Homemaking Helps, Pregnancy, Couponing & Some Odds and Ends

17 Things You Can Do Today to Make Your Life Easier Tomorrow @ Time Warp Wife

Home Management Binder Ideas @ Time Warp Wife

Do The Needful @ The Hippie Housewife…”Simply do the next needful thing.”

The Super Bowl & Human Trafficking @ Finding the Beauty

Beginner Pinterest Q & A @ An Oregon Cottage

Say Mmmm – A grocery planning website. Anyone use this or another online resource to help plan menus? Also saw Plan to Eat

Helpful Homemaking Resources @ Raising Homemakers

6 Random Kitchen Tips for the Busy Mom @ Almost Plum Nearly

15 Natural Solutions for Kid Messes @ Simple Organic

Puritan Prayer on Contentment @ Homemaker by Choice

The Final 6 Weeks of Pregnancy from Transition to Parenthood.

Preparing for Baby @ The Finer Things in Life

Baby-Led Weaning @ Simple Organic – my grandma told me how when her firstborn (now in his 60’s?) was under 6 weeks old her mother would feed him smushed up noodles. I was pretty aghast but she didn’t seem to think it was a big deal. I think we may try this approach this time…just a little bit later than 6 weeks!

I don’t (yet) know much about the world of couponing. I want to learn more though and try to fit couponing into our life. In that vein, here are what seem to be some helpful links.

Walmart’s Ad Match Guarantee

The Frugal Girls Couponology (couponing for beginners) @ The Frugal Girls

How to Use Coupons at Walgreens @ A Thrifty Mom

Free Rebate: Arm & Hammer Clumping Cat Litter @ Happy Money Saver

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Money Links

Do I Need an Emergency Fund @ Christian PF

Dreaming About Someday, A Vision and a Choice @ Graceful Abandon

Yes, You Can Stop Using Credit Cards @ Keeper of the Home

Credit Card Emergency Funds @ Enemy of Debt

Successful Personal Finance is Boring @ Daily Financial Solutions

Practice Good Gas Conservation Habits @ The Simple Dollar

8 Questions to Help You Save More @ Get Rich Slowly

Thoughts on What is Really Important

I read quite a few blogs each day but few have touched me as this one did. A family is visiting their sponsored child and other children who are sponsored. They visited a family in a “mud walled, thatched roofed home” where the father had come to know Jesus through physical healing of paralysis through a fall at work, though the full healing took a year. Asking the family what challenges they faced brought to light the fact that the roof leaked because it is thatch.The two children have big dreams of becoming a bank manager & computer engineer even though their current life is surrounded by poverty.

Now we just purchased a home and the roof, though old, doesn’t leak. Nor do any other parts of the home. My husband, though injured, is still able to work some. My children, though they may not attend the “best” schools in the country when they are older will likely be able to join whatever trade they desire without having to also overcome abject poverty.

If I were the family in the story and asked what my prayer request was my response would be: a) new roof b) food each day c) good schooling for my children and so on along these lines.

Well this family was asked what their prayer request was. Here’s the summary from the blog: We asked the father what we could pray for. He, without hesitation said, “Spiritual growth. We must grow in our relationship with Jesus. After that, God will take care of the rest of things like the roof and other needs.

Ouch! Oy. Sigh. How is it that the poor father in a struggling third world country can come up with the better answer without hesitation? Why am I, the child of this first world country, in the face of certain hardship, focused first on the worldly things, not on the spiritual? Why do I spend more time wondering how to make ends meet than cultivating a deeper relationship with the One who will meet those needs? Why are all my prayer requests for tangible things rather than the intangible?

Even as I write this I discover that a necessary bill we would now be struggling to pay will be three times as much this month. So how shall I respond? Should I throw my hands up in despair? Shall I just worry myself into the ground? Or should I say, with that father, “pray that I will grow in my relationship with Jesus?” Well, I think it’s obvious there is a right answer here. But for me, not an easy one.

Here’s the link to the original post: The Most Beautiful Girl in the World from JonesBones5

An Assortment

I like the idea of having some guidelines around keeping the house clean. Eventually I’d like to have a household binder where my favorite cleaning guidelines & tips are kept. Right now though I want to put a few of these ideas into action and get them to be habits instead of nice ideas.

10 Rules & 10 Tips for the Kitchen @ Time Warp Wife – this has been revolutionizing my kitchen work. The idea of doing dishes every time there are at least 10 and the idea of filling the sink while cooking – why didn’t I think of that!

3 Steps to Ease Your Way into Truly Natural Personal Products @ Simple Organic

There are few large issues that move me as much as human slavery. Portland was a hub for this; now the I-75 corridor running from Florida to Michigan. No matter where you live, someone is being sold against their will. National Human Trafficking Awareness Day, January 11th

I am thankful to have a good marriage but I know many who are struggling. This article speaks volumes I think.You Never Marry the Right Person @ Relevant Magazine

And a fun one: this shows how data can be manipulated to serve the interests of whoever holds the data. I first saw something like this in my statistics class in college and it’s been in the back of my mind since. Also fun for a chuckle. Correlation or Causation @ Bloomberg Businessweek

Most years I am eager for the new year to arrive so I can decide which goals I want to set. For whatever reason, this year I have no desire to set any goals. Maybe the daily goal of unpacking the house and preparing for the baby are enough. 🙂 But when I read this blog about setting goals a month at a time something clicked. I feel like I have enough wiggle room to set a monthly goal, or even to set one goal, get that into practice for several weeks, then think about another. We’ll see how it goes! Rethinking Resolutions: Setting Goals One Month at a Time @ Frugal Living NW

There’s been lots of talk about SOPA but I find I really don’t know what it is. Thought this was a good explanation link. What is SOPA, and How Will It Affect You? @ Wise Bread

Food Links

I want to try some or all of these. Several of these have directions for freezing also.

Chicken & Spinach Enchiladas @ $5 Dinners

Individual Mac & Cheese @ Once a Month Mom

Homemade Pizza Dough @ Once a Month Mom

Oven Baked Apple Compote @ Good Cheap Eats (I tried this one. It was easy to put together and yummy. I only had 7 small apples though and would love to make it again with more apples.)

Lemon Pull-Apart @ Mennonite Girls Can Cook

Grandma Graham’s Perfect Pie Crust @ Eat Outside the Bag

Get Real: Where to Begin with Real Food  @ Once a Month Mom

Brunch Pie @ Mennonite Girls Can Cook

Easy Crockpot Applesauce @ New Nostalgia – I told my husband I was planning to make this while he was at work but he wanted to enjoy the good smells too. So he peeled all the apples for me and I cored/cut them (one tool). Now we’re just waiting for the good smells to begin!

Homemade Bagel Bites @ Once a Month Mom

I find it helpful to read over what others are fixing. It gives me ideas and helps me plan my own week.

Menu Plan @ Frugal Granola

Menu Plan @ Heavenly Homemakers

Returning to Life

After an extended hiatus I am ready to return to this little blog. It was March when I last posted, and oh my, the changes in our life since then! Here is is the highlight reel:

  • Moved across the country.
  • Lived in transitional housing shared w/my parents (w/transitional possessions, and a toddler) for six months.
  • Expecting our second child in six weeks.
  • Purchased a home.

I think those events separately would be plenty, one at a time, each year. Put all together is an interesting, challenging, depressing, exciting roller coaster of the past nine months.

Our new home base is very different from our old. Overall we don’t like the change but feel it was the right decision in the long run. I won’t go into that more, but anyone who has left the Pacific Northwest (or anywhere they loved) will know how we feel. No matter how nice the change is, if you loved what came first the change is hard.

Now that we are mostly unpacked and getting settled again I am finding myself wanting to revisit my original passions – homemaking, natural things, finances and really whatever else strikes my fancy. With the new baby coming soon I may not post a lot, but I’ll be updating a bit from time to time until we get settled in our new routines.

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