Sunday, January 31, 2010

Menu Planning for February

Okay since I am doing 28 days of Nothing I thought I would menu plan the whole month. I planned, wrote out all ingredients, and then wrote a shopping list. I estimated the cost of each item and totaled it to make sure I could get everything on the list and be on budget. I was thinking to myself that someone needs to write a program that takes a recipe and convert it to a shopping list, what a great idea. I found one place. I spent over an hour typing out one recipe. I have never written it down and had to think of what I actually put in it. Only to have wasted that time because their website is lame and does not work. I emailed and told them of the problem and no one has got back to me and it still does not work as of 8:34 pm. So go there goes that idea. Instead I did it all by hand. I wrote down breakfast, lunch, dinner and two snacks and came out with over five pages of menu type stuff.

Here is what we will be dining on in the next month

Cereal with Soymilk and Banana
Eggs and toast
Oatmeal or Cream of Rice(homemade)

Morning Snack
Ants on a Log (Celery with Sunflower Seed Butter aka Sun Butter and Raisins) Kid's New favorite
Ants on a Canoe (Apple slices with Sun Butter and Raisins) Made that name up:)


Bean Burritos w/ sour cream
Roll-up (Corn Tortillas with Sun Butter)
Grape Tomatoes and Cucumber slices

1 Tuna Sandwich and 1 PB&J Sandwich
Tortilla Chips

I like eating salad and leftovers from the night before

Afternoon Snack
Raisins and Almonds


I usually have theme for each night and modify each week a little
Wednesday-Soup and Salad
Thursday-Baked Potatoes and Salad

Here is the whole Month of February

Now I do not totally stick to I HAVE to have Stir fry on Mondays only, if it is easier to do Breakfast or Pasta I do, but I have an outline and stick to those meals.

M-Feb 1-Nutty Noodles and Veggies
T-Feb 2-Potato Flautas w/ Rice and Beans
W-Feb 3-Tomato Soup and Salad
R-Feb 4-Baked Potatoes and Salad
F-Feb 5-Pasta with Marinara Sauce and Salad
S-Feb 6-Poor Man's Meal with Eggs
S-Feb 7-Leftovers
M-Feb 8-Honey Glazed Veggies and Fried Rice
T-Feb 9-Arroz Con Pollo w/ beans
W-Feb 10-Corn Chowder and Salad
R-Feb 11-Baked Potatoes and Salad
F-Feb 12- Pasta with Butter Sauce and Salad
S-Feb 13-***Pizza***
S-Feb 14-Waffles
M-Feb 15-Nutty Noodles and Veggies
T-Feb 16-Tacos w/ Rice and Beans
W-Feb 17-Chili and Cornbread

R-Feb 18-Baked Potatoes and Salad
F-Feb 19-Pasta with Marinara and Salad
S-Feb 20-Pancakes
S-Feb 21-Leftovers
M-Feb 22-Garlic Veggies and Fried Rice
T-Feb 23-Enchiladas w/ Rice and Beans
W-Feb 24-Corn Chowder and Salad
R-Feb 25-Baked Potatoes and Salad
F-Feb 26-Pizza and Salad
S-Feb 27-Waffles
S-Feb 28-Leftovers

***Pizza*** Our church is having a Parents Night out and are watching the kids from 5:30-8:00 and they are feeding the kids pizza. So that Kira and Enzo will not feel left out I am making GF pizza for them. For $4 we have childcare for three hours. We can have a date. I am going to pack a picnic basket of something special. Details of that will come later :)

Whoa! I am tired just typing this out. But I did the grocery list and shopped for two of the four weeks today and I have to say I am under budget sweet.
I spent $59.05 at Costco
$10.95 at Trader Joe's
$ 8.91 at Food 4 Less
Total $78.91
Budget $80.00 for two weeks
Diff $ 1.09

I am excited for this next month. My pantry is fairly stocked, Car is full of gas and we should get our deposit back too from the other house.

Here is my plan for the month.

-Avoid shopping as much as possible, and then only for essentials.

-Not eating out, this will not be hard for me, I am getting used to not eating out. We do eat at Costco occasionally for the yummy hot dogs w/o buns for $1.50 with a drink for the bubba and Kira and I usually share the Turkey Wrap w/o the wrap. Twice a month this happens. So I am going to try to go to Costco by myself and forgo any eating out, sneaky but I think it will work.

-Drive only when we have to, this should not be hard being walking distance from the store and a wonderful bus system.

–Sort through our excess unused stuff and put things on Ebay and Craigslist

-Main goal to save up our $1000 emergency fund through not spending and selling things too. I think it is a pretty big goal but I am aiming for the stars and will be happy if I hit the moon.

I will most definitely be praying through this too that it would change my attitude all together.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Rainbow Song

When it was raining crazy last week Kira and I were talking that we might see a rainbow. She got so excited.
She told me she LOVED rainbows and I took the opportunity and asked if she knew why we have rainbows.
She told me God made them and I asked her if she knew why. What a great moment. She stared with big eyes and said "Why?!"
I told her rainbows are God's promise to never flood the earth again. I reminded her of Noah and the Ark and how God flooded the earth.

Gen 9:11-14

Thus I establish My covenant with you:
Never again shall all flesh be cut off by the waters of the flood;
never again shall there be a flood to destroy the earth."
And God said: "This [is] the sign of the covenant which I make between Me and you,
and every living creature that [is] with you, for perpetual generations:
I set My rainbow in the cloud,
and it shall be for the sign of the covenant between Me and the earth.
It shall be, when I bring a cloud over the earth,
that the rainbow shall be seen in the cloud;

She started singing...

"Rainbows are God's promises" in this sweet voice. So we made up a song and here are the lyrics

Rainbows are God's promises (2x)
Yellow, Orange and Red
I believe what He's said
Green, Purple and Blue
He's made everything new

Rainbows are God's promises(2x)

Red, Purple and Pink
I'm glad He made me to think
Orange, Yellow and Green
He washed the earth clean

She sang it all day and keeps humming it.
So sweet.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Chili and Gluten Free Cornbread Muffins

We started having our neighbors over on Tuesday night for dinner. They are two bachelors who do not cook. I have been so blessed by cooking for them. I love entertaining even if it casual. I love feeding people. Especially easy, inexpensive, tasty meals. They are so appreciative and gobble it up. I love it!

Yesterday after Eric so beautifully built our new shelving in the garage( I am so thankful I have a handy husband). I scooted up to the pink house and cleaned and painted for final walk through, that is a whole other topic. I had soaked pink beans overnight and cooked them in the morning while I was home. I thought it would take two hours max, three hours later of cleaning and painting I was done and home only to find the guys were just walking in the door as I was. I knew what I was cooking but I needed to be quick.

I had planned Chili and Cornbread Muffins, what guy doesn't like that? I had made a pound of pink beans and took out half and froze it and used the rest.
I hurried up and made it in about a half hour while the kids and them hung out and talked. I used leftover taco meat/ground beef so that was easy and less cooking.
I usually use turkey but 90/10 beef was on sale.

14-16oz cooked pink beans
1 1/2 cups cooked ground beef
1/2 onion
1 green bell pepper
14 oz crushed tomatoes
14 oz diced tomatoes

In a stock pot add beans, meat, tomatoes over medium heat. In a separate skillet add onions and bell pepper and cook for about five minutes over medium-high heat. (I did this last night because I needed it to cook fast.) Add onion and pepper mixture to stock pot and simmer until hot, about five-ten minutes. Add garlic, cumin, salt and pepper to taste. For those of you who need measurements, I probably use about 1/2 tsp cumin, 1 tsp garlic and literally salt and pepper to taste.
One more step if you like, I blend half of the chili and it gives it a nice texture of chunky and smooth.

I usually under season so that it is not too spicy for the kids and then Eric and I season our own bowls to our liking.
I made the chili while the cornbread muffins baked.

Gluten-Free Cornbread Muffins

1 1/2 cup Yellow Corn meal
1 cup Rice Flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp Xanthan Gum
1/4 cup sugar

Mix dry ingredients in a big bowl

Then in a small bowl combine

1 cup buttermilk
1 egg
1/4 cup vegetable oil

Pour liquid ingredients into the dry mixture. Mix until just blended. Let sit for five minutes.
Spoon in batter to greased/papered muffin tins, filling 3/4 full. Bake for 15 minutes at 400 degrees.
or until tops are golden brown. Serve immediately with honey butter. Yields 12 muffins.

I used soy milk instead of buttermilk and it turns out fine if you are in a pinch without buttermilk.
You can make your own buttermilk with 1 Tb of lemon juice or vinegar in a measuring cup then fill with milk to make one cup.
Let stand for five minutes and you are set with buttermilk

I usually make vegetarian chili because meat is expensive.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Going Kiwi Update

So the title of my blog is Going Kiwi for a reason. No, I am not going to buy a kiwi, but rather in the process of moving to New Zealand. It is funny how our timing and God's timing are two completely different concepts. I was thinking about how long we have wanted to live in one of these houses that we just moved into and it has been close to seven years in the making.

When my sister and her husband announced their plan to move to NZ back in 2003 it was a crazy idea for me to grasp for a couple reasons. At the time Eric and I were newly engaged and I was devastated because my best friend, big sister and matron of honor were moving three months before we were getting married. The three people I talked to daily were Eric, my mom and my sister, how was I going to cope. All things worked out in the end with the wedding, we were able to get her a flight back for super cheap and she was standing next to me on my day. We have bought our phone cards and talk frequently and are definitely on FB to catch up more often than not.

Eric and I started discussing their plans of NZ and wondered if we would ever do something like that. From day one we always had it in the back of our minds that eventually we were to go too. I finally got to visit for the first time in August of 2006 when I was first pregnant with Enzo and my mom and Kira all went. I loved it so much and pretty much had confirmation when I was there.

Eric, Kira, Enzo and I all went as a family in April of 2008 and really feel like at that point it was a done deal. We loved the people and could really see ourselves living there and being in community with these sweet people. But then the next questions were When and How? and How and When?

When we looked at our debt and realized what we owed and needed to do before we moved. We felt like the dog who is running on one of those leashes that is loose and has a long leeway and then BAM the owner locks it and dog is jerked back like five feet. That is how we felt. How could we go over with debt, well, we could not. So we sold stuff and more stuff and moved out of our apartment and in with family to save. Things do not always go smoothly of course we all know that, but here we are almost two years after our visit.

We are finally in the right direction and I feel like we making progress. We have a three year plan to be completely debt free. Whoa! It feels good to say that! Getting the plan out in writing and actually starting it and making it work has been hard. I feel like I am seeing the light. Not the light at the end of the tunnel but rather the light of hope that there is an end of the tunnel.

I have been listening to Dave Ramsey and reading a lot about his Baby Steps to Financial Freedom. I am excited and I feel like we can do it.

There are seven:

Baby Steps

#1$1000 to start an Emergency Fund

#2 Pay off all debt using the Debt Snowball

#3 3 to 6 months of expenses in savings

#4 Invest 15% for retirement

#5 College funding

#6 Pay off home early

#7 Build wealth and GIVE!

We are working on the first Baby Step and saving $1000 for an emergency fund. God just opened up $100 to start and I am excited. We are having a garage sale next Saturday if it does not rain or the 6th of February. I can not wait to get the emergency fund taken care of and then getting back to paying off our debt. I know Dave says all the time that you have got to eat beans and rice and rice and beans until you get out debt. He also says if your friends start thinking you are weird it is working. Sweet! my already do, just kidding, kind of ;)

I think what he means is you are not living the "Norm". You do not eat out, you are not buying the newest clothing etc, and you do not have the nicest car on the block. Now this was kind of hard for me, I loved my Eurovan, however we were being bled to death by it, so we got rid of it and now we only own cars that are paid for. Wow, what a concept! I love that my car is paid for and that all these little punk kids look at me driving this old car and think I am weird and I love it. I just think to myself, "At least it is paid for".

So in a nut shell, the plan of moving is still there, just delayed a bit. God has His timing for sure. The goal is three years to be debt free and then work on saving for tickets, moving expenses, housing and all that goes with it. Hopefully we can at least make one more trip over there between now and then, well maybe just Eric can go and scout out jobs, because it is definitely expensive for all four of us to fly, about $4000 off season.

There you have it, what is on the horizon. I will update as we move through the steps and hopefully encourage you to live debt-free and to stop being sucker punched into thinking you "need" something.

Ooh, just had a thought maybe I will do 28 days of nothing again next month....okay I thought about it and I am going to do 28 days of Nothing, I encourage to do something similar.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Trusting Him More

In my devotion today I was so blessed and wanted to share with you.
I am really loving this little book and never thought it would encourage me as it has.

"Don't waste energy regretting the way things are or thinking about what might have been
Start at the present moment--accepting things exactly as they are--and search for My way in the midst of those circumstances.

Trust is like a staff you can lean on, as you journey uphill with Me.
If you are trusting in Me consistently, the staff will bear as much of your weight as needed.
Lean on, trust, and be confident in Me with all your heart and mind."

How often do I sit there and think if only we did not do this or we should have done that.
I do not live in the moment and in the moment is where He wants us. I also know He wants us to think of the future too. Do not foolishly live each day without planning. That is not what He wants. In Proverbs 30:25 "The ants [are] a people not strong. Yet they prepare their food in the summer." He wants us to plan and He will direct our feet.
I love how the author reminds us of the staff. If we truly trust Him and allow Him to bear our burdens we can give Him everything and walk in confidence.
I am so blessed by these words of encouragement. I hope it will encourage you to "Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him." Proverbs 3:5-6

Enjoy your Saturday

Friday, January 22, 2010


I was tagged by my dear friend Linda over at Thoughts on these things

to find seven red things in my home

I was surprised to find a lot of red but only took a seven because camera is horrible.

I can only wish for a better camera someday.
For now it does the job.

Kelley you are tagged

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Corn Chowder

With the thunder and lightening storm that has been going on around here, all I want to do is cuddle up and watch old movies and eat comfort food. What is it about warm, rich food that is so good? Well, I was going to make Potato soup this afternoon and then I thought I have not made Corn Chowder forever. So I planned to make a large batch of a potato base soup and make half corn chowder and half potato soup. The kids have never had corn chowder so I did not think they would like all the lumps in it. However after I was sampling a bowl and they each tasted it and loved it I made two different corn chowders instead. I made a roasted bell pepper corn chowder and a regular corn chowder. Yum yum.

Here is my recipe:

Corn Chowder

4 large potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
1/4 medium onion, finely diced
1 and 1/2 celery stalks, finely chopped
1 carrots, peeled and grated
2 cans of corn, drained
salt and pepper
1/2 cup milk

Place potato chunks in a stock pot fill with water until potatoes are covered. Bring to a boil and cook until potatoes are soft and crumble easily. Once the potatoes are cooked, drain out half the water into a separate bowl and save. Mash potato and water mixture until thick soupy consistency reached. This is your soup base. Add onions, carrots, and celery and cook until tender. From here blend half to 3/4 of the soup with one can of corn. Pour it all back into the stock pot and add the last can of corn and milk. Add salt and pepper to taste. If the soup if too thick add the reserved water or more milk if you prefer.

*I used Trader Joe's Rice Drink instead of milk and it was really good without the stuffy nose.
My sister adds a cubed ham and cheese to her soup, which is tasty too.
Serve with green salad and warm corn tortillas.

Clockwise: Celery, Carrot, Roasted Bell Pepper and Onion

Roasted Bell Corn Chowder

1/2 Yellow Bell Pepper
1/2 Red bell Pepper
4 large potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
1/4 medium onion, finely diced
2 cans of corn, drained
salt and pepper
1/2 cup milk

Place potato chunks in a stock pot fill with water until potatoes are covered. Bring to a boil and cook until potatoes are soft and crumble easily.
While potatoes are boiling roast the bell peppers. Slice peppers into inch strips. Place peppers in a saute pan over medium heat cooking until skin is fairly spotted but not burnt.
Remove from pan and place in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap for ten to fifteen minutes, until peel comes off easily. Remove skins and chop up peppers. Once the potatoes are cooked, drain out half the water into a separate bowl and save. Mash potato and water mixture until thick soupy consistency reached. This is your soup base. Add onions and cook until tender. From here blend half to 3/4 of the soup with one can of corn. Pour it all back into the stock pot and add the last can of corn, roasted bell peppers and milk. Add salt and pepper to taste. If the soup if too thick add the reserved water or more milk if you prefer.

*I used Trader Joe's Rice Drink instead of milk and it was really good without the stuffy nose.
You could add bacon too to this recipe and it would be smokey and rich too.
Serve with green salad and warm corn tortillas.

It hits the spot on a chilly, rainy day, enjoy!

With all of my non-baking recipes, I usually do not follow them totally, I usually just wing it so feel free to modify and let me know what you did. I love new ideas

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Super Heroes to the Rescue

Enzo has a new obsession with Super Heroes
So I made these guys for Christmas and
I am now posting it because I can actually add photos to my blog now.

Wolverine from X-Men

The Incredible Hulk

The Hulk looks a little Gumbyish but Enzo doesn't now the difference and he loves them.
In fact, tonight when he was going to bed I asked him who he wanted sleep with and he wanted Wolverine. I know Eric loves it because Wolverine is his favorite too.
Too fun.

Seek My Face

My mom got this little devotional for Eric and I called "Jesus Calling" By: Sarah Young. I started reading it the other morning and it has a little devotion for each day and I really like it.
Especially today's devotion was great.

"Seek My Face, and you will find more than you ever dreamed possible.
Let Me displace worry at the center of your being.
I am a supersaturated cloud, showering Peace into the pool of your mind.
My nature is to bless. Your nature is to receive with thanksgiving.
This is a true fit, designed before the foundation of the world.
Glorify Me by receiving My blessing gratefully.
I am the goal of all your searching.
When you seek Me, you find Me and are satisfied.
When lesser goals capture your attention, I fade into the background of your life.
I am still there, watching and waiting; but you function as if you were alone.
Actually, My Light shines on every situation you will ever face.
Live radiantly by expanding your focus to include Me in all your moments.
Let nothing dampen your search for Me."

I love this! How often do we lose sight to the idea that God is ALWAYS there. We know that He is there but do we really believe it? He wants to bless us and we so desperately need Him do so.
We often search out false blessings and like the passage said He fades into the background. He is still there but we are not allowing Him to do what He wants to do for us. I also love the "supersaturated cloud showering Peace in the pool of our mind" WOW! Do I ever love the rain and especially today while we are in the middle of a storm. I know having grown up in Washington State I love the rain, love it, love it. The sound, the smell the feeling of just standing underneath it and being showered on is all amazing. Now imagine that is God's Peace and He is just waiting to shower you with it. Making your mind have the peace that surpasses all understanding. Now I will take that any day and by my understanding of our Heavenly Father, He wants to give that to us every minute of every day, we just need to seek Him.
I already feel refreshed and ready to think and dwell about this all day, at least that is my hope. My hope to turn to Him and seek Him during the day. So often I have a great devotional only to turn around and ten minutes later I am short with my kids or get frustrated and lose my cool. Today I am going to try to seek Him more than I have before. I sure hope you do.

Monday, January 18, 2010

I'm Back!

We officially are up and running at this house and it feels so very nice. I am so very appreciative of my internet connection it is 1 MG speed and it is wonderful! I feel like I am back. I finally got to check my Google Reader and there were only 200 something new posts to read. I have been out of the loop but not really. It has been nice not getting stuck on the computer for hours. I have indulged the last couple days but it will end and I am going to put myself on a schedule. Have not figured it out yet but it will probably be early morning and after kids have gone to bed at night. I am excited to write more and maybe get in a schedule or routine here too. Be a little more organized and hopefully it will help me be more creative with my writings. Maybe have weekly topics like crafts for the kids, recipes, family life, devotion of some sort and homeschooling. I don't know what do you think? What would you like to see more of? What is it you like about my blog?
Okay I better go and do the dishes now since I have no dishwasher and a counter top full of dirty dishes. I am 95% unpacked and organized but it should be fun this week with the rain and being stuck indoors with the kids.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Moving into the Land of Technology

Yes, we are moving!! Again, I realized that we moved close to eight times int the last decade. So why not start this decade with a move. There is this little spot in town that has six little cottage houses. We have wanted to live in one for now seven years! Finally, God has opened the door for us to live there.

We have loved living out in the country do not get me wrong. However, with only one car it has been very difficult with the kids and being so far out town. I have really learned how to be resourceful and shop for two weeks and menu plan way better than ever. I have appreciated being in a quiet rustic setting. I love seeing animals, wild turkey, deers, quail and yes even FOUR BLACK BEARS one day! The kids have loved their pink house but are very excited to move to the Blue and white house.

We were very hesitant to move and on the Sunday after Christmas we really sat down and prayed and talked about what terms we wanted when we talked to the landlords. We decided on a certain amount for rent and different stipulations. There were two house available on for more rent with a garage and one cheaper with a carport. We decided on the one with the carport and lower rent. On Monday morning the landlord called saying they were offering the house with the garage for the rent we could afford!! Praise the Lord!

Next we had to tell our landlords we were leaving and give 30 days. They were sympathetic and understood. Our new landlords wanted us to move in on the 15th if possible. We looked at finances and decided that we would tell them we could move in on the 15th but without a deposit and if they really needed us in then it would be okay. Sure enough God worked out the details and they agreed to it. They even offered to break up our deposit over four months, who ever heard of landlords doing that?

The icing on the cake is that in November Eric was tired of looking at our boxes in our storage shed and one day at a job there were people moving and he offered them our boxes on loan. He lost their number and now we were left without boxes?!? We got some from Craigslist and from his aunt, but it clearly was not enough. Then this Monday the guy calls with the boxes and said they were ready for us to pick up, WHOO HOO! They even had couple more boxes for us. It turns out as of today I have four boxes that I have not used and one roll of tape left. I feel like the widow with the oil and flour preparing for Elijah bread when there was not enough for her and her son. But she faithfully made bread with the little she had and there was still enough left over for her and her son too. But the other story that comes to mind it the widow who had debt and Elisha told her to get as many empty vessel and poured the oil in them. She kept pouring oil until all the vessels were full. I was able to share the blessing of our boxes and they were so grateful and in turn there were plenty of boxes for us in fact just the right amount.

God cares about the little things and I am blessed.
Now my mom and my uncle are on their way up here to watch the kids today and tomorrow while we move and clean up. What a blessing.
The only thing left is for our landlords to rent the pink house and we get maybe some of our rent back but more importantly our deposit back.

God is good and I have seen His Hand in this whole endeavor more than anything before. Each step guided by Him.

Plus I will have cable internet and actually have the speed of 1 MG and that id light speed compared to the 20KB I have now.