Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Whats up Wed.

Hate to sound like a record,those are larger version of a CD, but ~ nothing. LOL I can't even really think of something exciting to post about. I thought maybe I would post about my oldest dd wedding gift, which I am ordering this week-end, and show everyone what it looked like. Then I realized she might read this and see it or someone would tell her, by accident. I also just finished making her birthday gift, so thought about showing a picture of that. Duh, see above mentioned reasons as to why that's not a good idea. Hmmmmmmm

Still thinking - LOL Mostly just wanted to let everyone know we are still alive.

I guess the only other big news is that this is tax free week-end for us here in TN. Just so happens to correspond with DH payday (10 left to Christmas). Since public schools starts here in less than two weeks all the school items will be hot. We actually don't use many school items, except paper and pencils. We will most likely start at the end of Aug. I am hoping to get all our stuff ordered in the next two weeks. With one in high school, one in middle school and two in pre school . . . You get the picture.

Well off to start dinner then bible study at church tonight. Two more weeks and dinners will also start back up. Yeah, a night off for me!

Blessings, Beth Ann

Monday, July 28, 2008

Menu Plan Monday

Here we are, the last week of July. Where did the time go? Should I mention that there is only 147 days to Christmas? That is only 20 weeks. Want to be really overwhelmed? That breaks down to 10 more paydays for us! Yikes! In the meantime, my oldest dd is getting married and having another birthday, as well as my middle dd, mother and myself. There is also several nieces, an aunt and grandma all having special days as well. Double yikes! Big sigh, such is life. All this leads to me rethinking and revamping our menus again. I have found another great book by Sue Greg with a ton of healthy, yet budget friendly recipes. Means replacing many meals with beans/legumes/lentils. I am thinking oldest ds will be real unhappy, but maybe someone who can afford meat can foster him until he earns his own money? Since this weeks menu is already in place, there is still meat on the menu. Guess ds is good at home one more week. Here is what we are having this week:
Monday: Goulash w/egg noodles and peas & carrots
Tuesday: Seafood chowder w/ tossed salad and bread sticks
Wednesday: Crock pot meatloaf w/ mashed sweet potatoes and garden green beans
Thursday: Crock pot lemon chicken w/ Parmesan new potatoes and honey glazed carrots
Friday: Baked pork chops w/ broccoli rice casserole
Saturday: Home made pizza w/ garden salad
Sunday: Hot & sour soup w/ veggie stir-fry
Other cooking for the week at my house includes but is not limited to: home made tortillas, home made ranch dressing, pecan date bars, pickled carrots and pickled okra.
What are your money saving menu ideas and whats for dinner at your house this week? For more menu plan Monday go to
Blessings, Beth Ann

Friday, July 25, 2008

Frugal Friday

This week I just want to talk about pictures. I am by no means good with gadgets, gizmo's or technology. This includes digital cameras and computers. While I don't have the first one, I do own the other (obviously). So I missed the whole digital camera craze, thank goodness. Just the size of the instructions stressed me out! However I did learn to take my disposable cameras to Wal-mart and make it their problem. I would get my film on CD and tried to teach myself to email these to friends and family. Most times they were to big and I couldn't figure out how to re configure them. This seemed to go endlessly. Then cell phones hit, and hit big. You weren't cool if your phone didn't "flip". Some how we resisted. Then taking pictures with your cell phone became big. Still we resisted. Until about a year ago, about two years after the fad hit. We finely got a cell phone, a package to be exact. And our phones flip, click and text! Ok, so ds had to teach me the latter. The point here is there is no going back. How did we get along so long without this? Ok, so maybe DH still doesn't know how to use his and could live with out his. But my whole life is inside my phone. As a busy mom and wife I can't tell you how cool it is to always have the phone on you. No more hunting it down. And once I entered in all my numbers, no more phone books! The best thing though and the point of this blog is the camera. Now I always have a camera. I no longer have to buy one for $4 and tax. I no longer have to have film developed and put on CD at $8 and tax. I just take the pic and send it were ever it needs to go, including my blog! It has made my life so much easier, less stressful not to mention I don't have to factor the film/developing into my budget since my cell phone bill is already there. Since we live almost 16 hours away from our family, sharing pictures is soooo important to us. I am glad the light finely went on in my head and I realized I wasn't "falling for that new fangled stuff", but I was saving money as well as helping to keep the lines of family open. My sister has recently started to share on-line with me and
I want to share her latest picture with you. Here is my mom and sister on the shores of Lake Huron with the mighty Mackinaw Bridge behind them. It is the worlds longest suspension bridge connecting the lower and upper Michigan Peninsulas.

I haven't seen the mighty Mac in many years, but thanks to cell phones and "more bars in more locations" (many disappointed drunks out there) I can see it with my sister anytime!

Catch more frugal Friday at

Blessings, Beth Ann

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Whats up Wednesday

Nothing! LOL Blessedly it has been a couple of pretty boring weeks around here. Even Grandma Sandy called today to ask what was up. Guess she was bored too. I told her that it looked like the dog days of summer were upon us. So here is a picture of what my dog is doing with his days! LOL

Howard with his new friend, during nap time.

We went back to the Discovery Center last week, and ds Z went right upstairs to the building center. He wanted to finish building his train from two weeks ago. Here is the water tower he added.

Here is ds with the finished train engine and car on it's tracks. Cool huh?

Whats up at your house?

Blessings, Beth Ann

Monday, July 21, 2008

Menu Planning Monday

I am getting a late start on this today, but it is still Monday! LOL We just finished dinner and my oldest ds came in from work, wolfed it down and declared it a winner! Of course it was covered with a maple syrup glaze, I'm sure that helped as he loves sugar! LOL Here is our Menu for this week:
Monday: Maple cranberry chicken w/brown seasoned rice and mixed steamed vegetables.
Tuesday: Salmon and egg noodle bake w/summer squash stir-fry
Wednesday: Mexican chicken casserole w/ garden green beans
Thursday: Veggie shepherds pie w/ garlic bread sticks
Friday: Orzo pasta w/ garden veggies and Parmesan chicken wingettes
Saturday: Home made pizza w/ tossed salad
Sunday: Goulash w/egg noodles and peas & carrots
Other cooking this week at my home consists of, but is not limited to; fruit cobbler, eggplant bacon, freezer jam, pickled carrots and bread machine bagels.
I pickled garlic last week, plan to pickle carrots this week and eggs next week. I am also waiting patiently for my okra to be ready in the garden so that I can pickle that as well (except for the little I promised to deep fry for my ds). Can you tell I like picked food? What I don't like is the acid and other weird sodium type items they put in the commercial items in stores. So, I make my own - of course - LOL Anyone else out there have any advice or opinions on pickling? Should I learn to can as well? Leave me a comment and let me know.
Find other menu plan Monday dinners at
Blessings, Beth Ann

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Looking for Goodwill

I just recently finished a book I picked up from our local library on a recommendation from the book review in our local paper. First time this has ever happened. The book was good, not great but good. I have seen/heard/read similar ideas before. But I did want to share this for two reasons: One, it's a good idea that bears repeating and two, what would you do/answer to these questions. The set up is that the authors are a father and son team from Nashville who go on a one year quest looking for goodwill. They felt the need to do this when one day they got tired of only hearing bad stuff in the news. So they hit all 50 states, talked to randomly picked people and asked them a few simple questions. At the end of the interview they were then given $10 with the instructions to spend it in spreading goodwill and to drop a note back about how it was used. It was these post cards that I found the most interesting.

So here it goes, how would you answer these questions and spend your $10? I'll start you off with my answers:

1. Is there a place in your state which you especially enjoy? What is your favorite place, and why?

I know it sounds hooky but I actually just like being home in my own back yard.

2. What is the best thing about your town or state?

My town is small. We are close enough to big cities for anything we need, but still safe enough for my kids to play outside. It's nice going into businesses, church and know people enough to call them by name.

3. Of all the people you know, is there one who "stands out" for consistently doing good things?

Actually it's a married couple, and still pretty young, under the age of forty. Their mission field is everyone they meet. They will give food, cloths, money, rides, you name it. If they can do it they do, if they can't they find someone who can! Very rare in what I consider "young" people now adays.

4. Which person, living or dead, would you most like to meet, or meet again?

This is a hard one. I am thinking my mother in-law. I hadn't even been married a year when she was killed in a car accident. I had only just started to get to know her. She knew I had just found out I was expecting, but she never knew it was twins! I want to thank her for the wonderful job she did raising my husband.

5. What is the best decision you have made?

To re-establish my religion after my divorce.

6. Do you have a goal you still hope to achieve?

My husband (remarried) and I would like to go full time in our RV and see what God created in the Untied States before development and the all mighty dollar plow it under.

7. What is the best thing that has happened in your life?

Meeting my second husband. Someone to share my faith, goals, and dreams. He accepts me just the way I am. Warts and all.

8. If you had an opportunity to begin a new career, what would you choose to do?

Dear Husband and myself have toyed with the idea of owning our own campground. Have an opportunity to repay some of the hospitality that has been shown us while on the road.

9. Do you have a message of encouragement or words of advice for the readers across the land?

I would just like to share my favorite bible verse ~ Jeremiah 29:11-12 " For I know the plans I have for you", says the LORD, "They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. In those days when you pray, I will listen".

What would you do with $10 to spread goodwill?

My town is so small we don't have an animal control or animal shelter. All unwanted, hurt or damaged animals end up at the local animal clinic. My son works there and through him I know how they struggle to take care of unwanted animals that are still adoptable. I would give the money to them for the care of unwanted animals. In the long run I believe keeping an animal until it is adopted can and will benefit not only the animal but the person who helps it.

Even if you don't read the book or answer the questions, even to yourself, I hope this has at least made you think about goodwill in your own community today.

Blessings, Beth Ann

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Garden Gratituesday

This week I am truly grateful for my garden, which I really believe God has blessed. Not only is it providing nutritious food and learning opportunities, but it brings us closer as a family. My oldest son talks about having his own garden on his farm (for rescued animals) one day and just today my DH was so impressed with our pumpkins; he was daydreaming of selling them on the side of the road! LOl My youngest ds has graduated from worm hunting to bee wrangling! My middle dd likes to pick beans, while younger sister enjoys supervising the whole lot of us. Who needs a Wii? We don't have any of the newest video games and very few "gadgets". But my kids can tell you that there are 23 species of lemurs on Madagascar, why bee's are important to gardens and what they do with their flower booty; as well as identify numerous vegetation. I look at my garden and I know God brought us to middle TN. I know He wants me to home school. Iknow he has special plans for my children - Jeremiah 29: 11-12 I believe one of those plans is for a little family garden to keep the light alive. Please enjoy these garden photo updates.

Here is my twin son checking out the lady bugs in my volunteer sunflower patch.

Here is twin son looking in the pumpkin flowers for bees!

This picture really doesn't do my tomato plant justice. This one is on my front porch, the rest are out in the driveway. We did containers for the maters this year. There are sooooooo many of them, will they ever get ripe?

This picture is for all the nay sayers, and they know who they are, who told us our watermelons were to far gone and scrawny to produce this year. Well here is one of at least five we found today, just starting out!

A couple of turnips just brought in and ready to clean up for dinner.

When good veggies go bad! LOL Here is a radish that got lost in the back of the gourds. How do they move around in the garden anyway? I could have sworn we planted them a few rows over, hmmmmmmmmmmmm.

For more Gratituesday check out

Blessings, Beth Ann

Monday, July 14, 2008

Whats for dinner this week?

Greetings all, another week is under way and we have finely seen some decent amount of rain here in the south. My garden is starting to produce and I we have brought in beans, turnips and radishes. I am looking for some good turnip green recipes now, as I don't want to waste a thing from our garden! Also starting to get the benefits from others gardens as well! LOL A lady my son works with gave us a bunch of summer squash, zucchini and a guinea pig. Yea, a guinea pig. That is for another post though and is a work hazard at the animal clinic. So anyway, tonight I will take that summer squash and zucchini and do wonderful things with it! Here is what we're eating this week:
Monday: Turkey Manicotti w/ summer garden squash Parmesan
Tuesday: Mexican chicken corn chowder w/salad and corn bread
Wednesday: Bible study at 6p.m. Crock pot chili cheese nacho sauce (great to come home to!)
Thursday: Pasta primavera Alfredo on fettachini
Friday: Chicken and garden pepper stir fry w/spanish rice
Saturday: Home made pizza w/tossed salad
Sunday: Pot roast with roasted root vegetables
Other cooking this week includes but is not limited to ~ pickling garlic and making eggplant "bacon".
For more Menu plan Monday check out What are you having for dinner this week?
Blessings, Beth Ann

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Nurishing Frugal Food

I had to ponder this awhile and then it hit me last night. I always make my own ranch dressing, but ran out last night. DH brought home a leading contender from the store after work, since we were already sitting down to dinner. Well, I almost gaged and brought it back up! It had been soooo long since I had salad dressing with corn syrup. I can't believe I used to happily use this food for my family and enjoy it daily! Never again! Here is my home made ranch dressing
Non-dairy ranch dressing
1 cup Vegenaise or Nayonnaise
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon minced onion (or dry onion flakes)
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon Celtic sea salt (this is a must, anything else like the fine just doesn't taste right)
1/4 cup water
1 teaspoon dill weed
Mix all the ingredients up and pour into a mason jar to keep in refrigerator.
If you would like to make this thicker for a veggie dip, just omit water.
NOTE: I am not a 100% vegetarian and the closes source of Vegenaise is over 30 miles away. I use and prefer (taste and budget wise) Smart Balance salad dressing.
For more Nurishing Frugal Foods visit
Blessings, Beth Ann

Friday, July 11, 2008

Foraging for food

That is what the topic is today for Frugal Fridays, and yes I have recently. About two weeks ago my friend took me blueberry picking with her, up by her church. I had never done this before, but I braved the sun(take a med. that makes me allergic) and the bugs, and donned my cutest sun hat and gave it a whirl!

I picked about 5 cups worth, which was more than enough to make Berry Preserves with some left over. I used the recipe in Nourishing Traditions cookbook, with excellent results

Berry Preserves

Makes 1 Quart

4 cups fresh berries (black, blue, raspberry or mixture)

2 tsp. sea salt

1/4 cup dehydrated cane sugar (Rapadura)

1/4 cup whey

Wash berries and place in bowl with remaing ingredients. carefully mash down until berries are well crushed. Mix thoroughly and place in a jar. Add enough water to bring level of liquid to the top of the berries. Cover tightly and keep at room temperature for 2 days before transferring to the refrigerator. Use within 2 months.

This was my first attempt and way easier than when I made homemade sauerkraut! LOL

For more on Frugal Friday check out .

Blessings, Beth Ann

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Don't leave home

I have found that one of the things that works best for me is to not leave my house! LOL There are the obvious reasons, such as gas prices, but there is time saving ones as well. It all started when I was pregnant with my twins and put on bed rest. How can you prepare your house for the new bundles of joy if you can't leave? How can you get hard to find items at the grocery store? Would you trust your DH to pick out a book you liked? I was never really computer suave, but it soon became my best friend. Not only can you order books, cars and cloths on-line, but you can get groceries delivered to your door and reserve anything you need for a school project at the library.
The twins are now 4 and I still enjoy these techniques to save time and money. First there is the obvious, if you don't drive you won't have to spend money on gas. On top of that, did you know that every time you enter a store you almost always leave with something besides the item you went in for? If you don't go in. you won't buy extra. I don't have all the links handy but in my area Sam's club does a program where you click your order on-line and they pack it for you. All you have to do is swing by , or have hubby do it after work to save gas, and pick it up at the front desk. We also have an organic store called Plum Good Foods that will deliver right to your door. The list goes on and on, just search in your area. Other services I enjoy is the library being on line. There is no greater pleasure I get than jumping on-line, searching for a book, reserving it and having them call/email me when it's ready. I just run it, or again have hubby do it, pick it up at the front desk. The possibilities here are endless.
Other ways to save by staying home is to not run to the store every time you run out of something, be it food or other. Look around your house and see what you may already have that would work. Run out of sugar? Swap out half the amount of honey and decrease oven temp by 25 if baking. Run out of pasta sauce? Do you have tomato sauce instead? You get the idea. The list is endless. Run out of paper towel? Make some cloth napkins instead with any leftover fabric or out grown cloths. It will save you money, and the environment. Even the toilet paper tubs can be saved when empty. They make great fire starters for camping when stuffed with dryer lint. I recycle computer paper. If the kids only color on one side, I use the other to print out recipes or what not. Same applies for junk mail. Don't throw it away if you can use one side for scratch paper. And save those plastic bags inside of the cereal box. They make a great surface for chopping meat and veggies. Protects your counter, disposable and no cross contamination. Once again, the list is endless. All I am saying is that before you run out the door, make sure you can't use something you already have or take care of it on-line or on the phone.
For more "Works for me Wednesday" check out
Blessings, Beth Ann

Tuesday, July 08, 2008


On this Tuesday I am grateful that we have a membership at the Discovery Center for the children. I feel they get so much out of the hands on science and art. They truly look forward to it. Now that my DH works locally we only drive into the "big city" twice a month for shopping. On these trips we also stop at the big library and the Discovery Center. It's our big day out as a family. I feel a little like Little House on the Prairie, when Pa hitched up the horse team to the wagon and everyone goes to town - LOL

Here is twin dd doing rubbings at the wildlife center. Notice the stuffed otter she found. It is her most favorite animal ever. She told me so two years ago at the river otter exhibit at the aquarium and she hasn't detoured since.

Here is ds twin in the painting room. He did a wonderful free hand rainbow that he proudly displays over his bed.

Here is middle dd at the building station up stairs, with her newest creation.

Here is twin dd using a crane to move river rocks.

Here is ds twin trying to pick up a steering wheel with his crane.

Here is oldest ds in a building "zone".

Here ds proudly shows off the deer he built.

And here is a caboose on a track her made.

Thanks for sharing my blessings, Beth Ann

Monday, July 07, 2008

What's for dinner this week?

Greetings all! It's the start of another new week, the second in July! Hard to believe isn't it. Next thing you know it will be time for us to go on our annual vacation to South Carolina coast - yeah! It's the only thing I ask for every year for my birthday and Christmas gift. We go on the week of my birthday, in October. So like 15 more weeks, not like I'm counting or anything ~ LOL Well we are starting to see the fruits of our labor in our garden. Our beans and tomatoes are starting to come in. I am getting more peppers and radishes. Soon the turnips and okra will be ready. We have an abundance of pumpkins starting as well as decorative gourds. I only have one or two watermelon and cantaloupe plants, but should be enough. I can hardly wait for the eggplant and cucumbers! Can you tell we are excited? The kids seem to be really getting into it this year as well. My oldest ds, who is going to be a veterinarian, wants to have a farm for rescued animals and is learning much so he can grow his own food as well. I really love summer and hope your enjoying yours as well. Here is what we are having this week:

Monday: Italian baked chicken w/herbed pasta and salad

Tuesday: Sirloin Fajitas w/coleslaw

Wednesday: Peanut butter and jelly (made with the fresh blue berries I picked and made into preserves) french toast with home fries

Thursday: Eggplant & rice casserole w/ baked white fish

Friday: Chicken tetrazzini w/ steamed broccoli

Saturday: Home made pizza w/salad

Sunday: Applesauce meatballs on rice with mixed veggies

Whats for dinner at your house? Need ideas? Get more of menu plan Monday at

Blessings, Beth Ann

Sunday, July 06, 2008

All over but the yawning

Here we are at the end of the 4Th of July holiday week-end. It just seemed to speed by! We were so busy, but in a good way. We had some friends over for a cook-out/pool party, and DH ended up working. In the end, my friends DH had to go spring my DH from work so we could start the grill and eat! LOL

My plan was to start the day early, get all my shopping out of the way and have the rest of the morning to cook, and the afternoon to chill. Well everyone else in town had the same plans, and stores were packed by 8 a.m. I persevered, got home and to quote a singer/Pink - "get this party started".

I took this picture to show you how odd my kids are, they think apples and yogurt are junk food - LOL I brought home apples to keep the twins busy w/their big sis while my ds and I started cooking.

This one I took just because I had never seen anyone cook in a fedora before! That is my very own oldest ds baking his famous carrot cake. I know I have mentioned it before, but the boy LOVES to bake! He says it relaxes him. How many fifteen year olds do you know who stay out of trouble by staying in the kitchen! LOL

Well we all had a great time, great food, great fellowship (even if the guys did split to have their fellowship in a fireworks tent up on the highway). I had bought all the kids those glow in the dark necklaces and by the end of the night even the animals were glowing! Once again, I love living here in Tn!

Remember to join me tomorrow for menu planning Monday.

Blessings, Beth Ann

Thursday, July 03, 2008

A day late

Okay, I know this is a day late, and I struggled with not doing this and saving this blog. But then I said, what the heck it's my blog and I can blog what I want to! LOL
Anyway, there is a group that meets over at Rocks in my dryer's blog on Wed. (check out logo at left) and the topic this week was your favorite 5 ingredients or less recipes.
Here are mine:
Carrot Soup
1 pound bag of baby carrots
fresh ginger to taste
2 cups chicken stock
In medium saucepan, combine the carrots, stock and peeled grated ginger. Simmer until the carrots are tender, about 20 minutes. Cool slightly, and puree in blender or food processor. Serve warm and garnish with your choice of fresh herbs such as chives, a dollop of sour cream or yogurt or a squeeze of fresh lemon or lime juice. My kids love this! I top mine with the sour cream and chives.
Date ~ Pecan Squares
1 cup pitted dates
1/2 cup pecans
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup raisins or other dried fruit (I use cherries)
2 cups coconut flakes
In a food processor, using "S" blade, grind pecans to a fine meal, add dates and raisins. Process until a dough like consistency is reached. By hand, work in 1/2 cup of coconut. Sprinkle 1/4 cup coconut in a 8x8 pan, place date-pecan mixture on top and spread to cover bottom layer, Top with remaining coconut, and press in to cover. Cover and place in refrigerator. When chilled, cut into squares.
This is so yummy I will never go back to eating fig newtons again!
Those are my favorite two recipes. Hope you enjoy them too.
Blessings, Beth Ann

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Making do with what you got

Here we are again, Wednesday, two more days until payday! My DH gets paid every two weeks and you can always tell what is the "off" week. I always shop for two weeks at a time. So on payday the fridge is always bulging and you can't find anything in there. The pantry is nice, neat and full. Then comes the week before payday . . . dum, dum dum - LOL More precisely like two or three days before payday. The fridge is now almost empty and you can clearly see what you don't have, and the indignant cries of the children echo in the empty pantry as the find out their favorite snacks are no longer there since they ate them all the first day! I have a notebook where I plan all my meals and keep my shopping lists, so I always know what we are having to eat or at least what my options are for the week . Sometimes however we do run out of the basics and I wanted to share with you a couple of options I used this week when it happened to me.

First I just want to mention that any recipe that calls for wine or sherry you can always substitute chicken stock/broth. I never by these wines for cooking, even though I know that it does enhance flavor. I just can't justify that expense out of my grocery money. I buy a 5lb. bag of low sodium vegetable broth powder from a local food co-op for about $12 and it lasts me about 6 months. I would easily spend that much on one bottle of wine for cooking. I also ran out of B.B.Q. sauce this week. I usually make my own with ketchup and brown sugar plus some other good stuff, but I also didn't have enough ketchup! I always keep a ton of tomato sauce on had for everything. I can buy a 29oz. can at Wal-mart for .85 (was .79 up until a month ago) and use it for pasta/pizza sauce. Cheapest "pasta sauce" they have is still $1 and had bad stuff in it for you. So see, win win situation. Anyway, I found a great ketchup recipe in one of my lo-carb cook books, surprising place to find healthy recipes, but it's true. Turns out to make ketchup all you really need is tomato paste, yup, those little .33 cans! Had that too - LOL So now you can make your ketchup, than turn that into B.B.Q. sauce! You should feel great since you didn't spend any extra money and you didn't waste gas to go to the store. Besides, you know if you did go to the store you would buy way more than just ketchup or B.B.Q sauce, law of nature. Again, win win situation. Finely, this morning I needed some steak sauce . . . You guessed it. out of that too. But I do still have some ketchup, so with a little lo-carb magic I made my own steak sauce. All of these taste great by the way. You can control the amount of salt and sugar in your own food. So now you feel totally empowered - You save money, you save gas, you are using the resources at hand, and controlling the nutrition of your own food !

So with a little planning, having a staple stocked pantry and a little time and energy you can make the best of what you got!

Blessings, Beth Ann