Saturday, September 20, 2008

Thrifty Grocery Plan Menu September 22-28

Here is our revolving breakfast menu. I never thought I needed a breakfast menu, but this makes mornings run smoothly. I did not realize how much thought I was actually giving to what was for breakfast. My mornings feel much more organized now.

Monday: eggs, fruit
Tuesday: oatmeal
Wednesday: muffins
Thursday: eggs, fruit
Friday: oatmeal
Saturday: biscuits, fruit
Sunday: yogurt, granola and fruit

Dinner Menu September 22-28

pinto beans, cornbread, turnip greens, okra

homemade pizza, and cheese sticks with sliced veggies

chicken stir-fry stew with rice


pancakes, eggs, grits, fruit

BBQ roast on homemade buns, fries, sliced veggies


Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Mid-Month Thrifty Grocery Spending Update

So we are over half way through with the month and we are making it very comfortably on our 550.00 food budget.

As I reported earlier, a good amount of the 110.00 allotted for Wal-mart went for non-food items.

We have no more money in the Wal-mart and Piggly Wiggly budgets as of today.

We have no co-cop money left because we received and payed for our order last week. We have about 15.00 left in our milk budget and 100.00 left in our market budget. I over-estimated the market budget because I had been buying extra fruits and vegetables for preserving. This month I have not been buying extra. I will transfer a little of the market money to other areas next week to finish out the month. I should come out under our budget of 550.00. Which is good, beacuse I do not buy meat from week to week. We buy a whole grass-fed calf for the freezer each fall as well as some chickens form our local sustainable farm. I can now add our meat cost in and hopefully come close to the 550.00 budget.

To make things stretch further this month I began making a breakfast and lunch menu. The breakfast menu really helps because the boys would eat eggs every morning. But with a menu we now eat eggs only two mornings per week. Eggs can get expensive at $3.00 per dozen.

I have gotten lots of pears from our tree in the backyard. I have made lots of pear sauce. I have gotten apples from people with trees in the their backyards. I boiled the cores and peelings with water the other day and used that for apple juice.

I have also been trying to cook at least one meat-less meal per week.

I water down our milk if I am running low and water down the milk I am cooking with as well.

Still Learning

Saturday, September 13, 2008

What does it mean to be "pro-family"?

With all of the talk about "pro-family" values swirling around the media, I thought I would break down what it means to be pro-family according to God's unchanging word. You see the God who created man and woman and instituted the family is the same God we serve today. He has some specific guidelines for families and when families begin adopting these guidelines God's beautiful plan for families begins to be revealed to a hurting world.

Just because someone is pro-life does not mean they are pro-family.

Just because someone has children does not make them pro-family.

Just because someone claims to be a christian does not make them pro-family.

To be "for your family" you must first understand how God has designed the family to function.

First and foremost God has designed the father to be head of the home. He is to embrace this calling wholeheartedly as protector, provider and spiritual leader.

"For the husband is head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church..."
Ephesians 5:24
"Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything." Ephesians 5:24
As a wife I find great comfort in the fact that I am not the head of my home. I try to embrace my role daily as Chris' helper. I enjoy praying for him, encouraging him and being a trusted counselor when he asks my ideas and opinions.
God's hierarchy of authority does not offend me in the least. Our God who loves us and knows us better than anyone saw fit to place the father's as the head of the home. I trust my God's decision in this area.
But, trusting my God's decision is not enough. I must next embrace the high calling he has given me within the family unit. I can say God knows best, but if I do not daily seek to obey him in regard to my role in the family I would be living as if I knew what was best. God's word is very clear when it comes to the purpose he has for young women.
"That they may teach they young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be blasphemed." Titus 2:4-5
Titus is very clear that a woman's role within the family is to love her husband and children and be keeper of their home. This role is to approached with the utmost care and attention. For to love my husband as he provides for us and seeks to lead us spiritually is a wonderful way to show our children how wonderful their daddy really is. To love my children and seek to make our home a safe haven from the world will have more impact on the next generation than any career I could strive after. If I am not successful in the role God has given me in my home and family it would never matter how successful I was in any career paths.
Not only does being "pro-family" embrace the roles God has given man and woman, but an individual who claims to be pro-family must love their children and invest in their lives daily.
"Lo, children are an heritage of the Lord:and the fruit of the womb is his reward."
Psalms 127:3
Children are a reward from God. We must accept the rewards God bestows with humility and seek daily to raise them up as a godly heritage. It is very hard to raise warriors for Christ if our children are involved in everything that the world deems valuable. From government schools to little league to television, if children are receiving the majority of their training from others we can expect them to display the values and priorities that they see being lived before them. A few verses to consider in light of the educational choices and activities in which we allow our children to be involved.
"Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the Lord and in his law doth he meditate day and night." Psalms 1:1-2
Are my children daily sitting in the seats of the ungodly for education and counsel? Do my children have the opportunity to meditate on his word day and night? or Are my children so busy with the things of this world that they only have time to consider God on Sundays when they are sent to Sunday school and their teacher teachers them a 20 minute lesson?
"And thou shalt teach them diligently unto they children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down and when thou risest up." Deut. 6:7
God's word is very clear that we as fathers and mothers are to teach our children his truths, the responsibility falls on no one else.
So the next time someone talks about being "pro-family" consider their claims against the truth of God's word.
Still Learning,

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Thoughts on the McCain/Palin Ticket

Here are some links that say much better than I ever could what Chris and I have been feeling in our hearts at McCain's choice of Palin as his vice-presidential running mate.

Evangelical Two-Step
Palin a Pro-Family Choice?
Framing the Abortion Debate
Waking Up the Sheeple
Doug's Blog

Still Learning,

Monday, September 8, 2008

A Natural Awakening

When we decided to provide our children with plenty of quiet growing time outdoors, I often wondered when their natural curiosity about learning to read and write would begin to surface.

Lest anyone think we have only played outside and not enjoyed any learning that would be an inaccurate perception. Here's a better look at what I have been doing with my children

Reading has always been an enjoyable activity for us as a family. My Bo especially loves to read and would listen to story after story. He began to love to listen to chapter books around 3 1/2 years old. I have read the Boxcar Children, Little House in the Big Woods, Charlotte's Web, and we are currently reading The Burgess Seashore Book for Children.

Bo has many favorite picture books as well. I have tried to get rid of all stories that relate to any television or Disney characters. I have gotten rid of over half of my books from my school teaching days. We have chosen to include many of the books from the Ambleside Year 0 list on our bookshelf.

We have also enjoyed drawing together with our crayons or pencils. As I draw things I will always label them. Bo and Boo will ask what that word says or what is that letter. Bo is left handed so he has never seemed to have very good fine motor skills. We decided to never push him to hold a pencil or try to write or draw. So I have been waiting patiently for Bo to display an interest in writing.

During family worship couple of weeks ago Bo said he wanted to learn about Abraham and began drawing a stick figure to represent Abraham with lines going out as in a family tree and he added Ishmael and Isaac. The figures were so cute that tears welled up in my eyes. Chris and I were so proud. That was the first time he had really drawn anything discernible.

He has now began to write letters. that are recognizable and he is trying to write his name. His interest in letters and their sounds is increasing rapidly. The other day he wanted to now what my name would be if we took the h off of the front. We said olli and he laughed and laughed. He had gotten a pack of Skittles at church and wanted to now what it said if we covered up the s and then the k. Kittles and ittles made Bo laugh as well.

All of this major interest in letters has surfaced within the last month or so. It is a culmination of the gentle exposure to books that he loves to read and paper and writing utensils for exploration that has brought Bo to this point.

I am so glad that I have not pressured him to memorize letters and try to write them. It is fascinating to watch him develop at his own pace.

Still Learning

Coming soon a look into our daily routines and circle time.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Gifts in Pictures

Brilliant orange...pushing its way up through crunchy brown leaves...the morning sun shining...revealing new life

chubby fingers...rubberband wrists...feeling the sand...fingering the shells...for the very first time

rainy rainy days...brothers finding mud puddles...painting one another with the colors of the earth

Magnificent weaver...brilliant promise of more beauty next year in an egg sac

weathered skin...experienced much life...holding fresh soft babe...just embarking on life

chubby cheeks...pursed curled on cheek...grinning at the sun

baby girl...daddy's strong arms holding up high...she's taking in the wind and waves...he's taking in those cheeks and eyes
So thankful,

Friday, September 5, 2008

Gifts from His Hand...

little hands strumming imaginary guitars...little hands lifted in worship...little voices singing praise to our mighty God

wobbly legs...holding baby weight...the first tentative steps...soon she will be running after her brothers

the smell of homemade biscuits cooking...rising in the pans...homemade blackberry jelly waiting to be slathered on

pear tree limbs hanging heavy with summer's bounty...growing here in our for the picking

pears mounded over in the sink...washed...peeled....mounded over in the pan...the smell of pears and cinnamon...the taste of homemade pear sauce

Basking in his gifts...

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Thrifty Grocery Spending Challenge

Because we are trying to cut way back on spending, I decided to challenge myself to a thrifty grocery spending allowance this month. I am still cooking most all of our meals from scratch and we are eating as locally and organically as possible.

Using the USDA's food expenditure allotment I came up with the amount of 550.00 for out grocery budget this month. The thrifty plan called for a 512.00 food budget and the low cost plan was 648.00 for a family of four. Since my nursling is eating much more now, I decided to round the 512.00 to 550.00. No science involved, that's just the round number I chose.

I got 550.00 cash from savings and my trial month began yesterday. I divided the cash up into 5 different envelopes.

milk- 130.00
Piggly Wiggly-65.00
Co-op order- 100.00

I placed my co-op order for the month of September yesterday and my total was 102.00 I was pleased that this was so close to my allotted amount. I had to refine my list of items several times before I got this close.

I went to Walmart today and my total was 98.63 which leaves me 11.37 for the rest of the month. This may or may not be possible. Over half of my spending at Wal-mart was for non-food related items. (dog/cat food, toothbrushes, baking soda, dishwashing detergent, vinegar for cleaning, etc.) I hope I can still feed properly without any additional Wal-mart spending.

I go to buy our milk for tomorrow. We had been using 6-7 gallons of milk per week. At five dollars per gallon it is still affordable compared to some raw milk, but it adds up quickly. I make yogurt, and butter from the milk, but that still adds up to a lot per month for milk. So I chose to allot 130.00 for our milk budget. I will get 4 gallons some weeks and five other weeks. We also get our cheese from the milk farm. Lets see if we can still drink raw milk but a little more in moderation.

I went to the market today and spent 4.00. I purchased a cantaloupe and watermelon. Still lots left in my market budget, but the month is just beginning and I buy our farm fresh eggs with that money and we go through a lot of eggs. Some weeks we go through 4 dozen per week. That adds up quickly. In an effort to use less eggs I made a breakfast menu this month with a little variety for the boys. They would eat eggs and fruit everyday.

I go buy Piggly Wiggly on the way to get milk each week and pick up butter, bananas and any other item I may need. The bill is usually between 20-30.00. I will have to trim even more off with a 65.00 PW budget for the month.

Still Learning