Archive | August, 2008

August at our Home

As I look back on the summer and welcome in the coming of fall, I am so thankful for each new season of life and the wonderful cycles that God has so beautifully fashioned. We had a full but productive summer!

This month included many adventures…camping with Lightsys (the technology in missions ministry we are joining), a quick weekend trip up to Seattle to visit Aaron’s extended family, lots of family birthday parties (as so many of them fall in this month!), car breakdowns, mommy’s belly starting to pooch out just a little bit announcing new life on the way, Karis starting to walk, enjoying the first fruits of our container garden, storing up wonderful produce for the winter, and the like.

I have also experienced both of my blenders breaking on me (one which came with my Bosch mixer and the other which was a backup and had been loaned to my brother-in-law, and broke shortly after he returned it to me while I waited for my Bosch replacement). Alas…a huge loss around here! Thankfully one is covered under warranty but the piece is on back order for who knows how long…it’s been pushing a month now and yet I still keep adding smoothies to my breakfast menus in faith that it will arrive.

Among all the adventures, the reigning truth is that God is sovereign and always working out His perfect plan in and through our lives. I rejoice to see the good work that He is doing and His merciful provisions in everything.

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Nourishing Portable Food: Babies & Little Ones

We are taking a pause from our simplifying series today to participate in the Nourishing Portable Food Challenge hosted by The Nourishing Gourmet.

My challenge lately has been to supply my little toddler (who eats a ton!) with portable nourishing food for on the go! We have to be creative in bringing snacks for car rides, church services, extended outings doing errands, etc. or we might just have a disaster! I have learned this lesson the hard way…don’t go grocery shopping when you kids are hungry unless you have something to give them! Being pregnant, I am also having to think about bringing good protein snacks for myself on the go.

Here are a few of our ideas…

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Homemade Mayonnaise

Just wanted to pass on a recipe that we have been enjoying for the last month or so for homemade mayonnaise. I have tried several recipes in the past, but nothing has compared to this recipe!

– Based on olive oil & apple cider vinegar – the best choice for oils! Most mayo out there is made of canola or safflower oils (read here for more info on comparing oils nutritionally). The olive oil content is low so the flavor is definitely not overpowering, as I have experienced before in previous recipes. ACV is very nutritious for you as well (read more here)!
- It is simple to make, taking around 5 minutes, and does not require any special equipment.
- Preservative free – most importantly you are controlling all the ingredients that go into it, and thus making the most nutritional, preservative free choice for your family.
(The one exception I make is the evaporated milk in this recipe, but it does provide the necessary thickness and creaminess to this recipe.)
- Frugal alternative!
– I recommend making 1 1/2 times the recipe as it uses a full standard 12 oz can of evaporated milk, and does not allow any to go to waste.

I made another batch this evening and combined some of it to make my own Caesar dressing for dinner! Yum!

Thanks to Michele at Frugal Granola for passing the recipe on to me!

That’s my kitchen tip for today!

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Menu Plan – August 25-30

Prep: make yogurt, kombucha, soak oatmeal, make tortillas

Breakfast: Hard boiled eggs, Blueberry Crumb Muffins (replaced bananas with 1 cup blueberries & 1/3 cup applesauce – yum!)
Lunch: Peanut Butter & Jelly, applesauce
Dinner: Chicken Caesar Wraps, corn


Breakfast: Oatmeal
Lunch: Homemade Mac & Cheese, Green beans
Dinner: Chili & Cornbread, green salad

Prep: soak rice, thaw chicken, soak oatmeal, soak granola

Breakfast: French Toast, fruit salad
Lunch:  Chili over Hot Dogs
Dinner: Chicken Curry, Stemmed Veggie (green beans, corn, zucchini)


Breakfast: Oatmeal, apples, raisins, bananas
Lunch:  Egg Salad Sandwiches, green salad
Dinner: Dinner engagement

Prep: soak pancakes batter, soak lentils & rice

Breakfast: Fruit Salad, yogurt, homemade granola
Lunch: Quesidillas, applesauce
Dinner: Lentils & Rice Casserole


Breakfast: Pancakes, fruit
Lunch:  Leftovers lentils into burritos
Dinner: Baked Potato Bar (with leftover chili)

For more menu plan ideas, visit Organizing Junkie.

Have a blessed week! We are looking forward to settling down a little bit and getting ready for the fall. I found a great deal on peaches at our local Thompson’s Farm, and have to get them in the freezer this week for smoothies and such for the upcoming year. Also need to go out and pick some blackberries too! Storing up for the winter is so fun! Our tomatoes are starting to get big & red, so I am hoping to start enjoying them this week!

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Pursuing a Natural Pregnancy – Protein

Thus begins a series on pursuing a healthy and natural pregnancy. Upcoming posts include Karis’ homebirth story, midwifery, exercise during pregnancy, and other related topics. I do not profess to be an expert on health and nutrition, so make sure to run things by your midwife or practitioner.  If you have a topic to add to the discussion, please send it my way!

One of the most important things I understand to be in the increased in the consumption of a pregnant mother is protein (recommended between 80-100mg per day). This is essential, especially during the first trimester but continuing throughout the entirety of the pregnancy, for the healthy growth and development of the little one inside!

For further reading on the recommended diet for a healthy, natural pregnancy, check out the diet recommendation by the Bradley Method.

In my effort to increase protein and yet stay within my budget, I have been trying to think of creative ideas to increase proteins in my diet found in dairy, eggs, and beans, as they are more frugal than meat.

I try to aim to eat 20 grams at each main meal of the day and an additional 20 grams from a snack, totally 80 grams per day. I definitely do not accomplish it perfectly every day, but here are a few ideas that work for me.

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Simplifying the Toy Collection

One of Karis’ toy baskets

I have been bombarded on many occasions by the overwhelming amount of toys I have come across at different homes I have visited over the years. Shelves and shelves of toys, a whole toy room dedicated to toy play. What a lovely mess they make! How many dolls does your daughter really need? How many cars does your son really have time to play with? Considering it has been shown time and time again how contented a child can be while playing with the box that his Christmas present came in, totally oblivious to the gift. I have been pleasantly surprised how my little girl can find more lasting entertainment with a little recycled container.

*My number 1 recommendation: if all possible, avoid plastic, battery operated toys and your life will be so much more peaceful! Replace these toys with wooden toys that will last and don’t need the extra money to replace the batteries. If you can start when you children are young or before they are born in keeping the collection small you will make things a whole lot easier for yourself (even if you get rid of toys when they are young, they most likely will not even notice!). Starting early in building contentment and allowing children to develop creativity and exploration skills will go a long way.

As my little one is pretty young still, we haven’t been overwhelmed with too many toys, but rather have been deliberate in carefully selecting items for her. As I have been seeking out the input of some well-seasoned mothers, here are some tips to keeping the toy collection simple.

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Egg Handling Tips

I always wondered why my lemon meringue pie never fluffed up the way it was supposed to…but I love lemon meringue and have been on a quest to solve this problem! Well, I think I finally figured out the trick (at least I think, help me out if I am wrong!). It is all in separating the egg – careful and complete separation of the whites from the yolks. I always used the egg shell approach by passing the yolk back and forth in the shell and letting the whites drain out. I have learned this is not the best method for separation and is more susceptible for mixing of the yolk and white. I have learned that if even a tiny bit of the yolks get into the whites they will not foam.

So for all your egg separating needs, here are a few ideas. Thanks to WikiHow for the help in developing my egg handling skills!

1. Crack eggs on a curved surface

Apparently, you are ten times more likely to break the yolk of an egg on a flat surface as opposed to a curved surface.

2. Crack your egg over a funnel or slotted spoon

Hold a small funnel over a bowl, or let rest standing up in the bottom of the bowl. Allow the funnel to collect the egg yolk while the bowl collects the whites. Another choice is to crack your egg in a slotted spoon over a bowl, allowing the whites to drain into the bowl. Shake gently.

3. How to catch a shell

To remove any shell that may fall into the bowl, instead of fumbling around like me using my fingers to try to carefully scoop it out, follow this tip: use another piece of the egg shell. It acts like a magnet and will take 1/10 of the time as the finger route!

4. How to peel an egg

This was my second pursuit…how to successfully peel a hard boiled egg without destroying the egg or losing half of it in the shell while trying to peel. Check out these other suggestions. It’s all about getting rid of the air bubbles in the end of the egg first!

Further Resources

For all the wonderful health benefits of quality eggs, check out Kimi’s post on the powerhouse of eggs. Which eggs to choice? Choice free range!

That’s what I have been learning lately! Hope you enjoyed my silly kitchen tips for the day!

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Book Study: Mission of Motherhood

I have been diving into The Mission of Motherhood by Sally Clarkson lately with great enthusiasm and excitement as my heart is stirred with a greater passion and vision to be a godly and nurturing mother for my little ones. I have such a short coming by getting caught up in my daily schedule and to-do’s and loss sight of the short time given to me to invest in my child’s heart for eternity. I don’t want these precious moments to be wasted because the world around me minimizes the importance of a mother’s role. Little do they know what an important task God has called me to in leading a peaceful nurturing home, where Christ is the center of it all.

“God designed motherhood to be a deeply meaningful role. We mothers have the opportunity to influence eternity by building a spiritual legacy in the lives of our children. Through our teaching and influence, morality can be learned and modeled, love and kindness are taught and received, purpose and vision are ignited and passed on.

” I have come to picture the heart of each child as a treasure chest. Each chest is empty and needs to be filled with the riches of unconditional love, spiritual nurture, and the emotional heritage of family and traditions; with mental stimulation that comes from excellent sources of truth, morality, and inspiration; with a sense of physical and emotional security; and with the guidelines for all of life, including purpose, relationships, and proper behavior.”

Oh, I pray that God would ignite this vision in my heart and equip me with His truth that I might passionately live this out in my home. Do you desire to be equipped for this high and holy calling? Do you care to join me in this read? I felt prompted that this was a good title to use for our second online book study. I will be sharing brief quotes and/or how the Lord is speaking into my life as I read and post these thoughts on a weekly basic (highlighting one chapter a week), and you are welcome to join me in sharing your thoughts as well.

Order your copy today and please let me know if you would like to join me!

We will be starting chapter 1 on September 1st and with twelve chapters, this book should keep us busy till the middle of November.

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Menu Plan: August 18-24

We had a lovely and HOT weekend here in Vancouver, WA! And as Monday begins, the rain and thunderstorms have hit! It has been pretty wild. I spent Friday morning picking yummy organic blueberries in the area. They are delicious and I have been craving blueberry muffins and blueberry pancakes since, so they are on the menu this week! Last night we topped vanilla ice cream with fresh blueberries and sliced peaches…I love fresh fruit! It was fabulous. Great little treat! Blackberries are on to here…and our backyard is full of them. Made a delicious berry crisp with some for dinner guests the other night. Will have to get out there for more picking while the weather is a bit more milder. ;)

Keeping a simple menu plan and loving it!I am way behind on my baking, so I am going to complete some monthly baking here while the weather is not so hot as well. Homemade bread, blueberry crumb muffins (substituting the bananas for blueberries), homemade crackers for Karis, and kamut tortillas (using kamut flour for more variety in our grains), here we come!


Prep: Soak bread, muffins, crackers & tortillas, soak oatmeal for Tuesday

Breakfast: Egg & Salsa Wraps (with green peppers from the garden, onions, bacon and grated potatoes)
Lunch: Tomato Soup, grilled cheese sandwiches (going to try this one with the apples -sounded interesting!)
Dinner: Grilled Veggie Sandwiches (can’t get enough of these!), fresh corn on the cob

Tuesday – baking day!

Breakfast: Baked Oatmeal
Lunch: Leftovers
Dinner: Burritos (refried beans, and all the fixings) – this didn’t happen last week, so it is on the menu again!


Prep: soak oatmeal, thaw ground turkey for dinner, soak and cook rice for dinner

Breakfast: Kefir Smoothies, blueberry muffins
Lunch: Quesadillas with Tues leftovers
Dinner: Crock Pot Ragout- an easy meal with lots of veggies (adding rice, fresh green beans, corn, peas)!


Prep: soak pancakes

Breakfast: Oatmeal, apples, raisins
Lunch: Egg Salad Sandwiches, raw veggie tray (carrots, celery & peanut butter)
Dinner: Dinner at friends house


Breakfast: Blueberry pancakes, oranges
Lunch: Hmm…peanut butter and jelly anyone?
Dinner: Spaghetti Sauce over brown rice pasta, stemmed veggies (green beans, corn, zucchini)


Breakfast: fruit salad, yogurt & granola, muffins
Lunch/Dinner: Hot Dogs, green salad or veggie tray

For more menu planning ideas, visit Organizing Junkie.

Baked Oatmeal

-Submitted by a anonymous reader – thanks!

6 cups of rolled oats
3 very ripe bananas
3 or 4 cups of buttermilk/kefir/yogurt (reader recommended a combination of buttermilk
and full fat balkan style yogurt)
2 eggs
1/4 cup of honey
1/4 cup of chopped walnuts
2tsp of baking powder
1/2 cup of coconut oil

Soak oats in 2-3 cups of yogurt/buttermilk/kefir of your choice overnight or as long as it takes to get rid of the phytates. Then mix in the rest of the ingredients.  Place in a greased baking dish, bake at 350 for an hour.

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Reusing Old T-Shirts

My husband decided he couldn’t stand his old medium size white t-shirts and wanted to stick with the small size, so guess what? I had several white t-shirts to figure out a use for. I couldn’t let them go to waste, and thus I came up with a few ideas. You can use any old t-shirt for any of these!

What I love about recreating things out of old t-shirts, as in the first two ideas below, is that there is so no sewing necessary. T-shirts don’t unravel. So just cut away and you have a new tool!

1. Cleaning rags

I cut two of the shirts into several cleaning rags (about four per side of the shirt). These are now my favorite cleaning rags, especially for dusting and wiping windows (as I try to avoid paper towels because of the waste). I found I always reached for these rags first over some of the professional cleaning rags I purchased when we first got married. They work great!

2. Wash clothes / baby wipes

I cut another t-shirt into twelve small squares (approx. 8×8 in size, 6 from the front and 6 from the back of the shirt) and I have a new collection of cloth baby wipes (which I use with my cloth diapers). Once again these work better than some of the store bought ones I had. Could also be used for wash clothes in the shower or for cleaning up the little ones after meals.

3. Cloth grocery bag

A fun easy project to do with an old t-shirt! Check out this pattern for simple instructions. Here is another fun pattern to make a cloth grocery bag! I can’t wait to try it!

That’s my frugal tip for today! Re-use t-shirts! Even if you don’t have one on hand, purchasing used ones at Goodwill would be cheaper than buying these items new!

Any other good ideas to share? I’d love to hear!

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