Menu Plan Week of April 26th

We'll have a busy week. I'm on call Tuesday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Missy will be in a play Friday, so she'll have practices each afternoon this week.

Hope you all have a great week!

Tuna Noodle Casserole
Fresh Bread

Eggs (cook's choice- Cory)

Pork Steak
Mashed Potatoes w/ Gravy
Green Beans
Fresh Bread

Pork Pot Pie

Snotdish (Tomato casserole)
Fresh bread

Cook's Choice (Cory)


Breakfast is always Children's Choice- Oatmeal or Malt-O-Meal

Lunch is always Leftovers, PB&J, or Tuna Sandwiches

Find more menu planning inspiration at Organizing Junkie.

Discouragement With Our New Schedule

I mentioned we were starting our new schedule this week. It's not working out like I had hoped. We are just trying to do the morning routines, yet we can't seem to get a grasp on that. I had planned one week to adjust to each section of the schedule (morning, midday, evening). It will take us much longer...

Cory is working from 11 pm to 7 am. I started our days later, so we could spend more time with him. He is enjoying the extra time in the mornings with us. He's able to come home and eat breakfast. I have also scheduled the children to do their chores at this time. It is such a help to have him around while they do this.

But, I feel like the day is half over before we even get rolling in the morning! In the past he has worked from 6 am to 5 pm and I would get up with him and have my alone time before the children got up. I am missing that time alone.

Even with adjusting our get-up time, I feel like we are running late in the morning. I haven't been able to have my personal bible time consistently this week. I've skipped it, to shorten our mornings and fit everything in. Maybe I am trying to get too much done?

Even though we are only officially doing the morning routine, we have been better about getting the children to bed on time. Last evening we were able to sit on the couch and watch a movie alone. This is something we haven't had time to do in quite awhile.

I have scheduled my post writing time at 11 pm, after Cory goes to work. In reality, by the time he leaves I just want to crawl into bed! I can't concentrate and I don't get as much done as I do in the morning.

I'm not ready to scrap the schedule yet. I think I will rearrange a few things first. Even though I am feeling discouraged right now, I know that if we look at our schedule as a goal and keep working toward it, we will benefit greatly from it.

How do you schedule? Or have you given up?

Nursing Cover Directions

I thought I would share my simple nursing cover. Even someone with limited sewing experience could make this. I just sandwiched a handle (to go around my neck) between two pieces of fabric about the size of a receiving blanket. Mine is flannel, but I made one for a friend with fine corduroy on one side (to help it stick in place) and a fashion cotton on the other. I've seen store bought covers that are similar, but they have boning in the neck strap area so you can see baby. I figured if I could see down it, anyone else could too! Also this folds small enough to fit in a purse or diaper bag.

Our New Schedule

When I was a little girl my mom (after several weeks of arguing with me) went into my room to clean it. There were papers all over the floor. To-Do Lists... The first item on each list was “Clean Room”.

Not much has changed in the past 20 years... Now I'm trying the big girl version of this. Managers of Their Homes. It walks you through how to develop a schedule. It's a lot of work to set up, but I think it will help us to get more done.

The picture above is the draft of the schedule. The colored papers are stuck on with sticky stuff so you can move them around while you're planning. Once you're done you can leave it like that, or transfer it to a permanent schedule, either handwritten or typed. I plan to type mine up after we've had a few weeks to work out all the bugs.

Managers of Their Homes also has great ideas on how to use your time better and how to utilize your older children to help. Because of this I scheduled Missy to help Jeromebob with his Hooked on Phonics each day. He can't flip the flashcards fast enough to follow the CD instructions.

We will be using the Morning portion of the schedule this week and I hope to add in the Midday and Evening schedules one each week. I am prepared to wait longer if it takes more time to get used to. I'll try to write an update once we're using the full day's schedule.

Now all I have to do is follow through on the schedule, unlike the To-Do Lists from my childhood!

I'm Grateful For Our No Credit Policy

We have a no credit policy at our house. I know that seems random, but hold on to that thought...

Our daughter has been saving for a puppy forever. At least it seams that way when you're ten years old. There was an add in the local paper for shih-tzu terrier mix puppies, so we went to look at them.

On a Sunday.

When the banks are closed.

It was love at first sight. The very nice man offered to let her take the puppy home and pay for him the next day (we live in a small community). I explained to Missy that would be a form of credit. She left the puppy with kisses and promises. And didn't pout, just cheerfully got things ready for him at home. Monday we picked him up.

I'm grateful that the Lord led us to Financial Peace University so we could learn to manage our money wisely and teach our children to while they are young, so they won't make the same mistakes we did.

Join us for Gratituesday at Heavenly Homemakers!

Menu Plan- Week of April 20th

We're hoping for a nice, quiet, regular week (like that ever happens!). I finally finished our Managers of Their Homes schedule, so we will be starting that today. I'll tell you the details tomorrow.

Eggs and Rice

Green Beans
Garlic Bread

Chicken Breast on Rice

Tuna Noodle Casserole

Bacon Potato Soup (Mixed Veggies)

Pork Roast
Baby Carrots
Red Potatoes

Pick-Its (my daughters name for leftovers, because you get to pick what you'd like from all available leftovers)

Breakfast is always Children's Choice- Oatmeal or Malt-O-Meal

Lunch is always Leftovers, PB&J, or Tuna Sandwiches

Make Bread and Kool-Aid Daily

Find more menu planning inspiration at Organizing Junkie.

Yogurt Making

I finally got around to making some yogurt today. I haven't for awhile and I've been promising the kids I would. I use Laura at Heavenly Homemakers yogurt instructions. It is sooooo easy.

I made enough to make cream cheese as well. That is what's going on in the picture (I bet you wondered!). I'll leave it hang overnight, so the whey can drain off. My husband rigged me up this hanger after looking at a picture of Laura's. He used a bungee cord that clips on the bottom of the cabinet door from the inside and hangs out the top outside to hook the towel to.

When I grow up I'm going to cook and bake like Laura- she has the best ideas!

Financial Peace University Free Lesson

Last Sunday evening we went to a free lesson from Financial Peace University. We have been reading Dave Ramsey's books and listening to his CDs for about a year, but we hadn't attended a class before. We didn't actually get around to the class, but watched the intro, because there was a problem with the CD.

They are going to try again next Sunday at 4:00. If you live on “De Range” (if you live here you'll understand that and if you don't that's okay) the class will be at Faith United Lutheran Church in Iron, MN. For the rest of you, it's also available online.

It sounds like they will be doing the rest of the classes starting next month. It's $100 for the rest of the lessons (I think 14 weeks?). We had planned to purchase the lessons (DVDs) for ourselves, but they are quite expensive, so we kept putting it off. We will go to this class instead (for now). We've been messing around with a budget for a year, but we need to get serious with Cory's change in income. I think we need the accountability of the classes.

Has anyone else taken these lessons? Are they really worth it?

Quick Chicken Update

We went to L&M last night. Look what followed us home...

This Week I'm Grateful for Love in Action

Ohhhh..... I'm so excited to show you my new chicken coop!!!!!! But first, a tiny bit of rambling...

I can remember when my parents were building their home, Ma changed her mind about where she would like the door several (3? 4?) times after it had been put in. One day they got into an argument. Ma felt Pa didn't love her (or at least didn't show it). He yelled at her- “What do you mean, I don't love you? You say move the door and I move the door!”.

I'm so blessed to have a man just like my father. I say chicken coop and he builds a chicken coop. Nothing says love like a big beautiful chicken coop!!!

Billybob put in a lot of labor and knowledge also and was rewarded with the very first egg. We were surprised to get one the first morning.

Not only am I grateful for a husband and neighbor that can build the coop, but also free chickens to fill it! Yes- three free good laying hens and a rooster. They were given to us (along with a ½ bag of feed and a waterer) by a lady Cory works with.

Maybe the guys have a point, anyone can say they love you.

God shows us (sometimes with free chickens).

Join us for Gratituesday at Heavenly Homemakers!

Menu Plan- Week of April 12th

Once again, you'll see some repeats from last week. We didn't get around to everything... I can't see wasting a perfectly good plan!
We've been blessed by extra eggs this week. A good friend brought us an ice cream pail full! I hope we will have our own eggs soon- we finished our coop yesterday. I'll tell you more about it tomorrow.
I also hope to tell you about the free Financial Peace University Class and our new schedule using Managers of Their Homes sometime this week (if I get it finished!).
Have a great week!!!

Dinner at in-laws

Cornmeal Blueberry Pancakes with Sausage

Mashed Potatoes with Country Gravy
Green Beans
Fresh Bread

Quiche (bacon and cheese)

Pork Steak
Creamy Mac and Cheese
Fresh Bread

Pork Pot Pie w/ Biscuit Topping

Pick-Its (my daughters name for leftovers, because you get to pick what you'd like from all available leftovers)

Breakfast is always Children's Choice- Oatmeal or Malt-O-Meal

Lunch is always Leftovers, PB&J, or Tuna Sandwiches

Find more menu planning inspiration at Organizing Junkie.

Who I'm Bringing To The Party

Ultimate Blog Party 2010

Everyone loves a party! I especially love one that doesn't require hiring a babysitter!

I thought this would be a great opportunity to tell you about the crazy cast of characters I share with the world everyday.


My tall, handsome, strong, sweet, gentle, and most of all goofy husband. He taught me to not worry about what people think. If you're in a Mart and hear all the push button toys going at once, stop by, it's probably us. Cory loves children and the elderly. He recently started his dream job at an assisted living center. He has a great boss- she calls his goofiness “enthusiasm”.

Missy Kissy- aka: Comma
(combination of her real name and Momma)

Our 10 year old daughter. Smart, funny, beautiful. Sometimes sassy (we're working on that). I ask her over and over- “How did I take care of you, when I didn't have you to help me?”.

She has been a text book child. She does everything right on time. You give her a dirty look and she quits what she's doing wrong. We had a perfect child and thought we were perfect parents, until...

Jeromebob- aka: 220

Our neighbor says most kids run on 110 volts, but Jeromebob runs on 220 volts! He's a 4 year old constant blur of motion. Everything is emphasized with him. He's more challenging, more work, more affectionate, and more fun than any kid I've ever known. You have to watch him 24 hours a day. He has great ideas, like laying in a mud puddle to play with cars.

Cheesecake- aka: Toivo Two Fingers

Of course, being only a year old, we don't know quite what we're in for with this one. So far he likes to sit back and assess the situation before jumping in. He watches all the craziness with his 2 middle fingers in his mouth.


What can I say about me? I'm just a regular mom- homeschooling, cloth diapering, line-drying, gardening, canning, baby wearing, sewing, quilting...

When I quilt, I'm not picky about how my corners match- I figure with practice it will get better. I've been practicing for 5 years now. I feel the same way about blogging. I have no clue what I'm doing, I can't write, but I'll keep practicing and hopefully it will get better.

I'm also slowly learning to live frugally. This isn't the life style I planned. I planned 2 incomes, a big house, new cars, etc. Well we had that and it didn't make us happy. God had other plans for us. I'm hoping someone will benefit from my sharing our journey.

The Supporting Cast

G'ma- aka: Ma (to everyone), Ma Kettle

The reason this blog started- I lost my mommy! She only moved 90 minutes away, but when you're used to seeing your mom everyday, that's a long way.

She has a funny/wise saying for every situation. Her unshakable faith in God, led me to my own beliefs. She showed me to wait on the Lord, telling me over and over “In God's timing, not yours”.

G'pa- aka: Pa Kettle

My dad, who instilled in me a love of the land, history, and all things old-fashioned. When the doctor told him he had 1-5 years to live, he said “I'll take 5”. He almost did, too! His jokester attitude prepared me for life with my husband. I can't even begin to tell you how his passing left a hole in our family.


Our neighbor. His job is to rile up Jeromebob and then go home. (I'm bragging, not complaining...) We don't know what we would do without him. He's a carpenter by trade, but knows the answer to every question you might have, living in the north woods. I ask him all the questions I used to ask my dad. He always has a joke and a story, usually delivered in a Finnish accent.

I'm so blessed to have these wonderful, wild, wacky people to share my life with. There's never a dull moment in the back of nowhere!

The Easiest Way We Save Money

I order everything I can on-line. Not only do we save money by finding good prices, it also cuts back on impulse purchases, which are my downfall. It really helps us stick to our budget. I'm able to look at the total before committing and can make adjustments if needed.

We are members of the UNFI bulk club and place our orders on-line. This is an organic bulk club and orders are delivered once a month, not far from my home. This is where we get our sugar, wheat berries, baking supplies, etc. They have most of the groceries and toiletries we need, except for produce.

We also order some things from, like toilet paper. The shipping is free, all you have to do is order 6 items. They even have coupons! Last week I got a great deal on cough drops and razors.

We use gift cards, we've earned with Swagbucks, for school supplies. If you don't have a Swagbucks account, you should try it. I earn swagbucks just for searching the web, which is something I do everyday anyway!

There are some things we have to buy at our local grocery store. I try to send my husband, because his will-power is much stronger than mine. If I can't, I make sure to take a list and get in and out as fast as possible.

This is the easiest way we save money. It saves me time and everyone loves to get packages!

Photo Supplied by

Cutting Our Expenses- Fast!

We didn't plan to decrease our income, yet. We have been working to pay off all of our debts and have made several frugal changes over the past few years. I felt that we had already done all we could, then my husband accepted a job that will reduce his income by quite a bit. Now we need to look for other ways to cut expenses...

Here's what we've done so far-

  • Cut our cell phones. We had 3 phones on a family plan. Luckily it was time to renew our contract, so we cut 2 of them. We want to keep one, if we can. It makes my job simpler.

  • Cory had vacation time built up and had to cash it out. With that check we were able to pay off one debt. We will not have to pay that bill each month anymore. Yippee!

  • We have a personal loan from a family member. We asked if we could only pay ½ of it for the next 3 months, so we can get used to our new budget.

  • We were able to reduce our car insurance by dropping full coverage on Cory's car. It's over 10 years old and starting to rust.

  • I asked to work one more day a month.

  • We won't have to pay daycare any longer. We only needed daycare for 3 hours, one morning a week, but even that added up.

There are several things we planned on doing anyway-

  • We're planning to put in a large garden this summer. It most likely won't produce too much this first year, but we're going to try our hardest. I'm hoping to can/freeze as much of our winter supply of veggies as I can. Either from our own garden or by mooching.

  • I'm excited to get back to using my clothes lines, now that Spring is here. Also, we won't have to worry about paying for heating for a few months. These things are only temporary, but will make the transition smoother.

And several things we've been slacking off on-

  • We're 'sposed to have a weekly budget meeting, but we rarely do. I've signed us up for a free lesson from Financial Peace University and I'm hoping this will help us get back on track.

  • I need to make sure there is always kool-aid and iced tea in the fridge. My husband is a Mountain Dew addict. He can drink up to a 12 pack a day (after “cutting back”). This is a huge part of our grocery budget and I need to get serious about counteracting it. He will drink some kool-aid, if it's in the fridge.

  • We've been watching our electricity and have installed power strips for the computer, tv, and all their little friends. Now we just need to be vigilant about shutting down the power strips at bedtime. I'm also going to start shutting my BUNN coffee pot all the way off (not just the hot plate), so it's not heating water all day.

  • I need to finally make myself some Mamma Cloth. I made some earlier this year for a friend and they were so easy to make and so pretty! Even if I only use them part-time, every little bit helps.

  • One of the best ways to save money, that I have problems sticking to, is to stay home. Whenever I go to the store I come home with more than I plan to. I do much better when I order on-line.

    I'm looking forward to this new challenge. My only regret is that we didn't do these things sooner, when we could have applied the savings to paying off debt. But I'm grateful that this change in income was our choice. I feel this is where God is leading us as a family and He will make it possible for us to live within our means.

Gradituesday: My Nursing Wardrobe

It may be a silly thing to be grateful for, but I'm grateful for my nursing wardrobe.

Some women don't want, or can't afford, to have separate breastfeeding clothes. They are comfortable wearing their regular clothes. They feed their babies in public with or without a cover and manage not to flash anyone. I'm just not that coordinated... Plus I think half the fun of a new job is the new wardrobe and nursing a baby is a huge job!

After lots of searching, I ordered several tops and a swimsuit from Motherwear Factory Outlet on ebay. This was the only place I could find new items at a reasonable price. I was lucky enough to find several nightgowns at my local Goodwill and thrift shop. Recently, I've added a few tank tops from Target. These expand my options, as I can wear any top over them.

Once I invested in a nursing wardrobe, I felt there was no turning back. As any of you who have nursed a baby know, there are some days you just want to hand daddy a bottle. It sure helped my commitment that I had invested X$ in clothing.

I also enjoy the simplicity of my closet. I didn't want to invest in lots of clothes that I would only be wearing a year. I made sure everything mixed and matched and was very versatile. This makes getting dressed much easier.

I am grateful to have a husband who encouraged me to get what I felt I needed. Even with buying a whole new wardrobe, breastfeeding is still the best deal around!

Join us for Gratituesday at Heavenly Homemakers!

Menu Plan- Week of April 5th

If this week's menu looks suspiciously like last week's, that's because it is. When we all got sick the menu went right out the window and we ate whatever Cory felt like making. Now I'm back in the kitchen, but too lazy to make a whole new menu.

Pork Fried Rice
Fresh Bread
(wondering where the Ham Dinner went? Me too!)

Snotdish (Tomato Hot Dish)
Creamed Green Beans

Tuna Noodle Casserole
Fresh Bread

Quiche (bacon and cheese)

Pork Steak Marinated in Italian Dressing
Creamy Mac and Cheese
Fresh Bread


Pick-Its (my daughters name for leftovers, because you get to pick what you'd like from all available leftovers)

Breakfast is always Children's Choice- Oatmeal or Malt-O-Meal

Lunch is always Leftovers, PB&J, or Tuna Sandwiches

Snacks- Hard Boiled Eggs, Rhubarb Crisp, Banana Bread

Find more menu planning inspiration at Organizing Junkie.

Lost Ham

Last seen: In the kitchen, near the freezer

Description: Approximately 3 lbs, brown/pink, and wrapped in a freezer bag.

Markings: March 2010

Reward: Ham dinner with all the trimmings

Really- some people misplace their glasses, but a whole ham? (It's not really a whole one, we usually divide our hams in three.) Do you ever feel like your freezer is the wardrobe to Narnia? Where do things go? I guess my family will just have to make do with other meals until the ham is found. Probably when I clean the freezer next Fall.

12 Ways We Battle The Common Cold

My house sounds like it's been taken over by barking seals. Everyone has a cough and a stuffy nose. There may be no cure for the common cold, but this is what we're using to feel as comfortable as possible. This is just what we do when we're sick. If you'd like to try anything listed here, please check with your doctor first and use your common sense.

1) Hot steamy baths with vapor rub on our chests and under our noses. In these we drink at least one large glass of water.

2) Similarly- we go to bed with vapor rub on our chests and covered with a rice hot pad (I need to make new ones, I'll try to post instructions when I do).

3) Boiling water on the stove. We've had several humidifiers, but I can never keep them clean enough to make me comfortable.

4) Sitting with baby in the bathroom with a hot shower running to steam up the room. Sometimes I even nurse him there, if he's too stuffy to nurse.

5) Johnson's Soothing Vapor baby bath- for the whole family, not just the baby.

6) Hot raw honey and lemon tea and rose hip tea (high in vitamin C).

7) Echinacea morning and evening and extra vitamin C (just for the adults, I don't know the dosage for children- do you?)

8) Halls Mentho-lyptus cough drops. These are the worst tasting flavor, but the most effective at clearing out my nose.

9) All the juice you can drink. The kids really like this one. Right now they need the liquids more than I need to worry about sugar consumption.

10) A large pot of (sort of) homemade chicken noodle soup. I just used broth powder as a base and added noodles, leftover chicken, and veggies.

11) Easy entertainment- I'm re-reading Janette Oke's Love Comes Softly Series. Jeromebob is watching VeggieTales and Missy is watching Little House on the Prairie.

12) Sleepovers- The older children are sleeping on the living room floor, which makes them closer to our bedroom if they need something.

I knew this was coming, I was the last to get sick. But I thought it would miss me,because I don't have time to get sick... I sure wish I would have made better use of that warning!

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