Sunday, October 28, 2007

Pinching Pennies for Breakfast

All summer long I just couldn't bring myself to do much baking. But boy when the house cools down for fall that oven gains its appeal back!! This weekend Robin made up a pie crust recipe. We used half to make a quiche. For me, quiche is a great way to use whatever you have on hand to make a yummy breakfast. This particular quiche used up some left over ham. We didn't have enough for a meal but there was plenty for a quiche. For the filling we just used 3 eggs, 1 1/2 cups of milk, 1 1/2 cups cheese on hand (this was cheddar), a Tblsp. of flour, salt and pepper to taste, 1/2 cup (or so) of ham.
With the rest of the crust, we made poptarts!! The kids love poptarts but they are expensive. But all they really are is pie crust with a thin filling. We made some with our favorite raspberry jam and some with a mix of peanut butter and brown sugar. Personally, peanut butter in my poptarts is not appealing but someone was pleased because they were gone in NO TIME!

Packaged foods become quite economical if you just make up your own form of your favorites!! I would love to hear if anyone out there has some favorite packaged foods that they turned to homemade treats! :)

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Smile for Portfolio Pictures, Children!

During the school year I try to take pictures of the kids accomplishments and activities. We bring these to our homeschool portfolio appointment. Last year we put together a little slide show with music of our pictures. The woman who did our portfolio seemed to like that and the kids really liked it too. It was a nice representation of our memories, you know?

So today we took some pics. The first few are them trying to *behave* and smile politely for me. Then last last couple are them *breaking out* and showing what they are *really* like!! (We normally try to keep that under wraps! *wink*)

Such nice children... Here you see their salt dough maps of Ancient Egypt.

Here is a close up of the porcelain pottery they recently painted at "Get Fired Up" pottery store.

Again, still trying to smile nice to mom but dying to break out...

Yep, those are the kids I KNOW!

This 'n That...

We are in a little break from sports so it is a nice time to pull my handcrafts back out. These two dishcloth pics were actually made in August (I have started a new cloth; it is a "Nubbins" pattern I found online and will show soon). These cloths below were patterns from my Monthly Dishcloth group.

I was excited to do the above pattern because I had never done a cable stitch before. I must say it is much easier than one would think!!

This one above is suppose to be a picture of a dolphin leaping above the waves.
We are just having the mildest weather for fall. My annuals are still blooming away and I am still getting tomatoes! Here are my tuberous impatiens that I have had since May:

This pic isn't the greatest but you can see my barrel is still thriving:

Below you can see my plum tomato plants. They keep getting covered with falling leaves!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Poor Young Soldier

Instead of playing his distict championship soccer games, poor Christian slammed his fingers in the van door and broke his finger... Oh it was awful and I felt so bad for him. But he sure thought it was funny when the Dr. in the Emergency Room gave him a note for school to explain to his teacher that he could not do his school work!! She didn't know he is homeschooled!! His dad had taken him to the hospital. So the bright spot of the day was when he could come home and hand me the note!! HAHA! (But alas, with the exception of penmanship, we have rejected the note and he is still doing his school work...ah well. His consolation is that I am his scribe until the splint comes off!) :)

Pinching Pennies

Dash in his "Spider Man costume". This has nothing to do with pinching pennies but it makes me smile!
We have been pinching our pennies hard lately. It is just *that time of year* plus just about everything we own has been breaking from our furnace to cars to the crockpot and even my blow dryer! But I digress...
The first thing we did was look to where the money is going. We are cutting everything that is not necessary. I think trash pick up will be the first to go. Boy, it's nice to have someone come and get the trash for us but we can bring it to the dump ourselves. The cable reception for the TV might be next; we are still thinking on that one. We can't get any channels at all without cable. The joys of living in the woods...
I have really been trying hard to hit the grocery bill. Our money leaks out through food quick readily. It's quite expensive these days. When you combine that with a very busy family often eating on the run you get a pretty big bill! Here's what we are doing with the grocery bill:
1. First, and related, is avoided eating out. Oh this is hard for us! We love to eat out. Plus it is a great convenience when we are out for the kids' activities at mealtimes. But we are learning to eat at strange times or take food with us.
2. I am planning menus for breakfast, lunch, supper and snacks. This way I am not buying unnecessary foods. I am cooking from scratch. I am buying less snacks. Basically I buy some fruit and unpopped popcorn.
3. I am planning menus with the sales flyer in hand. I start with the meats on sale and work from there.
4. I am making sure food does not get thrown out. Even one serving of veggies that is left over can be used again. The kids kind of like this. For example Rachel hates broccoli. So, if we are having that and there is one serving of corn in the frig, I will heat it for her.
5. I am getting the most out of what I buy. No chicken bones are thrown out without being boiled for stock first!!
My next target will be getting better window coverings for winter. I am hunting for flannel to back curtains with or at least make coverings for the evenings. Hopefully this will help the oil bill. Robin is adding more insulation in the basement. We keep plugging away at lowering our heat bill.
I also have rediscovered Goodwill and The Salvation Army, especially for jeans. I am trying to visit them weekly whenever I am in town. I found a brand new pair of Levi's one day for Tyler. I can never get a good sale on jeans in the stores but I am finding if I just look every time I am out (at GW and SA) then I am finding good quality stuff. It does take perseverance though!
How are you pinching pennies? I would love more ideas!!

Friday, October 19, 2007

It's Friday!!

Yay! It's Friday!! I am bushed and ready for the weekend. It's rainy and cold out. Robin is on his way home from work. Rachel is playing the piano, trying to figure out "Minuet 1" by Bach. The boys are upstairs with a small soccer ball playing some sort of made up game with it. They sound like they are going to fall right through to the 1rst floor!! The dog is napping! See, we are all ready for a couple of days off!

I need to write up our weekly menu tonight. Tomorrow morning I hope to do my grocery shopping. I just hoping it isn't pouring rain! I do hate to put the groceries in the car in the pouring rain!

This weekend we need to spend some time preparing the house for winter. For my part I need to plan some warm window coverings. I have long curtains over my glass sliders. I may just attach white flannel sheet material to the back of them and then they will be lined for the cold months.

We got the bird feeders up but already the squirrels have discovered them so I am not sure what to do about that. One particularly chunky squirrel took the whole suet square, naughty thing. Robin says that is part of the experiment...humph!

This past Monday we went to a shop where you paint porcelain pottery and then they glaze and fire it for you. It was so fun! Rachel painted a plate (she plans this to belong to her favorite doll) and the boys each painted mugs (set apart to be their "hot cocoa" mugs for the winter). I will take pics of the finished product when my house is a bit brighter but here are the pics from the painting day:

Have a great day!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

My Little Project from Late Summer

I have a ceiling to floor shelf beside my washer/dryer. This past summer my mom and I made a curtain to cover that shelf and the area over the washer/dryer. It was great to do this together! We measured, she cut and turned down the hem, I sewed. I soooo had the easy part! I hate pinning but really need it to sew straight!!

I bought this material right at Walmart. It is two separate curtains with two tension rods. The long one just goes over the shelf while the valance goes from wall to wall. Here it is:

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Weekend Happenings!

"I survived High School Soccer!!"
Well, Tyler's first High School soccer season is completed! No more games, just one player/coach meeting and a Sport's Banquet. This gives us a bit of a break until the indoor season starts. Christian finishes up at the end of the month.
Anywho this gives me time to focus more on our home! We've been doing lots of baking lately. It saves us money on the grocery budget and keeps the house warm.
Last night Robin baked corn bread and also burrito shells. This morning I made up a batch of granola (and it is nearly gone!) I made up menus for the week and did the grocery shopping.
Here is our lunch/supper plan for the week:
Saturday: Lunch=spaghetti soup for kids and I, bean soup for dh.
Supper=Grilled chicken leg quarters with bbq sauce on bbq, mashed potatoes, green beans, and peas.
Sunday: Lunch=sandwiches
Supper=Leftover turkey and gravy over rice with dressing and corn on the side.
Monday: Lunch=pizza pockets (Little homemade pizzas folded over and sealed like a calzone. I plan to make extras to freeze.)
Supper=Baked Ham, face down potatoes (potatoes cut and buttered on cut and baked face down on stone or baking sheet), green beans.
Tuesday: Lunch=tacos with homemade burrito shells.
Supper=spaghetti and meatsauce with garlic breads (I take homemade italian bread and just slice it, butter it, sprinkle garlic on it and bake it at 350 F til brown)
Wednesday: Lunch=homemade mac and cheese.
Supper=chicken dumplin' casserole, mashed potatoes, broccoli, corn
Thursday: Lunch=peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, with popcorn and maybe homemade cookies of some sort.
Supper=Turkey pie (I make a double shell pie crust. In it goes leftover turkey, cooked potatoes, cooked carrots, a bit of dressing for flavor and a bit of gravy for moisture. I have my leftovers waiting in the freezer. I bake it like any other 350 F until bubbly out of the crust holes and crust cooked.)
Friday: Lunch=Leftovers or spaghetti soup.
Supper=Grilled boneless breast of chicken, rice pilaf, corn.
Breakfasts include: cereal, granola, pancakes, I may hunt for a cherry coffee cake recipe as I have a can of cherries, corn bread.
Snack foods are: apples, grapes, air popped popcorn.
Other than all this food planning I have done loads and loads of laundry and planned my lessons for the week and tidied the house. Robin and I worked on a "winterizing goal" list. Robin has been working on trim for a window we recently put in with included a trip to the local home improvement warehouse.
Tomorrow is church and Christian has two afternoon soccer games. Robin hopes to get the window trim up that he cut and painted. Tyler will mow the lawn, perhaps for the last time before winter!
Have a great weekend!
"Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father." Colossians 3:17 (NAS)

Friday, October 12, 2007

What Color Crayon are You?

I saw this and thought it looked like fun... I do love color! :)

You Are a Purple Crayon

Your world is colored in dreamy, divine, and classy colors.
You hold yourself to a sky high standard, and you are always graceful.
People envy, idolize, and copy you without realizing it. You are an icon for those who know you.
And while it is hard to be a perfectionist, rest assured it's paying off!

Your color wheel opposite is yellow. While yellow people may be wise, they lack the manners and class needed to impress you.

Breakfast Burritos and Turkey Wraps

I am busy thinking about our menu for next week. One big challenge is thinking up quick and yummy things for my husband for his breakfast and lunch. One idea I know he will love is breakfast burritos and turkey wraps.

We use a Flour Tortilla recipe from:,,FOOD_9936_2504,00.html for our wraps. This is such an easy recipe and once you have made your own burrito shell I guarantee you will never want a store bought one again! These are so great for tacos, burritos, enchiladas, and various wraps.

For the breakfast burrito I am going to put down some scrambled egg and onion, cheddar cheese, chilies, and some broken up turkey bacon. These are the things I tend to have on hand. You can mix into your eggs anything you like and wrap it up. This will be a good grab and go meal that is a bit healthier than the muffins and sweet breads I made this week.

The motivation for the Turkey wrap came from the turkeys at the grocery store being on sale last week (79 cents per pound). So I roast up a 15 pound turkey and then boiled the bones for stock. The idea comes from the cafeteria at my husband's office. In this wrap we will put: turkey meat, dressing, some mashed potatoes, cooked carrots and cranberry sauce and a very small bit of gravy for moisture. Personally, I am not much for combining all my foods like this, but my husband just loves these turkey wraps. It's all about putting whatever you cooked with the turkey in this wrap. What a great way to use those leftovers! :)

Just today I found a recipe for Whole Wheat Wraps on Wardeh's "Such Treasures" website. As Robin loves to baked, I might ask him if he would try this recipe tomorrow. The ingredients are waaay healthier and Robin loves wheat so I think it is a match made in heaven! :) Then the other wrap could be used more sparingly in moderation.
Here is the link:
I love Wardeh's website. She has lots of wonderful recipes and other great instructions for homemakers. Please note that all recipes and info on her site is copywritten. I am so thankful she is willing to offer her research for free! Thank you for helping me honor her copywrite! :)

What foods do you put in a wrap? I would love new ideas!!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

The Light at the End of the Tunnel!

Boy it has been forever since I have posted here! My life has been soccer, soccer, and soccer and a bit of dance thrown in. BUT today is Tyler's last soccer game, actually he is playing two games possibly, and Christian will be done at the end of the month. What will we do with ourselves without 7 days of soccer per week? LOL! Of course indoor soccer will start but at least we will have a break for a month or so!

Here is the passage of Scripture that has been on my mind lately:

"Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against authorities against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore, put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything to stand." Eph. 6:10-13

I have had two thoughts concerning this passage. First, my family is attending a new church (and having a BLAST there I might add!!) and my husband and I are starting a new ministry. Well, everything in the house/cars has been breaking. It has been hard because our bank account has dried up and blown away! It has made it hard to focus on the new ministry because everyday some new crisis crops up that we must deal with. But once you recognize your situation as a spiritual warfare it makes you determined to push through it, trusting the Lord, and doing what he has called you to do.

My second thought involves when a person comes up against you. Our pastor shared in his sermon on "Spiritual Warfare" that when a person comes up against you that we ought to remember they are not the enemy, Satan is. When we recognize the real enemy we are more determined to not let them bring us into sin by our response nor discourage up from living out the things God has called us to do!

God is truly in control and if we lean on him and follow him closely we will share in His Victory!! Praise the Lord!

Have a great day!!