Catching Up

Last week I was focused on some house purging and find that the more I do the more I want to get rid of! Thus I happily ignored my blogs last week and cleaned instead. Here are some of my favorite links from last week:

Starting with 7 Principles to Simplify your Family Life @ Simple Mom. Not sure that title does the article justice. If I could just do these seven things I’d be quite happy! Maybe they could re-title this “7 Goals to Work Toward,” or “7 Cool Objectives for a Household Manager.” 😛 This is my favorite article from last week.

Money Links:

I have no budget, am buried in debt, and am going on vacation @ Enemy of Debt – Next question, “Who are you following over the cliff?” 😀 This has some good questions to ask yourself about your debt.

General principles for setting up a budget @ Gather Little By Little – A budget can sound scary and complicated, but it isn’t!

Food Stuffs:

Perfecting Pasta @ Simple Bites – With our new pasta roller machine (which is very cool and fun) we must make lots of pasta! I’d like to try this sauce.

Crockpot Au Gratin Potatoes @ A Thrifty Mom – Mmm…not from a box.

Rolo Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookies @ $5 Dinners – really, the name says it all!

Homemade Pop Tarts @ Mennonite Girls Can Cook – everything can be homemade!

Bread for Every Occasion @ Chiot’s Run – Homemade rolls, hamburger buns, etc.

7 Nutrients You Need More Of @ Wise Bread – I like that with each nutrient listed there is a list of foods that contain the nutrient.

Butcher’s Tips: Easy Ways to Slash Your Meat Bill @ Lehmans – This also contains an embedded link to an article on how to cut up your own chicken, a helpful skill to have!

Why Christians Should Store Food @ Almost Plum Nearly – Ok, really, I don’t think someone needs to be a Christian to store food. Because the Bible doesn’t say, “follow Jesus, store food.” But I do think that food storage is important, and something TJ and I haven’t started yet. In fact, we’re busy eating our way through the pantry! But we have plans to store food! 😀

And some interesting odds and ends…

Radiation Network.com – This tracks radiation levels around the US. Very interesting! Our level is at 29 right now. 100 is bad. It also shows all the nuclear sites in the US. Rather disturbing on several levels.

5 Easy Steps To Organic Weed Control for Your Garden Beds & Borders @ An Oregon Cottage – I love this; easy, simple and something I can do. 

Northwest Spring Consignment Sales – 2011 @ Thrifty NW Mom – yeaaa sales!!!

Pledge vs Olive Oil + Lemon Juice @ 29 Diapers – My can of Pledge is almost gone and this is how I plan to replace it…homemade!

Whew! Those were all open tabs in my Firefox! Firefox is awesome b/c it saves the open tabs if you want it to…thus TJ often teases me about all the tabs I have open.

Odds and Ends

Here are some leftover odds and ends from the week:

Vegetable Planting Guide by Soil Temperature @ New Dimension Seed

The Spring Garden: Planting Lists @ Frugal Living NW – Thinking in the next week I need to get my seeds started.

Japan Giving Options @ Jenn in Japan

How Big Is Japan? @ Tokyobling’s Blog – Neat graphic with Japan overlaid over Europe and the United States.

Changes to Ebay @ Wise Bread – Good news for smaller sellers.

The Little Green Project @ Heavenly Homemakers – A challenge to save, eat, earn, plant and craft something green this year.

Yogurt in the Crockpot @ A Year of Slow Cooking – I’m testing this recipe as I type. 🙂

Homemade Taco Seasoning @ Mennonite Girls Can Cook

The 10 Most Overpriced Items @ Christian PF – Fun graphic!

What You Are – And What You’re Not @ The Simple Dollar – This is a great post on goal setting. He uses basketball as his example and while I don’t connect with any sports theme I did get the point.

Push Up Bikini Tops at Abercrombie Kids @ Sociological Images – Scoiological Images is an awesome blog for seeing things in a different perspective. The blog does not claim any faith or moral stand, but looks at current events and trends with a different lens. If you’d like to be outraged check out the push up bikini tops for kids link…or any of the links they note below it. Booo!!

Coconut Oil, Cloth Diapers & Cast Iron

Coconut Oil

Lately we’ve been trying to use more coconut oil in our cooking. Three links I’ve been learning more about coconut oil from are:

Coconut Oil: Why is is good for you and where to buy it @ Heavenly Homemakers

How to Adapt a Recipe to make it Healthier @ Heavenly Homemakers

Coconut Oil: Why is it good for you? @ Coconut-Info.com (this was a link off Heavenly Homemakers)

Cloth Diapers

We’ve been using cloth diapers with the little fellow since he was about 5 months old. I’m very happy with our choice to use mostly cloth and enjoy only buying regular diapers every couple months. I came across this Intro to Cloth Diapers link from Dirty Diaper Laundry and thought it was one of the best Intro posts I’ve read. Really anything with lists and pictures is great in my book.

Cast Iron

We have been slowly replacing our teflon pans with cast iron, stainless steel and stoneware. Cast iron is great if taken care of well. I like this post on how to clean cast iron and thought she did a good job of showing how easy it is. We use a tub of cheap shortening to season ours, though bacon grease does sound yummy! How She Learned to Love Cast Iron

Yogurt, Budgets, and Pistachio Dessert

I’ve been reading several different blogs lately about making homemade yogurt. The little fellow eats yogurt with wheat germ and wheat bran each morning and I hate having to buy it each week, and hate the plastic containers it comes in. What a waste when we go through them so quickly. Here are two different ways of making homemade yogurt (not sure which one I’ll try first):

Easy Homemade Yogurt on the Stove @ Keeping the Kingdom First

Crockpot Organic Yogurt @ A Thrifty Mom

The word budget used to be on my top list of words I did NOT like. I don’t especially care for the word still but I do appreciate the idea behind it…planning spending. We call our budget a “spending plan.” It makes me feel better. With that in mind I thought this post on defining what a budget (or spending plan!) is or is not was helpful:

The Family Financial Budget Defined @ Gather Little By Little

Still thinking about budgets I thought this post about the ripple effects of simple living was cool:

The Domino Effect of Simple Living @ miss minimalist

I am a sucker for a new recipe. If I made every recipe I wanted to make I think I’d be cooking 24/7 for the next 60 years. Nonetheless, here’s a new recipe I’d like to try from my favorite food bloggers (who always include a nice photo):

Pistachio Dessert @ Mennonite Girls Can Cook

Finds around the blog-o-sphere, 3-11-11

Live Coverage of Japan Earthquake @ Reuters: for up to date coverage, articles, video and photos

Seven Layer Casserole @ Mennonite Girls Can Cook: this looks yummy, and though I’m not a fan of tomato soup I think I’ll give it a try.

Depression Isn’t a Bad Word @ Beautiful Calling: It is a rare (unheard of?) person who can make it through this life without battling dark clouds at some point. I find it comforting to read others experiences and try to tuck an idea away or two for the next time the clouds return to my life.

How to Adapt a Recipe to Make it Healthier @ Heavenly Homemakers: This is fascinating! I have quite a bit of coconut oil in my cupboard and wish to use it. Happy for these ideas!

Buying Books on a Budget @ Thrifty NW Mom: So I’m not really interested in buying books, but I am interested in selling lots of them! I think I could reverse the idea and sell instead of buy.

Make a Difference With Your Savings @ Frugal Living NW: Giving is a huge part of healthy finances. This sounds like a good place to give.

Finding Hope @ JonesBones5: Some of the blogs I read are personal blogs from out there in the world. The lady that writes this blog is in Africa right now.

Nourishment to the Soul @ Time-Warp Wife: Today she is talking about submission to our husbands in a godly way. I find encouragement in that.

Make the Goal the Process, Not the Results @ The Simple Dollar: Trent says, “I succeed at goals where the goal itself is a process toward some further end. I fail when the goal is merely that further end.”

The 50-30-20 Budget @ MSN Money: Now, I categorically disagree with their categories. 😀 But I agree with the idea and think the little mini-tool is great. Dealing with finances in terms of percentage is growing on me as one of the best ways to look at things. They offer the categories as 50% of your income for needs, 30% of your income for wants and 20% of your income for savings. 30% for wants! Wow! Oh the things I could buy if I spent 30% (or even 2%) of my income on wants! These categories do not include giving which is very important. If I could I would keep their percentages and just change the “what for’s”- 50% for living off of, 30% savings, 20% giving. Or 20% savings and 30% giving.

Saving vs Debt Reduction @ Get Rich Slowly: This is one of their ask-the-reader features.

22 Ways to Fight Rising Food Prices @ MSNBC: Beyond Budgeting posted this on their facebook page; I love looking at ways to save more money in my grocery budget!

Ash Wednesday Blog Finds

Today is Ash Wednesday, and the day finds me wishing I knew more about the Catholic traditions. What is the purpose of the day? Why does it exist? No idea. Here are some finds from the day’s gleanings:

Spring Cleaning Checklist @ Getting Freedom.net: I am a sucker for a checklist of any kind. More than the checklist though I like the listing of things a person might clean if they wished to do some spring cleaning. I think I may wash the curtains sometime soon.

9 Bills You Can Lower Starting Today! @ Christian Personal Finance: Lists like these are great if you are trying to think of ways to cut your expenses. Even though I feel like we’ve cut as far as we can I’m sure that with the electric I can find yet another way to try and lower the bill.

Oatmeal – 5 Ways @ $5 Dinners: Oatmeal is a scary dish. It can taste excellent or very bad depending on who is cooking. I love the idea of adding something yummy (other than brown sugar) to the dish. Somewhere out there I also read about cooking oatmeal in the slow cooker overnight. A nice warm breakfast on a chilly day does sound tempting!

Free Ebook: The American Frugal Housewife @ Money Saving Mom: This is a Kindle book, but if like me you don’t have a Kindle you can download a “Kindle to PC” reader and still get the book for free. This book is my kind of book! It was written in 1832 and dedicated to “those not ashamed of economy.” Lower on the page you can also download other titles for free, such as “Things Mother Used to Make” or “Made-Over Dishes.” I know what I’ll be doing this afternoon!

Monday Morning Blog Roundup

The word “roundup” always puts me in the mind of cowboys and the wild west. One dictionary defines the word as “the herd so collected.” Tee hee! So yee haw and let’s get started!

My Favorite Food Rules @ New Nostalgia: I am growing to believe that more is not better. Food that looks like food does seem to be a better choice than food that does not. Eating foods that will eventually rot makes sense. Making food at home does seem healthier than eating out. I think I want to read the book she mentions.

Time Management 101 from Money Saving Mom: The Money Saving Mom wrote a small e-book on how she manages her time. I always find it helpful to read what others do. Even if I only agree with one tip that is one more tool for me to use!

Are Kids the Victims or Victors in Frugal Homes? @ Frugal Living: Summary: kids win every time if you have your money under control. In the short term and in the long term. And I would add that it is a HUGE disservice to kids to grow up in homes with uncontrolled spending.

How We Control Our Spending @ Budgeting In the Fun Stuff: I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how something always has to give when you have limited means and spend outside your budget. If I say, “oh, let’s just go out to eat,” that money has to come from somewhere. And it comes by taking away from something else. I liked what they said along those lines here.

Evening Primrose Oil, A Mama’s Favorite Remedy @ Passionate Homemaking: I am totally fascinated by all things “natural.” I’ll probably read this article many times before I actually go out and find evening primrose oil, or ever use it even if I do find it! But I like to think about it. 😀