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300 dollar pancakes

For almost the last year I have been looking for a wheat mill and special mixer call the Bosch universal. A wheat mill retails at about $250.00 and the mixer $500.00 or more. Why on earth do I want these things, well I am glad you asked. Once wheat is ground from the original wheat berry it oxidizes very quickly – the short story is the stuff you buy in the store on a shelf has little to no nutritional value left – sad. Most nutrition is gone from the wheat if it is not consumed or frozen within seven days of grinding. The mixer is not totally necessary but lets be honest I don’t see myself kneading bread all day long with an 18 month old and 6 months pregnant. The mixer does the majority of the work and it needs to have jet engine motor to put up with freshly ground wheat.

Last week, I found my wheat mill and mixer for the combined price of 300 dollars on craigs list. You can imagine my delight as this is a huge savings, and I was able to cover the complete cost with Christmas money. Saturday morning I made pancakes using freshly ground soft white wheat (the kind of wheat used for pancakes and pastries versus hard white which is used for bread) and the where amazing. We even made our own syrup from scratch. The initial investment is costly but milling our own wheat will save us money in the long run. I love to pinch pennies but this was actually more about nutrition for me.

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10 Money Saving Tips

I have not blogged lately and regret this as I am several post behind. I hope to get caught up this month. As some of you know I stopped working about 2 months ago. Below I have listed some fun frugal ideas. Most of my grocery ideas are from “Miserly Moms,” an amazing book that has allowed us to steadily decrease our grocery budget. I am couponing a little bit, but that is an area I still do not have to a science. I hope some of the below items help you in your money saving endeavors.

1. Replace laundry detergent with 1/2 cup vinegar and 1/2 cup baking soda. Buy fabric softener on sale so clothes smell nice and fresh. Honestly, the best smelling laundry I have ever had.
2. Replace dusting products with 1 part olive oil and 2 parts lemon juice. Hydrate your furniture once every 4-8 weeks and wipe down with clean cloth between cleanings.
3. Reduce your water bill by placing a 1/2 gallon jug in the back part of the toilet to displace the water. Also, call your water company to see how they calculate your bill. Ours takes an average of usage from Jan, Feb, and March to create our base payment for the year. We just boycotted water for one of those months to reduce our average.
4. Avoid all convenience items and snacks at the grocery store. For instance, We make our own pancakes, syrup, cookies, and bread. We even received a juicer for Christmas to make our own juice.
5. Make your own Christmas presents – This year we made Bird Feeders, placemats, and Jelly for gift baskets.
6. Get rid of your Cable – lets be honest, what do you really need to watch on TV anyway. We get our favorite shows online or off netflix and Mike gets his sports from ESPN.com
7. Buy in bulk whenever possible. Everyone know this, but I have taken it to the next level. When I find chicken or meat on sale at a loss leader price I buys tons of it. We also use Sams for select items. We have been eating rice from our 15 lbs bag for the last 6 months.
8. Unplug anything that is not in use and turn off lights. We also replaced all of our bulbs with high efficiency bulbs.
9. Reduce hair cut cost by doing it yourself. I have started cutting Mike and Elliots hair and I go to the cosmotology school to get occasional highlights and hair cut.
10. If you don’t have the money for it – Don’t buy it. We have gone to a mostly cash based budget and this has saved us tremendously.

I am still looking for ways to reduce our cell phone bill if any one has suggestions.

I wish I could tell you exactly how much all this has saved us, but I can not. I can tell you though that when I stopped working, on paper it seemed we would go into debt within a month, but with the above changes we have somehow managed to survive and even save money since I stopped work. God continues to provide all of our needs. I have enjoyed learning how to be “that” mom, and hope that I get more miserly with age.

“I Love the Pumpkin Patch!” by Elliot Fennema

Last week Mommy and Daddy took me to the pumpkin patch. I sure did have a good time!


It was cold and rainy but I did not mind. Every now and then I stopped to shiver, but then it was off to check things out. I ran non stop around all the pumpkins.


I tried to pick up lots of the pumpkins but most of them where too heavy. Every now and then I found one small enough to pick up and throw.


There were lots of big kids around too. I like to chase them because they are cool.  I like big kids. Mommy and daddy kept trying to take my picture but I am way too fast for them.


I did stop for a second when Daddy bought some Hot Boiled Peanuts – they were warm and yummy.   I had such a good time at the pumpkin patch that I was too excited to sleep when we got home, but later I crashed for a mommy and me nap.


Mini Van Miracle

Have you ever felt like there were just so many things going on that you could not handle that one extra, very small in comparison, little thing. In a future blog we can fill you in the chaos that has been our life lately. That is why the following story should not be a big deal, but as I am learning God does care about the little things as well. Let me explain. I am a clean car person. I always have been and probably always will be. I enjoy having an organized clean vehicle (even if it is just a mini van). It has always been my tradition to keep the car waxed at least once a year. We are planning to have this mini van hopefully for several years. It is paid off and we have no reason to sell it until we have more children than it seats – yikes! Waxing time is in the fall. The problem was that this year my car had what I thought was tar all over it from road construction, and seriously it was ALL over it. We tried everything to get it off literally everything : goof off, goo gone, Windex, car cleaner, gasoline, coke, dare I mention even a razer blade. This was the last thing in the world I wanted to be stressed about – It is just a method of transportation – nothing more. That being said – I gave it up to God like I feel I have been doing with so many things lately. I always wonder what I plan to accomplish by fretting.

One day last week I had a patient that was ecstatic with the care he had received from our office. Through our conversation I found out that he owned two local body shops. I asked him if he had any tips for getting tar off of cars. He said bring it by and “we will take care of it.” One day Elliot and I stopped by his shop. The workers tried all there magic concoctions to remove the tar – no luck. Finally they came to the conclusion that it was not tar at all, but road paint, a very adhesive paint. My heart sunk – I knew there was no way to get that off easily. A few minutes later, they came back to deliver the news – the bad news was they would not be able to remove the paint, but the good news was they would strip the whole van, buff it down and reseal it for 100 bucks. The normal price for such a job is well over 1000 dollars. And the best news – Since my car was basically just repainted – I don’t even have to wax it until next year.

I’m Back!

I know everyone was wondering where I have gone since I haven’t written in a while. When life happens, usually its the blog that is the first to fall by the wayside.
I found some time tonight to be able to update the blog. Stephanie and Elliot are asleep, but I’m not tired enough to hit the sack yet. I’m coming off of the post-youth group high and Its October. October? Why is that a big deal, you may ask. One word: Baseball. And not just any baseball….the playoffs. I know that most people think that baseball is boring and uneventful and blah, blah, blah. People say that because the game is 90% mental and 10% physical. I guess its not for everyone, but that’s just too bad. I love it, and I hope that Elliot does as well.
This week is pretty busy for me. The youth are leading worship in our church on Sunday, so I have been planning the service and also giving people their assignments. I am also preaching, so I have been preparing for that as well. And to top it off, I am assisting Pastor Charlie with communion for the first time this week. Its a lot, but I am very excited for Sunday. Hopefully the youth will have a better understanding for and deeper appreciation for worship after this week.
In closing, here are some recent pictures of the little guy. He seems to be getting cuter and cuter!

Only what’s done for Christ will last

Thank goodness He is not finished with me yet. I recently read two books, “Don’t Waste Your Life” by John Piper and “A Chance to Die” by Elisabeth Elliot. First of all. I highly reccommend both of these books. I also think it is so cool when God uses multiple ways to teach me the same lesson.
Don’t Waste Your Life is about exactly that – not wasting it. In short “to live is Christ and to die is gain” (Phil 1:21) or as a poem states that I have started reciting daily – Only one life, will soon be past, Only what’s done, for Christ will last. I find that if I apply this concept to everything from changing diapers to doing ministry my perspective is much better. Piper expounds on this topic by talking about sacrificial living, sacrificial giving, boasting only in the Cross, missions to neighbors and abroad, and more. I can honestly say that while reading the book I was often nauseated with conviction and for that, I am thankful.
“A Chance to Die” is a fantastic tail of the life of Amy Carmichael. Amy spent her life (44 years with out furlough) rescuing children in India from horrific lives working in Hindu temples. Her life is the archetype of a life not wasted and I was inspired to live for Christ as she did.
So what? Let’s just say, He is not finished with us yet. Mike and I have been on crazy ride of determining what all this looks like practically. We are earnestly seeking God’s will in our lives. I am sure we will experience growing pains, but I am looking forward to it. I am really starting to understand that suffering is a blessing, and that honestly if “life is good” as our culture states, that you/I are probably not living the abundant life God calls us too. Don’t misunderstand, I am not going to go out and create hardships and I will also be joyful and thankful for blessed easy times. However, I am learning that if we enter into the life God has truly called us too – suffering will follow.
For the first time in my life I can say I that I long for Christ’s return. In that past I thought it would be neat if I was around, and I looked forward to being in heaven, but this is different. I am starting to feel like a stranger in this world. It seems that daily I am bombarded with heart breaking news, marriages struggling, sick children, people in bondage to sin, and so many lost people. This drives me to me knees in prayer for revival for our country. It creates the burning desire for Christ to come and make all things new. I am flawed and my need for continued sanctification is evident, but I am so thankful for what God has been teaching me.

Elliot Turns 1!

Time…It doesn’t seem like a whole year has passed since Elliot was born. I could have sworn that we were just driving up to Georgia from Florida. It doesn’t seem like an entire year ago. But then again…so much has happened in the past year. I can’t believe all the things Elliot has done, the places he has gone, the milestones he has achieved. It is amazing. Seeing Elliot grow gives me a small–but not insignificant–insight into our great God and how he has made us. It is truly incredible!
We had a great little get together tonight. Elliot enjoyed every minute of it, and he especially liked the cake. He liked squishing the cake between his fingers more than he liked eating it, but it was his cake and he could do with it whatever he wanted!
Here are some pictures from his special day:

Elliot's 1st Birthday

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