Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The Proverbs 31 Wife - Week Ten

Question #10: How are your and your husband's personalities different?  The same?  How do they complement each other?

Well, it really goes without saying that the old adage "opposites attract" is pretty true.  I wonder why though?  Are we looking for something in another person that we know or subconsciously are aware that we are lacking?  More likely God programmed that into us to find the soulmate that completes us.

My husband and I are probably like a lot of you out there.  I'm pretty neat, he's not.  I get riled up, and he's laid back.  I tend to like shopping, he'd be happy to never do it.  And the truth is, I need that.  OK, not the slob part....although he really has improved.  But I need the calm person when I'm going crazy and I need the penny pincher when I want to buy something for every person I know.  So that would be the different part, AND the complement part.

The same?  First and foremost, in the most important way, we are both followers of Christ.  Not having that is going to put a huge strain on your marriage.  In other ways: we like mostly the same kind of music, we like some of the same TV shows, he doesn't watch sports (I know! How awesome is that?!) we like to do some of the same activities, and we're both homebodies for the most part.

Without getting too personal, there are a lot of reasons that he and I see why God brought the two of us together.  And isn't it so cool the way HE does that?  My husband and I are both from different cities from where we live now, yet we met church!  We both have the exact same view on children which is an issue I have seen tear couples apart, and a whole lot more.  God is so good.

Is our marriage perfect....of course not, I don't believe there is one perfect marriage out there.  But it's pretty darn close in my opinion!  Would our marriage be a perfect thing to copy for other couples? Nope.....God made this one just for us.

So next time you complain to your mother or girlfriend about your husband's bad habits, think first.  Is this a difference that really helps us if I weren't being selfish?  Or is it something worth discussing.  Sometimes it gotta have communication!  This question (#10 above) is also a great conversation starter with your spouse....give it a shot.  Let me know how it goes!

Until Next Time.....

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Price Comparison Chart

Use a price comparison chart similar to this one to save time and money while grocery shopping.

I keep my coupons in a three ring binder.  If you use something similar it's also best to pair that with using a price comparison chart.  Write down the best deals you see on the things you buy the most at the different stores in which you shop.  Then when you need these items and they are not on sale you'll know where to go for the best deal.  OR, if you are shopping at one store and they are having an unadvertised sale you can see if it would be worth it to you to pick up a few extra if it's cheaper than the best price on your chart.

This will take a little up front work if you have never done anything like this before, and it may take a few weeks to get in place.  It's also important to update it as you shop, so be sure to do it in pencil!

Until Next Time.....

Monday, November 28, 2011

Laundry Tips

Who likes to do the laundry?  Actually I kind of do, and I don't mind hanging and folding all that much.  But for some reason I really don't like putting it away...weird, I know!

Here are just a few ideas to save time and money while doing the laundry.

  • Schedule it! Yep, that's what I said.  I treat taking care of my home as if it were my day job...which it is.  Meaning I get all my work done during the day.  And to do that and not get completely worn out, I schedule in my tasks.  Even if you work outside of the home this would be a good idea.  Do a little everyday so it's not overwhelming.  So Friday's are laundry days.  I do one load right after the other until it's done.  Some people recommend doing one load whenever you have the chance, but unless you have a lot of people or a lot of baby clothes this is actually inefficient BECAUSE what tends to happen?  You try to squeeze in a load then you forget it's there.  If it's left in the washer it now smells mildewy and you have to do it again, and if it's left in the dryer it's all wrinkly and you'll have to run it again or iron...YIKES!! (I do not iron!!!)  Plus it will feel like a never ending job and I've seen people actually get very depressed.  Not good!
  • Do the loads in a certain order.  For example, I do colors in cold, then Darks in cold (darks second in case anything really dark like indigo jeans might leave behind a little ink in the wash tub) then comes the sheets in warm, and end with the whites in hot so that the last thing in the washer for the week is bleachy hot water, cleaning it out.
  • Have a separate basket for clean and dirty laundry.  I actually have 3 bins for colors, darks, and whites, then 1 basket that I put the clean clothes in when they come out of the dryer.  I know people that use the same basket to take their dirty clothes to the washer that they then put the clean ones in.  Take a look, and a whiff, of your dirty basket.  Do you really want your clean clothes in there?  Some of my husband's clothes smell like gas and have bits of grass and dirt on them that fall into the basket.  I don't want my clean undies touching that!
  • Take your clothes out of the dryer immediately.  How do you think I avoid ironing?
  • Leave the washer lid open after the last load of clothes.  For me this is the whites, so while they are in the dryer, I leave the washer lid open to air and dry it out.
  • YOU CAN PROBABLY USE HALF OF THE AMOUNT OF PRODUCT. Especially for fabric softener, both liquid and sheets.  I use 1/2 to 1/3 of the liquid softener it actually calls for and it's plenty.  I have the kind of machine where I can put it in at the start of the load.  I then put a capful or two of water in with it to dilute.  Some liquid fabric softeners can actually stain your clothes.  If you use dryer sheets, cut them in half.  I can get away with that for most of the year except deep winter.  There is a lot of static electricity in our house and it takes the whole sheet to not get continually zapped while trying to fold.
  • Use baking soda.  Add 1/2 to 1 cup of baking soda to the wash to make clothes whiter and brighter.
  • Think your bottle of detergent is empty? Probably not.  With the type of spouts they use you can get anywhere from 2-3 more loads out of them.  Turn the bottle upside down to let it drain. Be careful when opening.  This can get you 1-2 loads.  Then the next time, hold it under the water as it comes into the washer.  Put the cap back on and swish hard.  You might need to do this twice.  There's another load.
  • I have been told that fabric softener makes towels less absorbent.  If you don't want to use it on your towels throw in 2-3 clean tennis balls.  They will soften the towels without any chemicals.  I have never tried this on clothes....might be worth a shot.
  • And, of course, multi task!  Since I do one load right after the other, I use the time they are in the machines to take care of other tasks.  Vacuum, clean the kitchen, do research for the blog, cook, etc.  If you work outside the home, you could break your laundry into two evenings, unless you stay up later than I do and can get it all done while cooking dinner, making ahead lunches, paying bills, etc.  When I worked, Saturday morning was my laundry day.  I got up just as early as I did on a weekday (you should always try to go to bed and get up at the same time every day) and did one load after the other while cleaning and planning for the week ahead, then I had the rest of the weekend available for my family.
These are just a few ideas, and are just my opinion.  Some people think I'm crazy and some people have converted!  I bet you have some pretty good ideas too.  Leave a comment here or on the FB page to share your great idea with us.

Until Next Time.....

Friday, November 25, 2011

Sicilian Chicken Soup - 2 ways

Stove top and Crock Pot Methods
This is my copy cat version of Carrabba's  chicken soup

1 rotisserie chicken, shredded (or 2-3 C cooked and shredded chicken or turkey)
1 Tblsp olive oil
1 14oz can petite diced tomatoes (Red Gold!)
2 4oz cans chopped green chilies
8 C chicken broth or stock (64 ozs, 2 32 oz cartons)
3 med potatoes peeled and diced (try Yukon Gold)
4 med carrots, sliced
2 celery stalks, chopped
1 onion, diced
2 -3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 c chopped parsley optional
salt and pepper to taste, try white pepper
small pasta like Ditalini, uncooked

Heat oil over medium heat in stock or soup pot
add onions and saute until clear
add garlic and saute another minute
(I like to add carrots and celery here and sauté for a couple minutes)
pour in 4 cups chicken broth or stock (32 oz)
add carrots, celery (if you haven't already) and potatoes
on high heat bring soup to a boil
reduce heat to medium and continue cooking until vegetables are very tender about 45 minutes
add tomatoes
remove from heat and slightly mash vegetables into broth
soup should stay a little chunky
add chilies, parsley and remaining broth
add seasonings
bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium
add chicken or turkey and cook 15-20 more minutes
if adding pasta, add last 8-10 minutes before serving

Crock Pot:
place all ingredients in 6-7 qt crock pot, except pasta
cover and cook on low 8 hours
remove lid and slightly mash vegetables into soup
add pasta and cook additional 20 minutes or until pasta reaches desired tenderness

Until Next Time.....

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thanksgiving Leftovers

What a great Turkey!  But now what do I do with all these leftovers so that they don't go to waste, yet I don't get bored with the turkey?  Here are just a few ideas.  Also, if you have any recipes that call for cooked chicken, you can always substitute turkey....unless you smoked it!  Last time I let my husband smoke a turkey then he wanted pot pie.  YUCK!!!!!

*CP* = can be made in the Crock Pot

Chicken Hash (with turkey, obviously)

Easy Chicken (turkey) Enchiladas (warm up turkey a little first)

$8 or Less Recipe - Turkey Cassoulet 2 ways

1 lb cooked turkey - about 2-3 cups
1 15 oz can great Northern beans, or pinto, drained
1 small onion chopped
3 carrots, sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 c chicken broth
1 6oz can tomato paste (Red Gold!)
2 slices bacon
1 c water
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp dried marjoram

optional: crushed cracker or bread crumb, parmesan, melted butter mixture as topping.

Stove top and oven:
In large saucepan, cook bacon until crisp, drain on paper towels then crumble
in bacon grease, cook onion and garlic until tender, stirring to loosen pan drippings
add everything except beans and turkey
cover and simmer 10 minutes or until all vegetables are tender
stir in beans and turkey
transfer to 3 qt casserole dish
bake at 375 for 30-40 minutes or until bubbly with topping if using

Crock pot:
cook bacon and crumble
place everything in 3-4 qt sprayed or lined crock pot
cover and cook on low 6-7 hours

This recipe comes in around $7.00 or a little more depending on how much you spent on your turkey.  You actually might have spent way less!

Until Next Time.....

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The Proverbs 31 Wife - Week Nine

Question #9: Are there areas of your life you find yourself being selfish about? What are they?

Are you kidding me?  Now I really think it's time to call this experiment off!!  Yikes.  Well, a promise is a promise. *deep Breath*  here goes.....

Uh, yeah!  I am very selfish.  I want what I want when I want it.  And I think if we were all to be honest you would all agree.  NOT that we act it out....but it's what we want.  So what am I actually selfish about?  Here are a couple things.....

I have a bag of Chex Mix Muddy Buddies in the cabinet.  I do not let my husband have any!  They were kind of expensive and I shouldn't have bought them in the first place....although I did get them with a doubled coupon!  The bag is pretty small too.  My husband could eat the whole thing in one sitting.  This isn't something I would usually buy and I got it as a treat for myself.  I'm NOT sharing!  Now he loves peanut butter and the gracious thing to do would be to share with him when I get a few bites out.  I did that once.  I gave him a handful.  I get one handful and eat them one piece at a time and enjoy them.  He knocked back the whole fistful in less than a second.  No more for him!

The other area where I tend to be selfish is watching TV.  As you know I have some pain and fatigue issues, so once I'm worn out for the evening, I sit in my recliner with my feet up and scan the DVR.  I want to watch what I want to watch.  I love the channel Investigation Discovery....true crime!  Yeah, I don't know why but I do.  My husband, not so much.  He wants to watch things like Top Shot or anything to do with guns and their making.  He also likes, well, manly kind of shows....not sports so much, but Gold Rush, River Monsters, fishing shows....stuff like that.  I'm stuck in my chair for the evening so I want to pick.  And more often than not, he lets me.  That is starting to get to me.  He works hard all day long and he deserves a treat.  So we have gotten better at "it's your turn to pick a show".  But I still would rather watch my stuff!

I bet I do other things without even thinking about it.  My goal this week will be to be more observant of myself.  Where am I thinking of myself first?  Picking the best piece of pizza first?  Do I take up all the hot water?  Do I leave something for him like food or drink that's almost out, etc. Tomorrow is I giving thanks for my husband or am I taking his good nature for granted?  There's something to think about!  Let's try to do better....who's with me?!?!?!!!!!

Until Next Time.....

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Tool Tuesday - my PC Dough Scoop

Get it now! Click on Penny's Pampered Chef Site to the left.

This one is the medium size...there are two other sizes.

This thing has made my life in the kitchen so much easier.  I can't stand for long periods of time very well, so when it comes to making things like cookies, meatballs or melon balls this saves soooooo much time!  It's the perfect size, in my opinion, for cookies and meatballs.  The melon balls might be a little big with this one.

All you do is scoop and squeeze.  It drops cookie dough right out.  For meatballs, I drop it into my hand and make it a little more packed and round.  But this way is so much easier because it gets them uniformed instead of me guessing then adding or taking away, thus standing a lot longer.

I'm thinking of getting the smaller one to make smaller versions of my recipes.  Not really sure what you would use the bigger one for....mega cookies?

Until Next Time.....

Monday, November 21, 2011

Baking Soda - Save Time and Money

This 1 lb box of baking soda is only $1.00 at Wal-Mart.  Have you found any cheaper?

The days of having one cleanser for each task in the home is gone!  We've got to save money...and the time of going to get each one for each task....and then who wants to store all of that?  Now, I'll be perfectly honest, I still buy a couple different cleansers, but if you REALLY want to be Frugal, get some baking soda and microfiber cloths and you can do a lot.  Here are just a few ideas, I bet you have even more and I would love to hear about them!  Post here or on the FB page.

  1. sprinkle in you garbage can for odor elimination....this goes for litter boxes, the fridge, the freezer, etc
  2. sprinkle on carpets, then vacuum...picks up odor and some dirt
  3. makes a good scouring powder, just a little water added makes a paste
  4. bee and hornet stings! make a little paste with water and put on sting immediately.  you can actually watch the poison being drawn out....I speak from experience here!
  5. cleans toilets....just sprinkle some in and use a brush
  6. sprinkle on grease spills on will absorb then you can wipe away
  7. in the coffee pot sprinkle some in, add ice cubes and swirl.  it will scrub off the brown stains
  8. dry skin? put some in your bath water and soak.
  9. 1/2 c baking soda plus 1/2 cup vinegar cleans out a garbage disposal.  when done fizzing pour a pot of boiling water down.  only for metal pipes!
  10. sprinkle some on your mattress while you're washing the sheets.  if you sprinkle thin you can leave it, otherwise vacuum up before making the bed
  11. baked on residue on pots and pans? sprinkle some in, add a little detergent and hot water.  let sit then wash.
  12. for tarnished silver: 3 parts baking soda to 1 part water, rub with clean cloth
  13. mop with it for shiny floor.  1/2 c in clean hot water, mop and rinse.
  14. make a bathroom scrub: 1/4 c baking soda, 1 T liquid detergent...add a touch of vinegar to give it a creamy texture.
  15. wash produce: sprinkle some on a damp sponge and rub
  16. soak brushes and combs with sink full of warm water and 1 T baking soda
  17. before you store outdoor furniture, sprinkle this under the cushions
  18. put some on a damp brush to clean the grill
  19. add 1 cup to laundry for cleaner and brighter clothes
  20. sprinkle in the bottom of the hamper!
These are just a very few ideas!  You can go to and there is a little search box at the top where you can put in your problem and they'll tell you how to fix it!  There are a lot of ideas all over their site as well.

Until Next Time.....

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Save Time & Money with Gift Cards

Tis the buy gift cards!

Kroger is doing it again!  From now until December 11, 2011, any gift card you buy will earn you 4 times the amount in gas points.  So today we bought 3 gift cards for gifts, and 1 for PetSmart where we get the "kids" their food, then we went and bought gas.  We saved $13.20 in gas and we were going to spend that amount anyway on the gift really, $13.20 free!!  Woo Hooo!!

I will be going back later this week to get more.  I know Someone will be getting their Christmas present from Amazon, so why not buy an Amazon gift card and earn gas points at the same time?!  There are tons of restaurant, stores and movies...even gas cards!  In this area Shell gas stations let you use your Kroger gas points.  Buy a Shell gift card, earn gas points then use the card too!

If you don't have a Kroger, check other stores in your area to see if they have a similar program.  I wonder if stores that match prices would do something for you?  Depends on their policy I if the store their matching has to be in the area.

Another great way to save with gift cards this time of year is to take advantage of all the restaurant offers.  Most eateries are offering a free gift card when you purchase a certain amount.  If you know you will be going to that restaurant anyway, go ahead and buy yourself some gift cards and pick up the free one as well!  We like to go to Carrabba's for a special treat every now and then.  Their offer is, spend $100 in gift cards and get $20 free.  We got two $50 ones.  We'll use one around Valentine's Day and the other for maybe a birthday.  Then that $20 one we can use after the first of the year as a special treat.  Check with your favorite restaurant to see what deals they have available.

This time of year can get hectic and expensive if you're not careful.  this is one way to make it a little easier on yourself and save some money at the same time!

Until Next Time.....

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Pot Pie - Chicken, Turkey or Vegetarian

This recipe is from my BFF Jill

1 refrigerated pie crust
2 c cooked cubed chicken or turkey
1 med potato diced
2 carrots diced
1 small onion chopped and sauteed
1 14 oz can Veg-All mixed vegetables (or equivalent of fresh)
1 10 oz can cream of chicken soup
1 10oz cream of potato soup

preheat oven to 350
microwave potatoes and carrots 2-3 minutes
mix all ingredients in large bowl
place in 2 1/2 qt casserole dish (round)
top with pie crust, and make slits
bake 45 minutes or until golden brown

add 2 cups of any of your favorite vegetables in place of chicken
replace chicken soup with mushroom, cream of celery, cream of broccoli, or extra cream of potato
follow rest of directions

Until Next Time.....

Thanksgiving Done A Little Different

Really, for the most part, I'm very traditional.  But I also believe that you need to shake it up every now and then!  I'm going to have my good 'ol standbys for Thanksgiving....the turkey, mashed potatoes, fried sweet potatoes, and rolls....but let's switch up some of the sides and desserts!  Who's with me?!?!!!  Click on any of the following to go directly to that recipe.  I hope you and yours have a very blessed day.  Be sure to stop and reflect on all the things you have to be thankful for!

Crock Pot Scalloped Potatoes
Crock Pot Sweet Potatoes
Healthier Green Bean Casserole
Roasted Vegetables
Wild Rice

Crock Pot Apple Brown Betty
Chocolate Oatmeal Pie
Sugar Cream Pie
Uncle Steve's Fruit Salad

Cream Soup Alternative
Onion Soup Mix Alternative

Until Next Time.....

Friday, November 18, 2011

Crock Pot Sweet Potatoes

as many sweet potatoes as you'd like
1/4 c water...enough to cover bottom of pot

wash potatoes
place in crock pot
cover and cook on high 1 hour
reduce to low 6-8 hours or until done

It doesn't get an easier than this folks!  No need to poke them, no need to wrap them in foil.

Serve with cinnamon and butter, or brown sugar, or however you like them.

Until Next Time.....

Uncle Steve's Fruit Salad

This photo shows strawberries and kiwi instead of cherries
it's very versatile

This recipe serves 15-20 depending on how much you add.  Cut out fruits you don't like to make it smaller or use smaller cans.  This is one of those recipes that was never written down, so there's a lot of "eyeballin' and guessin'". Use the size can that works for you. Add similar amount of fresh fruit.  For example if you use small cans use one medium size of each fresh fruit.  Increase or decrease as you like. Substitute fresh fruits per season.

2 cans fruit cocktail
1 can peaches, bite size
1 can pears, bite size
1 can chunk pineapple
1 can tropical fruit
1 can mandarin oranges
fresh bananas sliced
fresh or Maraschino cherries
fresh oranges, quartered
fresh apples, sweet and firm, cut into bite size
1/3 large container of Nutrasweet (I don't know how large, that's all he said!!)
OR 1 1/2 c sugar, more or less to taste

Drain all cans VERY well.  It will still make a little juice even after draining.
Mix all together in large bowl.
Serve within a couple hours of making.
If you need to go far, add bananas when you get to where you're going.

Until Next Time.....

Red and White Turkey Chili - Crock Pot

photo from Betty Crocker

1 small onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 15 oz can great northern beans
1 15 oz can dark red kidney beans
2 4oz cans chopped green chilies
3 1/2 c chicken broth or stock
3 c cooked Turkey (or chicken) shredded or cubed
1 c frozen corn
2 tsp cumin
1 Tblsp chili powder

for thickening later:
2 Tblsp flour or corn starch
1/4 c water

Spray 4-5 qt slow cooker with non-stick spray
place all ingredients, mixed together, in slow cooker
cover and cook on low 8-10 hours
If you like it thicker, prepare thickening agent by mixing the 2 together
stir into slow cooker, increase heat to high
cover and cook 30 more minutes

Until Next Time.....

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Sugar Cream Pie

  • 1 prepared 8 inch pastry shell
  • 1 1/2 c white sugar
  • 1/2 c all-purpose flour
  • 1 c heavy whipping cream
  • 3/4 c whole milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg or cinnamon
  • 1/4 c butter, chilled and diced

  • Preheat oven to 450 
  • In a medium bowl, mix together sugar, flour, and cream
  • Add milk and vanilla extract, and continue to stir until mixture is smooth
  • Pour into pastry shell
  • Sprinkle top with nutmeg and dot evenly with small chunks of butter
  • Bake in preheated oven for 15 minutes
  • Reduce heat to 350 and bake an additional 45 minutes

  • A Hoosier favorite!

  • Until Next Time.....
  • Franny

$8 or Less Recipe - Freezer Wheat Rolls

2 pkgs active dry yeast
1/2 c warm water
1/4 c brown sugar (I use granulated, you can use packed)
1 1/2 c whole wheat flour
1 tsp salt
1 egg
3 Tblsp oil
2-3 c bread flour

in large mixing bowl combine yeast and warm water, stir until dissolved
let stand for 10 minutes or until yeast bubbles
and all ingredients EXCEPT bread flour and beat with mixer for 2 minutes
gradually stir in bread flour by hand until soft dough forms
turn onto lightly floured surface
knead until smooth and elastic, 7-9 minutes
clean bowl and grease with butter
place dough in bowl and twist around until all greased
cover and let rise in warm place until doubled, about 1 hour
grease 2 cookie sheets with butter
punch down dough
divide into 24 equal pieces
roll in hands to form smooth ball
place on cookie sheets and cover with towel
let rise until double, about 30 minutes
preheat oven to 300
bake rolls for 15-20 minutes, reversing cookie sheets half way through
bake until puffed and firm but NOT browned
let rolls cool on cookie sheets 5 minutes
remove to wore rack to cool
place in freezer containers, freeze up to 3 months

to serve:
let frozen rolls stand at room temp for 1 hour
preheat oven to 400
bake 10-15 minutes or until golden brown
brush with butter

This recipe comes in at just under $2

Until Next Time.....

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Butter Muffins

I found this recipe in Southern Living Magazine

2 c self-rising flour
1 8oz container sour cream
1/2 c butter, melted

preheat oven to 350
lightly grease 2 - 12 cup miniature muffin pans, or one regular 12 cup muffin pan
stir together all ingredients until just blended
fill cups in muffin pan completely full
bake 25-28 minutes or until golden brown
will need to increase bake time if using regular muffin pans

Until Next Time.....

The Proverbs 31 Wife - Week Eight

Question #8: Sara mentions several times in the book the struggle she has with being identified with her work.  What's your view of work, whether it's in or out of the home?  How do you typically identify yourself?  How do you think others identify you?  How do you want to be identified?

Well there are some loaded questions, eh?  That is so big in American society, and we have all probably done it.  You meet someone new and what is one of the first questions? "So, what do you do?"  I guess it always bugged me a little in the back of my head, but I was proud to be a teacher then a librarian, so I had no problem answering.  At the same time, I thought well I'm also a Christian and a wife and a whole lot of other things!

To me, work is work!  And I have been on both sides of the paycheck, so to speak.  Actually "staying at home" can be WAY more work than some jobs I know of!!  But of course society typically sees work as something you do outside of the home that earns you a paycheck.  I think this will take decades to change, if ever, unfortunately.

Identify myself....well that's in a state of flux right now!  As I said, I always went along with "I'm a librarian" as my stock answer.  But what do I do now?  I no longer work due to health issues.  I don't have any human children so I can't even say that I'm a stay at home mom.  There's not a single word for me anymore.  If I try to be cute and say "domestic engineer" I get, "oh, you're a housewife.....gee, what do you do all day?"  Then I have the urge to clock someone and that's never good!  Are you kidding me?!?!?  I do plenty!  I cook, I clean, I have to take the dogs out a minimum of 3 times during the day and at least twice we must play for awhile or I will never get any peace, I go to water aerobics, I do Bible study, I blog, I do laundry, I run errands, I do things for people at church.....I could keep going!!  And the worst (or maybe the best....haven't decided yet!) part of it is I have to get up everyday and repeat it all again.  I work myself into exhaustion everyday, and I get dismissed with a simple comment "wow, must be nice!"  Can you tell this bothers me just a little?  So anyway....still not sure how to identify myself.  Although I am really pretty happy with "housewife", I'm still struggling with worrying about what other people think about that title.  I KNOW I'm not supposed to, I'm still working on it!

So how do others identify me?  Lucky....Lazy....Those are the two I get the most.  Now I haven't had too many come right out and call me lazy, but I get some of the above comments and of course the "huh, you don't look sick." You know it actually takes more work to live this way than when I was "working".  I used to use part of my paycheck to pay someone to clean my house.  We also ate a lot of quick food.  Now I'm paying closer attention to coupons and sales, cooking from scratch....or close to some part of the house everyday, etc.  I just wish my life was recognized for what it is.  But then again, does it really matter?  I'm not supposed to be getting credit for the stuff I'm doing in society's eyes.  I'm supposed to be doing all that I do for the glory of the One who created me!

How do I want others to identify me?  I guess if we HAVE to choose a word, I'd go with housewife, but more than anything, I just don't want to be treated as a second class citizen because I stay home.  And in that, let me caution you as to how you think and/or judge others.  Maybe you are the other way.  Maybe you are a stay at home mom and you tend to look down on the mom who works outside of the home.  We all have to figure out what life choices work for us and our family as long as we are within Biblical guidelines and not doing anything illegal!  We have no business judging others for their life choices!  

So, the next time you meet someone new, instead of saying what do you do, try asking a little about themselves.  Maybe, "where are you from" or "do you have any hobbies"?  Maybe we can change this world one little icebreaker question at a time!!

Until Next Time.....

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Two Meals (or more) in One

Go from Chicken in a Pot


Another thing we will be doing in 2012 is cooking once and eating twice.....or more!  And I'm not just talking about leftovers.  Although some leftovers are pretty awesome.  In fact, my lasagna and Vegetable soup are both actually better the second day.  Do you have recipes like that?

What we will also be doing is making a large meal one day that can then be turned into a completely different dish the next, like making a chicken in the crock pot and using the leftovers in Chicken and Spinach Quesadillas.  Another great one is making the Tex Mex roast and then shredding up the leftovers for tacos.

So start planning now.  Look through your family's favorite recipes.  Do you already have some that could work for this scenario?  If so, start stockpiling the ingredients that will keep or freeze until January when we start doing these kinds of things.

Yes, the meal planning and stockpiling and all the other things I talk about to save time and money take up front planning.  But once you've got yourself organized, it will be a breeze.  Flying by the seat of your pants is how we waste time and money.  Everything worthwhile takes a little planning.  Trust me, you can do it.  It's really not as daunting as it sounds, I promise!

Until Next Time.....

Monday, November 14, 2011

Stockpiling for Menus in January

If you would like to participate in some of the menu/meal planning that will start in January, consider stockpiling some of these items if you happen to see them on sale in the next month. I will also include what I think is a good price to watch for, but keep in mind that different areas have different prices on food.  You might want to watch your ads and stores for a couple weeks if you're not sure what is a good price for your area.  This is not a comprehensive list.  Please look through some of the recipes already posted for other ideas of ingredients you can stockpile.

pork loin cut into roasts and 3/4 chops ($1.99 lb)
whole chickens 3-4 lb (69-89 cents lb)
bone in chicken pieces (varies per cut, 79-99 cents maybe)
chicken tenders, then pkg into 1 lb freezer bags ($1.99 lb)
boneless, skinless breasts and thighs (breasts $1.99 lb, thighs less than that)
chuck roasts 2.5 to 2.75 lb ($2.99 lb would be awesome)
ground beef in 1 lb pkgs ($2.50? haven't bought any in a long time!)

frozen or canned veggies for sides
Veg-all (canned mixed vegetables)
frozen/canned fruit for dessert
14 oz cans petite diced tomatoes
14 oz cans tomato sauce
Bush's chili magic chili beans
cream soups: mushroom, chicken, potato, golden mushroom
beef and chicken broth
your favorite pasta
your favorite pasta sauce
mozzarella, cheddar, monterey jack cheese
taco seasoning packets or see recipe if you want to make your own
onion soup packets or see recipe if you want to make your own

Also stockpile anything that will keep or freeze from any of your favorite recipes that you see on sale and/or have coupons for.

Until Next Time.....

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Meat Hand Pies

Photo from Woman's Day Magazine

2 Tblsp olive oil
1 small onion finely chopped
1 small to medium potato cut into 1/4 inch dice
1/2 c frozen peas
1 to 2 carrots cut into very small dice, or shredded
1 1/2 c cooked chicken, turkey, beef or pork, shredded
2 refrigerated pie crusts
1 egg beaten

heat oven to 400
line baking sheet with parchment, or use baking stone
heat oil in skillet and cook onion until tender
add salt and pepper to taste
add potato and carrots and cook until tender
remove from heat and add peas and meat
unroll pie crust and cut each into 4 triangles
divide meat mixture onto each triangle towards one side
fold crust over mixture and use fork tines to press and seal
transfer to baking sheet
brush each with egg
bake about 20 minutes or until golden brown

These can be made ahead then flash frozen and kept in freezer for up to 2 months.  Place on parchment lined baking sheet and place in freezer until firm, then place in freezer bag for storage.  Bake frozen at 375 for 30 -45 minutes.  (this idea from Woman's Day magazine)

Until Next Time.....

Friday, November 11, 2011

Chicken Cacciatore

lb chicken, cut into 8 serving pieces
large onion, thinly sliced
2 (6 ounce) cans tomato paste
ounces sliced mushrooms
green bell pepper, finely chopped
cloves garlic, minced
tsp oregano or Italian seasoning
tsp dried basil
tsp salt
1/2 cup dry white wine, or chicken broth
tablespoons olive oil
  • teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, optional
Place onions in bottom of crock pot
add chicken pieces
combine all other ingredients and pour over chicken
cook on low 7-8 hours
serve over pasta or rice

Until Next Time....

Thursday, November 10, 2011

$8 or Less Recipe - Roasted Vegetables

serves about 6

2 large potatoes, cubed
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2-3 carrots, cut into small chunks
2 c frozen green beans or broccoli florets
2 c frozen corn or cauliflower florets
2 Tblsp olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

preheat oven to 400
in large (2 gallon?) zip bag combine everything except frozen vegetables
shake to coat
place in large roasting pan, roast for 30 min
add frozen vegetables and toss together with a large spatula
roast 30 more minutes or until all vegetables are tender
serve immediately

Depending on the vegetables you use, this is roughly $5.

Experiment with different oils and salts or other seasonings to make it your own.  I like Lawry's garlic salt, and some seasoned salt.  My friend uses a grinder that has garlic and pepper.  Some people have even used Old Bay for a little kick.  Vegetables are somewhat interchangeable too.  I don't care for green beans and corn like that, so I sometimes do broccoli and cauliflower.  Try it with squash or any other of your favorite vegetables.

Until Next Time.....

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

The Proverbs 31 Wife - Week Seven

Question #7: Sara talks about the softness factor - when she's kind to her husband, he seems to return the kindness to her.  Has this been your experience? Why or why not?

I think this is true for any relationship.  If you are testy towards people one of two things is most likely to happen.  They will be testy back or they will avoid you like the plague.  If I'm to be perfectly honest, this isn't always the case in my marriage.  But let me caution you!  We should be kind to our husbands, even if we don't think they "deserve" it, because that's what we're called to do.  That being said.....

Sometimes, I am not so nice.  My husband would have every right to yell back or avoid me but he doesn't.  If anything he's nicer to me in most cases.  Which in turn has the effect of calming me down....usually.  But I have to say that I have one of the most laid back kinda guys on the planet.  You might think that is a great thing, and most of the time it is, but every now and then I would like him to get fired up about something.  But I digress!

It is true that when I make an effort around the house, and have dinner ready for him (or even when I don't) and I greet him warmly when he comes home, he is then very nice to me.  And I don't do it just to get him to be nice to me.  I do it for many reasons.  Because I love him, because God calls me to, and because he has a very stressful job and I don't need to make home stressful for him too.  

Yes we can go through stress even if we are stay at home moms, but we don't need to take out that stress on others.  Is it easy....of course any of this easy?!  But it will reward you as well as him to have a little more of the softness factor.  Give it a shot and see what happens!

Until Next Time.....

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Tool Tuesday - my PC Can opener

I love, love, love my Pampered Chef can opener.  I don't even have a n electric one anymore.  This "pops" the seal of the can and then loosens the lid that was vacuum sealed on then lets you "pinch" it to take it off.  No sharp edges to cut yourself or to cut up your plastic spatula as you try to get everything out of the can.

The style has changed since I bought mine, so if you get one today it will look a little different.  Also, I bought mine probably 10 years ago or more and it's still going strong.  I highly recommend this one!  If you're interested, you can click the words "Buy It".

Have a great week!

Until Next Time.....

Monday, November 7, 2011

Cooking on a Budget - Part Seven

Time to actually cook!

We've talked about planning meals based on your grocery ads and coupons to get the most for your money, and we've talked about stockpiling items you know you will use.  We've talked about organizing your pantry and your recipes.  Now it's time to begin!

I only have a few tips....most of which, always keep it simple!  Don't get stressed or you'll never enjoy cooking.  Let it be fun and hopefully a family time.

  1. Read through your recipe all the way first.  Be sure you have all items on hand and accessible.  If possible go ahead and measure things out first into prep bowls, so when the time comes to add, it's all ready to go.
  2. If there is something you don't understand about a recipe, look it up before you begin.
  3. Be sure you have bowls, pots, pans and utensils at the ready.
  4. Be sure that whatever cooking apparatus you are going to use is in working order....stove, oven, crock pot, etc.  
  5. If the recipe calls for preheating, do it!  Yes, it really does make a difference.
  6. Clean up as you go.  People get discouraged about cooking because they leave all the dishes to do after you eat, and that can be a big pile.  Start a sink full of water and wash those prep bowls as you go in between steps.
That's really about it!  I know that some of you are completely new to cooking, but just start there.  As you get more familiar with the way your stove, oven, crock pot, etc works and how food interacts with other foods, you'll become a pro in no time.

As you get better at all these things, you'll be planning meals maybe for two weeks at a time, planning leftovers, and planning new meals FROM your leftovers.

I hope you enjoyed this brief series about cooking on a budget.  There will be more tips to come about leftovers, price comparison, and meal planning, so stay tuned.  And let me know if there is something specific that you'd like to see on this topic.

Until Next Time.....

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Shop Savvy - the App

This app is available for iphone and Android powered phones

I'm not one to go out and get every app that comes along.  In fact I've got 3 whole apps on my phone!  But this one I had to have!  It uses your phone's camera to scan the barcode of an item and then it tells you the prices of the item at stores in your area as well as online.  I have used this when I was at home and almost out of something, but it wasn't on an advertised sale anywhere.  Then I knew what store to go to to get it.  I have also used it in the store to see if it was the cheapest price or if it was worth it to go to another store.  Especially if I was planning to go to 2 or 3 stores anyway it was good to know at which one I should pick up the item.

Until Next Time.....