Pie Crust Pleasers

After making chicken pot pie last week, I had some leftover pie crust.  The thing about tender, flaky pie crust is that you shouldn’t touch it.  Don’t mess with it too much, or it gets tough.  Tough pie crust is not tasty pie crust.  And “not tasty” pie crust is just plain not worth it!

So, instead of messing with your crust and trying to make something out of it (like rolling it out again to make another pie crust, only to be disappointed when your crust doesn’t quite fit… and is now quite tough… wanna ask me how I know?) make Pie Crust Pleasers (I totally made up that name for this post… I don’t think these really have a name)! 

Simply lay your scraps in a pan as you cut them, and generously sprinkle with cinnamon sugar. 

"That MY job, Mommy."

"That MY job, Mommy."

Bake in a 350 oven for about 15 minutes, or until golden brown.

Mmmmm.  I remember fighting over these sharing these with my siblings growing up.  And my sister?  Don’t tell her I told you this, but I think she sometimes makes pie crust just to make these.  Yep.  She cuts the whole recipe into strips for Pie Crust Pleasers.  They are that good.

Be sure to visit Tempt My Tummy Tuesday and Kitchen Tip Tuesday, and check out my church cookbook giveaway!

Frugal Living in a Tiny Town

A warm Finer Things welcome to Money Saving Mom visitors!  For all the rest of you, head on over to Crystal’s awesome money saving blog to check out my latest guest post:  Frugal Living in a Tiny Town.

**Note:  This is not my post office.  It sure is cute, though, and ours isn’t much bigger!

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Simple Finances

Keeping our finances simple is one thing that has given us peace of mind and heart during the nearly ten years that we’ve been married.  Because of the choices that we have made and continue to make on a daily basis, we’re able to continue on course when the financial world around us seems to be in turmoil.

Our simple money management looks like this:

We live below our means, even though our current means qualify us for some state assistance.

  • One of my least favorite sayings is “you spend what you earn.”  So not true.  The very thought of spending my husband’s full paycheck every month is frightening.
  • We lived below our means even when we had two jobs and no children.  That made things much simpler when it came time to transition to one income!
  • We have learned so much about being content with what we are blessed with. 
  • When an unexpected expense comes in (recently it’s been doctor bills) we can write a check.  The money is there.  That doesn’t make paying the bill any more fun, but it sure simplifies matters!
  • Because we live below our means, we are able to give.  Giving brings peace to our lives.

Aside from our 15 year mortgage, which we are working toward paying off early, we have no debt.

  • We are extremely thankful to be nearly debt-free.  If something were to happen to our income, we wouldn’t have the added stress of trying to hang on to things that aren’t yet paid for. 
  • Payments irk me.  I can’t stand the thought of paying interest money for anything.  I would much rather watch interest pay me in our mutual funds (which I am confident will rebound ;-).   If we can’t pay cash (or we just don’t want to!) we don’t buy it. 
  • Having no debt leaves necessary wiggle room in the budget.  Even though it’s hard to watch prices go up on nearly every type of item, we can make the adjustment. 

Who are the Joneses, anyway? 

  •  It’s just a guess, but I picture the Joneses being incredibly stressed out about paying for all the things they’ve collected, watching in horror as their credit card interest accrues… on items they don’t remember needing or purchasing.  Again, just a guess, but who needs that?
  • Another thing with the Joneses.  If they really can pay for all of that stuff, what are they sacrificing?  Their time?  Health?  Relationships?  Defiitely not simple, and definitely not worth it.
  • Again, contentment.  We’re content with our older home (with a nice big yard for the kids to play in and for a garden!)  We’re content with our tv, and our cell phone, and our two older vehicles.  They get us where we’re going safely.   

Keeping our finances simple has been a true blessing to our marriage.  The teamwork that it takes to create and implement our financial goals, and to hold one another accountable when one of us really wants something 😉 , has contributed to our unbreakable bond.  We are so richly blessed.

For more Living Simply Saturdays, visit Keeper of the Home.

Frivolous Friday

My blogging friend Katestarted this “un-frugal Friday” post in honor of Crystal’s vacation from Frugal Friday.  Sounds like fun!  So, if I wasn’t Frugal Franny…

  1. If you had $100 that you had to spend on a luxury item, what would you spend it on? (I cannot believe this is so hard for me!  I seriously have been trying to come up with an answer since I read the question last night.  I think I even went to bed thinking about it!  How hard should it be to think of the frivolous spending of $100???  People do this every day!!!)  The best I can come up with is some non-mommy clothes.  Something pretty to go out on the town. *cough, cough* Like we ever do that…   
  2. If you had to eat out every day for a week, which restaurants would you go to?  Oh my word, Kate, you’re killing me.  I don’t think I can even name five restaurants!  But I do love Outback Steakhouse, and I’d go five days in a row if you’d let me.  And I’d order Alice Springs Chicken every time!  (I know, I know… I need to get out more!)  Well, now, wait a minute.  I love a good burger.  I hear Red Robin has some of the best.  And if I was really eating out that many days in a row… my body would be screaming for a fresh salad around day 3 or 4.  I’ve had good salads at Applebee’s… and maybe Olive Garden?  or was that Italian Garden?  I don’t know, that was about 10 years ago.
  3. What is one non-frugal thing you’ve done recently where you were glad you didn’t have a blog video recording you?  Not so recently, I guess, but for my sister’s wedding in July I bought a pair of $10 sandals for my 1 year old, knowing full well that she probably would scream if I put them on her feet.  She abhors shoes.  Come family photo time, which also happened to be nap time, she was already grumpy and I didn’t dare put the sandals on for fear of ruining the picture… bare feet seemed like a better idea than a screaming child.  Fast forward 3 months — the sandals are still sitting on my dresser in the box.  Never worn.  Never returned.  (You can see a picture of my family at the wedding on my True Riches page.)  OH, Oh wait!  My sister-in-law just had a baby girl last night!  Her first girl!  Surely she’ll need cute white sandals next summer, right?  I feel so much better now.  😉
  4. This question is mine.  Kate stopped at three.  If money were no object and you had to take a vacation (you poor thing) where would you go?  Alaskan cruise, hands down.  Lance and I will do that someday, mark my words!

Feel free to play along on your blog!  Let me know if you do and I’ll visit!

Finances Schminances

What a wonder that I do not have to worry about our family finances.  I don’t need to worry about anything, actually.  God says so!  For that I am grateful.

Dismiss all anxiety from your minds.  Present your needs to God in every form of prayer and in petitions full of gratitude.  Then God’s own peace, which is beyond all understanding, will stand guard over your hearts and minds, in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4: 6,7

Instead of stressing over past mistakes and an uncertain financial future on an income that qualifies our daughter for reduced school lunch prices, we can continue doing what we’ve set out to do from the beginning of our marriage (and before when we were single).

  • My parents taught me to “save ’till it hurts.”  I always have, so it is second nature.  For that I am grateful.
  • The first three years of our marriage, when we both had excellent-paying teaching jobs, we lived below our means.  For that I am grateful. 
  • When we shopped for our first home, we both laughed out loud when the bank wanted to loan us $200,000+ for a rather large, new home.  We went for the cozy, 1,200 square foot, circa 1965 model.  For that I am grateful. 
  • Knowing while we were engaged (and even while we dated!) that we both wanted me to stay home and raise any children that God saw fit to give us, we tried to live on one income from the beginning.  Oh, how much easier the actual transition was 5 years later when our daughter was finally born!  For that I am grateful. 
  • When God called us to Tiny Town, with it’s teeny-tiny salary, I only panicked momentarily.  (Does a whole weekend of intermittent hysterical bawling qualify as momentarily?)  Then I let God do his thing.  He proved his faithfulness by getting a really good price for our former home (in less than 24 hours on the market!) and gave us a bigger home in Tiny Town for about 1/2 of our selling price.  For that I am grateful!
  • Even on our small salary, because of the way we live and manage our money, we are able to give.  It feels so good to bless others.  For that I am grateful. 

While our country is in turmoil over bad financial choices and greedy behaviors, we can rest in the promise of our God.  He has taught us well, and thank goodness we have listened, um, most of the time!  (because we don’t always…) And praise be to God that even if we lose it all, all is not lost.  For our hope does not rest on any amount of money, but in the One who never fails. 

For more Gratituesday, visit Heavenly Homemakers.

Stretchy Taco Meat

Mexican-themed meals go over so well at our house that I usually prepare some form of tacos, burritos, enchiladas and the like at least 2 or three times a month.  Until about a year ago, the filling for our tacos was generally just the seasoned meat, lettuce, tomato, cheese, salsa, and sour cream if we had it on hand.  A pound of taco-seasoned ground beef would be enough for one meal plus a couple of taco salads for lunch the next day.

I don’t remember what exactly it was that made me think to stretch my meat… unexpected company, maybe?… but I did it, and we loved it, and I haven’t turned back.  Now our seasoned meat mixture consists of meat (beef, chicken, or pork) mixed with refried beans (homemade) and rice.  The only thing I do other than add the extras, is to also add a little more seasoning and sometimes a little water if it gets too thick.     

We also add a layer of black beans before the veggies. 

The same meat mixture that used to last us one or two meals now needs to be frozen, because we can’t eat it all in one week!

Here’s to frugal, tasty, streeetttcchhyy taco meat!

For more kitchen tips, visit Tammy’s Recipes.

Grocery Shopping?

Take the kids! 

Huh?  Doesn’t that go against the very grain of all things sane?  But… but… I won’t get to cross check every one of my coupons with the sales flyer and manager’s specials!  And speaking of manager’s specials, I won’t have time to scour the aisles for those happy orange and yellow stickers! 

Work with me here.  Take the kids!  Preferably during naptime.  And best the morning after a rather sleepless night.  Oh, and load at least one of them into the van while he’s hungry.

The Pouting Before the Storm

Be sure that the only “fun” cart available is missing a steering wheel.  That way they can fight over the remaining wheel while you dart through the aisles frantically crossing off items on the we-have-to-have-this-right-now list.

See?  Faster shopping (in anticipation of the imminent volcanic eruption and complete meltdown) = less shopping = less money spent!

So… how was your day?  😉

For more Frugal Friday, visit all the sane mommies at Biblical Womanhood… who all went grocery shopping after the kids were in bed.