Monday, March 31, 2008

Spring Cleaning!

Today was cleaning day!! I almost always do my major weekly cleaning on Monday but last night as I was reading blogs I read about some Spring Cleaning at the Homespun Heart and I was inspired to work extra hard today and try to get extra cleaning done. Though I didn't get as much done as I would have loved too, I thought I would share what I did get done.We started ad about 8 am. We put off starting school until 10am (we usually start at 9) so the kids were able to help me a lot. I enjoy seeing others pictures of before and after so I took some for you to see too.

Before After
(Seeing these pictures now, I realize I didn't really get detail well enough for you to tell the difference but I guess you can pretend. :-)

What we did in the Kitchen and Dining Room:
  • Washed the chairs.
  • Cleared off all the counter top and washed it.
  • Scrubbed the sink.
  • Wiped down all the appliances
  • Cleaned the microwave
  • Washed windows (They get really yucky at our house!!).
  • Swept and mopped.
  • Cleaned out the junk drawer.
  • Watered the plants.
  • Scrubbed the stove top.
  • Scrubbed down the dish drainer.
  • Emptied out the recycling under the sink.
  • Washed the trash can.
  • Trimmed the stuff off of our tablecloth that made it look like a shower curtain. ;-). (The map that we had been using on our table got rather worn out so Ken ended up trashing it. He bought us a new one that was laminated but I decided we had better protect it better. I looked for a transparent table cloth but didn't find one so I decided to get a shower curtain instead- It works.)
  • Put away all odds and ends.

Before After

What we did:

  • Washed towels and dirty clothes. (I did 5 loads of laundry today, though I confess the last one is still in the dryer. The rest are folded and put away.)
  • Swept and mopped.
  • Washed mirror and counter top.
  • Scrubbed sink, tub, and inside and out of the toilet.
  • Changed rug.
  • Straightened up closet.

Before After

The living room. What we did:

  • Put away stuff.
  • Sorted through magazines and catalogs and got rid of some.
  • Dusted.
  • Vacuumed (including under all furniture except piano).
  • Rearranged. (While I was moving stuff to Vacuum Jonathan really wanted us to rearrange so we did. The kids are quite excited as that is something I rarely do.)
  • Watered plants.
  • I wanted to do some carpet spot cleaning, clean to furniture and polish furniture and wash the windows but that is now waiting until tomorrow.

The boys room Before and after.

What we did:

  • Got kids out of bed.
  • Changed sheets.
  • Put things away.
  • Pulled everything out from under bed and put and threw things away and vacuumed.
  • Vacuumed room.

I also did a full job of cleaning the entry way with vacuuming, mopping, dusting and putting things away but the pictures didn't turn out well. I do truly love working hard all day and having something to show for it. I am thankful for my very good work crew as well.

If this inspired you at all then happy cleaning to you!!!

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Adding extra vitamins to our food!

When Jason and Michelle left after their visit they left the book "Deceptively Delicious" for us. (Thanks guys!)I was quite excited as I have read about this cookbook and thought it would be a fun one to have. Ken saw it and let out a groan but he has eaten the food fine that I have tried.

The main idea of this cookbook is to add vegetable or fruit purees to the food you make to give it extra nutrition. This is actually something that I have done for a long time with some things as my mom did it. However we mainly used winter squash and summer squash and hadn't gone much farther than that. Also Jessica in "D.D." has recipes for including things in foods I would never have thought of.

One night last week I decided to try a whole meal with extra "hidden" ingredients. I am not real good at following recipes, I usually just get the idea from them and then adjust it according to what I have. So I didn't follow any of the recipes perfectly but I got my inspiration from the new cook book. This was our menu:
  • Hamburgers (with pureed squash, grated zucchini from the freezer and oatmeal)
  • on Homemade Hamburger buns (with pureed squash which is a trick I learned from my mom) and with fixings.
  • Mozzarella "sticks" (With grated zucchini, whole wheat flour and flax seeds)
  • Celery and dip
  • Brownies (with pureed squash and zucchini)

Everything turned out pretty good. Ken recommended that we didn't call the mozzarella sticks by that name as they weren't like what we were used to from the restaurant but none the less we liked them quite well. The Hamburgers were pretty breakable -I think I should have had egg in there as well but they were yummy. The brownies were a quite nice texture for having little oil or sugar. They were not very sweet though. I cut the sugar down as I always do but after eating them I realized that she had already cut the sugar to the minimum. Oh well we (the kids and I, Ken didn't try them as he isn't into chocolate) still enjoyed them.

I was especially pleased with the buns. Ken hasn't really liked homemade buns for hamburgers as the whole wheat ones tend to be really heavy and so I do usually buy buns when we have hamburgers but I decided to try a roll recipe (from another cookbook) and then adjust it some and they ended up being nice and light and nutritious as they had whole wheat flour, Oatmeal and squash in them. Here is the recipe:

Hamburger Buns

4 to 41/2 cups flour (I used around 1 to 2 cups whole wheat flour, 1 cup oatmeal and the rest white flour)
1 Tablespoon yeast
1/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup squash puree
1/3 cup oil (Or a little less and a little more squash)
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 egg

Mix 2 cups flour, yeast and sugar. Heat all the liquids(except egg) to warm (120-130 degrees) and then mix in with flour and yeast mixture. Stir well and then add the egg and salt. Mix well. Stir in as much of the remaining flour as possible. Then on a floured surface knead in the remaining flour to make a moderately stiff dough. Place in a bowl and cover. Let rise until double in size (about 1 hour).

Punch dough down and make the dough into the shape and size of hamburger patties and place on a greased baking sheet. Let rise until nearly double. Then bake for around 15 minutes in a 350 degree oven. Slice each bun in half and enjoy with your hamburgers.

Have any of you used the Deceptively Delicious cookbook? What did you like? What was yucky? Is there anything that you can get your family to eat by hiding it in something? How do you do it?

Saturday, March 29, 2008

In memory of Sunny

On Wednesday when we went shopping the boys decide they should bring money along after who knows what might need to be bought. Well we happened to walk by the fish tanks and they were having fun looking at them and noticed that the goldfish were only 24 cents. What a deal! They have been wanting a pet but I (and Ken some as well) have been reluctant, I feel I am plenty busy raising and training four children without having to add something else to be trained and taken care of to the equation. Also I have allergies and just don't care for animals in the house (okay fish are all right) and I didn't think it would be nice to get a kitty in the middle of the winter and just make it stay outside and beyond that what about when we go on trips? (I am guessing you can tell I am not a huge animal lover.) But at the same time I do think it is neat for kids to have a pet if they want one so when they asked if they could get a fish that sounded like a pretty good idea to me. Jonathan bought the food and Aaron bought the fish we figured we had something that it could stay in temporarily and Mara planned to buy a fish bowl.
They had a lot of fun watching the fish whom they named Sunny. They took turns feeding it and washed up some shells to go in his bowl (actually a vase) to keep him company. And then this morning they went shopping with Dad to buy a bowl and they also decided he needed a friend. When they got home with Carol (a new fish, I think they said a skunk one) alas Sunny was dead. Now poor Carol is lonely. We have no idea why Sunny died but think we had better do a little better research on the care of fish this time. If you have any advice feel free to share. They have decided to bury Sunny in the garden where Mara figures he will help to fertilize our plants.
That is the tale of Sunny the Goldfish.
Shh, don't tell Ken but I think I am going to buy him one next time we go shopping. He wants to name a goldfish "Dr. Suess" but the kids are coming up with their own names and don't think "Dr. Suess" will work for their fish.

This weeks money making Walgreens trip

This week I had a fun trip to Walgreens.
  1. They had a deal on photo developing where if you got 25 prints you could get 25 free. I upload my photos online and then just pick them up at the store (as soon a couple of hours later) The coupon code is still good through the end of today, it is 25FREE. So the total for 50 pictures was $4.75 ~ a pretty good deal.
  2. They had Excedrin on sale for $1.99. I printed 2 $2 coupons off the Internet and I bought 2 bottles. I should have just earned 2 cents in overage but one of the bottles rang up (I noticed later on my receipt) at $1.09 so I actually made 92 cents in overage.
  3. Peanuts were on sale for $1.99. I needed them for a recipe this week.
  4. Oral B toothbrushes were on sale for buy one get one free (or $2.99 for both). I had a $2 off coupon on two so I got both of them for 99 cents.
  5. And the best deal!! The Venus Embrace Razor was on sale for $9.99. When you bought it you got a $5 register reward. Also I had a $4 coupon. Also since I was not able to get it last month with the free after rebate (they never had any available) they were letting us get the rebate this month. So I will get a $9.99 rebate plus 10% ($1) which I will put on my gift card. Also I don't even have to use a stamp because in MN they are trying out having us submit our rebates online.

So my total spent was $14.04 with tax.
I will be getting $11 on my gift card in rebates.
I got a $5 RR.
So in all I earned $1.96

Shopping at Walgreens can be very fun. I was a little disappointed because they were still out of a couple of the rebate items, otherwise I could have earned even more.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Eating Mexican style frugally

We enjoy Mexican food around here and though that might be cheap compared to eating steaks or something like that, when you have a meal of tacos all the fixings can make your meal cost add up pretty fast. I thought I would share with you some of the things I do to help keep the cost down.

I have known how to make tortillas for quite some time but I am sorry to admit until recently I had been a little lazy about it and had been buying tortillas regularly. Recently though I have experimented with making large batches and then either refrigerating or freezing the extra and it works. That way I don't have to have the mess of making them each time we have tacos or whatever. Also I have been experimenting with adding whole wheat to the tortillas. While I love the flavor (and the health factor) of whole wheat it does tend to make the tortillas less flexible. I have found that I can have 1/3 of the flour whole wheat and it stays flexible, when I went over that very much they seemed to crack a lot. Do you have any experience and suggestions for making whole wheat tortillas? Anyway here is the recipe:
Fresh Tortillas
2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 cup canola or olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup warm water
Mix dry ingredients together. Then add the oil and mix like you would a pie crust. Add the warm water and mix. Dough will be sticky add more flour while kneading until dough feels soft and light and looses its stickiness. Using a handful of dough at a time, roll out on a floured surface. Roll out several then heat dry pan (iron skillet is good) to medium heat before setting tortilla in pan. When the it starts getting a lot of air bumps flip to the other side. It will have a few brown spots. Watch them carefully as they cook quickly. This recipe makes 8 (10 inch) tortillas. They are quite yummy.

Another cost that can be avoided is the Mexican seasoning mix. I usually just use spices (which I usually buy from the bulk containers at our local co-op where it is pretty inexpensive) and don't worry about a mix but here is a recipe for a taco seasoning mix which is quite good and easy to make and it also makes a nice gift.
Taco Seasoning
1/4 c. dried onion
1/4 cup chili powder
1 T. Salt
4 T. cornstarch
1 T. dried minced garlic
1 T. cumin
1 T. crushed red pepper
1 1/2 t. oregano
Mix everything together. It makes 1 cup enough for 8 lbs of meat. Use 2 teaspoons and 1/2 cup water for each pound of meat.
Another thing that is quite easy to make and very economical is refried beans. First cook your beans. (They pretty much always have directions on the bag.) I have found many kinds of beans can work. Usually I use pinto but I have also used field peas with good results and I believe lentils work fine as well. I would use ones that are brownish in color or you might have some interesting looking refried beans ( I am imagining using navy beans and ending up with white ones) but who knows? They might taste wonderful!
I don't have a written down recipe for the refried beans so I will just give you the basic idea and hopefully that will work. I take the beans I am going to use as well as a little of the water that the cooked in and I blend them up with my hand held blender (you could also use a regular blender or my mom has used a potato masher). Then in a pan I lightly saute some chopped garlic in some oil. Usually I used about 2 cups of beans and 2 cloves of garlic. After that is sauteed then add the beans to the pan and then stir it and cook it while adding spices(you also may need to add some liquid off and on as it can get dry. You can use the bean water or some tomato sauce or salsa). You can use the taco seasoning above. I like to make sure it has plenty of cumin and plenty of chili powder and enough salt as well. I just keep tasting it as I go to make sure it turns out as I like. After it is seasoned and warmed completely through then it is ready to eat. I like to make enough so that I can freeze containers of it for later so I don't have to make this every time. I like this in tacos and It also works well for bean burritos ~ a very economical meal!
I also usually make homemade salsa every summer and can it so that helps on cost there as well. I don't really have a recipe though, I just use what I have and sometimes it is really good and sometimes it is not so much.
One thing I am interested in learning how to make is cultured sour cream. Has anyone done that? Is it hard?
For more Frugal Friday ideas visit Biblical Womanhood.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

How to live to be one hundred

I saw these tips for living to be 100 in an issue of Parade and I found them interesting so I thought I would share.

  • Get Married. Never married people tend to die at the earliest age (I wonder if this statistic is partly because children simply don't get married but unfortunately they do die.) Divorced or separated people also die earlier. So get married and stay married! (I am of course saying that tongue in cheek, marriage is obviously not the answer for everybody but I happen to like it pretty well.)
  • Have Children. It helps you to live longer. For a woman especially if you have children after age 40 (I'm afraid that won't help me but it should help my mom), For men if you start your family at an early age (I think Ken should qualify for that one).
  • Eat a Heart Healthy Diet. A Mediterranean diet is good for this. Colorful fruits and veggies (we do fairly well with that), Olive oil (okay we use this a little), Fish (uh-oh this isn't on our menu too often) and Whole grains (Yea! we do good on this) and few processed or refined foods are what make up this menu.
  • Read the Newspaper. Keeping up to date with current events helps you to stay younger. We have been subscribing to the Newspaper for a while now.
  • Drink Tea. Black, green or oolong tea are good for you cardiovascular health.
  • Stay Slim. They say that keeping a trim waistline is a requirement if you plan on living to 100. Fat in the belly area is especially bad for longevity.
  • Buy the Farm. This sounds fun! Country life helps you to live longer than if you live in the city.
  • Have Faith. People that have their faith as a major part of their lives tend to live longer.

I don't know about you but I kind of think it is fun to think about the possibility of living to 100. Think of all the things you could see and do in that amount of time. But that really is not the most important thing in life. The most important thing is not how long you live but how you live and whether you are ready for life to come to an end. Hebrews 9:27 says "It is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgement." We need to be living your lives in a way that we are ready for that day. Thankfully we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ (1 John 2:1) An advocate is one that comes beside us to help us out. Jesus can help us out of any situation! If you have any questions about all of this feel free to e-mail me or comment and I would love to discuss it with you!

I included a picture at the top of my dear friend Ula. She is not quite to 100 but is getting close. She is one I very much look up to for having lived a full life of service to God. She continues to serve Him in every way that she can. We have another woman at church as well, Opal who is even closer to 100 and is also a great example but unfortunately I didn't have a picture of her.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Works for me Wednesday ~Easy baked potatoes

I am sure there are lots of other people out there that do this but I will post this for those that haven't thought of it. I loved making baked potatoes, they are good for you and cheap (especially cheap for us as we glean our potatoes and get them free) and so very easy. The only problem that I have heard many people complain about is that they take a long time to cook. My solution: Use the microwave. Even for our family of 6 I can usually cook enough potatoes in 20 minutes. Just scrub them and poke them and then put them in to cook. I usually turn them halfway through as well. They taste good and are very fast. That method Works for me!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Fixing Hair

While Michelle was here visiting I was inspired by watching her carefully fix her girls hair every day. They had a time in the morning and then usually again after naps where they would sit down and take the time to very carefully get their hair done. I do fix my girls hair but usually it is a pretty quick brush through and then for Megan a quick barrette and for Mara usually I just pull half the hair up in a pony or something like that. I don't think there is anything wrong with that but I also thought that it would be fun to spend a little extra time with me girls while fixing their hair and also hopefully make them enjoy (though hopefully not get vain or self-absorbed) ladylike things.

Last week when we were at the Library I happened to notice a book on fixing hair and so I picked it up. Mara has been enjoying going through it and picking out a new hairstyle for each day. We thought we would share some of them with you over the next few weeks. I have done many of these styles before as I used to fix my sisters hair a lot (I am not sure why I haven't done that with my girls), but I am kind of rusty with my skills.

Our first hairstyle is the Fish tail. I have always liked this one and it is really quite simple to do.
You can do it many ways (including making a french style fish tail) but this day we first put it up in a pony tail. Then I divided the hair in half with my fingers.

Then you take a small section of hair from the outside of one section and cross it over to join the inside of the other section. Then go to the other side and do the same thing. Keep doing that until you have gone the whole length and then fasten it with a pony tail holder. That is all there is to it. It is really quite simple. If you have any questions you can put them in the comments and I will try to answer them.
This is the finished product. You are not required to wear a raccoon in your hair for this style.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Tonight I am running a fever again. We have been dealing with sickness quite a bit this week. We think we are better and then we find out we really are not. Oh well. This to shall pass. Even in the midst of sickness there is a lot to laugh about and be thankful for!

I had to share a story about Aaron(age 4) from our supper table this evening. He was again discussing what he wants to be when he grows up (This has been something he has loved to talk about for over a year now). He said he wanted to be a soldier first and the President last (for a long time). We wondered what he wanted to be in between and he thought he would be a fireman after a soldier and then probably a garbage collector (Not the one who drives the truck but the one who gets to stand on the outside and attach the can). I wonder if the our garbage collectors realize how much they are looked up to? While we were chuckling about the going from a garbage collector to President (something that I think would be a first) Aaron did some thinking. A moment later he decided that maybe he didn't really want to be a garbage collector, He wasn't sure that he wanted to live at the dump.

This evening Aaron wanted to dress up. This is his rendition of a female monkey. (The mittens on the feet make him a monkey.)

Today while I was not feeling so hot I felt so incredibly blessed to have Mara for my daughter. She is so helpful when she knows I don't feel so good. She is so sweet and sympathetic and offers to do above and beyond what she is required to do.

This evening I wanted to read something from the Bible and I just happened to open at Psalm 103. That is such an encouraging chapter! I want to share it with you. I am bolding some of the things that jumped out at me.

Psalm 103

Bless the Lord, O my soul,
And all that is within me, bless his holy name.
Bless the Lord, O my soul,
And forget none of his benefits;
Who pardons all your iniquities,
Who heals all your diseases;
Who redeems your life from the pit,
Who crowns you with loving kindness and compassion;
Who satisfies your years with good things,
So that your youth is renewed like the eagle.
The Lord performs righteous deeds
And judgement for all who are oppressed.
He made known His ways to Moses,
He acts to the sons of Israel.
The Lord is compassionate and gracious,
Slow to anger and abounding in loving kindness.
He will not always strive with us,
Nor will He keep His anger forever.
He has not dealt with us according to our sins,
Nor rewarded us according to our iniquities.
For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
So great is His loving kindness toward those who fear Him.
As far as the east is from the west,
So far has He removed our transgressions from us.
Just as a father has compassion on hi children,
So the Lord has compassion on those who fear Him.
For He Himself knows our frame;
He is mindful that we are but dust.
As for Man, his days are like grass;
As a flower of the field, so he flourishes.
When the wind has passed over it, it is no more.
And its place acknowledges it no longer.
But the loving kindness of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear Him.
And His righteousness to children's children,
To those who keep His covenant
And remember His precepts to do them.
The Lord has established His throne in the heavens,
And His sovereignty rules over all.
Bless the Lord you His angels,
Mighty in strength, who perform His word!
Bless the Lord, all you His hosts,
You who serve Him, doing His will.
Bless the Lord, all you works of His,
In all places of His dominion;
Bless the Lord, O my soul!

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Live Free or Die ~New Hampshire

Two weeks ago we had fun studying about the state of New Hampshire. As with all of the Eastern states that we have studied so far we have never visited there. I will have to say that when reading about this state I actually thought, I wouldn't mind living there. I would be willing to live anywhere that I believed God wanted me to be but there are some states that I am more attracted to than others. I love MN and it takes a lot in my mind to come close to it in attractiveness.

Here are some facts about New Hampshire:
  • The state tree is the White Birch (the same as what I am standing by in the picture. We have them and love them in MN too.)
  • The state insect is the Lady Bug.
  • The state bird is the Purple Finch
  • The state animal is the White tailed deer.
  • The state flower is the purple Lilac.
  • The first primary election in the US is held in New Hampshire. So even though it is a tiny state it is a big deal at that time.
  • It was the 9th state admitted on June 21, 1788
  • It's capital is Concord a fairly small city.
  • The is no income or sales tax in the state.
  • As of 10 years ago they had the lowest percent of people in the US living below the poverty level.
  • Franklin Pierce is the only president to come from New Hampshire.

Here are some of the foods we enjoyed while studying New Hampshire:

  • Pumpkin Pancakes from Carter Notch Inn in Jackson, New Hampshire.
  • Pumpkin Muffins from Sugar Hill Inn in Sugar Hill, New Hampshire.
  • Coco-Nut-Chip cookies from the Inn at Ellis River in Jackson, New Hampshire.
  • New Hampshire Easy Apple Cake.
  • We also had Maple Flavored Syrup. I love the real thing but we were out and I am not willing to pay the price to buy it.

We did have a lot of fun learning about this state and looking at the pictures of the gorgeous scenery in our books. We would love to be able to go there and explore some day!

What do you know and like about New Hampshire?

Our "Almost Spring Tea Party"

On Wednesday day afternoon at around 4 pm (the proper hour for tea) we had a tea party at our house. In our manners book we have been reading about how to have a proper tea and thought that it would be fun to have one while the Corders were here and since Martha and her kids are back in the area. So Keren and Martha and children came over and we had a proper tea time.

This (above) was the table for the middle aged in our group(Mara, Aaron, Molly, Jonathan and Kelsey). Mara read up on how to be a proper hostess and she presided over this table.

At their table we used our napkins (that had come from my Grandma) that were edged with rick rack, we found some green vinca vines outside that we washed up to decorate each plate with and then Mara made name cards and we also added a chocolate egg.

This was the young folks table with Heidi, McKayla, Megan and Lars. We put Megan in charge but since she was still a little sleepy from her nap we had to give her a little help. Lars had been all dressed up in a vest and all to come to the party but that was soon chocolate covered. This was quite a cute group who for the most part just drank milk.

Here is the old folks table (missing me). We used the narcissus that I had grown for decoration.

For yummy things to eat we had Juneberry Scones (our manners book had a yummy recipe for scones that were supposed to have raisins or currants but we used Juneberries as that is what we had). Scones are the proper thing to have at tea. We also had cucumber sandwiches with are made with thinly sliced cucumbers and cream cheese. That was another thing that our manners book said was neccasary. We hadn't had them before but we really enjoyed them. For our tea we offered herbal teas, either peppermint or blueberry with it we offered sugar and cream.

We had fun at our tea party. I think it would be fun to have a another one outside this summer.

Super Saving Saturday

I had a fun trip to Walgreens this week so I thought I would share. It was a very easy one and I did have to pay money out of pocket as I was out of Register Rewards and gift cards but that is okay.
I had a $5 coupon for the flameless candle, a $1 coupon for the Garnier Skin Renew and a $1 coupon for the Raisin Bran. (All the coupons I printed off the Internet.) After coupons and tax I did pay $15.30. However I will be getting $16.49 back on a Walgreens gift card(the rebate plus 10%). So I will make a little over $1 for that shopping trip.
The candle I don't need but I will put it in my gift box. I like having things like that on hand so if I need a gift quickly it is ready to go. The cereal we will eat and the other stuff should be nice for my face.
To see other's fun savings visit Money saving Mom

Bits and pieces about South Carolina

If anybody has been following our studying of the States you probably figured we had given up on it or something as I have been horrible about posting on it. We have still been diligently reading and eating our way through the states, I just have not gotten around to posting. So I am going to try to get up to date on that in the next day or so.

The last week in February we were studying about South Carolina. I didn't find a lot of recipes from there (At least not that had ingredients that were in our budget or sounded good to us.) Tobacco is their most profitable crop but we though it would be better not to try it out. :-)

We did eat Sausage Perlou, Fruit Salad with peaches in it and drank Sweet Tea (thought I have to admit I did cut down on the sugar in that recipe. I am not used to drinking syrup.).

The book on South Carolina from the "America the Beautiful" Series had a recipe for Shrimp Perlou but said you could substitute sausage or chicken or any other meat. It is basically meat, onion, tomatoes, rice and seasoning cooked together. It was pretty good. The book said that it is the main rice dish of South Carolina and the most famous. I also found another recipe called "Chicken Bog" that sounded pretty good and easy but it was similar to the Perlou so I didn't think I needed to make both in one week. The Chicken Bog is a lowcountry recipe. The term "low country" is used to describe the coastal area.

Other crops grown in South Carolina are soybeans, corn, wheat, cotton and peaches. (South Carolina actually leads all other states in the production of peaches.) There are also cattle, dairy, eggs, chicken, turkey and ham that comes from South Carolina. We ate or wore the items that are in bold.

Some things we found interesting about South Carolina were:
  • It was the 8th state to join the union on May 23, 1788
  • South Carolina was the first state to leave the union in 1860.
  • South Carolina was nearly destroyed by the civil war.
  • Francis Marion (the "Swamp Fox" of the American Revolution) was from South Carolina
  • Strom Thurmond the longest serving U.S. senator is from South Carolina.
  • Charleston was a huge center for the arts and culture. It was there that many of the first theaters, museums, etc were in the US.
  • Kevin Garnett (who played for the MN Timberwolves) is from S. Carolina.

Some things that we would love to go see are:

  • The Cypress gardens near Charleston.
  • The White-Water falls on the border between North and South Carolina.
  • A peach farm.
  • Beaufort, S. Carolina to attend the Gullah Cultural Festival.
  • Charleston's historic district to see the 73 buildings that were built before the Revolutionary war and the 600 or so others that were built before the 1840's. We don't have buildings that old up around here and I would find that quite fascinating.

We did enjoy reading about this state. In many ways it sounds like it is a totally different world from MN and I would find it very fun to go visit it. If any of you are from there I would love to hear anything you have to say about your state.

Also this week we have been studying about New York and would love to hear about there and next week is North Carolina and we welcome any info about that state!

Friday, March 21, 2008

Fun and frugal things to do in the Spring!

Happy Spring to all of you! We are very excited around here that Spring has arrived. I honestly do like winter and the beautiful snow, frosty trees, ice on the lake and all the fun things to do but still when Spring comes it is so very welcome each and every year! Living in Northern Minnesota even though it is officially Spring it will still be a while before we are completely without snow and can work in our gardens. However we still can enjoy the springtime.

This morning my kids and I had a fun time thinking of some things that are fun (and FRUGAL!) to do in the Springtime. Most of them are very simple day to day things but are still a lot of fun. We can do them with a joyful attitude because God has given us Spring, full of new life and promise of good things to come.

  • Take a bike ride. Now that the snow is off the road and we can bundle up a little less, bike riding is a very fun thing to do. (From Aaron)

  • Go play in the woods.(from Mara who truly loves the outdoors)

  • Find books about Spring at the Library and have fun reading them together.

  • Fly a kite.(here are some plans for making your own)

  • Listen and watch for birds. Mara reported hearing the Chickadee singing its Spring song and I saw a Canadian goose flying by.

  • Plant some seeds. (from Jonathan) If your weather is like ours you can plant them inside or if you live in a warmer area you can plant them outside.

  • Make a bird house (from Jonathan) Go here to find some directions.

  • Go to a farm and see the baby animals.

  • Tap some Maple trees and make some maple syrup. We don't get to do this at our place as we don't have any maple trees but my parents do. They tapped them this week (which unfortunately we missed out on) but they will be working on collecting and boiling down for several weeks now. We are looking forward to going out and helping with that.

  • Have a tea party.

  • Go out and have fun swinging on a swing. (from Aaron)

  • Climb trees (from Mara)

  • Jump Rope (from Jonathan)

  • Pull out the sidewalk chalk and have fun making some outdoor art.

  • Play a game of catch.

  • Pull out the mud boots and have fun stepping in mud puddles.

  • Make some cards with Spring things on them and then have fun sending them to people.

  • Do some Spring cleaning.

  • Plan the garden. Every year before I plant I like to make a plan on paper to show where everything will go.

  • Make an origami boat to float in the mud puddles.

  • Blow bubbles.

What are some things that you like to do in the Spring?

For more Frugal ideas, visit Frugal Friday at Biblical Womanhood.

I am sorry the pictures are laid out so weirdly, when I get so many of them they seem to have a mind of their own and no matter how much I edit I can't seem to get them right.


Blog Widget by LinkWithin