Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Attempting to Make Waffle Cones

 So, you may remember that Mara got a job at an ice cream shop. At the shop she has been making waffle cones - when we went we had to try them and they were pretty yummy. I got to thinking- if she can make them at the shop then why can't we make them at home?

  Making our own waffle cones and then buy ice cream (hopefully on sale) at the store would be so much cheaper than going and buying cones at the ice cream shop.

  I knew I didn't have the proper waffle iron for cones (mine is a regular one - which works well and we have really been enjoying since Ken got it for me for my birthday) but I figured we would try it anyway.

  I went looking for recipes on line and finally chose one I thought might work and that we had the stuff for. Megan and I worked together to mix it up, we heated up the waffle maker and covered some Styrafoam forms with tin-foil to wrap on cone around.

  We gave it a try. It was fun and we did make cones of sorts but they tasted more like regular waffles than they did waffle cones. They were thick and then didn't get crisp and they really kind of liked to come apart.

 It wasn't overly successful but it was fun to try.
We still used them and ate them quite happily - no complaints at all from the family. :-)

I won't be trying just that method again but I would like to figure out a better one. I still think it would be fun to make our own ice cream cones. Does anybody have any suggestions?

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Daily Bible Reading Challenge

  I am later getting this posted than I planned but late or not I wanted to share some of the nuggets I found in God's word this past week....

Scripture that touched my heart:
"I gave you a land on which you have not labored, and cities which you had not built, and you have lived in them; you are eating of vineyards and olive groves which you did not plant." "Now, therefore, fear the Lord and serve Him in sincerity and truth; and put away the gods which your fathers served beyond the River and in Egypt,  and serve the Lord. If it is disagreeable in your sight to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves today whom you will serve: whether the gods which your fathers served which were beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living; but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord." Joshua 24:13-15

It is always inspiring to hear someone stand up for doing what is right. When they are willing to take the chance and do it on their own if necessary that inspires me to be willing to do the same.

What caused me to worship God more?
"The people answered and said, "Far be it from us that we should forsake the Lord to serve other gods; for the Lord our God is He who brought us and our fathers up out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage, and who did these great signs in our sight and preserved us through all the way in which we went and among all the people through whose midst we passed. The Lord drove out from before us all the peoples, even the Amorites who lived in the land. We also will serve the Lord, for He is our God." Joshua 24:16-18

 Reading about how God did amazing things in the past - and realizing that He is truly the same mighty God today - gives me reason to worship. God can do anything!

What prompted me to action?
"Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you." Matthew 7:7

Prayer is something that is very necessary for a close relationship with our God and Father - it is also something where I have a lot of room for growth. It can be so easy to just try to do things on my own. To try to have self-control in my eating with my own power rather than asking for God's strength, to try to be loving, gentle and kind without continually seeking God's help. It goes much better when I remember that I have a loving God who wants to help me but wants me to ask.

What interesting fact did I see?
"Not everyone who says to Me, "Lord, Lord," will enter the kingdom of heaven, but He who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. Many will say to Me on that day, "Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name and in Your name cast out demons, and in You name perform many miracles:" And then I will declare to them, "I never knew you; depart from Me you who practice lawlessness." Matthew 7:21-23

I think there are going to be many that are surprised on that final day. I hope that none of us are among them. Let's truly seek to know and do God's will. We can read His word to find out His will for our lives.

 What gems did you find in God's word lately? I would love to hear from you!

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Frugal Philosophies

Mayflowers that we found when out and about today - so lovely!
   So once again I didn't get a frugal Friday post written. I got on the computer to do so last night but I was so tired from our busy day that my brain was quite "fried" and getting a post written just didn't happen.

   Our day yesterday involved cleaning our house, baking bread, working on flowers for a wedding, having a US Congressional candidate over to our house for lunch along with her campaign manager and 4 delegates/alternates that she was wanting to reach out to, delivering the wedding flowers, having our neighbors (just back from being in Texas for the winter!) over for supper. It was a good and fun day but I was tired when it was over.

  There were many conversations that went on at our house yesterday (both at lunch and supper) that really made me think about the different ideas that people have about living life and how that can really affect their financial stability.

  One of the things that really got me thinking  was a conversation we had with our neighbors at supper. We were discussing Mara's new job at the icecream shop and then just icecream places in general. A frozen yogurt place in our area was mentioned and none of us had ever been there except our boys who had gone with friends. We wondered if it was expensive and Aaron thought that it probably did cost around $5 per person. Alice commented that you could buy a whole bunch of ice cream at the store for that amount (rather than just enough for one person) and I totally agreed with her. Then I shared that when I had taken the kids to the place Mara works that it had cost us over $20 just for 5 of us. Merle's reaction to that was "That sounds like a once in a lifetime treat". Now I doubt he was truly serious about it being something that was done only once in a lifetime but I totally agree that it is a rare treat to do something like that. It just doesn't make good financial sense in my eyes to spend that much on a treat very often at all.

 Merle and Alice aren't poor (In fact I think they are probably fairly well to do -they own 2 homes - a nice one here and one in Texas) but they are frugal and I think that many people would do well to observe some financially stable older people like them and learn from them. In my observation most people that are fairly well off and are financially stable have many frugal habits. They have a different way of thinking than the people that are deeply in debt.

Here are some ideas that I think help people to be financially stable:

  • They understand that treats are to be occasional/rare - not an everyday thing.
  • They have patience and don't expect to have everything just the way they like it immediately. (They can wait for a sale or wait until they have cash to buy something rather than going in debt.)
  • They don't like to waste. (Alice commented on her dislike of wasting even a very small amount of food- I agree.)
  • They think about the cost of things that they are buying - as in how many hours do I need to work to pay for that item or what other things could I buy for that same amount of money.
  • They buy quality items and then use them until they are worn out rather than buy a lot of cheap things that don't last.
  • They enjoy work and work hard.
  • They take care of what they do have.
Those were not in order of importance but rather in order of how I thought of them. Do you agree with those philosophies? Do you have any others to add? 

I did want to add that I fully realize that we all have different choices/ priorities when it comes to "treats/splurges". Our family really enjoys traveling/exploring and so we are willing to spend more money on that. This summer we have a trip planned to take a train (we have always wanted to do that) out to Glacier National Park and then do a week long back packing trip. We the cost of train tickets, reservations (it costs over $40 a night for us to sleep in a campsite when backpacking and then we did decide to rent a cabin on both ends just to make sure we did have a place to stay - as things can fill up if you aren't there super early - which we couldn't be and that cost a lot too), special food and some gear this trip is costing in the thousands. So we do spend money on treats - and maybe for some other people their treat of choice is going to an expensive ice cream shop every week - they might not care to go traveling or whatever. We all get to make choices but I think we should do them thoughtfully and try not to go into debt and become a burden on society.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

A Neat Song

We had some friends over for supper last night and our conversation turned to bluegrass music - as can easily happen as we have a whole line-up of bluegrass instruments hanging on our wall and we love music- and Joey and Rory Feek were mentioned as a group they have enjoyed listening to. I didn't recognize the name but Mara recalled reading an article about her battle with cancer and Ken had heard them too. It was also mentioned that Joey recently passed away after her battle with cancer.

 So last night I decided to check them out on youtube and I enjoyed what I heard. I like their sound and their message and it was also emotional knowing that they are no longer together on this earth and that she was pulled away so young but with a beautiful spirit.

  Anyway I liked the song above and could relate to it so I thought I would share it with you.  I found Rory's blog interesting and inspiring as well and really enjoyed some of the old hymns that they sang. Here is one of those:

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Daily Bible Reading Challenge

 Do you ever feel like you can't quite get enough time to study God's word. That was my feeling this week. As I study with friends and topics come up that we want to figure out answers on (some where we have differing opinions and I just want to quickly find every verse that talks about that subject so I can get the truth figured out in my own mind) and I am trying to figure out how to study a subject thoroughly but also somewhat quickly. Anyway - it has inspired me to greater study and a wish that my morning quiet time could be a couple hours rather than the around one hour that it usually gets.

  Here are some of my favorite verse picks for this week....

What caused me to worship our Lord more?
"Again Isaiah says, "There shall come the root of Jesse, and He who arises to rule over the Gentiles,  In Him shall the Gentiles hope." Romans 15:12

I am so very thankful for the hope that we have through Jesus Christ. That is certainly a reason to worship!

What verse touched me?
"Or do you not know what the Scripture says in the passage about Elijah, how he pleads with God against Israel? "Lord, They have killed your prophets, have torn down your altars, and I alone am left, and they are seeking my life." But what is the divine response to him? "I have kept for Myself seven thousand men who have not bowed the knee to Baal." Romans 11:2-4

This is so cool because it reminds me of how we can be too. Sometimes we think we are going at it alone but God reminds us that we aren't. This is good to remember.

What prompts me to action?
"You shall love your neighbor as yourself." Romans 13:9b

Such a simple quote to memorize. Not so simple to put into action. I tend to be concerned most about me. That is my natural reaction in life but it isn't the right one. We need to love others like we are loving ourselves. I have some work to do in this area.

An interesting fact:
"Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God." Romans 13:1

This is sometimes hard for us to understand or take when we see people that don't do what is right or moral in positions of authority. But God is able to work His will even through evil leaders. We need to remember that.

What jewels did you find in God's word this past week?

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Glimpses of Our Life Lately {And how we have been frugal}

 I was wanting to share some more pictures of our life but since I missed doing Frugal Friday yesterday I thought I would also share throughout the pictures some of the ways that we have saved money recently.
The above picture is of Mara out on the swing. The boys made the swing lately with some rope and a board that we had on hand. It didn't cost us anything but the kids have enjoyed it so much.
 Megan had fun making a dress for herself this week. She used some fabric that she had gotten for free when we went to the fabric store last month. She also used some fabric that a friend had given us and some buttons that were salvaged from an old garment. This was quite the learning experience for her. I was pretty busy when she started it and only was able to oversee it sporadically. There were many mistakes made and it is far from perfect but it works and she looks very sweet in it.
This is the pattern that she used. It is one that I have had for quite some time. Both Megan and I enjoy the vintage look. Because of some mistake made and the dress simply being rather short we did have to do some altering which I ended up helping her with yesterday.
She got the dress done in time for her 10th birthday (today).
The hair-bow I made for her as a present -a free one just taking a little time and some stuff we had on hand.

We generally don't spend a lot of money on presents unless there is something that we know somebody really needs or would like. In other words if we have the money and if we think something would mean a lot to someone we will spend more but we won't spend a lot just for the sake of giving extravagant gifts. The gifts to Megan from our immediate family were quite frugal this year but that didn't seem to bother her at all. She got:

  • A large canvas to paint on that I had bought on sale and with a coupon months ago. I think I spent around $5. She was quite excited about that as she is an artist and has wanted a canvas.
  • A package of Water balloons $.99
  • A package of yogurt covered pretzels (that is a treat around here and I think consumable gifts are nice as we tend to get to much stuff!) $.99
  • The hair bow that I had made. I had thought of making her some leggings and a hat for our back packing trip this summer but with all the helping to finish up her dress on Friday I didn't end up finding time. I figured that it was worth more to her for me to sew with her then sew something for her without her.
  • Mara got her a whole stack of books. They were from the used book store but were in fine condition and cost only $ .25 each so she only had to spend a few dollars but had a gift to give that Megan was delighted about. Mara had checked them all over carefully as we are quite picky about the types of books we have on our shelves.
  • Aaron and Jonathan had both gone shopping on eBay and also had traded some things with friends so that they had some fun Lego figures to give to her. They were careful in their shopping and did not spend a whole lot.
  • I also gave her a coupon for a special date with Mom this coming Thursday. At time to do something fun together - her choice. Sometimes I can get super busy and don't have the time to do the sewing projects, etc that she would like to do together.

 Megan wanted an angel food cake for her birthday. I made one from scratch -which wouldn't have been frugal except that we are getting lots of eggs right now so it worked just fine. When making it I remembered are trouble with finding enough eggs for it last year and how they kept getting broken (the kids were practically hanging out at the chicken coop waiting for another to be laid.) I used around 14 egg whites in the cake this year!

 The bowls pictured were a somewhat frugal purchase from not long ago. I had seen this set of three heavy, blue and white glass/pottery mixing bowls for $20 at the thrift store a while back. I liked it but didn't want to spend that much. Though I think they would be worth that if I needed them but I didn't truly. That store puts rotates having things on 50% off so I asked Mara to keep an eye on them for me and pick them up if they went 50% off as she likes to go into that store regularly as she works nearby. The next week she brought them home for me.

 Megan and her cake. The decorating of the cake did get a little spendy as she wanted Reeses on it. We made sure there was enough for everyone (there was 16 of us there) so I bought two packages which cost $6. Pussy willows and an African Violet (which I had won as a door prize at a volunteer appreciation lunch last week) provided our free centerpieces for the party.

  It was all of my family that came over for her birthday. For lunch I made BBQ chicken, mashed potatoes, green beans, pickles and deviled eggs. We had cake and icecream for dessert and water to drink. My mom also brought some homemade goat milk cheese to add to the menu.
 My sweet little nephew Ephraim was among the guests. His parents thought it would be fun to go canoeing and I offered to babysit. He was sleeping at first but then he woke up and was feeling kind of sad. I remembered that he loves to have his Daddy play guitar to him so I decided I would do some practicing. He thought it was pretty nice and sang along some of the time. Pretty nice when babies appreciate music!

 Aaron, Kitchi and I went canoeing later that afternoon. Kitchi doesn't really think he likes canoeing but he also doesn't like to be left behind. He is pretty funny about it. The other night our whole family went out in three canoes and Kitchi was with the boys but he kept looking at Megan (In my canoe) or Ken (with Mara in the other canoe) and whining wanting to be with them too. He doesn't really seem to care so much about Mara or I - with good reason as we don't spend hours petting and loving on him either. When we would get close together he actually did some jumping from one canoe to another but was never really happy because he couldn't be with all of his people at once.

 As far as frugality - canoeing is an outing we love that costs us nothing.
 I am teaching Sunday School class at church this month and we have been having fun making a huge picture (somewhat 3D in places) on the wall to go along with our study of Romans 1:20. Today we added some sand (glued on) to the edge of our river to go along with our story about Abraham based from Romans 4. Then we also added Water lilies and lily pads with some frogs to go on them.

   I had fun creating the water lilies. I had thought that styrafoam egg cartons would work well and I had thought I would like to layer them but I only had one carton like that so I didn't have enough to do that but I think the single layer worked just fine. I cut the sides into petal shapes (which is what the kids did in class too) and then I made a middle as shown below.
I cut a piece out of a styrafoam meat try and cut it like shown at right. Then I put some hot glue in the middle of it and squished all the strips up around it. It is then ready to be glued into the flower.

  I do a lot of craft projects with my kids in class but rarely do I really spend money on it. There are so many things you can make from stuff that we can save or already have on hand. I was blessed to to have been given a lot of paper (like the green that I made the leaves out of) from a friend. When we made a tree we used brown grocery bags for the trunk and painted scrap paper leaves. I did print out pictures of fish, squirrels, chipmunks, rabbits and such for the kids to color and then add to our picture. We added sequins to our fish as that was something that had been donated for the church craft supplies.

 Some other ways I have saved money lately.....

  • I have been working to use less food by eating less. I think my metabolism has been changing and this winter I have been feeling less hungry and I also put on some weight. I still enjoy eating even if I don't feel hungry (and I have tended to be a snacked so I eat around 5-6 times a day). I have been working to show more self control, eat smaller portions and not eat unless I am really hungry. The Holy Spirit has been helping me with this as this isn't very easy on my own. Eating less will help us save more money on food.
  • We have accumulated a lot of leftovers in our fridge somehow recently so in an effort that we don't waste we are spending today eating leftover for our meals.
  • I cut the boys hair.
  • I made our own laundry soap.
  • I use the baking soda and vinegar method for cleaning my hair rather than buying shampoo.
What is going on in your life? Have you managed to live frugally lately? I would love to hear what is going on with you.


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