Friday, August 28, 2009
Well, I am still alive and kicking just in case anyone was wondering and I realize that I have not posted all week!
With my husband and boys all gone and just my daughter and I at home I have been lazy about cooking and meal times. Lets see, for the last two weeks we have lived off mocha smoothies (our favorite), chicken and tuna sandwiches, salad and store bought Mexican food that can be heated in the microwave (that may contain real meat?). Not the most healthy at times, but my daughter is soooo fussy and cooking for just me does not appeal to me.
All my four boys (three sons and hubby) are due back on Sunday after being gone for two weeks and we will have one day to get them ready for their first day back at school (go back Tuesday).
September will be busy as usual and I am looking forward to lots of new recipes, meal plans and chore chart planning. I am looking forward to some routine and scheduling as I have been starting to feel a bit lazy, sleeping in a bit too much and staying up way to late, but I have lots of happy memories with my kids from this summer, so sometimes taking it easy and relaxing the schedule is worth it!
Watch for my next post on Tuesday - I promise something yummy and tempting. Besides, my kids will need something to look forward to on their first day back to school, the only thing I need to decide is whether to make something smooth and velvety or rich and gooey...what do you think?
Friday, August 21, 2009
As you may have noticed, I have not posted any photos this week. The reason why is that my husband and three boys have left for a boys trip to Vancouver for two weeks and have taken the camera with them.
Therefore, the only photos I will be posting for the rest of August are photos taken by others and then sent to me or those already saved on my computer. Sorry everyone - I love photos too!
I love drinking coffee. The smell of freshly brewing coffee reminds me of happy childhood memories, of waking up Saturday mornings the smell of fresh coffee, bacon and pancakes.
Today we have many choices for specialty coffees, some which are sure to break the bank! Since I do not like to spend those high prices I have come up with some easy and frugal recipes for my favorites.
1 cup ice
1 cup plain yogurt
1 tsp espresso powder
1 squeeze of chocolate syrup (or you can use cocoa powder and honey)
Blend together in your blender till well mixed and frothy. If it is too thick just add a splash of milk or cream.
Sprinkle a teaspoon or so of cinnamon over your coffee grounds in your coffee maker and brew your coffee as normal. Serve with some honey and cream.
To make this extra special, whip some cream and dollop some fresh cream on the top and sprinkle with cinnamon.
I know you can buy cream for this, but how healthy is a "dairy product" that has a shelf life of months? Here is a healthier versions...
Mix 1 tsp of vanilla into a half a cup of cream, use a bit of sugar or honey to sweeten your coffee to your preference.
For more frugal tips and recipes check out Recipe Swap, Food on Fridays, Foodie Fridays, The Finer Things and Frugal Fridays.
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
I assumed that frizzy hair was my lot in life and that there where worse things, so I shouldn't complain, BUT I have been experimenting with homemade hair rinses for the last couple of weeks or so and have noticed a huge difference in my hair! No longer is my hair this wild, out of control mass that I try to flat iron into submission, it is actually silkier, smoother and shinier. Now once I blow dry my hair I just spend about 1 minute with the flat iron to smooth out a couple of strays, plus my hair looks and feels healthier and I have noticed a decrease in the amount of hair that is falling out as I shower (which was getting me a bit concerned!).
So what am I rinsing my hair with???
My Hair Rinse (made for brunettes, it has some hair darkening qualities)
1 cup of Apple cider vinegar
2 cup tea (*see below for directions)
2 - 3 drops Rosemary essential oil
1 - 2 Dark tea bag (any black tea will do)
4 tbsp dried herbs (rosemary, lavender, parsley and sage leaves are all good)
Pour 2 cups of boiling water over the tea and herbs and let steep for 2 hours. Strain.
Combine vinegar, tea and essential oils.
Shampoo as normal, then, starting at the roots, pour about 1/4 cup or so (more if you have longer hair) onto your hair and massage in. Let sit for a few minutes. If you condition your hair, you can rinse your hair then put in the conditioner or just condition over the rinse. Rinse well with cool to warm water.
I make a large batch, keep it under my bathroom sink and fill a smaller plastic bottle that I keep in my shower. This lasts me at least 2 weeks. You can omit the tea all together and just use apple cider vinegar and water, but the herbs and tea add extra shine and strengthening benefits.
For more tips and tricks check out WFMW!
For more posts like this:
Making Your Own Beauty Products
Making Your Own Bath Salts
Sunday, August 16, 2009
Saturday, August 15, 2009
Friday, August 14, 2009
Mocha Freeze Mini-Cheesecakes
24 Oreo cookies
2/3 cup chocolate chips
3 tbsp water
1 pkg (8 oz) of cream cheese
1 container (250 oz) of sweetened condensed milk
2 tsp espresso powder (or 1 tbsp instant coffee powder)
1/2 cup whipping cream, whipped till stiff peaks form
Place oreo cookies in muffin tins lined with paper or foil liners. Set aside.
Melt chocolate chips with the water in the microwave. Mix till smooth (be careful not to overcook). Set aside to cool for a few minutes.
Mix together cream cheese and condensed milk till fluffy and smooth, add coffee. Pour in melted chocolate and blend till smooth. Fold in whipping cream.
Divide cream cheese mixture over the cookies. Freeze for at least 4 hours.
For more great recipe ideas check out Foodie Fridays, Recipe Swap and Food on Fridays!
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
I have been going through books and websites that talk about making your own beauty products and have had lots of great results, so I have been starting to branch out. Here is the lip gloss recipe that I made for my daughter (and me!) that she LOVES!
Shinny Lip Gloss
*Recipe from Janice Cox (She has lots of great recipes!)
1 tsp Coconut oil (found in any health food store)
1 tsp Petroleum jelly
Melt in a small dish and pour into an clean lip gloss container or pill box (found at any pharmacy).
Let cool and ta-da - instant frugal lip gloss! Can it be any easier???
For more great tips check out WFMW!
More posts like this one:
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
I typically make 5 - 6 batches of jam over the summer, which lasts us throughout the year and even give us a couple to give away as gifts. Yesterday I got a good start with two batches of Saskatoon Rhubarb and one batch of Saskatoon Strawberry. I will likely still make some Raspberry Rhubarb, my raspberry bushes are not looking so good this year and we have had a really late season overall, but even if I get one batch I will be happy.
Saskatoon Rhubarb Jam
4 cups Saskatoon berries
2 cups Rhubarb, diced small
1 pkg Reduced sugar pectin powder
2 1/2 cups Sugar
Put the fruit, 1/4 cup of the sugar and the pectin powder into a large pot. Bring to a boil. Add the remaining amount of sugar and boil for 1 minute.
Pour into sterilized jars. If the lids to not snap within a few hours then refrigerate.
(*Note: I always put my jams into a hot water bath - Bring a large pot of water to a boil, place jars of jam in the hot water and let boil for 10 minutes.)
For more recipe ideas check out Tempt my Tummy, Tasty Tuesday and At the Table!
Monday, August 10, 2009
I despise messes, so home renovations seriously stress me out! When we moved into this house just over two years ago I was relieved that no serious renovations were needed - the house was painted and updated, and although not necessarily to my exact tastes, it was nice and nothing needed to be done. The previous house we had was bought with the intention to fix it us and sell for a profit, so renovations seemed to be constant and I was happy that our new house was move in ready.
About a year ago, I decided that I should paint my daughters room (well, she decided and I conceded). About 6 months after that, my middle son's joined in that they did not enjoy the bright blue paint and astronaut wallpaper boarder (come on I argued - what teenage boy wouldn't love the astronauts, but they stood firm!). So again, I conceded and painted their room.
I don't know what got into me the other day, but I was just sitting there looking around my house when I decided that not another minute could go by, that I must paint immediately. I was never fond of the red paint in the family room. It was one of those colors that you thought was okay at first, but after some time you realize that is sort of off, maybe the tone wasn't quite right, I am not sure, but all I know is that the time had come for it to go. I had put off this task due to disagreements with what color to put up and the fact that it has very high ceilings, so it would be difficult to paint.
Regardless, once my mind has been made up, the primer came out, tape went up and baseboards were pulled off before my husband could shout "NOOO"! And before he could charge after me up the stairs I had the burgundy wall in our bedroom painted as well.
With each stroke of paint I felt better and I have to say the rooms look fantastic (I will post a picture later today - my camera is dead - sorry)! I wish that I could show you some before pictures, but in my hurry to make the change I did not even think about it! Although we need to buy some new curtains and a couple of pictures for the walls, the hard work of painting and rearranging furniture is complete (big sigh of relief!).
Have a happy Monday!
Friday, August 7, 2009
I LOVE hamburgers! I don't know what I love most about them - that you can eat them anywhere, that you can make them taste so different with spices and toppings, that they are pretty frugal meal for hungry boys, or that they are a crowd pleaser!
I will buy pre-made burgers to cook in a pinch, but there is something special about a thick and juicy homemade burger, loaded high with fresh veggies on a crusty bun.
Asian Inspired BBQ Pork Burgers
3 - 4 lbs Ground pork
1/4 cup Soya sauce
1/2 cup Oatmeal (a healthier alternative to bread crumbs)
1/4 cup Natural bran (honest - you will never taste the bran and it gives a nutritional boost to your burgers!)
*All spices are approximate - I don't measure, just pour or sprinkle, add to your own taste preferences :)
2 tsp dry mustard
2 tsp garlic granules
2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 - 1 tsp hot pepper flakes
1 tsp ground pepper
1 tbsp parsley
Once you place everything in a large bowl, push up your sleeves and mix with your hands. Form patties that are a bit larger than your buns as they will shrink up a bit. This recipe will make 12 - 16 burgers, depending on what size you like your burger. We tend you make big, fat burgers, so this recipe will give us 12.
These make great sandwhiches for lunch the next day - a favorite for my husband and sons!
Tuesday, August 4, 2009
Sunday, August 2, 2009
Are you looking for books that will captivate you and leave you feeling inspired and uplifted by God's glory and might? Well look no further than novels by Francine Rivers. Among other titles, Francine Rivers has written two series that outline the lives of ten remarkable people in the Bible.
Sons of Encouragement - Tells the stories of five men who worked along side of God’s chosen leaders
The Priest - Story of Aaron
The Warrior - Story of Celeb
The Prince - Story of Johnathan
The Prophet - Story of Amos
The Scribe - Story of Silas
Lineage of Grace - Tells the stories of five women in the lineage of Christ
Unveiled - Story of Tamar
Unashamed - Story of Rahab
Unshaken - Story of Ruth
Unspoken - Story of Bathsheba
Unafraid - Story of Mary
I hear many people say they love the Psalms or the gospels, but me, I have a deep love of the stories of the Old Testament. I am captivated and drawn into the struggles, pain, perseverance, disobedience than repentance, and most of all, Gods unfailing love and might. I can see my own life in these stories, but most of all I start to understand Gods true character.
I see Leah’s loneliness and see that God saw...
I see Celeb’s courage and determination and see that God was faithful...
I see Ruth’s loyalty and humbleness and see Gods provision...
I see Bathsheba’s and David’s sin and I see Gods overwhelming mercy and forgiveness...
I see these people, I read about their lives and I see God!
Although these two series are considered a historical fiction, they are very biblically accurate and readers are encouraged to be read along side the stories in the Bible. After I read them, I got my bible out and re-read the scriptures and the words seemed to jump out at me from the page. These were not just stories - but real people, who were sometimes sinful or disobedient and sometimes courageous and faithful, but God saw each of them and used each of them.
I encourage you to make Sons of Encouragement and Lineage of Grace part of your summer reading!
Other Book Reviews:
The Five Love Languages