Monthly Archives: August 2011

Emergency Kits – Light it Up

This week let’s add flashlights to our emergency kits.  You probably have a few spare lying around…feel free to use some of them!  If not, you can certainly buy one or two for cheap (and don’t forget the batteries).


This one (pictured above) is only $7.95 at, and has high ratings and positive reviews.  It’s also waterproof!


If you have a higher budget, you may be interested in this solar powered flashlight 2-pack ($25.95 at Amazon, eligible for free shipping.)


Want the cheapest possible option?  Head to your local dollar store.  You can usually find flashlights AND batteries there, and you really can’t beat a dollar!  Or you can check out these mini keychain flashlights at Amazon. (current price $2.64)


As you can see, there are flashlights available for just about every budget.  When the power goes out and it’s dark, you’ll be very glad to have these.  And if you have kids like me, your kids will very possibly enjoy pretending the power is out simply to use/play with them.




*I don’t personally own any of the specific flashlights mentioned above.  I simply made recommendations based on my search at and reviews I read.

Menu Monday 8/29/11

Another week, another menu…I feed my family of four on a monthly budget of $300.  That budget includes any going out to eat, diapers for my son, and general household needs (toiletries, cat food, etc).  I wanted to post what we eat on a weekly basis to give you an idea (an asterisk indicates a new recipe I’m trying) :

Wow, it’s so different with the kids in school now.  I have been able to prep meals ahead of time, and am enjoying trying new things!  Unfortunately, the kids are kinda missing their usual foods…you know, the simple stuff.  So this week, I’m going to do a little of both…a compromise, if you will:


Monday – Sunday Leftovers, salad


Tuesday – * Cheeseburger Rice, fruit salad, carrots


Wednesday – Buttered noodles (for the kids, GF leftovers for me), Simple Chicken, fruit salad


Thursday – Mashed Potatoes, BBQ Meatballs, carrots, salad


Friday – *20 Minute Teriyaki Chicken and Rice, fruit salad

Saturday – Leftover night


Sunday – *Crockpot Scalloped Potatoes, salad


*For hundreds of other great meal ideas, visit

Peace Be With You by David Carlson

I received the book, Peace Be With You, Monastic Wisdom for a Terror-Filled World by David Carlson from BookSneeze.


In the wake of the ten-year anniversary of 9/11, as tension between Christians and Muslims rises, author David Carlson seeks guidance in the modern-day deserts of monastic communities across America. Are Christianity and Islam destined to confront one other as clashing civilizations? Peace Be with You: Monastic Wisdom for a Terror-Filled World clearly answers “No.”

Peace Be with You is the result of more than thirty interviews conducted with abbots, nuns, monks, and even a Mennonite pastor who works at a Franciscan retreat center. Hear the wisdom of these men and women in their own words as they speak with hope to a suffering world. Follow Carlson’s moving and at times difficult journey to discover a new, yet ancient basis for genuine peace between Christianity and other religions, especially Islam.


I thoroughly enjoyed this book.  So many of us remember just where we were, what we were doing, when the Twin Towers were hit on 9/11/01.  David shares his own experience, and the experiences of others.  His observance and conversations with others’ reactions and experiences on that day have brought this book into light.  He shares his journey to many different religious locations, and the interviews he conducts with so many inspired individuals.

I admit to being concerned that his story would not hold my attention, however, that couldn’t be farther from the truth!  I was mesmerized.  I was intrigued, uplifted, and touched by this book.  He shares an important message of hope in a world that so desperately needs it.  I loved his heartfelt, sincere message of hope and, just as importantly, acceptance.  I’d recommend this book, and give it 4 stars!


*I received no monetary compensation for my review.  I received the book free of charge from Book Sneeze in exchange for my honest review.  The opinions are mine, and mine alone.


5 Things 8/28/11 2 comments

You know how sometimes you can make a really good plan, and then out of nowhere that plan is BLASTED INTO SPACE?

I’m sure you do.  That’s how my week was.  It’s not necessarily all bad…just all unexpected!  Here’s how I did:


  1. PTA meeting @ Munchkin’s school, IEP meeting for Buddy Boy. – YES
  2. Make and can bush cherry jam, BBQ sauce, and syrup. – NO, not completely
  3. Make a list of “projects” that need doing around the house. – YES
  4. Complete at least one of the above-mentioned projects. – NO
  5. Add daily exercise back to my daily routine. – NO


In defense of the multiple NO’s on my list last week, let me share with you what I DID do this week:

  • Gave into the pressure @ PTA meeting and volunteered to do decorations for this week’s Walk to School Day.
  • Searched the valley for green cups for LESS than $5 for a 20-pack!  (Who knew green plastic cups were so expensive? I needed to buy 200 of them for PTA thing)  BTW, I did finally find some at the DOLLAR STORE.  In your face, party stores!!
  • Got a JOB…that definitely wasn’t in the plan!!  I’m still in shock.
  • Went shopping for clothes that actually FIT so I can go to aforementioned job. No more pajama bottoms for me!
  • Took my son to the doc cause he had croup and couldn’t breathe well.  Was told I should have taken him to the emergency room.  Bad mom moment.  Got the kid some steroids.
  • Made BBQ sauce, forgot about it, discovered the kitchen COVERED in big red splatters.  All over.  Cried.  Cleaned it up.  Decided I needed a break from canning.

There are  my pathetic amazing excuses!

The plan for this week?  Should I even make one?  I’m sick of changes and surprises.  Okay, I’m gonna try it again.  I swear if anything unexpected happens this week, ONE THING, I’m done making plans (yeah right, I’m a list-addict).

  1. Get study materials for job test.  I’ll be a para-educator working with disadvantaged kids.  In order to do so, I need to be “highly qualified”, meaning I need to take and pass this test.
  2. Finish the first on my list of projects (the first is to make Munchkin a chair out of our wood scraps.  Nothing pretty, mind you…you’d have to have this gal’s talent to make something pretty out of scraps…and I don’t.  But Munchkin wanted a chair, so heck, I’m doing it!)
  3. Lose some freaking weight.
  4. Get September’s Menu planned.

And that’s it for me, folks.  Have a great week!


Friday’s Frugal Food: Make Your Own Go-Gurts 16 comments

When I came across this blog post about making your own gogurts, I was so excited, man.


I was geeking out, seriously.  That’s a self-reliant “cooking” idea if I ever saw one.  And I just happened to have all the equipment.
It was really easy.  Kinda time consuming, but not bad.  Certainly not as long as canning 40 lbs of cherries.  Here’s all you do:


First of all, get yourself some yogurt.  I made myself some homemade yogurt.  Cheaper, easy, a simpler taste, it was perfect for this.


I decided to make chocolate and cherry flavored.  You can stick with vanilla, or choose a flavor you’ll love.

To make the cherry, I simply added a little bit of cherry jam to the yogurt.  Because I made plain yogurt, the sweetness from the jam was perfect.

For the chocolate, I added some chocolate syrup.  I’d recommend adding a little sugar too, because I didn’t at first and it wasn’t great…sour chocolate!


Anyway, once you’ve got your yogurt, go ahead and get out your Food Saver.  You’ll want to put a roll in and seal the end.  Roll it out an inch and a half or so, and seal again.  The next seal you do is only going to be about a half inch, because it will be the beginning of the next packet.  So here’s the pattern:  Seal, go over an inch and a half, seal, go over half an inch, seal, go over an inch and a half, seal, etc.

The lighting wasn’t great, but can you see the seals I made?  Now cut off the “tops” of each gogurt package, and separate each package.


Now pour your yogurt in.  The instructions I read were to pour the yogurt into a plastic baggy and cut a corner out, but I made too big a mess doing that.  I simply stuck a funnel into the opening of the plastic and poured it in that way.  Each packet held a little less than 1/2 cup. Leave about 2 inches of space at the top.

Seal your plastic.  NOTE:  DON’T “Vacuum and seal”.  Just seal.  Now you’ve got a homemade yogurt stick!

Throw them in the freezer and take them out an hour or so before you eat them.  OR, you can eat them right out of the freezer and enjoy a frozen yogurt “popsicle”.  The kids love the cherry flavored ones!  I don’t know what I’m going to do with my sour chocolates.  Maybe eat them with a bowl of sugar…dip them in the sugar before each bite…KIDDING. Maybe.


This is another lovely after-school snack that is ready to go at a moments notice!  Enjoy.

This recipe is linked up at:



It's a Keeper

Miz Helen’s Country Cottage

Emergency Kits – It’s Not About the Money, Money, Money

Y’all like that song?  Price Tag?  It’s a goody.


Well, it’s not true.  :-)


Kind of.  This week’s emergency kit focus is going to be on the money.  Ideally, you can put a bunch away, but realistically, probably not.  So, let’s focus on putting a little away each week, or each month.  Ya got an extra $5 at the end of the week?  Throw it in there.  You DON’T have any extra dough lying around?  Find a way to budget it in, if possible.

I like to store mine in an old prescription bottle, just to keep it waterproof.


A piece of advice I received from my grandfather was to keep small bills in your emergency kits. If there is no power available in an emergency and you’re needing to purchase something, stores may not have access to a lot of change.


Let’s go find some cash!

Menu Monday 08/22/11

Another week, another menu…I feed my family of four on a monthly budget of $300.  That budget includes any going out to eat, diapers for my son, and general household needs (toiletries, cat food, etc).  I wanted to post what we eat on a weekly basis to give you an idea (an asterisk indicates a new recipe I’m trying) :



Monday 22 – Grilled burgers, hot dogs, potato salad, fruit salad


Tuesday  23 – *Honey Chicken Kabobs , rice, fruit salad


Wednesday  24 – Roast Potatoes, Tilapia, Corn Salad


Thursday  25 – Chicken and Rice Enchilada soup, breadsticks


Friday   26 –  Leftover night


Saturday  27 – Going out to eat


Sunday 28  – GF Chicken fingers, GF Sweet Potato Casserole


*For more meal ideas, head over to, where over 100 others link up!