Saturday, May 31, 2008
Thursday, May 29, 2008
Here are Anna and I working at putting the tin on.
Emily and Anna are putting the top piece on. This project was certainly not one of perfectionism, but it was fun and should lengthen the life of that old kid's shelter.
While we were there Mara cut her foot a little and here is the medical team that I found caring for her when I got to her.
We all worked together to make the food and then ate together. Each of us ladies were in charge of one or two meals and then everybody chipped in and helped. Afterwards we all washed dishes together. It was a lot of fun because we were able to do a lot of visiting while we worked!
The weekend was a little tiring for all of us but Aaron was the only one who fell to sleep during supper.
Some daddies and their tired baby girls.
We had a great time even though we had some cold weather and lots of ticks to contend with. On Sunday morning we had church around the campfire which was fun. What are your favorite camping memories?
Wednesday, May 28, 2008
Some of the things I put it in are: Bread, muffins, cookies and granola. If you use it in huge amounts you can substitute some flax for a little flour in pretty much anything. Some people eat it raw sprinkled over oatmeal or in their smoothies.
Flax is rich in alpha linolenic acid which is an omega 3 fat. That helps with:
- Making it Anti-inflammatory which can help with asthma, osteo arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, migraine headaches and osteoporosis.
- Protecting Bone health
- Protecting against Heart Disease, Cancer and Diabetes.
- Preventing and controlling high blood pressure.
Other ways flax can help your health are:
- Reducing hot flashes (in studies it reduced them over 50%!)
- It is rich in beneficial fiber which fights constipation.
- It helps to get rid of the "Blues".
All said, Flax definitely works for me!!
Do you use flax? What do you like about it or how do you like to use it?
For more Works for me Wednesday tips visit Rocks in my Dryer.
Tuesday, May 27, 2008
- It is the time of year to enroll your kids in Pizza Hut's "Book It!" program. You can enroll through June 13. Last year was our first year of doing it and we did enjoy it. We try not to do a lot of eating out (to save money and eat healthier foods) but it was fun to get to have Pizza Hut pizza once a month from Oct. to March. We have two kids of the right age for the program so they each got a personal pan pizza which was enough for them to each share with a sibling. Then if Ken and I got a medium pizza that was all we would need to buy to take care of our meal. Quite a few times last year however we got coupons that made a large pizza as cheap as a medium so we would get that instead and then get to have some leftovers. A lot of times we would get coupons in our newspaper but if you don't get that you can also print out coupons online.
- Today I finally got around to ordering my kids achievement tests for the year. If you are running behind on doing that as well here is a place where you can get tests for $25 (which from what I have seen is a pretty good deal). The place is called Seton Home Study school and it appears to be run by Catholics but they sell to anybody. We used them last year as well and they send the tests quickly and they are easy to use. They are the California Achievement Tests.
- If you are finding a bunch of bugs this Spring and would like to learn more about them then this website might be the place to look.
If you would like to see more tips on various things, visit Tipster Tuesday at BeCentsAble.
Friday, May 23, 2008
Concerning Cards ~ Buying them at the store costs a lot! They are generally at least $2 and easily up to $5 also it takes a long time to go through them and chose the one that you think is just right. (At least for me!) My solution is to make my own. I do enjoy making cards but even if it is not really your thing I encourage you to try it. The amount it costs is very minimal. You can buy 250 sheets of card stock for around $10 which will make 500 cards. Then if you buy stamps and ink pads you can use them over and over again. Make sure you buy ones that you will be able and willing to use a lot. You can use all sorts of odds and ends of colored paper (even stuff from junk mail and magazines ~keep your eyes open!) For cards don't worry about having lots of fancy words in it, in my experience graduates don't usually read that very much anyway. Just simply hand write a message of what they mean to you and your well wishes for the future and maybe include a special Bible verse or quote. That will mean more to them than a poem on a store bought card anyway.
You can also make cards using your computer. Here are some free ones that you can print out.
Gifts~ Money is always very useful for a graduate and it requires no shopping or wrapping. So if you can afford it than go for it. But if you want to give something that shows some thought as well as being much more frugal than you might try a gift of some sort. I am including a list of ideas that I came up with and then I would love it if you would share in the comments what you have either received or given that worked well.
- Token gifts. Just a little something to show that you are thinking of them and care about them. For the recent graduates in our life we gave the girls a flower (from our garden) and the guy some candy (bought with coupons and on sale) in a cute wood container that we got inexpensively at a local store that has locally made gifts. (see picture above)
- Stationary/Note cards for girls (maybe guys would appreciate it too but I don't quite think so). This you can easily make yourself.
- A First Aid Kit. Especially good for someone leaving home for the first time. (For this one if you are a Walgreens or CVS shopper you probably could get some very good deals on the items you include. Otherwise shopping at Dollar Tree will find you things economically.)
- A homemade cookbook for anyone that will be on their own cooking. If it is a family member than try to gather all the favorite family recipes to include.
- A car kit. Here is a site with ideas of things to include. Look for things on sale and sew up you own bag to put it in.
- Laundry Stuff, such as a basket, detergent, dryer sheets, etc. Stock up on things when they are on sale. This is very handy for someone just starting out.
- Towels. For a graduate heading off to college I know I found this gift very useful.
- A Pamper yourself basket. Be creative with different spa like things (using the great deals you have found) to make a basket that would be a welcome gift for a girl.
- Books. One of my personal favorites. I loved the gifts that I received at graduation of music, Bible study helps and fun reading books.
- A Plant for those with a green thumb. If you plan ahead you could start one from one that you have.
- Picture frames.
- A homemade quilt. This takes some time but it is a very welcome and fun gift that you can make very personal.
- A nice pen.
- A scrapbook of high school or college memories.
- A snack basket. (You can use lots of snack items that you bought with coupons.)
- A tote bag. Perhaps you can use their school colors or the colors of the university they will be attending. (I am hoping to post instructions for making the tote bag below soon.)
For more frugal tips visit Biblical Womanhood.
Thursday, May 22, 2008
I also get excited thinking about my box of seeds. The seeds in themselves are nothing special but I know the potential that they contain! I am looking forward to many meals of juicy and sweet corn on the cob, crisp cucumbers, beautiful flowers, ripe tomatoes and much more.
Gardening reminds me of the verse in John 12:24. "Truly, Truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains by itself alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit."
But What is seeds had choice like we do? I can imagine a seed saying "But I don't want to die! It is dark, cold and wet down in the earth. I would much rather stay in my warm and dry seed packet with the pretty picture on front. I am comfortable here, don't make me move! " And we think "how absurd!" That is ridiculous, seeds are for planting, not for staying warm and dry in their seed packet. If they do that after a few years they won't even have any potential left and will only be fit for being thrown away.
The deal is, we know what is best for a seed, how they can reach their full potential. But how about us? That verse above isn't really preaching to the seeds or even telling the farmer what do do with his grains of wheat. It was talking about Jesus and how He had to die for us and it is also talking to us about a choice that we need to make in our life. We are asked to die so that we can reach our full potential. We are asked this not by somebody who doesn't know anything but rather by God, the one who created us and knows what our full potential is!
The following verses also give us something to think about John 12: 25 & 26 say: "He who loves his life loses it; and he who hates his life in this world shall keep it to life eternal. If anyone serves Me, let him follow Me ; and where I am there shall My servant also be; if anyone serves Me, the Father will honor him." We aren't to be so in love with our earthly life and fleshly desires (like a seed wanting to stay in the packet) that we will be willing to give up the hope of eternal life!
Well then how can we die? How can we have this new life of bearing much fruit? Romans 6:4&5 says: "Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, in order that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall be also in the likeness of His resurrection. " It really isn't very complicated, it requires a burial too, just like the seed (and like Jesus) but this one is in water. And then we can say like Paul in Galatians 2:20 "I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me, and delivered Himself up for me." !
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
Food and Drink For our family this seems to be an essential for any trip. We often seem to be in a hurry (we have a tendency to leave after Ken gets off work and we hope to get there before it is really late.) so we usually eat a meal or so in the van. Also bringing our own stuff saves money. Here are some things that work for us:
- Everybody has a water bottle. Drinking water is good for you and I don't want to be stuck buying overpriced bottled water should someone get thirsty.
- Ken drinks Mt. Dew for his caffeine "needs". When I remember I pack this as well (which for him it needs to be on plenty of ice!) which saves us a lot of money as well as time.
- Snacks seem to keep our family happier while traveling, some of our favorites are: Popcorn (popped in our popper before we go), oranges, apples (I bring a knife to slice it as my kids eat it easier that way and with less waste), bananas, crackers, cheese slices, homemade cookies, mozzarella sticks and carrot sticks.
- Sandwiches always work pretty well for meals on the road, usually we combine that with some of the snacks listed above for a meal. Other ideas for cold meals are wraps of various kinds and leftover cold pizza ( I love this but not everybody does).
- Recently since we often leave just before supper time I have been experimenting with bringing hot food along to eat. Some of the ones that have work well for us have been : Tuna or chicken turnovers, pigs in a blanket and then my brainchild for last night: Pizza burgers. Yesterday afternoon I was making bread anyway and I had some browned hamburger in the fridge. I mixed the hamburger with tomato sauce and shredded cheese ( and I meant to add Italian seasonings which would have been good but I forgot it) and then I took a handful of dough and stretched it out and put some filling inside and then sealed it up and then baked it for 20 minutes or so. We ate them with black olives on the side and everybody seemed to enjoy them.
Activities to keep the kids occupied This is also an important part of traveling for us. It would be handy if our kids slept the whole trip but they don't so this is some of the things we do:
- We pack a bag of books, writing materials and small toys. If it is a really long trip each child has their own bag.
- An activity we enjoyed this last trip was finding things outside the van that started with each letter of the alphabet in order. You could do this as a competition but we had fun with all of us working together. It is also a good learning activity for younger children. (It can also be quite humorous with young children as they will suggest all sorts of things.)
- Make up rhymes together. About what you see, your family or just anything. This can be quite funny!
- I had another whole post on this part earlier so you can visit there for more ideas.
What do you do to travel frugally while having fun? For more Works for me Ideas visit Rocks in my Dryer.
Monday, May 19, 2008
A couple of the many beautiful Mayflowers (Hepatica) that we saw.
Patrick, one of our Malaysian friends attempting to use a camp can opener to open the beans.
Becky and Suhalia working on the cake. It looks a little windy in the picture because it was. The weather was rather crazy going from calm, sunny and warm to extremely windy and with some rain. Then it would be warm and calm again and then rainy. The cycle repeated itself several times. One time limbs started falling down from overhead.
We also went to the place in the park where the headwaters of the Mississippi River is. Mara is walking across the rocks and getting her shoes and socks wet. At sometimes during the year you can walk across with shoes on and not get them wet but right now the water is fairly high.
Some of the kids and Martha walking across the log/bridge that is just a tiny ways down the river. At this point the Mississippi is very shallow and narrow. One year when we canoed from the headwaters to just above Bemidji we just had to drag our canoes through the beginning part.
Most of the kids on a log.
That was our fun day out enjoying God's creation.
Saturday, May 17, 2008
It was fun to get to see them all dressed up and be able to wish them well, meet their parents (those that had come), give them a card and a little something and get our pictures with them.
It is so fun for us to get to know these students. We have been blessed to have them in our lives a little while. The above picture is of my parents, sisters, nieces, nephew and my kids with Ming and Patrick. Below I am with Ming, Phooi Man and Natalie.
There was no way to ride across the tracks so we had to drag our bikes over. With just a bike that wasn't hard but the bike and trailer together was a little bit of a trick. Ken and I had to work together.
The evening was quite beautiful, we were riding through a swampy area and it was fun to look a the new plants growing, the birds and the tiny leaves on the bushes. We also went by Lake Irving. We ended up riding all the way into town and then rode around in an old section of town. It was a fun family outing!
There goes Mara down the trail!
Friday, May 16, 2008
I have only been trying it on my laundry for the last couple of days but it seems to be working pretty well. Also the making of it was quite fun. At least I thought it was fun, I have always been one that loves to make messes and experiment (my mom will verify that statement) and so this was just up my alley. Thought it actually wasn't that messy. Basically you just shave a bar of soap into some hot water in a pan on the stove and dissolve it well.Then you add it to more hot water in a 5 gallon bucket, add the soda and stir well, add the borax and stir well and let it sit overnight and it is ready to use. My kids thought it looked like I was playing in water and they thought it looked like a very fun job too.
Even thought I have always bought inexpensive laundry soap (I am not a loyal Tide user) this will still be quite a money savings over time. Every little bit helps and this is not at all a hard way to save money.
~The other new thing that I am doing is brushing my teeth with baking soda. The reason I actually started doing this I because for years I have had problems with canker sores. If you have never experienced them just let me tell you they aren't fun! Lately I have been thinking that there is probably a reason I am getting them and I should do some research on it and try to find a solution for my problem. Well according to the things I read, they don't seem to truly know for sure, and it seems to vary from person to person, but a common problem with many people seems to be the Sodium Laurel Sulphate which is in many toothpastes. So I decided to check my toothpaste and sure enough it had it, then I thought I would check all the other toothpastes I had (I have gotten quite a stash from all the Walgreens deals) and they all had it in them. So I decided to try just plain soda, I know that this has been something that has been used for years and it does work, it just doesn't taste as good. Well when I switched the canker sores that I had healed up right away and so far I haven't gotten any more.
I would love to hear if anybody else has found a solution for canker sores (other than medicine) that works well. I will continue to try the baking soda and will try to remember to let you know in the future if I am still canker sore free.
~ The other thing is something I am actually just thinking about trying, I haven't tried it yet. It is where you use baking soda to wash your hair and then rinse in vinegar. It is called the no'poo method. Babyslime has a very in depth post about it explaining the benefits of the no'poo method and the problems with shampoo. I think it makes quite a bit of sense but I haven't made the switch yet. I will be sure to report if I do and how well it works. I am interested to know if any of you use this method and what you think.
For more frugal tips visit Biblical Womanhood.
Walgreens has Smart Start Cereal on sale (as well as Raisin Bran and some other Kellogg cereals) for 4/$10. That is not a very good deal in my book but you do also get a $2 Register Reward. And then I went here and found coupons for Smart Start Cereal and I was able to print of 2 coupons for $3 off 2 boxes of Smart Start. So after coupons I only had to pay $4 for 4 boxes and then I also got a RR. (And I payed the $4 with RR from last week.)
Also we were in our local Marketplace Foods and I happened to notice they had Malt-O-Meal cereal on sale (unadvertised) for 99 cents. I happened to have a $1 coupon and a $1.50 coupon so we got two bags (of unhealthy cereal!!!) for free plus 51 cents towards my other groceries.
For more Frugal Friday tips visit Biblical Womandhood.
Thursday, May 15, 2008
Right now we have daffodils blooming at our house. (I am quite excited, I planted them last fall and they are coming up good.) Today I picked one to take out to my Mom, Megan saw it and thought it was very pretty and she wanted to carry it to the van and then held it all the way in the van and gave it to Mom.
The kids found these beautiful Mayflowers (Hepatica) out at Mom and Dad's, these are one of my very favorite Spring flowers. I think they are so beautiful!! Megan thought they were very pretty too. It is so fun to see things through a child's eyes and to see their excitement over the simple things in life like pretty socks. It is my goal to have that same appreciation in my life and to make sure that I tell God and others "Thank you" for the very many "pretty" things in my life.
What pretty things are you enjoying at your house?
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
- I feel connected with the Source of Life from the Beginning of the day. Which gets me started for open communication with God all day long.
- Any of my concerns for the day can be given over to God immediately, before I start feeling stressed about them and He helps me with them.
- Even if I am to have a busy day, I can start it out with a time of peace, which seems to help the whole day go more peacefully.
- When reading the Bible I am reminded of a better way to live, and usually there is something that I read about that helps me with my day to day life.
- I ask for wisdom and strength for my day.
I find my morning time to be such a blessing. Now that it is a habit it is not very hard to do. Developing a habit is the hardest part but I would really encourage everybody to try to develop this one. It is so worth it!
- I would love to hear what you do for prayer time and how it works for you. Also I would love suggestions for how you do it when you are at somebody else's house or have overnight company who also rise early. Those are my hardest times at keeping to my schedule.
Tuesday, May 13, 2008
Go to BeCentsable for more tips.
Monday, May 12, 2008
A crocus blooming in my garden. In the springtime every flower in my garden that blooms get special loving attention. I am so glad that God made flowers!
We had a surplus of goats milk from my parents so I made yogurt and cheese (pictured above).
That evening was the opening night of our new children's program at church on the Fruits of the Spirit. Emily, Irindee and I are doing it together and having lots of fun! We are doing it using lots of gardening/farming activities. This is what greets the kids as they go downstairs. I had fun making the scarecrow and the sunflowers.
Here the kids are having fun listening to Emily tell a dramatic version of the story of David and Jonathan. We then talked of the love they showed each other.
We planted some seeds! Here is Jonathan attaching his balloon to his pot.