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Showing posts from January, 2013

Corn Casserole

This week's recipe is brought to you today from almost any cookbook my mom has made for family or me. This is a popular recipe with my kids, my family, those that eat it outside of the family, friends, etc. My kids absolutely love it!

Here is the disclaimer: if you are an organic, whole foods, all-natural person, be prepared to turn your head or revamp the recipe. Consumer and convenience food friendly is where this casserole is at! However, many adjustments can be made to this recipe to fit your particular lifestyle. 
This is also a one-dish recipe. Stand on your chairs and sing hallelujah! I love one-dish recipes! A dutch oven or large skillet works great!
Corn Casserole
1 lb. ground beef or ground turkey onion, salt, and pepper to taste  1 can cream of mushroom soup 1 can cream of chicken soup 1 can creamed corn 2-2 1/2 cups elbow macaroni, uncooked
1. Brown the ground beef with the onion and seasonings. Drain the fat if you wish to. The leaner the ground beef, the better off yo…

Coupons or Not?

I have a question for the good readers of this blog. Basically, do you use coupons or not? To what extent?

I stopped the hardcore couponing because the price of the Des Moines Register went from $2.00 for their Sunday edition to $3.75. In the meanwhile, the coupon selection has decreased. I was not impressed so I quit paying for the Sunday paper at home. I will buy a Sunday newspaper when I am at Rob's house because the Star Tribune is still $2.00 for their Sunday edition. They also have almost double the coupons that the Register has in their newspaper.

With a change in our eating habits, I have found that coupons are no longer easy to find for products we use. A lot of coupons are for junk and unhealthy foods or cleaning products that we no longer use since we started making our own. We buy more in bulk and more fresh vegetables and fruits. Not a lot of coupons available for that.

Even before we started the change in our lifestyle, I was getting tired of the hassle of coupons. I…

Monday Frugal Update and Whatnot

Hello all! Last week was a jam-packed week of events and now we are embarking on a slower week. Yeah! Shali got her shots for her sports hernia and is a whole new girl. No pain and playing normal again! Another yeah!

On the downside, we had two different bugs come into the house, but they only affected the kid who came down with them so that is good. Although both kids felt free to infect their mother with the cold part of their bugs. Thank you to them!

We had our last basketball senior night and parent night with Shali. Makes me wonder where time really went! She will be 18 in March, graduate in May, and go to college in August. In case I forgot to share this news, she got ACCEPTED to UNI! She is thrilled beyond belief! This is the only college she looked at and the only one she wanted to go to.

In other news, I have been experimenting a lot at home. Some of it has been going well and all of it involves food. The goal is to knock the preservatives, dyes, and junk out of our diets. I …

Frugal Tip Friday: Vehicle Maintenance

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This week's frugal tip comes from the fact that I get stern lectures a lot about vehicle maintenance! Vehicle maintenance is very important to your vehicle's health and overall sustainability. The better you take care of your vehicles, the longer they last and the better they run thus saving you money.

Vehicle maintenance is very easy and, once you have your routine down, takes about 20-30 minutes. I will give you a simple routine with seven easy steps that will make maintaining your vehicle a breeze. By the way, this should be done at least bi-weekly, but every week is better.

Vehicle Maintenance List

1. Check tires. 
    Check tire pressure on each tire with a tire pressure gauge. The tire pressure should be the pressure listed on your tires or the pressure recommended by the vehicle's manufacturer. Also, check over tires for any obvious problems like cracks or things embedded in them.

2. Open the hood to your vehicle.

3. Check the level of your antifreeze/coolant.
    Alwa…

Baked Rigatoni

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This week I am labeling Thursday with a theme! I hope to keep this up the whole year because this is a theme I can get with. Every Thursday I will be sharing a recipe with you all that comes from my ever-growing cookbook collection. In the challenge of trying to eat healthier while still retaining the simple cooking methods that I love (one-dish meals rock!), I will be sharing recipes that I find family pleasing and good for you too.

To credit where credit is due, I got this idea from Stacy Makes Cents. Please check out her blog because it is the real deal! I love it!

Today's recipe is from the cookbook, Saving Dinner: The Menu, Recipes, and Shopping Lists to Bring Your Family Back to the Table by Leanne Ely. The cookbook has been a lifesaver and I have a tendency to buy copies of it for those people I think need it.

This recipe is one of my family's favorites from it, but they never remember me making it because they always ask what I am making. I tell them. They don't r…

Monday Frugal Update and Whatnot

Hello all! Welcome to the chaos again! Well, not chaos, but I think we have moved past the normal busyness and into craziness!

At least, we got two medical mysteries solved at our house and are moving towards recovery and solutions to the mysteries. Jordan's upset stomachs are due to gastritis and duodenitis. Both can be easy treated and managed so that is a relief. For Shali, what was thought to be a strained groin is a sport hernia. Explains why she was not healing and still in pain. Hopefully, the surgeon will be able to administer a field block on Monday and she will be able to move and play with considerably less pain.

As for my other two kids, they need to stay healthy. That is all I will say about that.

Otherwise, we have been going to games and decluttering the house. Both take up a lot of time!

The frugal happening this week include:

1. I bought an office chair and used air popper with credit I had at the consignment shop. Both had broken down and were very much missed. T…

Frugal Tip Friday

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I am going to start something new this year with this blog. I would like to give each day their own meaning and theme. I will keep the Monday Frugal Update and Whatnot, but every Friday I am going to post a frugal tip for everyone and hopefully keep them a bit unique!

This week's tip came to me while in the shower! Great ideas can happen when I am trying to be clean.

I am sure we are not the only household with half-used bottles of shampoo and conditioner. Sometimes we buy something new thinking it will be the cure-all for our hair needs. I would also like to include that we have 3-4 different hair types. Also, Dane will not use girl stuff. Got that?

What to do with all the half-used bottles of shampoo? I like to use them as body wash! However you want to look at it, at the end of the day shampoo is still just soap. Why waste it? Use it on your body! Smell good, stay clean! 

If you have those 2-in-1 shampoo/conditioner combos, consider it a bonus! You now have moisturizing body w…

Sometimes I just have to suck it up and learn new things

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Today was one of those days at work. That day when I went to work thinking I was just going to another slightly boring safety meeting in the afternoon with half of my co-workers and found out differently after I got there.

I should really know better by now. I should know to ask questions. Mainly the question about what the meeting was going to be about today.

Instead, I think I lost one of my few remaining girl cards to use at work.

I learned how to drive a forklift today.

I had been avoiding this like a plague thinking if I learned how to do this, then what are the guys going to do?

I am joking! Because I am not getting my CDL. Firm line in the sand. The guys still have a lot to do.

Anyway, I got to the meeting and one of the people ask the safety consultant what the meeting was going to be about. He said, rather enthusiastically, forklift safety and certification. All I could think was what was I doing here?

The group got to talking and I looked at my boss, saying I have never driv…

Monday's Frugal Update and Whatnot

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I apologize for today's post because there might be a lost of thought due to the big football game! I love football! I just wish Notre Dame would start playing well! *smile*

This has been a post that has been neglected since before Christmas because if I would have posted, I would have ruined a lot of Christmas presents! I also tried hard to save money and use what we had, but that didn't happen entirely. I have figured out that we also need to start Christmas a lot earlier - shopping, planning, making presents, and being more intentional about the whole holiday. Hopefully, I will remember this the whole year!

This week's frugal happenings were:

1. Downloading free Kindle books.

2. Using what we have in the fridge instead of letting it go to waste for meals. I bought vegetables for a veggie tray that I ended up not making for a New Years party. Part of the battle is finding recipes that the kids will eat. Apparently some of my kids have an objection to eating "little …

Life changes and so should us

Every year, during the end of December and beginning of January, I think over the year. I think about my life, my relationships, my activities, my family, and life in general. I think about how last year went, what happened, what shouldn't have happened, and what I could have done differently.

Something happened to me over the last year that I really am not proud of. I became complacent, settling for less than what I wanted. I compromised more than I should have. I tried to be a gentler person with a sweet disposition and instead, I got treated like a doormat. Instead of speaking plainly of life and what I wanted, I tried to hide behind my own fears of upsetting people. In a way I have been pretty sad over a lot of things because I allowed others' disapproval rule my life.

You see, I am more afraid of people walking away from me and people not respecting me than anything else in my life. No one should have to live life like this. No one should be that afraid of being who they…

What to think about the upcoming gun control legislation

The upcoming gun control legislation has me as a citizen of this country more than a little worried. We have been given rights as citizens of this country to bear arms and protect ourselves against threats to ourselves, our families, our homes, and our country. We have been given the right with the provision that we will be responsible for ourselves and not abuse this right to bear arms. We have been given this right with the thought that we will have the common sense to know when to use them and when not to use them.

The government and the special interest groups have decided that they have the right situation, the right amount of citizen anger, and the right amount of ammunition to introduce legislation to take away our right to bear arms. First, it will be the assault weapon ban. Then they will figure out how to make owning a gun a privilege and not a right. Then they will figure out how to make owning a gun illegal.

The Constitution is not dead. The Bill of Rights is not dead. Th…

Top 5 Posts of 2012

Let's take a trip down memory lane....

I am always a little surprised by what is the most popular posts for different blogs. This blog is no exception! I want to share with you all what was the most popular posts for the year of 2012.

Top 5 Living Life in Rural Iowa Blog Posts:

1. Dehydrating Bananas or How to Make Banana Chips

2. 25 Frugal Ideas and Tips

3. Once a Month Grocery Shopping

4. Dehydrating Onions

5. Monday Frugal Update and Whatnot

I am honored by the amount of people who read this blog and who have accidentally clicked over to here and found these articles. I feel good knowing I can help people with what I do here everyday! Thank you to all!

Happy New Years! I can't wait for the year 2013!

Thanks for reading! Have a great day!

2013 Bucket List For My House and Life

Welcome to my 2013 Bucket List for my home and life! This could also by viewed as a goals list, resolutions, or dreams. I kind of don't care for the word "resolutions" so, please, let us not use it!

Without further ado...

Erica's 2013 Bucket List

1. Buy a sewing machine.

2. Make a quilt.

3. Buy curtains for the first floor windows as well as shades for the kitchen.

4. Go to a NASCAR race.

5. Finish reading these books: The Bible, The Book of God, and A People's History of the United States: 1492 - Present.

6. Take better care of myself by being more active and eating better.

7. Remodel front and back hallways.

8. Finish basement.

9. Build or buy a new bed frame for me. My current frame is on it's last legs.

10. Repaint upstairs hallway and bathroom.

11. To spend more quality time with kids by taking trips and doing more one-on-one time with them.

12. To expand the garden more and maybe become more self-sufficient from the garden.

13. Take a trip with Rob besid…