Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Frugal Food- Canning Corn

Last year my sister in law showed me how to can green beans. I was excited to try to can on my own, and this year I was given a pressure canner from my husband's step mother. I have been waiting for enough food to come in this year to make it worth canning, and then all of my father in law's corn came in at once and they were gracious enough to share with us.
I pulled out the canner and inspected it, and since it had already been inspected by the local extension office I felt pretty confident using it. However I was still nervous as I have heard horror stories of the canners blowing up, but with instruction manual in hand I was going to give it a try.
It took a long time to get all the corn off the cob, and I am pretty sure I hurt my hand doing it. I would suggest if you try to can corn that you enlist help of others for this part, if nothing else to give your hand a rest once in a while. Also, lots of corn ears make a small amount of jars of corn. I had a normal size roasting pan half full of fresh corn kernels and I got 8 pints of corn out of that. Above is the corn before processing.
I thought I followed my instructions properly the first time, but I had not allowed the water to boil enough before putting the weight on and the canner just would not come up to pressure of any kind. I thought for sure I had failed. I let it sit to cool down with the intention of pulling the corn out of the jars when they cooled, draining and freezing them, but my husband being the great man that he is convinced me that maybe together we could figure out what went wrong and we tried again after resealing the cans. It really was something as simple as the water was not at a full boil before putting the weight on, but it was my first time canning alone, and I did not know that. So lesson of the day for me would be canning has a learning curve like any other task, and this will just take practice.

Here is the corn right out of the canner still hot. Do you can your own vegetables? Do you have any tips to share for a novice canner like myself?

This post is shared at the Homemaking link up

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Frugal Food - Zucchini Fritters

We love these around here in the summer when the zucchini seems to take over, and they are easy which I love.


1 medium/large zucchini (you want normal size not monstrous), grated on the large holed side of a box grated
6 oz shredded mozzerella or monterey jack cheese
1 box Jiffy corn muffin mix
1 egg
3/4 cup of milk ( Dry milk works fine in this if you have some you use for cooking, but you want 3/4 milk reconstituted not 3/4 milk powder.)
1 tablespoon oil, I used Olive oil
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp dry Italian seasoning mix

Mix all ingredients till well mixed in a large bowl or stand mixer. Preheat oil in a pan for pan frying, or coat an electric griddle with a bit of oil and heat to 325. When your oil or griddle is hot make your fritters/pancakes as you would cook normal pancakes. If you deep fry these, the batter is a bit runny, you may need to adjust milk content a bit to get the right consistency. They are better in my opinion on the griddle, but I wanted to give the option for those who don't have a griddle.
Makes 10-12 fritters, definitely enough for 4, maybe enough for 6 people. They reheat well if you have leftovers.
I usually serve this with fresh corn on the cob.

Price breakdown July 2011
1 zucchini- free from the garden (or about 50 cents right now at our grocery store)
1 box Jiffy mix - 50 cents
1 egg free from our BIL's chicken ( or about 16 cents from the store, if your dozen is $2)
3/4 cup milk (38 cents - milk is about $4 a gallon here)
6 oz mozzerella ($1.50)
The spices and oil are in too small of quantities to price

Total - $3.04 or 76 cents a serving at 4 servings

Served with corn at 4/ $1.00 which brought the whole meal to $1.01 per person.

This is shared at the Raising Homemakers Link Up

Thursday, June 30, 2011

When times get tough

We live frugally all the time, not just because I believe it is important to be a good steward of what you have, but because we just don't have a lot. We are making ends meet by living without things that others consider necessities, but I think are luxuries, like cell phones and cable tv. We had a small savings, and then the worst thing that can happen when you are close to the edge happened.... the unexpected!! First it was a car repair, then an unexpected doctor bill, then losing glasses in the ocean and having to replace them, and then yet another car repair. Somewhere between unexpected thing #2 and #3 we exhausted our savings... and of course the unexpected keeps coming. I have had a hard time sitting down to write anything on here as I knew I wanted to write about dealing when you can't figure out what to do, but I really wasn't sure what I was going to do, which did not leave me much to write about. Here is what I am doing so far.
First we prayed, and thank God for what we actually do have and ask for his help in our trying time.
Take stock in what I have, in our case a stocked freezer and some one who can cook, meaning at least there is one thing less to worry about.
Prioritize, Prioritize, prioritize... what can wait till next week will just have to wait.
Remember that this is temporary and things will turn around.
Lastly and this is a big one for me, don't worry. It does no good when I am in the thick of something, especially something we can't easily change to worry. It takes my mind off my family, off any happiness I may have and keeps me from not being present in my own life. Those are all things I can't get back once the time has passed.
What do you do when times get tough for your family?

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Vinegar and its many uses

Growing up I never used vinegar except to dress collard greens, which I love. I grew to love it as a condiment and began to make my own pepper vinegars, salad dressings and marinades. However I was still missing the greatest uses I have found for vinegar yet.
It cleans, VERY well. It deodorizes. It softens clothes. It cleans hard wood floors and laminate floors with ease. It disinfects almost as well as bleach. Combine it with baking soda and you can clean almost anything in your home. To top it off it only costs $2.32 right now a gallon at Wal-Mart in our area. 

Here are the things that I currently use vinegar for in my home:
1-I use it to clean counters, tabletops and other surfaces that I would normally use a multi purpose spray on, with a spray bottle from the dollar store and a 50:50 ratio of water to vinegar.
2-I use it to get odors out of clothing by adding a cup of vinegar into the fabric softener dispenser of the washing machine.
3-I use it in rinse water, about 1 tbsp to half a sink of water, for my dishes to get the last of the soap residue off of them. 
4-I clean drains with it by placing baking soda (50 cents a box) down the drain to the rim, pouring vinegar in it, and stopping up the drain and coming back in 30 minutes or so to pour boiling water down the drain to clear the clog. This works best if you do it regularly, about once every two weeks or so to move the gunk out of the drain.
5-I use it as a shower spray to cut down on the possibility of soap scum or mildew.This can be full strength vinegar or the 50:50 ratio of vinegar to water.
6-I clean the coffee maker with 1/3 vinegar to 2/3 water run through the machine like brewing coffee, to clean the inner workings of the machine.
7-I let it do the work if there is stuck on food on a pan or the counter, let it sit and come back to it in a bit and it will scrape with ease.
8-I make a paste of baking soda and a small amount of water to make a scrubbing cleanser for the bathtub, and then I come back with vinegar to foam out the last of the baking soda film and clean to surface with the bubbling reaction.
9- I use it to rinse my hair once a week to make it shine and pull off shampoo build up. - You can soak orange or lemon peel in a mason jar of vinegar for this purpose to give it a citrus smell. I use a 50:50 water to vinegar ratio here.
10- I use it to clean windows and mirrors streak free.

Best of all, if my two year old gets hold of my cleaning spray there is not a call to poison control as it is just vinegar, and not a whole bunch of unknown chemicals. The worst that will happen is she smells like a salad for the rest of the day.
 This post is shared at

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Take advantage of the season

Right now it is super hot here. It is definitely summer, with the high humidity and 95 degree days all week. I have been dealing with this heat all my life, you think it would not shock me when it goes from the gorgeous mild spring weather here to the "please try to find somewhere air conditioned for the afternoon and mow the lawn after 8 pm weather" in what seems like 1 day, but it does.
This early heat makes for good gardening though, you just have to hydrate- hydrate- hydrate, you and the plants that is. We are limited by what we can put in the ground, by where we live and the provisions of the housing community, but I have a thriving container garden that seems to have really taken off. I am so excited by this, not only because it cuts my grocery budget some, but I thought until this year that I may have inherited my mother's black thumb. The only thing I had managed to keep alive for any amount of time was an aloe plant that actually liked when I forgot to water it.
There is something in the southern woman psyche that makes us want to garden even in the oppressive heat. Maybe it is the connection to our grandmothers and their ability to feed an entire brood of children with stuff out of the yard, in my grandmother's case 10 kids a husband and whoever he brought home from work.

I love squash blossoms, they are beautiful to me. They can also be tasty stuffed with goat cheese and herbs... but since I want to have squash I am just going to let them do their thing. 

My first Romas, can't wait till they turn red!

The strawberries from a local farm. These were going to be jam, but we have chomped on them and now I think I will buy more for jam and freeze what is left of these. There is nothing like having summer's strawberries when there is frost on the ground.

Lastly, today I am making my first batch of sun tea for this year. Here are instructions if you have never made sun tea.  How to make sun tea

What are you doing to enjoy the summer? Do you have any plants producing yet? 

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Thursday, May 26, 2011

Recharging your batteries

Last week I took a break from the norm and took a trip with my mother in law to a quiet lake home. There was no internet in the lake house and I thought that may put a damper on the fun, as it has become such an integral part of my day. However, I found that I was fine without it. Although I did miss the contact from friends and being able to just look something up when I wanted to go sight see, it was not a great disadvantage.
I took less than 5 toys for my daughter and she played with none of them. She had more fun running to the end of the large fenced yard and back than playing with the toys I had for her.
I read a novel, for the first time in a long time and we spent a lot of time outside when the day had not yet gotten too hot. We took picnic lunches on our trips and cooked simple things for dinner most nights. (Although I will admit we did eat out more than my frugal side liked, but it was supposed to be a break for everyone and sometimes on the go you have to.) We visited inexpensive sites around the lake house, and had lots of fun together as a family. My husband was not able to join us because of work and we missed him, but I am really glad I took time to take care of myself too.
I learned that I had taken too long between rests that I had stretched myself too thin and that I need to take a break before I get to that point next time. I learned that my rest helps my mood and therefore helps my child and husband's mood making for a happier family. I learned that no one can go at full speed for so long without having to break routine and recharge.
How do you recharge? How can you recharge if you don't have the ability to get away?

Sunday, May 15, 2011

I'll Fly Away

This morning a song that my Grandmother and Mom used to sing was in my head. It reminds me of sweet tea and lazy days, and the promise of the hereafter. I hope you enjoy it too.
I'll Fly Away - Allison Krauss

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Mommy Redirection

I have one little girl who is 2. Everyday we fight the battle of the wills of who gets to decide what we are doing and when. I set boundaries and rules and she tries to break them, not because she is bad or malicious, but because her job is to test boundaries and my job is to set them. When we reach a behavior issue that needs attention I try to determine a few things before acting.
1- Is this really worth it? If all she really wants is to wear the clothes she picked out that don't match at all, then No, the ensuing tantrum is not worth it. Clothes that don't match never hurt anyone. However if it is something like not wanting to brush her teeth, or hitting some one then Yes it must be dealt with now. 
2- Am I angry? If I am angry I need to take a moment to calm myself before approaching her. Discipline through anger teaches her fear, not correct behavior. Mommy time outs are a good place to go from here, before disciplining her. 
3-Is this really not a discipline lesson, but a power struggle? If I feel myself about to say "Because I told you so." or truly getting aggravated over the choice of mismatched clothes, it is probably a power struggle.

Redirection is a common discipline technique with little kids... "No you may not play with the blinds or jump on the couch, but you may play with your blocks or jump outside or on the floor." I think perhaps it is also a good idea to redirect my energy as mom when things come up. Since I am in need of reminding sometimes, I wrote a list to help me redirect.

Things I would rather do than engage in a power struggle with my child:
Read the Bible 
Read another book
Breathe deep 10 times 
Give a bear hug 
Sing a silly song 
Go on a walk
Eat a cookie
Get a box of stuff ready to donate 
Dance to the radio 
Look at my garden
Make a gift for some one else
Drink hot tea
Go somewhere else - the park, the museum 
Take a relaxing shower

What redirection techniques do you use for you? 

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Menu Plan

Menu Plan for 9 days
Cereal x5
French Toast and apples
Egg, Bacon and Potato casserole
Muffins – probably strawberry, but I need to go pick them, so if not then applesauce
Oatmeal with dry fruit and pecans

Leftovers x4
Grilled cheese sandwiches and sweet potato wedges
Vegetable soup
Beans and Rice
Salmon patties and peas
Peanut Butter and Jelly sandwiches and carrot sticks

Sloppy joes from chicken, with onion and pepper and lima beans
Tilapia in Italian dressing, green beans with almonds
Split pea soup and rolls
Country style deer steak with gravy, black eyed peas and mashed potatoes
Tuna Casserole
Chicken and black bean Chili (with hidden veggies)
Roasted whole chicken, Corn, Green beans
Vegetable fried rice with brown rice
Chicken Alfredo pasta (from leftover roast chicken) and peas

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Helping each other

When Moses’ hands grew tired, they took a stone and put it under him and he sat on it. Aaron and Hur held his hands up—one on one side, one on the other—so that his hands remained steady till sunset. Exodus 17:12

This is from a battle in which the Israelites were winning if Moses kept his hands up, but if he grew tired and lowered them the Israelites began to lose. He needed Aaron and Hur to help him, the give him rest when he could not take one himself. 
Sometimes in our church body or our family we don't realize that others need us to help hold up their hands. We get wrapped up in whatever we are doing and do not see that our leaders, or our loved ones need a rest. I know also sometimes we do not feel as though we can go on one minute longer. We are the ones that need a rest. 
I hope that I can strive to be the holder of hands when it is needed. 

Dear Lord, 
Today I pray that I can be there when needed to hold another's hand. That I can look outside myself to where I can be most useful to you, and that my hands can be your hands. Please help me know when I am needed and if I need to rest let me know when and how.
In your name I pray, 

Monday, May 9, 2011

Frugal Food- Southwest Chicken Enchilada casserole

This recipe is one I concocted from a few other recipes and a desire to get the same depth of flavor in less time.
It serves 6 -8 depending on how big you make your enchiladas.
You will need
2 cups shredded chicken
1 jar (16 oz) prepared salsa (or an equal amount fresh salsa)
1 package whole wheat tortilla wraps -8 inch size (or two packs if you prefer smaller enchiladas)
1 can drained rinsed black beans
1 cup frozen corn
8 oz shredded cheese (Monterey Jack or Cheddar work well)
Chili Powder to taste
Onion Powder to taste
Cayenne pepper if desired

Place your shredded chicken in a large pot with the salsa, corn and beans. Add your spices- I used 1 Tbsp chili powder, 1 tsp onion powder and a pinch of cayenne, but your spices will vary with your choice of salsa. Heat on medium heat for about thirty minutes warmed through and flavors have melded together. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Now take a large bowl, and a strainer big enough to hold your chicken mixture. Place the strainer over the bowl and press the mixture from one side to the other in the strainer with enough pressure to drain excess liquid without squishing your beans. I have found a small wooden slotted spoon is easiest to work with. Get as much of the liquid out of the mixture as you can.
Lightly grease a 9 x 13 pyrex dish, and start making your enchiladas. Place 1-2 spoonfulls of mixture in the center of the tortilla and roll, place seam side down in the casserole dish. Repeat until your dish is full or you run out of mixture. You will have to scoot them to the side as you add them so they fit properly, they will lay on each other a bit.
Pour your sauce (the drained liquid) over the top of your enchiladas. Cover with the shredded cheese. Bake for 20 minutes covered with foil and if you desire remove the foil to brown your cheese for the last ten minutes. Let cool 5 minutes before serving.
I did not brown the cheese, but here is the finished product. My husband and child both really enjoyed it.  I hope you do as well!

Cost break down
The chicken was leftover from a whole roast chicken I made, and the whole chicken cost $4.78, the portion I used for this casserole was about 1/3 of that so $1.60
The salsa was $1.99 at Aldi
Beans $.59
Corn $.33 (about 1/3 of a bag of frozen corn at $.99) -Aldi
Tortilla wraps - $2.59 - Food Lion
Cheese $2.00 at Aldi

Total $9.10 or $1.52 a serving at 6 servings (this fed our family of 3 twice)

You can further cut costs by using flour tortillas or changing your meat option to something cheaper, but we are trying to eat more whole grains here so that is why the recipe calls for whole wheat. As for the meat, I would use a shredded meat and not ground, if you choose to switch that up. Shredded pork works nicely as well.

This is shared at Simple Homemaking link up through (button on the sidebar).
This is also shared with Homemaking Link up at
Raising Homemakers

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Menu Plan

This is for 9 days as I am hoping to space out my shopping trips more. I don't assign days to the meals, just try and go through all the options in the given days.

Cold Cereal and fruit x 5
Pineapple Pecan whole wheat muffins x2
Banana Pancakes with homemade applesauce and scrambled eggs 
Eggs with Ham and Cheese with biscuits
Drinks- Coffee, OJ, Milk 


Leftovers x 5 
Tuna cakes, applesauce 
Quick home made mac and cheese with carrots 
Salsa eggs in a whole wheat tortilla 
Sandwiches and bananas

Hamburger steak with gravy, mashed potatoes (with sneaky cauliflower), peas
Roasted chicken, lima beans and corn, green beans (Bonus- chicken broth made in crock pot over night to freeze) 
Meatloaf with hidden carrots, sweet potatoes 
Chicken (from the whole roast chicken) enchilada casserole with orange bell peppers and onion mixed in
Chicken (from the whole roast chicken) pot pie
Black bean soup with rolls 
Baked ravioli with hidden veggies in the sauce 
Seared blackened tilapia, with lima beans and rice 
Catfish nuggets with black eyed peas and homemade fries

This is shared at the homemaking link up at
Raising Homemakers

Monday, May 2, 2011

Rising costs and simple living

Gas in our area is about $3.75 a gallon right now, and grocery prices this past week at the store were higher than I ever remember them being. This was a sharp jump in the last month or so, and we are really starting to feel the pinch. I have changed some of my spending habits and limits again. We own two vehicles, one of which is used for my husband to get back and forth to work, and the gas in that vehicle has gone up $25 a week (from $35 to $60), or $100 a month. That of course is a cost that can't be skipped as we need him to be able to get to work. Our local grocery store had coffee ( the 12 oz bricks) at $4.89, whereas two weeks ago that same brick cost $3.00. I used to be able to juggle with the sales and get produce for $1/pound in season, and meat for $1.50 and under a pound (sometimes much lower if there was a good sale), but even the sale prices were creeping around $3.00 a pound. Easily my $60 a week grocery budget has jumped to $80.
So what are we doing about it?
I have planted a container vegetable garden and we are also helping my father in law with his large vegetable garden, in exchange for produce. I was also given a canner that will get great use this year so we have that extra taken off the grocery bills in the winter months. I have found a local source for eggs, that are also family, and all they have asked in exchange is baked goods when I make them. We also plan to split a cow with another family come summer, and that should fill my chest freezer with meat, along with the hunting and fishing that the extended family does. I have also scaled back some on the amount of meat that goes in meat meals, and no one seems to notice a difference. We are eating healthier and better as I am pickier about what we spend those dollars on, and we are trying to purchase local if we can. I shop on the outside aisles of the grocery store( meaning the outer ring of dairy, produce, bread, meat) and leave all the convenience stuff to others. It definitely takes more time and planning, but we have found it is worth it.
As for the gas, we like a lot of Americans are finding things to do closer to home. We have several nice parks and local attractions that we are taking advantage of. I also combine as many errands as I can at one time, and we are really using the family memberships to museums or the like on too hot or too rainy days. I had no idea how many close free activities there were, and we have been having lots of fun finding them, and most of all it gives us quality time together to really make memories.

What are you doing to help with the rising costs of everyday life? Did you change to a more simple lifestyle when the prices started to rise, or were you like us and just readjusted what you were already doing a little? What tips do you have?

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

"I feel like I am not contributing"

I have a dear friend who lost her job and was out of work for some time before finding something new. She and I used to be quite a lot alike in that we had the same type of job, had the same type of spending habits, etc. That was before my husband and I decided that we would try to make it work on one income. I was trying to help her mood one day as she was having a hard time in her job search and she said "I feel like I am not contributing to the household when I am not working". It was innocent and truly how she felt, but it really struck a nerve with me as by default it made me think as though she thought I was not contributing to my own home.
I know that I contribute but I think our society has swung so far away from the idea of staying at home with children that it is not seen as a contribution to the home. Even if you don't want to weigh in the emotional factors of a child being primarily cared for in a home environment versus a day care, there are some real cost factors that often times just don't add up.
Here is a site that shows an online calculator for you to input the cost of working after putting a child in daycare, and all the associated costs of having an out of the home job.
Cost Calculator

I entered some data reflecting the costs I had associated with my last job and added in the cost of day care in my area and I would be netting about $2.50 and hour, assuming that my job covered the cost of health insurance as the last one did, if it did not I would net about $1.00 per hour. This net pay would go up over time as the daycare for a young child is much higher than daycare for an older child. It just does not seem worth it to me, and I believe with the right amount of budgeting you can make up for the difference of what you would be bringing into the home.
Here is a series of articles about staying at home and making it on one income.
The cost of working
This decision is not easy, and is different for every woman and every family, but I hope that the articles listed above can help in your decision.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Frugal finds

This is the time for spring consignment sales. This year we are lucky and don't need much for our daughter, but I like to check them out none the less. Here most of the consignment sales have half price Saturday. All the consignors tag items differently that they want to be tagged as half off and I have found some pretty tremendous deals. My general rule is that I will not spend more than $1 on a piece of clothing for everyday wear, and no more than $3 on something for church wear for my daughter, and often I can find things less than that. These are not cheap articles of clothing either, they are name brands that hold up well. In our house I have found that Gymboree, Children's Place and Okie Dokie hold up the best for the kind of abuse my child gives to them and they fit the longest. (I have no connection to those companies, that is just my opinion.) They also are stitched well so the seams hold up well, as I find it annoying to spend even a little on clothing that falls apart when I wash it for the first or second time. 
The toys and books, I set a limit before I walk in the door for what she can have, either by price or by number of items and price. Here are two of the deals that we got at 1/2 price day at one of the local consignment shops.  

The cloth book has sounds on each page so she can "read" it by herself, and is washable it was 75 cents.
The Elmo basket she loves to carry around the living room with her toys in it and I think we may use it for the egg hunt on Easter, it was 50 cents. 

Next a local library has their Friends of the library sale and I went last weekend. They sell discards from the library and donations from local people. The children's books were 50 cents for the board books, $1 for the paper backs and $1.50 for the hard backs. All other books were $1.50 for the paperback and $3.00 for the hard backs. They had the entire basement of the building categorized and nicely laid out. 

The Grimm's Complete Fairy Tales is an older edition with 20's style cover art, and will go nicely with my homeschooling. It was $1.50 as it is a children's book, the only damage it had was a small rip in the book jacket at the top on the spine. 

The next find I was SUPER excited about. (I am sorry for the blurriness, our camera decided it did not want to focus)  If you have not read these books you should. This is the compilation of newsletters written in the 90s about frugality in all forms. The newsletter was called the Tightwad Gazette. These two books were private donations to the sale, and looked like they had never been opened. They cost me $3 each. 

Lastly, there are some beautiful forsythia bushes in bloom in our neighborhood and I was able to get some blossoms for out table for free! It is always nice to bring some of the springtime inside. 

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Frugal Food- Tomato Cream Pasta

This recipe is so simple I almost did not want to share it, but my family loves it and it is a good vegetarian option.
For the super easy version I cook and drain one box of whole grain or whole wheat penne, or rotini. In a separate large pot heat one jar of a good quality marinara sauce, and add 1/2 a package of cream cheese. The cream cheese will melt to a nice creamy consistency. Add pasta when cooked till coated. Serve with grated parmesan on top.

For the little more work version, I make my own tomato sauce.
Saute one onion chopped fine in 2 Tbsp of olive oil. When the onion begins to turn clear add 1-2 tsp minced garlic, and 1-2 tsp of Italian seasoning. (The garlic and seasoning are to taste, we prefer a lot so I usually lean to 2 tsp). Add 1 large (28 oz) can of crushed tomatoes, and one small can of tomato sauce. Heat through, then add the 1/2 package of cream cheese, melt and add pasta till coated.

You can also place the sauce coated pasta in a casserole dish and cover with mozzerella, and bake at 350 till the cheese is melted through if your family prefers lasagne style pasta. If you choose to bake it, take about 2 minutes off your pasta boiling time as the pasta will continue to cook in the oven.

I use whole wheat or whole grain pasta in this dish for the added protein, and fiber.

Serves 4 very hungry or 6 moderately hungry people

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Patience and control

I lack patience it has never been a virtue I had, and I am not sure one can develop it, but I am trying. I really don't like to wait things out, and I am not one of those enjoy the process people. I also like things to be a certain way and get upset when they cannot stay that way. I have no idea how I got this way, but everyday I pray for patience, and to some degree peace in what I cannot control, and the ability to realize what is worth trying to control.
This a verse that Friends (Quakers) use a lot to explain silent worship - "Be still and know that I am God" Psalm 46:10 We have a period ( and at some meetings it is the whole service) during each service when we are all silent, we sit there and wait for God to speak to us.  Sometimes it is silent the whole time, people keep to themselves what they hear, or they use the time for silent meditation. Sometimes people have something prepared that they say, a prayer or a reading or some wisdom that they think the body of the church needs to hear. And inevitably if there is a baby in the congregation they will babble excitedly during this time.
I am trying very hard to learn to be still. I think the worship that happens in the Meeting house could also happen in my house, if I can just get the being still part down. I can simplify my life and try to do all the things that seem "right" but always trying to live for the next thing and plan and plan is tiring, and it takes away my ability to be in the moment. My hope is that through prayer, meditation and just learning to be still that I can learn patience.
Today I am going to make the conscious effort to try and be in the moment. Maybe I can learn patience one day at a time.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

This Quilt was made for me before I got married by my cousin. It has been on my mind a lot lately as I have been wanting to learn to quilt.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Frugal Food-Tuna Zucchini Cakes

We tried these for the first time the other day from a recipe I found in a frugal cooking magazine, but by the end of the recipe I had changed so many things that it was not the same as in the book. So, this is my version of them.


2 cans of chunk light tuna in water drained
2 eggs
1/2 onion grated fine
1 medium zucchini grated fine
Seasonings to taste - Garlic, Italian seasoning mix, lemon juice

Mix the eggs, tuna, onion, zucchini and seasonings well. Let sit about 5 minutes, because the tuna seems to create more liquid. Drain off excess liquid, and add in enough oatmeal that you can form a patty out of the mixture without it falling apart. Let sit again for 5 minutes or so, you want the oatmeal to get wet enough that it does not taste like toasted oatmeal when you fry them.

Fry in canola oil about 5 minutes on each side on a medium heat or medium low if you use a cast iron pan.

Serves 4 well

Friday, January 21, 2011

Getting Older

We are a family of winter birthdays so we get the holidays and all of our birthdays in a short amount of time. This year I was really thinking about aging and how it does not bother me much anymore. There was a time when I really figured that like a lot of the women in my family I would just cease to tell anyone how old I was, and constantly fight the battle to look like I did and feel like I did when I was 20. The funny thing is I don't want to be that girl at all. She did not know who she was, or what she wanted and although she would have told you she was not following the crowd, the crowd's opinion did matter way too much.
When I was pregnant with my daughter I stopped dying my hair as the chemical smell made me sick, and by the time she was born I decided it was long enough to just let grow. My hair is now sporting lots of grey, and although there are days when I look at it and grimace, I try to remember that people were meant to age. I can't ask my daughter to be happy with her body image if I can't find peace with mine. I have wrinkles, but they are not too bad, partly because I was never a sun bather, and when you really burn you have a tendency to avoid extended trips in the sunlight.
I guess what I am trying in a round about way to say is find peace with the here and now. You can try for improvement in different areas in your life, but if you are always thinking that you are not enough you spend your whole life waiting for something else. I have never been really good at waiting for anything. I am enough now. That is my birthday present to myself. Enough.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Catch up

Our whole house has been sick for most of the last month and it has really thrown our schedules, and my time available to write this blog out of whack. I am really grateful for the flexibility of homeschool right now, as I was able to do some light school work with my daughter when we were both feeling up to it, but when we truly both just needed a break I could put off school till until we are better.
I did purchase a new Bible with a gift card that I got for Christmas, and I am keeping up with my daily reading. I really like the version I got. Here is a link
It is the Life Application study Bible in NIV translation. It includes lots of study notes, bios of characters, and lots of other study tools. As the name implies it has Life Application notes to help one understand how you can apply what you just read to your everyday life.
On other topics, my daughter seems to be going through a word explosion, and watching her ability to communicate growing in leaps and bounds is really heartening. We still sometimes have the temper tantrums when she just can't find the words, but hopefully those will subside soon enough.
My husband has a new job and we are really excited about the opportunities this may bring to our family. He was looking for a long time but the job market is just horrid, so we are lucky he that he was able to find this job, and that he had steady work at the other job till this came available.
I guess overall things are going pretty well here, and I feel like we are moving in the right direction.

Monday, January 3, 2011

New Year Goals

I have read time and again that it takes at least 21 days to establish a new routine and that if you can attempt to stay with something for 21 days that you are more likely to succeed at making it a habit. Breaking bad habits is also never easy, and is reported to take at least the same amount of time. I do not like New Year's Resolutions as I have never been able to keep them, or keep them to my expectations, and I have never met anyone who actually has. The times in my life where I have made the vast changes that people usually aspire to with the New Year have coincided only with a true desire to change. I once lost quite a bit of weight and it was not easy, but I followed a plan and it worked. I now have weight to lose again, as I let myself gain too much with the pregnancy with my child and well that weight does not just melt off with the joy of a new baby. However, I also think that it is important to sit down and take stock of your life and what you want to change or start new, or you can get in a rut. The New Year is as good a time a any to do that, I just hesitate to call anything a resolution, as I worry that sets me up to fail.
So what are the goals I would like to set this year? I would like to eat healthier, be less in debt, lose weight, and have read the Bible all the way through by this time next year.
I have a plan for the Bible reading, I just have to stick to it, the other things will be harder.
Eating healthier in a family where your husband and child turn up their noses at lots of vegetables and you have a restricted food budget is not the easiest thing in the world. I have created some sneaky food recipes that help, and if I can get 10 or so more of them in the menu rotation I feel as though we will be moving toward a healthier family.
Decreasing debt takes money we don't have to spare right now... so this part of the goal will have to come from new income sources of some sort. I have been thinking of working toward selling some hand made goods at fairs and local venues. It would be a venture I could work on and still do my primary jobs of wife, mother and homeschool teacher. Also we just in general have to much stuff so maybe some of that can turn a profit on Ebay or the like.
Losing weight will take time and determination, but I am lucky that my husband wants this to be one of his goals too. When I lost 60 pounds in the past I started on my own and did well for a while and then had to join Weight Watchers to get the last 15 pounds off. I liked the WW program but again that is just not in the budget. Luckily the ideas behind it are not hard to implement. Restrict portions sizes to a reasonable amount, be moderate in eating, exercise regularly, drink lots of water.
Hopefully these goals are attainable, and reachable. Here goes the hard work of creating new habits!