Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Book Review #2 These Strange Ashes

These Strange Ashes: Is God Still in Charge? by Elisabeth Elliot. I very much enjoyed this telling of Elisabeth's first year as a missionary. The beginning tells a little of the start of her relationship with Jim Elliot (who she eventually marries) so it was intriguing to hear how their relationship evolved. I think this would also be a good book for single women who are thinking about being missionaries alone. Though the world is a different place in 2007, I know there are possibilities for single women to serve! There were lots of words and phrases in the book that I didn't understand (I COULD have gotten out the dictionary if I was so inclined, but I wasn't) so that would be my one criticism. If you enjoy adventure, travel, and hearing about other locations/cultures then you will love this book. Elisabeth describes things in a way that makes you feel like you are right there too. I'll definitely be looking into more of Elisabeth Elliot's books. She also quotes Amy Carmichael (I've seen her quoted around the blogosphere) and now I think I need to read her writings too! (Second finished book for Fall Into Reading 2007)

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Vision Forum giveaway Take 2!!

The new Vision Forum catalog has arrived. Life In A Shoe has sponsored another giveaway, this time for $250 worth of products, you just need to link and give your wishlist (ends Fri Nov 2).
Here's mine:
p.6 Passionate Housewives
p. 10 To Have and to Hold
p. 20 The Centrality of the Home in Evangelism and Discipleship
p. 21 A Church in the House
Family Man, Family Leader
p. 25 Raising Maidens of Virtue
p. 33 Beloved Bride: The Letters of Stonewall Jackson to His Wife
p. 40 The Adventure of Missionary Heroism
p. 73 Mother and Daughter Aprons - Child-Size 2, Adult-Size 1
Ladylike Nightgowns for Ladylike Girls size S 2
Child's Wooden Baking Set
p. 79 Elsie Dinsmore #1
p. 109 Destination: Moon
Total $247
(Or take my previous list, remove some things and add the whole Elsie Dinsmore book collection!)

WFMW - milk in fridge

How come you can think of 10 good ideas when you're not at the computer but when you're sitting down at the computer you have trouble thinking of 1??? Anyway, at the grocery store I always get my milk gallon in a bag. Then at home, I keep the milk in that bag. Then when the gallon is empty, I put it in our recycling area in the same bag. I usually add to the bag other recyclables but it's all together. This keeps possible milk leakage from other groceries, my vehicle, my fridge, and the floor (in the recyclables area). As I pour into the sippy cups, I invariably get some milk rolling down the side of the gallon so the bag helps to keep it contained. This is not rocket science, but it Works for me!! See Shannon for more (and better) tips. :)

Oh, since my husband just added me to his Google reader I have to give a shout out, "Hi honey!".

Friday, October 26, 2007

Real Simple everyday organizational items

I know some women love Real Simple magazine, products, online, etc. I have one product - a mail organizer that sits next to the computer monitor (YES, a desktop version, I don't have the luxury (tongue-in-cheek) of using a laptop yet!) and helps me to keep track of bills (or collecting junk and papers, okay all of the above). I saw this link from yesterday (well, I think that's where I saw it) for the article Get Organized Using Everyday Household Items. Some of the ideas were very creative and useful. However, remember if you have little children medicines need to be in a childproof container!

Vision Forum drawing

The new Vision Forum catalog has arrived. Life In A Shoe has sponsored a giveaway for $150 worth of products, you just need to link and give your wishlist.
Here's mine:
p.6 Passionate Housewives
p. 10 To Have and to Hold
p. 20 The Centrality of the Home in Evangelism and Discipleship
p. 21 A Church in the House
p. 25 Raising Maidens of Virtue
p. 40 The Adventure of Missionary Heroism
p. 73 Mother and Daughter Aprons - Child-Size 1, Adult-Size 1
p. 109 Destination: Moon
Total $144, if I could go over $150 I would definitely get one more child-size apron (my husband would pick a few other things)!

We also love Elsie Dinsmore, so far we've just gotten the CDs but will probably buy the books when our oldest is able to read them. I'll have to write a blog post about Vision Forum later.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Cookbook giveaway

I'm an Organizing Junkie mentioned the Taste of Home cookbook and magazine subscription giveaway at Molly-Coddled so I thought I would mention it too!! :)

Find all the details here.

Book Review #1 The Camel Club

The Camel Club by David Baldacci

It took me a while to get into this book, it didn't take off right away (for me) and I was bogged down by the politicalness and number of characters. I think if I was reading in complete peace and quiet with no interruptions (ha ha) then it would have been easier to keep the characters straight (or a list like some books have)! I did enjoy the story and look forward to reading the next Camel Club book The Collectors. But overall, not my favorite David Baldacci book.
(First finished book, Fall Into Reading 2007, but making progress on others!)

WFMW - bottles

As a follow-up to another WFMW (see the P.S. part here), I thought I'd let you know What Works For Me! Playtex drop-ins with the latex nipple. A friend gave us one and I think the baby finally got hungry enough to drink from this bottle. My husband thinks it may be because the nipple was different than the others we tried and the nipple felt more like breastfeeding. I don't know, but we were very happy campers!!! :)

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Click over now!

Deena (A Peek At My Bookshelf) has great reviews and giveaways!!! Check out her site, especially her Payday Giveaways!

Works for Me Wednesday - bbq pizza

Jes at Beauty from Chaos asked how I make bbq chicken pizza.

Well, mine isn't a recipe exactly. A friend showed me how they made it at a restaurant (don't ask me details, it's been a while). Anyway, this is about how I replicate it at home.

Take one frozen Tyson chicken breast, defrost in microwave until just getting white at edges so it is thawed enough to cut into strips (think shredded bbq chicken). (Use the defrost chicken setting or use fresh chicken breast or let it thaw in your fridge, whatever works for you! Don't let the frozen chicken sit out at room temp and then blame me for getting salmonella.) You can also cut the chicken into square pieces, it depends on how you want it on your pizza. Put a little olive oil (or whatever oil you have) in frying pan, coat the chicken in oil and fry it briskly (does that make sense?). Add seasonings as you cook, I use Season-All and a little salt and pepper. Once chicken is done (or just about done, it seems like it cooks a little in the oven, but again don't blame me if it's not fully cooked and you get salmonella!), either top pizza or set aside until pizza is ready.

You need one small red onion. I cut off the ends and edges (I have no idea what I'm doing with most veggies), then try to cut thin slices so I get nice "rings" of red onion. I end up using very little of the red onion but you might have different tastes and use more, I think you could also freeze the extra onion or save for something else or make pizza more than once in a week, whatever you choose.

Prepare pizza crust, I like to bake mine (about half the cooking time) before putting on toppings. Then spread with your favorite bbq sauce (mine is K.C. Masterpiece) like you would pizza sauce. Put on chicken, as much or as little as you want. I like lots of chicken on mine, but it kinda depends on how big the chicken breast was that I cooked earlier. Then spread the red onion rings around on the pizza. Then top with cheese, a mix of cheddar and mozzarella is good or a 4-blend Mexican, but sometimes I'll use just mozzarella because that's all we have (and I prefer white mild cheeses). Bake in oven. Enjoy!

You can also spread some cheese under the toppings. I love to do this with pepperoni or other toppings because it seems to help the meat from sliding around or all coming off your pizza when you take a bite (that's what I read somewhere a long time ago) .

Anyway, hope this "recipe" makes sense, let me know if you want a picture tutorial and I'll try that sometime! This is what works for me. :)

Here's another option:
Amy at The Mother Load uses her shredded bbq chicken for bbq chicken pizza. I LOVE her shredded bbq chicken recipe (we had it earlier this week!), but I'm not sure I would like it on pizza - it may be just the way I shred my chicken though - I do tweak her recipe a little. go down to Day #23. Here's another post about the pizza (has good comments)

Friday, October 5, 2007

Frugal Friday - first post, talking about Kroger

Hello! This is my first Frugal Friday post though I've been reading for a while. Crystal keeps mentioning Kroger deals so I thought I would talk about how I save at Kroger (your local store may be Dillon's, Gerbes, Fry's, etc.).

1) Sign up for the card. Using the Kroger Plus shopper's card allows you to receive the weekly discounts, trigger Catalina coupons (coupons that print out at the register to be used on a future shopping trip), and allows Kroger to mail you coupons. Study your coupon, some are only for Kroger and some are manufacturer's coupons that you can cut the Kroger side out (perforation is before the Kroger sign) so it can be used at any store that accepts manufacturer coupons.

2) Study the ad. Figure out what are the loss leaders and what are not such a good deal, a price book helps with this.

3) Look for the saving signs!!! Often a product in the ad this week will also be on sale next week. Study the price sign (check for these in your area, this is how it works at my Kroger), there will be a sale start date and end date. The product may be in this week's ad but also will be on sale next week and maybe the week after. (I've seen where it has a sale price for the next 4 months then a week later it's gone and back to the original price so don't count on these always to be accurate, but it's usually good for a few weeks if that's the ending date.) These dates are especially good for "special deals" like Crystal talked about before with the cereal. The ad might list or picture 3 cereal boxes but when you look in the store you see that 15 different cereals work for the special deal, and you see that the special deal is also going on next week. This allows you time to accumulate more coupons or save and plan your grocery budget around these special deals.

3a) Look for unadvertised specials too. Our store seems to remove the sale signs early in the day on Saturday so make sure you know it's on sale (don't be fooled by a missing sign if they've taken it down early) but they also put up Sunday's sale tags on Saturday evening (I think they'll honor the price so you don't have to wait until Sunday). Obviously, here our ads run Sunday through Saturday, but I think it might work the same for Wednesday through Tuesday sales.

4) Smart source coupons. Have you noticed the flashing red button with coupons sticking out? These are Smart source coupons (at least here that's who sponsors them here) that can be used at any store, it's a manufacturer coupon. Look all over the store, last year I found coupons in the pharmacy area for Claritin-D. I stocked up on coupons and shared with others. The machine will usually have one ready, and when you take it, another will come out, sometimes it will stop putting another one out after 2 are taken. Keep standing there and the machine will put more out, or walk back by the aisle in a few minutes or every time you come into the store.

5) Buy one get one free specials. I love this about Kroger, you don't have to buy 2 - they mark one product down half price so you only have to buy 1. (At Meijer you have to buy 2 to get the buy one get one free deal.) Also you can use 2 coupons.

6) Check out the Kroger website. The ad is there with a printable shopping list. I like to start my shopping list by printing off the sales from Kroger. I'll turn the paper over and list sales from other stores I'm planning to shop at. (Yes this uses a little printer ink but saves me time.) Also, when shopping in the store you can make a note about products that will still be on sale next week. (I look at this and transfer to the next week's printed shopping list, or try to remember.)

7) Fuel rewards. We have gas pumps at most of the local Kroger stores. By spending $100 in groceries (total is usually BEFORE coupons), you receive 10 cents off per gallon of gas. If you have a Kroger credit card you receive 15 cents off (though I don't recommend credit cards!). For every $100 spent you accrue the 10 cents to use at each pump visit during the next month (you don't get 20 cents off by spending $200, instead you get 10 cents off twice). You have to use the Kroger plus shopping card to earn and use this savings. We make the most of this by taking both vehicles for a fill-up. However, I used to get caught up in this trying to spend to the $100 mark when thinking it through you're not saving that much: 25 gallons X 10 cents = $2.50 so try to keep that in mind. We've never run into a limit issue but they usually say 20 or 25 or 30 gallon limit. If your closest Kroger doesn't have gas pumps but another one does, this may be worth driving to another store. I've been told by an employee that Kroger fuel prices are set by competition in that area so usually every store has a different price for gas and one side of town may be cheaper than another.

8) Markdowns. Crystal has shown several marked-down items she has bought recently. You have to keep your eyes open! Shopping at certain times of the day helps, ask when markdowns are most likely to be made.

9) Making the most of coupons. I sign-up for coupons a lot and ask manufacturers for coupons so I seem to get the occasional free item coupon. I save these for Kroger to work towards the fuel rewards.

I used to be an avid Wal-Mart shopper because the prices are generally lower or you can ad match anyway, but now with Catalina coupons and other rewards I've found that it does pay to shop at Kroger, Meijer, etc. But you have to be careful to make sure it's a good deal!! :) Please leave a comment with any other tips or good deals you've found this week. Thanks!
Update - For those with Meijer nearby, it is Frozen Food sale this month. There are coupons in the ad this week so stock up because there will be sales all month but the coupons are only in the ad this week!! (It appears that the coupons are also available online this time but I would rather have their ad coupons because I've had trouble with our store accepting "printable" coupons before.) Read the "rules" on the coupon - only one coupon for that item can be used per visit but you can always make multiple visits and stock up. You can also combine manufacturer coupon with this store coupon (it's worked for me before, I assume it would work this time).

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

WFMW - Backwards Day!

Help me! I hate to clean our stovetop. It's a gas stove (white no less!) with no pan drip thingies. I'm used to electric stoves where you can cover the pan drip thingies with tin foil (ok, aluminum foil) and then change that out once in a while. Anyway, back to the gas stove. I've contacted the company about using pan drip thingies and they say if it didn't come with it, you're not supposed to use them. Ugh. (I would post a picture of my stove, but I don't think I can get it to work, maybe later.) Does anyone have any great ideas? Anyone buck the system and put pan drip thingies down anyway??? I don't want to burn down my house. I've used magic erasers and it works pretty well but not completely. Thanks in advance for any words of wisdom, or cleaning stories, or what works for you, or hello, whatever you want to leave in the comments! :)

P.S. Any hints on getting a babyfeeder baby to take a bottle???