Friday, February 5, 2016

Frugal Friday

    I have been wanting to write a frugal Friday post for quite a while now and just haven't gotten it done. It wouldn't have had to be a Friday post obviously but I think it is fun to share different ways that we have been frugal lately. I know that is probably one of the biggest ways blogging has impacted my life and that is through me reading about various frugal things that other people have done and getting the idea to try it for our family too. Something work for us and some don't but it doesn't hurt to try. By living frugally in many different ways it allows us to have more freedom of choice financially. We can spend a little more in some areas because we have saved in others. I like having a choice!

  So with hopes of have a post like this every week again we shall begin....
Here are some odds and ends of ways we have been frugal in the last few weeks:

 -Mara and I went to a free Violin Master Class (we were able to observe a college violin teacher teaching 6 different students - this was great for helping both of us - me as a teacher and both of us as violin players- learn too) and a Violin and Harpsichord concert at our local university.
 There was a break in between the Master Class and the concert so Mara and I had fun exploring the building where I used to take Violin lessons. We had fun checking out the practice rooms and found this Xylophone in one of them.

-I cut the boys hair.

-We used cloth napkins

-We didn't do any grocery shopping in January except for Milk and butter (because it was on sale and I had been waiting for a sale to stock up again as it has been so expensive lately. I was also very nearly out) and one bunch of bananas. I really think the challenge of using what we have food wise is pretty fun. I have gone shopping again now that February is here and the kids were pretty excited when I came home with fresh fruit.

-I patched a bunch of pairs of socks.
 -We went downhill skiing - now that in itself is not a money saving thing - in fact it is a kind of expensive sport but we did save money on it by going on Friday nights which is a much better deal than going on Saturday. The first time I also packed us a supper which saved us a considerable amount of money. This evening I didn't end up having time to pack a supper so we bought stuff there but we did at least figure out a way to save money by buying a coupon book and getting meals from that. I also brought along fruit and cookies to supplement our purchased supper.
-Aaron want a tube scarf thing for skiing so he made one this afternoon from an old sweatshirt.

-I used homemade laundry detergent.

-We drank a lot of herbal tea (made from herbs that we dried this Summer) so that we didn't need as much milk and could save money that way.

- I have been using water (or squash) instead of milk in all of my baking or pancakes lately. It works find and saves money.

-I made some cards from scraps of paper that I had saved.
- I made some gifts to give away rather than buying them. I made Fudge, Granola and a Nursing cover all to use as gifts lately.

-We have been burning wood in our fireplace a lot to help to heat our house and reduce our propane or electric usage.

-We have made many supplies for Sunday School classes using things that we already had on hand.

-I baked my own bread.

-I called the Motel (that we needed to stay at when going to Jonathan's Robotics tournament out of town) rather than booking online and discovered that we didn't have to get 2 rooms after all and also that I could get a AAA discount.

-I used a 7 cents off per gallon coupon whenever I bought gas. That doesn't save a ton but it all adds up.

That is a few of the ways we have saved money lately. Now, how about you? What have you done to save money? Do you find it interesting to read how others are saving money?



Tuesday, February 2, 2016

A Nursing Cover and a Sweet Baby

One of my recent sewing projects was a nursing cover for my youngest sister Keren. She had a sweet baby boy not long ago and he likes to eat (not caring where they happen to be) and so the nursing cover comes in handy. It was a quick and easy project that I was able to make from things that I had on hand so that was fun. I wrote up a tutorial quite a few years back and so I followed that to make one again.

  We have all fallen quite in love with little Ephraim. His schedule of being held stays very busy.
 I get such a kick out of watching him when he sleeps as his face makes so many different expressions. I am so glad God made babies! They are pretty special.

  Thinking again on the nursing cover... I really think it is great to be able to breast feed babies. It is the healthiest thing for them and so very convenient. I also think that it is a natural thing that should be able to be done without a lot of readjustment and going off to a private place, etc. But I get a little sad when I read the blog posts/articles that I find pretty often anymore that think that it is fine if they breastfeed in public and display everything too. No covering up needed - they aren't ashamed. I am not, nor do I think we should be, ashamed of the body God gave me either but that doesn't mean that I want to show off every part. There are some areas that we keep private - that doesn't mean that we are ashamed of them it is just showing modesty and not wanting to cause anyone to stumble. It is pretty easy to nurse a baby in public and still be covered up - especially with a simple nursing cover.

  Anyway - I had read something on that subject again lately and I just wanted to share my thoughts too.

As always I love to hear from you!

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Daily Bible Reading Challenge

  Did you spend time in God's word this past week? Did it is cause you to worship God more? Did something really stand out in your mind as something that you really needed to hear? Did it prompt you to action? Did you find an interesting fact?

  I enjoyed this past week of reading. There are so many different scriptures that would be fun to share but I will limit it to one scripture section per question. :-)

  What did I read that causes me to worship God more?
I really enjoyed reading Psalm 104. That chapter is full of praise for God and speaks about how well He planned things and just about his creation. I really love the whole chapter but I'll share just a few verses with you:

  "He sends forth springs in the valleys; they flow between the mountains;
The give drink to every beast of the field; The wild donkeys quench their thirst.

Beside them the birds of the heavens dwell;
They lift up their voices among the branches."


"I will sing to the Lord as long as I live;
I will sing praise to my God while I have my being.
Let me meditation be pleasing to Him;
As for me,  I shall be glad in the Lord." Psalm 104:1-12 & 33-34


What scripture touched my heart?

"Because lawlessness in increased, most people's love will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end, he will be saved." Matthew 24:12-13

The sadness of this one pulls on my heart strings. It tells us that many will cease to love God and will not endure to the end and be saved. This also prompts me to action to pray that I too will not fall into temptation and to warn others.

What can I apply to my life?

So I do have two different verses to share here. That is because in my reading I just happened to hit the same story in both Luke and Matthew and both times it made me be convicted to action in this area. It also goes along perfectly with what I shared above.

"Keep watching an praying that you may not enter into temptation; the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak." Matthew 26:41

"When He arrived at the place, He said to them, "Pray that you may not enter into temptation." Luke 22:40

This year has been one that I really have wanted to have a deeper relationship with our God and Father and grow in my prayer life and this was such a good reminder to me of my need to pray so that I am able to resist temptation.

Interesting Fact:

 I was reading aloud to the kids from Luke and we all found this verse very interesting:

"And He said to them, "When I sent you out without money belt and bag and sandals, you did not lack anything, did you?" They said, "No, nothing." And He said to them, "But now, whoever has a money belt is to take it along, likewise also a bag, and whoever has no sword is to sell his coat and buy one. For I tell you that this which is written must be fulfilled in Me, And He was numbered with transgressors; for that which refers to Me has its fulfillment." They said, "Lord, look, here are two swords." And He said to them, it is enough." " Luke 22:35-38

 We just found that whole sword thing interesting especially in comparison with these verses in Matthew that talk about a situation later that same evening....

  "And Jesus said to him, "Friend, do what you have come for. "Then they came laid hands on Jesus and seized Him. And behold, one of those who were with Jesus reached and drew out his sword, and struck the slave of the high priest and cut off his ear. Then Jesus said to him, "Put your sword back into its place; for all those who take up the sword shall perish by the sword. Or do you think that I cannot appeal to My Father,  and He will at once put at My disposal more than twelve legions of angels?" Matthew 26:50-53

We just thought that was really interesting.

  Did you read anything interesting this week? I would love to hear what you got out of your reading!

Friday, January 29, 2016

A Storyteller's Anthology by Douglass Feavel {Book Review}


 I have been reading a new book lately - one that I received free for purposes of reviewing. It is called "A Storyteller's Anthology" and it is by Douglas Feavel. It has been pretty fun and interesting to read.  In Douglas' introduction he explains how he became a storyteller and how that has been useful. He says: "Within a skillfully crafted, well-presented story, a substantial amount of teaching can be presented - and presented in a manner more certain to be solidly embraced and remembered. A good story is an open door to opportunities. Sometimes the story does not just encapsulate or deliver the message; at times, the story is the message, by which I mean it is deliberately left open to multiple personal interpretations and practical take-aways. How does information become easy to remember? Move it out of the realm of pure facts such as names, events,  and dates. Those are the kind of things we encounter - and don't like - in a final exam. Transform the message into a song, poem or story."

  This thought process goes along perfectly with the way I try to homeschool our kids and teach kids classes at church. I think that learning can be fun and that stories and music and I would also add acting/activities can make learning much more interesting. When something is interesting it also tends to stick a lot better.

 In the book Douglas Feavel tells about his reason for the book and the process taken to write in in his Preface and introduction and then the remainder of the book is made up of all sorts of stories. Most of them are true stories of people and some of them are what he calls Parables. Not a story that he knows to be true (at least not for sure) but one that still teaches a lesson.

   I have enjoyed reading the book to myself but I have also taken the time to read quite a few stories aloud to the kids. They found the story of Tommy Thompson a man who invented equipment that was able to go very deep into the ocean and helped him recover gold (millions of dollars worth) that had been lost in a shipwreck during the time of the California gold rush. It was a fascinating story from the view of history as well as science and actually politics/human nature too.

  He has stories from history such as the one about Pheobe Anne Moseby (more commonly known as Annie Oakley) and ones from recent times such as the one about Rick Rescorla a Hero from both the Vietnam war and the 9/11 attacks on the world trade center.

  This book is one that I am happy to have on our book shelves.

   If you would like to purchase this book you can find it on Amazon. I also noticed that you can get it free for your Kindle if you have one. If you would like to enter a giveaway for this book please go here.



Monday, January 25, 2016

Fried Egg Pizza - Aaron's New Invention

 The other day we were working on our monthly menu and thinking about different foods and Aaron thought of the idea of making "Fried Egg Pizza". It sounded rather unique but he thought it would be good and wanted to try making it sometime. So we put him in charge of making supper tonight so that he could make his fried egg pizza.

  He made a whole wheat crust first. Then I had thought he was going to have a tomato sauce but he said no "that would be gross". So then I asked him if he was going to have cheese. Again, "no" - he doesn't like cheese with eggs (silly boy!).
 "So just eggs on crust?"
"Yes."
"What about maybe having a white sauce?"
"Okay."

So he made the white sauce and put that on first and then eggs on top which he sprinkled with spike (a seasoning salt that we like).
 It went into the oven to bake for around a half hour or so. Until the eggs were set anyway.
We ate it with green beans and it was really quite yummy!
Not very "pizza like" but yummy never-the-less. I don't mind if he wants to make it again sometime.

Our ducks and chickens are laying good now so we are blessed with plenty of eggs which is so nice!

 Have you ever had an egg pizza before?

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Daily Bible Reading Challenge

As I said I would last week here are my questions that I was asking myself as I read and then the one verse for each question that I chose to share today. I would love to hear what you gleaned out of your Bible reading in the comments!

By the way my Bible reading was out of Matthew (individual morning reading), Luke (Breakfast reading with the kids) Psalms (afternoon reading with the kids) and Genesis (individual nap-time reading).

What did I read that causes me to worship God more?
 In Genesis chapter 21 we find the story of Hagar, Sarah's maid whom she told Abraham to have a child with, being sent away with Ishmael (her son) because he had been displeasing to Sarah. Looking on from my perspective this seems like such a sad story of a mixed up/broken family - and it is but it is a reminder that even in our messed up brokeness God is still there watching out for us and loving us. This is the verse that really reminded me of that and caused me to worship God more:

"God heard the lad crying; and the angel of God called to Hagar from heaven and said to her, "What is the matter with you, Hagar? Do not fear, for God has heard the voice of the lad where he is. Arise, lift up the lad, and hold him by the hand, for I will make a great nation of him." Gen. 21:17 & 18

What scripture touched my heart?
"At that time the disciples came to Jesus and said, "Who then is greatest in the kingdom of heaven?' And He called a child to Himself and set him before them, and said , "Truly I say to you, unless you are converted and become like children,  you will not enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever then humbles himself as this child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever receives one such child in My name receives Me; but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble, it would be better for him to have a heavy millstone hung around his neck,  and to be drowned in the depth of the sea. 
  "Woe to the world because of it's stumbling block! For it is inevitable that stumbling blocks come; but woe to that man through whom the stumbling block comes!
  If your hand or your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it from you; it is better for you to enter life crippled or lame,  than to have two hands or two feet and be cast into the eternal fire. If you eye cause you to stumble, pluck it out and throw it from you. It is better for you to enter life with one eye, than to have two eyes and be cast into the fiery hell.
  See that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that their angels in heaven continually see the face of My Father who is in heaven." Matthew 18:1-10


That last verse in particular I find incredibly touching and neat!

What can I apply to my life?
This year is one that I am really wanting to grow in my prayer life and so this verse jumped out at me as one I need to apply to my life:

"And all things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive." Matthew 21-22

Interesting Fact:
In Genesis chapter 20 we read about Abraham and Sarah traveling to Gerar where Abimelech was king. Abraham told the king that Sarah was his sister and she agreed and so Abimelech took Sarah with plans of having her for a wife but thankfully didn't go through with that completely before God sent him a dream and told him the full truth so Abimelech returned her to Abraham. What I find really funny is this happens after(Gen. 18:11) we learn that Sarah is advanced in age and past child bearing years but still she must have still been so desirable that Abimelech wanted her.

 What makes this story even more interesting is that Isaac and Rebecca (in Gen. 26:7-11) play this same trick on Ablimelech again but thankfully Abimelech figured out the truth before anything happened.



I enjoyed "treasure hunting" as I read through the Bible this week. I hope you have been gaining from your reading as well. I would love to hear your thoughts on what you have read!

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