Tuesday, December 18, 2012


First Tucker had a sewing lesson....Did pretty ok.

Made his own rice pack. So far the rice has stayed in, so I think we are ok?

Then Tucker finished his English book. I can't tell ya how much I hate this book. Many times it went flying down the hallway as I was just frustrated. Often pages didn't have directions. The teachers book stopped half way through the book. Which hinders us, as Tucker would read the words and I would follow along in the teachers book in the kitchen. So he was getting a lot of extra reading. But that stopped when the teachers book stopped. There is no part 2 as far as I can tell. After much thinking we are just changing English all together. We are working on some filler now until after Christmas break.


So we have an alarm on our driveway, anyone who walks or drives in the driveway and the alarm goes off. So I'm laying on the couch, and the alarm is going off like crazy, so I finally get up thinking the circus has come to town! My eyes were just not open, I glance and I see no one, so I continue to the bathroom, where I hit the hallway, my eyes bug open and I back track. IT'S A DEER!

This is the first deer in our yard, like ever. So I called the boys and grabbed the camera.

The deer nimbled on some strawberries and then walked ever so carefully around the fence and over to the neighbors. I had our cat going nuts, he couldn't understand what this thing was. 

The Quilt

Had this quilt idea pop into my head. And of course I can't get it out of my head until I break down and design it. Because I have many more behind this one.

This came together pretty fast. I used the cricut to design it, using the beach cartridge.

You can see the close up of the Sand Dollars.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Tree Skirt (blanket) & A Cheap Christmas Present

So I finished the tree skirt today. Sadly I worked so hard and the fabric is just too pretty I couldn't bear to cut a hole in it. So we have a tree blanket. I can not tell ya how awesome this looks in person. So happy with it. It really just makes the tree now.

Now if you normally get a Christmas gift from my boys STOP READING NOW!!!!

Isn't it funny how things just happen to fall into your lap? I have been racking my brain on ideas for gifts my boys could make this year. They make something every year for people. Well today something fell into my lap. My mother was down, because she just thinks I can magically fix sewing machines. Well I need to order a part so she is stuck. So she asked me to finish up her sewing project. She took on a sewing project for a friend of hers. My mother took on a project and DIDN'T have a sewing machine? So my mother bought a used sewing machine from a lady who said OH it works fine. NOT. But I"ve known this friend for all my life, I'm happy to do it for her. Plus I like helping people give hand made gifts.

So the sewing project is rice heating packs. I finished up the started one today. And Ethan really liked one and wanted one, I wished him luck. That darn kid went looking through my towels. NO you can't use my towels. OH goat towels. He went through my tote on the deck of towels I use on the goats. This towel has not been used on a goat, it was a new used towel. He washed it in the washing machine, learned how to use the dryer, and he sewed it up on my machine. I helped him add the rice and do the last few stitches and he was done.

So sitting here racking my brain again and DUH. Ethan can sew, he can make these himself. We can do a heating pad and an ice pack. So I just went and got all my flannel and it's in the wash so we are ready to go tomorrow. I believe the only thing I will need to buy is rice. So by next week we should have a good pile of rice bags.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Money Challenges

So around Halloween I sat down with the boys and we made a Christmas list. I then priced out everything and I was determined to get everything below cost. So with coupons and deals and eBay I have been working on killing that list. So far I have not paid full price for anything.

For Ethan I said I have budgeted 20 dollars for ds games. I told Ethan I could go and get one game OR I could do eBay and so far I have gotten 2 games for 15 dollars, including shipping. Ethan knowing I have 5 dollars left to spend put a few games in my Amazon List. Trying to show him how to stretch a dollar. Although if Grandma doesn't get that ds, we are up a creek.

I am nearly done shopping. YEAH.

We set up Christmas this week. I am almost done with that tree skirt I started last year!

Cole finished another book. This is just busy work for him. I have all of these books I picked up for really cheap. And since he is the last we need to use up the books.

So after Christmas, hubby and I are going to challenge ourselves like no other. It will be a challenge that may break us, but if we come out the other end things will be much brighter. Now I'm home 6 days a week. Saving us a ton of gas, that gas money is now going towards gifts and such. But after Christmas, I have the next two months sketched out. We will be paying down our Mortgage. If we can make it to the end of Feb. We will be at the 124,000 mark. After Feb, if I can find 80 a week, we will be at 120,000 at the end of the year. Then make a plan from there. Our goal is to get our Mortgage down enough to drop Mortgage Insurance so we really can afford the payment. But of course the more we work on the house the better off we will be.

Our Emergency Fund is getting there. Next year we stop growing that and start working on Retirement. We are so lacking there. Our van will be paid off with our tax return and the rest put into savings to help us live for the rest of the year. 

We have spoken to the kids, explaining we are not only going to be tight, but super tight. Don't' ask for a thing. Money is tight, really tight.

Speaking of which I have found we get the Suze Orman show on cnbc or some money channel like that. Ethan and I watch it every Saturday. Last week it was like a light bulb turned on with him. Most of his allowance went right into savings, he made a new goal and he really wants to save. We also chatted and made a deal. He has been wanting a remote control car, OK wait first. So he has been waiting a remote control helicopter, I found one at goodwill for four dollars. I bought it and I used it to show him how cheap this type of stuff is. In the end we have come to the conclusion it's not even worth the four dollars we paid for it let alone the 40 it's going for in stores. So he has changed his mind and wants a remote control car. I wasn't liking anything at toys r us or such. I saw one at Costco I really liked. So we chatted, if he would to give me 20 would I cover the rest for Christmas...Someone is learning. So tonight under the tree is this big ole car, that he can't have until Christmas. But he is one very happy boy.

So after the first of the year we will set down this road and hope we can survive it. I will do updates later as we get started.

COTM: Gluten Free Chocolate Sunbutter Filled Cupcakes

So this was a request. And boy was it fun to do. The chocolate cupcakes are dreamy. These got 6 thumbs up and were gone by the end of the night.

Gluten Free Sunbutter Filled Cupcakes
By Marcie Dingerson

3/4 cup coconut milk mixed with apple cider vinegar set aside
Flax Egg set aside

Mix Dry Ingredients Set aside.

3/4 cup Brown Rice Flour
3/4 cup Tapioca Flour
1 cup Brown Sugar
1/2 cup cocoa
1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt

Mix together

Coconut milk
Flax Egg
3 tablespoons oil

Mix add in Dry, ix well. Bake at 350 for 21 minutes. Let cool, remove a hole in the bottom for sunbutter filling. Spoon in filling top with reminder of cake. Top with powdered sugar.

Sunbutter Filling

1/4 cup sunbutter
2 tablespoons agave (or brown rice syrup)

Being Cheap

So you know it's a sad day, when you can't afford to go to Goodwill and get your child new pants. Because SOMEONE won't stop growing! So to buy me a few weeks I added Monkey pockets to the back of his pants. Now he has a custom pair of pants and I have bought us time until we can afford goodwill. 

Tuesday, November 13, 2012


Well Life, funny how life goes some days. Ethan finished off another math book and was rewarded with some Art supplies. So he is a very happy boy, and I'm happy he finished the book without me nagging.

The only thing that has been on my mind lately is Money. Anyone else. I know we are doing better then last year, no more ending week after week in the hole. Now there are some weeks we have 3 dollars left. Party!

Last year as we were digging deeper and deeper into the hole, you look at your budget and you are asking yourself where does all the money go? Well a big chunk went to gas, and school supplies, There always seem to be something going on at school. So we cut school and I only leave the house once a week. Cutting my gas from 125 plus a week to 20 dollars. Sometimes that 20 can last two weeks. But on the flip side I'm HOME ALL THE TIME. Which has been OK, but since being home, a lot of de-clutting and you quickly realize how small your house really is.

But on the flip side of that we are no longer going into the hole every week. We are able to send extra money to Mortgage, we are able to buy books if the kids want something. Our van loan will be paid off soon turning all our focus to our Mortgage next year. But right now I'm focused on Christmas and getting a few things a week so it doesn't stress me out much. I am able to coupon and look for deals and have yet to pay full price for anything.

But my mind always seems to be on the budget. I use a system where we only have so much money for gas, and food and such and once it's gone it's gone. Any extra at the end of the week is split between savings (well lack of) and the van. It's been tough, we can't just pick up and run errands or go to the library. But yet the boys like being home so that has been a plus.

Next Spring a lot of my focus will be the garden so I can cut our food budget even more. I will hit Mortgage goals next year. My end goal is to pay it down to a point we can do one final re-fi and have payments we really can afford. Instead of having it take up nearly 3 paychecks.

We finally have some emergency money saved. I have a fear if hubby looses his job what will we do? Well we have two months. No real retirement. So I need to work on that next year also. His work retirement has climbed since I took over that after we got married. Well he wasn't adding anything. But it's not enough and at the rate it's going it won't be enough. But yet if we cut our Mortgage we won't need a big retirement, but I would like to be ok. So a lot on my mind with money.

As I'm able to now, I have been buying seeds, and my herb garden next year should be something. I have been out clearing the area where the new herb garden will be going and I should have well over 100 herbs. So stay tuned for that. If you buy seeds and herbs now, no one bids against you on Ebay. I have saved many of my seeds from last year and I can probably grow enough squash for my small town.

Since I have some down time, I have been working on the family tree. I have my family traced clear back to the King of England, but there is a new branch and they came over on the Mayflower. To read some of the stories has been amazing and printing as fast as I can in case I can never find this info again. Come spring we have a trip planned to go and see some family and learn more, we may stop mid-way where some family is buried and check out their graves and see all I can learn. But a fun project to into-mix the kids with.

This is the Fruit Punch Mint I bought off Ebay. It just bloomed. Could you see some Fruit Punch Simple Syrup to mix with the Chocolate Pops?

So life is slow and steady. Thanksgiving is coming and I'm doing a big meal here for us. Just us. Won't be going to my mother's house at a camp ground. I won't deal with her drunk. So utterly done. Kids are looking forward to it. So we shall see? 

Playful Tuesday: Tomato Powder

I make Tomato Powder. I adore my powder, this is the second year I have done this. I just cut a tomato, put them on the dehydrator, and powder in the Blend Tec, you can use a coffee grinder. I use the powder in many, many, many things. From Taco's, so my Mock Mrs. Dash. It's something fun to play with in the kitchen.

Go and Play!

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Garden News

Well that should be Green House News? I have to say my Lemon Balm is very fertile. From the mom I got many, many babies. I went and moved these babies about a month ago and they did ok. About a week later I went out to cover the bed and found more babies. Those babies were pulled and put into pots and put into the green house. Well two out of the five died. But in dying they had babies. These are their babies. It's hard to see the baby in the first photo so I took another but it came out blured. The third one is a baby that was born about a week ago. They are really teeny tiny.

Then I have this tomato. I don't know how or why this happened. But it just grow and grow and grow and it's actually still growing. It has weave it's way through the ladder and shelves there. It has produced a few cherry tomatoes.

It has just grown.

In other news I have LOTS of new herbs coming...Stay tuned for those come next Spring and Summer.


So Friday afternoon Ethan curled up with me and finished off his Math Book. Bye Bye Saxon 3 Part 1.

Why? Because he had this waiting. He picked it out at a sale we went to. But he had to finish off his book to receive it.

Do you notice the bunny? oops, this is our blind bunny, we nearly lost him awhile back as he was outside in a cage and couldn't find his food or water. We found him on his death bed. Nursed him back to health. And he has been in the cage ever since. After the kids go to bed, he will jump out of his cage and run around the house. There have been a few times I've had to rescue him. 

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

COTM: Gluten Free Mint Chocolate Cupcake

So cupcake of the month this month is a really pretty cupcake. I used green tea to color the icing. I'm not liking the color, but I have other things up my sleeve.

I also have a new flour mix. I was doing cookies from Gluten Free Goddess Here And she used Sorghum, Almond, and Potato. Well Normally I do my dry ingredients and set them aside. I loved how this looked in the bowl. Got me thinking could this be used as a flour mix? So I did up a batch of 1 Cup Sorghum, 3/4 Cup Potato, and 1/2 Cup Almond Meal (I'm way too cheap for Almond Flour). I went through that batch and really liked my results. So I went out and bought a 25 pound bag of Potato Starch and made up two more batches. I'm working my way through that right now. I'm really liking the results so far.

Gluten Free (Allergy Free) Mint Chocolate Cupcakes
By Marcie Dingerson

Mix Dry Ingredients and set aside:

1 1/2 Cups All Purpose GF Mix
3/4 Cup Cocoa
1 Cup Sugar
1 1/2 Teaspoons Baking Soda
2 Teaspoons Baking Powder
3/4 Teaspoon Salt

In the mixer mix together:

1 Cup Pumpkin (2 eggs)
3/4 Cup Butter Milk (coconut milk mixed with cider vinegar set aside for a few minutes)
3 Tablespoons Organic Canola Oil
1 Teaspoon Pure Organic Peppermint Extract
3/4 Cup water

Mix and add in the dry ingredients. Bake in the oven at 350 for 20 minutes.

Icing is a butter cream. I dumped in one cup corn free powdered sugar (Trader Joe's) I added some vanilla, and mint extract, and green tea powder. I mixed, I added enough coconut milk to make it into icing. I then added some more powdered sugar, because apparently I added too much milk. Then I added more powdered sugar and more. I dipped the cupcakes into the icing, and topped with shaved dark chocolate.

GF All Purpose Flour Mix
Gluten Free Goddess

1 Cup Sorghum Flour
3/4 Cup Potato Starch
1/2 Cup Almond Flour (or meal)

PS. I will try and post when I can how I make her cookies allergy free. It's the best Chocolate Chip Cookie Ever. I have been making batch after batch and honestly it looks better then the photo she has up!


So Tucker is done with his Saxon Math 2 Part 1....YIPPEE

Last night he curled up with me and we did lesson after lesson, got within two lessons and he was done. The second I got up this morning I was attacked. He wanted to finish.

Why you ask?

His surprise was waiting for him and he know what it was...

We start Part 2 tomorrow. Although I"m sure he doesn't want to see another math problem anytime soon!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Playful Tuesday

Not a Kitchen play...

Crafting play. So my boy, my small little boy is soooooooooooooooo into Thomas the Train. It's so beyond silly at times. But that is his thing. He almost has enough track to go around the house. Which he reminds me daily I need more track mom. (Christmas Is Coming)

So I got an idea one day. These trains need their own sheds (homes) So we went off to Home Depot and bought some 4" by 8' wood, it's more of a 3 1/2 so I don't understand the 4 inch thing? Anywho. We came home and played with sizes. From the 3 boards I made 8 houses. Only 4 are done. I used my Sizzix machine to cut out the name, I taped it on and painted and removed them later. I glued the wood together as screws were just tearing it apart. But so far they are holding up.

I can not tell ya how excited Cole is. Dash is in the photo, he has been saving his allowance and today we went to Toys'r'us to make a Christmas list and he was able to buy it.

Go Play....

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Playful Tuesday

Do you remember this playful Tuesday? So I made some jars of Chocolate Mint Simple Syrup. And I have to find a way to use all of this stuff now. So about a week ago, I had the thought to do my chocolate pops, but instead of agave to use my Mint Simple Syrup. What a hit. I didn't tell the kids so they dove into it and they were like OH MOM IT TASTE LIKE MINT...Mom did you add mint? Mom Mint, it's minty. There is enough sugar in there for the boys which is nice. We don't do a lot of sugar around here.

So go and play...I use one cup coconut milk, 1/2 cup cocoa, and about 1/2 cup sweetener. Makes about 6 or so.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Guess Who Is Done With Kindergarten Math?

Yepo, Cole finished Kindergarten Math today....YEAH... First Grade Math here I come!

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Apples, Apples, Everywhere an Apple Apple

So went apple picking this week. 6 totes of apples in two hours. We processed tote one today. 23 Quarts 3 Pints later. We still have 5 totes to go.

During the apple picking I got a call from my sister. She was ticked about our parents. Well yeah so I'm I.

See my sister has come to realize it's all about Mom. Mom this and Mom that. well Yeah I agree. See I'm apple picking, I have a garden, I have two beds of carrots to can, I have 100 pounds of potatoes calling my name. Not to mention frost is hitting and we are loosing tomatoes. But yet mom wants me to give up a day and come out and plant her plants.

So apparently her plants are soooooooooooooo much more important then my food. The hell with my food right? And the fact that if we don't can, then we don't eat, but at least her plants will be in the ground?

She called me once this week to ask me to come up. Then she came down to my house to ask me to come up. Both times I have said no. Then she had the nerve to make dad call me to ask me to come up and plant her plants.

But what did I do today? I turned off my phone, I cranked up Martina McBride singing It's My Time, and I put on my skinny shorts (to date I have lost 16 pounds) and danced around the kitchen well canning 23 quarts and 3 pints of applesauce. To hell with her. I moved her that was more then enough, if we make moving easy on her, she will oopsy forget to pay the rent over and over and it's us who will have to keep moving her. NOPE.

Gosh Blooming, it's my time! It's my time to be in my garden. It's my time to harvest food for my family. I have a family now. I have three kids dependant on me. It's not all about her anymore! It's about my kids now. It's about my family. So I may or may not find my phone next week. I may or may not turn it on.

So Friday we went to the Chicks Sale. It's a BIG country sale around here. I was looking for planters and such for the garden. I was looking for things for our bedroom wall. And we came across this. A 15 story bird house. I just HAD to have it. It's sitting in the front yard, probably until Spring. Then it will find a home in the back field in the garden.

So as the frost is hitting now. Been crazy busy out in the garden. All the tomatoes died, so we had to pull all the tomatoes. Now they are in the green house waiting to turn red. We (the kids and I) are out pulling and clearing beds. I'm going to need to get the herbs covered soon. 

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Playful Tuesday Chocolate Popsicles

Well I have been on a quest to make Really good Chocolate Popsicles. Ever since I bought some at Fred Meyer and the boys LOVED them. But I hate spending money. So when I can across this easy peasy recipe in a raw cookbook I know I Just had to try. Sure enough...They are BETTER then the ones we bought in the past.

Notice The Proof!

Allergy Free Chocolate Popsicles
By Jennifer Cornbleet Raw for Dessert
Adapted By Marcie Dingerson

1 Cup Coconut Milk
1/2 Cup Cocoa
1/2 Cup Agave

Blend and pour into Popsicle molds...

Of course after I put this into the freezer I had the idea of maybe using the chocolate mint syrup I made about two weeks ago? Use that in place of Agave and maybe add some chocolate chips? Will have to play.

This made 6 Popsicles and they were all gone within hours.