Crown Financial Ministries Calculators~ Crown Ministries offers free, online budgeting calculators, debt calculators, credit card calculators, Home buying vs. selling calculators, saving calculators, and much more.
8 Lessons I Learned from the Cheapest Family in America
Home Economizer~ A huge variety of reader's frugal tips. This is such an excellent resource.
Fifty Ways we Paid off our House on One Income ~ Laine is a virtual treasure trove on encouraging Christian ladies in their walk with the Lord!
Homeschooling as a Way of Life~ Whenever I read this article, it always brings me great comfort. Homeschooling doesn't have to be complicated, to be effective. Keeping the little ones with you and including them in what you are learning and doing, really makes life-long learning contagious, for them!
ABC's and 1-2-3's ~ A fun and effective learning method for little ones.
Fantastic Free Resources for Homeschooling on the Web
A Glimpse into a Homeschooling Family's Life ~ I love the living learning, which is so beautifully portrayed in this family's life!
How to Stay Productive with One or Two Little Children~ Kendra, a homeschooling mama of 8 shares so much wisdom of important ways to spend your time, if time goes SLOWLY, and if you have a one or two little ones. I remember those days, but now it is a bit of a blur. Now, time goes by way too fast, for me, and I wish it would slow down a bit. I just want to enjoy every moment with my three blessings.
Friday, February 27, 2009
Posted by Christine at 8:30 AM
Thursday, February 26, 2009
Posted by Christine at 7:54 PM
A Glimpse of Hope
Some of my recently planted seeds started spouting this week, which gave my heart much hope. To many, this is a microscopic feat. To me, it is a miracle of miracles. The only plants that doesn't wither under my care tends to be extremely hearty flower varieties or plastic plants. (I haven't found a way to kill my plastic plants, yet, but wait a while; that may change.) The main plant that I take care of, year round, is a lovely little African Violet, which my mother-in-law started for me. The plant does well for about a month, and then I have to return it to my mother-in-law, to nurse it back to health. Then, the poor plant is given to me again, only to suffer more withering. Last year, I eagerly planted strawberry seeds with Lily, which never came up, no matter how diligent we were. But this year is different. 5 of the 10 seeds that we have sewn have come up, so far. There may be a bit of hope for my black thumb, after all.
Posted by Christine at 7:39 PM
And the Winner is....
Dixie Maiden! Dixie Maiden, please send me your name and mailing address to aprongirl at gmail.com. Thank you to all who entered the contest. Blessings!
Posted by Christine at 6:41 PM
Monday, February 23, 2009
Vision Forum Giveaway!
Vision Forum is graciously hosting a giveaway of this delightful set of cds, on my blog, from the San Antonio Independent Christian Film Festival. The speakers include: Stephen Kendrick, Kirk Cameron, George Sarris, the Von Trapp children, Kevin Swanson, and many more. To enter, simply leave a comment, and tell me about your favorite Vision Forum Vision Forum product. To get an additional chance, please post about this giveaway on your blog, or e-mail friends. Leave a link to your post, in my comments section, or send me a carbon copy of your e-mail to aprongirl at gmail.com. This contest closes on Thursday, February 26, when I will randomly select a winner. Blessings!
Posted by Christine at 9:10 PM
Yippee....One Size Fuzzi Bunz!
Fuzzi Bunz, one of the best-loved, modern diapering systems, now come in one size . This is a virtual dream come true, as your children can share a diaper stash, and it is no longer necessary to buy the various sizes of cloth diapers. A year and a half ago, when I purchased 12 Fuzzi Bunz diapers for Anastasia, I bought all mediums. She was only a few months old, and they were large on her, but I used them anyways. (I could not justify spending a lot of money on the small diapers, which probably would have only fit her for a couple of months.) I had read that mediums fit many children till they were potty trained, so I figured that they would give me more "bang for my buck". (Medium Fuzzi Bunz are projected to fit most children, aged 6 months through 36 months.) Though mediums still fit her, I would love to have some one size fits all Fuzzi Bunz, so I could put them on my future babies (should God bless us), when they are newborns. Nurtured Family graciously ships Fuzzi Bunz diapers, free of charge. The one-size diapers only cost a dollar more, per diaper, than the perfect size diapers. There are also some excellent deals available for those buying 12 or more diapers, at a time. This sounds like an excellent way to painlessly cloth diaper one or two children at a time. If you are interested in money saving coupons, from Nurtured Family, please sign up here.
Posted by Christine at 8:05 PM
Friday, February 20, 2009
Middle Eastern Lentil Soup Recipe
*This recipe can be easily doubled in a crockpot. Mix everything together, the night before, except for the cheese and parsley, and cook on low overnight. (8-10 hours) Lentils are tender by morning.
Amount 4-6 servings (8-12 if doubled)
1. Bring to a boil for 3 minutes and simmer at a very gentle boil until lentils are tender about 30-60 minutes.
1 1/2 cups lentils, dry
7 cups water
1 medium onion, chopped
1 large or 2 medium ribs celery
1 large or 2 medium carrots, sliced or diced
1 clove of garlic, minced
2. Puree half the soup (or more) in a blender or food processor; pour back into soup pot and add:
6 Tablespoons Bragg Liquid Aminos or 3 Tablespoons Soy Sauce (to taste)
Juice of 1 lemon (or 4 teaspoons)
1 teaspoon of ground cumin seed
1 Tablespoon butter
3. Simmer 15 minutes longer. Add 5-10 minutes before serving:
1/2 cup minced fresh parsley (optional)
4. Top each serving, if desired with
1/4 cup grated cheddar or jack cheese
From The 15 Minute Meal Planner by Emilie Barnes and Sue Gregg
Posted by Christine at 3:33 PM
Thursday, February 19, 2009
Posted by Christine at 8:14 PM
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
Prayer request for the family of Cora Paige
Please lift up in prayer the McClenahan family, who lost their 11 month old daughter to neuroblastoma, on February 8. Cora Paige was such a darling little girl. If you scroll down to the bottom of this post, you will see an adorable picture of Cora, dressed up like an angel, at Christmas time. These heartbreaking events always makes me want to hold my babies, a little longer.
Posted by Christine at 9:00 AM
Monday, February 16, 2009
Healthy and Inexpensive Meals
As my husband I and try to pay off our final debt, our mortgage, we are trying to find healthy and inexpensive meals. Lunch and dinner meals tend to be more expensive than breakfasts, so there are a few ways that we have been trying to cut back on costs.
* Have breakfast for dinner
Breakfast type foods tend to be less expensive than most hearty dinner recipes. I try to have a breakfast night, once a week. On this night, I select a few of the following foods to serve: hashbrown casserole, pancakes, eggs, potato pancakes, oatmeal, grits, fresh fruit, and/or biscuits. It can be fun to find new breakfast recipes to serve my family.
* Have a meatless, soup day, once a week (at least in the cooler months)
One of the most nourishing meals that my family and I really enjoy is Middle Eastern Lentil Soup. It contains healthy ingredients, such as lentils, garlic, onions, carrots, and lemon. My favorite thing about lentil soup is that the lentils do not have to be soaked overnight. When I start the meal in my crockpot, early enough in the day, it is ready for lunch and dinner. This soup can be made for under $3, and can bring nourishment to a family for almost the whole day. I am on a quest to find more meatless, and tasty soups, to add variety to our soup day. We also currently enjoy corn chowder and baked potato soup. Making a simple loaf of bread is a lovely complement to soup nights.
* Soak your Beans
After recently learning that canned goods contain BPAs, I have become even more diligent in my quest to soak my own beans, and to avoid canned goods, as much as possible. (It is also usually cheaper to soak beans, rather than to buy them canned.) One healthy lunch idea is to soak garbanzo beans overnight. In the morning, cook them till tender, then drain. Add olive oil and puree in blender. Serve with tortilla chips or pita chips. Humus is a delicious lunch or snack idea.
I would love to hear some of the ways that you nourish you family, affordably. For more Kitchen Tip Tuesdays, please visit Tammy.
Posted by Christine at 8:59 PM
Sunday, February 08, 2009
Living Well through a Healthy Diet
Within the past few weeks, I have been voraciously reading a plethora of books. The main thread, tying these books together is health and natural living. Some of the books that I have have enjoyed reading are: In Defense of Food (by Michael Pollan), Crunchy Cons (by Rod Dreher) , The 15 Minute Meal Planner (by Emilie Barnes and Sue Gregg), and The Green Tea Book China's Fountain of Youth (by Lester Mitscher). I highly recommend all of these books, to you, as very beneficial food for thought. In Defense of Food is an amazing book, which really opened my eyes about how many food-like substances are ample in our society, yet how few items actually are real foods, anymore. In Defense of Food contains a variety of tips to help you to verify that you are eating healthy, real foods. Crunchy Cons has gotten me pondering something that I had never seriously pondered before, which is obtaining a 1/4 of a grass-fed, free-range cow. (Of course, that means I would need to invest in a quality deep freeze, as well, so this will wait a while. I don't want a cheap, used freezer, in case it might break, and then all of the meat will go bad.) Rod Dreher's description of how inhumanely and grotesquely most cows are treated , is enough to nearly turn anyone into a vegetarian. Thankfully, there is another option and that is to buy your meat from a local farmer. Crunchy Cons has inspired me to use my local Farmer's Market more frequently, and to begin square foot gardening. Crunchy Cons is definitely one of the best reads of the decade, in my book. Sue Gregg is a whole foods cooking expert. There are samples of her cookbooks available for instant download here. She has a delightful Middle-Eastern Lentil Soup recipe, which is only a few dollars to prepare. It is such a blessing to create healthy meals for my family, which cost less than a dollar, per person. The Green Tea Book has been so eye-opening about the ample benefits of green tea. I had just about sworn off green tea, as I have never liked the taste of it. Well, I have learned that the less than pleasant taste is well worth it, because of the vast health benefits. They say that the final way that you can tell that a person from another country has been assimilated into the American culture, is if his eating habits mimic ours. Everywhere that the American diet has prevailed, sickness and a lack of longevity has ensued. When you look at the life-spans of Asian cultures, they are usually much more favorable than ours. Diet has such an affect on our life-spans and our health. Drinking green tea, alone, can decrease your chance of getting cancer by approximately 10%. (According to a book I read, a proper diet can reduce cancer incidences by 30%. A.K.A....a non-Americanesque diet.) This is huge!!! Just adding a few cups of green tea a day, can improve your health, dramatically! The varied health benefits of green tea include: weight loss aid, cavity prevention (sip some after your meals), heart disease preventative, acne reducer, cancer prevention, stroke prevention, and many more. It can help increase white blood cell counts for cancer patients, even when used in combination with radiation. So, needless to say, I will be trying to drink more green tea into my diet; it is well worth it! The next book that I am looking forward to picking up from my library is Square Foot Gardening. Supposedly this method cuts back on 80% of the work, as weeds are much less likely to pop up, with square foot gardening. What books have you been learning from, lately? Blessings!
* I have been so blessed to find all of these books at my library. I am so thankful for the local library, as it really has some treasures from which to glean!
"You are the same today as you will be in five years except for two things: the people you meet and the books you read." -Mac McMillen
Food For Thought:
* The Coffee-Cancer Connection
* Quick Tips for Eating Organic
* Common Chemicals Linked to Infertility
* A Simply Way to Find Out If your Fruits and Vegetables are Genetically Modified
* Utilizing Your Freezer to Nourish Your Family
Graphic Courtesy of AllPosters.com.
Posted by Christine at 5:15 PM
Friday, February 06, 2009
Posted by Christine at 10:50 AM
Thursday, February 05, 2009
Frugal Friday: Free Download Center
An excellent website for free software downloads is File Hippo. One of my favorite (free!) downloads is Gimp, a photo manipulation tool, similar to Adobe Photoshop. I also highly recommend Opera as a free browser. There are so many great downloads on File Hippo; it definitely is a dream come true, for the frugalitarian. For more Frugal Fridays, please visit Crystal.
Posted by Christine at 6:08 PM
Philadelphia Cherry Danish Dessert
I made the following dessert for a superbowl party at my sister-in-law's. Admittedly, it isn't very healthy, but it is delicious!
3 Tablespoons milk
BEAT cream cheese, 3/4 cup of the sugar, the egg white and vanilla with electric mixer on medium speed until well blended. Spread onto crust; cover with pie filling. Unroll remaining can of crescent dough; separate into 2 long rectangles. Pat out to form 13x9-inch rectangle, pressing seams together to seal. Place over pie filling to form top crust.
This is the final product and it is so delicious!
I probably gained 5 pounds that night, but it was worth it. ;) For the complete recipe, visit here.
Image Courtesy of Kraft Foods.
Posted by Christine at 5:18 PM