Well…I’ve been thinking about not blogging anymore. It’s actually crossed my mind a lot in the last couple of years, but I’m considering it more seriously now. I really love it, and that’s my problem.

  • I have a tendency to blog instead of doing other things I really should be doing. I’ve tried just blogging less often, which seems to help for a little bit, but then before I know it I’m back spending all kinds of time working on posts, taking pictures for posts, checking my stats, etc…
  • Also, I know that there’s so many blogs out there on the exact same things I blog about.
  • And to top it all off, I often find myself looking for my identity in my blog, instead of in Christ. It’s easy to only post about the successes, to crop out the bad, and then to hope with all my might I get good views and comments, as if that’s what life is all about.

So, at least for this time in my life, I won’t be blogging here at Purposely Frugal anymore. If you want to keep up, I’ll continue to post over at our ministry blog, and in fact a couple of you were asking about an update to what we’re doing now, and I just posted that.

Thank you to all of you readers who read my blog, commented and emailed! Many of you encouraged me, many of you gave me new ideas, and some of you I feel like have even become friends, even though we’ve never met in person.

Au revoir!

~Katy

 

I feel like I haven’t been writing much lately, I guess I just need to shoot out a post! So how about a 5 Frugal Things post?

1. We bought school supplies and some clothes during our tax-free weekend! It was a super easy way to save some money.

 


2. You know how I’m trying to get practice canning? Now I’ve done pickles by myself twice and the other night I canned 7 jars (1/2 pint) of jalapenos. I have broken 2 jars in the 3 canning sessions I’ve done. :( I’m thinking I need to invest in some tongs, instead of my make-shift ladle/noodle spoon  I use to get the jars out, maybe that’s why my cans are breaking.

3. While I’m learning that canning is awesome, I know freezing can be a little quicker, so I froze some jalapenos and banana peppers. I’ve never frozen raw peppers, but I’m assuming they’ll taste best cooked in something. Any great recipes for cooked banana peppers?


4. I made a double batch of chocolate zucchini bread with a ginormous zucchini, and it didn’t even use up the whole thing! I ended up with 2 large loaves of luscious bread and 1 dozen muffins, which are now in the freezer waiting for school to start so they can go in lunch boxes.
5. I’m trying to grocery shop less often, so lately I’ve been having to use “leftover wizardry” as Amy Dacyczyn would say. For example, tonight we had chili made from:

  • Some chili Cameron made a long time ago that was SUPER SPICY! I put it in bags in the freezer so I could combine it with bigger pots of chili to make it a little more mild.
  • A bag of frozen pinto beans.
  • 1 lb. of hamburger meat
  • and my last (sniff, sniff) can of tomatoes. I gave them a whirl in the blender before adding them to the chili.

It actually turned out tasting like chili!!!

What are some things you’ve done recently to spend less money?

 

 

Amy

AProverbs31Wife.com

I occasionally make fruity smoothies, but most of the time I do some variation of this one. It’s sooo yummy and helps with my ice cream cravings. Ice cream is probably my all-time favorite food, but I know that this is healthier and just about as good. I like to make it thick so it’s almost the consistency of soft serve ice cream. I don’t have exact ingredients, if you like it more peanut buttery, add more peanut butter. If you like it thicker add more frozen bananas, thinner, add more milk. I’ve done it with out the chocolate powder and chocolate chips. I’ve even thrown in raw spinach and leftover oatmeal.

  • Frozen bananas-This is one of many great ways to use up those browning bananas!
  • Milk
  • Peanut butter – I’ve done it both with natural peanut butter with no added sugar and with the regular peanut butter.
  • Cocoa powder – This is optional.
  • Chocolate or carob chips – Also optional.

Mix it the ingredients (except for the chocolate  chips) in your blender, then top with the chips and enjoy!!!

Amy 

AProverbs31Wife.com

I’ve told people before:

“God can use you anywhere!”

“Where you’re at doesn’t matter as much as what you’re doing.”

And a favorite quote from a Bible School teacher on where to serve as a missionary, “The worst that could happen is if you go to the wrong place, the wrong people get saved!”

But now I’m seeing how much I really believed those statements…or rather didn’t believe them.

As you know Little Dude is back with us again, just a couple of days before we were about to move from Missouri and start our travels around the States before heading to West Africa, we were notified that he might need a home again. Talk about crazy emotions, VERY excited to get to take care of this precious little boy, confused because we thought things were going pretty well at home, and lots of wonder about what this meant for our plans.

Prior to Little Dude moving back in with us, our plans were for us to be traveling, to New York (which we did do with Little Dude), to Mexico (which ended up just being Cameron instead of all of us), to Texas, and probably some other places as well. Instead we’re staying here in Missouri to maintain our Missouri foster licence so we can continue to take care of Little Dude. The plan was to be homeschooling, which we’ve been doing, but will end next month when the 2 kids go to public school. It’s taken me some time to get used to the idea of sending my lil’ 1st grader and kindergartener to public school all day. And while we’re still hoping to get to West Africa in January, things with Little Dude are going sloooooooow, and we’re wondering if we’ll really make it by then.

All that to say, because we feel a responsibility to and love for Little Dude, we are staying here for now…and we’re not quite sure how long “for now” is. It’s been tough for me to come to grips with all the unknowns looming in our future. I’ve been discouraged thinking:

“What if we don’t get to West Africa in January?”

“What will people think of us changing our plans?”

“Why does it take so long to find anything out about Little Dude’s situation?”

“My little 5 and 6 year old at a school almost all day long?”

And my thoughts and anxieties go on and on.

Some friends/mentors recently were talking with us and we were expressing some of our frustrations. He responded by reminding us to bloom where planted.

I’ve been thinking a lot about that little phrase. With God’s help, He’s helping me to remember to look at the here and now, after all we don’t really know how much longer we have, but we do know we have RIGHT NOW!

I’m trying to re-focus my CURRENT responsibilities…like taking care of the 2 kids I have now. Teaching them about their Rescuer, loving them, growing in my many areas of weakness (time management, patience, trusting the Lord, just to name a few).  I’m also hoping to volunteer at the kids’ school and I’ll be helping 3 mornings a week at the missionary training center’s childcare, and as time goes on we’ll see if more opportunities come up for me to “bloom” right here where I’m at.

But I’ve gotta tell you, this growing into a beautiful blossom thing isn’t easy. I’m realizing more and more all the time how much God needs to peel away me. These situations reveal that I really don’t trust Him and in my prideful arrogance I think I know best. But I know it’ll be worth this discomfort if it rips away more of me and helps me cling more to Him.

 

Amy

AProverbs31Wife.com

Today I made a big ol’ batch of this soup, some we ate for supper, some I’m going to freeze.  Its both a  super frugal meal, yet very nutritios. It’s filling and everyone in our family likes it. You can top with tortilla chips, salsa, sour cream, cilantro, jalapenos and cheese.

You can switch out the recipe in so many ways depending on what you have on hand, but here’s how I made it:
Ingredients:

  • 2.7 lbs. of chicken thighs – You can use any kinds of chicken parts, but the thighs were on sale, so that’s what I used.
  • 8 cups cooked white beans
  • Veggie scrapsThis is one of the things that makes this so cheap, instead of buying broth for the soup, make your own while cooking up the chicken. I like to keep a bag in the freezer with veggie scraps.
  • 2 stalks of celery chopped
  • 3 carrots, peeled and chopped – If you wash the carrots before peeling, add the peels to make your broth!
  • butter or oil
  • salt & pepper
  • taco seasoning – I don’t have a particular recipe, but it’s usually a combination of chili powder, paprika, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, onion powder and cumin. Although there are lots of homemade taco seasonings on the web, if you want exact proportions.

Other options: Diced onions sautéed up with the veggies would be tasty too, I was just out of onions this time. Corn is good in it too.

I had my white beans, soaked and cooked up the day before. So I started my cooking session with putting the chicken, veggie scraps and lots of water in my pressure cooker. I chopped the celery and peeled and chopped the carrots and included their scraps in the pot too. I added some salt and pepper, then cooked up the chicken. I love how I just have to turn the cooker on, let it cook at pressure for about 8 minutes, then turn it off.* It uses a lot less energy than just cooking in a regular pot. But you could also cook it up in a pot, or even use a crock-pot and do this part the day before.

Once your chicken’s cooked (and the pressure has released on the cooker) let the chicken and golden broth cool, then strain out the scraps and chicken. Toss the scraps and cut up the chicken into pieces.

Put the broth, chicken and beans all into a pot and add the sautéed veggies. Cook until every thing is heated through and the flavors have all melded, you can taste to see if you want to add more seasonings.

Cool and put in ziptop bags or containers for the freezer. And maybe enjoy some for supper tonight! :)

Dinner is served!

 

Amy 


*If you use a pressure cooker, make sure to read the instructions in the manual for your own saftey.

I  started reading Families Where Grace is in Place thinking it was a parenting book….which in a lot of ways it is, but it’s much more than that. It not only discusses parenting, it also talks a lot about marriages, but in reality this book could serve useful to anybody in any kind of relationship, parent-child, husband-wife, or even friend-friend.

It’s not a book full of little tips and tricks to successful living. It’s not the answer guide to life. And it most certainly isn’t telling you how to do the right kinds of outward behaviors. In fact that’s what I loved so much about it, it’s about dealing with the deep-rooted heart problem.

I could relate on so many levels. It talks about trying to find value and approval from others, whether it’s in your spouses’ actions, or how well-behaved your kids are. But it’s so evident in Scripture that Jesus isn’t concerned with outward behavior, He’s after the heart. He slammed the Pharisees, who followed the rules, but He knew the gunk in their hearts.

So much advice out their stays on  the surface level, or acts like if you get your actions fixed, then the heart will somehow get fixed. This book really delves into the hard-to-admit secrets of our hearts that serve as the engine driving our actions.

I borrowed this from a library, but it’s so good….I might….just might actually buy myself a copy. I wish I could post the whole book here, but since I can’t here’s a few quotes:

It’s okay for outsides to match insides (vs. empty people learning to act full). In grace-full families, what is real is more important than how things look.Having a safe, unconditionally accepting place where outsides can match insides is really the only way to find out if there are inside needs and problems that must be addressed. pg. 163

Always remember this: Under the best circumstances, the most healthy, most sensitive, most educated person is still not capable of meeting the needs of another. This is God’s responsibility. pg. 168

It is never your job or mine to protect our loved ones from bad news. We can, instead, support them as they learn to cope with the tough challenges of life. pg 171

As I re-read this post before posting it, that last quote really hit home again, as I think about taking care of our little foster son. I so badly want to protect him from any hurt or sadness, but I have to come to grips with the fact that it’s out of my control…but I can love him through any hurts and point him to the True Comforter.

Have you read this book? What did you think of it?

Amy

 

Reading to the kids

We provided respite for Big Sis and Little Dude this weekend. It’s the 4th time they’ve stayed with us. The first was when they first came into care and the other times were for respite. As I look back to the time they came to us 11 months ago, I see so many changes. I’m so thankful for the couple that they’ve been living with. We agreed to take the kids until a more permanent home could be found, they lived with that family for a while but then were moved again, to their current home. I can tell by spending time with the kids, that they’re taken care of. Big Sis has grown, Little Dude is talking so much better. They just look so healthy. Their foster parents weren’t even planning on taking any kids until after a trip they had planned, but eventually said yes to Big Sis and Little Bro. Then we provided respite when their trip came up.

These kids needed a safe home, a loving home, a consistent home and I can’t express how grateful I am that God provided that for them. Yes, just one couple (or one person for that matter) can make a huge change, they have in these kids’ lives. And as these kids are on a reunification plan, I believe that the influence of these temporary parents will forever affect them.

It’s easy to know there’s a need for foster parents, but when you personally know kids in need of a home, you don’t just know about the need, you feel it. We enjoyed having their foster parents over last night to get to know them, and it just made me all the more happy that those kids are with them.

And on another note….Cameron’s back and he had a GREAT trip! You can read all about it here, and see buckets of pictures here.

The completed water project!

 

 

You know how I recently learned how to can? Well I knew the next step would be to can something by myself, but I hadn’t decided what. I was looking at food that had been donated to the training center and noticed cucumbers and these handy-dandy packets of pickling mix! The only other ingredients were water and vinegar which I already had.

So one night I put the kids to bed and started canning. I only did 4 cans of 1/2 pints because I don’t have a very big pot, and most of my 1/2 pint jars were being used. I mostly wanted to do it for the practice. I did get worried though when I saw the big quantity of the recipe on the pickling mix. How in the world was I going to figure out how much to do for just 2 pints?? Thankfully I found this useful site that calculates size conversions for you!

The pickles turned out fine and all 4 of the lids sealed. I just love opening my cupboard to this!

Why did I wait so long to start canning? If you can, when and how did you learn?


Amy

  • I was this close (imagine my fingers just 1/2 inch apart) to grabbing a fast food meal this week…actually multiple times this week. But each time I managed to avoid it by the skin of my teeth telling myself it’d be cheaper and healthier to eat at home. One of the times it was actually a deal for a $6 pizza, that I almost ordered, but then I thought about how little nutrition was in it…how eating food we already had would probably be less than $6…and I wouldn’t have to drive to town if I just made lunch myself. The one time we did eat out was on Saturday when Long John Silver’s was offering a free fish and fries to each customer. The kids and I enjoyed our free and very greasy meal. :)

Completely free meal for me and the kiddos that Long John Silvers was offering Saturday!

 

 

Since this picture, the kids have gotten a second free ice-cream from a different place. I ended up buying one for myself too. :P

 

  • I’ve been earning more swagbucks recently. This is for 2 reasons, I have more time on my hands and videos aren’t blocked. During the semesters the training center blocks streaming because of all the bandwidth it uses. Sometimes I just play videos while I do other things on the computer, and sometimes I put the kids to work earning swagbucks for me by letting them watch animal video clips. They love learning about animals and I love getting swagbucks! And like I mentioned last week, about buying Cameron’s birthday present with swagbucks, it got in this week! :)
  • Cameron’s birthday was this week and he’s getting home tomorrow!!! We’re all so excited! We have home-made cards and a home-made banner all ready. We also wrapped all the gifts in bags or paper that we already had on hand.
  • Happy 4th of July! To celebrate, we’ll be having a cookout by the lake with some family and hoping to go watch fireworks after that. Enjoy your day!

 


Amy

An old picture....but I love it :)

Have you signed your kids up for your local library’s summer reading program?

Gracia and Little Dude are loving it so much!

What’s been cool about the reading program so far:

  1. Each kid got to pick out a brand new book to keep when we signed up.
  2. Each kid also got an activity book. They have a few activities they have to do for each section, and then read (or have read to them) 10 books.
  3. For every section they complete, they get a prize. The kids already earned their first prize…free DQ cones! :)
  4. It’s great motivation for the kids. While we did it last year too, this summer it’s even more exciting  because since last summer, Gracia has learned to read. So now, instead of me reading to her, I’m having her read books herself! Of course, she still needs help and it has to be beginner books, but it’s been great motivation and I can’t believe she’s done the first 10 books already!
  5. It helps the kids know what books to pick out. Usually the kids each pick a few books, and I pick some for them too, but this summer, I’ve been trying to help Gracia find ones that are simple enough for her to read herself. She’s having to think through what she gets more, instead of just grabbing things off the shelf.

I know every library is different, so yours may not be doing things exactly like ours is, but it’s a great FREE way to not only keep kids occupied, but keep their brains exercising too! And if you don’t have kids…the library still is an awesome place!

Enjoying their hard-earned cones!

I enjoyed these 2 lists, and thought you might too:


Amy

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