Friday, May 30, 2008

Frugal Friday - Erik's New Motorcycle

With the price of gas going up and up we have been trying to think of ways to help us save on gas. About 2 months ago Erik had the opportunity to buy a used motorcycle from a friend of his that was upgrading. He has always wanted a motorcycle. His friend wanted very little money for the bike and it was in great running condition.

With the much better MPG on the motorcycle it will save us quite a bit on gas with him traveling about 50-60 miles round trip to work every day. It also means that I will be able to use his car for around town use (i.e. grocery store, library, etc.) instead of my van (MPG in the van is about 20 vrs 30+ in Erik's Escort). We can still use the van for trips that we take Abbey with us (hard to squeeze 4 people and a 50 lb lab in an Escort).

And best of all Erik gets to enjoy owning his first motorcycle! I can't wait for him to take me for a ride.

For more Frugal Friday tips check out Biblical Womanhood.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Wordless Wednesday

Bennett & Aiden at our first outing to the ice cream stand. Summer is coming!!

More Wordless Wednesday Posts.


Works for Me Wednesday - How to get books free & cheap

Last week I talked about how my family uses the library pretty regularly to satisfy our book addiction. There are MANY times that I will take a book out of the library though and will just LOVE it so much that I need to own a copy of it. A perfect example of a book that I just had to own was Nourishing Traditions. This amazing book has so much information I renewed it the maximum number of times and had still not been able to read through the whole thing (it is a cook book but in the margins of the book she includes TONS of great information about nutrition).

Like I mentioned before I have a very limited income to spend on books. My first step when I find a book that I want to own is to check out . I have received and mailed out over 100 books during the last year or so that I have been part of paperback swap. I've been able to get lovely titles that make great gifts for just the cost of shipping for the books I've sent our. I have literally saved HUNDREDS of dollars.

If I look on and I don't find the title I am looking for my next stop is If I need to pay for a book this is the first place I always check. I've been able to get brand new books for as little as $.75 plus shipping (about $3). As an example the paper back version of Nourishing Traditions was about $25 to buy brand new. I was able to purchase it for about $15 from

I also love for their used books. If I can't find something at my next step it to check at If I cannot find a book used then I think really hard on whether I really want to have it in my library or not.

Some other tips. Carry around a wish list of books & subjects so that when you stop in at Thrift stores or yard sales you know what you are looking for. I am currently looking for more bible stories to have on hand to read to my kids and I was able to buy two beautiful pop up hard cover bible story books for $.10 each at a yard sale this weekend! Keep in mind if it is not a title you would need to refer to daily wait to see if you can find it elsewhere first.

It's also getting to be the season for book sales at libraries. This is a GREAT way to get titles you are looking for very inexpensively.

, and all work for me!! Take a look at Rocks in My Dryer for more Works for me Wednesday tips!


Tuesday, May 27, 2008


Aiden started T-ball on Friday up at the village ball field. He isn't going to be 4 yrs old until July but we figured we would give it a try anyway.

Aiden had a blast! But we think we will hold off until next year to try to go again.

He really just wanted to be wandering around doing his own thing. When they wanted him to go catch he wanted to bat. When they wanted him to throw he wanted to bat! He kept saying he needed to do "his biggest hit EVER!"
Erik spent most of the time chasing him around trying to redirect him back to paying attention to the coaches and waiting for his turn.

Bennett was happy to play with the helmet! Silly boy!

I think he is still a little too young to be able to really pay attention and play with the other kids. I'm certainly not going to be able to chase Aiden & Bennett on the days Erik is working. We might try again this week and see how it goes. But they were both too cute!

Kitchen Tip Tuesday - Using Cast Iron & Stainless

I think most everyone has heard about the dangers of nonstick coatings on pans. I had a beautiful set of nonstick pans that I bought shortly after we were married. After hearing and reading about the dangers I slowly started to replace my pots & pans with cast iron and stainless steel. It takes some getting used to but I wouldn't trade them for nonstick anyday...even if they came up with a safe way to make them.

I wanted to share a few photo's of the pans that I use the most now. This first one is my absolute favorite. It NEVER leaves the stove except for a quick scrub if it gets really dirty. We use this for eggs, french toast, pancakes, cooking meat, etc. It was the first cast iron pan I bought and I only paid a little more than $10 for it. It's from Walmart. Check it out here. The great thing about Lodge pans is that they are preseasoned, which makes them much easier to ise. You can read more about seasoning cast iron here.

This is the other cast iron pan I use extensively. This is an oldie but goodie. It was given to me by a friend of the family and it had been with her family for some time. Not sure quite how old it is but it still works great. That's the thing about cast can survive for generations! Great to pass on to family, not only your actual pans but how to cook with them and your favorite recipes using them.

One of the great features of cast iron is that they don't take a lot to clean. I do not use soap on my cast iron pans because that can take off the seasoning (which is what gives you the nonstick surface for cooking things like eggs). I take a scrapper and scrap off anything stuck onto the pan under hot water. I also LOVE these stainless steel scrubbies. They also work very well with my stainless steel pots and pans.

This is a few of the pans from my stainless steel set, which was actually given to me by my mom. They are not anything overly fancy but they work fabulously! The set also came with a stainless teakettle and some stainless utensils. I do have a few deep cast iron pots and a cast iron dutch oven but they are SO heavy that I only use them if needed.

And this last one is probably my favorite from all of my stainless. It is about the size of a wok and is excellent for cooking one dish meals. I just LOVE it...not quite as much as my cast iron but it is definitely a close second. I just need to find a lid for it now and it would be so much more versitile and would probably creep past my cast iron frying pan.

I wanted to link to some information about why using pots and pans with a nonstick coating is not the best idea. Below are links to a few articles I have found. Mainly when you heat nonstick pans over a certain temperature they start to off gas toxic fumes. You can easily reach these temperatures just from preheating your pan. If you do use nonstick pans please make sure to use them over ONLY low to low/medium heat. Anything higher can release those gases into the air you breath.

Environmental Working Groups page about Teflon, PFOA & Scotchguard.

WiseGeek Article about the risks of using Teflon.

There is a lot more info out there about the dangers. Check it out for yourself! And please check out for more Kitchen Tips!


Tackle It Tuesday - The Garden!

The office and the clothes are coming. I got more things organized and into the closet in the office and all of Bennett's clothes sorted and put into his bureau.

Our major tackle this past week though was our garden. We were finally able to borrow a tiller and get things tilled up. Erik finished cutting trees to edge our raised beds and we moved a bunch of horse manure from our barn to the beds and dug it into the top soil. It now looks like this!

I said to Erik, " actually looks like we know what we are doing!" LOL. We are getting there. Seeds are all in and I will pick up my seedlings from one of the local farms down the road in a few weeks. I do still need to pick up seeds for carrots and peas (not sure how I forgot those) but everything else is in.

Our next tackle...wood for fireplace this winter, compost bins, painting the house, replacing windows, reside back and side of the house, finish work in basement, refence just never ends!! We will work on something from the above list (along with the continued work on the office and the clothes).

To check out other tackles take a look at


Monday, May 26, 2008

Menu Planning Monday

Another week of menu plans and yet again I really didn't stick with my plan from last week! I've got to get better about this. I did have an excuse. The whole Turkey we were planning for about 1/2 of the weeks meals ended up taking a VERY long time to defrost (still going actually..I'm going to brine it tomorrow night and hope that thaws it out the rest of the way). We have 2 25+ lb turkeys left from our turkeys last year that we are trying to use up so that our freezers are empty when this years birds go to slaughter. That is now planned for Tuesdays dinner and we will be doing leftovers for the week most likely.

And we have a new recipe we are trying out tomorrow! They are called Blender Pancakes and I first heard about the recipe at Passionate Homemaking but also signed up for Sue Greggs newsletter and recieved it in her newsletter as well. Here is a shot of the rice and kefir in the blender. It is sitting on my stove waiting to be finished off and cooked tomorrow! Can't wait to try them!
I am continuing to soak my grains and add more whole grains into our diet. We've been using a lot of rice...a excellent and very frugal filler for meals.

And I promise to try to take more pictures of things. I made my rice gumble as I like to call it tonight and it looked so lovely in the pan but I forgot to take a picture to share!

On to the menu!

Monday - we are having friends over for a little cookout so on the menu is burgers (a mix of ground beef & goat) and probably some zucchini on the grill. I have a lovely watermelon for desert and they are planning to bring a salad (either green or potato). I purchased some buns but started soaking some flour tonight to make a loaf of bread and also to make some buns also. We will see how that goes! Here is a shot of the flour soaking on the stove.

Tuesday - Roast Turkey. I made a ton of applesauce this last week and put to much water in with one batch so I strained a little off and am thinking I will use that apple water to brine my turkey! Not sure how that will work but why not...right. LOL...I will keep you posted on how that turns out. I am planning on doing some potatoes and maybe some squash or brocolli (trying to use up some vegi's still in the freezer from last year also).
Wednesday - I have a meeting tonight at church and will need to leave as soon as Erik walks in the door so I will probably do something easy like pasta. Will definitely use some of the leftover turkey whatever I do.
Thursday - Turkey & Rice. I will be using a recipe that came from Laura at Heavenly Homemakers ebook, What to do With the Chicken in Your Kitchen.
Friday - Spending the day in Belfast, ME. They have an excellent farmers market. We will see what I get there for produce! The market has been open for a few weeks but this will be the first time I have been able to head down for it! Dinner will probably be Pizza on the Grill. It is supposed to be a lovely day so I definitely want to grill.
Saturday - We will be having dinner at a friends so no need to prepare anything. We haven't agreed upon what I am bringing to contribute yet.
Sunday - Goat Roast. I am finally going to committ to using one of the goat roasts that we have in our freezer! I've found a few recipes that I will look over to try (depending on what I have in the pantry to use). This is a great one for Southwest Leg of Goat. Great Goats also has a few great recipes. And here at meat goats they have a great downloadable cookbook with recipes for Goat.

Like I mentioned I will try to take more pictures of our meals as I prepare them and will keep you posted on how things turn out. Have a great week!