Saturday, April 28, 2018

Spring Beauty

On Thursday we spent a couple hours in the woods. I love being in the woods! Every time I get out in the woods I realize, again, just how much I love the forest.

The forest abounds with life! There is such a variety of plants, trees, birds, creeping, flying and leaping wild creatures.

I spy a squirrel!

The woods are quiet and still, and yet, at the same time, they are full of noises and motion. There are no cars rumbling and beeping. No electronic humming of refrigerators, dishwashers, or humidifiers. No ticking of clocks. But, there are bees buzzing, woodpeckers tapping, Cardinals singing, streams babbling, wind hissing, squirrels barking, limbs creaking, frogs chirping. The water glitters as sunlight reflects from it's surface.

When I go to the woods I feel a sense of peace and calmness. I have an enormous amount of gratitude well up within me. I thank God for the opportunity to be in such a beautiful place. I thank God for giving me senses to observe and take in the sights, sounds, and smells. I Thank God for putting variety and beauty into his creation. And, since I am in such a grateful frame of mind I think of so many, many blessings to thank God for providing. I am sure we all have special places where we feel in particularly reminded to be grateful and thank God. The woods is one of those special places for me.

As we walked through the woods we saw Spring Beauties, Violets, and Toothwort blooming.

It is early spring here, judging by the plant life. We have had a very long winter and spring is coming late. It is definitely welcomed! I only saw a few May Apples poking up through the leaves. Most years they have been up and unfurled for at least month by this time.

I didn't even see a single Trillium in bloom.

A lot Trout Lilies were up. I only saw a few that had flowered.

This little tree frog blended in well with his surroundings. I am surprised that we saw him.

My two year old was delighted! :)

I was very happy to see some Virginia Bluebells. They are lovely!

Psalms 40:5
 Many, O LORD my God, are thy wonderful works which thou hast done, and thy thoughts which are to us-ward: they cannot be reckoned up in order unto thee: if I would declare and speak of them, they are more than can be numbered.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Frugal Meal Planning: Chicken Leg Quarters 59¢ Per Pound

We bought a 10 pound bag of chicken leg quarters for $5.98. I made 9 meals (not counting leftovers) for our family out these chicken quarters. We are a small family with only 2 adults and one toddler eating.

This is how I divided up the chicken quarters.

8 chicken leg quarters:
Chicken legs = 2 meals
Chicken skin = 1 meal
Chicken thighs = 4 meals
Chicken bones = 2 meals

I cut all the drum sticks off. 8 drum sticks makes 2 meals for us. I can grill the legs or roast them. They can be marinated for extra flavor.

I took the skin off of the thighs. The skins will make one meal. I fry them like bacon, and can make breakfast for dinner. I will save all the fat that renders out of the skins as they fry (almost 1/2 cup). The fat goes in a jar in the refrigerator for cooking and baking later.

I de-boned all the thighs. I chopped the thigh meat up and put two thighs worth of meat, a piece, in freezer bags. I can use the chopped thigh meat for stir-fry, sweet and sour chicken, and refried rice.

The bones are thrown into a pot for making broth. I strain the bones out of the finished broth and pick any meat off the bones for soup. I make soup with the broth. I can make many various soups depending on the ingredients I have on hand.

What types of meals would you make with 10 pounds of chicken leg quarters?

We eat a lot of chicken leg quarters. They are super affordable and very flavorful. Sometimes when we buy chicken leg quarters I make fried drumsticks and thighs. Chicken leg quarters make really good chicken cacciatore, too. I have also cooked the legs quarters in the crock-pot all at once. I pulled the meat off of the bone and used it in several Mexican style dishes and BBQ sandwiches. I usually make our chicken salad out of dark meat, too. I probably would not serve it to company just because most people are accustomed to chicken breast in their chicken salad, but we like it made with thighs.

Tell me in the comments what you make with chicken quarters! I'd love to hear from you!

Saturday, April 7, 2018

We Have A New Baby!

Our new bundle of joy is now 3 week old. He is growing so fast! Yes, I said, "He," we have another precious boy!

I was 13 days over due and getting really tired of waiting to have our baby. Everything went smoothly and peaceful when I finally did go into labor.

I had a uneventful planned home birth. Our new little boy was 8 lbs. 10 oz. at birth. He is growing heathily and put on 13 oz. in his first week! We are so grateful for him!

Psalms 127:3 KJV
 Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward.

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Bible Reading In A Year: Follow Up

I wrote about my efforts to read the Bible through in a year Here In This Post.

I am here to confess that I did not finish reading the Bible aloud last year. :( ........But, I did not quit. :) We were getting close, and we just kept going. Last Monday I finished reading the Bible through, out loud, for the second time to BMW! I am really glad that we got finished before the baby arrived. Now I can start over once the baby is born and read the Bible to both of our children.

Be encouraged to keep reading the Bible, even if you fall behind in a reading schedule. The preserved Holy Bible is the very words of God. Not only is it the words of God, it is every word of God. We need every word of God. Jesus said, "Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God." Luke 4:4
Please don't be tempted to skip any of it. All scripture is profitable, and every single word is there for a reason. God wants us to have all of it, learn all of it, and use all of it.

2 Timothy 3:16 KJV
 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Decongestant Tea

This tea recipe came from my sister-in-law and it really works! I have used it several times and always been impressed with how much better I feel after drinking this tea. It seems to break up congestion quite effectively.  While it is not the most pleasant tasting tea, neither is it completely terrible. I like the spice flavors of the cinnamon and cloves, along with the orange zest.

Decongestant Tea

1 quart boiling water
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon or 1/2 cinnamon stick broken up 
1/16 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 tea bags of green tea
1/4 teaspoon orange peel
1/8 teaspoon of Thyme (or more)
4 cloves or 1/4 teaspoon of ground cloves 
1 peppermint tea bag (optional)
1 clove of garlic, crushed

Steep for 20-30 minutes. Drink with honey, sweetened to taste. 

Sunday, February 18, 2018

New Baby Coming.....

A box of freshly folded diapers.

I can't wait to use these on our new baby! We recently found the boxes of baby clothes and diapers, in preparation for our coming Addition. :) We have less than two weeks until our due date!

I spent time yesterday boiling all my cloth diapers and getting them ready for Baby. I am really excited to be using them again! :)

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Science Project: Finger Print Cataloging

We all have unique finger prints. This activity is an easy way examine your finger prints.

Graphite pencil
2 sheets of paper
Clear gift wrapping tape

Trace the outline of your hands on to one sheet of paper.

On the second sheet of paper heavily color in a small area with the pencil. Roll a finger tip into the graphite. Try to give your finger pint a good coating.

Press the finger tip onto a small piece of clear tape. The tape will lift the graphite impression of the finger print. Tape the finger print to the corresponding fingertip of the traced hand shapes.

I did this project with BMW last week. I think I was more interested in doing this activity than him, but he did seem to enjoy it. :) He is only 2 and I expected doing this project to be more fun than educational, at this point.

I think it would be fun to catalog your whole family's finger prints and then compare your similarities and differences. Which finger prints did you get from your mom and which ones came from your dad? Of course, you will have your own variations in the designs.

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Origami Paper Balloon Cakes!

This is a really fun project! These would be great for a party! They are also really nice for portable, grab and go snacks. Easy to pack in lunch boxes and for road trips.

I made several origami paper balloons out of parchment paper and wax paper.*

And, I decorated the parchment paper ones with colored pencils. **

I inflated the balloons and placed them onto a baking sheet. I filled the balloons 1/2-2/3 with cake batter. ***

I baked the cakes for 25-30 minutes. Some of the cake batter had bubbled out of the tops. I was able to peel off the bubbled over cake bits and clean up the paper.

VoilĂ ! I made individually wrapped cake squares! Like I said, this was really fun! You should give it a try!

*I used 7.5 inches squares of parchment paper and 6 inch squares of wax paper. They both worked fine.

**The wax paper cannot be decorated. It is just too slick. I found that colored pencil and ball point ink pens were the only things that work on parchment paper. The pencil will eventually rub off after baking, but it stays on for a while. I tried markers and crayons with no success.

***I put cake batter into a plastic freezer bag that had a small hole cut in one corner. I used this to pipe cake batter in through the hole on the top of the paper balloons.