Friday, October 31, 2008

Episode 7: Christmas on a Budget



In Episode 7 I discuss our Christmas budget, how we shop, and give a few tips to avoid overspending this holiday season!

To our parents: please don't watch this episode until after you get your Christmas present! If you know our parents please don't give them any hints because we would like their gifts to be surprises! Thanks!!

Filled with Faith Friday

This has been a week filled with emotions but isn't it wonderful that God is always there for us to lean on? When life is going good or when things that you never expected and hurts you have never experienced happen He is there! I find comfort in this!

Some of the things God has taught me this week:

*He takes care of our every need. We had to buy 2 new tires for my car because my tread was very low! I am just thankful that God provides and allows a $270 bill not to make a huge impact on our finances. That is why we save money and have an emergency fund for these things. And more recently we have started a car fund to take care of our vehicles because they are getting older and to have a little built up when we need to buy a new car, hopefully in 100,000 miles :)

*He reveals his plans to us. We have friends who are in the ministry and have been searching for the place God wants them. God has given them direction and now they know a more specific area to search! God cares about these things, when we seek, He reveals.

*When things happen that we can't understand that He has a plan and can work ALL things according to His will! It is hard to understand this and in some cases it may take months to understand why things happen the way they do but He is walking along side us when we are trying to grasp things.

*I have really been reflecting on this a lot this week: the closer we grow to God the more we see how sinful we are. We are all sinners saved by God's grace and that has me in awe, how gracious God is. Forgiveness is a hard thing for us to do and yet God offers us forgiveness and through Jesus washes away our sins no matter what they may be!

*No matter what the state of our country is, He is here. We sang Wednesday in worship, "On Christ the solid rock I stand," He is a solid rock, the only thing solid that we can have in this life and when we realize this we have nothing to fear, the economy or the election shouldn't scare us because Christ is our rock!



Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Guest Video on Life:Frugal and Simple

Check out this video about making apple butter:

Apple Butter Day

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Homemade Draft Stop

The temperatures are falling...and we are trying to be energy efficient this winter to save money! So with that in mind, tonight I made a draft stop for our living room door!



This was really easy and took about 15 minutes! I used flannel fabric that my mother-in-law gave me and cut it a little longer than the door. I sewed the long end together and made two small bean bags to weight the ends. I sewed a bean bag in one end and then turned it inside out and stuffed it! After stuffing it I sewed the other bean bag on the end and sewed the draft stop shut! A very easy project and a very useful project!


Here is the draft stop keeping out the cool air.


A close up of the beautiful flannel that matches my cream & blue curtains.

So now I feel very productive since I made something, especially something so useful!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Menu Plan Monday


* Pizza Pasta

*Roast and Potatoes

*Brisket with Pintos & Corn Muffins

*Lemon Pepper Fish with Roasted Potatoes & Corn Muffins

*Homemade Pizza

Saturday, October 25, 2008

What a Weekend!

We have had a wonderful weekend thus far!! John David came home for lunch Friday, I made Chicken Enchilada Soup! Then he surprised me by telling me he took the rest of the day off!! What a great surprise!! That afternoon we went to vote and then went to Office Depot (where I found a much needed pack of 3 dry erase markers for $1.13!!!) Then we went to T.J. Maxx & to Wal-Mart. John David purchased an exercise ball to use as his desk chair...I know it may sound crazy but it is really comfy!!



Friday night, John David found a PowerBook G4 on Craigslist and around 9:45 we met with the seller and bought that! (He used his graduation/play money so it did not effect the budget!!) So yesterday was a lot like Christmas!!


Here is my sweetie on his new chair & playing with his new computer!! He has quite the Mac set-up now...what more could he want??

This morning we slept in...nothing like sleeping late snuggled in fleece sheets!! We didn't really anything productive but that is the beauty of Saturday morning. John David installed Leopard on the PowerBook so while that was installing we played 2 games of Yahtzee! (I am not bragging or anything but I won twice!!) I love playing games with my sweetie!! We decided to go to McDonald's for lunch and then we explored the county a little! We went down a really nice road with nice houses & small farms! That was fun, especially since we are getting close to buying!! (Just a few more "financial goals" to accomplish and we will be on our way to home ownership!!)

We came home and I worked on my Sunday School lesson, preparing crafts for tomorrow, and then I made supper, Chicken-n-Dumplins, and they were so good! I then made a fleece body pillow case from a fleece throw we had at home. (Our fleece sheets came with pillowcases but we sleep on a body pillow so we didn't have a fleece body pillow case!!) I cut a little off the blanket and stitched it up and it turned out great!!

Episode 6: This & That: Cookies and Crafts



In this episode I am making 3 ingredient Peanut Butter Cookies! I have been baking these since I was 8 years old when I found the recipe in a GA (Girls in Action) book at church! They are so simple & really good!

I also talk about my latest crafts, invitations that I made for a shower, and new quilt squares!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Filled with Faith Friday

This week has been great and God has blessed us in many ways! We traveled to Louisville Monday and came back home Wednesday and were safe traveling which is a blessing we so often take for granted! Yesterday I went to work and again I was safe during my hour drive! This morning I am reminded of how blessed I am to have a home! As it rains and is chilly outside I am thankful that I have a warm, dry, safe home. I am also grateful for the health God has given us. We haven't had any colds or sickness thus far and for that I am thankful.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Menu Plan Monday



Here are my meals for the coming days:

*Chicken-n-Dumplins
*Chili
*Chicken Enchilada Soup
*Crunchy Onion Chicken with Broccoli and Bread
*Mexican Casserole

I am so glad it is getting cooler, there is nothing like a warm bowl of Chili or Chicken-n-Dumplins when it is cool outside!!

*The Chicken Enchilada Soup was found through Menu Plan Monday!!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Fireproof

Last night was date night and we saw Fireproof! What an awesome movie! It is so wonderful to see the gospel presented in a movie that shows how Christ transforms lives! I recommend this movie if you are married, engaged, or in a serious relationship!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Episode 5: Chicken Alfredo Pizza


Episode 5:Chicken Alfredo Pizza

This week I make Chicken Alfredo Pizza! This is a great pizza, it is easy, delicious, and I haven't met a person who hasn't liked it yet! I often make this when we have guests because it is so delicious (and easy!)



Ingredients:

Pizza Dough (I make my homemade dough in the show)
Alfredo Sauce
Mozzarella Cheese (or your favorite cheese!)
Chicken Chunks cooked in Olive Oil

Friday, October 17, 2008

Filled with Faith Friday

God has blessed me in so many ways and praising him is something I often fail at. There are so many little ways that God works which we often take for granted but he blesses us with so much and reveals his promises to us in simple ways.

Just last night I was reading in Malachi where God speaks to the nation of Israel about robbing him by not giving their tithe. Here is some of the passage:

"8 You ask: 'How do we rob You?' 'By not making the payments of 10 percent and the contributions. 9 You are suffering under a curse, yet you - the whole nation - are still robbing Me. 10 Bring the full 10 percent into the storehouse so that there may be food in My house. Test Me in this way,' says the Lord of Hosts. 'See if I will not open the floodgates of heaven and pour out a blessing for you without measure.' " Malachi 3:8-10

Verse 10 really stood out to me. God has richly blessed John David and I throughout our marriage. When we married we had maybe $2,000-$3,000 to our name (cash, checking, savings, everything!) That was it, no assets, no furniture, only our clothes and cars which our parents blessed us with. Before we even married we committed to God that we would give our tithe and then give above that each year. God has honored that commitment and our giving, he has blessed us in so many ways! He has provided furniture to us (we have only had to purchase 3-4 items), he has provided clothing and food, and he enabled us to graduate college debt free which is a huge blessing.

After reflecting on this last night I mentioned to John David how good God is and this verse shows that he wants to bless us if we will only be willing to give to him. Today I received in the mail a graduation check! It was completely unexpected and a blessing! Every little bit counts when you are saving and right now we are saving up 3 months living expenses in an Emergency Fund. I am just amazed at God's faithfulness to us!

This morning I was reading in Matthew and read this passage:

"25 'This is why I tell you: Don't worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Isn't life more than food and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the sky: they don't sow or reap or gather into barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Aren't you worth more than they? 27 Can any of you add a single cubit to his height by worrying? 28 And why do you worry about clothes? Learn how the wildflowers of the field grow: they don't labor or spin thread. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was adorned like one of these! 30 If that's how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and thrown into the furnace tomorrow, won't He do much more for you - you of little faith? 31 So don't worry, saying, 'What will we eat?' or 'What will we drink?' or 'What will we wear?' 32 For the idolaters eagerly seek all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be provided for you. 34 Therefore don't worry about tomorrow, because tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own." - Matthew 6:25-34

It takes a lot of faith to truly apply this passage to our lives. But when we stop worrying about things and give our life, our situations, our finances to God he does amazing things! He tells us in verse 31 not to worry what we will eat or drink or wear. Just today after reading this passage I received a package from my mother-in-law and in it was a beautiful white cardigan.



Isn't it great how God works? He worked through my mother-in-law to teach me a lesson on faith. He says he will provide and he does! This wasn't a true need but I have wanted a white cardigan for months now and have been unsuccessful at finding one. I was blessed with this beautiful sweater and shown that God is faithful and his word is so true and DON'T WORRY!!

I think it is important to share the ways God works in our lives. We often don't share with others and it is so important to let people know what God does for us everyday. Just like yesterday when I was driving I nearly ran into a car that pulled out in front of me but I was able to react quickly enough to avoid an accident and all this happened while I was singing "My Savior loves, my Savior lives, my Savior's always there for me" from Aaron Shusts song My Savior My God! It's just awesome to think about how God works in our lives!!

Now that I have shared I would love to hear about how God is working in your life and showing himself to you!

Easy, Quick & Yummy Lunch

Today John David had a meeting over lunch. I didn't have any leftovers and I wasn't about to cook lunch for just me! Instead I made Toaster Oven Pizzas using ingredients I had on hand:

2 Slices of Bread
2 Spoonfuls of Alfredo Sauce
2 ounces shredded Mozzarella Cheese
8 Pepperoni Slices

I put the bread on the toaster oven tray, spread a spoon of Alfredo Sauce on each piece, sprinkled on mozarella cheese, and topped with 4 pepperoni slices! I toasted it in the toaster oven about 4 minutes.

Easy, quick, and yummy! A great lunch for just one!!

I have also made these with spaghetti sauce and they are just as good!!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Recipe Cards

I now have recipe cards that you can download for recipes that I publish on my blog. Just click download and then you can print them, they print the size of a 4x6 index card! My amazingly talented husband made these and they are great!

Here are links to the current recipe cards:

Rotel Chicken

Microwave Chocolate Cake

Pizza Pasta

Quick, Easy (and Inexpensive) Red Beans & Rice

There will be more recipe cards to come! You can also click Recipe Cards under labels to access all of the recipe cards!

Let me know if this is helpful!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Menu Plan Monday



Here is my menu for the week:

* Leftover Pizza & Salad

* Brisket with Pintos & Corn Muffins

* Chicken Caesar Salad

* Pizza Pasta

*Pork with Dill Sauce and Creamed Corn

Rotel Chicken

Download Recipe Card
This is really simple and yummy (if you likes spicy foods!!)

1 Can Rotel Tomatoes
Chicken Breast Chunks
1 Can Cream of Chicken
8 ounces Velveeta
1 pound Spaghetti-cooked
1 Onion

Saute onion in butter & cook chicken. While cooking onion & chicken cook spaghetti. Once onion & chicken is cooked add Rotel, Cream of Chicken, and Velveeta, stir constantly to melt cheese. After cheese is melted add in cooked Spaghetti. Serve warm.

The Busy, Productive & Fun Weekend

This weekend was busy! Really we have been busy since Wednesday with things to do and we haven't dealt with the busyness of life since April! So, I took things a day at a time, had a blast, and now I am exhausted! After my chores today I plan to read a good book for a little while and just relax!!

On Friday John David and I woke up early and headed to a yard sale in Franklin (they were selling video equipment). (We didn't make any purchases but it was enjoyable because we haven't been to a yard sale since June or July!) Then we went out for a breakfast date at Cracker Barrel!! I love our breakfast dates!! We both ate the same thing we ALWAYS do, Fried Chicken Tenders & Hash Brown Casserole!! There is not much variety in our lives when we go to Cracker Barrel!!

After breakfast we went to Plato's Closet where I tried to sell some of my clothes but they wouldn't buy anything! The girl said my clothes were too old (they buy things that are less than a year or 2 old but she said they were in great condition...at least I got a compliment :) ) Of course that didn't come as too big of a surprise because most of my clothes were given to me, bought at yard sales or Goodwill so I wasn't expecting much at all!!

We headed North to Two Rivers Campground where John David's Dad had parked the camper. So I dropped John David off there and headed back towards home while he and his Dad went hunting in Henry County.

On my way home I stopped at Super Target in Spring Hill and was there about 2 hours. I bought shower gifts, shower supplies (for Kara's upcoming shower!), granola bars, and looked around for Christmas presents without any luck. After my 2 hour Target trip I came home and started working on the invitations for Kara's shower, which have turned out really good, I will have to post pictures of those soon!!

Saturday morning I woke up bright and early and headed to Mike & Jen's home to their yard sale. I brought 3 boxes of things (a box of clothes, a box of fabric & a small box of books, kitchen utensils, Christmas ornaments) to sell and I also went there to help! Their daughter Katie & I worked the "cash register" and I had a blast with her!! Jen is a yard sale genius, since Saturday was the second day of the sale everything was $.25 unless it was a bigger item or a $.10 item, such as books! And this is the way to get things gone and clear the clutter!! I ended up selling all but 4 pieces of clothing and made $14.65! I was so excited because all of this stuff would have been donated to Goodwill for no profit but I made $14.65!! And I had a lot of fun with Katie and learned about having a successful yard sale!!

Sunday was church, I had 3 kids in my class but we still had fun!! After church we came home and had leftovers, Rotel Chicken, which was nice to open the fridge and just heat up lunch!! I took a little nap and then started making pizza for Mike & Jen & their kids! I made 3 kid size pizzas (2-Cheese & 1-Pepperoni), 1-Sausage & Pepperoni, 1- 1/2 Sausage, Pepperoni & Mushroom and 1/2 Sausage & Pepperoni, 1-Chicken Alfredo, and 1-Buffalo Chicken (a small experimental pizza!!) We had a great time eating pizza and spending time together!! After dinner Mike & Jen ran to Target and John David and the older kids filmed a short video and I played Simon Says and we played with PLAYDOH-fun stuff!! We had a blast!!

So here I am this morning reflecting over the great weekend I had, it was busy but I had a lot of fun! Yes I am tired but after a little bit of rest and taking it easy I will be back to my simple little life!!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Episode 4: Clear the Clutter- 30 Things in 30 Days



This is my latest show!

To see the show notes visit www.lifefrugalandsimple.com

Thursday, October 9, 2008

A Day at Work

Today was my first day of work as a part-time employee for Tennessee Farmers Cooperative. I interned with the Communications Department last summer and when my internship was over I worked about 15 hours a month transcribing. Since I graduated in August they decided to bring me on part-time! I will be going into the office (which is an hour away) 1 or 2 days a week and then working from home transcribing and working on other projects and I will also cover some events. Check out our publication Tennessee Cooperator!

This is an ideal situation for me! I am able to use my degree (Agricultural Communications), do something I enjoy, work with great people and earn a little money in the process! I also am able to stay home and be a homemaker which enables me to take care of my husband (who takes great care of me and deserves to have someone fuss over him) and do things I enjoy (cooking, blogging, sewing, podcasting, etc!!)

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Chicken Noodle Soup



I made homemade chicken noodle soup for supper tonight! It was really yummy topped with grated cheddar!! I have enough for our lunches for work tomorrow and we will probably do soup and sandwiches for dinner tomorrow night!



This is a really easy dinner! I boiled a whole chicken (after cutting the breasts off which were made into fajitas!!) After the chicken boiled I pulled the meat off. While I was pulling the meat off I cooked egg noodles in the broth then added chicken, green beans, corn, salt and pepper. ( I used a lot of salt to season but it was really good!) The beauty of this soup is you can add whatever vegetables you like to it. We had green beans and corn so that is what I used. My mom usually uses Veg All for a bigger variety of veggies!

**John David bought the Lodge Dutch Oven for me this Valentine's Day! I found it at Wal-Mart a week or two before for only $30! He surprised me with it and I just love it!!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

My Latest Project: A Pinwheel Quilt

Last week I started on a new quilt! I decided to try something a little different than a plain patchwork quilt. I am making a pinwheel quilt! I am excited, the blocks that I have made so far look really good!



I am making this quilt from leftover fabric from my last quilt and fabric that we bought at an auction this summer.

I am planning to work on this during the next few weeks and hopefully have it done before too long!

Monday, October 6, 2008

Menu Plan Monday



Here is my menu for this week:

*Fried Ham and Potatoes with Green Beans
*Chicken Noodle Soup (left over Green Beans will go in the soup)
*Spaghetti with Bread
*Roast and Potatoes
*Chicken Enchilada Soup (A new recipe I found from Meal Plan Monday...I am excited to try it!!)

I start work this week so I am going to prepare Thursday night's dinner on Wednesday so that will take away cooking dinner stress!

Saturday, October 4, 2008