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Sunday, June 26, 2022

Menu Plan: June 26 - July 2

We are back to more ordinary time. By which I mean, we are still busier than I expect, and I'm not sure why I expect otherwise. Poor Jerome, on top of everything else, gets braces tomorrow. He needs them, so it is a good thing, but it is a hard thing. Likewise, about halfway through the braces, he will have two wisdom teeth surgically extracted, and his lower jaw surgically brought forward. He may also have an expander put into his upper palate. Please pray for our son, and for us.

This week, besides the braces, I will be teaching a couple foxtrot and swing classes, which will be fun. We didn't get to celebrate Croatia's independence yesterday, because we had a volunteer thank you barbecue to attend, so I am making those foods tonight for church. I'm going to make a big pan of popcorn for tonight so Jerome can enjoy it, as he won't be able to after tomorrow morning. Peas are going well for him, and except for gluten/gliadin/wheat and oats, almost everything else we re-introduce after this will be something we don't eat often, so if he has trouble with them, it won't cause a huge hardship for him or us.

We are still cooking through our freezers and pantry, and shopping mostly for fresh produce, staples that need replacing, and markdowns. The farmers' market is open again, and this year, we didn't sign up for any CSAs, even though we do use and appreciate what they offer for such a good price. We are taking the time and effort to shop the market and get the best deals we can find for our budget, and just plan our menus from that. I am so grateful for the beef and a quarter we were able to buy last spring, but we are getting down the mostly ground beef, a few organ pieces and the steaks. That sounds funny, because I know Americans really love steaks, and so do we, but the way we cook, to maximize our budget and to make sure everyone is full and satisfied while keeping our meal costs down means that we actually don't cook steaks that often. We really cook roasts and weird cuts more frequently. Some of the steaks lend themselves to being used as roast pieces do, so I will be able to make some of the dishes we like that way, and some are useful for being cut into strips or chunks for stir fries, which will make them go farther.

My goal is to get that beef to last us until at least this fall, if not next spring, so we can try to buy another steer for the freezer at that point. We are still looking for some pork and lamb, but in the interim are eating what we have in our freezers to make room for several ducks and roosters that need butchering here. People used to offer us piglets left and right for free, goats, you name it, but we didn't have the time and room last year, and it looks like everyone is feeling the food prices, so there weren't any offers this year and the prices have been much higher than normal even for other animals for sale. We are praying for some next spring/late winter, so we can raise those and fill our freezers that way next year. We learned from our actual farmer neighbors that if you raise multiple piglets, they not only benefit from the socializing (pigs are super friendly and playful, and we saw that one alone got rather lonely), but if you sell one or two of them to someone else at butchering time, you can pay for your own butchering that way. We are hoping to put that into practice next year. Honestly, though we don't like raising them through the winter, if someone had a late farrowing, or a kid/lamb born late in the season, we would find a way to keep them warm and fed over the winter to have them for the spring and summer. It would be easier to get a slaughter and butcher date that way, too, though we would have to pay more in feed, rather than letting them mostly graze and root around the yard and pastures.

What is on your menu this week? If you want a recipe, ask and I will provide it as soon as I can. If there are any starred recipes, I will follow up separately with a weekly recipe round up on Saturday.

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Friday, June 24, 2022

Craft On: Hope and Joy

Though I have some finished baby items, I am waiting to share them until they have beein given to Alexander and Autumn. So, here is a kind of dark photo of Yathrib, just a little after I had divided the sleeves from the body. I was trying to take a picture that would show the e-book cover and the knitting, and it is just dark and kind of sad. So, I may not do that anymore. The yarn, though, is fantastic. I am usually not a fan of cotton, but this yarn is wonderful to work with, and doesn't seem to be pilling, even being yanked around. I haven't had to tink or frog back on this much, but what little I have done seems to hold up well.

The airshow really threw me for what day it was all week, so this is rather late. However other events of this week have left me rejoicing. As a celebration and thanksgiving for the coming of a day that I wasn't sure I would see in my lifetime, I am offering one of 13 baby patterns for free on PayHip and Ravelry with the coupon code Forerunner, through the end of the day June 25, 2022. Please enjoy a baby pattern of your choice with my best wishes and love.

While the kids have been working clean up at the airport and catching up with friends a bit, we didn't read much in Chronicles of Avonlea. I read a tiny bit in X Saves the World, but mostly have been enjoying Twain's Feast. I even had a dream in which we were sleeping in a school gym as they prepared a racoon supper.


Linking to Unraveled Wednesday.

If you would like to receive updates and early notice of new patterns, beta knitting opportunities, and great discounts (plus pictures of new yarns, new tools, fun places, neat hints, book ideas, recipes and more) each month, please subscribe to 1,001 Knits. My best, and sometimes my only, discounts go to my subscribers.

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Sunday, June 19, 2022

Menu Plan: Corpus Christi

"Come together in common, one and all without exception in charity, in one faith and in one Jesus Christ, who is of the race of David according to the flesh, the son of man, and the Son of God, so that with undivided mind you may obey the bishop and the priests, and break one Bread which is the medicine of immortality and the antidote against death, enabling us to live forever in Jesus Christ."

- Letter to the Ephesians, paragraph 20, written c. A.D. 80-110

“Take note of those who hold heterodox [heretical] opinions on the grace of Jesus Christ which has come to us, and see how contrary their opinions are to the mind of God. . . . They abstain from the Eucharist and from prayer because they do not confess that the Eucharist is the flesh of our Savior Jesus Christ, flesh which suffered for our sins and which that Father, in his goodness, raised up again. They who deny the gift of God are perishing in their disputes”

- Letter to the Smyrnaeans 6:2-7:1, written c. A.D. 110

St. Ignatius became the third bishop of Antioch, succeeding St. Evodius, who was the immediate successor of St. Peter. He was a first hand witness of Christ as a child, heard St. John preach when he was a boy, and later became a disciple to him, he was a close friend of St. Polycarp, Bishop of Smyrna, who also was a direct student of Saint John the Evangelist. Seven of his letters written to various Christian communities have been preserved. Eventually, he received the martyr's crown as he was thrown to wild beasts in the arena. As I've been reading of his life and from his writings, I thought that a direct hearer of Christ and student of the original Apostles, a student of an author of the Gospels and Epistles, was a worthy speaker on what the Early Church taught and believed about the Eucharist.

Corpus Christi is another western, and relatively modern, feast, but again, one we adore. It is the celebration of the Real Presence of the Body of Christ in the world. It is a feast of His glorious body, both literal in the Eucharist, and figurative in the Church. We are not able to be in the procession today, but that is one of my favorite things we do on this day. You have the people, who are symbolically the Body of Christ on earth, displaying, proclaiming and celebrating the Eucharist, which is actually the Body of Christ on earth. We pray and sing hymns and proclaim in word and action that Christ is alive and here with us. He offers Himself in the Eucharist as a gift to us, a medicine for sin and for our salvation.

As we are on the last day of the airshow, and are worn out, we are so grateful for our church community, who are preparing dinner for us tonight, both for our normal post liturgical meal, but also as a Father's Day gift to Rich. They are so generous and kind with us. The ladies from my Tuesday Bible study have been contributing much to our meals, to take the burden of my cooking for all of us, which is also a gift to our family.

Thank you for your prayers for our son and his wife. His shoulder injury was relatively mild and he was able to return to work. Jerome gets to start peas this week, and we are all hoping that goes well, because we eat those a lot, too. Aside from a little rest this week, to recover from last week, we also have a baby shower to look forward to for our sweet grandbaby. I am so excited to celebrate and give them gifts for that new little one! I'll share pictures of the finished items after we have given them. Saturday is Croatia's Independence Day, so I am making Croatian food for dinner.

What is on your menu this week? If you want a recipe, ask and I will provide it as soon as I can. If there are any starred recipes, I will follow up separately with a weekly recipe round up on Saturday.

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Friday, June 17, 2022

Frugality (Part XXI): Bargain Getaways

We have a big family and so our vacations are usually pretty modest affairs. We have a few favorite hotels and a guest house that a friend rents to us at a friends and family discount or we stay with family or friends most of the time. This may not sound that fun or exciting, but it helps us travel when we can do so.

One place we always look for when traveling is Homewood Suites. They have a two bedroom suite, with two queen sized beds in each room and a pull out couch in the living room that sleeps all of us. They have a full breakfast every morning, included in the room price, and a social hour that amounts to dinner and wine or beer (sometimes cocktails) from Monday through Thursday nights. Since meals are a huge cost on the road, this makes the hotel quite a good deal for us. Likewise, the room itself has a refrigerator and stove, microwave, coffee machine, sink and dishwasher, and so on, which permits us to prepare lunches or dinners, when necessary. There is usually a grill down by the pool, too, which we have used for meals before while staying at one of their hotels. The lowest price we have paid for one of those suites was around $180 a night and the highest we have paid, for all ten of us, was near $400 a night, but when you consider that we would spend nearly that on two small rooms at another hotel or motel with the kids, and wouldn't have the meals included, it's quite the bargain for us. Unless we stick to fast food, dinner out for our family at an above average, but not fancy, restaurant tends to run us between $150 and $300 for the family for lunch or dinner, and breakfasts tend to be about $100 to $150. So, to have breakfast included for all days of the week and dinner included four days a week, is a huge savings for us.

If we cannot find something like I describe above, we try to find a house to rent, which is usually less expensive, even with deposits and fees, than a hotel for our family. This also gives us a full kitchen, so we can choose to eat at the house for the majority of our meals, and we can choose which meals we wish to eat out deliberately. Even if we have to go grocery shopping for the trip, we can eat breakfasts at leisure in the morning and bring picnic lunches, if we wish, and the groceries left over can come home with us when we return.

I know that sometimes, especially we wives and mothers, want a trip on which we don't have to be responsible for meals. However, the truth is, any trip with children involves our being responsible, anyway, so I don't mind doing the extra effort to make meals, and plan simple ones the kids and Rich with which can help me. When I want a vacation with minimal responsibility, I go by myself or with Rich without the kids. That is just the reality of family life.

Which brings me to part two. Often, the way I get a vacation is to accompany Rich on a work related trip. He frequently has meetings in other towns, or conferences that are related to his industry. Usually, I go with him to these. Since his costs are covered, that leaves relatively minimal ones for me. We have even been able to travel to France, Croatia, and Japan, because of work related trips he was assigned. Obviously, there are still costs associated with me traveling, especially overseas, but his being taken care of brings our cost down considerably. I'm also pretty good at scouring airfare websites to get rather low deals on flights, which saves both us and his work money when we travel. I know it's gauche to talk direct prices, but we spent eight days in Split, Croatia (with a short overnight in Dublin), which only cost us around $1300, which included my airfare, my transit tickets while I explored the city, many meals with wine (which were fantastic, by the way!), a manicure and pedicure in preparation for a gala night out, foods and liquors we brought back home to share with friends and family, gifts for friends who helped our kids while we were gone, my own purchases of shoes, handbag, and dress, plus yarn and ribbon bought both in Split and Dublin, and a hand crocheted pillow case. The airfare was $724, which tells you how little we spent while we were actually out traveling. I will definitely recomment Croatia as a Mediterranean/Riviera type experience on a tiny fraction of the price. The Adriatic coast is spectacular, the food and wine are fabulous, their olives and olive oils are fantastic, the lodgings are inexpensive, the climate is gorgeous, and the people are friendly and kind (though reserved). There are hills and forest accessible from town, mountains by car or train, and we fell in love. It was like being in Italy for a quarter of the price. The language is not too terribly hard to learn enough to get by while there, either, and the people appreciate it so much that you even tried.

So, how do I find good airfare? Kayak and Scott's Cheap Flights (that is my referral link) are my favorite ways to find fares. With Scott's, you need to be flexible, and see what is available, and the pull the trigger when you see something that matches your price point and preferences.

Some families really like camping, which can also bring down your costs. We haven't done a ton of it as a family, I have to admit, but we did camp a while in Yellowstone, and we rented yurts for our trip to the Oregon coast recently. The yurts were great, and had electricity in them, though we weren't allowed to cook inside. We were able to bring extension cords and cook on the deck, though. So, we brought our electric pressure cooker, a gas stove burner, and tools and cooking utensils for grilling where we were permitted. They had showers, for free, a cleaning station for fish and shellfish (of which we availed ourselves), and coin operaed laundry facilities. The yurts themselves only cost about $600 for two, for six nights, and were right on the bay near the ocean. So, you see, if you are creative about where you stay, you can find a bargain this way, too.

What are your helpful hints on how to save money on vacation? Are you still able to take trips as a family? Or are you trying to use your vacation time at home, enjoying your family and property? None of my hints will help you with the rising gas prices, but might help you make up for them in other ways.


Previous Posts:
Make it at Home
Grocery Shopping
Waste Not, Want Not
Soup
The Celery Stalks at Midnight
Use What You Have
Combining Trips
Storing Bulk Purchases
Turn It Off
Grow Your Own
Buying in Bulk
Gleaning
Entertainment on the Down Low
Finding Fun Locally
Holiday Shopping
Reconsidering Convenience
More Bang for Your Grocery Buck
Preserving the Harvest
Revisiting Kitchen Strategies
Extreme Frugality

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Wednesday, June 15, 2022

Craft On: Ancient Cities and Routes

Yathrib is the ancient name of the modern city Medina. It is not far from the Red Sea, so has a windswept climate, but is also situated in the desert. This design is informed by that city's history and climate. It is the first in a collection of patterns inspired by the ancient cities and peoples of the incense route.

I'm just about ready to divide the sleeves from the body, then work the sleeves and body down. It is going rather quickly, and the yarn is a dream to knit. Malabrigo's Verano is perfect for summer knitting, and even though this is a long sleeved jacket, the yarn makes it a light garment. It is a pleasure to work with and seems to hold up to being shoved in and out of my bag really well. Also, I was pleased to find that it didn't grow much in blocking, which can often be the case with cotton yarns.

As it is airshow week, there hasn't been a lot of time for reading in Chronicles of Avonlea together. However, I've been able to read more in X Saves the World and Twain's Feast, because it has only been Mariam and Nejat at home while the older kids work set up at the airport.


If you would like to receive updates and early notice of new patterns, beta knitting opportunities, and great discounts (plus pictures of new yarns, new tools, fun places, neat hints, book ideas, recipes and more) each month, please subscribe to 1,001 Knits. My best, and sometimes my only, discounts go to my subscribers.

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Sunday, June 12, 2022

Menu Plan: Trinity Sunday

Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, one God; Oh come, let us adore Him.

Trinity Sunday is definitely a Western feast and I know I "read" Eastern (which is not a coincidence). However, I love this feast. In my prayers and aspirations, I look for a day when East and West celebrate this together, along with the other feasts of the Church year. This theological feast celebrates what we believe. It should be rejoiced in and shouted by all the members of the body of Christ (which is a feast coming up soon, also). It isn't that this is not celebrated in the East, but it is not a major feast in the same way, but the emphasis on God's nature, unity (one God) and community (three Persons), is so important to how we understand that He has created all people to be in one in community. We image God. In a way, this year, East and West do celebrate it together, because today is Pentecost for the East, and the first three days of Pentecost emphasize different parts of the faith that is born that day, and the first is Trinity. For now, that will have to be close enough, but I long for a day when we are one and in unbroken community.

It is also airshow week here, which is exhausting and busy. We are pushing through to the end of that, so we can rest. Dominic jokes that he took a paying job with long hours and lots of responsibilities, just so he could get out of volunteering for the airshow. Since this coming weekend is both his and Rich's birthday, and then Father's Day, we would normally be doing something fun for them. Instead, we are eating leftovers on their birthday (I'll try to have fancy ice cream or pie or cake), and eating whatever our church family makes Sunday for Father's Day. After this weekend, we will be halfway through all the family birthdays - including Autumn and the new grandbaby, because Autumn is at the beginning of the year and the grandbaby should be born at the end of October or beginning of November.

We are trying to be good stewards of what we have and earn and so have waited to make our grocery trip (I'm still trying to go every two weeks, rather than every week, when possible), and the kids ate up all our fresh fruit this week. So, glory to God, we have a lot in the freezers and we canned, dried and froze a ton of cherries, peaches, pears, and preserves, as well as making loads of pickled vegetables, the last two years, so we have those. This year, I am praying to get a hold of plenty of plums, so I can make plum preserves. Figs are too expensive and hard to grow here, so fig jam, fig chutney, fig and pear jam are not likely. Things like that make me miss the west side, still. Our two beautiful fig trees died our first winter here, even in protected areas. This spring has been so weird, and we had late freezes that killed most of the blossoms on our fruit trees this year, so we are only expecting fruit from one plum tree that is usually late, and maybe another tree. With the costs of food and gas, this will make a challenge for us next fall, winter and spring. We are blessed with an abundant pantry and full freezers, so we are fine, it just will take a little more creativity as we navigate rising prices, shortages and so on.

For your prayers, please remember Alexander and Autumn, both in general because they are a young family with a baby soon to be born, but also specifically, because Alexander briefly dislocated his shoulder at work on Thursday and had to see a doctor and be sent home from work for a time. Since it happened at work, it will be covered just fine, but missing work with a baby coming is stressful, and we are praying that the disclocation was not too serious. Jerome should have lentils back all the way by next week, which is fabulous, and we will start re-introducing peas at that point. Most of the foods we eat all the time have been returned to him, so once he gets peas back (if he does), our life will be much simpler. The gluten/gliadin, wheat/oats/rye/barley/spelt/etc, are the last thing that are really challenging for us. Even though he has plenty that we have to test between now and the end of the year, once peas are clear, it will be almost normal. We are grateful to God for that.

What is on your menu this week? If you want a recipe, ask and I will provide it as soon as I can. If there are any starred recipes, I will follow up separately with a weekly recipe round up on Saturday.

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Friday, June 10, 2022

Craft On: Baby Knits!

It is nearly baby shower time for my son and daughter in law, and I have this adorable, little munchkin set for their wee one. The eleventy billion ends are discouraging, but I am trying to work on them now so I can have the set ready for the shower. I will be starting a baptismal gown soon, and between that and Yathrib (a buttonless cardigan from a collection that will be published in November of next year), I should be quite busy this month and next. The second, adult sized, sample for Baladi is close to finished, and I have one of Yasmina's mittens completed.

There are three sets of gloves or mittens I have yet to do for the family, two convertible mitten sets for some friends, the baptismal gown and cap, Yathrib, the two final designs for the Trade Winds Color Collection to finish, another hat design for July, a Saint Nicholas stocking for both Autumn and our new grandbaby, another sweater design for the collection next year, and the graded for adults version of Saint Catherine to finish by the end of this year. I'd like to get more baby knitting in, as well, but these are the priorities. Two of these are at least half way finished, but it is still a daunting list. I'm having our LYS crank out sock tubes for me that I will finish with cuffs, heels and toes, which will both give me a lot more socks and will help me stash down some more. I have picked out yarn for all the family, as well as a few for me, and I hope to have those ready by Christmas. Since cuffs, heels and toes are basically swatch knitting, I am hoping it will be good weekend knitting after the mittens and gloves are finished and will give me some more FOs, and Christmas presents.

The kids and I are meandering through Chronicles of Avonlea. I finished Bearing God: The Life and Works of St. Ignatius of Antioch the God-Bearer and I picked up a fun book I started a while back, X Saves the World. That is an odd contrast to Saint Ignatius, I know, but it is a fun and interesting book.

On Ignatius, I think I mentioned how apt it was to read as a corollary to my Bible study of Romans. There are so many things in this short book about the nature of Christianity, the Church, and the Christian. For being so short, it is full of a lot of thought provoking and faith inspiring words. As I am learning how the words of Saint Paul, a Jewish Christian, define the righteousness of Christ not as the imputed or transferred or imparted righteousness of God to Man, but rather the actual righteousness of God declaring in our favor. In _Bearing God_, we red the same from Saint Ignatius of Antioch, "For Ignatius, Christian life is not about having a right standing with God (as would become an imporant theme in Reformation theology) but about bearing God within ourselves."

Many liturgical Christians are probably familiar with the quotation of his paraphrased, "Where the bishop is, there is the Church." There are some challenges to both Protestants and Catholics in Saint Ignatius' writing, and as he was both a first hand witness and hearer of Christ, and a direct disciple of Saint John the Apostle and Evangelist (as Saint Polycarp was, from whome we learn that Saint John instructed the bishops to baptize infants and small children first, lest they lose their chance to be baptized in a world with high infant and childhood mortality, then to go on to adults), his testimony speaks directly to what both Christ and the Apostles taught and practiced.

Roman Catholics love and venerate Ignatius and include him on their calendar of saints. Yet he may be challenging for them, as there is nothing in the writings of this early saint to support the claims to supremacy for the pope of Rome. Ignatius offers nothing for that ecclesiology, even when writing to the church in Rome.

Ignatius is perhaps more striking and more challenginf for Protestants, most of whom do not have bishops, or, if they do, they are primarily administrative officers and not seen as successors to the apostles. Ignatius, who stands in the shadow of the apostles themselves, presents such a robust and forceful image of the episcopacy that he challenges those who regard bishops as some later medieval accretion. Indeed, so striking is his language that the nineteenth century saw various Protestant scholars attempting to disprove the authenticity of any text bearing Ignatius' name. Ironically, it was through this scholarly work that their genuine character was finally established."

I found myself marking so many pages in this to think on again and to share with the kids. I make note that, even though this book is from an Orthodox perspective, and does a good job of defending that perspective, there are parts of Ignatius' writings and teachings which are clearly a challenge to the East, as well. We all need to get both lungs of the Church back together to resolve this. Rich is planning on reading it when I am finished (we kind of ran out of time to read it aloud to each other).

There is another book I am reading a little right now and enjoying a lot, but I am trying to keep to one book at a time for myself, just because my reading time is limited, and I have been so exhausted. Maybe when the airshow is finished, I will add it to my reading. If you are interested in food history and traditional, regional American food, you will enjoy it: Twain's Feast.


Linking to Unraveled Wednesday.

If you would like to receive updates and early notice of new patterns, beta knitting opportunities, and great discounts (plus pictures of new yarns, new tools, fun places, neat hints, book ideas, recipes and more) each month, please subscribe to 1,001 Knits. My best, and sometimes my only, discounts go to my subscribers.

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Sunday, June 05, 2022

Menu Plan: Pentecost Week

Alleluia! The Spirit of the Lord fills the world! Oh come, let us adore Him. Alleluia!

This is the second highest feast of the Church year. It is the birthday of the Church. Pentecost is the undoing of Babel. It is the empowering by the Holy Spirit of the Apostles to spread the Church throughout the world to every people, tribe, tongue and nation. We will have our Tongues of Flame barbecue with our church on Sunday, and enjoy a fast free week. The barbecue is a potluck, so we will see what lovely gifts people bring to share.

We have only two more weeks of official school before we take a summer break. Amira will be a graduate, and I am so proud of her, but I am also a little sad that she is grown up. While she figures out what her future should look like, we are glad to be home for her still. She has a couple opportunities this summer that will help her make her way in the world, and her brothers and sisters will also be doing some work in our neighborhood, earning money and learning skills for themselves.

Since this is a fast free week, there are no vegan days, but we are still trying to live within the limits of the grocery store prices and what we have at home. So, there is still soup and there are still legume based meals. Jerome is doing super well with the re-introduction of lentils, and again, I think his triggers are probably environmental. His doctor did say that this was more a hard reset than an indication of actual food allergies (though she suspected the banana might be a true allergy, and we already avoid lima beans because of reactions he has had in the past).

We are being more frugal because of the prices from inflation and supply chain issues brought on by the policies regarding the big C. If you aren't looking at my posts on frugality, you might want to take a peek and see if there is anything there that might help you. I did my bi-weekly grocery shopping Friday and found that the organic sweet potatoes were actually cheaper per pound, just by a little, than the conventionally grown ones. Especially since they were root vegetables, I thought that was important, and so bought the organic bag. There were a couple potatoes with dings in them that would degrade them quickly, and the produce lady marked the bag down a dollar on top of that, so it pays to point things like that out and ask. Since I didn't buy chicken because it was so expensive, and almost didn't buy bacon, because of the same reason, I am pleased with the deals we did find. I was able to get bacon, because they had pre-cooked, naturally cured bacon, for a dollar less than the price we used to pay for the same quantity of bacon. We are so grateful for how the Lord has looked after our family so well during these vexing and trying times. I see Him in every discount sticker and am reminded how much He loves us.

What is on your menu this week? If you want a recipe, ask and I will provide it as soon as I can. If there are any starred recipes, I will follow up separately with a weekly recipe round up on Saturday.

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Friday, June 03, 2022

Craft On: Where to Begin?

It has been awhile since I last updated. We have had such a busy life these past few weeks. Today, I can share the sample I am working on for a hat design coming out in July. This week is my chance to finally put the finishing touches on Imbat, and I am hoping to have both patterns ready for beta as soon as possible. For those of you who subscribe to my newsletter, or who recently subscribed and are wondering where the news is, bear with me, as I will have a big update sent out soon.

The kids and I finished The Golden Road, and they decided to begin Chronicles of Avonlea. I am close to finished with Bearing God: The Life and Works of St. Ignatius of Antioch the God-Bearer and have found some of what he had to say to the Judaizers and Docetists of his time to be interesting analagous reading to my study of Romans with a few women at my house.

You might note that my links to books are no longer going to Amazon. I do not try to keep myself "pure" of the world or of things with which I disagree or find morally objectionable. However, I do try to abstain from directly supporting those things as much as I can, and as such when a company declares that it will deliberately and specifically financially fund something that is a grave evil, I must refrain from giving them my money or directing other people in their direction. It's not like I thought Amazon was a bastion of righteousness, but at least before they weren't telling me how they would fund wickedness. So, here I am with no more money going in their direction that I can help. Two of the links above take you to Gutenberg so you can read the books online for free, and the third takes you to an Orthodox publisher which can do far more good with any money you spend there.


Linking to Unraveled Wednesday.

If you would like to receive updates and early notice of new patterns, beta knitting opportunities, and great discounts (plus pictures of new yarns, new tools, fun places, neat hints, book ideas, recipes and more) each month, please subscribe to 1,001 Knits. My best, and sometimes my only, discounts go to my subscribers.

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Sunday, May 29, 2022

Menu Plan: May 29 - June 4

Christ has Ascended! From Earth to Heaven! Alleluia!

We are in the time beween Ascension and Pentecost during which we wait with the Apostles for the descent of the Spirit and the birth of the Church. Some people count this as after the Paschal season, some count it as part of it. I tend to be on the side of those who include it, and consider Pentecost the new season. It seems fitting, as it is the second highest feast of the Church year, and bookends the season beginning with the highest feast of the Church year.

This week is also our week of reprieve. We have relatively few engagements, and Rich has Monday off for Memorial Day, so we are going to go a little easier and rest a bit, if we can. There is still school work to do, and we have a ton to do around the property, but if we don't get some rest, it will end badly. Especially as we have the airshow coming up in three weeks.

The homeschool dance went really well, and though I made half the food I normally do, there was still a ton left, so we ate a lot of it for leftovers Saturday and moved our planned meal to Sunday. The folks at church augmented it with some lovely side dishes, and made my load much lighter. Jerome's re-introduction of foods is going well. He is on lentils now, and seems to have no trouble with it. I am starting to believe that his triggers are environmental rather than food, but we press on and try anyway. He says that his skin felt the best when he was eating no sugar and grain, and has been self limiting his own sugar quite a bit. For our health and our budget's health, we are back to eating loads of beans and legumes and soup at least once a week. We are treating the Church rules on diet much more strictly, though still not perfectly strict, and trying to live within them to the best of our ability. We are seeing health in the spirit, in the body, and hoping this will help us keep up with the economic realities we are all facing.

What is on your menu this week? If you want a recipe, ask and I will provide it as soon as I can. If there are any starred recipes, I will follow up separately with a weekly recipe round up on Saturday.

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Friday, May 27, 2022

Frugality (Part XX): Extreme Frugality

These may not actually be all that extreme, but sometimes people think that the things we save or do are a little out of the norm. Maybe you will think so, or maybe you will think they are helpful or sensible ways to use what you have to the limit of their use. I don't want to make us out to be people who set out a stack of toilet paper that people are allotted each day, either. We still have luxuries and treats (for instance, after spending time peeling almonds as a child, I will buy skinned and slivered almonds, rather than blanche and peel and chop them - though that means that I know what to do with them, if that becomes too cost prohibitive), but we want to be able to do without them and still eat nourishing meals and enjoy them.

So, here is a list of things we save or use to get every last bit of value out of the ingredients we buy, especially the expensive or specialty items. Some of these are things we have always done, but some are new to us, as the costs of groceries have gone up so much.

What are the things you are doing to increase your frugality and stretch your grocery dollars? Is there anything you can add to our list?


Previous Posts:
Make it at Home
Grocery Shopping
Waste Not, Want Not
Soup
The Celery Stalks at Midnight
Use What You Have
Combining Trips
Storing Bulk Purchases
Turn It Off
Grow Your Own
Buying in Bulk
Gleaning
Entertainment on the Down Low
Finding Fun Locally
Holiday Shopping
Reconsidering Convenience
More Bang for Your Grocery Buck
Preserving the Harvest
Revisiting Kitchen Strategies

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Sunday, May 22, 2022

Menu Plan: Ascension Day Week

Christ has Ascended! From Earth to Heaven! Alleluia!

Ascension Day is Thursday, and we have the Rogation Days at the beginning of this week. We are praying for a special intention and would appreciate you joining in our prayers. This is also a super busy week for our family, we have the homeschool dance at the end of the week and all the preparations that go with that, not to mention the Ascension Day festivities. We will be heading to the closest approximation to a high hill we have here, and having our meal as a family picnic and bringing our kite, too.

If you missed it, take a look at my latest frugality post on the blog. I have restarted the series, now that the economy and inflation are so bad after the policies of the past two years. It seemed like it was time to take a look at those strategies again, and I will try to post something weekly about it, with some advice from what has worked for us. Your family needs and location and so on will determine how you use that advice, but I hope it will help you.

Rogation Days mean some extra abstinence this week, too. We get our first order of local asparagus this week and will be pickling this weekend. There will likely be a lot of asparagus on our menus for the week following, and we will have loads of pickled asparagus this summer and fall. Jerome's skin is doing a little better, and we thank you for your prayers. My skin is blowing up, but that is to be expected with all the hay and grass growing. Please keep us in your prayers still.

What is on your menu this week? If you want a recipe, ask and I will provide it as soon as I can. If there are any starred recipes, I will follow up separately with a weekly recipe round up on Saturday.

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Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Frugality (Part XIX): Revisiting Kitchen Strategies

I'm sure you've noticed the price of food, gas, clothing, shipping, everything, has gone up in the past couple years, and pretty steeply in the past few months. It doesn't look like it is going to stop anytime soon, so I thought it was time to revisit how we approach grocery shopping and menu planning as a way to keep our budgets down. In our area, they are predicting gas prices to double in the next few weeks, which is a huge hardship on people who are struggling the most, and those who don't live in places where there is good transit or stores and services within walking distance. What can we do about it in our own homes?

Some of this I've discussed before here, such as combining trips, meal planning, having a plan for all you buy, gleaning, and so on, but some prices and services are different now than they were when I first wrote about them, and some things just need a refresher. Since most of my readers are wives and mothers, I will address this to you, but that doesn't mean that this doesn't apply to men. Mostly, I will talk about food, clothing, entertainment, electric and gas costs. It isn't because there aren't ways to cut back in other areas, but these tend to be the places where we have the most influence in what our costs are. Your rent or mortgage is largely going to stay the same, likewise your phone bill, internet, insurance, and so on, and while there are ways to shop around or reduce them, most of our big costs are in food, clothing, and extras.

My first bit of advice is to get your husband (or wife) on board. If he is on your team, you will be unbeatable. He will help with morale, with implementation, with being a good example. My husband is a relatively picky eater (he is much better than he used to be), but you would never know it from how he behaves. He eats whatever I serve, or whatever we have, without complaint. He, like all of us, is allowed to have food preferences and dislikes, so please don't misunderstand what I am saying, but if it is something that isn't his favorite, he eats it cheerfully and willingly. Now, notice that I didn't say that I am serving things he hates. I don't try to make everyone's favorite foods each meal, but I do try to take into account people's preferences and dislikes. Obviously, religious and medical dietary requirements are of most importance. While I do not promise that everyone will love every meal I make or serve, I do promise I will not make them eat something they hate. If we were in a life or death situation, we also would drop that, but glory to God we are not in those circumstances. We do have one child who really doesn't like shrimp, so I try to scoop it out of her servings when we have it or give her an alternate (which generally goes against how I like to cook and serve), just because the rest of us don't want to give up shrimp while she is home.

So, one thing that is often recommended to families trying to keep to a budget is to menu plan and then go shopping. This will certainly help if you are haphazardly trying to find food for meals while you are shopping. However, I do the opposite. I shop for what is on special or marked down, what is in season and abundant at a better cost, as well as for filling in the staples like flour, sugar, yeast, oil, etc, and then plan what to cook after assessing what I find and what is already in our pantry, freezers, and fridge. I set a budget and, mostly, stick to it while shopping.

The first thing you need to do to shop and plan like this is to know what you have in your home. Two years ago, Rich and I and the kids went through every shelf, every drawer, every cabinet, every freezer, all of it to inventory what we had of food and drink in our home. We were quite surprised by how much was actually here. This was something that took a significant time, because we are a family of 10 (now nine at home with our tenth, his wife, and their baby, who will be born in October) and there is a lot we have to keep on hand to feed these ravenous people. We also eat more than normal people, live in a rural area and have gotten used to shopping in huge amounts because we sometimes can only get to certain things out of town or through delivery. We are used to thinking ahead. We try to keep our inventory up to date, and that isn't always perfect, but it gives us a better picture of what is available to us.

Planning this way might sound like you are stuck with whatever is there, but I assure you that it isn't. We do stock up on things that are inexpensive when we find them and fill our freezers and pantry, but we don't get it just because it is cheap. If it is something we don't use or don't like, we don't buy it. That seems obvious, but I wanted to say it just the same. So, if bologna is in the used meat bin, I don't get it, but if uncured ham or turkey are, I do. Our inventory is on paper, but we have sometimes used wet erase markers on our fridge and freezer and adjusted as things went in or out of them. I do try to have us make the inventory adjustments as soon as I get home from the store or when we take items out for meals. One day, I will go digital and we won't have to have the stacks of paper to keep track. So, while I can't necessarily decide that I want to make a specific dish the following week, if we don't have the major ingredients or if I didn't find them at a decent price at the store that week, I keep a good stock of items in the freezers that we like and around which we can build meals we enjoy. So, say organic chicken thighs are marked down, I buy only one package, and squirrel that away in our freezer until I have enough to make a meal or more for the family. When we see something that is really rarely marked down that we like, or something we love at an excellent price, we grab as much of it as we can afford on that week's (now every two weeks, actually) food budget and make sure that the next time we serve it, it is for a better price.

In the past, I have mentioned that I don't do a lot of couponing. That is still true, however, a lot of grocery stores now have apps or websites on which you can find coupons and rebates that are loaded directly to your shopper's card. I will use those, and check for freebies that are found there. We still don't cut coupons, really, and I will admit that it isn't s often that we use even the digital ones, simply because most of what we buy are meat and seafood, produce, dairy, and non-branded ingredients. However, for cleaning supplies, and some canned goods and other food products, we still find some that are useful for us. Another thing I utilize is an app called Ibotta (if you sign up using my referral, I do get a bonus) which gives rebates in exchange for spying on your shopping habits. Again, I don't usually get a huge amount from this, and we don't get a branded product, even with the rebate, if it is cheaper to get it without a rebate in a different way or from a different brand. Since June of 2020, though, we have received $245.61 in rebates on products we already buy and use. That is no poke in the eye with a sharp stick. You do have to wait until you have at least $20 in rebates before cashing it out, but they will send it to your PayPal or to a gift card of your choice. In our area, the stores that cooperate with Ibotta are Fred Meyer, Safeway, Winco, WalMart, RiteAid, Walgreens, DollarTree and the local liquor store. There are others, though, like Costco and Albertsons and online stores which work with them, as well. Often there are free offers or BOGO offers that allow you to get the amount of the item or more back, and we have ended up getting paid more than the cost to take home a few items, since we have been using the app.

Anyway, now that I have mentioned that, I will go on to planning and some strategies for building your own inventory of foods your family loves and for stretching the food you have the farthest it will go. Understand that a lot of what we think we need is often just a matter of our preferences. While that is fine, it is good to be aware of that, so we can overlook it a little bit when we need to for our budget. I start planning with what we have at home in mind. I take a look at our freezer and pantry inventory sheets and determine what should be the backbone of our meals, and check which produce we have that needs to be used so it doesn't go to waste. After I do our shopping, I do my planning with those meal backbones and the produce that needs to be used in mind. In our house, at least, breakfasts always need to be either something we can prepare ahead of time or which can be made quickly. I try to automate that a bit, and kind of cycle through about 10 to 15 breakfast ideas. Usually, Rich makes pancakes or waffles for breakfast sometime over the weekend. Whenever I see a recipe or think of a meal that we would like to make, I add it somewhere to our family calendar, and I just move it around to work with what we have and what I get at the store. Speaking of which, we hve a shared family calendar on our Apple devices, but it would work with Google or other calendars as well. We put all of our activities and our breakfasts and dinners there. If there is a specific recipe needed, we can link to it on the calendar, and it helps everyone at home to be able to help get things from the freezer, or to start meal preparations.

Our week is shaped by the Church year and patterns of fasting and feasting. It is also shaped by ballet and homeschool co-op, evening meetings and activities, much like your lives are, I am sure. Most weeks of the year, Wednesdays and Fridays are meatless for us. Twice a year, we also eat that way for a roughly 40 day period each. Once a week, we make the evening meal for our small church group and once a week I collaborate with a couple few other women who are part of a Bible study group with me, as well. We accomodate dietary needs for all of these. Since Jerome is still eating many fewer food categories than normal, this is the big, overarching rule that shapes our meals and plans. If you follow our menu plans here, you will know that as our children have gotten older and more able, we have tried to follow the abstinent rules more closely. We still aren't perfect about that, but have found that doing so is better for us both spiritually and financially, and are planning to follow it more closely still, as our markets and highways have more and more instances of emptiness and higher prices. It has been a blessing to us to see how following this rule helps us to make the most of what we buy and have at home. We are so glad to see how God has been training us through this practice, and how it has prepared us for this difficult time through it, which we didn't expect at all. If this is something that you believe in, it may be a way to help your spiritual, physical, as well as your financial health. If you don't believe in it, it might still help.

If you are going to eat meatless for part of your week, make friends with beans and legumes, soups, frittatas, soufflés and quiches. Beans can have a bad reputation, but when prepared well, they are not only nutritious (providing protein, fiber, and calcium, especially), but they are tasty. The broth left from cooking the beans or legumes can also be used as a base for soups or stews, or to cook grains. Soups use up little bits and leftovers and scraps, the tiny bits of rice or pasta left from other meals, small amounts of vegetables. Frittatas, soufflés and quiches elevate eggs and also use small amounts of vegetable, milk or cream, little bits of meat, to become something unctious and delicious, and with a small salad or a little bread, make fantastic meals. I have recommended using your library as much as possible before, and I stand by that. However, if you can afford it, please get ahold of Fasting as a Family or see if your library can purchase it to help you with this effort.

Another thing that shapes our meals is that we belong to a gleaning club and are known for being a large family that cooks everything. We often get a large quantity of produce to use and process for freezer, canning, or drying, and eat fresh or cooked so as not to waste any of it. People offer us their excess produce and we even have gotten the "weird" bits from the friends or the butcher that people don't want to keep like tongue, heart, liver, cheek meat, and, recently, beef lips. We have made an effort to learn how to cook the unusual parts and have enjoyed them, so people know we will eat them. Since we live in a rural area, we buy a lot of our meat on the hoof, and take much more of it from the butcher than many families, even here, and then the butcher will offer us the parts that others discard. We never turn down free food. If we can't use it, we find people who can. If it is truly something that we cannot or won't eat, we have animals we raise for food which can eat it, cats who appreciate the scraps from meat we can give them, and compost for the absolute last bits of produce, that helps us grow our own fruits and vegetables. My recommendation to you is to always say yes to free food. Unless you are allergic or have a religious reason to avoid it, it can help stretch your budget and feed your family.

Another recommendation is to find out when your local grocery store marks down its produce, meat, breads, and other products. We have found excellent deals on the gluten free products Jerome needs and on meat and dairy, treats like orange juice (though juice is one of the things we buy almost none of, preferring water or milk as a less expensive and more healthful option), produce, fish and shrimp and other seafood, sourdough breads and specialty breads. I never go to a store without checking the used foods. If you walk in without a plan in mind, but only a price limit, you can fill your cart with many foods that will be delicious as well as inexpensive. Those mark down stickers are like little gifts from God to us. When I pick them up, though, I still think of all I can make with them. Meat and fish with bones will be the meal and the bones and scraps saved for stock, likewise the shells from shrimp are saved for stock. The very last stop in our house is either to go to the animals or our compost (not meat items). We save bones, skin, shells and scraps for stock, but we also save the stems and hard bits and trimmings from herbs, onions, leeks, garlic, carrots, celery and so on for that purpose. This way, when we make the stock, we are truly only using water, a little salt and some peppercorns to have something delicious and nutritious, and basically free. If you don't know how to make stock, please let me know, and I will write up a lesson. It is so vital, and puts more protein and collagen into your diet which is necessary both for general nutrition and for your immune system.

If you can, dedicate yourself to making most of your foods, you will be rewarded plenteously. Pasta sauces, salad dressings, mayonnaise and things like tartar and cocktail sauce, breads, cookies and cakes, snacks, all of these are easily made at home, for much less money, fewer weird ingredients, and usually better tasting. too. If you already have the skills to can, you are ahead of the game, but it isn't too hard to learn, and you can make jams, jellies, chutneys, fruit preserves, canned tomatoes, pickles and relishes without getting special equipment or worrying about things like botulism. Baking things like bagels, pretzels, and pastries like croissants and puff pastry, which take a little more effort, can be made at home with much less expense. Even candy can be made at home, starting with things like brittles and marshmallows and fudge. Drying food can be done outdoors in the spring and summer in a protected manner, or in the oven, over low heat, even if you do not have a food dryer. Popcorn is also an inexpensive and delicious treat. We cook ours on the stove, in a little oil with salt and it is only about $0.64 a pound in our area. I tend not to include specific prices, because that can vary so much around the country and the world, so take that price with a grain of salt. It is still exponentially cheaper than buying bags of popcorn or microwaveable popcorn, and will use better ingredients and taste better.

In the coming weeks, I will be sharing what foods we focus on for sturdiness, flavor, and frugality, I will talk about how I proportion my shopping budget, what tools I think to be absolutely necessary, and those which are just handy, and how I use the kitchen tools I have to serve me, rather than organizing my cooking around them. Since these past few years have been so hard, I will not neglect things like how to find entertainment on a budget, or how to vacation and enjoy yourself on much less. It has been a while since I was regularly making these posts, and I hope you will enjoy what I share that has worked for us, and find ways to make my experience fit your life, diet and family.


Previous Posts:
Make it at Home
Grocery Shopping
Waste Not, Want Not
Soup
The Celery Stalks at Midnight
Use What You Have
Combining Trips
Storing Bulk Purchases
Turn It Off
Grow Your Own
Buying in Bulk
Gleaning
Entertainment on the Down Low
Finding Fun Locally
Holiday Shopping
Reconsidering Convenience
More Bang for Your Grocery Buck
Preserving the Harvest

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Sunday, May 15, 2022

Menu Plan: May 15 - 21

Christ is Risen! The Lord is Risen Indeed! Alleluia!

We have had a whirlwind couple weeks. This past week, Rich and I went up to a conference for his work, and got to have some beautiful time outdoors and at a gorgeous lodge. I got to rest, which I sorely needed. A lot of the menu plan was rearranged, as the kids needed to use different things and made different plans, so we have some repeat meals this week.

There doesn't seem to be much of a break in sight for a while, though. Nejat's birthday is this week, and we will have a family party for her. Her party with friends will be in June. The girls have their spring recital this week, as well. I can't believe it will be Amira's last performance as a student here. I'm trying to hold it together through all these lasts. Next week is our homeschool formal dance, so there is a lot to do for that, as well.

Jerome's skin has been clearing up quite a bit, and we are not sure if that has to do with the week on the Oregon coast, or food issues, so we are going to see if we can narrow it down by reintroducing some things he has had a bit of a break from to see if he flares up again. It is this macabre trial and error on this, and I wish we had more answers. We are still cooking mostly from our freezers and pantry, and trying to follow the Church dietary guidelines as closely as we can and seeing the benefits from it. God cares for us, and His ways bring good. I think I am going to get back to making beans and soup or stew at least once each per week, too. I'd love to hear from you if you are also trying to cook more frugally, and especially if you are trying to keep the weekly fasting and abstinent rules.

What is on your menu this week? If you want a recipe, ask and I will provide it as soon as I can. If there are any starred recipes, I will follow up separately with a weekly recipe round up on Saturday.

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Friday, May 13, 2022

Craft On: I'm a Model, You Know What I Mean

Wee took a week as a family for vacation on the Oregon coast, and it was perfect. We were able to hang out on the beach, go clamming and crabbing, fishing, harvested mussels, rested. It was exactly what we needed. We came back to a busy week here, including a few days of a work related conference that Rich and I went to together. While we were there, we took advantage of the gorgeous setting to take our pattern photos for Imbat. This one isn't really cut out for the pattern page, but I liked it and thought I'd share it here. Would you be interested in beta knitting this pattern? It doesn't take many skeins of yarn. In fact, my size large sample took fewer than four skeins of Malabrigo Rios yarn to make. The largest size should take around six skeins, or less than 1200 yards of yarn, and the smallest size should take only about three skeins, or roughly 560 yards. I really love this cropped sweater - much more than I thought I would. It is perfect for a spring or fall cover up over a dress or a tank top or short sleeved shirt.

The kids and I are getting closer to finishing The Golden Road. I'm still slowly working through Bearing God: The Life and Works of St. Ignatius of Antioch the God-Bearer and hoping to have it finished in time for Pentecost, which seems appropriate.


Linking to Unraveled Wednesday.

If you would like to receive updates and early notice of new patterns, beta knitting opportunities, and great discounts (plus pictures of new yarns, new tools, fun places, neat hints, book ideas, recipes and more) each month, please subscribe to 1,001 Knits. My best, and sometimes my only, discounts go to my subscribers.

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Sunday, May 08, 2022

Menu Plan: May 8 - 14

Christ is Risen! The Lord is Risen Indeed! Alleluia!

As we watch the prices of food rise, we find more reasons to be grateful for the discipline of the Church and her fasts. We are endeavoring to bring our weekly fast more closely in line with these guidelines, because of the incredible growth we found from them, but are also noticing that it is saving us money in our grocery budget, as well. I think I am going to try to do another month of shelf cooking, with a minimal budget for produce, milk, and animal and paper supplies. This will also help keep things more manageable. This week, and during the rest of the Paschal season, we will not quite be as strict about it, but will slowly be easing into the practice. Our kids are actually who encouraged us in this, which is a huge blessing to us.

We were able to take a family vacation to the Oregon coast last week. It was kind of interim camping. We stayed in yurts, but there was electricity and a place to shower and indoor bathrooms (not in the yurts). We crabbed and clammed and harvested mussels, and failed to catch any fish. It was delightful. The kids want to go camping for real this summer with another family we are friends with , and this was a good in between, especially during the windy and misty weather we had for some of those days. We weren't allowed to cook in the yurts, but we were allowed to use an extension cord, so we brought an electric griddle and our electric pressure cooker. We also brought a tea kettle and a gas stove burner and we could use all of those outdoors and eat inside. It made for an easier experience. Loads of ice and packing frozen meats made our meals simpler, too. As far as vacations go, especially vacations for eight people, it was pretty inexpensive, and we still got to go buy fancy chocolates from a local company and get the seafood, and even eat out a few times. For the price of two hotel rooms for that amount of time, we were able to get all the licenses, food, the yurts, and the experiences we had.

We drove directly to the kids' homeschool co-op potluck, and the following day was a fiber festival I went to with a couple friends, and that night was a dance put on by our girls' ballet studio that Amira and Yasmina went to with Amira's boyfriend and Yasmina's best friend. Then there is Mother's Day. Because our church service is in the evening only this week, we will be able to have a brunch this year. This week isn't much less full, but it will not be quite as rushed. We are in the run up to ballet recitals, we have the homeschool formal dance, and so much more as we come to the end of the school year in just a month and a half!

What is on your menu this week? If you want a recipe, ask and I will provide it as soon as I can. If there are any starred recipes, I will follow up separately with a weekly recipe round up on Saturday.

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