Friday, August 29, 2008

Frugal fun in our community

This week we enjoyed a fun (and very frugal/free) family night out.
The university was having community appreciation day at the football stadium. When you got there each person was given 3 free tickets for food which we could use at any of the different booths (if you wanted more you could buy them). There were also a bunch of booths with different things to see and do and there were different music groups (Native powwow music, Celtic music, country music, etc) playing on the stage.

We went to get our food first and there were some pretty long lines but we actually had a lot of fun visiting with the people around us and having people we knew stopping to visit as well. Some of the food to chose from were Italian pasta, pulled pork sandwiches, chicken wings, spinach dip, mini hamburgers, strawberry shortcake, caramel apples and chicken bites. They also had french fries, pop and fry bread that didn't require a ticket.

Here are all the kids enjoying their apples. Very sticky but quite yummy!
After we ate we checked out the different activities for kids. The different sports teams had various things set up were the kids could try running the hurdles (Aaron figured we must be at a kids Olympics) , shoot baskets, try hitting a hockey puck, play soccer or play with all the football pads. They thought it was pretty fun. There was going to be fireworks too but it had gotten too windy so they had to cancel.

All in all it was a pretty fun free family evening.

Our community has free or very frugal events regularly, maybe yours does too. Some ways to learn about them are:
  • The newspaper. This is a great place to find out about stuff. Check the calendar of events.
  • Online. Google your town and events. Go to your Chamber of Commerce website.
  • Look at posters. We happened to find out about this event from a poster on the door of our chiropractor.
  • Listen to the radio. (I rarely use this method but I think it does work.)
  • Be involved in your community.

Have you enjoyed any fun events in your town lately?

Thursday, August 28, 2008

"Commit the the Lord whatever you do and all of your plans will succeed." Proverbs 16:3

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Rag Rugs

I was visiting a blog(Green Baby Guide) that I had never been at before and noticed that they were hosting "Thrifty Green Thursday". I enjoy being Thrifty and have green leanings as well so I thought it would be fun to join in.
A project that I completed lately that is both thrifty and green is this rag rug. I really like rag rugs, 1st of all they are useful, 2nd they make a place look homey (in my opinion) , 3rd they are fun to make and 4th they don't cost anything.
The rag rug above I made using strips of jean in various shades and then red fabric strips from an old jacket and a t-shirt around the edge. You can use various types of fabric (old clothes, old curtains, old sheets even old ties) I have used t-shirts but they are a little trickier as they are so stretchy.
Here are instructions for a round crocheted rag rug.
And finally after a bunch of looking I found a demonstration of what I think is the easiest way to join strips. (It also looks nicer than most others in your rug.)
If you have any questions feel free to ask. Rug making is fun and a great way to use up otherwise unusable garments!

The giving of blood

This evening between supper and church ( I was doing some major rushing! :-) we headed to the hospital to donate blood. I answered all the questions fine and there were no problems until they checked my hemoglobin, it was too low! :-( But my big strong man was able to donate.

I have not yet ever donated blood (I had signed up before but then got pregnant and I have been pregnant or nursing for a lot of the last 9+ years) Ken has donated before but it was before we lived here so it had been quite a while. We finally got around to signing up when we had a booth next to the Blood Bank's at the fair. Now that we are signed up (and hopefully next time I will be able to donate!) I am out to encourage the rest of you (if you don't all ready) to donate blood as well! In our town if you become a member of the blood bank they ask you to donate 2-4 times a year, the blood goes to people at our local hospital. Also with the blood bank if anybody in our family needed blood (parents included) they could get blood for free. Another option for giving blood is responding to a blood drive. Your blood might then go to where it is needed most.

Blood is such a vital thing, without it we can't live but God has made it so that healthy bodies can make more of it, so we can safely give some away to someone who desperately needs it. From your blood, a life might be saved. Thinking about blood certainly makes me think about the One, Jesus Christ who was willing to shed His blood for us that we might live. He was willing to give His life for our salvation - not just for a good life now but for all eternity. His gift is amazing!
"In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace which He lavished on us." Ephesians 1:7 & 8

Now I am going to start working on raising my hemoglobin. I prefer the idea of eating good foods rather than taking supplements so here are some that I read will help raise it:
Liver and other meats (I eat meat but it has been a long time since I ate liver, I'm not sure about this one)
Seafood (I had shrimp this week but that is rare.)
Dried fruits like apricots, prunes and raisins (I do eat these fairly regularly but I guess I'll try to up my intake.)
Nuts ( I eat but I'll try to do more)
Beans, especially lima beans (ditto to above)
Green leafy vegetables, such as spinach and broccoli (and ditto again)
Blackstrap molasses (Hmm.. I need to figure out ways to use this. )
Whole grains (I eat a lot of these, going up might make me fat! :-)
Iron-fortified breads and cereals (check the label) (I eat a little but most of the stuff I eat is from scratch.)
Egg yolks ( I eat)
Dandelion (haven't eaten since last year)
Alfalfa (I ate in sprouts, I wonder if that counts?)
Do you have any more ideas for raising your hemoglobin?

Fabulous Florida

We had a fun time studying about Florida. Since we live in a Northern state and Florida obviously is not, we found all the differences (which were many) interesting.

We enjoyed reading about the:
  • Sea Cows (or Manatees). We had a big laugh when we read about Spanish explorers thinking they were mermaids! :-)
  • Daytona 500. This is what Aaron was most interested in visiting.
  • The Alligators. Did you know that they hiss when they are annoyed? If they are hissing at you I would recommend a speedy get away.
  • Disney World
  • All the citrus fruit that is grown.
  • Sponges which grow along the coast of Florida. We read that they are an animal with no brain. Thinking about that I found it a little gross that people use dead animals to wash up with!
  • The Capital building, one of the few that are skyscrapers. We found the picture to be rather odd for a capital building.
  • How hot it is. A blog reader wrote about that "I live in Florida. And I can confidently tell you, its hot. And humid. We have beaches, lakes, forests and swamps. I do believe key lime pie is the state pie, but oranges are the state fruit. We have big cities and small towns. We decorate our palm trees at Christmas and wear shorts year round.Did I mention its hot?"

    Abbi said...
    Sarah,Thanks so much for sharing about Florida! We have really been enjoying studying about it. It has had different things that we have not come across in the other states, like sea cows, sponges and all the Hispanic and Spanish influence. I can imagine how hot is is and that does make me very thankful to be living in MN!

    Sarah R said...
    Well here is something interesting you may not know. If you happen to see a sea cow, don't touch it! They are sweet and very lovable, but they are a protected animal. If you are seen touching one, you will go to jail. No joke!

We did enjoy the food we tried as well, including Florida Strawberry Muffins.
Miami Beach Cake which I changed the recipe some but it was quite yummy. Below Jonathan is enjoying a piece. Key lime pie is a Florida specialty and we all thought it was yummy too!

I read that Pineapples aren't largely grown in Florida to sell and ship but many people have them growing in their yards. We enjoyed pineapple on our waffles one morning.

Some facts about Florida:

  • Became a state March 3, 1845 (it had been under Spanish rule earlier). It was the 27th State.
  • The Capital is Tallahassee
  • It is called "The Sunshine State"
  • The motto is "In God We Trust"
  • The state song is "Old Folks at Home" by Stephen Foster which I had fun singing to the kids.
  • The state flower is the Orange Blossom.
  • The state tree is the Sabal palm.
  • The state bird is the Mockingbird.
  • The state animal is the Florida Panther.
  • The state beverage is Orange Juice.

    What do you know and like about Florida?

WFMW ~ Dirty Clothes Bag

We were needing a space efficient place for dirty clothes in the girls' room and I happened to notice this idea in a Martha Stewart book. We had a big pillow case which Mara then used some paints and butterfly and flower stamps to decorate and then we used a big embroidery hoop which we had on hand and put it around the hole of the bag. The we tied on a piece of ribbon to use for hanging up.

It was very quick to put together, a fun project and it Works for me!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Learning about Michigan

The first part of July we had fun learning about Michigan. I haven't been to Michigan since I was a kid, but as I remember it was quite pretty. One of the things we found quite interesting about Michigan was it's shape with the upper and lower peninsulas. I don't think we ever did find out why it was divided in such a way. It is the 26th state and like the 25th state (Arkansas) it has an apple blossom as the state flower. Michigan became a state on Jan 26, 1837 (so it shares a birthday with my older brother!).

  • The state tree is the White pine and the bird is the Robin.
  • Michigan is a major builder of automobiles.
  • Michigan is the only state touching four of the great lakes.
  • Gerald Ford, Henry Ford, Thomas Edison and the Wright brothers came from Michigan.
  • The upper peninsula has little people but has about 150 waterfalls and lots of forests.

We tried a bunch of Michigan recipes and they were all pretty good!

I guess no Tiger's game is complete without a Detroit style coney dog. I enjoyed it too.
We tried Chicken a la' King.
We made Applesauce Raisin Batter Bread.
Spanish Tortillas with black beans and rice was quite yummy.
We also enjoyed the Banana Breakfast Shake.
We enjoyed Mixed Greens with Baked Goat cheese toasts!
The Boys enjoying Maple Walnut Granola. The Cornish-Finnish Michigan Pasties were quite good. It was also a very big batch so we had leftovers.
What do you like about Michigan?

Monday, August 25, 2008

Menu Plan Monday

Sunday Breakfast: Pancakes with Chokecherry or maple syrup
Dinner: Brown Rice, Fried Pork, Corn on the cob (from our garden!!), Cabbage Salad.
Supper: Shrimp, mashed potatoes and green beans.

Monday Breakfast: Scrambled Eggs and potatoes and toast
Dinner: Pork, Chicken, Brown Rice, Cabbage Salad, Stir fried veggies, bread and pie (WE don't normally have this big of lunch but we had invited the workers from the Church building site over.)
Supper: BBQ Pork on Bread and Salad.

Tuesday Breakfast: Blueberry Muffins and Eggs.
Supper: Chicken on a stick, fried onions on a stick, bananas on a stick, potatoes on a stick and Popsicles.

Wednesday Breakfast: Lefse
Supper: Indian Tacos

Thursday Breakfast: Cereal or Toast.
Supper: Walleye, baked potatoes and a veggie.

Friday Breakfast: Eggs, Hashbrowns and fruit.
Supper: Wild Rice Hotdish and Corn.

Saturday Breakfast: Oatmeal or fend for yourself.
Supper: Swedish meatballs on potatoes or noodles and Broccoli.

This week we are eating "Minnesota foods" for the most part. Can you think of any "MN" foods that I missed? (other than Lutefisk, that was an intentional oversight.)

Yummy Summer!

Cucumbers from the Farmer's market...
Peas from my parents...
Tomatoes from our bush....
Isn't Summer nice!?!

Sunday, August 24, 2008


I am finally getting back to reporting on states! We studied Arkansas at the end of June/ beginning of July. That was a busy week and we didn't get a lot of special food made but we did have fun reading and learning.

  • Arkansas became a state on Wednesday, June 15, 1836 ~ the 25th State!
  • The state flower is the Apple blossom (great choice in my opinion!)
  • The state tree is the Pine
  • The state bird is the Mockingbird
  • Arkansas is called "The Natural State". The scenic beauty of Arkansas makes it so tourism is a big factor in the state's economy.
  • The honey bee is the official state insect.
  • Some names you might recognize from Arkansas are: President Bill Clinton, Mike Huckabee and Johny Cash.
  • The first Wal-mart was in Arkansas
  • Arkansas is #1 in rice and poultry production.
  • Arkansas is one of the few diamond producing states and the only place in the world with a public diamond mine.

Something we enjoyed eating was the Chicken Fajita Salad. They suggested tortilla chips on the side so I made my own.

Did you know that Arkansas in the only state to pass a resolution on the right way to say its name? ( By the way it is "Ark-an-saw")

What do you know and like about Arkansas?

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Happy Birthday Jonathan!

Yesterday was Jonathan's 7th birthday. We had a good but busy day!

Our tradition is to always start out with gifts. Sometimes I wonder if that puts to much focus on gifts but at the same time I like to get it done soon so they aren't wondering all day and they get to enjoy the gifts on their birthday. Also I don't care for giving our gifts to the kids when we are having any friends come over as I like our focus to be on enjoying our time with them, not gifts. This year Mara and Aaron were both very excited about Jonathan's coming birthday and have been working on making him presents much of last week and before. One gift that Mara made was a very detailed lift a flap book. It was fun to watch her work so carefully on something to give to her brother. One of the gifts I made for him was a wallet. He has been wanting one and I figured that it wouldn't be very hard to make. It went together quite quickly (using imitation leather and a snap for the coin part) and I was pleased with how it turned out. Jonathan likes it too. I have been wanting to make a large percentage of our gifts and that has been going well for the most part. We did make several gifts for Jonathan but did make one major exception.
Jonathan's bike had gotten way too small. We had tried to encourage him to earn money to buy a new one but he kept getting distracted from his saving to buy something or another. We decided that we never had bought him a new bike for a birthday (and we have for Mara and Aaron) so we decided to go ahead and get one for him this year and we explained that next time he would have to earn (from jobs we give him) his next bike.

He was super excited about the bike. He said he had hoped for one but really didn't think he would get one. He has wanted to go on lots of bike rides ever since. He and Aaron have also enjoyed racing on our lane as Aaron has gotten quite good at riding without training wheels now.

One morning a week some of Jonathan's friends come over to play. This week we arranged for them to come on Jonathan's birthday. Above they are enjoying the special birthday snack we made ~ Ice Cream sandwiches!
We made the Ice cream sandwiches using Chocolate chewy cookies (made with whole grains) and ice cream. It was our first time to try making them and we thought they were a success. They were much cheaper too!

Besides the boys coming over, Denise a friend from church and a little girl she is watching came over for part of the morning and lunch. For supper My parents and siblings that are in town as well as another friend came over. All of the meals yesterday were ones that Jonathan picked, Sausage and biscuits and gravy for breakfast, Mac and Cheese (and I added veggies) for lunch and Pizza and Salad for supper.

Jonathan also requested an ice cream cake. This we also made ourselves. I had bought vanilla ice cream on sale for $3 a gallon. We used 1/2 gallon. To make it we put a layer of ice cream (I cut the bottom off of an ice cream bucket and then put the lid on, turned it upside down and used it for a cake mold. A friend uses a spring form pan and I think that would work better but I don't have one) and then a layer of crumbled homemade choc. cookies, then another layer of ice cream and then a layer of choc. candies (free from Walgreens), peanut butter and marsh mellows then another layer of ice cream and then we decorated the top using green tinted coconut, farm toys (which we did wash!), cookies, candy and peanut butter for the house, peanuts for the driveway, blue candy for a river and a molded tootsie roll for the bridge. We all had a lot of fun making it and we thought it was pretty good to eat too!

All in all it was a successful birthday!

Friday, August 22, 2008

A job for a stay at home mom

I enjoyed this acticle about how to create your own work from home job by saving money instead of finding a way to make more. She pointed out that you have the benefit of no income tax. Another great one that I see is getting to be with your children the whole time you do it. Anyhow, I thought she had a neat perspective and that some of you might enjoy it.

A pillow and basket from heirlooms

A month of so ago a mother of a bride contacted me and wondered if I would ever make a ring pillow from heirlooms. She had seen the pillows that I had for sale at the bridal fair and so she thought I could do it. I hadn't ever done that before but I was game to try. It ended up that both of the mothers came over to visit bringing with them quite a few different things from Grandmas, great Grandmas and beyond. There was enough stuff that it would have made an incredibly busy pillow so we decided to use some on a basket and she saved an item or two for the bouquet. They also decided to have me use some of the fabric from their wedding dresses for the pillow and basket. (The Bride's mother's dress is in the pillow and the Groom's Mother's is in the basket).

It ended up being a pretty fun project and the pictures show the finished product. The top picture shows the top of the pillow.

Blog under construction

You may have noticed that my blog is looking a bit different lately. I have been wanting to go to 3 columns (because I had quite a few things that I wanted to put in the columns) and also I had wanted more of a creamy color opposed to the light yellow (the lightest cream that Blogger offered). With the help of a friend I figured out how to get both of those things figured out but I have to put in again most everything on the side (most of which I haven't had time to do yet) and then also I can't get my header to post in my new template. When I try it says it has saved all of my changes but then when I look it is still the plain template. Do any of you know what I might be doing wrong? I wonder if I should try a 3 column template from somewhere else.

Anyway, that is the story behind the new blog look and hopefully over time I will be able to get it where I want it and hopefully I can make it a useful tool for homemaking/homeschooling.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Do you have any advice?

I am attempting to potty train Megan this week. I have had a child in diapers (and sometimes 2) for nearly nine years now so I am rather excited about the idea of being done! Unfortunately I don't seem to be very good at this potty training business, you would think that Megan being my 4th child to potty train that I would know exactly how to do it and we would get the job done quickly and efficiently like many other mothers that I hear about. Sad to say it is not working that way. I have been thinking that Potty training schools would probably be a good business opportunity for someone that was skilled at the business. As for me, I am pretty well acquainted with the washing machine this week!

I thought she was seeming fairly ready, for months whenever I have taken off her diaper she has wanted to "go potty" and then she would go sit on the toilet. She rarely actually did anything but she loved the idea. Also she loved to go at any public places we would visit (you know, the thrill of seeing the bathrooms!) There was a time (right around 1 year) when she actually did go on the toilet a lot (#1 & 2) but then she got afraid of the toilet for a while and that was that. So much for my dreams of having a child like myself who trained at one year old.

This week we have started using underwear, I have tried to push liquids and watch the clock (The last two I do have trouble with forgetting about at times which doesn't help the situation!) Our success has been pretty much not at all but we have had lots of wet clothes! I have also told her that she would get a treat when she goes. The older children are trying to encourage her as well (as they want to share in the treat) but so far to no success. (But she is pretty willing to try.)

Anyway...Does anybody have any suggestions? Those of you who find potty training a little easier than I, I would love to hear from you!

Visiting with Senator Coleman

A fun opportunity we had this week was going to town to see Senator Norm Coleman. The different times lately that I have been able to hear him speak makes me glad that he is our senator. I think he does a good job. He came into town to a small cafe, a bunch of us all squished together in there to talk to him and hear what he had to say. Our kids were almost the only children there and so he paid them quite a bit of attention. He talked to Megan and Aaron first and wanted to shake Aaron's hand but Aaron got shy at that point and came and hid behind me. Megan was quite willing to visit though.
The older 2 also enjoyed meeting him, visiting with him and hearing him speak. Mara stood right in the front row and was very into his little talk. He thought that she would make a good senator some day because of her personality.
Before we had gone to see him we had talked about who a senator is and what he does. Getting to see somebody like that in person really will make our little government lesson stick a lot better then just reading about it in some book.
I am more and more coming to the conclusion that if we want to make a difference in how our country is led then we need to be involved. I am also thinking that it is important that our kids learn what it is all about and hopefully we can raise up some godly young men and women who will help in the future to make a difference in our country.
One of the campaign staff took a picture of the kids and I with the senator and said he would post it here soon, but as of the time of this posting it is not up yet.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Lessons from the Olympics

For about the first 25 years of my life we did not have a TV in our home, and I still think that is an excellent way to have it but we do have one now. I think that there are many things that are far better to do than watch TV so I have made it a rule that the kids and I don't turn it on (with a very few exceptions, once or twice a year). Ken watches Fox News in the morning while walking on the tread mill and then he also enjoys keeping up with his favorite sports teams. That said there are a few things on TV that I really enjoy watching... The Rose Bowl Parade on New Years Day (a tradition that started when I was a kid when we were at my Grandpa's), Political debates and the summer and winter Olympics!

There is something about the Olympics that I find very, very fun. I am not really interested in spectator sports as a rule but I think it is the knowledge that you are watching the best of the best from around the world along with the geography that you can learn about. I really enjoy seeing all the flags, seeing the people from different countries, hearing their stories and then sometimes getting to hear the different languages as well, listening to the different national anthems (though I do enjoy hearing ours best!) and just all that is a part of the Olympics.

That is part of the reason my blogging has been a bit less frequent (along with just being very busy), I have been busy watching the Olympics. Watching the different races (from swimming with Micheal Phelps and Darra Torres to Track and Field (and or course Gymnastics). Seeing those competitors truly give their all to win the race is truly inspiring. I can't say that it makes me want to start running races of that nature but it does make me want to run harder in the race that I am in, the one that it talks about in these verses:

"Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win. Everyone who competes in the games excercises self-control in all things. They then do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. There I run in such a way, as not without aim; I box in such a way, as not beating the air; but I discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified." 1 Corinthians 9:24-27

There are several things that I get out of these verses:
  • I need to run with a plan to win. No half hearted attempts are going to work.
  • It is going to require self-control on my part.
  • The prize we will win will be far better than any gold metal!
  • I have a goal in mind and I run straight to the goal. (The Bible has direction for running straight towards the goal.)
  • I have to keep working on it, I can't run well for a while and think I have it made. This race will last until the end of my life.

Another verse that goes with this is:

"Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnessess surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God." Hebrews 12:1 & 2

  • There is a crowd watching us and cheering us on!
  • We need to get rid of anything that is going to slow us down. If you have watched the Olympics you have probably noticed what the racers wear. Their outfits are specifically designed for speed and for not getting in their way (a little to much in fact in my opinion). We need to use that same plan in our lives!
  • We have a great leader, Jesus before us. If we just watch Him and follow Him all the way then we will be able to run a good race.

These verses really encourage me in trying to live my life for God. I hope they encourage you too!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

A couple of new things for Aaron

This past week I heard a little whistling sound coming from the living room and looked over to see it was Aaron. He was so excited to figure out how to whistle. All the kids have tried (they love to watch me when I whistle, trying to figure it out) to whistle but Aaron is the first to actually do it. He can't always get a whistle out but I heard him do it around a dozen times.

Another new thing for Aaron was learning how to ride his bike without training wheels. Last month his training wheels broke and now he has learned how to do it without them.

It is so fun to be a mom and watch me children grow and mature! I am so blessed!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Use it up....

I have long appreciated the saying,

"Use it up, Wear it out, Make it do or Do without"

I try to follow it a lot, using it as a way to challange myself in my homemaking skills. I find it works for clothing,household needs, hobbies, gardening and of course food. I have heard from many others about how hard they find it to use up leftovers and food often ends up going to waste at there house. That can be very hard on the food budget! While I won't say that never happens at our house, I try to make sure it is pretty rare. I thought I would share some of the ways that I use up leftovers at our house.

  • First of all we do eat a lot of our leftovers for lunches. Ken has a microwave at work (where he eats lunch) and he enjoys getting leftovers for his lunch. I also like it when we have leftovers available for lunch at home because that frees up time (when I would need to be cooking) for me. Also leftovers are usually cheaper than sandwiches or something like that would be.
  • If we have a large amount of leftovers from one meal (like enough for another complete supper) I will freeze the leftovers (This works with many meals- not all). Then someday when I am very busy or not feeling well I can just pull out the frozen meal. This is very nice and definitely helps save on money as otherwise I might be tempted to go out to eat or use some more expensive convenience food.
  • If there is something that I don't think we will use right away then I will also freeze that in appropriate amounts for Ken to take to work, then for the days we don't have leftovers I can just pull some out of the freezer.

The above ideas work for when you have a complete leftover, but what about when you have just spaghetti sauce or just the noodles or just the gravy, what then? Below are some of the things that we have enjoyed that use up things like that.

  • Just the other day I was looking through the fridge to find stuff for lunch and clean it out. I found Plain spaghetti noodles, I tiny bit of cream cheese, garbanzo beans, and about 1/2 cup of sausage gravy. I decided to mix all of it together, sprinkle a little shredded cheese on top and heat it up. Guess what? It was quite good, the kids thought so too. A key to using up leftovers is a willingness to be creative and not be afraid to try something new!
  • If you have leftover rice you can make Spanish Rice, Asian Fried Rice or Chicken or Beef and Rice Burritos.
  • If you have leftover spaghetti noodles try melting cheese on top or stir fry some veggies and maybe some meat and serve on top the noodles instead of rice.
  • If you have leftover Spaghetti sauce put it on top of buns or slices of bread to make individual pizzas (add cheese and possible other ingredients as well and heat under a broiler). Or you could add beans and whatever else you want to make Chili soup.
  • If you have leftover mashed potatoes you can make lefse, potato bread, potato pancakes or mix them with a little egg and shredded cheese and make into patties and fry them.
  • For leftover Baked potatoes, make potato soup, potato salad or put in you scrambled eggs (which you could then use for a breakfast burrito).
  • A little leftover Chili soup, serve of Baked potatoes with shredded cheese or over hotdogs. Or mix with rice (preferably brown in my opinion) and cheese for a yummy meal.
  • Leftover hotdogs: use in potato soup or scrambled eggs.
  • Old (but not moldy) bread: make stuffing, croutons or bread pudding.
  • Little bits of veggies: make soup or throw them in a casserole dish or a stir fry.
  • Gravy: Use in soup or a casserole.
  • Oatmeal: include in your bread or pancakes or heat a little oil in a pan and put in big spoonfuls of the cold oatmeal and fry, then serve with honey.
  • Cornmeal mush: Slice up and fry and serve with honey.

There are lots more ways but if I told them all this post would get very long and I wouldn't get anything else done today! :-) I would love to hear ways that you use up leftovers.

Oh, also as I know at this time of year people may be struggling to use up Zucchini, here are a couple of links(here and here) to some previous posts about using them up.

For more frugal tips visit Biblical Womanhood.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Harvesting Chanterelle mushrooms

A week or so ago I had the fun of going out in the woods with my Dad and in about 15 minutes each of us had a gallon bucket full of Chanterelle mushrooms. These are an edible mushroom that is quite easy to spot in the woods (unlike morrells) and they taste very good and keep quite well too.
I have had lots of fun using them in our meals. I have put them in scrambled eggs, stir fries, with green beans, in rice dishes, you name it. I am not sure how much nutritional value they have but it is a bunch of organic food that is free!

Here are a couple of links about them that I found quite informative.
  • Wild about mushrooms has info about them, how to clean them, cook them and preserve them as well as a bunch of recipes using them.
  • Wild Harvest has nice pictures and information about them.

Do you harvest any wild mushrooms? I think it is very fun to do but something I am very careful with. You want to be absolutely sure that you know you are getting an edible mushroom. There are many poisonous ones out there that can be quite deadly and you do not want to take any chances. I am very blessed to have someone (my dad) who is very knowledgeable in this area to teach me.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Good deals at Walgreens

Yesterday I made a quick run to Walgreens and was able to pick up the deals above (as well as some others). I was able to get the pens free and the chocolates I was able to get 4 packages (one I gave to my parents so it is not pictured) for $4 and then I will get a $5 rebate so I actually earn $1 on the deal.

For the Hershey's Bliss Chocolates you will need 4 $1 off coupons. Go to the Hershey's site for one coupon (and then hit the back button so that you can get 2). Thanks to Being Frugal is Fabulous for showing the link for this one. To get the other 2 $1 coupons go to . (you can only print one at a time but they will let you print 2 in all.) You also need to get a $2 off of 2 bags coupon from the Walgreens Easy Saver book. This coupon will take a dollar off each bag you buy.
The sale price for the chocolates is 2 for $6. You need to buy 4 for a total of $12.
Then present your 4 $1 off coupons and your Easy saver coupon. That brings the total down to $4.
Then get your rebate of $5 (check in the Easy Saver booklet) and you get $1 in overage. Yea!

The Bic pens are on sale for 2/$1. While you are getting the chocolates coupon at you can also pick up a coupon for $1 of off 2 Bic stationary products. When you use that you get 2 packages of pens for free!

Walgreens also has quite a few free after rebate deals this month. Did you see any neat Walgreens deals this week?

Tackle it Tuesday ~ My kitchen

tuesday-update/">Tackle It Tuesday Meme

After a couple weeks of being very busy and then going on a trip and bringing all our stuff home my kitchen was in desperate need of being tackled!

Above is a before picture showing breakfast dishes and lots of clutter and dirt!

After a little time it is oh so much better! A clean counter makes a happy me and a happy husband!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Home again, Home again...

This past week we took a quick trip to Iowa to visit my Grandma and other friends. Ken had some continuing ed classes in the Cities to go to so we drove down that far with him and then went on from there. My sister Keren went with us.

On Wednesday we went to Ottumwa, stayed with my friend Stacy (one of the roommates I had in college) we also got to attend Wednesday evening services at Christ's church in Ottumwa and see some other friends.
On Thursday morning we were able to go out for Breakfast with Angie (another friend from College) and her husband and sister.

After that we went to visit Edd the Florist were I worked while living in Ottumwa. I was quite happy to find Jane (the head florist who taught me how to design) still working there. It was fun to visit with her and Kathryn. They were having a great sale on a dozen roses (Just $7.56 which is cheaper than I can get them wholesale!) so we bought a dozen pink ones for Grandma.

We then headed up to Grandma's. For me MN is definitely home but the south eastern area of Iowa comes next with what feels like home. When I was a kid we had fun visiting Grandma there and then I went to camp in that area as a teenager and then I went to a small Bible college there, Ken and I got married (in MN but while we were living in IA) while we were there, Mara was born there and I have lots of fond memories of my time there! When driving out from Ottumwa to Grandma's home (which is by Sigourney) I decided to take some back roads which is another of my fond memories of Iowa. When my brother Peter and I were in college at the same time we did a lot of back road exploring (usually with Josh, Stacy and others) and then Ken and I did a lot of door to door calling out in the rural areas and went down many back roads.
It was very good to see Grandma. I hadn't seen her in about 2 years. Grandma is 85 and is struggling quite a lot health wise. Because of that she has a hard time keeping up with things. Her house is not very clean and we opened windows quickly to air it out but we enjoyed helping to get things in order while we were there. Grandma is to the point that she doesn't feel comfortable going places and hadn't even been outside since December (other than opening her door to reach out and get the mail) so we thought it would be nice to try to get her outside to enjoy the fresh air. We decided to have picnics on the front lawn and she thought that sounded like fun. We did that 3 times while we were there. In the picture above we are eating and also my uncle John and aunt Donna are there visiting too. They live about 1/2 mile from Grandma and help her out a lot!
One of the things we enjoyed while we were there was getting to watch a "circus".
On Saturday we left at 6:30 am to come home. Here are Mara and Jonathan at the end of the trip they didn't sleep at all until around the last 45 minutes of our trip and at that point they were out! (We had stopped a while in the cities so we didn't get home until 10:30 pm.) I had trouble waking them up to get them inside to there beds.

I thought I would include a short clip of Grandma reading to the boys. I just love hearing her read aloud. It reminds me of when I was little. I thought I would include some of my other fun memories of Grandma. It was interesting being down there with my 16 year old sister because as Grandma and I would talk about things that she used to do with our family Keren didn't remember hardly any of it. It made me feel a little sad that she didn't get to experience those times with Grandma but I guess that is the way life goes, times and people change. Anyway for some of my favorite memories:

  • Having Grandma drive up to visit us at least every Spring and Fall. We would wait all day for her little car to pull in the drive. In the fall she would have a big box of ripe tomatoes to eat!
  • Sitting on the chair next to her and letting her rub her fingers very gently on our hand and arm, enjoying the slight tickle sensation that it produced.
  • Learning how to crochet from her, but for my having to sit opposite her (on lawn chairs outside as I recall) because she was right handed and I was left handed.
  • Hearing about her shooting a skunk with her pistol. Also knowing that she cut her own wood with her own chainsaw (my Grandpa died before I was born and so Grandma has been a widow for many years, but she was very independent and not the sort of lady that anybody would try to mess with).
  • Receiving birthday boxes on each birthday, complete with a gift, a box cake mix (the only time we had them in our house, so we kids thought it was a treat) and a box of whoppers.
  • Grandma loved to learn how to do new things, she enjoyed sewing and was always trying out some new project whether it was making sweat suits (we all got some that she made for us), swimsuits, appliqued sweatshirts, etc. As I got older she also enjoyed getting stuff for us to use to make new projects and she helped us do them.
  • Getting to go stay with Grandma for a week all by myself when I was around 12.
  • Grandma enjoyed working with ceramics and when she came to visit us she would often bring some along for us to paint. We had a lot of fun working on those together.
  • When I was first in college she would fix a meal for us every Sunday after church. Peter and I would go there to eat with some of our other college friends.
  • Grandma enjoyed Gardening, canning and raising fruit trees and such. I have learned a lot from her in those areas too.
  • Hearing Grandma's strong alto in church and hearing her request "I'm feeling fine" every Sunday for all of us to sing. I also enjoyed listening to her play the piano as she played pretty heavily with chording in the bass notes.

Grandma can't do much of that anymore but it was fun to visit with her and hear about how she is trying to teach her cleaning lady more about the Bible (Bible study has always been something that Grandma has loved) even though it means that not as much cleaning gets done.

Do you have favorite memories about your Grandparents? It would be fun to hear them.


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