my other cooking from last week in my post about Pumpkin. Another of our successes in using up something was I used up a bear steak that had been given to us. I grew up eating all sorts of meat (goat was normal, we also ate duck, goose, pheasant, guiney, quail and squirrel) so eating bear shouldn't have been any big deal and eating bear burger wasn't, I have done that several times, but I had heard bad reports about Bear steak and so wasn't to excited about using it. I soaked it in vinager overnight (It helps tenderize wild game- it works good with venison) and then mixed it with some beef steak and made "Mongolian" BBQ. It worked fine. Ken really liked the meat.

Here is our menu for this week:

Breakfast: Pancakes
Supper: Bean soup, cornbread and jello with lots of raspberries in it.

Breakfast: Scrambled Eggs and Mince Nut bread. (I have a bunch of our home canned mince pie filling so I thought I would try this.)
Supper: Fried liver, potato wedges, coleslaw and peas,

Breakfast: Hashbrown Casserole and applesauce.
Supper: Meatball Soup, garlic bread and fruit.

Breakfast: Baked Egg Puffs and prunes.
Supper: Mara is cooking Spaghetti and Fruit salad.

Breakfast: Fried Eggs, Toast and Fruit.
Supper: Chicken, Baked potatoes and broccoli.

Breakfast: Coffe cake, cheese and Oranges.
Supper:  Goat broth gravy on brown rice and green beans.

What was your favorite meal from last week? I would love to hear, it might give me some ideas for future menus!

This is linked to Money Saving Mom.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Giving thanks for all things

"O Lord, Thou art my God; I will exalt Thee, I will give thanks to Thy name; For Thou hast worked wonders, Plans formed long ago, with perfect faithfulness." Isaiah 25:1

We like a clean house. Ken is especially fond of orderlyness. One of the ways I can show my love to my husband is by keeping things tidy. And actually I like to clean. You wouldn't always guess it by looking at my house (I guess maybe there are other things I like to do more) but I do think it is fun. I like seeing the change that comes when you get rid of dirt and clutter. I find cleaning to be rewarding. Today I thought it would be fun to share some of the things that I am thank-ful for in helping to keep our home clean and tidy....

#364 A broom and dustpan. I think sweeping is pretty fun and I like the quietness of it! :-) After a messy meal, some major crafting and a little tromping in and out it is amazing what a big pile I can make when I do a little sweeping!

#365 Homemade and natural cleaners. Basically all of them I have learned how to make from other bloggers and I am very thankful for that.

#366 Lots of cloth rags. They are indespensible for cleaning!

#367 Time to clean. I am so thank-ful that I can stay home during the day and I can devote Mondays to majorly cleaning up the house.

#368 A simple mop and bucket. I love how the floor shines when I get done!

#369 Music (CDs) to play while I work.

#370 Our Schedule to help me remember what to do.

#371 A sink with running water! Ken teases me about probably wishing I lived one hundred years ago, and in a few ways I would have enjoyed that but for the most part I am so happy to live right now! I am very thank-ful to have indoor plumbing and a water heater.

#372 A vacuum. This is something I never liked as a child (the noise I think) but I do really appreciate my vacuum now. I can just imagine how very gross our floors would be without it!
#373 Our Washer and Dryer. I don't know how I would live without it. I know it can be done but I am very thankful that I don't have to.

#374 Many hands to make work light! Oh how thankful I am for my hands that work and for all my little helpers!

Some other things that I am thankful for this week are:

#375 A new niece ~ Corianna Genivive.

#376 A good sermon at church yesterday.

#377 Fun going skiing as a family.

#378 Mara being able to see betterwith her new glasses.

#379 A warm and cozy house on cold windy days.

#380 God's faithfulness.

holy experience

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Romans 8 ~ Be inspired!

I so enjoyed reading through Romans chapter 8 recently! This chapter is so encouraging, so motivating and really reminds me that no matter what, with God everything will work out! I am not going to write the whole chapter on here but I really encourage you to go read it! It is worth the time.

Here are some of the highlights that encourage me.....

~ "There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus" (vs 1 )

~ "But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who indwells you." (vs 11)

~ " have recieved a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out "Abba! Father!" (vs 15)

~ "And in the same way the Spirit also helps our weaknesses;...." (vs 26)

~ "If God is for us, who is against us?" (vs 31)

And here are some words that motivate me.....

~ "...and those who are in the flesh cannot please God." (vs 8)

~ "for if you are living according to the flesh, you must die; but if by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live." (vs 13)

~ "For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us." (vs 18)

And a couple of reminders that God is always there, always in control....

~ "We know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those that are called according to His purpose." (vs 28)

~ "In all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us." (vs 37)

~ "Nothing shall be able to seperate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord!!!" (vs 39)

Lots of Pumpkin!

As I have mentioned before we are blessed with a lot of pumpkin and squash. My parents do a wonderful job of growing it each year and they generously share with us. I like to cook it and then freeze it as puree. Since I have been on the eating out of your pantry challenge I have been trying to use it very regularly.

  This week has been a pretty successful one for using a bunch so I thought I would share some of the ways with you. Even if you don't have a lot of squash on hand you might find it worthwhile to get some. It is high in Beta Carotene and Vitamin B and also has Vitamin C, Potassium and Fiber.

  One of our new pumpkin/squash favorites is Baked Pudding. (Basically cake.) This recipe was one my sister Anna had originally used for Persimmon Pudding. That is delicious but we don't have any persimmons up here (She was able to get a bunch when she lived in Indiana). So my Mom tried it using squash. I knew she had and that she thought it was good but I was sceptical until my sister Martha made it for breakfast when we were out visiting. It was very yummy! Martha and family like it with plain cream poured on it (which is good) and our family really likes it with whipped cream.

  This recipe I have modified to my own prefences (like less than half of the original sugar).

  Pumpkin/Squash Pudding (photo above)
2 1/2 cups pureed squash or pumpkin
3 eggs
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup melted butter
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 cups flour

Mix everything together and put in a greased 9 x 13 pan. Bake at 350 degrees for around 30 minutes.

Another thing I made this week with pumpkin in it was ravioli. I had fun making this but it actually wasn't the greatest success in the eyes of my family, but the pumpkin part wasn't the problem (It was the filling). I used pumpkin in the noodle part. I beat together a couple of eggs and pumpkin and then added as much flour as possible before rolling it out.

For the filling I used some of our homemade goat milk cheese, hamburger, egg and pureed brocoli stems and leaves. It was fun to create the recipe but I think it needs some improvement! :-)

Another Pumpkin success was a new pie recipe. I was low on eggs and also wanted to replace most of the sugar with Maple syrup so I revamped another recipe I found. It worked out quite well! Here it is:
Healthy Pumpkin Pie
1 3/4 cup pumpkin or squash puree
1/4 cup sugar
2 Tablespoons flour
1 Tablespoon melted butter
1/4 teaspoon ginger
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg, seperated
2/3 cup maple syrup
1/3 cup dry milk

Mix everything but the egg white together. Mix very well. Beat the egg white until stiff. Fold egg white into the pumpkin mixture. Pour into prepared pie shell. Bake in 350 degree oven until done (firm).

Some of the other things we enjoy putting pumpkin or squash in are:
  • Bread
  • Pancakes
  • Waffles
  • Chocolate Cake
  • Pumpkin bars with cream cheese frosting
  • Pumpkin Bread
  • Pumpkin muffins (with choc chips is very yummy!)
  • Pizza dough
Do you ever "sneak" veggie purees in your foods?

Friday, January 22, 2010

Frugal gift wrapping

    The other day the UPS truck pulled up and delivered a couple of packages to us. I don't know about you but that truck pulling up is always a fun sight! We recieved a giveaway that I had won over at Metropolitan Mama. The packing of the company that sent it rather amazed me, they used a box that was about 4 times as big as the stuff in it and they put the stuff on the bottom and then just stuffed the top with all the brown paper that you see above.

   When I saw all that perfectly good (though crumpled) paper I knew I would want to resuse it. So yesterday I took a little bit of time and ironed it all out and rolled it up. Now I have this:

A large roll of brown paper. I think this is fun to use for wrapping packages (I like to pair it up with pretty ribbon) and it also works great for craft projects. I doubt the business that sent the box realized how happy I would be with all the filler! :-)

   We were wrapping presents yesterday as it was my brother Luke's birthday and in the process I had fun coming up with another present wrapped in recycled materials. I thought it would be fun to share with you.

The kids and I made candy for him and I had a box that most of it fit in but the last 6 pieces I couldn't find anything for them to fit in. So I found a butter box that was empty. I put them in it but there was extra space and it looked rather cheesy. So....
I cut down in each corner almost to where the candy was and then turned each side into a triangular shape. (see picture) Then I found some recycled wrapping paper and cut it into an X shape (see photo) big enough to fit over the box. I then carefully taped the wrapping paper on, folding the edges down over the triangle.

Then I punched a hole in the top of each point and threaded a piece of ribbon through. Then you can pull the points together and tie it in a pretty little bow.

I think it ended up making an elegant little package. It was fun and easy to make too. And free, since I used recyled things, and free is always nice!

What is your favorite way to wrap things cheaply?
Here are other ideas for frugal and green gift wrapping.

For more frugal posts visit Life as Mom.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Learning even on ordinary days

 Not long ago a blog reader e-mailed and asked a question about what our normal homeschool day was like. As I was sharing with her in my e-mail I started to have this feeling like "Are we doing enough?", "Should I be more scheduled?" and just feeling like things have been so ordinary and not really exciting. So I have been thinking about that some lately. When these sort of thoughts come up I think it is good to face them, pray about them and make changes if needed or possibly make changes in how you are thinking and feeling.

 I think the devil wants us to feel inadaquate while God is there to give us strength and help us through each day. The world often gives us the message that life always needs to be exciting and you need to keep your kids stimulated and learning but that isn't completely true. Yes excitement is fun and we do need to stimulate our children at times but we also need quiet times, slowly growing times, simple days and times of rest. From my experience there are going to be times where you have a ton of fun doing a lot of neat learning, you feel passionate about something, everybody is interested but then that excitement wears off and you have times where you just do the basics, you don't learn at such a rapid pace. I think both are needed.

 Even though it has been a "quieter" time for us recently I have started to pay attention to some of the little ways the kids have learning lately. I thought I would share a few with you.....

  • Mara found a contest online (At American Girl) where entrants are required to take and enter some nature photos and also write a little essay about nature. She had fun spending a couple of afternoons outside with the camera, we discussed the pictures together and edited them a little and then she also wrote a cute little essay about how nature inspires here.
  • I have been reading aloud "The Story of the World, Ancient Times" lately and have been enjoying it but I was pleased the other day to hear Aaron playing pretend with Megan and he was Julius Ceaser and he had her be Pompey or one of the other Senaters (I don't remember now).
  • We all went with Mara to an eye appointment and learned a lot about how the eye works and what all happens at an eye exam. It was a lovely little "field trip"!

Doesn't she look cute in her glasses?

  • Mara is learning new concepts in her math and Jonathan is getting to be a much better speller.
  • Mara is starting to do more and more in the way of homemaking. She is becoming more independant in the kitchen and the laundry room. This of course is not only very helpful to me now but will be something she will use throughout the rest of her life.
  • Megan is learning how to write her name.
  • Aaron is getting more and more familiar with letters.
  • The kids are learning creativity and science while making candy for a gift. I got out a variety of ingredients and then melted some chocolate and they got to decide what went in their special type of candy. The each made 4. They got to eat one of their creations and then gave away the other 3. They found it to be a very exciting activity for the day.

        Here are the finished products!
  • We have had fun concentrating a little heavier lately on Bible Memorization. "Thy word have I hid in my heart, that I might not sin against Thee." Ps. 119:11
  • We have sent out quite a few letters lately which is good practise for writing.
  • The boys have had a lot of fun creating with Legos lately. This helps develop several skills.

Ordinary days are good. We are enjoying our quiet learning times. How have you been learning at your house?

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

2 Old coats = 1 "New" coat

Here in Northern MN our winters are pretty chilly and warm winter coats are quite essential! Mara (my oldest) had been given several coats but they started wearing out, One look pretty bad on the outside, another one's zipper only worked some of the time (and was getting a bit small) and another one was really to lightweight for winter wear and also had a non-working zipper. I thought about going out and buying a new coat but then I realized I would have all these non-working coats still on my hands and I didn't want to just throw them away.

So I decided to try to make do and figured out how to use what we have.

I decided to combine these two coats. The one on the left was looking pretty nasty but it was pretty warm and had a good zipper. The coat on the right looked good but was two thin for winter and had the broken zipper.

  My methods for combining them were not very professional but it was very quick but it worked. I simply cut (I was going to seam rip but decided it would look all right to cut) the zipper out of the black one. Then I placed the black coat over the blue one and sewed the fronts together all along the zipper (on both sides so the zipper still works). Then I worked a bit to make the bottoms fit together and I sewed it together there as well. That is actually all I have done so far and it is working fine. In the future I might sew the ends of the sleeves together and around the collar area but for now it works.

 Sorry the pictures isn't that great but it does look okay and it is super warm! And I am happy to have been able to make the old coats usable again rather than just throw them away.
This is linked to DIY day at A Soft Place to Land and to Reinvented.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Thanks be to God!

"But thanks be to God that though you were slaves of sin, you became obedient from the heart to that form of teaching to which you were committed, and having been freed from sin, you became slaves of righteousness." Romans 6:17 & 18

This past week has been an unusual one and I hardly took any pictures so this post will be without photos. This week was certianly full of reasons to give thanks to my Almighty God! Here are a few of the gifts that came from Him.....

#351 Good health! Last week I ended up getting sick with some weird symptoms that ended up even sending us to the ER, It is such a blessing to be back to good health and not have anything seriously wrong.

#352 A strong husband who can tote me around easily when nessasary. :-)

#353 Parents who are always there and willing to help when we need them.

#354 A beautiful daughter who is growing up so fast and can practically run the house by herself when needed.

#355 That only 1/2 of our family got sick!

#356 Kids that are growing up and can now make it to the toilet before throwing up. This is a great step in growing up! :-)

#357 Ears to hear with. And being able to hear well again thanks to help from my Dad.

#358 Warmer weather!

#359 Beautiful Sunshine!

#360 A fun trip to see my sister Anna and her family.

#361 Getting to have my sister Keren ride with us.

#362 Safe Driving.

#363 Freedom from sin! What a wonderful freedom that is!

holy experience

Eating from the Pantry

Things are still going pretty good with eating from the pantry. Last week I did go to the store once and stocked up on some fresh produce and also bought some peanut butter that did finally go on sale. I did also cheat and buy ketchup.

  I have figured out a new way to make this challange quite easy too, it is simply to blog about whatever I am close to running out of and then my mom reads my blog, checks her pantry to see if she has extra and brings some to me. By the way I am totally joking about planning to do that! But I did find out how spoiled I am when after telling you all how I was about to run out of oil and the next time I saw my mom she brought me a jar. Thanks Mom!

 My shelves and freezers are looking a big roomier after eating out of them so consistently and not restocking. I am glad to have this opportunity to go through things and try to eat up stuff that is getting a bit older. At this point we still have plenty of food I just have to be more creative in making sure we have enough variety.

  One thing that I am wanting to work harder at using up in the next couple weeks is frozen pumpkin and squash puree. I am also trying to remember to use berries regularly as we have a bunch and they provide some good nutrition for our diet.

Here is our menu for this week:

Breakfast: Pancakes
Lunch: Gyros in pita bread, fruit salad and coleslaw.
Supper: Pizza burgers (or actually on homemade slices of bread) and carrot sticks.

Breakfast: Omelet, hashbrowns, zucchini muffins and prunes.
Supper: Buuz, brown rice, sauted cabbage and carrots and Suutei Tsai. (We are studying about Mongolia right now.)

Breakfast: Squash Pudding
Supper: Ravioli (homemade and I plan to make extra to freeze) and Salad.

Breakfast: Fried Eggs and hashbrowns.
Supper: BBQ Turkey on homemade bread and corn and plum pie.

Breakfast: Scrambled Eggs and Raspberry Muffins
Supper: Over to my parents to Celebrate Luke's Birthday.

Breakfast: Pumpkin Pie
Supper: Ham and hashbrown casserole (in crockpot) and green beans. (I plan on grating up our own potatoes to use for the hashbrowns as well as adjusting the recipe in other ways to suit my needs.)

Breakfast: Butterball Coffee Cake made by Mara and oranges.
Supper: Pizza (from the freezer- one I made earlier)

Breakfast: Oatmeal
Dinner: Mongolian Beef (and bear) in crockpot, rice and broccoli with cheese.

What are your favorite ways to eat squash or pumpkin? I would love to hear. My family doesn't like to eat them plain but we do love a lot of things that has it in it.

For more menu plans visit I'm an Organizing Junkie.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Speaks to me Sunday

Then you will say on that day,
"I will give thanks to Thee, O Lord;
For although Thou wast angry with me,
Thine angry is turned away,
And Thou dost comfort me.
Behold, God is my salvation,
I will trust and not be afraid;
For the Lord God is my strength and song,
And He has become my salvation."
Therefore you will joyously draw water
from the springs of salvation.
And in that day you will say,
"Give thanks to the Lord, call on His name.
Make known His deeds among the peoples;
Make them remember that His name is exalted."
Praise the Lord in song,
for He has done excellent things;
Let this be known throughout the earth.
Cry aloud and shout for joy,
O inhabitant of Zion,
For great in your midst is the Holy One of Isreal.
Isaiah 12

I was reading this chapter this morning and found it so encouraging so I wanted to share it with you. The salvation that we recieve from God is like no other gift that we can ever recieve. This is for eternity and it is really the only thing that matters. Something that means so much to me is that we can trust and not be afraid. God gives us that peace. He is truly in control and He is completely trustworthy! I don't have to be afraid about anything!

  God has done so much for us we need to give Him thanks! We should be telling others about what He has done! I want to sing praises to Him because He is totally worthy. Let's tell everybody all over the whole earth!

  Are you giving God thanks today for what He has done for you?

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Living a life you love

   I don't know about you but I come across people now and then who just don't seem to be happy. They are living but they aren't really enjoying life. In their eyes the cup is half empty. This always bothers me a bit.

   I think we can all can live a life that we truly love. God blesses each one of us abundantly and I also think we can make choices that will help us to enjoy life more.

  A while back I had been thinking on this (I think it was after talking to some university students who were getting degrees in fields where they would hopefully make lots of money but didn't enjoy) and I wrote out this list of ways to have a life you love. This is my understanding and thoughts, I would love to hear you opinions!

  1. Follow God. God will give you purpose and direction for your life. He gives us love and hope. In His word are the directions we need for life. If we get this one right we can have a wonderful life no matter what our other circumstances are.
  2. Be Thankful. When you start to count your blessings, life looks pretty good!
  3. Follow your Dreams/Passions. I am totally confused by people that work at some job for years and years and never enjoy it. I would challange them to be a little bit brave and daring, step out of their comfort zone and find out what you really enjoy and find a way to do that!
  4. Surround yourself with People you Love (and learn to truly love the people you are around).  Speaking personally, we have made the choices so that I can stay home every day with my children and homeschool them. We have to live on a little less this way but it is totally worth it to us. In doing this I get to be with the people that mean the most to me every single day!
  5. Surround yourself with Beauty. God created so many beautiful things and I truly think it was for a reason. He created us to enjoy beauty too. I think it is worth it to take the extra time to plant a flower garden, grow a houseplant, find ways to decorate your home nicely (it doesn't have to cost much) and dress in colors that you like.
  6. Be Curious. Stay young and always learning. Life is much more interesting and fun that way!
  7. Be Content. Sometimes we don't get to chose our situations in life. When we learn to be content where ever we are we can still love life!
  8. Think about others. Don't focus on your wants and needs. Thinks about how you can help others instead.

These were just some quick thoughts of mine. I would love to hear what you think!

   "Finally, be all like-minded, compassionate, loving as brothers, tenderhearted, courteous, not rendering evil for evil, or insult for insult; but instead blessing; knowing that to this were you called, that you may inherit a blessing.
 For, “He who would love life, and see good days, let him keep his tongue from evil, and his lips from speaking deceit. Let him turn away from evil, and do good. Let him seek peace, and pursue it." 1 Peter 3:8-11

Thursday, January 14, 2010

A New Experiment ~ Pita Bread

 Today I had fun trying out making Pita/Pocket Bread. I had tried this before years ago and it flopped so I wasn't overly optomistic that it would work this time but I wanted to try.

  I found this recipe and thought I would try it. I did use a larger percentage of whole wheat flour than in the recipe and then you have to use quite a lot more flour (than what is in the recipe) in the kneading process.

 You bake them in a very hot oven and for the most part they rose beautifully!

They turned into pockets! Now my hope is that they work well for traveling food! And that everybody likes them.

  The were pretty quick and easy and very frugal!

For more frugal posts visit Frugal Fridays at Life as MOM.


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