Friday, September 28, 2007

What's Frugal?

Here's my little frugal tip: Surround yourself with other frugal-ites, network with wise people in living frugally (like we're doing here), and enjoy the satisfaction of saving a buck!

Something I've learned from a friend who uses this kind of laundry soap recipe is that you don't have to buy expensive detergent to clean your clothes well. We love it. And I use a little vinegar in a downy ball for softener. I like it as much or better than this laundry detergent we used to buy (somehow I was convinced it was better. Ahh! What was I thinking?) So check this soap out. The ingredients are very basic and more natural than the ingredients in commercial detergents. What we do is closest to the first recipe.

Here's a little story:

When I got married, I lived in CA and was frugal out of absolute necessity. My husband and I both worked, and I would say we had decent paying jobs. But, California is such an expensive place to live, our dollars never seemed to go far enough. I learned a little from my Mother-in-law about where to shop and what to buy, but on my own I started making rules for myself. I only bought certain things if they were on sale, and I knew all the, regular prices, great sales, and don't-even-think-about-buying-me kind of prices on the items I regularly bought.

Growing up, I didn't see my parents being particularly careful with spending. I sometimes felt like I was disappointing to my mom when I would tell her about my great deal, or record shopping trip. I honestly thought I was odd. Many other people I knew grocery shopped at the big chain stores, which I knew to be much, MUCH more expensive than the places I shopped. I didn't really talk to friends about how I shopped, but secretly felt very satisfied that I could shop for my family (then only the husband and I) for only 30 dollars every couple weeks. I missed being able to go out an buy myself a new top or pair of jeans, but soon learned the places that ran great sales at the end of seasons, and began buying only when sales were at their best, or at places like Ross. When my husband got a promotion and needed better slacks for work, I shopped there, and found HUGE savings. Sometimes the big savings meant weak seams or other minor flaws, but I could easily reinforce a seam in exchange for the low prices. I didn't know I was frugal (I kinda just thought I was poor, and didn't want to be poor AND in debt.) I didn't know people were like me in this and liked getting the most for their grocery dollar. But, I did know I could honor the Lord this way.

Then we moved. Living in the Midwest, I find the cost of living is lower, and our budget has a little extra room, but I don't plan to make that a license to waste. I am still careful with our grocery budget, and when clothes shopping, I always buy sales, but we do get to budget in eating out occasionally. That is a great treat. We have learned, though, that if we are in the mood for a great steak dinner, buying some steaks to grill, baking potatoes, and roasting some farm fresh corn on the cob is a way better deal and more of a treat than just going out to a steakhouse. We can even invite friends over and enjoy this kind of meal together for MUCH less than we would spend on ourselves going out.

I have recently discovered the site, Frugal Hacks. These ladies are brilliant and encouraging. I love reading their stories, and tips. I really want to be consistently frugal, be a good steward of what I have, save my family money, and honor them and my Lord.

So, check this blog out, but also check out Frugal Friday over at Biblical Womanhood.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

One, Two, buckle my...

The Girlie has been learning so much lately. Her Papa has been singing a lot of "1, 2, buckle my shoe..." and those kind of songs. Well, she can count to 7 now! At church tonight she was walking up the isle touching the pews and saying "one, two...fwee, four...five, six...seden, seden, seden..." It's so sweet. I love it. I can't believe she's counting.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Microwave Popcorn.

Ok, so here's a little tip for Works for me Wednesday:

I really like popcorn. I think those microwave packets are too expensive, and not very good. I don't like to do it on the stove. It turns out tasty, but it's a little too dangerous for me, and I don't have a pot big enough. I love air popped popcorn, but I don't have room in my teeny tiny kitchen for a big ol' air popper.

So, I have a great solution. I buy the regular bag of popcorn kernels and pop them in the microwave. Did you know you don't need one of those silly microwave packets to make great microwave popcorn? You can put your kernels in a small paper bag or a container with a lid (for less waste) and turn on the microwave for about three minutes. Now, most people probably don't like plain popcorn like I do, so there's this great stuff called popcorn salt. It's tasty, you can use a little or a lot, and it lasts a long time.

We especially love popcorn this time of year with a little mug of milk or hot chocolate alongside. What a treat for an afternoon or evening snack.

For more WFMW tips, check it out at Rocks in my Dryer.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Lowercase L ???

Ok, here's an amusing site. This blog is TOTAllY dedicated to lowercase L inserted where a capital belongs. Like when a sign is handwritten in all capitals.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Menu Plan Monday

Mmm, this week will be a treat. Some friends from church gave us some fresh pork. I love pork, and it's always a treat to get fresh meat. I'll try use some in some creative ways since we'll probably eat a lot of it the next couple weeks

B- Cereal, Banana
L-Chicken, Cantaloupe
D- Ground Turkey Enchiladas(a variation on this), Rice, Beans

B- French Toast
L- Sandwiches, Cantaloupe
D- Adobo with Pork, White Rice, green beans

L- Pork Fried Rice(bottom of that post.)
D- Agape meal at church. Take Jello Salad, maybe?

B- Pancakes, Sausage
L- Homemade Pizza, (dough from the bread machine)salad
D- Easy Veggie Chow Mein

B- Cereal, banana
L- Baked Rotini, Zucchini

For more great menu ideas, check out Menu Plan Monday.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Mmm...Fresh Bread

Machine Wheat French Bread
1 1/2 cups warm water
3 cups bread flour & 1 cup wheat flour
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
2 1/2 tsp yeast

This is my new, absolute favorite bread. It's so simple. (Plus low in fat, no butter or oil and no sugar or honey and saves well.) I put it in my bread machine and use the 2 lb expressbake setting. It takes just an hour and the texture is wonderful!

The girlie and I sliced a couple pieces for a snack this morning. What a treat. Of course you can use regular white flour, table salt, whatever you have on hand. When I started making this recipe I used white flour, and I would take it out of the machine before baking and shape it into a long french bread loaf. It was great that way, but with two little ones who can resist letting the machine do all the work?!

This way it's a really great sandwich bread. I slice it a little on the thin side; it's a dense bread that will really hold up. I don't like it when it's all crumbled by the time I am half way through my piece. The thing I missed most when switching over to machine bread for frugality was my soft dense sandwich bread. Now I have this and I don't miss it one bit!

AND, we added up the cost on this loaf and it's just under $0.50. Wow. That's quite a competitive price on a price on a 2lb loaf.

Now, I'm sure the bread machine is the oldest tip in the in the frugal book, but I just couldn't resist sharing this recipe with you. If you'd like to see more ideas on fun frugal living check out Biblical Womanhood for Frugal Fridays.

Psalm 48:2

"Fair in situation,
the joy of the whole earth;
even mount Zion,
the uttermost parts of the north,
the city of the great King."
Psalm 48:2
Jewish Publication Society Tanakh

Monday, September 17, 2007

"Tissue, please"

My daughter is about 20 months and starting to understand just about everything. She's becoming very helpful, too.

This morning I asked her "Wanna go get a 'tissue'?" She answered "o-k" and ran off. I was a little impressed ( I didn't know she knew the word 'tissue'. She came running back, obviously very proud, with 'two shoes'. Ha ha. She's telling me, "Shoes! shoes!"

What a big, smart girlie I have.

Menu Plan Monday

My Eggplant Parmesan was great last week! I had never tried that before, but I'll definitely do it again. It was a good week. Nice to have a plan again. I'm just planning dinner this week, here goes:

m- Veggie calzone

t- Beans, green chile, tortillas

w- Agape meal at church take taco salad

th- Chicken tostadas, brown rice

f- Grilled chicken, potato wedges, peppers, fresh bread

To see more great menu plans and ideas check out Menu Plan Monday over at Laura's.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

She loves her baby

Tonight, after putting my daughter to bed, I heard her crying and saying "I want baby, I want baby..." This is unusual, so I went to check on her. I asked, "What do you want?" and she said "I want Coa (that's how she says his name)." So, of course I attempted to reason with my toddler, "It's night, night. You need to lay down and go to sleep." To which she replied in near-hystarics "I want baby!" So, nervously, I got her out of her crib (fearing that with this one move I was throwing off our entire nighttime routine). I rocked her for a minute, and she calmed down, then took her out to the living room where 'her baby' was playing; when she saw him she smiled and through a sob exclaimed, "Hi, Baby!"

She immediately asked to hold him, so I sat her down on the couch and she held him for about half an hour, cuddling, talking to him, and kissing him over and over. Of course I pulled our the camera. I got lots of great pictures. Then I scooped her up and took her back to her bed. Minutes later she was in dreamland. Don't we all just need a baby fix sometimes?

Monday, September 10, 2007

Menu Plan Monday

Laura, over at I'm an Organizing Junkie hosts a great little thing Monday mornings. A thing I'd like to call: *announcer voice* MENU PLAN MONDAY!
THis is kind of a strange week. We have a leadership conference at church the end of this week. We should be pretty busy, so hopefully a plan will keep us sane. Here's my plan for the week:

B- Bagel
L- Adobo Chicken, White rice, steamed veggie.
D- Chicken and veggie Fried Rice (I'll include my recipe at the bottom of the post.)

B- Cakes
L- leftover fried rice
D- ground beef/potato tacos, beans

B- Cereal
L- Tuna Salad
D- Chicken & Eggplant Parmesan (some like Chicken, some eggplant), thin spaghetti noodles

B- Yogurt
D- Agape Meal at church, take

B- Chilequillas
Church the rest of the day

B- French Toast
At church the rest of the day

Church all day

So, here's the Fried Rice Recipe. A friend of mine made fried rice for me once, and it was pretty good, but I thought I'd tweak it a little to suit my family. We usually make it when we have leftover rice from the rice cooker, but any white rice will do.

What you need:
Cooked rice, when we have this for a main course, I use up to a couple cups per person.
Chicken (usually leftover)
Veggies (can be leftover, frozen, canned, whatever)
Bullion (I use about 1TB powdered chicken flavor)
Soy sauce
egg (if desired)
A couple TBS oil

Put a little oil in a large skillit, when hot, pour in rice and stir around for a few minutes, add chicken,bullion, soy sauce and veggies, and stir around until all is well combined and heated through. push rice to the side and crack an egg in the middle scramble quickly and begin stirring into the rice, continue stirring till all is cooked (you'll see little bits of egg throughout)

See, it's so so so easy. And delicious. We think it's just like from a restaurant.
(I didn't think It could be done at home!)

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Blogging about Blogging

You know, I feel like I've been writing so superficially. I'm really bugged about it. I think of insightful, personal things I'd like to blog about, but by the time I have a chance to write (everyone is fed, the kids are down...) I can't remember what in the world my brilliant idea was!

I used to enjoy writing so much. I'd journal, write songs, then I had kids. You know, life is busier with little ones. And more interesting, but all those interesting little tidbits going to waste... how sad.

Even sitting here writing, I have a whole list of things I need to do; but I sit here blogging about not blogging, and feeling a little guilty about sitting here and blogging about sitting here feeling here a little guilty about sitting here blogging.


I think I'll start carrying a little notebook with me. I do like writing. I sure miss it.

Friday, September 7, 2007

Nurse-in/out at Applebee's

I will be at my local Applebee's tomorrow (September 8th) to bring attention to Nicholasville Road Applebee's in central Kentucky forbidding a woman to nurse her baby in the restaurant, unless she used a blanket to cover up. Sadly, my state does NOT have a law that supports or protects moms breastfeeding in public. This should be changed!

If you would like to learn about this woman's expierience, how this Applebee's broke the law, and what she's doing about it check this out.

Wii Got One

So, last week we stopped by Wal-mart, and happened upon the electronics department. (We were not there for anything electronic.) Out of the corner of his eye, my husband noticed an unexpected box. Could it be? We bent down, and in fact it was a Wii. My husband was exctatic, but we hadn't even decided if we were going to look at getting one yet.

I don't know if you know, but I guess these are really hard to find. Stores generally only get a few at a time. They said they had received four the night before, and they had two left. My Dear Husband acted like it was a once in a lifetime event and we'd better jump on it. We ended up getting one.

It is so fun. I'm pretty glad he got it, we've ben playing sports games. I think I play more than he does, but shhh, don't tell.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007


What's a FREEGAN?

I learned this term on Good Morning America. Sounds like it would be an interesting thing to see how much is wasted in my area. I'd actually really like to check it out, and you can bet I'll post about it, if/when I do.

I guess, people who are often stereotyped as "dumpster divers" are sometimes doing this for a cause. You know, for me, rather than being a super enviornmentalist, I'm more just against hunger. If there's as much extra food being thrown out by supermarkets as they say, I don't want to support these businesses. We'll see.

“It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’” Matthew 4:4

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Theona Checkerspot (Chlosyne theona)

I've been wanting to hop back into blogging, after a new baby and a move. I think this is the perfect way. Here's a beautiful butterfly. She has quite an interesting name, if you ask me...