A Wife Loved Like The Church

Posts Tagged ‘Frugal learning

When we bought our home, we knew we were going to be without a dishwasher. And while I been totally okay with hand washing dishes, I’ve been less than okay with my dish soap options. I don’t think my standards are too high: must be earth friendly, must last through a full washing. Yet, I’ve gone through countless products to no avail. But then, like a clear {earth friendly} ray of light, I found Green Works. A-maz-ing.

Why do I love Green Works?

1. It stays bubbly. For what ever reason, all the soaps I try don’t stay bubbly, making it impossible to clean a sink full of dishes without always adding more soap {can you say money waster?!}

2. It actually removes grease. A certain soap product {that shall remain nameless} that I recently used left my oily pans still very, very oily. Yuck. Green Works? Never had a problem. Plus it stays bubbly.

3. It’s plant derived and lists ingredients. If I’m using a non-homemade cleaner, I want to know what’s in it. Especially if it’s possible that residue could be left and it’s ingested. Plus it uses essential oils that make it smell really, really good. Oh, and it’s stays bubbly {clearly, I like bubbly soap}.

Because I love Green Works so much, I thought I’d do a giveaway!

Here’s how you enter:

1. Leave a comment.

2. Blog about it, linking back to this post (then leave me a comment letting me know you did).

3. Facebook or Tweet it (then leave me a comment letting me know you did).

4. Refer a friend who leaves a comment.

Even my UK and other international friends can enter.

You have until Sunday, July 31 at 11:59PM CST to enter!

You can get up to 4 entries to increase your chances of winning! Good luck!

*I have received no money or endorsements from Green Works for this giveaway, I just really love their product and want to share!

After spending time off and on all day yesterday making my yeast rolls, I’d say they were a success {for my first time at least}.

They didn’t turn out as soft as I imagined. Once I got to the point of punching down the risen dough, it was really, really gooey so I added more flour to make it easier to handle. Perhaps I added too much? Or let it rise too long? Or even baked them too much? Not completely sure what happened, but the outside was harder and more dense, the inside was a little softer but not exactly what I like in my dinner rolls.

In the end, it was a good first try. I’m giving it another go today in hopes of learning something new. Wish me luck!

You might recall my post about being scared to use yeast. Well, it’s only taken 5 months for me finally get over my irrational fear and use it! I currently have dinner rolls rising {at least I hope they’re rising…}.

First off, I was completely miffed by the idea of proofing my yeast. Maybe it’s because I have no clue what I’m doing, but I kept thinking “So, if I proof the yeast and it’s active, then what? What do I do with the stuff in the cup? How to I know that putting the yeast straight into the mixture won’t kill it?”  Turns out, you use the yeast you proof. Of course it would be that simple. Duh

Here’s a simple way to proof your yeast:

Measure 1/2 cup of water into a coffee mug.

Measure 1 tablespoon sugar into a small bowl.

Measure 2 1/4 teaspoon yeast {or one packet} into a small bowl.

1. Heat water in microwave until temperature is about 100 degrees {which was 12 seconds in my microwave}.

2. Add sugar. Stir until dissolved.

3. Add yeast, stir {won’t dissolve fully} and set for 5-10 minutes.

If your yeast looks like this:

Then you’ve done it right and your yeast is active. Now, apparently {I say apparently, because I still don’t know the final outcome of my rolls} you can just add this mixture into your recipe. You will need to subtract 1/2 cup water, 1 tablespoon sugar and 2 1/4 teaspoon yeast from the original recipe.

If my rolls turn out {and even if they don’t} I’ll make sure to let you know all about it!

Because of some mama laziness forgetfulness, we didn’t have any disposable diapers for Hannah on Tuesday night. See, we’ve never done cloth over night with the girls, only disposables. Originally, with Julia we didn’t want anything else {wet cloth diaper} contributing her already bad sleeping habits. And with Hannah, well it’s just easier. That is, until you forget to buy diapers.

Which is why I love cloth diapers. No matter what, I always have them. I can reuse them. They go through multiple children. And depending on what style you get, they last the same child for their whole diapering life. Not to mention, they are really cute. You’d be surprised at how many people compliment us on Hannah’s wraps.

Especially the cow prints {which happen to be my favorite}.

We made it through Tuesday night without issue. And again Wednesday night. I still haven’t gotten disposables. I’m getting hooked on using cloth overnight and not planning to turn back any time soon. Eek!

For more TILT, visit Jill at Diaper Diaries.

Most Americans don’t like talking about the meats we eat. We prefer to not associate our chicken sandwich with having ever been a chicken. I’m in that same category. I love meat. I love burgers, steaks and roasts. But, I love animals. Yet, even though I love looking at cows in the pasture, I don’t need to see that cow in between pasture and my plate. For a while I’ve flirted with the idea of being vegetarian, but my love of steaks trumped my love of cows.

Then I read The Compassionate Carnivore by Catherine Friend. Now, compassionate and carnivore might prove to be an oxymoron, but for this meat loving gal I didn’t think so. Friend talks about how it’s not wrong to eat meat – but that we need to consider where our meat comes from and how it gets to us. She places strong emphasis on buying local meats that are free range and “happy”. Granted, no animal is happy about being slaughtered for food, but the idea that you can choose for your meat to be raised and slaughtered in a caring environment.

Here’s what we have done to be more compassionate carnivores:

1. Buy local meats – We bought a quarter buffalo about 2 months ago. We liked the farmer’s hands-off approach to raising the herds and his emphasis on having them killed in-field rather than undergo stress in transit to a abattoir. I’d suggest this site for more information: Eat Wild

2. Eat vegetarian when we eat out – Ok, this one is hit or miss. I make every effort to eat vegetarian when I can’t ensure that the animal was free range, but we’ve also let it slide a few times. I’m ok with that, since this is a slow process and is taking time to adapt I don’t expect us to give up old habits that quickly.

3. Read, read, read – The more you know, the better decisions you’ll make. Get a good understand of how animals are suppose to be raised {that chickens actually aren’t vegetarians} so that you can make more informed choices for yourself and family.

4. Practice grace – Seems odd to talk about giving grace to others because of your food choices. But you’d be surprised out how black and white this issue can become. We said early on, we aren’t going to choose our self-made diet over loving people. Which means – you serve it, we’ll eat it. If given the choice, we’d request our preferences. But, if someone has gone out of their way to prepare me a meal, I will consume it with delight.

What about you? How are ways that you practice being a compassionate carnivore?

{Be sure to enter my Darcy Mystery book giveaway!}

Despite being a Southern girl, spending most summers in West Texas and the rest in sweltering Tennessee humidity, I am not well adjusted to heat. And the whole “Southern women don’t sweat, they glisten” is a far cry from the truth. The fact that I love jeans and t-shirts does not help my fight against the heat – so what’s a gal to do?

Dresses. Nothing beats a good cotton summer dress.

{Notice the awesome heels?}

I love nice, simple, cotton dresses for so many reasons. They are easy keep-up {hello machine washable!}; they are relaxed but can be jazzed up with a few accessories; they are normally inexpensive, so I don’t feel all that bad if one succumbs to the “dangers” of mamahood. For a little less than $25, I’ve managed to collect a week’s worth of dresses to wear this summer.

For more TILT visit Jill at Diaper Diaries.

****Hosting my first ever giveaway on Friday!!****

The weather went from 53 degrees to 81 degrees in just over a week here in Iowa. Seriously? 81 degrees? Whew. I am not cut out for hot weather. Even after years in Texas, I still cringe at the idea of walking outside when it’s over 75.

To combat the crazy high temps this week, I made strawberry/banana popsicles. A couple of months ago, we picked up popsicles molds at IKEA for $1. Then at the beginning of this month, I scored V8 Fusion for dirt cheap. {Side note – V8 Fusion is amazing. You get a full serving of fruits and vegetables in every serving of juice. It’s like every mother’s dream come true.}

I poured the juice into each of the molds and stuck it in the freezer overnight:

Here is the finished product:

Sorry to disappoint if you were looking for an awesomely cute picture of the girls like these. But, seriously, these things are so good I’ve eaten half of them myself!

I always wear a ponytail. Well, maybe not always, but most every day. Yet they tend to get a little boring over time and don’t seem to be all that feminine and chic. I’ve experimented with the “poof” and currently I’m on the side ponytail kick. This weekend I decided to give it a little summer look by adding a cute flower:

All you need is a silk flower {real ones tend to wilt rapidly in the heat – especially when in your hair}, some hot glue and a button pin.

Put hot glue on the back of the flower, then glue the pin {needle facing you} to the flower. Allow to dry/cool completely. Once you’re ready to use, pull your hair back and stick the pin through a small section next to your ponytail holder {you could also stick it into the ponytail holder itself}.

Have you ever heard of the Five Love Languages? It’s essentially the five ways people give and receive love. I really wish clothes were on the list. Because I love getting clothes (or shoes!). In fact, over the years I think God has really shown me some love by giving me amazing deals on clothes – especially when I least expect it.

On Monday, I took the girls to Wal-Mart for a quick errand. Since we didn’t have anything planned, no real shopping to do, I decided to just stroll around the place (a rarity with two kids).  When I got over to the shoe department I found these:

They were marked down to $5 so I thought I’d treat myself to them. After all, they are polka dotted, which I love.

Anyways, when I was checking out, I looked at the total and thought “Um, that can’t be right.” It was $4.78. Remember, the shoes were $5. I leaned over to see the checkout screen better when I noticed….

The shoes were only $1!

I did a little happy dance and celebrated feeling loved.

Thanks God!

I’ve been a little hesitate to share my super secret recipe for tortillas on my blog. Not because they are really super secret, but because, well… I’m a little self conscious. You see, Jonathan’s grandmother taught me how to make tortillas about 2 years ago. It took me a few months to really figure it out and then a few months after that to not feel totally lost when making them. Once I felt more confident, I shared my wealth of tortilla-making knowledge with some friends. And then I freaked. What if people don’t like them? What if they don’t turn out right? What if, heaven forbid, Grandma learn I changed up the recipe a bit? It’s hard to follow in the footsteps of an 87 year old Hispanic grandma who’s been making amazing tortillas since she was 2. Yeah, I can’t compete with that.

But for your sakes, I’ve gotten over it. For now at least.

Here’s what you need:

Olive oil, salt, baking powder and flour

Oh, and your KitchenAid and dough hook.

Let me just tell you – this KitchenAid is amazing. Not necessarily this one, but just using a KitchenAid to make tortillas in ingenious! It does all the work. Hello? How nice is that?!

Add 2 cups flour

2 Tablespoons baking powder

1 Tablespoon salt

3 Tablespoons olive oil

At this point, you want to mix all the ingredients together. Note: You don’t have to use olive oil. You can use any oil (or butter). In the past I’ve used ghee (fancy word for clarified butter) and it makes some of the softest tortillas you’ll ever taste. Also, technically, you should use 2 tablespoons of oil. I bumped it up to give the tortillas a little more softness. I’ve used as much as 4 tablespoons per batch.

Add 3/4 cup to 1 cup warm water – mix well

You might notice the dough looks super sticky. It is. I added more flour to making it easier to handle. Sorry I didn’t measure, just dumped…

This is what you want your dough to look like:

Cover your tortillas and let set for 10-15 minutes.

Here’s what your dough will look like:

You’ll want to pull the dough apart into golf ball sized pieces.

You can get about 16 tortillas out of one batch. Be sure to cover them with a towel so they don’t dry out.

When you’re ready to roll them out, press them down a little with your hand (to make it flatter) and then dip in flour.

Then roll it out!

Cook on each side for 1-2 minutes, or until they are golden.

As a friendly tip, cook them on a low temperature. I set my griddle on medium-low when I first start my tortillas and let it heat up the entire time. WHY? Because it allows the griddle to be hot enough to cook the tortillas without over cooking (i.e. burning) them.

Here’s the outcome:


The whole process seems pretty long and drawn out – taking up to an hour from start to finish. For me, hands on time is about 15-20 minutes – which is just rolling out the tortillas. Mostly it’s waiting – waiting for the tortillas to set, waiting for them to cook, etc. Even with all the time you invest, it is so worth it!

Bon Appetit!