Monthly Archives: August 2011

5 Things Challenge 8/21/11

The last week of summer.

That went by fast.  I’m gonna miss hanging with my munchkins all day.

Although, the house may be cleaner now.  There’s always a silver lining, right?


Here’s how I did last week:

  1. Annual backyard camp out. – YES
  2. Make and freeze a bunch of after school snacks. – YES
  3. Volunteer at the school, take my daughter to her SEP. – YES
  4. Take the kids to do some last minute summer stuff – YES, Munchkin went swimming, we did the campout, and Clay took Buddy Boy camping…in between all the playdates.
  5. Start prepping for a week of canning. – YES – I received 40 pounds of cherries last weekend, and so I’ll be doing a lot of canning this week.

The plan for this week:

  1. PTA meeting @ Munchkin’s school, IEP meeting for Buddy Boy.
  2. Make and can bush cherry jam, BBQ sauce, and syrup.
  3. Make a list of “projects” that need doing around the house.
  4. Complete at least one of the above-mentioned projects.
  5. Add daily exercise back to my daily routine.

That’s it!  The week of transition will begin…

Bush Cherry Nutri-Grain Bars (Friday’s Frugal Food) 4 comments

Last weekend my family had a family reunion.  I was unable to go, but my mom and sister’s family went and had a grand ole’ time.  While there, they decided to pick me some cherries from my grandpa’s cherry bushes.  (To learn more about what Bush Cherries are, GO HERE)


These cherry bushes are awesome.  They produce billions of cherries, I swear.  Okay, thousands…hundreds of thousands, or something like that.

I knew they were going to pick me some and I was pumped.  I figured I’d make a few batches of bush cherry jam (Munchkin’s favorite).  I did not expect them to bring me this:

Do you know what that is?  That is eight bags, 5 lbs EACH of bush cherries (I know, I weighed them)!

They picked me FORTY POUNDS!!!

That is the awesomeness of my family, man.



So, I’ll be making a LOT of bush cherry jam, and bush cherry “gogurts”, and maybe even some BBQ sauce with a hint of bush cherry.

I also made a couple of batches of homemade Bush Cherry Nutri-Grain Bars.  SO much cheaper than the store-bought version, tastier too (in my humble opinion).


Before I post the recipe, I need to give credit where it belongs.  I found the original recipe here.

I haven’t varied the recipe a lot, but I’ll post the few changes I made below.  Enjoy!


Bush Cherry Nutri-Grain Bars

1 cup butter or margarine (I did half of each to cut cost and still keep the yummy butter taste)

1 cup brown sugar

1 cup whole wheat flour

1/2 cup all purpose flour

1/2 cup almond flour (if you don’t have almond flour, you can just use regular.  I only have it because of my gluten free needs)

1 1/2 cup oats

1 tsp almond extract (I used vanilla because I didn’t have almond)

2/3 cup jam of your choice (I used a low-sugar bush cherry jam/syrup that I made…and it turned out great!)


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Combine all the ingredients except for the jam, and mix well.  Press half of the mixture into a 9×13-inch greased baking pan.  Spread the jam on top.  Crumble the rest of the mixture over the top.  Bake for 20-25 minutes (I baked mine for the full 25).  Cool and cut into bars.


*I’m going to make a few more batches and freeze them individually for easy after school snacks.  I think I’ll also try making them gluten free for me (cause they look and smell so good!) by substituting an all purpose GF flour for both the wheat and the all purpose flours, and by using the GF oats and GF vanilla.  YUM!

This recipe is linked up at:




It's a Keeper

Miz Helen’s Country Cottage

Jule’s Gluten Free Back to School FREE e-Book

Back to school means new school supplies, new clothes, new routines, a new lunch box…and for those eating gluten free, it can mean new anxieties.


Jules Gluten Free has created an e-Book called Back to School with Jules.  It is full of gluten-free recipes, as well as tips for all of us living gluten free.  Regularly $9.95, for a limited time you can download this e-book for FREE!!


Simply GO HERE to add Back to School with Jules to your cart, and then at the checkout, enter this code:



This offer is good until August 26.


*Thanks Lisa for telling me about this, and thanks Jules for this incredible offer!

Back to School Bonanza Giveaway WINNERS!!! 1 comment

It’s time to announce the winner of the giveaways!


First, let me say that it has been an absolute blast reading your comments and getting to know you better.  I’ve loved every minute of it!


And now (drum roll)……the WINNERS.  of. the. GIVEAWAYS.


(Are you stressing??:-))


(Winners were picked by


Giveaway #1:  $5 to

#92, Jen V!!!!



Givaway #2:  Martin Van Buren Presidential Coin:

#65, Pauline M!!!




Giveaway #3:  Mary Kay Timewise 3-in-1 Cleanser:

#97, Laurie Brown!!!




Giveaway #4:  Stampin’ Up!  Scrapbook Set:

#90, NW Homesteader!!!




Giveaway #5:  Mary Kay Eyeshadow and Blush:

#67, Marija!!!


A big congratulations to ALL the winners! (winners have 48 hours to claim their prize before another winner is chosen)


And hey, while you’re here, do me a favor and head on over to my 8-year old daughter’s blog, Dede’s Crafty Kids …she’s hosting her very first giveaway RIGHT NOW!! :-)

Menu Monday 08/15/11 1 comment

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 15 – *GF Beer Battered Fish, rice, salad


Tuesday 16 – Taco Soup, breadsticks


Wednesday 17 – *Brown Sugar Chicken, leftover rice, fruit and salad


Thursday 18 – Bacon and Swiss Salad



Friday 19 – Leftover night



Saturday 20 – Meatballs, salad, carrots, baked potatoes



Sunday 21  – Dinner @ my moms



*Need more meal ideas?  Head on over to, where I and dozens of others, are linked up.:-)

Giveaways – Last Chance to Enter the Back to School Bonanza!!

The Back to School Bonanza is wrapping up…and ALL of the giveaways end on MONDAY, August 15th, at MIDNIGHT.


Don’t forget to enter!!


Giveaway #1: $5 to (only 122 entries!)



Giveaway #2:  Martin Van Buren Presidential Coin (only 27 entries!)




Giveaway #3:  Mary Kay Timewise 3-in-1 Cleanser (only 39 entries!)




Giveaway #4:  Stampin Up Scrapbook Set! (only 52 entries!)




Giveaway #5:  Mary Kay Eye Shadow and Blush! (only 48 entries!)



Friday’s Frugal Food – Dana’s Corn Salad (GF) 3 comments

In this heat, it’s no fun to cook.


It’s still fabulously fun to create food, though!  This light, tasty recipe I found for Corn Salad is the perfect solution.











Look at that goodness.


It went perfectly with a piece of tilapia last night…and it was delicious again today for lunch with a baked potato!  This is a recipe that I’m thrilled to have found, and will use time and time again.


Dana’s Corn Salad (adapted from $5 Dinners)

2 cans drained corn (or use fresh corn that has been cooked)

1/2 cup diced green pepper

1/2 cup diced red pepper

1/2 cup diced Monterey Jack cheese

1/2 tsp onion powder


2 Ttbsp sugar

1/3 cup vinegar

1/4 cup  oil (I used olive oil)

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon pepper

1/2 tsp dried parsley


  • Mix corn, vegetables and cheese together.
  • In separate bowl, combine all marinade ingredients well.
  • Mix marinade into vegetables. Toss to combine and allow to marinate at least 4 hours in fridge.

You can see in the picture that I also added some finely chopped fresh basil to mine.  I also added more pepper to mine after mixing…just cause!  This recipe is gluten free, as well as dairy free.

*Linked up at:




It's a Keeper

Earthen Vessels by Matthew Lee Anderson

Earthen Vessels: Why Our Bodies Matter to Our Faith

“In this provocative book, Matthew Lee Anderson explores how our bodies interact with our faith. How have recent generations of Christians been shaped by the culture around us in this regard? What can we do to push back? Through a deeper understanding of our physical lives, God can bring the dry bones of our faith back to life.”





My Thoughts:

Matthew Anderson takes a topic that seems quite interesting to me (why our bodies matter to our faith), and provides quotes, scriptures and other explanations.  I’ll have to be honest, I didn’t really enjoy this book.

I felt like the book skipped around a bit, and had a hard time keeping up with it.  I also felt that it was over thought, or maybe just too “deep” for me.  I enjoy a good, thought provoking read, but for whatever reason, I just couldn’t get into this.  He discusses many important specific issues like how the body is viewed by the world and ourselves, the struggle to accept our bodies as God created them, tattoos, and sexuality, but it’s done in a way that I couldn’t decide if I agreed with him or not (although I am in complete agreement with him on this:  I LOVED the documentary Babies!)

The topic is an important, even interesting one.  It just wasn’t for me.  Those who are much more scholarly than me, and who want to take a very deep and complicated look at our bodies in relation to faith, may really enjoy it.

I’m giving this 3 stars, because I think the content is good…just not presented in a way that I could really get into.


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