Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Healthy and Nutritious Eggs

In recent years, eggs have gotten a bad rap for increasing your cholesterol and that you should eat egg whites only, or limit the amount of whole eggs you eat. New research now shows that this belief is not necessarily true and eating eggs may actually improve your cholesterol levels.

Although too much of one thing is not necessarily as good for us as having a variety of nutritious and healthy foods, I do believe that eggs pack a nutritious punch that can not be ignored:

- Eggs are a high source of protein (5 - 6 g per egg)
- A good source of vitamins (iron, zinc, calcium, iodine, and selenium)
- Promote healthy hair and nail growth, and beautiful skin
- Boosts brain health
- Can help promote weight loss
- Protects your eyesight
- Strengthens your bones
- Helps prevent blood clots
- Prevents against age-related muscular degeneration
- Can increase your energy.

There are even more benefits to eggs:

- They are easy to prepare in a variety of dishes and meals
- They have a long refrigerator life
- They are very frugal
- They actually fill up hungry teenage boys!

Making perfect boiled eggs:

Making boiled eggs sounds so easy, but believe it or not, there is an art to having your boiled eggs come out perfect every time!

1. Place your eggs single layer in a pot and cover with an inch or so of cold water.

2. Put a lid on the pot and place it on the stove to boil over medium high heat.

3. Once the water in the pot comes to a boil, turn off the burner, if you have an electric stove, move the pot to a cool burner

4. For large soft boiled to medium boiled eggs, let sit in the hot water for 4 – 8 minutes, depending on your personal preference.

5. For large hard boiled eggs, let sit in the hot water for 15 minutes.

6. Once cooking time has been reached, rinse your eggs under cold water for a few minutes.

7. For soft-boiled eggs (or if you want to eat the hard-boiled eggs warm), cool them just long enough to handle them to serve.

8. For hard-boiled eggs cover with cold water and a few ice cubes to completely cooled. Place your eggs in the fridge.

9. To peel your egg, crack all over lightly. Take a teaspoon and run it between the egg, pulling the shell back.


Grayish tinge around the yoke – Your eggs has been overcooked, decrease the time you let the eggs sit in the hot water.

Eggs shells are cracked – This could happen if the egg has been boiled, but sometimes it happens even if they were not boiled. Remember to bring your eggs up to a boil gradually, over medium-high heat. If you find that this is a consistent problem, put one tablespoon of vinegar in the water to boil, that should help.

Eggs taste rubbery – Boiling eggs will make them taste rubbery, so you should never boil eggs. Make sure you remove the pot from the hot burner as soon as the water comes to a boil, the hot water will cook the egg.

Eggs do not peel nicely – There are two things you can do that will help this. First, don’t use super fresh eggs, the fresher they are the more difficult they are to peel. Second, make your eggs the day before you want to use them. Peeling them the next day will ensure much better results.

Our favorite egg recipes:

Lunch Time Egg Salad Sandwiches

12 Hard boiled eggs
½ cup mayonnaise (or to taste)
2 - 3 green onions, finely diced
¼ tsp ground pepper
dash of cayenne pepper (optional)

Sandwich toppings: lettuce/spinach, cucumber, pickles, hot pickles, hot sauce
The toppings added depends on the person, I add it all to my husbands and mine. Brandon will want extra lettuce and hot sauce, Jesse lettuce and cucumbers, Justin will want everything but hot pickles or hot sauce and Tia will only want lettuce.

Brandon’s Famous Super Easy Omelette

3 eggs
3 tbsp of water
¼ cup of vegetables (what ever is on hand and whatever your preference is – Brandon uses onions and peppers)
¼ cup of grated cheese

Mix eggs and water well in a medium sized bowl.

We have a microwavable omelette container, so you pour half of the egg mixture on each side. Cook for 2 – 3 minutes and then remove from microwave and stir. Sprinkle over vegetables and put back into the microwave for 2 – 3 minutes, or until eggs are set. Sprinkle over cheese, close the container and slide your omelette onto your plate.

The kids have a healthy and frugal meal, that they made all by themselves and can be cleaned up easily (by them!!).

Egg Strata

1 cup Small croutons
½ cup Onion
½ cup Peppers
½ cup Spinach, chopped
1 cup Cheese, grated
10 Eggs
1 cup Milk or low-fat cream
Salt and pepper to taste

Sauté the onion and peppers till soft, set aside and let cool.

Whisk together eggs and milk, stir in cheese and cooled vegetables.

Spray a casserole container with vegetable spray. Place croutons over the bottom of the casserole dish and pour egg mixture over top.

Let sit for 15 minutes on the counter.

Bake at 350 for 30 – 45 minutes or until eggs are set.

Note: All vegetables are optional, you can add or leave out whatever you like, you could also add cooked sausage, bacon or ham.
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Thursday, June 25, 2009

Frugal Grocery Budget

I try hard to keep a frugal grocery budget - which is hard with so many growing kids! People who see my kids eat are always astonished, unless they too, have teenagers! So how do I fill up lots of growing boys without having to remortgage?

1. I buy healthy and frugal potatoes in bulk (and serve them lots!)

I buy potatoes in 20lb bags, we eat approximately 30 lbs - 40 lbs of potatoes a month. Potatoes are very versatile and I can serve them lots of ways. I almost never peel them, that reduces waste and also increases their nutrition, as most of a potatoes fibre is in the skin. Here is two of our favorite recipes (sorry I have no pictures today).

Oven fries:

4 - 10 Potatoes (whatever would feed your family)
Olive oil
Seasoning of choice (we like a Cajun seasoning mix and Greek seasoning mix)

Cut potatoes into chunky sized pieces and toss with just enough olive oil to coat. Toss with a liberal amount of seasoning. Spread on a cookie sheet or baking sheet in a single layer (use two baking sheets if necessary).

Bake in a very hot oven - 450F for 30 minutes or until browned. Cooking times will vary depending on the size you cut your potatoes.

Twiced Baked Potatoes

(Note: When making mashed potatoes make double - this dish will freeze well or can be stored in the fridge for a couple of days before baking)

6 cups of Leftover mashed potatoes (or whatever would feed your family)
¼ cup Cream (milk will do, but cream is nicer)
½ cup of Sour cream
½ cup Parmesan cheese (or any cheese of choice – cheddar is nice too)

Possible add ins: ½ cup crumbled bacon, ½ cup diced green onions, 3 – 4 cloves of crushed garlic, 3 tbsp steak spice, 3 tbsp parsley

While your mashed potatoes are still warm, mash in the cream, sour cream, cheese and possible add ins. Transfer potatoes to a medium greased casserole dish and cover with a lid or foil.

Bake at 375F for 45 - 60 minutes (for a smaller casserole, your cooking time may go down to 30 minutes).

2. I use what I have for free

I can not really garden - I have tried, but I am bad at it, plus I do not enjoy it and make those around me to help, which causes much grumbling. I have given up for the time being on having a large garden, but do enjoy some of the bounty my yard (and my parents yard) still provides.

Between my parents and I, we have an apple tree, a Saskatoon tree, choke cherry tree and a plum tree. I also have some raspberry and strawberry bushes, some chives and three large rhubarb plants.

A few years back I started making jams, jellies, and sauces with all the free food that we have in our yards. Mind you, there is a cost of pectin, sugars and so on, but really, it is still at a fraction of the cost.

Since rhubarb is the most plentiful and so easy, I tend to use it a lot. I typically make Saskatoon rhubarb jam, strawberry rhubarb jam and raspberry rhubarb jam, choke cherry jelly, choke cherry syrup (totally yummy over pancakes!!), apple sauce and rhubarb sauce. I will also cut and freeze rhubarb (and apples if enough) for the winter. Needless to say the end of August is a busy time for me!

I also love to make lots of deserts with rhubarb. I am always on the look out for new ideas and recipes and have found a couple that I am going to be trying over the next week or so. If you have any recipes that you want to share, please do!

3. I do a lot of baking

So I can't really garden, but boy can I bake! I don't do anything fancy, but one of the talents God graced me with was being able to bake really yummy treats. I love to bake, I will bake when happy, when sad, when stressed, when bored, whenever a craving strikes me - you name it!

Cookies are my standby when I am feeling stressed, there is really nothing like warm cookies that can make everything seem better; but to fill growing boys, and to feed one fussy girl, muffins are typically my standby. I make dozens at a time and freeze them so the kids can grab them on their way to school, or to add to their lunch kit, or have as an afternoon snack or bedtime snack (apparently Jesse can't sleep if he is in the least bit hungry - and he is always hungry!). Carrot, pumpkin, oatmeal and banana are their favorites, but really they are not all that picky. One of their favorite breakfasts is a smoothie and muffin. Nutritious and frugal!

For more frugal tips, check out Life As Mom.

For more posts like this check out:

Spicy Carrot Bran Muffins

Rhubarb - Love it!

Fruit Pudding Cake


Tomato Vegetable Pasta Sauce

I am always trying to get the most out of my grocery dollar. Many people are trying to stretch each dollar, but my challenge is compounded in that we have three teenage boys to feed (one that is ALWAYS hungry!!) and a very fussy daughter. All my boys are good eaters and are happy with almost anything I feed them, but Jesse (the one who is always hungry) and Justin are more mindful of what food they eat and they want healthy, filling food and always lots of it!

My daughter is soooo picky. She always has been, since she has been two. I honestly do not know where she gets it from, but she is picky and stuborn (well, I know where the stuborness comes from!), she will dig in her heels and starve before she will eat whatever she deems "uneatable", which is alot. For her I offer lots of eggs and dairy (smoothies are great as I can hid lots in them), plus alot of quick breads and muffins with fruits and vegetables "hidden" inside. If there is something "junkie" and something healthy to choose from, she will pick the unhealthy food every time. Luckily, along with my prayers, she is starting to get some peer pressure and has been starting to nibble on some raw fruits and veggies when she is with her frineds. With the Lord's grace, her eating preferences will change.

Anyone with teenagers know that keeping the fridge and pantry stocked with healthy snacks and providing healthy and filling food on buget is a huge challenge. That is why it is so important to me to buy the most nutritious, vitamin packed foods with my grocery dollars. For instance, I would buy spinach and rominian lettuce over iceburg lettuce, or I will buy a small roast beef and cook and slice it for lunch meat instead of buying over priced and processed meats at the deli.

When I am in a pinch for something fast, easy and frugal I almost always make pasta. We have lots of veggies in our house right now and I am loving all the fresh ingredients we can get, so I totally loaded a basic tomato sauce with some of the extra vegetables in the house. This is a good way to use up any extra vegetable you have in your fridge that you do not want to go to waste. Don't worry about what vegetables you use, I always just use whatever I have on hand. This time I used onions, garlic, celery, carrots, jalapeno peppers, yellow peppers and spinach.

I always soften my vegetables first in a bit of olive oil, then add the garlic and spices, basil and oregano, and just warm them through.

Then I pour over 2 – 3 large cans of tomatoes, either diced or crushed works well.

While the sauce was simmering away, I decided to prepare spaghetti squash as well since it was on a really good sale (I also made some regular pasta for those who prefer it and so everyone could have a bit of both without breaking the bank!). If you have never tried it, you really should. You cut the squash in half, scoop out the insides, then season it with a bit of olive oil and salt and pepper. I cover them and put them in the microwave for 10 minutes. Once they are soft, all you do is run your fork through it and it comes out in strands that somewhat resemble spaghetti. I find that this works well for many types of sauces, but I prefer it with vegetable tomato sauces.

Once the sauce has simmered for 20 – 30 minutes and your pasta, or in my case, spaghetti squash, is done, toss in the diced spinach and give it a stir.

Fill your plate with the pasta and sauce and top with Parmesan cheese. Add a crusty whole grain bun on the side and you have a great meal that is not too heavy in our warmer weather.

It is hard to state how much a meal costs, as I have noticed that here in Canada we seem to pay more for our food, plus our dollar is different, but this meal cost me around $10 (as I made the crusty buns myself) and feed 5 adult size portions (two boys went back for seconds), one fussy dibbler, and we even had enough left over for my husband to have for lunch the next day.
For more great healthy and frugal tips check out the Nourishing Gourmet!
For more posts like this see:

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Squares for Summer

I don’t know about you, but my kids do more snacking in the summer then they do during the school year and I need to have things that can be packed up in a pinch for a day at the beach or pool. I prefer not to put on my oven and do much baking in these few warm months, so I try and stick to thinks that can be made on the stove top or microwave.

These may not be the most healthy snacks that you can offer, but they are definitely favorites and still good for a treat. Here are a few of my kids favs:

Peanut Butter Drop Cookies

½ cup Corn syrup
½ cup Brown sugar

½ cup Peanut butter

½ cup Peanuts, chopped
2 ½ cups Cereal (bran buds, corn flakes, rice krispies, etc)

Combine corn syrup and sugar and bring to a boil. Stir in peanut butter and combine till melted. Add peanuts and cereal and mix well. Drop by the teaspoon onto waxed paper.

Let set for 20 – 30 minutes before storing.

Puffed Wheat Squares

½ cup Margarine
½ cup Corn Syrup
1 cup Brown sugar
1 tsp Vanilla
¼ cup Cocoa
6 cups Puffed wheat (aprox – I just pour and stir till well coated)

Melt margarine, corn syrup and brown sugar. Bring to a boil and boil for 3 – 4 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in cocoa and vanilla. Add puffed wheat and stir till well coated. Press into a greased 9 x 13 pan.

Let set for 30 minutes before cutting into squares.

Oatmeal Coconut Drop Cookies

2 cups White sugar
½ cup Margarine
½ cup Milk
1 tsp Vanilla
½ cup Cocoa

2 cups Oats
2 cups Coconut

Combine sugar, margarine and mild in a large pot, melt and bring to a boil. Boil for 4 – 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in cocoa and vanilla. Stir in oats and coconut. Drop by the teaspoon onto waxed paper.
Let set for 20 - 30 minutes before storing.

Rice Krispies Squares

1 bag Mini marshmallow
½ cup Margarine

4 – 6 cups Rice Krispies (I always just eyeball in, I never measure)

Melt marshmallows and margarine in the microwave. Stir in rice krispies slowly, mixing as you go. Press into a 9 x 13 pan that has been lightly sprayed with a vegetable spray. Let set for 30 minutes before cutting.

Tip: I find that the easiest way to press in the gooey mixture is to spray a back of a metal spoon with vegetable spray and press the mixture in with a spoon.

Peanut Rice Krispies Squares

1 bag Mini marshmallows
½ cup Peanut butter

1 cup Peanuts
4 – 6 cups Rice Krispies (Puffed wheat or Cherries also work well)
Melt marshmallows and peanut butter in the microwave. Stir in peanuts and rice krispies slowly, mixing as you go. Press into a 9 x 13 pan that has been lightly sprayed with a vegetable spray.

Melt chocolate chips in microwave and drizzle over the top of the squares. Let set for 30 minutes before cutting.

These work for me!


Tuesday, June 23, 2009

When it Rain it Pours

Here in sunny Alberta we go through long periods of no rain. The sun shines brightly, winter or summer, and you can spend hours just basking in the glory of Gods beautiful sun. Being that I have lived here since I have been 5, I am use to our dryer climate and nothing feels better to me than the hot sun on a summer’s day baking my skin (no steaming allowed!!). It makes me feel comforted, almost like God Himself is wrapping His arms around me, making me feel safe and well cared for.

But sometimes the rain comes.

I don’t like the rain, it is cold and wet and it makes the dogs and boys smell, it gets my house and van dirty and it makes my hair frizzy. There is nothing to really like about the rain, but yet after a good rainfall things seem to look better. The grass is greener, flowers seem brighter and all the dirt and dust have been washed away.

So is this true in life too?

Lately I feel like I have been dealing with a constant dribble of rain, which has recently turned into a downpour. At every turn things are going wrong, in the last week we have decided to retire our van and go to one vehicle over the summer (van is old and payments on a new vehicle is just not in the budget), our washing machine broke, our lawn mower stopped working and we noticed that something was leaking in our main upstairs bathroom so we are going to have to open the wall to fully diagnose it and fix it, to top it all off we received an unexpected bill in the mail and I received a speeding ticket. Once you add in the typical marriage, kids, school, and jobs my hair is not the only thing lift frizzy!

My prayer is that after this down pour things will look greener, brighter, and all of the dirt and mess of life has been washed away.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

In Honour of Father's Day

To Jeremy - 50 Things I Appreciate and Love About You:

1. That you always make sure to get me directions when I go out of town so that I know where I am going.

2. That you love everything I cook and you say “thank you” after every meal.

3. That even if you don’t love everything I cook, you never say so.

4. That you genuinely appreciate that I work hard to keep the house clean.

5. That you are kind and gentle with the dogs.

6. That you would never take all the coffee in the morning (even though I would, and have).

7. That you aren’t afraid to ask for directions - asking always makes you look smarter and makes me feel well taken care of.

8. That you never curse or use foul language around the kids or me.

9. That you don’t associate with people socially who talk negatively about others behind their back.

10. That I know that you would never speak negatively about me behind my back or complain about me to others.

11. That you don’t rush off and make lots of purchases without discussing it with me.

12. That even when you are annoyed when I am bossy about our finances (hey, a budget made is a budget followed right?), you don’t just go buy things to spite me.

13. That you never complain when I take 30 minutes showers (…only when the kids do).

14. That you never have once left your wet towel on the ground.

15. That most days your dirty clothes actually make it into the laundry basket – not the floor.

16. That when you ask me to do something for you and I forget, you are gracious about it and not crabby.

17. That if I forgot to make you coffee at night in your coffee pot, you would never take mine.

18. That when you get up before me you try to be quiet and leave the lights low by closing the bathroom door most of the way to give you just a wee bit of light – even though I do not do the same for you when I get up before you (hey, I have to see to put on my makeup!).

19. That you never complain if I spend money on makeup or special girlie products and services.

20. That you have told our boys that they shouldn't complain when women spend money on makeup or special girlie products and services.

21. That you tell Tia and I our eyebrows look nice after we get them done, even though I don’t think you can tell the difference.

22. That your feet are almost never cold!

23. That you grow a beard because you know I like it.

24. That you can fix almost anything and save us tons of money doing it!

25. That you make our children a priority by allowing me to stay home.

26. That you take really good pictures.

27. That you don’t loose your temper or act irritated when doing at a task that is just not working out.

28. That you clean up all dead things that our cats or children have brought home or found.

29. That you spend time with Brandon and you are one of his best friends.

30. That you never complain that I am over-protective of the children (even though sometimes I am).

31. That you go on every overnight field trip that I sign you up for to keep an extra eye on my sweet babies and to make me feel better about them leaving.

32. That you always call when you are going to be late and you always call me on your way home.

33. That you never complain when I make a mess then run out the door without cleaning it up –even though sometimes complain when you do it.

34. That you wash the house windows once a year for me because I hate to do it and can never figure out how to get the darn things back in!

35. That Tia spent the better part of 9 years in our bedroom and you never complained or where grouchy (and see how well she sleeps in her own bedroom now?).

36. That you are kind to my parents.

37. That you work at jobs you don’t (or haven’t) liked to provide for our family financially.

38. That you are careful when putting things together or assembling things and never rush the job and do it poorly.

39. That you like to play tennis and will play with the kids and I.

40. That you take the boys on special camping trips or special outings.

41. That you play Wii Fit with Tia.

42. That you always let me pick the show or movie at bedtime (and hardly ever complain).

43. That you rarely raise your voice to the kids or me.

44. That you almost always let me have the last say when it comes to decisions for the kids for things like schooling and activities, it makes me feel like you trust my parenting.

45. That you tell other people that I work hard.

46. That you never leave toothpaste in the sink.

47. That you give the best back rubs ever!

48. That you will go early when you pick up Tia just because you know I like it and so I won’t stress out.

49. That you tell the kids to listen to their mother.

50. That your arms fit perfectly around me and there is no other place on this earth that feels better.

Happy Father’s Day – I love you!!

Saturday, June 20, 2009


Yay, Saturday if finally here! This year I have been truly enjoying my Saturday mornings - there are some huge benefits to having teenagers, one of them being is that is not woken, they sleep, sleep, sleep! I am not kidding, often times it is around noon that the last two stubble out of bed. I have to admit that it is glorious. I get up, leisurely have my coffee, do my devotions, check my blog - there is no hurry to get anywhere or do anything, no rushing or dealing with a houseful of confirmed night owls - glorious!

I too, for most of my life, have been more a night person then a morning person, but over this last year I have trained my body (with lots of Gods help) to get up in the morning. Sleeping in does not give me the same joy it use to, now, I would rather get up early and go to bed earlier then stay up late and sleep in to the latest time possible. Sometimes this is difficult and causes me to get less sleep, as I am not able to sleep until all my children are home and my eldest sometimes works till 11 pm, but losing an hour of sleep and getting up on time still feels better than sleeping in that hour.

There have been health and lifestyle benefits to trying to keep a regular sleep schedule:

Better sleep - I tend to sleep better over all, I am not a "good" sleeper. I often have difficulty falling asleep and if woken during the night, I will have a very difficult time falling back to sleep. This was not a problem up until my mid 20's and it seems to get worse every year (I think that it is from my mother who also developed sleeping issues). When my sleep schedule is regular, my body seems to naturally want to follow it. I fall asleep faster (most nights) and for the most part, sleep more deeply till morning.

Waking up - I really no longer need an alarm clock. I use it because I my fear is that if I didn't that would be the day I didn't wake up! My body naturally wants to wake up and start my day around 6:30 in the morning. On weekends I often lay in bed and enjoy the feeling of comfort that only your bed first thing in the morning can give. Waking up on your own, and not by the jar of a buzzer going off, is a much better start to your day!

Time productivity - I am a bit of a mover and a shaker, I am most happy when time is being used efficiently and work is getting done! Okay, I admit that sometimes I have been called a slave driver, but I am one of those people who would not be able to relax in a dirty room. Someone told me once to "just leave the dishes for tomorrow" and I could have had a coronary! A good friend who was there choked on her drink she started laughing so hard! Leaving for tomorrow what should be done today is just not my style, but the older I get the more relaxed I seem to get (even if it unrecognizable to some!). Getting up in the morning and feeling good about relaxing for a bit, drinking some coffee, and doing devotions seems to be good for my over all productivity for the day.

So on weekends I do not have a specific schedule that I follow, so I will not post my a "To Do" list. Saturdays are used for working on tasks that the kids have lead roles in, home renovations or maintenance, fun activities out, or just hanging out and relaxing. Today we will be enjoying a fun day out and will be helping with a Soapbox Derby with Tyler's family (over at Titus2:3-5), which I am sure she will post pics on later today or tomorrow!

For more posts like this:

What I did this weekend...

Summer Time

Healthy Living

Have a blessed weekend,

Friday, June 19, 2009


Well, it is the end of the week and I saved the best for last…BUDGETING…aaaahhh! It is a horrid task, I admit, but one I feel deeply passionate about! So, to go with my theme of the week, here is…

My Typical “Friday To Do List”:

1. Banking and Budgeting
We may as well jump right in – and I will say up front that I DO NOT enjoy this chore, it gives me a headache and I try and do it when I am alone as I have a tendency to get snappy (my kids will attest to that), but I believe that no matter how dreaded this task, it is one of the most important things to do every week and to do well!

We live on a tight budget, as do many, and I am determined to make that tight budget work. One of the ways that I do this is by KNOWING WHERE MY MONEY IS GOING. I diligently record all incoming and outgoing monies in the appropriate column and so I have totals every month on what I spent on food, gas, dog care, and so on. For each month of the year I have a separate spreadsheet with a column outlining all my fixed expenses (e.g., mortgage, property taxes, insurance, etc), bills (electric, gas, water, etc) and variable expenses (food, gas, etc). The next column outlines the monthly budgeted amount and then there is column is for the actual amount spent/paid.

Every Friday I update my spreadsheet, filling in what was bought, paying bills and recording them and generally making sure that we have a balanced budget each month. If a new expense comes up, I need to find a way to fit it in the budget and still have it balance every month.

There are also some other things that I will do a couple times a year to insure that I am getting the best rates and services I can. I will randomly call my credit card companies and ask for a better interest rate, I have gotten my rates lowered on several occasions by doing this. I will also phone my services like my phone company to make sure that I am on a plan that best suits what I am using and what I need. Sometimes I will also ask what specials they are offering to new customers and then request the same offer for being a loyal customer. Sometimes I get laughed at, but often times I have gotten a couple of months at a cheaper rate. I also make sure that I “bundle” whatever I can, it saved me money by bundling my cable, internet and land phone line through the same company.

Since I have the lead role in finances in our home and I am the one who does the majority of the shopping, it is sometimes easy to forget to involve my hubby (I can be a pretty “take charge” type of gal), so at the end of every month I send him a copy of the monthly budget so he too knows where all the money is going. He especially likes it when I highlight all the purchases he made that I don’t approve of (like McDonalds) and then give him a nice little total (please hear the total sarcasm dripping ;) ). Well, maybe he doesn’t love it, but he admits that I am good at taking care of this chore and he wouldn’t want to do it, so I guess he will take my highlights in good humor, appreciating my hard work.

2. Laundry
On Fridays I wash the bedding. So the kids strip their beds and I wash sheets and blankets and so on. Not everyone gets their bed done every week, I do mine once a week, but the kids take turns and get theirs done about every other week or so. Blankets get done about once a month – there is only so much time in the day after all and prioritizing is key.

3. Dinner
On Fridays I try and plan something special for my husband and kids, after all they have had a long hard work and deserve a little treat. I prepare fun foods that everyone enjoys like lasagna, hamburgers, tacos, or pizza and try and make a special desert, something deliciously sinful like cheesecake or lava cakes to simple pleasures like ice cream with bananas and fudge sauce. Fridays are definitely time to unwind from a busy week.

I am always thankful for Fridays, I feel accomplished by getting through a week full of tasks and activities and look forward to some quieter times with the kids.

More posts like this:

Freeing Your Finances From Being Self-Controlled to God Controlled

50 Money Saving Tips

For more budgeting tips check out Frugal Fridays at Life as Mom!

Have a blessed Friday,

Thursday, June 18, 2009


As with all my posts this week, I will continue outlining my weekly schedule, today is Thursday, we are almost to the end of the week, phew! Today's schedule looks much like Monday's schedule.

My Typical "Thursday To Do List":

1. Cleaning
I have this huge list for cleaning, that outlines what needs to be done when. There is a Monday week one/week two, and a Thursday week one/week two. And I "loosely" follow this list. The reason why I say loosely is because it is not like I pour over my list checking of meticulously what has been done and scrambling to do everything on the list. Instead I use it as a guideline of what needs to be done. It is a gentle reminder not to only clean the oven fan once a year or to go 4 months without cleaning the oven.

So today is Thursday Clean - Week 2 (and the nice printed list is on my fridge). I keep track of what week is is as my kids are on a 4 week schedule for kitchen help, odd weeks are week 1, even weeks are week 2. As I explain this, it kind of sounds difficult or confusing, but honestly it really is not. Also, cleaning lists are helpful if anyone is actually helping clean, as all they have to do is look at the list to see what should be done - so if my kids ask "what needs to be done to clean the bathroom?" or "the livingroom looks clean to me!", I don't feel irritated that they don't know aready, or wonder how they are ever going to move out sucessfully on their own, I can just calmly tell them to look at the list.

2. Laundry
All of you with big families know, laundry just goes on and on and on...even those of you with only one or two children may feel like that. I use to really hate laundry, partly because I felt like I was doing it every day and it just never felt "done". Although this will change in the summer (I will probably do one load a day as we will be out more), during the school year I do not want to feel like I am doing laundry all the time, I would rather just set aside bigger chunks of time and do more, this is my preference though.

So today is laundry day (and I actually think my boys forgot to bring down their laundry, ha, ha - looks like it will be an easy laundry day :) ).

3. Shopping
I can not buy enough milk for an entire week normally (although I would LOVE another fridge to help with things like that!), so I will ofen run to the store and grab more milk. I try to stay focused and keep my eyes on the milk, and not buy anything else.

So there you have it - my Thursdays. Not very exciting, granted, but as Thurday evening tends to be a busy one, with 2 - 3 different things going on between the 4 kids, I like to make sure that things are done during the day so I can focus on getting the kids to their activities and off to work and I don't feel crazed at the dinner hour.

Have a great Thursday!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009


My days can be summed up as…
A. Busy, but running like a well-oiled machine.
B. A blur! Frantic running from one appointment or activity to the next, with nothing ever really getting done.
C. I am slowly going crazy – I don’t know what I will serve for dinner tonight, I have a pile of laundry as high as a 10 year old child, we have been out of milk for two days and we missed the first day of soccer last night.

Having a plan will save you time, money and sanity! Every year in late August I sit down and redo our chore charts for the family. Each of us has lead roles in certain areas, so I after I figure out the children’s chore charts I make one for myself. Basically this is just a weekly schedule of what needs to be done each week, like cleaning, laundry, shopping, etc. It is typically based loosely on last year schedule, making any changes that I think I need due any family or work changes. For the most part things have remained the same for the last few years - this helps the kids get into the routine of what I am doing and what is expected of them, but this is also for my benefit, as the older I get the more routine I like!



Here is my typical "Wednesday To Do List":

Wednesday is my kitchen day and my kids favourite day of the week. After my quick 20 minute clean I roll up my sleeves and get to work!

1. Baking
I love to bake cookies, squares, muffins, breads, you name it. I have a confession to make here, normally the first thing I bake is cookies, then promptly eat, hmmmm…4…okay, maybe more like 6. What can I say? I have no will power and I LOVE coffee and cookies! After my over-indulgence, I normally have no appetite for anything else I bake, so it all gets stored away, the majority of it in the freezer.

I also will often make 1 – 2 dozen muffins for my parents, which I store and freeze for them. My dad was eating store bought muffins (just saying that makes me cringe), once I found out I just couldn’t abide by that so ever since I make a point of baking them and setting them aside for them.

I also top up my granola, I love homemade granola, as does my eldest son and husband.

2. Casseroles
I always try to have 1 – 2 casseroles in the freezer for those days that nothing goes the way I planned or in case of last minute change of plans. I also do not like to cook much on weekends, I typically love big brunches and no fuss dinners, so casseroles work well for those nights as well. I personally am not found of casseroles, but my boys and husband absolutely love them. There favourites typically include some sort of ground beef, so I just add the ingredients for 2 – 3 casseroles per month into my monthly grocery shopping trip.
For more posts like this:
Have blessed Wednesday!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Catch All Tuesday

As I stated yesterday, this week I will be outlining my basic weekly schedule. Of course there are always exceptions and changes when need be, but beside my kids weekly chore schedule, I keep this basic outline to help me get the most out of my time. Since I am not a naturally organized person, I feel that sometimes my days can get a little scattered, plus, whenever I feel overwhelmed or tired this really helps - there is not thinking about what needs to get done and it helps me focus on all the tasks of the week.

Tuesday is my "catch all day", Tuesday's schedule becomes Monday's schedule if we had a long weekend or if for whatever reason I had to be out of the house all day long on Monday, but following a regular Monday...

Here is my typical "Tuesday To Do List":

1. Grocery Shopping
Every four weeks I do my big grocery shop, so obviously this is not an every Tuesday occurrence. But the shopping takes all day, I hit Costco, Walmart and Save On Foods, as some foods are cheaper at one place over another.

I have a huge list I go by, that includes all the pantry items and freezer items I will need for my monthly meal plan, plus and extra list of everything I need with regards to household items (e.g., toilet paper), personal items (e.g., shampoo) and some extra staples (e.g., peanut butter, mustard, juice, etc.). Sometimes I guess wrong and run out of baking ingredients or peanut butter, but over all this takes most of the guess work out of shopping and I normally have pretty good estimates of what extras I will need. Typically I always guess on the side of too much for staples or I will buy 2 or 3 extra if I find a really good sale, as extras can just be kept in my huge downstairs pantry that my hubby made for me.

I buy all of my meat in bulk at Costco, so this does take some type to separate into meal size portions. With my meal plan, I also created a list of all the food prep that needs to take place for that month. The list outlines how much hamburger to fry for the month, if I need to separate the bacon (some soup recipes call for just a few strips of bacon), what meat needs to be packaged in a marinade and so forth. Having this all done ahead of time is a huge time saver during a busy week and saves me a ton of money when I buy in bulk, so it is worth the extra effort. Often I run out of time on Tuesday to finish and this chore runs into Wednesday, as my Tuesday evenings are often really busy so whatever doesn't get done by 3:10 (when I have to leave to pick up the kids) typically has to wait till the next day.

2. Appointments
On Tuesdays I will set up appointments needed, like doctor, orthodontist, dentist and so forth.

3. Errands
I always seem to have some errand that needs to be done, whether it is dropping too small clothes of the kids off at a friends or charity, or depositing cheques into the bank, there always seems to be something.

4. Contract/Volunteer work
Whenever I take contract work (that can be done at home) or am helping with Women's Ministry at our church, Tuesday is the day that I set aside a chunk of time to get to work. This is also the day that I will spend more time writing, reading and researching different topics.

5. Baking
Tuesday is not my big baking day, but on those rare Tuesdays that I get everything done with time to spare, I will often bake up a quick batch of cookies or muffins, much to the delight of my kids.

Oh, I almost forgot, there is no way that I can do no cleaning in a day, on Tuesdays I do the basic, sweep the floors, clean up after breakfast, do a quick tidy of the living room and my bedroom (e.g., make my bed, put away anything my daughter or I left out from getting ready in the morning, etc.). I try to limit my cleaning time to 20 minutes, I put on a timer and go (and I do mean go!). I have a tendency to want to clean more than I should (it is a bad habit really), so putting on a timer helps to keep my on track, because I do have other things that need to be done and sometimes focusing is not my strong suit!

So there you have it - my super fun Tuesdays!

For more posts like this:

The Goal of Housekeeping

Making Summer Cleaning Quick and Efficient




Since my kids are all in school and I do not work full-time out side of the home, I get asked alot "what do you do all day long?" In order to answer that question I am going to spend the next 5 days outlining my weekly schedule.

Mondays are the most important day of the week for me during the school year (this will change once the kids get out of school, but we still have two weeks of school left this year). Mondays are my cleaning and organizing day, the day I set aside to get the entire week ready and organized.

Here is my typical "Monday To Do List":

1. Laundry
Other then bed sheets, all the laundry in the house needs to be brought down to the laundry room. Our laundry room is in the bathroom on the main floor, and although it is nice not to have to bring the clothes all the way to the basement (especially since that would mean hauling it up and down two levels for 5 of us), the bathroom is not big enough for any laundry piles. So everyone keeps a basket in their room for dirty laundry and on Mondays and Thursdays they need to bring it down to be washed. If they forget (it has happen a few times), they need to wait till the next laundry day to get it done. I do the laundry and put it back in the baskets for the kids to haul back upstairs (or downstairs for my eldest son who is a basement dweller) and put away.

Typically I do about 4 - 6 loads of laundry on Mondays, which unfortunately takes way longer than it should due to the fact that I need a new dryer. I would hang some clothes to dry, but my middle son Justin is very allergic to many different pollens, such as grass, Birch trees and so forth, which causes a rash all over his body, therefore, we do no outside drying.

2. Cleaning
The weekend seems to destroy my house every time, I don't know what happens exactly, but by Monday morning my fingers are just aching to clean, clean, clean!! On Monday I clean the entire main floor (kitchen, dinning room, living room, family room, bathroom, hallways and entrance ways) as well as the two bathrooms on the second floor and the master bedroom.

3. Meal planning
I follow a monthly meal plan and buy all my non-perishables and everything that I can freeze (meat, bread, etc) once a month. I have a list of fresh fruits, vegetables, and dairy from my meal plan that I pick up on Mondays (and any baking supplies that I have ran out of), although sometimes this is done on Sunday evenings, whichever is easiest and most convenient for me.

On Mondays I always plan my biggest meal of the week and lunches for the week. For instance, I will cook a roast of beef or pork that is large enough for dinner, then lunchmeat for the remaining four days of the week. If I am planning on a pasta salad or soup for lunches that week, then I would also prepare that.

Monday is also my yogurt making day, since I am typically at home for the majority of the day, this is the best day for me. Although making yogurt is not difficult by any means, it does take some monitoring and planning, this is easiest if you are planning on being home.

4. Weekly planning
I have a basic schedule that I follow, but sometimes we have field trips, or special evening events or extra things that need to be done (like getting my wheels aligned or baking something for a class snack or any other of the hundreds of things that come up with kids!). On Monday I plan out my week, adding appointments, tasks, or making any changes in my weekly meal plan due to evening commitments (which often is as easy as swapping meals around a bit, like Tuesdays crock pot meal on Wednesday), but sometimes that means that due to time constraints, we get a fun pizza or mac and cheese night.

So there you have it, my typical Monday…and since I have the majority of these chores left to do I better get at it!

Have a great week!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Summer Time

Well time seems to be flying by in rapid motion, with end of year trips and special events around every turn. Long evenings outside, first trips to the beach and picnics in the sun. I always enjoy this time of year, so much happening, lots of fun going on, the promise of long and lazy summer days are so close. The sun warming your skin, the sand beneath your toes and the smell of sunscreen filling your nose becomes more than some far away fantasy, but instead these fun filled days are so close that you can just taste it. The deep and satisfying pull of summer settles deep within your soul, somewhere where God meets you and calls out to you to leave all schedules and appointments behind and in its place calls out to you to just lay back and enjoy your family and His creation. There is something almost magical about summer, something that soothes my soul and eases all the stress from a too busy school year. And as we move into my eldest son’s last year of high school before graduation (Gr 12), my middle boys last year of middle school (Gr 9), and my daughters first year of middle school (Gr 7), I feel like this summer is definitely one to be savored as big changes are on there way.

Yesterday morning my daughter and I went to our local farmers market, Tia was on the lookout for mini donuts and homemade soap (she’s hooked and can’t go back to what she calls “regular soap” – what a drama queen!) and I was on the look out for some local produce and I wanted to see what was new at the market this year. It seems like every year it just gets bigger and bigger and much to my delight the produce spread out everywhere was fabulous and ended up having a very hard time deciding what to get. We like a lot of leafy greens, and beets are a total treat, but lets just say that any vegetable cooked on the bbq will be eaten in a hurry!

So what did I decide? After much humming and hawing we finally decided on a tomatoes, a cucumber, beets, jalapeno peppers and strawberries - plus some cinnamon honey for a treat (it is soooo good). So last nights menu will included grilled chicken, grilled jalapeno peppers, red peppers, onions and tomatoes and baked potatoes loaded with sour cream and chives. This morning my husband and I had strawberries, yogurt and granola – which is my personal favorite

Since I spent all afternoon and evening doing yard work, then topped off the day with a game of tennis, lets just say that today will be quieter and slower (as my aching muscles demand it!)! My husband and boys have taken off to play some paint ball, which means my daughter and I will have the whole house to ourselves all day long and it will be early in bed tonight for everyone’s early start tomorrow, which will kick off a very busy week.

So here is to all you Canadian’s that are anxiously waiting for school to be over and all the lounging and playing to begin – just two more weeks :)


Friday, June 12, 2009

Freeing Your Finances From Being Self-Controlled to God-Controlled

I don’t know about you, but left to my own devices and my own will power, I often lack self-control – there are cookies in the house, so I snack on them all day long….I am tired in the morning, so I sleep in and miss my time with God…I am frustrated with my kids, so I raise my voice…I am hungry while out doing errands, so I pull through a drive thru…my kids ask me for new clothes with big pleading eyes, and I find myself in a checkout line behind some girl with pink spiked hair wondering when I got so old (wasn’t it just yesterday that I was that teenager???).

It really should not surprise me that I lack self-control, I think that sometimes we get sucked into thinking that we can just buckle down, exert some will power, and get it done on our own. Yet that is not what the Bible teaches, instead the Bible teaches that THROUGH GOD - through His power, His might, His strength, and His authority we can do all things. God did not create us to do things alone or to try and do things through our own strength. It is only when I stop trying to live by my own will (or my own strength) that God’s will (or God’s strength) can completely take over.

The same is true for our finances – the more I try to control and exert my will, the more I seem to be stressed and anxious over money – how much is coming in, how much is going out, whether or not we should buy this new washing machine or that vehicle. How many times have you bought something and then later felt guilty about it? I sure don’t want to count!

God wants us to trust and rely on Him with our finances – every aspect of our finances. Many times we think of this only in the aspect of trusting God to provide for us, but this also involves trusting God to show you how to use the money He gave you. Trusting God to provide then spending foolishly is not God’s plan.

So what does this mean? You may be wondering how this plays out in MY life - how do I try and put aside my own will and let my finances be God-controlled? Well, the first thing I will admit to is that in no way am I 100% successful, I fail many times, but God grants us a new day every morning (thank goodness!!), but here are couple of tips that work for me:

1. If I am constantly over-spending on my grocery budget, I start to keep all my receipts and go over them with a highlighter and highlight everything that was not a necessity, or in other words – not a wise purchase - then I total the amount to see how much I could have saved on that particular shopping trip. Sometimes just this act is enough, but other times God has lead me to gather up all those items and take them back to the store (you only have to do that once or twice before you invite God into your next shopping trip to avoid embarrassment of returning chips or cookies the next day).

2. When it comes to big purchases, I will not purchase until I feel peace with the purchase and until my husband and I can come into agreement (okay I know that sounds, I don’t know, maybe a bit righteous - not true - sometimes I totally fail and let my own greed or ego lead the way). This often means doing without something that we really think that we need, but I try and remember that a purchase without God’s approval is just setting my family up for hardship. I have to admit that this is hard – and even well meaning Christian friends can make this difficult and do not understand some of my decisions – I don’t blame them, I sure didn’t understand why God has not given me the go ahead to buy a new van the last time it broke down and it took my husband two days to fix it!

3. On payday I set aside time to deal with budgeting. This means, figuring out what needs to be paid and meeting our financial commitments BEFORE spending on things like food, gas, entertainment, etc. If we only have $50 left after meeting our financial commitments, then God and I need to spend some time figuring out and re-looking at our budget. The same is true if we have $5000 left, God and I need to spend some time figuring out where to put that money and not just dwindle it away on unnecessary purchases.

For more tips on how I deal with my finances see:

Managing our Money - Part I

Managing our Money - Part II - Spending Habits

For more money saving tips see Frugal Fridays edition from Life as Mom

Thursday, June 4, 2009

What happens to dogs hair when they play on the trampoline!

My dog Rex LOVES our trampoline, we catch him on it almost every time he goes out into the yard. He naps on it, runs on it, jumps on it - he is on the trampoline more than the children are!

He loves to go onto his back and rub his head and back all over with his feet in the air, when he gets up - poof - up goes his hair!

This is not the wind blowing his hair!!!

Silly dog - can you tell that he is the BOYS dog???

My Adapted Yogurt Recipe

2 L of Homogenized milk
½ cup Skim milk powder (optional, but will help add extra thickness)
½ cup Natural plain yogurt (you only want to see three ingredients: milk, skim milk powder and bacterial cultures – that is it!!)

First things first, you really do need to use homogenized milk, I have had no luck with anything else. We drink 1% so that is what I used at first, I even tried a combination of 1% and cream (as I almost always have both of those ingredients in the house), but alas, that did not turn out as I had hoped either. So now, I just bite the bullet and run out and buy 2L of Homogenized milk every Sunday for yogurt making on Monday (and yes, we go through 2L of yogurt a week). For those of you that cringe at the thought of using such a full fat milk, relax, milk fat is a healthy fat and good for you - a very low fat diet may help you loose weight at first, but will not help you maintain a healthy body weight (I will post more about healthy and unhealthy fats on a later post).

Heat milk in your slow cooker for approximately 3 – 4 hours, until it reaches a temperature of 185 F. How fast it heats will depend on how cold your milk was when you started, how much milk you are using (if you are doubling the recipe), how big your slow cooker is, etc. Mine takes approximately 4 hours as I have a super big slow cooker. The first time you make it, just time how long it takes and make a note, so you know for next time.

Once the milk has reached temperature, let it cool in the pot for approximately 2 hours, until it reaches a temperature of 90 – 120 F (shoot for 110 F). It is important to let it cool down because hot temperatures will kill the bacterial cultures, meaning your yogurt will not “culture”.

Once the milk has reached temperature, remove 1 – 2 cups of milk and add ½ cup of yogurt (do not just pour the yogurt into the entire milk mixture as you want to slowly bring the yogurt up to temperature – not shock it). Stir well and add the yogurt mixture back to the rest of the warm milk, again, stir well.

Pour into glass containers (not plastic) and seal with lids.

Heat water to 100 – 120 F and pour into a small cooler. Place your jars in the cooler, making sure that the warm water covers the majority of the jar, but not over the bottom of the lid. Let sit undisturbed (unopened) and in a warm place for no less than 4 hours, and up to 24 hours (if you let your yogurt incubate for several hours, you will need to remove some of the cool water and add some warm water).

When the time is up, remove jars, wipe down and put in the fridge. The yogurt will need 8 – 10 hours in the fridge to cool before it is ready to eat.

NOTE: To make a vannilla version to this add 2 tsp of vannila and sugar at the cooling milk stage.

So your yogurt did not turn out:

So you made the “yogurt” and it does not look like yogurt, but more like buttermilk. Do not despair and throw it away! I have made lots of batches that haven’t turned out, and although it is frustrating (especially for me!!) to not have things turn out in the kitchen, your runny yogurt still has lots of uses!

- Use your yogurt like buttermilk in any recipe; it is delicious and good for you! Don’t have many recipes? Just ask me, I have a ton!!
- Use your yogurt in smoothies, the nutritional content is still there, and it doesn’t matter how thick your yogurt is when you make a smoothie.
- Make yogurt pops (recipes below)

Most importantly – do not let a batch of runny yogurt stop you from trying again. My first batch turned out so-so, my second batch perfect, my third batch totally runny. Just remember to check your temperature - that seems to be the key!

Happy Yogurt making,

(measurements are approximate – add as you see fit)

Brandon and Jesse’s Favorite Breakfast Smoothie Recipe:
(Note – this is Brandon’s recipe, not mine J )

2 cups Ice
2 cups Yogurt
1 Banana
½ cup Peanut Butter

Blend till smooth.

Tia’s Favorite After School Smoothie Recipe:

2 cups Ice
2 cups Yogurt
1 Banana
Big squirt of Strawberry Flavored Syrup

Blend till smooth.

Justin’s Favorite Yogurt Pops:

1 cup Ice
1 cup Yogurt
1 cup Blueberries (Fresh or Frozen)

Blend till smooth and pour into plastic popsicle containers and freeze.

Tia’s Favorite Yogurt Pops:

2 cups Yogurt
½ cup of Chocolate Flavored Syrup
2 tsp Espresso powder

Mix well and pour into plastic popsicle containers and freeze.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Using Vinegar for What???

Vinegar is a sour-tasting liquid produced usually by oxidation of the alcohol in wine (plain white vinegar or red wine vinegar) or cider (cider vinegar), and typically used for things like pickling, food preservation, marinating meat, or one of my favourites - putting on to of your French fries.
Apple cider vinegar has been noted for weight loss by helping the body burn calories better by boosting your metabolism, helping your body metabolize fats, and reducing your overall appetite and apparently this has been proven to help people loose weight. I know that there are supplements that suggest you take one or two capsules before every meal, but I have read over and over that the best way is just to have a teaspoon of cider vinegar before each meal, some recommend taking it with honey for an additional nutritional boost and to help sweeten the taste.

Apparently vinegar will also increases the health and shine of your hair. Shampoo as usual , then rinse hair with a mixture of one cup vinegar and two cups water. Vinegar adds highlights to brunette hair, restores the acid mantel, and removes soap film and sebum oil. I personally have not tried this on my hair as I am afraid of what “highlights” might mean, but my one son who has dandruff caused by eczema uses this after shampooing and it helps with the dandruff, chapped skin, itchiness and removes any build up in his hair.

Here is a quick run down of some of the ways to use vinegar for health and beauty:

- Neutralizes the alkali left by shampoos.
- Helps keep your hands soft.
- Helps you lose weight
- Can help relieve a sore throat.
- Can remove the nits if your children get lice.
- Antiseptic for abrasions
- Reduce itch from poison ivy or mosquito bites
- Helps re-hydrate sunburned skin.
- Is a skin cleanser
- Helps relieve dandruff
- Helps eliminate low-grade fevers

Many people use vinegar for things like cleaning windows, but vinegar is great to have as part of your cleaning supplies. You can use it as a rinse agent in your dishwasher, in your rinse cycle of your washing machine to remove any soap build up and to soften your clothes and help remove static, you can clean your bathroom, floors, walls, kitchen cupboard, you name it and vinegar will wash it.

Here is a quick run down of some of the things vinegar can do when you clean:

- Dissolves mineral deposits
- Deodorizes
- Disinfects
- Fabric softener
- Static cling reducer
- Air freshener
- Stain remover
- Neutralizes urine
- Removes calcium and lime deposits.
- Clean soap scum, mildew, and grime from bathtub, tile, and shower curtains

Some people do not particularly like the smell of vinegar throughout their entire house, myself included, so when I make my cleaning supplies I always put a couple of drops of essential oils in as well. You need to use something that complements the vinegar enough to cover it up, so scents such as Green tea and Cucumber (my personal fav), Peppermint, Tea Tree, or Lemon all all good scents that work well. I personally love being able to pick my own scent, that is pleasing to me instead of having overpowering scents in the chemical laden commercial products that I use to buy.
I also love that once I make up a batch of All-Purpose Cleaner, I can wash anything without switching back and forth between cleaners. I can clean my cupboards, stove, fridge and floors, windows, mirrors all with the same cleaner, which saves time and money!
Now what about some other uses?

Did you know that bugs hate vinegar? Vinegar will kill dust mites, help keep flies away, and repels ants and mosquitoes (therefore, the more vinegar you injest, the more the bugs will stay away from you too!). I pour vinegar in areas that I want to keep the ants away and to help kill weeds, but be careful, vinegar will also kill grass and other such things, so only pour in areas that you will not be killing off things you want!

For more posts like this one also see:

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

My Trip to the Alberta Legislative Assembly in Edmonton

Yesterday I joined the Grade six class on a tour of our Legislative Assembly. Alberta is fairly “young”, but when we traveled to Edmonton to see our Provincial Government at work, we also got to see a piece of history as well. Alberta became a province in 1905 and the first legislative assembly was held in an ice rink, where 4000 people attended the ceremonies.

In 1907 construction of Alberta’s Legislature Building began. The Legislative Assembly first met in the building on November 30, 1911, but the project was not fully completed, and officially opened on September 3, 1912. Today, the sound systems have been updated, some new chairs brought in, but the desks, the flooring, the staircases, you name it, are all original.

The building is beautiful, as are the grounds, I am sorry for my bad photography that does not give it justice!