Monday, April 28, 2014

Made from Scratch Spinach Dip

I enjoy a good spinach dip every now and again. I finally learned how to make it at my sisters house one day. While I was shopping at my favorite discount grocery store, I was in the seasoning section looking for any spinach dip packets that I might be able to get for a great price. They didn't have any however, they did have some dehydrated vegetable flakes and it gave me the idea to try to make the seasoning myself, so I purchased some.
Spinach Dip from scratch:
1/2 bag fresh spinach that has been frozen
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup mayo
1-2 TBS ranch seasoning mix
1 can water chestnuts drained and chopped
1/2 cup dehydrated veggies
bread or veggies to dip with

I use fresh spinach that I have frozen. *If I remember-as soon as I take it out of the freezer, I crunch it up in the bag. It breaks up nicely, which means I can skip the chopping step later. Once I have crunched up my spinach I place it in a steamer basket and cover it for about 7 minutes.
Once it is finished steaming, I drain, allow to cool, then using a paper towel- squeeze the excess water out of the spinach. Then I mix it in with all of the other ingredients. If I can stand it, I will leave the spinach dip in the fridge for a few hours so the dehydrated veggies can soften.

I had my mom try it, she and I both agreed it tastes pretty close to the prepackaged seasoning mix. Yummo!
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Thursday, April 24, 2014

More Thrifting Thursday Ideas!

So real life happened again! I had every intention in a week 4 Thrifting Thursday titled "What I buy at Costco- small family style". We left early Tuesday morning for a 45 minute drive to get these one day old fluffy cuties!
Our next stop was going to be Costco (another 10 min drive) while Dear Hubby would do another errand. We pull up at 8:30 and the parking lot is bare. At first I commented how we get to shop in a quite Costco this morning... ah man....I had no idea Costco does not open until 10 am! What's with that! LOL!
For the record I only get over to Costco about every other month or so (50 min drive) and never this early. We couldn't stay and wait because Dear Hubby had to get back (to be at work at 11) and we still needed to set up a place for our new fluffy cuties! So next week I hope to have a post for you on shopping Costco when there is only 3 of you. Until then here is where I link up my posts each week. If you go to each site there will be tons more posts of bloggers linking up their thrifty ideas, recipes, mothering tips, DIY and all kinds of fun stuff!
Living Well Spending Less Thrifty Thursday
Thrive at Home Thursday
And guess what!!!! I am so excited! On Living Well Spending Less' Thrifty Thursday look who is listed as #7 for most viewed the previous week! It was this post on saving at a discount grocery store. As I was scrolling down to link up my posts I see my pic and do a double take. Yay!!!
So head on over and check out all the wonderful ideas being shared. Enjoy!

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

A cheerful addition to kitchen decor, DIY

I loved this project! So simple, so fun, so cheerful! I got this fella from my friend Heather who had him in a box to sell. She said I could have him, cause she is so sweet like that! After sharing with her what I wanted to do, I took him home and got to work.

He is a copper jello mold pan.
I wanted him red though! Using cardboard and a can of red paint I already had on hand, I sprayed 2 coats of paint on him (letting him dry for a few hours in between coats).

 I hung him in the kitchen only to get a picture of him complete.
He now lives up above a cupboard in my kitchen with mason jars, a vintage toaster, and Mrs. Butterworth.

Such a simple and frugal way to add some cheer to an area in the kitchen! What do you think? Do you have something, that with a coat of paint would add some new cheer to your home?

Speaking of adding cheer to the home, look at our new additions! More on them at another time.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Fruit Delight, A Real Treat

After spending the weekend in the wonderful sunshine with family, friends, egg hunt games and fabulous food, it is hard to get back to the routine of Monday. I pray you all had a wonderful blessed Easter Weekend! Today's recipe I am sharing because it just fits with backyards, pot lucks, sipp'in ice tea, lounging under a shade tree, and simply enjoying a sunny afternoon! It is a family favorite. It comes from my mother-in-law. She gave it to me years ago but since she always makes it, I hardly do. This is one of those family dishes that is always served at holidays, bbq's, picnics, and even camping trips. It is easy to prepare and travels well. I decided to surprise my family with it last week (just because) to enjoy after dinner. It is an old recipe and probably goes by many names but in our house we affectionately call it Fruit Delight. It is a delight for sure! It has crazy ingredients such as vinegar and egg yolks. But when complete it is a cool, sweet, smooth, creamy--delight!
Here is what you need:

1 bag mini marshmallows
1 can fruit cocktail
1 TBS vinegar
1 TBS water
2 egg yolks beaten
1 tub cool whip
1 package graham crackers

Open can of fruit cocktail and drain syrup into pot on stove (set the fruit aside to use later).

 Add the bag of marshmallows and melt down in the syrup on low heat, stirring often. Crush graham crackers in ziplock bag. I used a wooden pestle.

 Then sprinkle some into a 9x13 pan (save half for topping). I happen to be at my friend Heather's on this day so I divided this up for 2 smaller dishes.  So they can have some delight after dinner as well!
Once I had the dishes ready I then beat 2 egg yolks and set aside. As soon as the marshmallows were melted down I took off the heat and added the vinegar and water, mixing well. Then I slowly added the beaten egg yolks.
After eggs were blended in I set this aside to cool for at least 30 minutes. Once cooled I then added the fruit and entire cool whip container mixing well.

Then pour over the graham cracker lined pan. Top with remaining graham crackers and refrigerate until firm.

Enjoy! If you have a family favorite please share below!

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Saturday, April 19, 2014

Wrap up for our Sense of the Resurrection lessons

We wrapped up our Easter lessons this week. Just in time to spend the weekend celebrating with friends and family. The first half of our lessons are here. Today I will share with you what we did in the last few lessons.

Day 7 our sense was feel. We discussed how Jesus might have felt being nailed to the cross. Then we did this to remind us what He did for us.
Sunshine then put a picture of Jesus on the banner. 
Day 8 was taste. We talked about the bitterness of sin and discussed how Jesus took our sin in as if He was drinking it. Then we tasted red wine vinegar to experience what Jesus was offered on the cross when He said He was thirsty.
For the banner she added sand to the tongue.
Days 9-12 we finished all up all in one day because of the busy weekend ahead. Lesson 9 we discussed all the sounds that took place just as Jesus died. We made this fun rattle. And glued gravel to our rock paper for the banner.
Lesson 10 we talked about the tomb being sealed. Sunshine colored a tomb picture and then placed duct tape over it to represent sealing the tomb.
Lesson 11 Talks about the angel giving the news that Jesus had risen just as He said. Sunshine make a sun catcher by cutting up a clear plastic cup and decorating it. She then wanted to hang it on the back porch.

She also added an angel to the banner.
Our final lesson, 12 is on Jesus providing for us and how He has a plan for each one of us. Sunshine put scales on her fish using foil cut into circles. She then added those to the banner to complete it.

To see the first half of the banner go here. I hope this gives you some ideas for next year. I got all of the lessons from A Sense of the Resurrection: Touch, Feel, Taste, Listen, Smell the Resurrection
There is so much in these lessons that we didn't even get too, so much more to experience with our Savior! So we are looking forward to digging into this again next year!

Praying you have a very blessed Easter Weekend!

Affiliate link in this post. I only share what I feel is truly a blessing to families. 

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Was His sacrifice really a sacrifice?

I don't even remember what blog I was reading but somewhere recently I read a comment on a blog post where the reader in effect was asking a question on how was it that Jesus' sacrifice on the cross really did anything? How was it such a big deal when He was able to come back alive? How did that cost God anything? And now He is with His Father in heaven and still gets to rule and reign- so how is that really sacrificing anything? This person went on to say that no one not a pastor or anyone else has been able to explain it their satisfaction. I didn't really have the time or words to really answer at that moment. And I will have to admit in my past I have asked that myself- but it came from a place of wanting to grow in my faith. As I have pondered and prayed and searched scripture- here is how I would answer those questions.

John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. It is hard for us to imagine that God has always been. Always existed, always has been in perfect love and light and goodness. God has never been separated. And then in John 1:14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. For the first time EVER God became one of us. Lived among us, grew up among us, taught us, loved us, healed us, celebrated with us, cried with us, prayed for us. And all the while he stayed in contact with his loving Father (example John 17).
Then He submitted and willingly gave his life for us. He was a willing sacrifice. A righteous man willing to die for sinful man; a people who rejected Him. And as He died ALL of mankind's sin was put on Him--my sin was put on him. My shame, my lies, my theft, my gluttony, my gossip, my lust, my selfishness and much more-- all of it was put on Him. And because of my sin, God had to turn away. Jesus, for the first time ever was separated from His Father. Oh how it must have crushed Him (Mark 15:34).

But then on the first day of the week we have an empty tomb... I tell my little girl that Jesus had to come back alive to show that He really is God. We really can trust Him. He really can take away our sins. He really is making a place for us in heaven. He really will come back again for us. It really is that simple. If Jesus stayed dead for all eternity then wouldn't He be just another prophet? Just another good man?

I don't know all the answers. I am no scholar. The only "training" I have is a love for my Lord and some Bible studies under my belt. How He works it all out boggles my mind sometimes. But you see that is the really cool thing about my God. I don't get all the answers... I don't get to figure Him out. I just get some of the answers and then He helps me to trust Him with the rest. THAT is the kind of God I want. I don't want a god I can "figure out" or find all the answers to my questions. I want a God that is bigger than me. Bigger than my questions. Bigger than my sin and bigger than anything I will face here. He asks me to trust Him and then tells me that He will never leave me or forsake me.

One further thing came to my mind this week. Thank the Lord that He will be there! I don't want to be there without Him. If He was dead forever I wouldn't get to thank Him. I wouldn't get to dance or run or commune with Him. I wouldn't get to take His hand or look into His eyes. I wouldn't get to sing my song of praise to Him. He wouldn't get to wipe away my tears- for good. I don't want to miss Him. I love Him, I want to be with Him. But He is alive, He is Risen! There is an empty tomb! He really defeated death and sin and He did that for me and He did that for you.

John 3:16 For God so loved the world that he gave is one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life.

Have a blessed Easter!

Thrifting Thursday: Saving at a discount grocery store

Welcome to the 3rd installment of Thrifting Thursday. Today I want to share with you one way I save money on groceries. It is at our local discount grocery store here. Not everything in the store is the best deal such as toys or milk. But what I find there is always worth the extra few minutes it takes in driving time.

First off, if you are thirsty and want a soda they have some on sale 3/.99 cents. Now this is soda that will expire soon so you need to be aware of that. But to have a cold drink on the way home once in a while- it is a great price. Candy is comparable to Walmart's price and even cheaper depending on what you want.

Their fridge section is usually great priced. Meats can have a store coupon on them to sell quickly. Such as the Jennie O link sausage. This store's regular price is $3.49. It had a $2 off store coupon on it, I purchased it for only $1.49! I will always buy what we need and freeze them. Even lunch meat can be frozen. The lunch meat (Oscar Meyer turkey) was $1.99, the big summer sausage was $3.99 (needed this for co-op Open House). The havarti cheese was only $1.79. Butter and yogurt are usually a great deal too. Creamer (Coffee Mate) brand is a great price there. You are just limited to what flavors they have. If they have a flavor I enjoy or one I am willing to try I will grab several of them. The small 16 oz are usually 99 cents and the big ones are 1.99 or less!

If I have a snack I have signed up for and know I will not have time to make one I will see what I can grab at this store. The 2 packages of donuts were $1.69, each and in some bananas and I have got the whole 2nd floor of co-op homeschool group covered!

Some of the bread is a great deal, such as the Sara Lee- it is always 99 cents at this store. I will also check out the health and beauty isle. I usually can find my allergy medication there. They have a store brand comparable to Zertec. A 30 day supply is only $2.99. I have used it for over 2 years and it works just fine for me.

Produce is another area where I can save money. Since I am already at this store I will check out what they have. I can usually find great deals on a lot of the fruit and veggies that we eat. And depending on what we are needing I may find some canned and frozen food deals as well.

My total for this trip was $58.12. The receipt says that I saved $49.76 but if I compare to Walmart I believe I am closer to saving around $30- which is still a hugs savings. 

Do you shop at a discount grocery store? Would you be willing to try one? You might be surprised!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Re-Purpose Glass Jars for your Pantry, DIY

I love the mason jar craze, however I want to save my jars for canning peaches. We have a peach tree and Dear Hubby loved it when I learned how to can them (future post). I still wanted to use jars in my pantry and I have come up with an alternative that I really like.

On occasion I purchase jars of fruit from our local discount grocery store. Because of the measurement on the sides I liked them and decided to use these instead of my mason jars. However they come with tin lids that are just ordinary to look at. But while looking for something else I spotted these and wondered? I got an idea...a wonderfully nifty idea... I purchased them to see if they would fit.

They do! These are white plastic lids from Ball. You can purchase them just about anywhere canning supplies are sold. They come in a pack of 8 for a reasonable price and you can get them in regular or wide mouth size. Once I chose what pantry items I wanted in each jar I labeled them with letter stickers from my scrapbook stash.

I just love them! What do you think?

Monday, April 14, 2014

6 Reasons you may like Potato Chip Casserole: New Meal Monday

Ok, so this is not a new recipe for me but maybe for you? I was feeling sentimental (missing my dad and grandmother). And Potato Chip Casserole sounded good for dinner. This is one my Grandma Lois used to make.

If you never have had this, you may like it for the following reasons:
1) You like potato chips
2) You like cheese in your casserole
3) You like tater tot casserole
4) You like tuna casserole
5) You like any casserole
6) You like comfort food

Wavy or Ruffles original potato chips
1 can tuna drained
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1/2 can of evaporated milk (regular milk will work too)
grated cheese (I used rest of havarty and colby)

 In a baking dish mix tuna, canned soup, cheese (leave some to put on top), pepper and the milk. Once combined slowly add the potato chips- careful to break up chips but not crush them. It will look like this when ready for oven:
Bake at 350 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes or until casserole is bubbling. Then add remain cheese to the top and put back in oven to melt the cheese.

Enjoy! What is one of your comfort food recipes? Please share in the comments below.

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Sunday, April 13, 2014

Our lessons from a Sense of the Resurrection

Our lesson, Bible and supplies for our first day!

We are enjoying our countdown to Resurrection Sunday with
A Sense of the Resurrection A Sense of the Resurrection These lessons have been wonderful. Everything from deep conversations about what Jesus did for us to giggling over making our own scented paint. Some activities are simple such as gluing leaves onto paper. While other days are more involved like baking bread. But each day is meant to involve one or more of our senses. Here are some of the things we did.
 Day one we read about Mary and her offering- of washing Jesus' feet with an expensive perfume. We made scent jars for our home as well as scented paint by putting a kool-aid packet into some water and painting a "paper" jar. We then cut it out and added it to our Easter Banner.
On day two we cut leaves and discussed Jesus' triumphal entry. Day three we learned why Jesus would wash someones feet. She painted some feet to add to the banner.
Day four we made bread and learned that Jesus gave himself up for us. She added to the banner torn strips of brown paper bag to resemble bread.
By the way: Sunshine makes good bread!
Day five we talked about Jesus truly being King of kings and the purple robe the solders put on him. We added a cross with a purple cloth to the banner. Day six (half way through) was on Peter forgetting how much he loved Jesus and denied him 3 times. We put 3 feathers on the banner. We homeschool so these lessons just become part of our school day, but these are made to fit any schedule. And any time you would be able to invest would be so worth it!
What are some ways you teach the Resurrection Story to your children. I would love for you to share in the comments below!

Affiliate link included: I only share what I truly feel is a blessing to families.