For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him. ~ Philippians 2:13

Friday, February 17, 2017

An updated review of Lullabies/ Little Journey diapers

Awhile back I wrote a review of Lullabies diapers from Aldi. It is by far my most popular post. A few months ago Aldi changed the name of their baby brand to Little Journey and added a whole slew of baby items, including food, formula, and diaper cream. Since it has changed, I thought it was time to do an updated review. You can read the old review HERE.

First things first, diapers. I still use these diapers. The name may have changed but the quality is the same. If you read my old review, you will notice that I said the diapers only came in three sizes - 3, 4, and 5. This is one of the great and happiest changes. They now carry newborn to 6! The prices are still reasonable and the packages come in two sizes, regular and bulk. Oh happy day!  I highly recommend these diapers. Durable, hold in the pee well even in heavy wetters, and are large enough for older children who still wet the bed.

On to their other products. I haven't used them all, like the formula since my baby was older when it was introduced, but I have tried several kinds of the baby and the wipes. The wipes work well and come in single packages as well as in bundles of three. I prefer Parent's Choice wipes myself but only because during my many sicky pregnancies I got to/spoiled buying scented and still do now. The food is great! Organic baby packages for far cheaper than the name brands and it actually tastes good. The puffs and other snacks are also just as good as the name brand without that pesky name brand price.

Overall, I am completely satisfied and delighted by Aldi's new Little Journey line.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Puzzle day

Today the kids have colds and are all stuffy and drippy nosed. As a result, I told them that school was suspended for the day and they could do whatever they wanted. They decided they wanted to do a puzzle together. Oh my heart!

Miss A, 5, is actually really good at puzzles! This is a 300 piece puzzle and the largest one that she has attempted. She is doing really well!

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Cooking with Master W and a cookbook review

As part of his new workbook, Master W, 8, had to plan and prepare a meal for the family. He choose to find a meal and dessert from The Complete Children's Cookbook (link and review below). He choose to make homemade fish sticks with some vegetables and fruit on the side and a jellyroll for dessert. 
He made the jellyroll first.
Preparing the pan. 

Adding oil and parchment paper.

Mixing the wet ingredients in the Kitchen Aid. This was his first time cracking eggs. I showed him how and then he did the rest on his own. He did a wonderful job!

Mixing the dry ingredients. 

Combining the two together.

Spreading the batter on the pan. He doubled the recipe so that we could have leftovers for breakfast. It was a great opportunity to work on adding fractions in a real life setting.

Spreading the jelly

The completed roll.

Making the fish. I didn't get any pictures of him making the batter. This recipe was hands down the best fish batter I have ever had. We all ate like little piggies because it was so good!

The Complete Children's Cookbook review:

Most children's cookbooks have very simple recipes without much variety. This is not one of those cookbooks. It has over 150 different recipes with varying degrees of difficulty. Not only is it a good cookbook for children but a good one for beginners of any age. And did I mention the recipes that we have tried tasted AMAZING? I give this cookbook 📕📕📕📕📕 out of five. 

Good news! It is on sale today (12/12/16):

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Menu 12/11/16

Tomorrow is my short shopping trip. I do one large trip to Aldi and Wal-Mart every other week (after pay day) and then a short trip to Wal-Mart the next week for any needed perishable items. This makes it easier for me, and fewer miles on our vehicle. This is the second half of my menu, since I make it every other week before shopping. This menu is a cheap one but filling all the same. I hope that this gives you some good ideas for cheap meals! items

Sunday - Pizza day. I make our pizza, usually from freshly ground flour.

Monday - Baked Mac and Cheese with green beans, Mandarin oranges, and dinner rolls.

Tuesday - Taco salad with tortilla chips.

Wednesday - Lentil stew made with homemade broth and leftover chicken with fruit and biscuits.

Thursday - French toast with apple slices and meatballs.

Friday - Chicken strips with mashed potatoes, salad, and pears.

Saturday - Leftover lentil stew.

Have a blessed week!

~ Hannah

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Frugal shopping tips

For most of my adult life and marriage I have needed to be frugal in my shopping. There have been times when I could loosen the purse strings, so to speak, and be less frugal but for the most part I have needed to carefully plan and budget our shopping needs. This post is about frugal food shopping specifically. Maybe one day I will write tips on how to shop for other things but food is something that is necessary to survive so I am addressing it first.

Make a budget.
The first logical step is to know how much money you have to spend. It is a fairly simple but does take some time. To do this you will need to know roughly how much money you make monthly and how many expenses you have. List out everything from insurance to cable to your water and electric bills. Once you have that number, see how much is leftover. This is what you have for food, any other necessary items, and emergencies (if you swing it, setting aside a small amount each month is a good idea, even if it is only a few dollars).

Plan a menu.
I recommend doing a simple breakfast and lunch menu that stays relatively the same. This is to make your life easier. As for the suppers, there are a few different ways you can do this. Start by writing out a list of all your favorite, simple meals. It will hopefully be enough for a few weeks. If not, start looking for meal ideas on websites, blogs, and cookbooks. Next you can either write down a few weeks worth of menus and rotate or write them on notecards and pick what you want when you plan your shopping trip.

Make a list.
Once you know which meals you are eating that week, look over each one carefully for the ingredients you will need. Then check your pantry for any of those items so you don't waste your money buying a spice or an ingredient that you already have on hand. Once you have that done, make your shopping list. I have found it helpful to keep a 'running list' on the refrigerator. If you run out of anything during the week you can add it to the running list so that you will not forget it on shopping day. Because you will forget, believe me, lol. Then STICK TO THE LIST. This is probably the hardest one for me! When I shop I see delightful things that I must have, all food related of course....and when I give in to my inclinations I pay for it by going over budget. Learn from my mistakes. Don't stray from the list! You made a careful list to avoid going over budget so don't ruin it by impulsively 'needing' something.

Use cheap staples.
For a very frugal menu beans, rice, lentils, potatoes, and pasta are going to be your new best friends. These are cheap, easy to prepare, and go a long way to fill little bellies. Or big bellies, if you happen to be feeding those.

Use alternative grocery stores. 
By alternative I mean a store like Aldi or Winco. The selection will be smaller but you should be able to find all the basics for a better price than the grocery store. I shop at Aldi and love it! It was a rather strange experience for me the first time I went I went to an Aldi, shortly after my husband and I got married. I had never heard of a grocery store where you needed a a quarter to get a cart or had to buy your own bags. However, I have come to greatly appreciate Aldi and it saves us hundreds of dollars each year to shop there.

Shop sales. 
Before each shopping trip I check on the sales, especially for fruits and veggies, and try to incorporate those items into the menu. Make sure it is something that you are going to use and that it won't cost more to buy it than you usually spend on that type of item. It won't do to buy a sale item if it is going to cost you more in the long run but it can be a good way to save a few cents or even dollars each week.

Use a lot of cheap sides.
I try to have a few sides that are filling so we don't use as much of the main dish. I used to only have a couple and then we ate far more of the main dish or more meat, which ended up costing more in the long run. Once I switched to several sides I was able to shave quite a bit from the food budget. It also made my husband and children happier.

Make more soups.
Soup is cheap, relatively healthy, filling, and perfect for cooler days. I make my own broth in my crockpot so I can season it myself and is something very healthy for my family. I also add homemade rolls on the side. It makes for a nice, simple meal. I usually make a large batch and then freeze it for another day.

Make what you can from scratch.
IF it makes sense. Many items are really cheap if made from scratch but not everything is worth it. I buy spaghetti sauce because it is cheaper for me to by it than to make it. I make a lot of our breads because it is cheaper. So do your homework and make what makes sense from scratch and buy the rest.

Get to know your market.
Become familiar with the stores you frequent. Memorize the regular prices of the items you buy most often. This way if you happen to see a sale you will know if it is actually a good deal or not.

I hope that this will help you get started or give you some new ideas on how to be frugal! Please share your favorite frugal tips in comment section below.

~ Hannah

Monday, December 5, 2016

Menu 12/4/16

Another week has come which means time for our weekly menu! This week as part of his new school workbook, Master W, 8, planned one of our dinners, including dessert. He will be making it (with my assistance) and then serving it to the family.

This is a frugal menu but you will notice a few superfluous items, like chips with our sandwiches. These items fit within our budget but the meals would be fine without them if they do not fit in yours. I keep them in because I like to have a little more variety and a splash of fun.


Sunday - Our weekly pizza night with homemade pizza. I am considering adding either more pizza or some sides as my children eat oodles of the stuff.

Monday - Master W's dinner. Fish sticks (homemade), potato wedges, corn, peas, and strawberry jellyroll.

Tuesday - Taco salad with tortilla chips.

Wednesday - Homemade chicken noodle soup with garlic bread.

Thursday - Tuna sandwiches, chips, carrots and dip, applesauce.

Friday/Shabbat meal - Chili, cornbread, salad, cookies.

Saturday - Leftovers.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

What we are reading in December 2016

My book: A Treasure Concealed by Tracie Peterson. 

I am not much of a Christian fiction fan. For the most part I avoid it because the story lines are usually very similar, the literary content is somewhat lacking, and it makes for a very quick read. I prefer books with more depth, intricate language full of rich vocabulary, and a lot of character development. Books that one can curl up on the couch with a cup of tea and savor each and every beautifully written page. Books like War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy, which is one of my all time favorites and one that I have read five times.  This particular genre does not generally have these qualities. 


I am a very busy mom and some days I do not have the time to sit and savor. Some days I just want a quick and easy read. Something with a wholesome story line without anything too sultry or risque, and without bad language. In those moments I reach for books like this one. Thus far this one has not disappointed me. The story is engaging, the characters are likeable and human, and thus far it is a solid, wholesome read. The story is not original by any means and it does lack some character development as the storyline moves very quickly but over all it is an enjoyable book. I will probably read all three in this series. A solid 3.5 stars from me. 

You can find this book to read for yourself HERE.

My read aloud to Master W, 8: Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder. 

If you have not read this series, you need to! I read it as a child and so did my husband. In fact he read it so many times that he had many books almost memorized and can still quote parts to this day. He still listens to the audio books of these on his commute and is currently listening to her biography. I would say he is a fan, lol. 

This is the second book in the series and is about Laura and her family along with their dog Jack as they move from their cabin in Wisconsin to 'Indian Country' and a cabin that Pa builds for them on the prairie. Master W is not a fan of fiction usually but even he loves these books. I highly recommend not only reading them but owning them is a must for every homeschooling family. It is a more expensive investment but worth every penny! Notice that our copy has been read so often that the cover fell off. It is a well worn, well loved book.

You can buy it HERE

My read aloud to Master B, 6, and Miss A, 5: Escape to Murray River by Robert Elmer.

This is a great read aloud for younger kids. The language is more simplistic and the chapters are shorter. That is especially nice when you have wiggly kiddos! Both my children have short attention spans so reading to them can prove challenging. There are some sad parts to the story. It is about a father who is falsely accused and sent to Australia to a prison camp. His wife and three children follow him to Australia so they can be closer to him. We are at the point in the book where they are on a ship heading to Australia. The kids are excited to see what happens next!

To find the ebook, go HERE.