Monday, April 14, 2014

Menu Plan: April 13, 2014

Frugal Chatter-
 I bought a large pack of hamburger meat on Saturday, on "sale" for $2.19 a lb. I made a BBQ Joe mix that we will have multiple times on homemade bread.
We will have spinach and lettuce, green onions, chives, and kale from the garden.
The chickens have been providing a surplus of eggs! Go chicks!
I will also make a batch of slaw that will last for multiple meals. Love getting in raw veggies!

-Homemade Cinnamon Rolls
-Sandwiches, homemade Granola Bars
-BBQ Joes (used BBQ sauce- out of ketchup-crisis! :)homemade buns, spinach salad (from the raised beds)
snacks: fried livers (treat!)
total approx. daily cost: $5.75
-bagels (half bag bought on clearance at .99bag), cream cheese (bought on clearance)
-leftover BBQ Joes on homemade buns, spinach salad (raised beds), leftover homemade Granola Bars
-Sausage ($1.49) on brat buns (half pack bought on clearance at .99) with onions and spicy mustard, slaw, home-canned Cardamom-Cinnamon Apples
snacks: toasted homemade Wheat Bread with homemade jam
total approx. daily cost: $5.50
-bagels (half bag bought on clearance at .99bag), cream cheese (bought on clearance)
-home-canned Vegetable-Barley Soup, Sweet Potato Muffins
-the remaining BBQ Joe Mix on sandwich bread, slaw, sliced oranges
snacks: popcorn
total approx. daily cost:$4.00
-egg and onion wraps (free eggs from our chicks)
-home-canned Pumpkin Soup, Quick Dinner Muffins (wheat)
-Grilled Cream Cheese Sandwiches, slaw, leftover muffins and jam
snacks: kefir smoothies
total approx. daily cost: $3.25
-Polenta (half recipe), fried eggs (free)
-Cranberry Beans with Cracklin' Cornbread, home-canned Squash Relish (yum!)
-leftover beans, cornbread, relish, kale from the garden
snacks:Orange-Apricot Muffins
total approx. daily cost: $2.50
-Chocolate Oatmeal
-Frittata (onions and chives from garden, eggs-chicks), Tangy Kale Salad,(garden), home-canned apples
-Chicken salad sandwiches, chips-n-salsa
snacks: homemade Cinnamon Rolls
total approx. daily cost: $2.75

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Menu Plan: March 31, 2014

-Banana-Nut Oatmeal
-Egg, cheese, onion, and pepper wraps, clementines (eggs and peppers free-homegrown)
-(Venison)Enchilada Bake, Creamed Asparagus (venison-free, beans cooked from dried)
total approx. daily cost: $4.00
-Apple-Cinnamon Oatmeal
-leftover Enchilada Bake, spicy beets, buttered carrots (beets- homecanned, free; carrots @.49 lb)
-Frugal Pantry-Style Sweet and Sour Chicken, rice, green beans
snacks:grapes, pretzels
total approx. daily cost: $4.50
-Bug Oats  (a friend gave these to me months ago, her family didn't like them -yay me!)
-Pumpkin Soup (free- home canned), Savory Onion Muffins,cake
-scrambled eggs with fried potatoes (both free)
snacks:Chocolate Buttermilk Cake with Cooked Pantry Topping
total approx. daily cost: $1.00
-Lemon-Poppy Seed Oatmeal
-Leek Soup (homemade broth, veggies from garden), Chocolate Carob Custard (free eggs)
-Tapatio Chicken, baked potato wedges, roasted asparagus (potatoes were free, chicken at .99lb)
total approx daily cost: $4.25
-Masa Porridge (.12 for 5 servings!)
-Potato Soup, (free potatoes), Italian Bread, homemade jelly
-Chicken Fajitas (free peppers), saucy black beans (from dried)
snacks:bread and jelly, sliced apples with peanut butter
total approx. daily cost: $4.00
-Homemade Cream of Wheat
-Homemade Tomato Soup (almost free), Homemade Pimiento Cheese Sandwiches  (cream cheese.25)
-Cranberry Beans, Cracklin' Cornbread, fermented kraut, homecanned spicy carrots (beans from dried, homemade cracklin' and lard)
snacks:boiled eggs and mustard (free eggs)
total approx. daily cost: $2.75
-Chocolate Granola
-Homemade Pimiento Cheese Sandwiches, carrot and celery sticks
-Venison Stew, cornbread
snacks: bananas with peanut butter
total approx. daily cost: $2.75

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Make Your Own Homemade Slides for Microscopes

Last year, one of our friends from the local college let us have an older microscope, per policy, on "long-term-loan." It has 10x and 40x objectives and I really would love it, if we could add a more powerful one (not sure that's possible) because as of yet, we've not been able to view anything 'wiggling'. (Maybe we're looking in the wrong place!) ...But we have seen some pretty cool stuff!

I think our favorites are hair- animal hair. The goat hair was neat in that the grey was distinctively different from the black. The cat hair was awesome, in that it looked like it had vertical chambers. Weird! And cool!

But- slides were an issue- so- we made some!

We used simple index cards, cutting a 'window' out of the center and using clear tape to make a 'glass' and to hold our samples in place.We left the 'windows' kinda big so more light would show through.

You could also use thin cardboard, like cereal boxes are made from.

We collected all sorts of little things to look at!

Here are some of the interesting things that we looked at;
-goat hair
-cat hair
-human hair
-local honey
-storebought honey
-water that's been standing in a bucket outside
-strawberry leaves
-leaves (from trees, plants, etc- old dry leaves were really cool)
-dried dill
-pencil shavings
-corn husk
-gnat (this was cool because it had WAVY hairs on it's legs)
-coffee grounds
-salt (at 10x these looked like ice cubes)
-black pepper
-mustard seeds
-onion skin
-bathroom paper
-cypress clipping (this was cool too, in that, we've always known this tree to kind of 'stick to us' but under the microscope, we were able to see why- tiny hooks on it's edges!)

Any of you girls found neat things to view under your scopes?
Would love to hear from any of you who have them on tips to make the most use of them!

Job 5:9  Which doeth great things and unsearchable; marvellous things without number

Friday, March 28, 2014 He loves us so!...Counting Blessings Today and the "Little Things"

Think the Lord doesn't know the delights of your heart? Think He doesn't care about the 'little things'? Think He doesn't know how to say "I love you" really loudly to your heart, in a very quiet way?

Psa 37:4  Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.

I am convinced that the Lord knows the keys to our hearts and wants to remind us of His love for us and His care over the smallest details of our lives.

Here's some of the ways that the Lord knows blesses me:
-Jesus, the bible
-my children (and when someone blesses them, I'm blessed!)
-chocolate and/or coffee (mixed? even better!)
-teas, especially herbal and exotics
-books (can there be too many books!?!?!)
-flowers, especially those for the yard and gardens, because they keep giving!
-treats for the kids (For some, this might be candy bars, but personally I get a real kick when God gives them some good-for-you food stuffs or gives things to me to feed them. It says to my heart; "I care about their health too.")
-needful items like cleaners, toiletries and the like

The box of tea in the picture above, is one of several little blessings the Lord has slipped my way in recent weeks. This is not just plain black tea...this box has lots of chai teas, lots of WHITE chai teas. A sweet blessing to me for you see, there's one flavor in this box that reminds me of a most special tea that was bought for me years ago at an (expensive) tea shop in Nashville. It was amazing!( ..Along with a chocolate tea that is most worthy of mention :)  ...It's a unique flavor and I'm sure it's yucky to some, but to me, it's bliss! And - God knew that! A little thing.

Ezek 47:12  And by the river upon the bank thereof, on this side and on that side, shall grow all trees for meat... and the fruit thereof shall be for meat, and the leaf thereof for medicine.

One day this week, we had 2 large bags of items that we were taking to someone, in hopes of being the 'blessor'....but, as God would have it, we walked away being the definite 'blessee'. We had a bag, that I almost couldn't carry, full of toiletries, a wicker basket, and some clothing items that had been on the 'needed list'. There were also multiple (at least 3!) items in this mix that the boys had told me within the last few days that we were "out of"...their little things. (God- He just wows me sometimes!)

 Luke 6:38  Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.

We were also given 2 very large stacks of books to borrow. ....Drooling....Lots of classics in these stacks. Dracula, Frankenstein, (I didn't know it, but one of the kids had been desiring to read those!)The Tale of Two Cities, Grimm's (Woo hoo!), Aesop's Fables, Nancy Drew (dd's favorites), and even a few Diary of a Wimpy Kid books, which a couple of the boys like. (There's also some Madeleine L'engle books in the mix that I don't know much about. Any of you girls????) ...She also told me when we finished them, we could come back and trade them out for more! Gasp!

Eccl 12:12  ... of making many books there is no end...

In that mix of books was also a boxed dvd kit of classics produced by PBS. The kids had been asking for a movie!

That's another thing I'm thankful for.....For the past three months or so, I don't think our television has even been on. We don't have a tv upstairs, just one in the den, where the wood stove is, which would make one think we'd be cuddled there all winter....and we were a lot of times, but not watching tv. We were building card houses, working puzzles, talking, reading books, breaking open hickory nuts (bartered for with bread), and one big chunk of time has been used for going through the Bible with this one book; Four Thousand Questions and Answers from the Bible   - given to us many months ago. This book is older, has quite a few grammar flaws and typos, and I think it stretches some of it's typology theology, but it's fantastic for going through the Bible stories, hitting highlights, tying verses from the OT and NT, and also geology. We've used the globe and the internet to look up the cities that it mentions, or more often than not, at this point, the ruins of the cities....But that book...that's stirred up so much interest, was just a little thing, almost passed over in the midst of other books. A little thing, that God is using, to stir the bigger things in His precious Word for my children. -Just, wow!

One year ago, I might have had a couple of skirts and a handful of shirts. That was fine, I wasn't involved in much and I really had no need of more. The Lord has filled my closet this year, just as I needed them. Giving me shoes, skirts, blouses, sweaters, coats, and jackets. I was given a pair of new shoes for Christmas! My son and precious daughter-in-law also sent me a gift card for my birthday and insisted I spend it on myself. I was able to add several denim skirts to my closet, which I love for comfort and lack-of-ironing! :)  The little thing in this was that I had ripped the favored denim skirt last year,beyond repair, and He gave me more than one back. You think He knows about my slackness in ironing?

1 Tim 6:8  And having food and raiment let us be therewith content.

The children have also been blessed. I think Kemmie has more clothes than all of us put together! But God knows, he is in those years where that is important and I think He is showing Kemmie now, in preparation for the future- I am your Provider and I can do exceeding, abundantly above all that you ask, or think. (Say on, Lord! Say on!)........And he might as well enjoy civies now- hooyah!

One of my children has taken a special interest in certain types of books. God has put some very, VERY special people in our lives this past year and this couple has seen to it, that this little fella has had numerous books to read on this special topic. (The goodness of God to my children is a bottomless well of blessing! When God taps into blessing in that area- my cup runneth over and over and over.)
Psa 90:17  And let the beauty of the LORD our God be upon us: and establish thou the work of our hands upon us; yea, the work of our hands establish thou it.
 Psa 29:2  Give unto the LORD the glory due unto his name; worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness.
Why are flowers so special to me? I dunno, perhaps it's really a reflection of the beauty of God to my soul. When I see the individuality and the beauty of each flower, the attention to detail- it just stirs my heart. It reminds me God does care about the little things- the details- the specifics! And- there is beauty in the Lord.

Mat 6:29 .... That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.

My daughter has honed her love for drawing this year. God has blessed her with the needs to make that happen. ....Such a small, small thing in some ways; but giant in this child's life. (When God reaches out to my children, it humbles me to my core, reminding me of my great privilege to share in God's divine purposes for them, of which, I'm not worthy. (But that He allows me to; THAT, is awesome.)

Isa 54:13  And all thy children shall be taught of the LORD; and great shall be the peace of thy children.

We've been given several pounds of apples lately and a ton of home-raised pork fat to render for lard. Now, apples speak for themselves- they're just good! But- let me tell you about the little things hidden in the lard! You see, hidden in the DNA of my children, is a predisposition to some auto-immune problems. One of those is craftily connected to low vitamin D levels. Vitamin D is stored in the fat of pigs raised on farms and raised naturally. Such were the former days of Wilbur! (Convinced you yet, that He cares about the little things?) 

 Jer 29:11  For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.

You know what's in those jars? Bacon grease. Yep, just plain ole bacon grease. It was given to me. What's so great about that? ... I said on Facebook once; "You know somebody loves you when they give you their bacon grease!" ...But it says so much more than that. It says; "Every time I cooked bacon, I took the time to strain this grease off for you...Every time I cooked bacon, I thought about you. When I wiped the drips off of this jar, I did it for you. When I sat these by the door before I went to bed so I wouldn't forget to bring them the next day, I was thinking about you." Sure, this is just a little thing, in some ways, but how could I take for granted the times God had someone think of me during that process and to go through trouble, for me?! I don't see that as so little. That's a great big "I love and care about you", to me. (Thank you God. I heard it.)

And for me, I think the little things are humbling. They help with all of those yucky pride issues. And speaking of pride, and fat (lard-grease), this verse is almost funny to me, in that it reminds me of how old-timers would talk.

 Psa 119:70  Their heart is as fat as grease; but I delight in thy law.

Isa 44:4  And they shall spring up as among the grass, as willows by the water courses.
(Note- willows by water courses equals BIG trees very quickly!)

One final little thing which is really a big thing. The willows are starting to bud out with tiny leaves and even the grass is starting to regrow. No big deal, right? This happens every year. I doubt anyone but my family pays any mind to those willow trees. Little things. ...But, I've noticed something big about this process every year.You see, every fall, that tree 'dies' and goes dormant. It's a little thing especially since it's leaves don't really turn some magnificent color. The tree also goes through this seemingly little process of blooming back out every spring as well. No big deal. But you know what, it seems to me, that every time that tree 'dies', it comes back a little bigger, a little stronger, has a little more character, and more shade and beauty. I'd dare to make a wager, that tree grows when it's 'dead'. You reading between the lines about this little thing? :)

We go through winter sometimes- but even in winter God is doing something to our root system! Just a little thing, no one can see, as it's just under the surface. But oh how big it is! How great it is! How very important it is- these little things.It is good to take note of them, to be mindful of them, to watch for them, and to make full use of them- the little things.

A strand of hair is a very small thing but-

Mat 10:30  But the very hairs of your head are all numbered.

1 Pet 5:7  ... he careth for you.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Menu Plan- March 22, 2014

In keeping under $30 this week, free eggs from our chicks and .25 cream cheese, helped with my quest!

-Breakfast Cookies
-Baked Nachos (leftover chili, beans, bl.olives, salsa, cheese, hot sauce), homemade cranberry sauce (berries from freezer bought on clearance in late fall)
-Bake Frittata, salad, bananas (free eggs, chives have popped up in the herb bed, salad given to me as well from leftover banquet)
snacks:apples, pretzels
total approx. cost for the day: $3.75
-Oatmeal-Wheat Pancakes from the freezer
-Beef and Cabbage Stew (gotta get a better pic, it's much better than the pics tell u), Quick Dinner Muffins, homemade jelly
-leftover soup and bread and jelly
snacks: Chocolate Cheesecake Balls (I bought 24 boxes of cream cheese on clearance at .25 each!)
total approx. cost for the day: $4.75
-Vanilla Polenta
-Ham (frozen leftovers) and Cabbage Soup, sliced oranges, Cocoa Zucchini Muffins (zukes frozen from garden)
-Bologna and Cheese Sandwiches, leftover cup of soup
snacks: leftover Cheesecake Balls
total approx. cost for the day: $4.00
-Basic Granola
-beans (precooked from freezer), cornbread, fermented kraut (made in summer from free cabbage)
-Oven-fried Chicken Legs (bought at .99bl), beets (free), dilled carrots (dill-free, carrots @ .49lb), oven potatoes (free from farmers during summer)
snacks:Pumpkin Breads (free -pumpkin from freezer)
total approx. cost for the day: $4.00
-leftover Fried Polenta, scrambled eggs (free eggs)
-Onion Soup, (homemade broth, onions on sale) crackers, sliced oranges, leftover Pumpkin Breads
-eggs (free),home-canned fried apples (basically free), fried potatoes (free from farmers)
snacks:Cheesecake (not sure what fruit yet, perhaps jam!), celery sticks and dip
total approx. cost for the day: $1.50
-leftover Coconut Custard (bottom of this post)  (free eggs)
-Sour Cream and Cheesy Onion Noodle-Bake, green beans (free, garden), Cole Slaw (chicken from whole chicks bought at .79lb, bulk noodles, .25 cream cheese, sale sour cream, cabbage .39 lb and several meals)
-leftovers from lunch, green salad (from raised beds)
snacks: Prune Cake
total approx. cost for the day: $4.50
-Cream of Wheat
-Homemade Bean and Cheese Burritos (beans from dried, tortillas bought on clearance at bread store), salsa, sliced apples
-Salmon-I'm-Afraid-So, steamed broccoli
snacks: Chess Cake
total approx. cost for the day: $5.75

 Jer 29:11  For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Menu Plan: March 8, 2014

Mexi Chicken Dish

-Peanut Butter Oatmeal
-White Bean and Turkey Bacon Soup (crockpot), cornbread
(small pack of turkey bacon bought on sale for $1, peppers from freezer-free)
-Mexi-Chicken Dish, clementines (beans cooked from dried and frozen, chicken bought @.99lb)
snacks:Chili-Cheese Popcorn
total daily cost approx: $5.00
-Breakfast Cookies from the freezer
-leftover bean soup and cornbread from Saturday
-Simple Hash,green beans from the freezer, crushed pineapple (potatoes were free from farmers, beans from our freezer, meat bought on sale, pineapple bought in #10 clearanced for $1.80, will divided through week)
snacks: Caramel Popcorn
total daily cost approx: $3.50
-Chocolate Granola
-Turkey and Cheese Wraps, sliced apples
-Chicken Hollandaise over rice, green beans (freezer), home-canned beets, pineapple
(chicken bought at .99lb beans &  beets were free)
snacks: Quick Pretzels
total daily cost approx: $3.25
-Buttermilk Biscuits, fried eggs, Cinnamon-Pear Jelly
-Wintry Tomato Soup, Cottage Cheese Dinner Rolls
-Venison patties, pureed butternut squash, lima beans
(free meat, squash grown in garden)
snacks:leftover biscuits and jelly
total daily cost approx: $2.75
-Muesli (with whatever dried fruit I have on hand)
-Cream of Sunshine Soup, Artisan Rolls, Basil Jelly (squash for soup-free, broth homemade-jelly too)
-Spaghetti, rolls, pineapple (I can get 3 meals from that recipe, often with leftovers)
snacks: No-Bake Peanut Butter Cookies
total daily cost approx: $3.00
-Wheat Germ Pancakes from the freezer
-Corn Chowder w/ Turkey Ham, leftover rolls from Wednesday
(corn, free-peppers free- both from freezer, potatoes free from farmers, ham bought and divided up)
-pinto beans, hot pepper jelly, cornbread, Nourishing Kraut (free cabbage from farmers last year)
snacks: Apple-Walnut Flax Cookies (apples and flax were given to me)
total daily cost approx: $3.25
-Whole Wheat Choc Chip Waffles from the freezer
-Venison Goolash, home-canned fried apples (venison free, pasta bought on sale)
-Cheeseburger Pizza Pie, Baked Lemon Pudding Cake
snacks: Crispy Cinnamon Chips (bought tortillas at bread store for $1 a pack, may use 1/3 to 1/2 pack)
total daily cost approx: $5.75

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Kefir Ranch Dip/Dressing

 I love kefir. Straight-up in a glass, over granola, with chocolate, in smoothies, and even rubbed on my hands when they're really dry :)

But, not everyone around here feels my affections for this nutritious treat, regardless of all the brain-washing that I try to do!

Not only is this a tasty, frugal, healthy dip/dressing, it's a great way to smuggle kefir in your less-than-enthusiastic consumers! (i.e. kids)

I have another recipe that is thinner than this one. We like this one for dipping, especially after a day or so in the fridge.
Kefir Ranch Dip/Dressing
1 cup kefir
1 cup mayo
1 small onion finely chopped
1 1/2 t lemon juice
3/4 t dried chives
1 t dried dill
2 t dried parsley
1/4 t salt
Blend well and store in refrigerator.
This thickens overnight after being well-chilled.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Pound Cake

With eggs from our chickens and butter bought on sale months agao, from the freezer, I talked myself into believing this was a frugal thing to do today :)
I'm SO gullible! 

More amazing than my conversations with myself are how many slices of pound cake that teenage boys can eat - at one time
Kemmie ate 2 like the one below and the third piece was 2 1/2 times the size of the one below.
I finally said, "Don't touch the cake and stay out of the kitchen! ...Except to do the may go do that now." :)
Perfect topped with my old-fashioned, home-canned blueberries in sugar-syrup.

Homemade Pound Cake

6 large eggs
1 cup of softened butter
3 cups sugar
1 1/2 t vanilla
1 cup heavy cream
3 cups plain flour
1/4 t baking powder

Cream butter and sugar. Add eggs and vanilla and blend until smooth. Sprinkle in the baking powder. Alternate the cream and flour, adding gradually until well-blended and smooth.

Bake in greased tube pan at 325 for 1 hour and 10 to 20 minutes or until it passes the toothpick test.

Luke 11:11-13  If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? or if he ask a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent? Or if he shall ask an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?

Menu Plan: March 1, 2014

-Italian Stew, Rolls, homemade jelly
-sandwiches, bananas
snacks:apples with peanut butter
Total daily cost approx: $6.00
-toast and jelly
-Pizza! (a treat with a friend, but truly the biggest treat is always her company! God is good!)
-Homemade Chicken Soup (like this but with potatoes and tomatoes)
snacks: candy
Total daily cost approx: $2.00
-Fried Eggs in home-rendered lard, toast and homemade cinnamon-pear jelly (almost free eggs)
-Lentil and Root Stew (with whatever veggies I have on hand), fried corn cakes
-Black Bean (Venison) Chili crackers (free venison, beans from dried in freezer, home-canned tomatoes)
snacks:Glazed Cranberry Bread
Total daily cost approx:$2.50
-Lemon-Poppy Seed Oatmeal
-Grilled Cheese Sandwiches, apples
-leftover chili, Brownies
Total daily cost approx: $2
-Coconut Granola
-Onion Soup, French Bread
-Monkey Meat on Flatbreads  (Dividing cost, I will get 3 meals from this.)
snacks: toasted bread wedges with pizza sauce, leftover brownies
Total daily cost approx: $4.75
-Oatmeal-Wheat Pancakes
-leftover Monkey Meat on Flatbreads, Peanut Butter Candy Bars
-15 Bean Soup (no meat), Jalapeno-Cheddar Cornbread
snacks: leftover bars
Total daily cost approx: $5.50
-Masa Porridge
-leftover soup and cornbread, pb bars
-Turkey Meatball Subs on leftover French Bread
snacks: Homemade Ice Cream
Total daily cost approx: $5.00

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Today's Baking- Artisan Rolls

So cool to pull out your dough from the fridge, shape....fuggetaboutit  for a while and then bake into these.

This dough can be made in a couple of minutes, refrigerated, and used throughout the week.
Baked per instructions, the crust is very chewy, and you can taste the unique, rustic flavor from the kosher salt. The yeast flavor becomes stronger over several days and I personally prefer it before the third day.
But the convenience! Awesome! -Especially for you working mommas.
Psa 37:25  I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread.