Saturday, January 10, 2009

Singing Sunday

This week instead of doing a song that we sang in church, I picked one that struck me between the eyes while listening to the local Christian radio station. Sometimes it is so easy just to go through my day without even giving any thought to the One who put me here on this earth. It is so important to take the time for Christ and have passion for Him and Him alone! Here is the lyrics...

The Motions
by Matthew West

This might hurt, it's not safe
But I know that I've gotta make a change
I don't care if I break,
At least I'll be feeling something
'Cause just okay is not enough
Help me fight through the nothingness of life

I don't wanna go through the motions
I don't wanna go one more day
without Your all consuming passion inside of me
I don't wanna spend my whole life asking,
"What if I had given everything,
instead of going through the motions?"

No regrets, not this time
I'm gonna let my heart defeat my mind
Let Your love make me whole
I think I'm finally feeling something
'Cause just okay is not enough
Help me fight through the nothingness of this life

'Cause I don't wanna go through the motions
I don't wanna go one more day
without Your all consuming passion inside of me
I don't wanna spend my whole life asking,
"What if I had given everything,
instead of going through the motions?"

take me all the way (take me all the way)
take me all the way ('cause I don't wanna go through the motions)
take me all the way (I know I'm finally feeling something real)
take me all the way

I don't wanna go through the motions
I don't wanna go one more day
without Your all consuming passion inside of me
I don't wanna spend my whole life asking,
"What if I had given everything,
instead of going through the motions?"

I don't wanna go through the motions
I don't wanna go one more day
without Your all consuming passion inside of me
I don't wanna spend my whole life asking,
"What if I had given everything,
instead of going through the motions?"

take me all the way (take me all the way)
take me all the way (I don't wanna go, I don't wanna go)
take me all the way (through the motions)
take me all the way

I don't wanna go through the motions

Scrumptious Sunday Recipe Swap--DC Brownies


1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or margarine

2 cups (12‑oz. pkg.) semi‑sweet chocolate chips, divided

1‑1/2 cups sugar

1‑1/4 cups all‑purpose flour

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

3 eggs

1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts(optional)


1. Heat oven to 350°F. Grease 13x9x2‑inch baking pan.

2. In large microwave‑safe bowl, place butter and 1 cup chocolate chips. Microwave at HIGH (100%) 1 to 1‑1/2 minutes or until chips are melted when stirred. Add sugar, flour, vanilla, baking powder, salt and eggs; stir with spoon until smooth. Stir in remaining 1 cup chips. Spread batter into prepared pan; if desired, sprinkle walnuts over top.

 3. Bake 30 minutes or until center is set. Cool completely in pan on wire rack. Cut into bars. Store tightly covered. 36 bars.

NOTES: I love to serve these brownies topped with scoop of ice cream, fruit(strawberries are the best!) and Hershey's Chocolate Syrup.

For more scrumptious recipes, head over to Happy To be At Home!  Kate has shared her pizza fondue recipe, which sounds sooo yummy! 

Weekly Shopping Trip--Savings $99.13

I think I have finally found my "niche" in doing grocery shopping twice a month!   Last week, I just did shopping for what we needed and didn't even spend $30!!  I waited until Monday of this week to see the ads and get my pantry/storage space back in order so that I could finish my shopping for 2 weeks with a big shopping trip.  Now I shouldn't need to go to the store other than for milk before Jan. 15th! 

So here is the breakdown of my shopping trip this week...

  • 5.12 lbs bananas $3.02
  • 1.33 lbs catfish $5.32
  • 21.5 lbs boneless/skinless chicken $36.34
  • 3.17 lbs various apples $3.17
  • 8 boxes microwave fries $8.00
  • 4 lbs carrots $4.00
  • 5 boxes fruit snacks $4.00
  • 3 bags frozen green beans $3.00
  • 3 bags frozen green peas $2.00
  • 2 lbs tilipia $7.00
  • 1 box Corn Pops $1.00
  • 2 Country Crock margarine $2.75
  • 2 pkgs. Nestle cookie dough $2.50
  • 2 pkgs Eckrich smoky links $5.00
  • 4 jars(32oz) Smuckers jam $3.30(83¢ each!)
  • 10 cans Campbells Chicken noodle soup $5.10(51¢ each!)
  • 1 family pack bag breaded chicken nuggets $8.00
  • 1 family pack bag breaded chicken tenders $8.99
  • 1 bag 50/60 ct. shrimp $4.50
  • 1 box freezer quart bags $2.00
  • 1 bottle(32oz) Vaseline brand lotion 50¢ (this was a steal! The 24 oz bottles were on sale for $2.00, however they had bonus size bottles that were 32 oz for the price of the 24 oz!)
  • 1 tube Colgate toothpaste $1.00 
  • 6 boxes Kleenex $7.00
  • 2 bottles Suave hair gel/mousse $2.59 ($1.30 each)
  • 2 bottles Suave body wash $2.84($1.42 each)
  • 2 bottles Suave shampoo $2.34($1.17 each)
  • 1 box(4ct+2) razor refills $7.99
  • 2 boxes Electrosol dishwasher power balls $1.00 (50¢ each!! I had TWO-$2.50/1 coupons!!)
Total with tax: $214.12
Savings Total: $62.97(promotions-$2; non-coupon savings-$42.87; coupon savings-$18.10)
TOTAL OOP: $151.15

Family Fare...

1st transaction: 
  • 2-24pks Northern TP $12.98
  • 3.21 lbs top round steak $9.60
  • 2 lbs regular bacon $3.96
  • 1/2 lb deli oven roasted turkey $1.07
  • 1 lb deli smoked turkey $4.39
  • 3  jars Jif Peanut butter $5.00
  • 1 box Bakin' Miracle $2.19
  • 2 bags frozen potatoes $4.00
  • 1.96 lbs beef stew meat $5.86
  • 6.20 lbs ground beef $11.72
  • 8 bottles Juicy Juice $15.66 ($1.96 each)
  • 3 oranges 75¢
Total with tax: $110.31
Savings Total: $32.34
Total OOP: $77.97

2nd transaction...
  • 2 lbs lower salt bacon $3.96
Total: $7.58
Savings total: $3.62
Total OOP: $3.96

  • 1 head lettuce 99¢
Total: $1.19(if gotten at Meijer or Family Fare!)
Savings Total: 20¢
Total OOP: 99¢

GRAND TOTAL: $333.20

Just in case you are wondering making the trip to Save-A-Lot(SAL) just for lettuce is worth it! Family Fare and SAL are right across the street from each other and only 2 blocks from my house.  As for Meijer, it is 5 miles from my house so it makes for a nice little at Meijer then head towards home and stop at Family Fare &  SAL.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Not so Frugal Dinner!

In an effort to keep things real...

Tonight for dinner I decided to make up some of my Chicken Veggie Stew to use up the cooked chopped up chicken that I had done earlier in the week.

So I am making up the soup and doubling the recipe(almost tripling) as I go along because I thought it would be great to have for leftovers next week when we are to get bitter cold temperatures and windchills.  

I put the spices in the pot and noticed that the broth of the soup seemed to change color instead of being golden yellow it was more of a burnt yellow. In other words, it appeared to have too much pepper or poultry seasoning in it!  I thought that it was just because it needed to simmer and all the spices had floated to the top of the soup pot.  I could not add more water or broth to the pot without draining some of the broth that was already in the pot!  BUT in my stubbornness, I thought that it was my imagination and with it being such a big pot of soup(we are talking a 12 qt. stockpot!)

We sat down to eat our dinner---soup and homemade bread and on the first bite I knew that it was not my imagination on the spice! And my fears were confirmed when one at time each of my children and my hubby chimed in with "boy this is hot, spicy hot!"

Despite the soup's spicy hotness, every one ate it, however, I felt like any of the leftovers were going to be wasted if I did not take the time to fix my mistake!

To fix my mistake, I drained basically all the broth off the soup and down the drain it went!  The broth that consisted of 2 cans of chicken broth and 2 cans of cream of chicken soup.  To put broth back into the soup, I ended up using another can of chicken broth, about 2 cups of water with bouillon, and milk and flour. You are probably wondering why I didn't just use more cans of broth and cream of chicken soup. Well the other cans that I have in my pantry are marked for other meals!  So I tried to fix my mistake in a more frugal way. 

So what I thought would turn out into a frugal dinner ended up costing more in the long run because of my mistake of too much spice. 

The hard lesson in this situation is add a little bit of spice at a time even if you are doubling or tripling a recipe!  It will save you a major headache in the long run. 

Oh just so you know...for the 12 qt. stockpot I put in a measured 1 tsp black pepper and a scant 1 tsp poultry seasoning. I forgot that poultry seasoning has pepper in it!!    

For actual frugal ideas, head over to Biblical Womanhood!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Works for Me Wednesday--Shoe Racks

As a family of seven, we have ALOT of shoes!! The kids have good shoes and play shoes. Then when winter rolls around here in the Midwest they also have their boots that need to go somewhere!  

I got one of these racks for their shoes a few years ago when I just had 4 kids! It seemed to work well for their shoes and their boots just stayed on the floor.  The top two shelves were divided into two and then hubby and me got the bottom shelf for our wet shoes.  Well our family expanded and feet got bigger and that meant more shoes or no room for the shoes on the shelf! Which also meant the shoes ended up all over on the floor for someone to trip on going into the laundry room or to use the bathroom! Well I had enough of the shoes all over!  So I decided to figure out a better plan....

The better plan was to TWO of these stackable shelves!!  Now there is room for their shoes and even room now for guests to put their shoes! The best part in my mind is that these two shelves are smaller in height than the wire shelves so it makes things even easier for my little ones to find a spot on the shelves. 

And now the wire shelves are used just for boots! 

So that means that theoretically there will be no more shoes or boots on the floor for me(or anyone else) to trip over and that works for me!

Now I wonder what would work to get my 2yo from thinking that he has to take the shoes or boots off the shelves and walk around the house in them?!?!

For other works for me, head over to Rocks in My Dryer!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Major Project Complete!

I have showed you pictures before of my pantry so I thought I would show you what my hubby and I did this past weekend with my pantry/storage room! This room goes under our stairs leading to the basement. This room is situated in our basement that it has TWO concrete foundation walls along with a regular old basement window. Having the foundation walls helps to keep the temperature consistently cold in the winter time and hence makes a great "cellar". The basement window has been spray painted black so no outside light comes into the room. And now the walls have been painted with waterproofing paint(no we were not having water leaking yet!) and extra paint that we had from other home improvement projects.

Here is a before picture of some of the storage part of the room...

Here is an after shot of the same space...

Here is the pantry shelves after the painting of the walls were complete...

This picture shows a close up of the contact shelf paper that I put on the wood shelves. These shelves were here when we moved into this house 6 years ago and were in decent shape so we have kept them and are just sprucing them up a bit. Putting shelf paper on them was ALOT easier than painting them!

Here is what the pantry looks like now all put back together and organized! Clearing off the shelves of all the goods and then restocking the shelves helped me to see what I had on my shelves that was close dated! I actually found a box of strawberry jello with a best by date of Sept 2006 that I trashed! That was the only casualty! There is a few other things that I will be using in the next couple of weeks so they do not become a casualty as well.

This is a picture of under the stairs. My hubby wired a light for under the stairs and painted the walls a light gray rather than having the cement gray, it really lighten things up!

Here is the items back into their space! Would you believe me if I told you that out of this space I managed to totally remove a 30 gallon flip top rubbermaid container that was full of stuff?? We purged that much plus at least another TWO 18 gallon roughneck containers of stuff just from this one area of the room!!

Lastly, I am now able to have the majority of our out of season clothes in just one area of the storage room! Hubby and I still have some out of season clothes in our closet because it is easier to store them there to the back and hubby will still wear short sleeves in the wintertime.

So this was one of our big "tackles" during the 12 days of hubby's vacation! The other tackle was repainting our main full bathroom!

Mini Bread Fun

I got this idea from Tammy showing us her mini loaves!  I have small pans to do quick breads in and so over the holidays I made several loaves of bread--mini style or kid size! The main reason why I did them is because I thought they would be good size for giving away with my goodie plates.

Well like most of my recipes, my family thinks that they need to try them out!  So I made a few for us to have as a side with our dinner meals.  The mini loaves do not last long around here!

And then of course, my daughter loves grilled cheese and she asked if I would use some of "her name size" sandwiches.  I told her sure why not!  And not only did she enjoy them but everyone enjoyed a grilled cheese sandwich on homemade bread with a bowl of homemade chicken rice soup!

I used this recipe and just used the dough cycle...

Honey Oatmeal Bread (breadmachine)

11 1/2 ounces(1 1/4 cup + 3tbsp.) water (80°F) 

3 tablespoons honey
3 1/4 cups bread flour
1 cup oats, (quick or old fashioned)
2 tablespoons dry milk
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons butter or margarine
2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast(can be used in the breadmachine) 
2 teaspoons bread machine/fast rise yeast
Place in bread machine in order starting with water and ending with yeast.Basic Bread Setting, unless using fast rise yeast then you can do Basic Rapid Bread Setting. Makes 2lb loaf
***If you want rolls instead of a loaf of bread, place the bread machine on dough setting. After the cycle is done, take the dough out of the machine and make into 12-24 balls(depending on what size rolls you would like) place into a greased pan. Or for mini loaves divide evenly into 4 balls and roll out into a log and place in a greased loaf pan. Let rise til double in size(45 minutes-1 hour). Bake in oven at 350° for 15-20 minutes or til golden brown.

For more kitchen tips head over to Tammy's Recipes or for more tempt my tummy tuesdays head over to Blessed with Grace.  I also joined in on the over at Blissfully Domestic!

New Button!

Do *you* like my new button???

Back along the way, my friend, Joy had a "welcome to my new home" giveaway over on her blog when she switched over to her own server.  The giveaway had a first and second prize to it. Well I won the second prize, which was a button for my blog!  

I love the button because it really shows the real concept behind this blog!  The real concept being that I want to be a light for Christ!  Even though I talk about frugal living, homeschooling, recipes, and more I want to be encouragement to others. I want to shine for Christ!

A little sidenote story...back in college I was on a team that did street evangelism, every Friday night we would go into the inner city of Cincinnati and talk with people and actually developed friendships with some of the homeless. One of the homeless people that I developed a relationship with started calling me "Sunshine" because every week I would come down there with a smile on my face.  Well the nickname stuck with me and the rest of my team even started calling me "Sunshine".  Also in college is when I started chatting on the internet bulletin boards(back when they were DOS based bulletin boards and not chatrooms) as well and I decided to use my nickname as my screen name.  The name "Sunshine" was already taken so I changed the "u" to an "o"to show others that I shine with God's Son's (Christ's) love and God's grace. 

So back to the button...I really think that Joy did an awesome job!  It will reside in my right sidebar for you to cut and paste and place on your blog if you would like! 

Thanks again Joy for your hard work!

Monday, January 5, 2009

Math Around the House

Are you finding the kids (and maybe you for that matter!) are still not wanting to crack open the school books just yet? Instead of fretting or getting frustrated over them not wanting to hit the books yet, use it to your advantage and involve them in tasks around the house that involve math concepts!

Looking for some ideas as to what tasks you could do with your kids, head over to Happy to be at Home and read the rest of my article, Teaching Math Around the House!  

Also take the time to check out some of the other articles that were written by a couple of the other contributing writers.

Menu Plan Monday 1/4-1/10

**It is the first full week of the New Year, which means that it is back to the regular routine! The regular routine being we are going back to our school schedule and hubby goes back to work! It was fun having the time off to do fun things together as a family along with getting some much needed projects done around the house. ALL the Christmas goodies are either in the freezer for later consumption or have been consumed! Going back to the regular schedule means going back to the lower sugar consumption as well!

Last week's menu plan got a little sticky towards the end of the week as I didn’t have meals planned out so those days were a bit stressful trying to figure out what sounded good with what I had on hand! We ended up eating at home one night and going to Steak N Shake the other night!

Well this shopping trip helped to finish last week’s menus and was enough to start menus for this week, however; it will not be able to finish off the week! Thankfully, there is still grocery money to use from hubby’s paycheck so I will be grocery shopping today to finish off this week’s menus!

There isn’t much to this week’s menus because I like to do my shopping first before I plan so I have planned the meals that I have the supplies for and the rest of the menu plan will immerge after my grocery shopping trip!

Lunches listed are for the kids & me. Unless we are having leftovers, our lunches are served with apple slices or baby carrots along with fruit juice or water. Hubby usually takes a dinner leftover for his work lunch.

A special thanks to Laura-Organizing Junkie for hosting Menu Plan Monday! Need help with your menus; go check the over 200 other delicious meal plans that have been linked at Laura-Organizing Junkie's site or look down in my right sidebar for my menu suggestion lists! **

Sunday (1-4)
Breakfast: eggs, sausage, hash browns, and cinnamon rolls
Lunch: sandwiches
Dinner: creamy chicken over egg noodles and a choice of peas or green beans for a side.
Snack: snack basket

Monday (1-5)
Breakfast: french toast (from freezer!) and orange juice
Lunch: leftover burger sandwiches and chips
Dinner: Your choice of bbq pork sandwiches or sloppy joes served with fries and carrots
Snack: snack basket

Tuesday (1-6)
Breakfast: cereal & toast
Lunch: sandwiches and chips
Dinner: ?? probably hamburger helper(from a box) served with a some kind of veggie on the side. (I found a couple of HH boxed meals in my pantry that need to be used due to the best buy dates)
Snack: cookies & milk

Wednesday (1-7)
Breakfast: bagels and cereal
Lunch: leftover spaghetti
Dinner: homemade chicken nuggets served with mashed potatoes and corn
Snack: snack basket

Thursday (1-8)
Breakfast: waffles
Lunch: bagel bites
Dinner: ???
Snack: snack basket

Friday (1-9)
Breakfast: cereal and toaster strudel
Lunch: sandwiches & chips
Dinner: Your choice of burgers or hotdogs served with seasoned fries and corn
Snack: ice cream night

Saturday (1-10)
Breakfast: “Cook’s Choice”
Lunch: ??? probably leftovers
Dinner: homemade pizza
Snack: snack basket or popcorn

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Singing Sunday

How Great is Your Love
by MercyMe

My heart is steadfast of God
And I will sing
With all my heart and soul
Music for the King
And I will awake the dawn
With my praise to you O Lord

How great is Your love
So much higher than the heavens
With faithfulness that reaches the sky
How great is Your love
So much higher than the heavens
With faithfulness that reaches the sky
O how great is Your love

Praise the Lord O my soul
And glory to the King
Forever You are robed with majesty
We come to you O Lord
And Lay our praise at your feet


Be exalted O God and let Your glory reign
Be exalted O God and let Your glory reign
Let it reign
Let it reign
Let it reign
Let it reign
Let it reign
Let it reign


Scrumptious Sunday-Chicken Parmesan

Easy Chicken Parmesan

5 boneless/skinless chicken breasts
1/2 cup flour
2 TBSP. italian seasoning
2 tsp. garlic powder
1 TBSP. onion powder
4 TBSP. margarine or butter
4 TBSP grated parmesan cheese
8 oz. mozzerella cheese, shredded
1 jar Ragu pasta sauce (I used traditional style)

Combine flour, italian seasoning, garlic powder, onion powder, and parmesan cheese in a bowl or bag.  Dip the chicken in the flour mixture.  Place in a 9x13 pan. Put little pads of margarine or butter on the chicken. Place in the oven at 400° for 50 minutes.  Take out of the oven pour the jar of pasta sauce over and around the chicken. Place back in the oven until the sauce is bubbly(about 10 minutes). Take the chicken back out of oven and sprinkle with mozzerella cheese. It should be hot enough for the cheese to melt without placing back in the oven. However, it might need to go back in for about 5 minutes to melt the cheese. 

Serve with spaghetti noodles and a green salad! 

For more scrumptious recipes; head over to Happy To be at Home!