I’ve Moved! (my bloggy home, that is)

I have truly been bit by the blogging bug… yes, the same sweet little insect that I didn’t even know existed a year ago!  You have been so supportive and encouraging in the last three months, that I decided to expand the possibilities of this new hobby of mine.

I’ve moved to a new site.  Oh, and whenever I say “I’ve” and something techy (like moving to a new site) in the same sentence, I surely mean my creative and terrifically technically talented friends the Happy Housewife, the Happy Housewife’s Husband, and Joy, the master of all things font and color and style.

Please visit me (and help me set up housekeeping!) at my new address:  amysfinerthings.com

Let’s talk about the Finer Things!

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Control What You Can Control

There’s a lot in this life that seems out of my control.  I could easily spend my time in frustration, whining about and bemoaning those things (while making everyone around me miserable)… but instead, I’m trying to take responsibility and ownership of whatever I can control. 

 

  • I can’t control who becomes our next president, but I can vote and encourage others to do the same.
  • I can’t control what time my kids wake up in the morning (oh, how I’ve tried!), but I can get to bed at a decent time so I’m ready to rock and roll when they are (or something like that).
  • I can’t control grocery prices, but I can be more vigilant about my shopping practices and meal preparation to get the best deals and keep our bill as low as possible.
  • I can’t control the weather, but I can rearrange my schedule so we can enjoy every possible minute outside before the nasty cold sets in.   I can also make the most of our time inside with fun projects for the kids.
  • I can’t control the economy (which is too bad for all of us, because let me tell ya…  I have a plan!) but I can react to it appropriately and ride the roller coaster.  “After all, the only way to get hurt on a roller coaster is to jump off.” 😉 (Got that from Dave.)  Check out Dave’s take on the economy.  He is so right on!
  • I can’t control my husband’s teaching income, but I can carefully steward it and stretch it to meet our needs. 
  • I can’t control everything my daughter is learning (the good, the bad, and the ugly) at school, but I can be an advocate for her education.  And… if it’s really an issue, I could homeschool.  There are always options more positive than complaining (or doing nothing).
  • I can’t control our health insurance costs (don’t get me started), but I can do my best to keep my family healthy by preparing nutrient rich foods, exercising with the kids, making sure we all get enough sleep, and keeping germs at bay. 
  • I can’t control how busy we are… oh, wait!  Sure I can!  Ever heard of saying NO?!?  (I know, I know, that doesn’t work in every situation, but we are all gifted with the same 24 hours in a day…)

I can’t fix all, cure all, mend all, be all… so I’ll just control what I can control.  It works for me.

Another thing that works for me?  Small town church cookbooks!  Enter my giveaway to win one!

Apple Deliciousness

For a simple, fruity, fall comfort dessert, nothing beats a good apple crisp!  We never tire of this autumn treat at our house, and when we run out of apples… we substitute pears.

Apple Crisp

  • apples (I don’t know how many.  I just keep cutting until my pan is full of chopped apples.)
  • 1 c. melted butter
  • 1 c. brown sugar
  • 1 c. sugar
  • 1 c. oats
  • 1 c. flour
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. salt

Arrange apples (peeled, sliced, and chopped) in a 9×13 pan about 2 inches deep.  Mix the rest of the ingredients.  Crumble over the apples.  Bake at 375 for about 40 minutes. 

Ran out of apples... so we used pears.

Super simple.  Super mmmmm….

Head on over to Life as Mom for more apple-themed recipes!  Lots of shared recipes at The Grocery Cart Challenge, too!

Bloggy Recipes

I am all about trying new recipes, and I’ve found the blogging community to be a haven when it comes to great ones, tried-‘n-true.  My problem has been that when I see a recipe on someone’s site, I don’t always bookmark it right away.  You know, the whole “I’ll get back to that later” fantasy.  Or I do bookmark it, but I never get around to trying it. 

No more.  If you are willing to share your specialties, I want to give ’em a try!

Just yesterday I decided to work on next week’s menu plan starting now (instead of my usual weekend-menu-warrior routine).   In fact, I may get real ambitious and work a couple weeks ahead!  My new plan:  when I’m surfing through blogs and come across a recipe that I want to attempt, I not only bookmark it but I put it in my menu plan, which is in my “post drafts” section of my blog (and also on my refrigerator), and I insert the link.  Now.  If I don’t have the ingredients, I put them on my shopping list.  Now.

Now works really well for me.  Later quite often turns into never at our house.

Because we still have our family favorites, and because I’m still a Frugal Franny who likes to use up the sale stash before purchasing a bunch of new ingredients, I won’t use new recipes every day.

I think this bloggy recipe method is going to work for me!

  • eliminates last minute menu planning (aside from a few no-thinker family favorites) 
  • recipes will be easy to find on my menu plan post
  • my beloved recipe collection will continue to grow
  • my grocery list will be ready no matter which day we go to the store (because it’s never the same week to week… and sometimes it’s every other week)
  • when Laura gets crazy and posts MPM early, I’ll be prepared!

Here are a few bloggy recipes that I’ve currently got worked into next week’s menu. 

Cream Cheese Apple Muffins

Beef Stew

Pizza Pockets

Do you have one that I should add?

Check out Rocks in my Dryer for more WFMW.

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.

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.

Never visit a new mom…

… without taking food!  That’s my rule.  It works for me both as the giver and the recipient.  I do not know a more thoughtful gift for an exhausted mom who is focused on tiny fingers and toes, uncomfortable  afterpains, umbilical cord care, and swollen, leaky breasts (and bottom – ouch)… and especially for moms who are trying to care for other little people in the house in addition to the new baby.  New moms need food!

In my kitchen, I try to keep frozen meals and treats ready to go for mom/baby homecomings.  Babies don’t always enter the world at the most convenient time, but I want to be prepared to bless the family with food when they do!  For the occasions that I don’t have a meal ready, I do keep handy plenty of staples that make a meal come together quickly.  (There is no running to the store here… it’s 15 miles away.) 

Here are some of the things I’ve either taken to families or been the grateful recipient of:

  • sloppy joes
  • breakfast casserole and muffins
  • brown bag burritos (When I hadn’t yet visited my sister-in-law after she was home with her third boy, she called and jokingly demanded “I had a baby!  Where are my burritos?!”)
  • meatballs and cheesy potato casserole
  • chicken and rice casserole
  • hamburger quiche
  • baked spaghetti
  • cavatini
  • meat loaf
  • fresh fruit (My favorite!  After I have a baby, I’m not up to eating a full meal for a few days.  Healthy, handy snacks are a treat!)

For families with older children, it’s nice to take some kid-friendly “fun food.”  Kids love the having their own stash (and they get excited to see something for them and not the baby!), and moms appreciate the ease of appeasing their brood’s hunger.   

  • juice boxes
  • cookies (I make a big batch of dough and freeze dough balls to bake fresh when I need them.)
  • granola bars
  • pigs in a blanket (scroll down for recipe)

When organizing the food in your kitchen, make room for meals to bless new families.  It works for me!  Visit Rocks in My Dryer to delve into other bloggers’ kitchen organization tips!