Friday, February 24, 2017

A Few Ways I Save Money on Groceries

Here are some of my favorite ways to save on groceries. Most of them were passed down to me from older ladies with many children. Food costs are one of the largest costs most of us have, but they can be controlled. I feed my family very well, but I do not spend a lot on our groceries. All of those weekends you see me taking away with my husband...are paid for with our grocery savings!

Plan your menu based on what you have on hand, what is on sale, and what is available.

Buy nutrition vs "food." Food fills your belly, but the wrong foods leave you feeling hungry. Nutritionally dense food keeps you fed, satisfied, and healthy.

Stock up as much as you can on what is on sale. It's a worthy financial investment. http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2015-03-26/invest-food

Learn when food expires and when it is most nutritious to consume it. Most canned and some other foods lasts much longer than the sell by date. Those huge #10 cans can last 20 years or longer if stored properly. However, the nutritional value can break down as it ages. We try to rotate through all of our #10 cans within 12 months or so.

Grow/provide your own...fruit, meat, vegetables, sprouts, herbs, etc. Our grapevines have produced an abundance of fresh fruit and jelly over the years. We have also produced more vines off of those vines. Money well spent! Most of our friends hunt and/or fish.

Don't waste. You would not believe how much this one simple, but far reaching tip can save you in a year. Use everything you can. For example, I will cook a roast with vegetables in the crock pot, and then save the drippings and left overs to make soup the next night. Save drippings from chicken. The fat can be used in baked goods and the jelly like layer makes a very flavorful bouillon for soups and sauces. Save the juice from canned fruits like peaches, add water, and freeze for popsicles. Take the apple your son didn't finish, cut the rest of it up, and make an apple cinnamon "muffin in a cup" for your snack.

Research recipes from the Great Depression. They tend to use nutritionally dense foods that are cheap and readily available. Those recipes can be spiced up to your liking.

Learn the sale cycles in your favorite stores. You will notice certain items go on sale every so often. Stock up enough to carry you through to the next time that item is on sale.

Learn how to preserve the food you grow or buy. Investing in a freezer can save you big dollars over time. I have lived through lengthy power outages and love pressure canning and dehydration because the food is not electricity dependent.

I make a list and plan my trips online before I go. This really helps me stay within budget.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

A very full week

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I have been rendering lard from our pasture raised American Guinea Hogs. Why use lard from pasture raised hogs? Because that kind of lard is healthy and is a good choice of fat! (I also recommend researching the health benefits of schmaltz vs vegetable shortening and other oils.)

Mine isn't as bright white as it could be if I had used the fat from only certain areas, but I want to make the most of what the hogs gave us for our large family and our pets. My adult children have asked me to supply their pantries with it too. I might get more picky as I meet demand.


This is a busy season for me. In addition to rendering the lard, I've been pressure canning a few dozen quarts of stock, approximately 135 lbs of chicken, and 150 lbs of pork. Tomorrow, I am going to make schmaltz (rendered chicken fat). I've also started several types of seeds for our garden, made three new raised beds, and filled our small incubator with eggs. I've had a house full of sick kids and am sick myself. I am a tired but happy woman.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Prayer Request

Our friends have had a rough pregnancy journey. They were told to abort the baby several times even though a few doctors held out hope that something could be done. One doctor was especially cruel saying they would not try monitor baby during delivery "If it dies, it dies." This same doctor told them, "You have other children. Be happy with that." 

Despite being told the baby would not make it to the third trimester, to full term, through labor... their baby was born alive last night. However, little Verlin does have major health issues and will not be here for long. 


Please keep the family in prayer for comfort and peace as they let their sweet baby go back to the Lord. They take great comfort in the fact that they have left this little one's life solely in God's hands. Thank you!

An update from the mother: "Just an update here: family is here now and we are enjoying today with our special little man who will most likely gain his Heavenly body later today once we take him off life support. We have agreed that it is in his best interest not to prolong his suffering as his lungs are underdeveloped and he has no kidneys or arteries to the bladder. Pray for us as this journey isn't easy for anyone!"

And later: "With heavy hearts we have to say that our precious Verlin peacefully passed away this afternoon. We are delighted that we had 23 hours with our precious son!! Continued prayers would be appreciated!"

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Flight of Fancy

Hannah: "Mom, I wish we could take some feathers and make ourselves some wings so we could fly."

Me: "Hannah, that's exciting! Where would you fly to?"

Hannah: "I'd fly over the farm and sit in the top of a tree." 

Me: "But, you have the WHOLE day. Wouldn't you want to fly somewhere else?"

Hannah: "Mom, I don't want to get lost!"

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Article: The Shack — The Missing Art of Evangelical Discernment

The Shack — The Missing Art of Evangelical Discernment

"In evaluating the book, it must be kept in mind that The Shack is a work of fiction. But it is also a sustained theological argument, and this simply cannot be denied. Any number of notable novels and works of literature have contained aberrant theology, and even heresy. The crucial question is whether the aberrant doctrines are features of the story or the message of the work. When it comes to The Shack, the really troubling fact is that so many readers are drawn to the theological message of the book, and fail to see how it conflicts with the Bible at so many crucial points.
All this reveals a disastrous failure of evangelical discernment. It is hard not to conclude that theological discernment is now a lost art among American evangelicals — and this loss can only lead to theological catastrophe.
The answer is not to ban The Shack or yank it out of the hands of readers. We need not fear books — we must be ready to answer them. We desperately need a theological recovery that can only come from practicing biblical discernment. This will require us to identify the doctrinal dangers of The Shack, to be sure. But our real task is to reacquaint evangelicals with the Bible’s teachings on these very questions and to foster a doctrinal rearmament of Christian believers.
The Shack is a wake-up call for evangelical Christianity. An assessment like that offered by Timothy Beal is telling. The popularity of this book among evangelicals can only be explained by a lack of basic theological knowledge among us — a failure even to understand the Gospel of Christ. The tragedy that evangelicals have lost the art of biblical discernment must be traced to a disastrous loss of biblical knowledge. Discernment cannot survive without doctrine."

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Sunday School Children's Bible Study Lesson

I haven't written a Sunday School lesson in a long while, but here is one I made recently for my youngest children. It is free for those who come to this page for personal use in homes and their personal local churches but permission is not given for publishing in any work without proper credit to the author given.

Psalm 119:105 Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.

Thy Word - God's Bible, His letter and instruction to us

is a lamp unto my feet-it reveals where you are standing in the moment, God's Word gives useful and relevant knowledge for right where we are.  (It's like when our family pauses in our walks in the woods to listen for sounds, look at the sun's placement, read the terrain, look up for broken/dead trees and limbs that might come down, and look for wildlife signs. We do this as we stand still to reveal exactly where we are and to gain a warning of what we might encounter ahead so we can be prepared. We take this pause daily in God's Word to gain information to help us as we travel further in life.)

and a light unto my path. - to be on a path is showing movement, God's Word illuminates the way to go as we journey day to day and gives us wisdom to correctly use the knowledge we have gained in our daily pauses to avoid the trouble we know is there. (This is like when we use a bright light on a trail at night. We know danger is there in the things we can trip and fall over, the things that can fall on us, and in the wildlife that can harm us, so we want to be prepared and have a way to avoid trouble.)

To illustrate these concepts, we used a small light and a map to study a path and then took a walk using different flashlight strengths. We also had one person hang behind to show how a bright light can help others. The flashlight strengths illustrate the difference between slack Bible studying Christians and strong mature Christians devoted to studying God's instructions to us. Do you want to reflect a bright light for the Lord that attracts others to safety or a weak light that can barely see where it is going and is tripping it's own feet up?