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Friday, February 27, 2015

How To Clean Greasy Residue Off Of Pans

Let me preface this by saying that there are two groups of people who will read this post.  First, the people who think this is a great trick and want to try it immediately.  Second, those who wonder why I would even care about cleaning the bottoms of my pans in the first place.  To you, I say, because they look so pretty when they're nice and clean.  You can continue to think I'm crazy.  I'm okay with that...

I was doing dishes last night, and noticed the bottom of my muffin pans are seriously gross.  Greasy residue all over gross.  I tried scratching a bit with my fingernail and it came off, but who wants to do that? Not me. 
But I had an idea.  Baking soda to the rescue!  I dumped some on there and let it sit for a minute.
And then I grabbed one of those random sample toothbrushes that don't seem like they quite clean your teeth very well, and I got to scrubbing.
Just a few minutes later, the bottom of the pan was clean!  The toothbrush was not...If shiny pretty pans make you happy, try this trick today!

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Recipe: Matthew's Soup

Earlier this week, we had Matthew's soup for dinner.  He came up with a list of ingredients, and I helped with the amounts.  It was similar to a few different soups we've had in the past, but the combination was all his idea, and he was very proud of the result.  Also, this kid doesn't always willingly eat all his veggies, and he gobbled down the whole bowl!  If that's not an argument for getting kids in the kitchen, I don't know what is.


  • 3 cups cooked shredded chicken
  • 5 carrots, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 8oz. mushrooms, chopped
  • 1/3 cup barley
  • 6 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • salt and pepper to taste
Mix all ingredients together in a large stock pot.  Heat to boiling, then lower to medium low heat and simmer about 40 minutes, until barley is cooked through and carrots are tender.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Weekly Goals February 22-28

This pretty girl hit 3 months this week! She is growing up so fast!

Last Week's Goals:

  • Go to the library. Done! I am disappointed that they have a 90 day probationary period where you can only check out 3 books per card though.
  • Call the school and find out about kindergarten round up/open house.  Done! They usually have an open house but don't have a specific date scheduled yet. So I guess we wait a bit on that one.
  • Schedule dentist appointments for the three bigger kids. Not done, but I did get a recommendation for a good kid dentist so hopefully I can schedule those on Monday.
  • Do yoga 3 times. I was a slacker again this week.
This Week's Goals: (these are all things I consider fun but I don't always make the time for them, so hopefully I can this week!)
  • Do Iron Craft Challenge #4 project, something spring-y.
  • Finish reading The Loyalty of Pawns.
  • Catch up on my blog reading.
  • Bake brownies or bars that are Hannah friendly.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Iron Craft Challenge #3: Something New

This time the challenge was to try something new.  I had plans of trying to crochet something, but apparently in the last craft supplies purge I finally got rid of the crochet hook I had never used.  So that was out.

So this time I let Jonah and Matthew take over and try something new.  I gave them each a plastic canvas rectangle and showed them how to stitch.  They picked the colors from my massive yarn stash.  They actually caught on pretty quickly.  I was impressed.  They've worked on these on and off for the past week or so.  I see presents for Grandma in their future...

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Weekly Goals February 15-21

The boys had a lot of fun making Valentine's Day cards for several family members and friends this week!

Last Week's Goals:
  • Do Iron Craft Challenge #3, to try something new. I was going to try crocheting, but somewhere along the line I got rid of my crochet hook.  So I let the boys try something new instead (more on Tuesday).
  • Do something special for Jesse for Valentine's Day.  We had a "date night in" after the kids went to bed.
  • Send out valentines from the kids to their grandparents and a few friends. Done!
  • Pass my USPS test and hope for an interview. I passed!
  • Do yoga 3 times. I didn't do yoga even once. Finding a time to do it has been really challenging.
This Week's Goals:
  • Go to the library! We haven't been there yet, but I'd like to check it out, and also see what sort of online hold system they have (my current favorite part of any library).
  • Find out if the local school has any sort of kindergarten round-up, or if we can sit in on a day. Plus find out starting dates and whatnot in case we decide to go that route with Jonah next year.
  • Schedule dentist appointments for the three big kids.
  • Do yoga 3 times.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Weekly Goals February 8-14

I tried to make yogurt in the crockpot but it didn't turn out. Hopefully it will next time!

Last Week's Goals (which I mostly bombed):
  • Start working on the family 2014 photo book on Shutterfly. Does checking to see what freebie codes I have count? I think I'm more dreading how long it will take to upload all the pictures with our slow internet.
  • Finish unpacking our dresser, hanging a few pictures in the boys' room, putting diaper boxes in the closet. Not done.
  • Do yoga 4 times. I did yoga twice.
  • Finish Brick by Brick and start reading another book.  I did, and I started reading The Loyalty of Pawns by Theron Couch.
This Week's Goals:
  • Do Iron Craft Challenge #3 project, to try something new.  I think I'm going to attempt to crochet.
  • Do something special for Jesse for Valentine's Day.
  • Send out Valentines from the kids to their grandparents and a few friends.
  • Pass my USPS test and hope for an interview!
  • Do yoga 3 times.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Total Money Makeover

As some of you may know, we are fans of Dave Ramsey, and somewhere last fall we started doing the Total Money Makeover.  We got our emergency fund of $1000 stocked in just over a month (like 2 days over), and were ready to hit the ground running.  Jesse applied for a job in addition to his pastoral duties, and right after he got word that he was hired, he got a call to the churches in Iowa.

And so we had a couple months of upheaval as we prepared to move, moved, and got settled.  (And also, had Elizabeth, but we were actually fully prepared financially for her...)

So now we're here.  We have all of our accounts set up, paychecks are regularly deposited, and we're ready to get back on track.  Jesse wrote up a little sheet of paper yesterday that broke down how long it would take to pay everything back if nothing changed and we snowballed everything.

For our one credit card and several student loans, it will take...5 years.  Ugh.

Five years is a long time to live poor. To have a rice and beans mentality for food.  To do with what you have or do without.  To limit most of the extras.  To not take big vacations when you love to travel.

Big picture wise, it's half the time the loans require.  It's five years minus whatever additional headway we can make, anything extra that might come in.  Big picture wise, it sounds awesome and I'm super excited about it.

But in the short term, it's hard.  It's hard to not go out for coffee, or a meal (because with five of us eating, it adds up fast).  It's hard to have to budget months in advance to even attempt to meet up with family later this summer.  Worth it.  But hard.

I applied for a job this week.  If it works out, it should cut our repayment time at least by a third, if not more.  I won a $100 Dollar General gift card too, which I'll probably use for some of our toiletries, so that money can go into the loan payments.  Every little bit.  Every little bit.  I'm looking at getting back into Swagbucks to at least start paying for diapers again (we're almost through all of the diaper gifts we got for Elizabeth last fall, even with starting up with cloth again). Every little bit.  I'm just trying to keep that in my head, like the fish from Finding Nemo.  Just keep swimming...

Who has more get out of debt faster ideas for me?