Friday, July 31, 2015

39 Things About Me

In honor of my birthday this week, I thought it'd be fun to share 39 things you may or may not know about me.

1. I was born at home in the house my parents still live in.
2. I have a 1st cousin twin. Same day; same year. Born just a couple hours apart.
3. My mom often made homemade peach ice cream for my birthday while growing up.
4. I have never made ice cream.
5. I was always terrified of dogs until we got ours.(Power of persuasion!) After a few rough weeks, I was in love and he is now "my dog".
6. I considered nursing school before Early Childhood Education.
7. As a young adult, I had a back-up plan in case I never married.
8. I would be single and adopt a child.
9. My plan of support was to have my own small preschool attached to my home, not in it. I would call it The Bean Patch: Growing Little Sprouts.
10. I met my husband in fall of 2002.
11. We were married in October 2004.
12. We met on the internet. (Oh the things you find!)
 Celebrating my 2nd birthday with my twin cousin.
13. I've always been fascinated with names.
14. I was that "fun child" who often threw up on trips and in public places.
15. I love chocolate. Except for white chocolate.
16. My dad and I have the same sense of humor.
17. We still laugh at the same jokes we told in 1992.
18. I usually sleep when watching movies. Except in the theater.
19. I am a very literal person and concrete thinker.
20. I cannot wrap my head around movies that have time warps and such in them. I'm like, "But that could not happen!"
21. I love gravy.
22. And bacon.
23. I can spot clearance stickers and yard sale signs a mile away.
24. I love to cook and bake.
My 7th birthday celebrated while traveling. This was taken at a campground in Nebraska.
25. I've lived in 4 states.
26. I have an analytical personality.
27. But too many details drive me crazy.
28. Just give me the facts, please!
29. I thrive on routine.
30. Not big on surprises.
31. I'm naturally and "all or nothing" person. God is bringing that more into balance.
32. My favorite colors are red and a plum shade of purple.
33. I dislike getting on and off of escalators.
34. I usually dislike shopping.
35. I love staying home.
36. I'm a true morning person.
37. The early morning dark and quiet is wonderful.
38. I hate flip flops. Cannot stand that thing between my toes. 
39. I thought this would take longer and be harder than it was!

Your turn! Tell me a few random facts about you!

Thursday, July 23, 2015


Tomatoes from a friend at work.

Home-grown basil.

Late season strawberries from my Mom's  garden. In vintage Tupperware. (This picture was taken around July 4th when we visited my parents.)

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

July Pantry Challenge

As I mentioned last week, one of the ways we're saving money right now is by doing a Pantry Challenge this month.

We don't really have any rules for our pantry challenge except to spend as little as possible! We're utilizing the contents of our freezers(one upright and two refrigerator freezers) and pantry shelves and coming up with as many meals as possible.

So far, I've cooked a turkey, baked bread, made several bean dishes, cooked some split chicken breast bones(with lots of meat still on them) and made broth, soup and some diced chicken, made pancakes and corn muffins. Plus much more!

Our freezers aren't that well stocked right now since I've been cleaning them out and using up random items for the past several months. But there are still many good things to eat in there!

This week's supper menu looks like this:
1. Tomato soup, cheese melts, leftover coleslaw
2. Salmon patties, green beans, bread
3. Pork chops, broccoli, rice
4. Barbecue turkey sandwiches, applesauce, celery sticks
5. Black bean and rice dish
6. Turkey and gravy, rice, peas
7. "Eggroll in a bowl" with chicken instead of beef, rice

Not fancy,  but we will still get plenty to eat!

Breakfasts will be pancakes, pumpkin and zucchini bread I found in the back of the freezer, toast, eggs, etc.

Lunches will be leftovers, canned soup, split pea soup from freezer, peanut butter sandwiches, popcorn, canned fruit, etc.

My total spent so far for grocery/household items this month is $28.15. I'm planning an Aldi trip later today so will probably double that amount.

What are you eating this week? 

*Food pictures from the last couple of months. From top to bottom, ham and broccoli frittata, pumpkin bread and some goodies from the Farmer's Market!

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Frugal Stuff

How about some frugal things we've been doing lately to save money?

We're saving for our adoption and paying for some repairs that popped up this summer so we're in super frugal mode around here!

1. I'm doing a pantry challenge in July seeing how many meals I can make without going to the store. We should be able to eat well for a couple of weeks.

2. Instead of buying a baby gift for a recent baby shower, I made one with scraps I had on hand. I made a set of 3 burp cloths using this tutorial then made a matching tag blanket. I forgot to take a picture of the burp cloths--they turned out really cute. I used the pink minky for one side of each burpcloth (had just enough with a few scraps left!) then used the green and pink cotton prints for the other side. I paired the pink gingham and strawberry print together since neither one was enough as they were. Frugal or not, I really prefer making my gifts to buying them--very enjoyable!
Front of tag blanket.
Reverse side of tag blanket.
3. I cooked a turkey I had in the freezer. This turkey was bought during Thanksgiving sales at 59 cents a pound. I bought two turkeys last year and this was my last one. It's been hot so I was able to cook it in my large crockpot rather than heat up the kitchen by turning on the oven. I made a big batch of gravy to freeze with the stock from cooking the turkey then made some more broth with the skins and carcass. I got at least 12 cups meat off the turkey too. The turkey was around 13 pounds. We'll get quite a few meals from one bird!

4. The library has become my free bookstore. I've been requesting the books needed as part of our adoption training. There is only one item on the list that isn't available through the library! These are the two books I'm reading right now.

5. I had some onions that were starting to go bad. I cut the mushy spots off then sliced the onions and filled the dehydrator with them. A day later, I had my own dried minced onions.

6. Andy won a giveaway at Sport Clips back in March during March Madness. Whoever submitted the bracket with the most wins would get free haircuts for a year. Well, his bracket wasn't that good but he was the only one to enter at our location so he received the prize! So, he has been getting free haircuts! He does leave a tip each time.

7. I made some cute pillows for our front porch chairs using what I had on hand. Since these are out in the weather, I used old pillow forms as well so it doesn't matter if they get nasty after a while. I love red, white and blue for summer!

8. And just for fun--free entertainment at the dog's expense. I never fail to enjoy wrapping Rock up in a towel when drying his feet and body off after being outside. Always amuses me! Here he is thinking, "Seriously, what is she going to make me do next?!?"
 What fun, free and frugal things have you been doing lately?

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Pinterest Try: Homemade Dog Treats

Recently, I tried a recipe for peanut butter dog treats that I had pinned on Pinterest. These were super easy and called for just a few regular pantry ingredients.

I tweaked the recipe slightly for better dough consistency but can't remember now what I did. I'll take notes next time and then update this post. It was either more flour or more water. ;-)

I keep the treats in a freezer container and thaw a handful every so often. When thawed, I put them in the "doggy treat" jar. I don't want them to mold before we can use them! So far I've had good success with the treats staying fresh in the jar for up to about 10 days. None have molded yet.

Rock loves these treats and they are so simple to make!

Homemade Peanut Butter Dog Treats from Life Your Way

  • 1/4 cup peanut butter
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon powdered milk
  • 1 cup white whole wheat flour
  • 3-4 tablespoons water
Combine peanut butter, egg, salt, powdered milk and flour. Add water one tablespoon at a time until you have a doughy texture. It should be easy to form but not sticky.
Roll out dough to 1/4″ thickness and cut out with a cookie cutter. Re-roll scraps and repeat.
Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes, flipping halfway through.


Thursday, July 09, 2015

Summer Happenings

This summer started off with a bang!

Since I posted last, we have had several sets of overnight visitors, had a huge adoption fundraiser yard sale and we just arrived home from a week long trip to Oregon to visit my family.

While in Oregon, we enjoyed a Eugene Emeralds baseball game. 
I hope to slow some at this point, being mindful in accomplishing some home things that need attention and enjoy the rest of the summer.

In adoption news, our first home study visit is scheduled at the end of this month. If you would like to more closely follow our adoption journey, we invite you to visit our blog, Shepherd's Little Lamb. We try to post there at least monthly to keep everyone updated on the process. The blog is a great way to learn about current fundraisers that we are doing as well. In a nutshell, our last name means 'shepherd' so Shepherd's Little Lamb seemed to be a fitting blog name. (And many of the other names we thought of were already taken or too difficult to spell.)

Hopefully, I'll be back to blogging a little more regularly. My goal is to post twice a week through the summer.

How is your summer going? 

Thursday, May 07, 2015

Use What You Have Zipper Pouches

I had this rather large piece of vintage-y quilted fabric in my stash. It came in a bargain bag of scraps from a yard sale a few years ago. 

Anyways, I've been trying to make use of what I have instead of buying more. Partly to save money but mostly because it means less to move around when my sewing room becomes a nursery. 

This fabric was already sewn into something and taken apart so this is not it's first party. Ha! It's a little worn in spots but perfect for these zipper pouches. 

I often need some pouches for storing items when traveling. I made one large enough to carry my hair straightener and then the second one ended up a little smaller because of the size of the fabric. 

I had some red gingham ruffle in my scrap bucket pile. I think it was given to me in a box of fabric?? 

Anyways, I liked it with the sweet strawberry fabric so I sewed some ruffles on the pouches. 

Even the zippers were repurposed from some old lingerie bags!!! 

So yay for a quick evening project that cost nothing to make but is cute and super useful! 
 I still have some small pieces of this fabric left--will have to see what I can make with them!