Sunday, November 30, 2008

A Homemade Christmas ~ Week 5

This week I thought I would share a very quick and fun and economical craft. It is a fancy fun hair accessory for your cute little girl. A friend's daughters had some like this in their hair at church tonight and Megan thought they were pretty neat. She thought having one herself was pretty nice too. ( I made it for her for Christmas but then I thought it would look better for a picture to have it in her hair so she has seen it already! )
To make this you will need:
  • a simple pony tail holder (you can buy a bunch for 12 cents at Walmart using this coupon, Thanks Money Saving Mom!)
  • Pretty ribbon. I like the organza ribbon put other types would work fine too. I have also used strips of tulle before. (You can get an 8 yard roll like this for $1.99 at JoAnns)
  • Clear finger nail polish or fray check. This not absolutely necessary but it helps to make the ribbons not fray.

How to do it:

  1. Cut 20 (more or less) strips of ribbon that are 6-7 inches long. (Cut the ends diagonally.) You can use 1, 2 or more different colors.
  2. Paint the very end with polish.
  3. Tie then onto the pony tail holder with a square knot. Be sure to do it tightly so that they don't slip off.
  4. That's it! You are all done!

Another easy hair thing to make is cloth scrunchies. Cut a piece of fabric of choice 3 inches (or wider if you like a fuller look) by 10 inches (the one I just made was just 8 inches but I think it would be better with it being a bit longer.).

Then fold it in half lengthwise and sew down the side. Then flip it right side out. Thread a piece of thin elastic through it that is around 4 inches long. Sew the elastic together at the ends to make a circle. Then tuck the raw edges inside at both ends of the fabric and by hand whip stitch them together. These scrunchies work very well and last forever and are very quick to make.
For a girl that enjoys having pretty hair and gift of a variety of new hair things could be very fun to receive. Here are some other ideas to make and include.
  • Instructions for very cool woven headbands.
  • Ribbon covered alligator clips.
  • This site has oodles of different hair things to be made!

    Another fun craft that I recently did was this little origami stars. I was experimenting with using magazine pictures for the one of the left. I want to try more papers and sizes and hopefully string some up to use for some of our Holiday decorating. These look complicated but are really quite easy! Here is a YouTube video that shows you how. I found these things to the blog Day to Day where she has been showing different Christmas stuff everyday.

Have you been working on anything? Please share..... (either in the comments or post about it and leave the link to your post here!)


I just thought I would post quickly to recommend the movie "Fireproof". I imagine many of you have already seen it but if you havn't I greatly recommend it. If you have a struggling marriage I think this movie would be wonderful for you to watch. Even if you have a happy marriage as we do I think you will find it to be encouraging and uplifting and help you to see ways to encourage others in their marriages.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Super Saving Saturday

I had fun doing some bargian shopping this week (not Friday, I stayed home that day!) and so I thought it would be fun to tell you all about it.

We had been e-mailed a JC Penneys coupon for $10 off of a $25 dollar purchase. I went and found the type of dress slacks Ken likes on sale for $19.99 (normally $60) and then I picked up 3 pairs of dress socks which were on sale for $8.40. My total purchase price after coupon was $18.39. I was pretty happy as Ken's clothes costs can sometimes be a little spendy.
At Walgreens I had fun with some of their sales. I was able to get the first aid kits free with a coupon (that is at normal price too, not a sale), earn .51 cents on each deoderant (after 2 coupons) get the Always for $1 with 2 coupons, Pay $1 per bag of candy with a coupon and rebate, and get the paper towel for $.64 after coupons.

Walmart savings were pretty much curtousy of Money Saving Mom. Total before coupons was $21.74. Minus $19 worth of coupons for a total of $2.74 plus tax. The checkout guy was impressed which led to a fun conversation - I guess his Mom is very into using coupons as well.
Well I had my fun with deals this month. Next month I am seriously considering trying to buy nothing but Milk and fresh fruits and veggies. I will be sure to report if that works out or not.

Friday, November 28, 2008

A Good Thanksgiving Day!

We had a good Thanksgiving Day and I hope you did too!!
I always think it is fun to share the fun times we have had so.....
For me part of making a holiday a holiday is doing something special. One of my favorite things is decorating. The kids love to have a part in that as well and Ken is a good appreciator!
Aaron was wanting to help decorate and wanted to use a balloon so we came up with this fat Mr. Turkey. He had a fun time making it and had plans for using it to greet all the guests.
One of the parts of decorating or just making an event special in any way that I really enjoy is the challenge of doing it using stuff we already have and keeping it frugal. If you start thinking about it and working on it you would be amazed at what fun things you can do with items that you already have and that are free!
Place cards are always fun ( And Ken enjoys them as they remind him of going to his Grandmother's). Mara learned how to make these little pumpkins in class at church and she decided to make several for us to use on our table. She made 5 which ended up being enough for the males that were to be at supper.
I had seen this simple idea in a magazine (I believe) and thought it was cute so I made these up for the girls.
Another part of our day, that didn't really have anything to do with the holiday was cutting Mara's hair. She had very long hair and wanted to donate it to "Locks of Love" (or somewhere for wigs) and so we had been waiting for it to get really long so that it wouldn't be to short when we cut it. Well, we have been having trouble lately with lots of knots in her hair and so has trouble brushing it or wanting me to brush it. We decided it needed to be cut now! When Keren came over in the afternoon I asked her if she wanted to tackle it and she was willing. She was able to get the amount needed for donating and now Mara has much more manageable hair.
After the hair cutting we also got Keren to talk a family photo.

We had our big meal in the evening. Thanksgiving is always fun to prepare for because in a sense we have been preparing for it all year. We think about the abundance that God has blessed us with and we serve a lot of stuff that has come from our gardens, etc.
Our menu was:
  • Turkey (we did not raise it but we were blessed with it being given to us by some friends when they were moving.)
  • Fluffy mashed potatoes (we gleaned from the fields)
  • Gravy (homemade of course from the turkey broth)
  • Dressing/stuffing (Mom made it from homemade breads and celery which she is growing and chicken broth from their chickens)
  • Corn
  • Cabbage salad (from my parents garden)
  • Homemade Rolls ( I made using wheat that I got from the grainery and ground and pumpkin from my parents)
  • Fruit salad (using some of the berries we picked this summer and whipped cream from the farm)
  • A Malaysian Jello (A friend from there brought the mix as a gift. We had fun molding it with fruits inside)

We also had lots of dessert!!

Mom brought Apple pie, I made pumpkin (actually squash as it has way better flavor!), mince and peanut butter pie and my sister Keren made Turkey cookies, our friend Pei Lin brought special Malaysian cornflake cookies and Mara and Jonathan had made ginger cookies in class on Wednesday night which they saved specially for Thanksgiving.

We had fun eating by candlelight. Along with the candles I had fun using linens from my grandmas, pumpkins and leaves and fake fruit for decorations.
Eating by candlelight makes something special very easily!

Some of my favorite memories of the day were:
~ having fun decorating with my children. ~ Good conversations with family and friends. ~ Having fun working together on the meal with Keren, Irindee and Pei Lin. ~ Playing games. ~ Hearing Mom and Dad read to the kids and have fun with them. ~ Praying together to tell God "Thank you".

What made your day special?

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

"It is good to give thanks to the Lord,
And to sing praises to Thy name, O Most High;
To declare thy loving kindness in the morning,
And Thy faithfulness by night,
With the ten-stringed lute, and with the harp;
With resounding music upon the lyre.
For Thou, O Lord, hast made me glad by what Thou hast done.
I will sing for joy at the works of Thy hands."
Psalm 92:1-4
I have been so very, very blessed and I am glad we have a national holiday that is set aside to spend extra time (in addition to the thankfulness we need to show daily) telling God "Thank you" for the many many ways He has blessed us!
We have a pretty relaxing day planned. I did get up nice and early (courtesy to one cute little girl!) and this morning I got the Turkey in the oven and made dinner rolls and pies. Now our family is mostly reading or playing games. We plan on eating a light lunch of leftovers and then the kids and I plan to nap ( I am looking forward to that!). This afternoon my parents, local siblings and a couple of friends are planning on coming over (Mom is helping out with some of the food) for more game playing, Thanksgiving supper and hopefully getting our family picture taken.
We hope you have a great day as well and that you remember to give Thanks to the One who deserves it!!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Making bead projects.

Something Mara and Jonathan really enjoy doing is making bead projects. Geckos are their specialty but they also enjoy others as well. When they were wanting to get more creative we did some web surfing and found the links below that have lots of instructions. We thought we would share them with you too.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

WFMW ~chicken rice burritos

One thing that really works for me is easy, inexpensive, healthy and yummy recipes! Chicken Rice Burritos is one that falls in that category. This recipe came from my dear friend Tina early on in my marriage. It has been one we have made over and over.

It is one of those recipes also that doesn't have a lot of exact measurements. I guess those are the types of recipes that best work for me.

To make them you need:

  • 1 package chicken (like 4 legs and thighs) boiled and taken off of the bone and cut up.
  • 1 1/2 cups white rice (I have tried brown but we didn't like them as well.)
  • 3 cups water (or replace some of this with the broth from boiling the chicken)
  • 1 onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 teaspoons (or to taste) chili powder.
  • Salsa (to taste)
  • Flour tortilla shells (I used to always buy them but now I usually make them.)
  • Shredded cheddar cheese

In a 2 quart pot saute chopped onion and garlic in a little oil. Add rice, water (and broth), and chili powder and cook until rice is done. Then mix in cut up chicken and as much Salsa as you would like. Put a couple of spoonfuls in a tortilla shell, sprinkle with cheese and roll up and place in a cake pan. (Like picture below)

Bake @ 375 degrees for 10-15 minutes (until the shells are a little browned and slightly crunchy). Serve with sour cream and salsa and enjoy!! This recipe definitely works for me, I hope it will for you too.

Something else that works for me is homemade Christmas gifts. On Mondays here at Proverbs 31 Living we are having a series on a homemade Christmas and I tell about different homemade things that I am making and I also have a Mr. Linky set up so you can also share. I would love to have you join me!!

Remembering a fun summer day.

In July my good friend Christy and her 3 youngest children (though another has arrived now and was with her then but we didn't get to see him!!) came to visit for a couple of days. We had a wonderful time and one day we decided to go and pick blueberries and we also thought it would be fun to try to find other wild foods and see if we could live off of the land. We got a little bit of a late start however so I decided to bring a pot of chili along as well. We got our buckets, some fishing line and hooks, a little flour and grease (for the fish) and a little trowel and we were ready to go. (I also had some books along for identifing stuff. )

We ended up having some issues with our wild foods! :-) The fish weren't to be found and it was awfully hard to stop picking berries in order to look for other foods. So we ate our soup and then the kids really wanted to make something else so we gathered some cattail stems and the kids chopped them fine and we mixed them in with the flour, blueberries, some water and a little grease and make some scones for a snack and then went home for supper.

Here is the pictures of our very fun day. By the way this post is dedicated to Venessa who thought it was awful that Christy came to visit me and I didn't post about it. :-)

Looking for worms with no success.
Levi and Megan stirring up a pot of dirt and pine needles. We weren't that hungry!

Checking out the water. (We were on the Mississippi but it isn't very mighty here.)

Megan doing some babysitting.

Warming a mother's heart.

Can you find the berries? The're pretty small.

My sweet girl.
Making the "scones".
Do they look good?

When are they going to be ready?
Patiently waiting.

We'll take seconds.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

A Homemade Christmas ~ Week 4

Welcome to the 4th week of a Homemade Christmas. Feel free to check out week 1, week 2 and week 3 as well. And don't forget to come back for the remaining 4 weeks!

This week I had a lot of fun trying something new and that is appliqueing on cardstock. I made these little gift tags and they were a simple and fun project.

What you need to make them are: Cardstock, little fabric scraps, thread and a sewing machine, ribbon or string, stamps or pen for the "To" and "From" and also a fusible web makes it work nice and easy.

How to do it:
  1. Iron "wonder under" (a transfer web) on the back side of some fabric scraps and then cut them into stars and hearts (or any shape you desire, a pine tree would also be cute).
  2. Then iron them onto the little cardstock tags. I cut out the tags the same size as a business card.
  3. Next using a small zig-zag and a really fine stitch sew around your shape.
  4. Using a complementing color zig-zag around the edge of your tag.
  5. Using either stamps or writing neatly put a "To" and "From" on your tag.
  6. Punch a hole and put a ribbon, cord or string through it so that it can be tied to a package.
  7. That's it!! Now you can have fun using it.

So far this is all I have used this method for but I also want to try making cards with sewing as well as bookmarks. Do you have any other ideas for using sewing on cardstock?

Here are some other gift ideas:

How about you? What fun stuff have you been making at your house? Please share! (Either in the comments or post about it and add your link.)

Going through my pictures...

I have been going through my files of pictures trying to make them at least somewhat orderly!! In doing that I found several pictures that I thought would be fun to share. So here are a few odds and ends of pictures! :-)

When I found Megan on the wheelbarrow playing this summer it made me smile (please excuse the spaghetti face!), It reminded me of some fun times as a child playing for long periods of time just like this on a wheelbarrow. My sister Anna and I would each be on a different wheelbarrow and we would "Drive" our "Cars" by spinning the wheel. What fun!
This commic that was on display in the Children's science museum in St. Paul made me smile. You might need to click on it in order to read it.

Some of Jonathans photography. Can you guess what it is? (for the answer look at the bottom of the post)

My tree climbing girl. For a while it seemed like I was regularly having to rescue her from this tree. One time when she was out with the boys she even decided to relieve herself in it! Believe me, rescuing her that time wasn't all that pleasant.

Giving Clover and ride on the simple swing Uncle Luke helped the kids create.

Answer to above question: It is of looking down inside a beer bottle which we found in the woods when blueberry picking. I thought it was a rather creative picture.

Saturday, November 22, 2008


"Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light." Matthew 11:28-30

Friday, November 21, 2008

Today's fun project

Made with lots of little squares that had been given to me. It is for a new baby girl. I had fun!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Daring to Raise Counter-Culture Children

We live in a culture that as a general rule says "Wealth and possessions equal happiness". When you read magazines and from other things we hear and see we would generally think that kids aren't happy unless they have the latest video games, have up-to-date clothes, receive many big and exciting gifts for Christmas, have a big birthday party every year with all their friends, visit fast food restaurants on a regular basis and get to eat junk food. I have seen many stressed out parents who are despairing on how to raise their children in a different way. I am here to say, It can be done!! Not only are we doing it but I have seen many others do it as well.

I have felt so very blessed lately when thinking about how I am looking forward to the Holidays with absolutely no stress! ~~~ I feel very blessed when my children greatly enjoy homemade graham crackers as a treat even though they are very low on sweetener and high on whole grain. ~~~ I feel very blessed when we take the kids shopping, and we don't have to deal with any asking or begging. ~~~I feel very blessed when I hear my daughter wonder whether it is more fun to get gifts or give them. And decide that giving is probably more fun. ~~~ I feel very blessed when my children think Christmas is a wonderful holiday even though we only have small presents that fit in stockings and most of them are homemade or edible.~~~

There are so many ways that I feel blessed and it makes me so thankful that we have chosen to raise our children in the way we do. We have not done everything perfectly and our kids do want things from time to time, but for the most part the are incredibly happy and content with what they have. They know that buying new things is not what makes us happy or gives our life meaning.

Here are some of the ways that have helped in our raising of counter-culture children. (obviously every family is different and each family has different goals, so I am not suggesting that our is "THE right way" it just works very well for us and so I thought I would share. )

  • They watch no children's television and only occasionally sit in on news or sports with Ken. This helps us to avoid commercials of all sorts. If they don't see it they aren't going to want it.
  • We homeschool. I know some consider this to be sheltering and I agree it is, but what sort of parents are we if we don't do some sheltering? (I know I am very thankful for a heavenly Father who shelters me!) Homeschooling helps a lot with raising free thinkers, not people that have to do and be just like everyone else.
  • We try to teach our children the value of money. Even at their young ages they aren't just given everything, they often have to work and earn it.
  • We talk! I love to visit with my children (as does Ken). I have discussed things like having so much stuff in our lives and wanting to decrease, my desire to save money, my goals for not wasting and really using what we have. They are interested and love helping me with projects.
  • We aren't afraid to be the parents. Unfortunately this is often not done. Children need guide lines and structure and someone to help them to learn self control and self discipline. That is our job as parents!
  • Show them it is fun!! I think this solution will work in pretty much every situation. If you get excited about making a homemade present for someone and involve them in it, they will get excited too. Not only will they enjoy giving homemade presents but they will learn to appreciate giving them as well. Have fun making healthy homemade snacks and food together and they will enjoy eating them too. Make frugality a game, like our current challenge of going for a year (longer for me) without buying any clothes or shoes. Kids love games and enjoy helping to figure out how to make do with what we have.

    We were blessed to start with our children in this way from the beginning so we didn't have to work against anything that was previously ingrained in them, however I still think that these tips would help those who aren't starting from birth. What has worked for you in raising counter culture children?

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

WFMW ~ Applesauce Roll-ups

I hate to waste food! This fall I made some applesauce using regular apples and crab apples that ended up being a little too "crabby". Even with the edition of sugar it was still very tart! I didn't want it to end up being more sugar than applesauce so I decided I would have to figure out something to do with it besides eating it as sauce.
I decided to see how it would be if I made fruit roll ups out of it. So... we put it in the dehydrator and... It worked! It is still tart tasting but not to tart and the kids really like it (so do I).

No wasting of food, a cheap and healthy snack and happy kids... That works for me!


Blog Widget by LinkWithin