Friday, April 30, 2010

Homemade Toys: Playmat

So many baby toys are used for such a short time that I wonder if it is worthwhile to purchase them.  I do believe that by playing with and looking at toys babies are learning alot.  I was really tempted to buy my son a playmat with some toys that dangle, but these things aren't cheap and only really get used for a few months.   Instead I decided to see what I could rig up at home.  My son spents most of his time (when we aren't holding him) lying on the floor on a blanket.  I tied some toys (a rattle that he was given, a spool, and a lid covered with tinfoil) from an old TV tray and let them dangle for him to watch and bat at.  He loves it and it cost nothing to make. 

When making homemade toys please keep safety first.  He uses this only under supervision and it will be taken apart when he is old enough to grab and pull the toys.

Another thing that he enjoys is having a board book propped open on the floor for him to look at.  We can change the picture frequently so that he doesn't get bored and now he is starting to enjoy reaching out and knocking it over.  It is never too early to introduce them to books.

It is fun and frugal to be creative and use what you have in different ways.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Drawing A Town

The other day my youngest daughter came home from school with the message for the day which was on a large piece of paper.  So I turned the paper over and drew some streets on it and let the girls draw in the town.  They drew in a school, a church, a park, a river with a bridge over it, some cars on the road, and a  green railroad track with an old fashioned grain elevator beside it (which I helped draw).  Then they drew a bunch of houses for all their relatives (Grandma's house, Laura's house, Michelle's house, Stephen's house, Colette's house, etc.).  They had a lot of fun planning and drawing their town (although there was a bit of a fight when someone's river they were drawing started flowing into someone's playground.)

After they were all done drawing their town my youngest daughter brought our her toy dinosaur and he stomped through the town squashing vehicles and causing chaos.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Weigh-In Wednesday

I can't believe I'm going to post my weight for everyone to see.  But my sister is getting married on June 26, 2010 and I would like to lose a bit more of this baby weight before then.  So to keep myself accountable I will be weighing myself on Wednesdays and posting it.  I currently weigh 167 lbs. and I would like to be below 160 lbs by the wedding.  Long term I would like to lose more than that but I am trying to make this an achievable goal and then go from there.  I am still breastfeeding so I am not planning on doing any drastic diet but just trying to make healthier food choices and eat a little less than I normally do.   I am also going to try to work out everyday even if it is only for 10 minutes.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Thrift Store Shopping

As the warm weather approached I realized that my summer wardrobe needed some new tops.  Last week when I was in the city I took a quick peek around Walmart but I did not see anything that I liked.  So the other day when I was in town I stopped by the local Salvation Army Store to see what they had.  It took a bit of looking through the racks but I found four tops that I liked.  In addition I picked up a few books for the girls.  In my previous post on reading I stated that I rarely purchase books choosing instead to use the library.  However, it is nice to have some of your own books around to take outside, or on camping and other trips without having to worry about losing or wrecking a library book.  Purchasing used books at garage sales or thrift stores is a great way to do this without spending a ton of money.  I got all of this for under $20.00.

I think I will save the books and give them as end of the school year gifts to the girls.  They will be great for summer reading and a way to reward them for a completing another year of school.

So don't overlook your local thrift store when you need to purchase something and if you are going through your closet or bookshelf please consider donating your items.  It is the ultimate way to recycle and benefits both the environment and your pocket book.

Monday, April 26, 2010

My Weekly Goal

One of the things I plan to do on this blog is to post a weekly goal and follow up to see how I did.  In the interests of being healthy and possibly losing some weight this week's goal is to drink 4 bottles of water min. per day and remember to take my vitamins.  I will track how I did in this post. I find if I fill up my water bottle and sip it throughout the day I drink much more water that if I just go to the kitchen and get a glass of water when I feel thirsty.  So I will be sure to keep my water bottle full to help me achieve this goal.

Monday: 4 bottles of water and I remembered to take my vitamins.

Tuesday: 5 bottles of water and vitamins.

Wednesday: 5 bottles of water and vitamins.

Thursday: 4 bottles of water and vitamins.

Friday: 5 bottles of water and vitamins.

Saturday: 4 bottles of water and vitamins.

Menu Plan Monday

Well it is time for menu plan monday once again.  Because of my Uncle's passing I did not make a menu last week. I have a busy week ahead so having a menu ready should make things go more smoothly.  On Thursday my son has a doctors appointment in the city so will be doing something in the slowcooker,  on Friday my daughter has bike day at school and I volunteered to help out so we will be having a simple supper that night, and on Sunday is my son's baptism. I was debating about what to serve after his baptism, thinking a brunch menu might be nice, but in the interests of keeping things simple I have decided to do a BBQ and will be having hamburgers and hot dogs, along with salads and goodies.  Also I picked up some sweet potatoes on a whim last week (they are not something I normally buy) so I am trying a new recipe with the Sweet-Sweet Potato Casserole.

Monday: Roast Chicken, potatoes, and veggies

Tuesday: Sweet Sweet Potato Casserole, leftover chicken and pasta

Wednesday: Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup and Fresh Bread

Thursday: Beef Stroganoff in the Slow Cooker

Friday: Leftovers or if not enough leftovers we will have an egg dish.

Saturday: Breaded pork chops, mashed potatoes, veggies

Sunday:  BBQ hamburgers and hot dogs, salads, goodies

For other great menu ideas head over to the org junkie for menu plan monday.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Bible Verse For The Week

Memorizing bible verses is not something that I have ever really done.  However, I do think that knowing God's word is important and by memorizing some verses maybe they will provide me with comfort and strength when I need it.  Also memory work is good for the brain.  As a stay at home mother I sometimes feel as though I am not using my mind to its full potential.  Anyway this is something I want to try so I will post a bible verse every Sunday and work to memorize it that week.  This week I have chosen a verse from Joshua.

"I command you, Be strong and of a good courage! Be not afraid nor dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you whereever you go."  Joshua 1:9

Friday, April 23, 2010

A Blog Award!!!

I have just started this blog so I was very surprised and pleased to be nominated for the Kreativ Blogger Award by Holly at Livin in a (Mostly) Happy SAHM WorldThank You Holly! I encourage you to go on over and check out her blog.

I am enjoying doing this blog and entering the world of fellow mom bloggers.  Unfortunately at this time I do not follow enough blogs to nominate 7 more to receive this award (most of the blogs I do follow have already received it).  However, as I get more into this blog world I will be sure to pass this award along.

I will share with you seven things about myself.

1. I love to crochet.  Mostly little things as I don't have the attention span for big projects.  I do not know how to knit.
2. I used to play softball and hockey competitively even attending some national championships.  Now I am an overweight mother trying to lose a few pounds.
3. I love it when the weather is nice enough to hang my clothes to dry on the line.  They smell so good after.
4.  I like to eat but I don't like to cook.  However, it is a necessary duty so I am trying to do better at it.
5. I am the oldest in a family of seven children.
6. I enjoy reading particulary historical and christian romances. 
7. I have the best husband.  He is a a great father and he works hard at his job and on the farm so that I can be a stay-at-home mom.

Thanks again Holly for nominating me.  I am very honoured to recieve this award and I hope to be passing it along shortly.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Earth Day

Today in honour of Earth Day I am going to list some of the things I do that are green and what I would like to improve on.  Most of the things that I do that are green I do because they are also frugal.  I definately want to help our environment, but it does help that these things also help us financially.

What I Do:
1.  I use cloth diapers all the time when I am at home.
2.  I use cloth rags for the majority of my cleaning, rarely paper towels.
3.  I use CFL's in the majority of my light fixtures.
4.  I donate to and shop at thrift stores.
5.  I line dry my laundry.
6.  I only wash clothes when they are actually dirty (we wear a lot of our clothes more than once).
7.  I do try to recycle most things.
8.  I have a garden and grow some of my own vegetables, as well as apples and raspberries.

Things I Want To Do Better:
1.  Turning off electronics and lights when not in use and teaching my children to do the same.
2.  Remembering to bring my cloth bags when I go shopping.
3.  Choosing products with less packaging.
4.  Buying organic and/or locally grown fruits and vegetables. (I struggle with the decision to buy organic because while green it is not frugal but I do think it is a good thing to do so I will try when I am able to buy organic this year).
5.  Being more conscious of the energy I use and try to reduce it.
6.  Use as much of the produce from the garden as I can.  Also try not to waste food.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

An Emotional Week

I haven't been updated my blog this past week because my Uncle passed away.  So it has been a rough week.  I did enjoy visiting with all my cousins and remembering all the good times we had.  However,  it was an emotional few days as we attended the prayers on Sunday night, the funeral on monday, and the burial was yesterday.  But life does go on and I am now trying to get back into my normal routine.  As I go about my day I have been finding some comfort by listening to some inspirational music.  This is one of my favorites.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Golden Potato Rolls

Yesterday I made some potato rolls for supper.  These rolls are moist and delicious and a great way to use up some leftover potatoes.  They also freeze well and I like to have some on hand in the freezer ready to pop in the microwave, to add to any meal.  I got this recipe from my Aunt and she has been making them for years.

I will often use 2-4 cup whole wheat flour in this recipe and it turns out fine.  Also I generally throw whatever leftover potatoes I have in without measuring so this recipe is pretty forgiving.  The only time I have had this recipe fail me is when I killed the yeast by adding it to quickly to the hot potato mixture (it should be warm not hot). 

Golden Potato Rolls (3 dozen)

1 tablespoon yeast
1/2 cup warm water
2 teaspoons salt
1 cup milk
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 cup margarine
8-8 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1-1/4 cups (approx) leftover mashed potatoes
2 eggs beaten.

Method: Dissolve yeast in water, set aside.  In a saucepan, combine milk, shortening and potatoes:  cook and stir over low heat just until shortening is melted.  Remove from heat and place in large bowl with sugar, salt, 2 cups of the flour and then add the yeast mixture.  Add the eggs and mix well.  Cover loosely and allow to stand for two hours (the dough will be like a sponge.

Stir in enough of the remaining flour to make a soft dough.  Knead.  Let rise until double.  Punch down.  Divide into thirds.  Roll into a circle.  Cut into 12 pie shaped wedges.
Roll up from the wide end.  Place on greased sheets. 
Let rise for 30 min or so. Bake at 400*F for 15 minutes.  Enjoy!

Thursday, April 15, 2010


Reading with your children is a great activity to do.  It is frugal, fun, educational, and calming.  We read to/with our children every night and also throughout the day when we get a chance.  It is a relaxing thing to do together and they enjoy it very much.  My children are not great readers and it was a struggle when my oldest was in grade one to get her to practice reading every night.  But it was worth it. Now that my children our older they will sometimes read on their own  (usually with our encouragement).  Yesterday it made my heart sing to watch as my oldest read a story to her sister.
And so he doesn't feel left out here is my son on the floor with a book propped up for him to look at.

I love visiting our local library.  There are many books to choose from and it is FREE.  I rarely purchase books because we are blessed to live in a country that has libraries for us to use.  And even though I live near a small town with a smaller library our province has a province wide system and I can request books from all over the province for FREE.  And not only books but movies and music as well.  My kids love picking out a movie from the library to watch and of course they will also pick out some books as well.  Also our library has a number of programs for kids as well and they are FREE.  My kids attended the preschool storytime for years.  They really enjoyed it.  It consisted of the reading of a couple of books and an activity (usually a craft ) related to the stories, and a snack.  My girls are now to old for this but in the summer the library has a summer reading club for school aged children which they enjoy.  So check out your local library and enjoy reading on your own, to your children, with your children, and then watch your children read on their own and to each other.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

One Thing At A Time

Today I woke up and felt a little overwhelmed at all I wanted to accomplish today.  I do tend to stress over things and get anxious.  Then I feel rushed throughout the day and get a little short with the children.  And why?  I am a stay at home mother trying to succeed in creating a loving, peaceful environment for my children and myself.  I am sure my children would prefer a calm mother who is patient with them and has a messy house to a frantic, rushing mother who is a little short with them but has a clean house.  So today to get through my day I am going to make a list of what I need to do and then focus on one thing at a time without worrying about what else is on the list.  And when my children need me I am going to stop what I am doing and focus on them.  Worrying that the laundry is not getting folded while I am holding my little boy isn't doing either of us any good.  I want to enjoy these moments as they pass so swiftly.

So here is my list for today:
  • do the dishes and tidy the kitchen
  • sweep the floors
  • fold laundry
  • feed the chickens and gather eggs
  • start supper in the slow cooker
  • exercise
  • do bookwork and work on income taxes
  • clean eggs
  • tidy living room 
  • do baking with girls after school
It really isn't so bad but I am not looking forward to doing my taxes but it has to be done.  But no worrying about that until I get to that task.  I am going to try and focus on being in the moment and enjoying the task I am doing.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Starting Seeds

Today I started some tomato seeds.  Every year I plant a bit of a garden.  My ambition is always higher in the spring and I plant a bunch of stuff.  Then summer comes and I would rather spend my time at the pool than weeding the garden.  Last summer the weeds took over my garden and most of what did grow was eaten by grasshoppers.  However, I did have lot's of tomatoes, corn, and some peas.  So it was still worth it.  Hopefully I  will do a little better at keeping it weeded this year.  Tomatoes are one of my favorite things to grow as they are fairly simple to grow and a homegrown tomato tastes so much better than a store bought one.  There is just no comparison.  In Saskatchewn you have to start your tomato seeds indoors because of the short growing season.  It is easy to do and saves me some money since I don't have to buy them as bedding plants.  I don't start many seeds indoors because you do have to have some space with good light to grow them but having tomatoes in the garden is a must.  I planted early girl and centenial rocket which are both bred to be early (which again is good in Saskatchewan's short growing season) and also some cherry tomatoes which are great to snack on.

When the girls came home from school we planted some flower and herbs in clay pots we had decorated.  This was a great activity to do with them.  Kids love planting things and watching them grow.  I hope to have them grow their own little garden this summer.  So we will see how that goes.  I am also thinking of having them make their own garden journal.  I got this idea from Frugal Family Fun (which is great blog by the way and has great kids activities.)  I think I may just use a notebook instead of a binder but cutting the pictures out from the seed catalog is a great idea.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Menu Plan Monday

One of my main duties as a home maker is the making and serving of nutritious, delicious meals to nourish my family.  However, I don't particularly like cooking and am not very good at it.  In an effort to make nutritious home cooked meals every day I have decided to try to make a menu plan every week to simplify the task.  Org junkie hosts menu plan monday everyweek and hundreds of bloggers post their menu plans there.  I have tried menu planning in the past but never really kept it up.  Hopefully by posting my menu here I will stick to it and continue to make a plan every week.

Monday: home made bread, tomato soup, devilled eggs, and raw veggies
I am running low on bread so I will mix up a batch today and we will have a loaf with supper.  The tomato soup is in the freezer leftover from last week when I made a big pot of tomato soup.  We will round out the meal with devilled eggs (which my oldest loves) and raw veggies.

Tuesday: ham, mashed potatoes, and corn
I will cook up a large ham to use this week and make extra mashed potatoes to use in potato rolls.

Wednesday:  Heavenly Ham Casserole
I will make this casserole with the leftover ham, potatoes, carrots, onions and cream of mushroom soup.  I will try to put it in the slow cooker in the morning to give me more time with the girls after school.  I may try to make some cookies or a dessert with them.

Thursday:  Cheddar-Ham Oven Omelet, Fruit Salad, Potatoe Rolls
I will make 1/2 of the omelet recipe with leftover ham if there is still some left.  Otherwise it will just be with cheese.  I will make the potatoe rolls with left over mashed potates from tuesday.

Friday:  Beef Stroganoff with Egg noodles, frozen veggies
I will make beef stroganoff in the slow cooker, serve over egg noodles, and add some frozen veggies on the side.

Saturday:  Leftovers
We will use up any leftovers or have a simple meal of sandwiches or pancakes.

Sunday:  Spaghetti and tomato meat sauce.

There that's it.  I will let you know next week how it went.  For great menu ideas head over to the org junkie for menu plan monday.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Baking (sort of) With The Girls

Today the girls and I made rice krispy squares  (thats the sort of, making rice krispy squares is not really baking)  However it is good to spend time in the kitchen with them.  Yes, it is easier and faster to do it myself but it can be more fun to do it together and it is a great learning experience for them.  I am hoping that by doing this with them now in a few years time I will be able to sit back and have them bake me somthing.  I often have to remind myself to be patient and let them do things even if they are a little messier than I would like or it doesn't get done exactly right.  Today I showed my oldest how to operate the stove and she was in charge of melting the marshmallows.  The girls enjoyed watching them melt into a gooey mess and then mixing them into the rice kripies.  Yummmm!

Saturday, April 10, 2010


Today we went swimming.  Swimming is a great family activity.  It is fun for all ages and is good exercise.  We have to drive aways to get to an indoor pool but it is something we do every few months as a day away for our family.  I can't wait till summer gets here and we can swim at the local pool but for now it was great to have a family fun day with a drive, lunch out, and the afternoon at the swimming pool.  

Friday, April 9, 2010

A home makers creed

I am starting this blog to share my journey as I strive to be the best mother, wife, and daughter that I can be.  I want to enjoy the journey as it is never ending, always changing, and forever challenging.  It is my personal journey and my hope in creating this blog is that it will motivate me to do my best, as well as celebrate my achievements, and help me cultivate peace and contentment with the stage that I am at. I came across these homemaker's creeds recently and they reminded of the importance of my job and inspired me to continually work to make my home a safe haven for my children.  I hope you enjoy them.


homemaking is a noble and challenging career.

homemaking is an art requiring many different skills.

homemaking requires the best of my efforts, my abilities, and my thinking.

home reflects the spirit of the homemaker.

home should be a place of peace, joy, and contentment.

no task is too humble that will contribute to the cleanliness, the order, the health, the well-being of the household.

a homemaker must be true to the highest ideals of love, loyalty, service, and religion.

home must be an influence for good in the neighborhood, the community, the country.


“ I believe my home is sacred; a place where love, faith, hope, and devotion have their beginning; where each has his rights respected by others; where joys and blessings, sorrows and disappointments are shared in common; where God is revered and honored, fellowmen respected and love is law.”

“I believe it is my duty to live up to the best that is in me to attain this, to fear things unworthy, to conquer difficulties by daring to attempt them, to be a companion as well as counselor to my family, and to teach and live, love of home, country, fellowmen and God.”