Thursday, March 30, 2017

No spend April

Inspired by the book/blog "Living Well and Spending Less," I first participated in their 31-day "Living Well and Spending Zero" challenge in March 2014. It raised some eyebrows and concerns from those who thought we must have been on the brink of financial ruin to participate in such a challenge.

Quite the opposite was true. I found that we already had so much stuff in the house that we could not use or even keep track of it all, which caused us to go out and buy more rather than use what we already had. The one-month challenge worked wonders as a 'reboot', not to mention shaved a couple thousand dollars off that month's spending. In spite of Boaz' pregnancy at that time having racked up tens of thousands of dollars by the time I was 6 months pregnant, we were able to pay off every last medical bill by the time he was born. Cutting back on spending and using what we already had played a huge role in that. 

Besides saving a boatload of money, spending zero for a month also reduces clutter (by taking inventory of and using up what we have), stress (no running around, more time), and generally shakes things up for the better.

Since that first challenge, I have done this about once per year, usually in the spring. Well, it's time again! April is a short month, there are no birthdays in it, and our freezers are full to the gills and need a good depleting before summer and all its bounty of inexpensive produce need to be put away for leaner times. 

My ground rules will pretty much be the same as in the past: 

- No groceries except for fresh milk and dairy products, and minimal fresh produce. My goal is to use up what we have in the (four!stuffed!) freezers and the pantry. We have several month's worth of food in storage.

- Only essential goods (like TP, diapers, etc.) and services (doctor, mechanical breakdown, etc.) can be purchased.

- Things I will not be spending money on: entertainment, dates, dining out, field trips, books, toys, clothes, hobbies, gifts, household items, furniture, etc. Many of these same things can be enjoyed for free by using the library, gift cards we have, looking for free alternatives, etc.

- For gas, my goal is to drive less so I can make one tank last two weeks instead of one.

- I will attempt to pay for most of the permissible spending mentioned above by selling off stuff we no longer use and need. I don't have time to do a yard sale, but I do have a handful of larger items I will list on Craigslist and OfferUp. This will help declutter by turning unwanted stuff into cash.

- Obviously we will still be paying all of our regular bills like mortgage, utilities, etc.

- This challenge is for me, not my husband. I do about 90% of the spending for our family so that will cover most, plus I don't want to start policing his spending. 

If you have never done anything like this, I encourage you to give it a try. Your wallet and your sanity will thank you.

For tons of helpful resources, go to the Living Well Spending Zero resources page or go through them day by day starting with Day 1.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Some new vlogs

I don't always wear the same white shirt, but when I do, I record a whole bunch of videos in it on the same day...

 I will have a shorter intro on future videos.

Later today, I'm hoping to record a video tutorial for how I make sandwich bread. Stay tuned!

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Moody Science Videos

About 10 years ago, we bought our kids a set of DVDs of old (to not say ancient) science videos from the Moody Bible Institute. 

I will admit, I was a bit skeptical whether 60-year old science was up to modern standards. After all, our equipment today is so much more sophisticated. We bought the DVDs because they came highly recommended, used KJV throughout, and had a creationist world view.

I cannot overstate how shocked I was (and still am) at the accuracy and depth of science presented in these episodes. They not only are timeless, I will say that none of the modern materials I have seen from other Christian publishers has come close the the quality and spiritual value of these videos presented by Dr. Moon.

To this day, all our kids and us parents love watching these DVDs. They are impossible to not finish once we start one. At the end, there is always a tie-in to a Bible truth. All of them have been doctrinally sound, relevant, and memorable. 

These DVDs are still available for purchase today, a testament to their timeless value. 

However, they are now also available for viewing on YouTube! I was so thrilled to discover a playlist of all the videos today!

If you have never seen these videos, check them out - you will be glad you did!

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Einkorn sourdough artisan bread tutorial

Since cutting out traditional (modern, hybridized) wheat a year ago, I have switched to using only einkorn flour in all my recipes. Einkorn is an ancient form of wheat that has 14 instead of 42 chromosomes, and a gluten structure that is entirely different from today's wheat. 

As a result, for the first time in years, Isaac has not had any episodes of asthma during this high-allergy season! There is a lot more information on this topic that I hope to be covering in an upcoming video.

Today, I wanted to share a video tutorial of how I make our favorite artisan loaf. Everyone who has tried it has LOVED it. The einkorn makes this loaf have a beautifully crunchy crust, moist crumb, and golden hue.

I use a different recipe to make sandwich loaves, which I will share at another time.

If you have not yet subscribed to my YouTube channel, you can do so here

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Follow me on YouTube!

In an effort to share more videos on YouTube to make up for my lack of blogging these days, I am starting to use my YouTube channel. To subscribe, please click here and then click the red "Subscribe" button at the top right.

Here's my first video blog:

Coming up next: a video tutorial of how I make my new (einkorn) artisan sourdough bread. Stay tuned (and don't for get to subscribe).

Friday, February 10, 2017

Q and A

You can watch the recording of yesterday's Q & A below:

Thank you to all who sent in questions and tuned in.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Live Stream Q & A TODAY

Just a reminder that the live stream Q & A is this afternoon at 2 p.m. Mountain Standard Time. 

IMPORTANT CHANGE: The event will be streamed on a different channel than originally advertised, on
I will be answering some of the questions that have been posted in the comments on the blog. Questions can also be submitted during the live steam via text message. The chat function on the live stream will be disabled because it interferes with the transmission quality. 

I hope you are able to join us live this afternoon!

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Live Stream Q & A POSTPONED

Unfortunately, the live stream planned for this afternoon will have to be postponed because I have been down with a sinus infection the last few days. Blah!

It has been pushed back to next Thursday, February 9th, same place, same time. 

I apologize for the last minute change of plans.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Live stream video Q&A coming up

For those of you who have been asking, I am excited to announce there is another live Q&A coming up one week from today!

If you have a question you would like to see answered, please leave it in the comments on this post anytime before next Thursday, or in the live comments on the video once it starts. 

Can you believe it has been almost two YEARS since I last did this? Here I am just going through life one day at a time, la di dah dah, and BOOM two years have passed! I would have guessed it had only been a few months.

To see past episodes, someone created a playlist here. To read past Q&A's on the blog, click here

Ask away! :)

Monday, January 23, 2017

Family Cabin Trip

Our main Christmas gift for the kids was a 3-day cabin vacation up in northern Arizona. As our family continues to grow and our house does not, we have found it necessary to switch to giving them gifts that create memories rather than clutter. This has really turned out to be a blessing in disguise.

Speaking of family size, we had to rent two cabins right next to each other to fit us all. Each of the cabins was huge and had an identical floor plan, though the decorations were different. The downstairs consisted of a a living room, complete with full size kitchen, a bedroom with a queen size bed, a full bathroom, and a laundry room. The upstairs had a spacious loft with two twin beds. In all, each cabin slept 6 people, with tons of space to move about.


We separated the cabins by big kids and little kids, that way even when the younger ones were napping or asleep at night, the older ones could keep playing and being loud. At night, I slept in one cabin with Chloe in my room, Boaz and Stephen on the sleeper sofa, and Anna and Becca in the loft. My husband slept in the other cabin with Miriam and up. 


Both cabins also had a large covered deck in the back with a spa. The kids had a lot of fun with these, and the washer and dryer sure came in handy for all the towels they were going through.

Through God's providence, we were able to book these cabins for a third of their usual rate because their owner is a business associate of my husband. Our goals for this trip were easy - just relax and enjoy time together making music, playing board games, eating great food, reading books, and enjoying the outdoors.

We decorated a gingerbread house, which we enjoyed with hot cocoa and whipped cream. We also made cookies from scratch easily with a nifty kit in a jar from Trader Joe's.

I love this picture with Isaac in the back holding a laughing Chloe.

Two teens and an almost teen. They are such good kids, and so much fun to be around!

Cookie monster!

Chloe was getting spoiled as usual, being everyone's favorite person to hold and play with. It's funny to see how each of the kids has their own unique tricks to keeping her happy and occupied.


On the second day, my husband took all the kids except Chloe to Show Low for the morning, giving me quiet uninterrupted time to read my Bible in the middle of the day (a very rare treat!) and just enjoy myself. 

 The view from my rocking chair. I loved the high ceilings and huge windows.

I was hoping there would be snow for the kids' sakes, and hoping there would be none for my sake. As it turned out, in spite of the elevation, there was no snow during our stay which I can't say I minded. Being from the desert our kids are not used to being in the cold anymore, so they didn't mind much either.

Bible time - evidently everyone except Anna was tired after staying up too late the night before.

We had a wonderful trip, and hope to be able to go again sometime.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Family Pictures

In a continuation of the recent photo overload, I bring you our new family photos. These were taken by a young man at our church who is not a photographer by profession, but who might as well be. The only difference between these photos and others we have had done was that they only cost us the expense of treating him and his family to ice cream afterwards. :) We are very thankful for talented helpers in our church!

The whole family


Just my husband and I


Just the kids

Just the boys

Just the girls

 In age order 

 Solomon (15)

Isaac (13)

John (12)

 Miriam (9)

 Rebecca (8)

 Anna (6)

 Stephen (4)

Boaz (2)

 Chloe (6 months)

And with that, Merry Christmas to you and yours! I'll be back after the holidays.