Essential Traditions/Real Food Real Frugal

The archives for the old Essential Traditions blog and the old Real Food Real Frugal Blog

Tuesday chores & crafts

Today is the first day since the surgery that I actually feel almost normal. I still can’t do any lifting, but I’m getting back into the swing of things. I washed, hung, and folded 3 loads of laundry. Colt carried the baskets for me. Besides laundry, I worked on my knitted dish cloth and started on a crocheted baby sweater as a gift.

This is the dish cloth I’m working on. I’m knitting 3 rows and then purling 1 row. When I’m done, I’ll crochet a border around it.

This is a sweater that I’m crocheting as a baby gift for a friend of mine. She’s having a girl. I will also make a bonnet and booties to go along with the sweater. I always use cotton yarn to make my baby gifts, I think they make a nicer, softer sweater than acrylic yarns. Not near as scratchy. This set, I’m using Sugar ‘n’ Cream cotton yarn in Rosewood. I thought the pink and brown varigated yarn was really pretty and a little different from the normal baby sweater. This pattern works up really quickly. I started the sweater around 2:00, and I stopped working on it around 4:30 (only because I ran out of yarn). You can find the pattern for this sweater HERE. The pattern for the bonnet is HERE, and the pattern for the booties are HERE.

I don’t know what it is about cooler weather that makes me want to crochet and knit, but I sure have been keeping my fingers busy the last week! LOL!! Well, I’m off to get some clothes from off the line and finish up folding & putting up clothes. I’ll read blogs this evening.

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Finished DH’s Wash Cloth

I did it! I FINALLY finished Marty’s wash cloth. He’s going to be one happy camper tonight when he takes his shower.

Now I need to finish up the scarf I’m working on and the kitchen wash cloth. My next knitting project will be this purse…

So far, all I’ve knitted have been wash cloths and scarves, so I think it’s time for me to try something a bit more difficult. So in November, I’ll be working on the crocheted sweater to match the skirt and this knitted purse. After the 1st of the year, I need to make a couple of baby sweaters for gifts. In between, I’ll probably knit some more wash cloths.

Well, it’s been a pretty productive day and I’m so thankful to have gotten done what I got done! It’s nearly time for me to go get Marty, I’ll try to read blogs this evening after dinner.

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Update on Weekend, UFO’s, & Surgery Update

Well, the surgery went really well. I’m doing fine, still a little sore, but doing great! Thank you all so much for your prayers!

Marty kept the kids busy all weekend. He made them all hammocks. He found some rip stop nylon on the $1 fabric table at Wal-Mart and whipped them each up one. Nearly all weekend was spent in the hammocks! LOL!!

Me on the other hand, worked on a couple of my UFO’s (unfinished objects). I knitted like crazy all weekend. The tips of my thumb and pointer finger were really hurting from using them to push the needle through, so I came up with a quick remedy…

I put a couple of those little round bandaids on my fingers and it really helped. Sunday though, Marty bought be a little leather thimble to use at Hobby Lobby and it works great! He said he’d buy me anything that would hurry me along knitting his wash cloth (grin!).

Here’s UFO #1. It’s going to be a scarf. I’m using this really neat yarn from Red Heart called Strata. I’m using the Cascade color. I’m LOVING how this in looking! I’m not sure who this scarf will eventually belong to….I may keep it for myself, LOL! I started this scarf on Friday and worked on it all on Friday and Saturday. I’ve gotten pretty far on it, my knitting speed is picking up.

This is UFO #2. It’s the above mentioned washcloth I’m making for Marty. He really likes bathing with my knitted wash clothes and his old one was worn out. I’ve been working on this thing for over a month now, so it’s way past time I finish it up. Once I get it knitted, I will crochet a border around it. I’m hoping to have it done by tomorrow or so.

UFO #3 is another knitted washcloth. Hobby Lobby had Sugar ‘n’ Cream cotton yarns on sale for $.99 a ball, so I stocked up. I need to whip me up some kitchen wash cloths. The body will be knitted and then I’ll crochet a border around them. I started this wash cloth last night.

While we were at Walmart this weekend, I picked up 5 yards of this really pretty fabric from the $1 fabric table. I’m wanting to make a skirt out of it and an apron from it. I got 2 patterns while at Hobby Lobby, which had Simplicity patterns on sale for $1.99. 1 pattern was for a skirt and the other was for an apron. I also picked up another skirt pattern and one for a shirt at Walmart.

I’m going to be using the skirt pattern in the upper left for this material (the long skirt in the bottom right corner). I’m going to try to find a cream colored turtle neck to go with it and then crochet this sweater in red to match the material.

The pattern is a freebie from Lion Brand Yarns. They have so many pretty patterns there for crochet and knitting! I’m either going to use Red Heart #262 Claret or #633 Dark Sage

Which one do you think would look better? I’m kind of leaning toward the Dark Sage. They both don’t look like they match according to the photo, but in real life they do. I’m hoping to start work on the skirt next week once I’m able to sit more comfortably. I think I’ll start the sweater this coming weekend.

Well, I’m off to knit for a bit and try to read a little while before I need to go pick up Marty from work. I’m still taking it pretty easy, I’m pretty tender from the surgery. Marty’s going to fix dinner again tonight, but I’ll be going back to my normal work tomorrow, with the exception of all lifting being done by Colt or Marty.

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Prayers Please

Please keep me in your prayers today. My outpatient surgery is scheduled for 7:30 this morning. I’m not sure how I’ll be feeling afterwards, but I will try to post an update this evening. It’s nearly 6 am here and I will be leaving in about 10 minutes. Let me tell you, it was NO fun getting the kids up at 5:30! LOL!!

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My Favorite Cleaning Supplies

I think every homemaker has a few favorite cleaners that they enjoy using and wouldn’t give up for anything! I’d like to invite y’all to join me in sharing them with the blogging community. Maybe you’ll find a new favorite or two!


  1. Post an entry on your blog about your favorite cleaning supplies. Post pictures if you’d like and tell us WHY you love theses products!
  2. Come back to my blog and add your name with the title of your post next to your name. Please link to your favorite’s list post, not your blog’s home page.
  3. Feel free to save the graphic above to your own computer if you’d like to use it in your post.

Here are my favorite cleaning supplies…

These are my favorite laundry products. I love the All Small and Mighty for many reasons. It cleans my clothes really well and leave a really nice scent afterwards. The Wild & Fresh scent is so pretty. I also like the small bottle and that I don’t have to use as much detergent in each load. The bottle is actually pretty, so I don’t mind it sitting out were people can see it. Also the price is REALLY reasonable!

Next is Snuggle Exhilarations in Wild Orchid & Vanilla scent. This fabric softener smells so wonderful. When I used vinegar on my clothes in the past, they smelled a little awful after hanging on the line. It wasn’t from the vinegar so much as just hanging on the line. Since using this Snuggle, my family has stopped complaining that their clothes smell funky.

I really love Method brand products! They are made with naturally derived cleaners and are biodegradable. They are gentle on the skin and even my husband who has a lot of allergies can use it without irritating his skin. And to top it all off, they smell wonderful! They come in many scents, but my favorites are cucumber, lavender and grapefruit. These products clean extremely well and leave my house smelling good instead of smelling like bleach or other harsh chemicals. I purchase my Method products at Target, they are a bit more, but they’re worth it considering my DH isn’t irritated my their fumes as he is with some products. They also last pretty long, at least for me.

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Up Late Snoring Husband & Prayer Request

I’m up rather late for me tonight! Marty has been snoring so badly the last 2 weeks do to allergies. This weather change has really been bothering him. If anyone has any suggestions, please send them my way! I haven’t had a decent night’s sleep in 2 weeks. Thankfully, I can take a nap in the afternoon with Riley. Since I couldn’t sleep, I thought I’d blog. LOL!

I just did a post on my other blog where I introduced my servants to the world. If you’d like to meet them, you can to to my Sweet & Simple Home blog.

Tomorrow, I’m going to try to post a couple of reviews to this blog as well as my Sweet & Simple Home blog.

Please keep me in your prayers Friday, as I’m going to be having an outpatient proceedure and being the worry wart that I am, I’m a bit nervous. I know that worry is a sin, but sometimes I just can’t control it, although I’m really trying!! I guess it’s just in a woman’s genes to worry…hmmm…maybe scientist can locate and isolate the worry gene. LOL!

My ISP is finally working normally again. It turned out to be my husband’s computer that was causing our internet to work so slowly. He had a bunch of spyware on it and it was really slowing down the internet. Luckly, we were able to get that fixed without much trouble.

Riley has decided to change all our names. He’s now Lego, Marty is flashlight, Colt is Hot Wheels and I’m TV! LOL! Kids are so funny!! He’s really starting to get an imagination going. He’s such a curious little thing. He’s finally starting to speak a lot more, but he’s still hard to understand a lot of the time. I suspect that he may have some hearing problems, which we’ll look into as soon as we can get his insurance straightened out (that’s a LOOOONNNNGGG story!).

Well, I’m going to try sleeping again. The Tylenol PM is starting to kick in…let’s hope it helps me sleep beside the World’s Loudest Snorer!

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Our Menu for Next Week

We’ve been wanting to start eating better around here, so I pulled out 2 of my favorite recipe books and started planning our menu. We’ve fallen back into eating really unhealthy and now that I’m feeling better, it’s time to start eating better again. I absolutely love these cookbooks:

I can highly recommend both of these cookbooks. They are filled with great recipes as well as some great information about eating healthier. More with Less is great for people on budgets that want to eat well and stay in their budget. It isn’t filled with recipes using a lot of exotic ingredients. Lots of really basic ingredients and recipes where meats are spread pretty far. It is a Mennonite cookbook. Nourishing Traditions is my newest cookbook. It contains lots of Lacto-fermented foods. I’ve been a little hesitant to try some of the recipes…not sure if my family will eat many of them. So, I decided to try a couple every few weeks to find out what my family will eat and won’t eat. I’m really lucky, Marty doesn’t care too much about what I fix and there are just a few things that he won’t eat. Riley will eat anything, but Colt doesn’t like anything with onions or tomatoes and most veggies. Colt’s my picky eater. I make him take a bite of everything I fix and if he doesn’t like it, he can make himself a sandwich. I don’t force him to eat anything, but I do insist that he a least try things.

Here’s our menu for the week:

Breakfast Porridge
Peanut Granola
Peanut Butter Toast

Peanunt Butter & Honey Sandwiches
Tuna Melts
Bean Burritos

Ann Lou’s Broccoli Tuna Casserole
Pizza Rice Casserole
Cheese Strata
Hamburger Stew
Tomato Free Spahetti Sauce
Chicken Enchiladas
Dinner Out

Here are the recipes:

Breakfast Porridge (Nourishing Traditions)

1 cup oats, rolled or cracked
1 cup warm filtered water plus 2 tbsp whey, yogurt, kefier or buttermilk
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1 cup filtered water
1 tbsp. flax seeds (optional)

For highest benefits and best assimilation, porridge should be soaked overnight or even longer. Once soaked, oatmeal cooks up in less than 5 minutes–truly a fast food. (Note: Those with severe milk allergies can use lemon juice or vinegar in place of whey, yogurt, kefir or buttermilk.)

Mix oats with warm water mixture, cover and leave in a warm place for at least 7 hours and as long as 24 hours. Bring an additional 1 cup of water to a boil with sea salt. Add soaked oats, reduce heat, cover and simmer several minutes. Meanwhile, grind optional flax seeds in a mini grinder. Remove from heat, stir in optional flax seeds and let stand for a few minutes. Serve with plenty of butter or cream and a natural sweetener like Rapadura, date sugar, maple syrup, maple sugar or raw honey.


Peanut Granola (More With Less)

Preheat oven to 325°.
Combine in a saucepan:
1-1/4 cup honey
2/3 cup. oil
1 cup peanut butter
1 Tbsp. salt
1 Tbsp. cinnamon
1/2 cup water

Stir over low heat until peanut butter melts.

Combine in a large bowl:
10 cups rolled oats
1 cup chopped raw peanuts or other nuts
1 cup what germ
1 cup cornmeal
1 cup coconut

Add liquids and mix well. Place in 2 large shallow greased pans and bake about 30 minutes or until crunchy and brown. Stir often to prevent overbrowning. When cool, add:
2 cups raisins

Store in airtight container


Anna Lou’s Broccoli Tuna Casserole (More With Less)

Cook in boiling salted water until barely tender:
2 lb. broccoli, cut in spears

Combine in a saucepan:
1 (9-oz.)can tuna
1 (10 oz.)can cream of mushroom soup
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup grated cheese

Heat until almost boiling. Place layer of cooked broccoli in shallow greased casserole. Cover with a layer of tuna mixture. Repeat.

Sprinkle with:
1/3 cup grated cheese

Bake at 350° for 20-25 minutes.


Pizza Rice Casserole (More With Less)

2 cups cooked rice
3/4 lb. ground beef
1 onion, chopped
2 cups tomato sauce
1/4 tsp. garlic salt
1 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. salt
dash pepper
1/4 tsp. oregano
1 tsp. parsley flakes
1-1/2 cup cottage cheese
1/2 cup shredded cheese

Brown ground beef and onion in a large skillet. Add the tomato sauce, galic salt, sugar, salt, pepepr, oregano and parsley flakes. Cover and let simmer 15 minutes. Meanwhile, combine cottage cheese and rice. Put 1/3 of the rice mixture in a buttered 2 qt. casserole. Top with 1/3 of meat-tomato sauce. Continue to alternate layers, ending with tomato sauce. Sprinkle with cheese. Bake at 325° for 30 minutes, or until hot and bubbly.


Cheese Strata (More With Less)

12 slices bread (can be stale)
6 slices cheese or 2 cups shredded cheese
2-2/3 cups milk
4 eggs
3/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. dry mustard

Preheat oven to 350°. Butter lightly, the 12 slices of bread. Arrange 6 slices of bread in the bottom of a 9×13″ greased baking dish. Cover with the cheese. Top with remaining bread. Beat together the milk, eggs, salt & dry mustard and pour over the bread. Bake for 45 minutes or until puffed and golden. May be prepared in advace and refrigerated before baking. Option: You can add a layer of sauteed vegetables or left over cooked vegetable s just before the cheese.


Hamburger Stew (More With Less)
This is a recipe that we’ve tried before and the family LOVES it! We double it for planned leftovers.

1 lb. ground beef
2 cups. tomato juice
1/2 cup. chopped onion
1 cup diced potatoes
1 cup diced carrots
2 tsp. salt (we use garlic salt)
2 tbsp. butter (I use real butter)
2 tbsp. flour (I use whole wheat flour)
2 cup milk

In a heavy kettle, brown the ground beef. Drain excess fat and add the tomato juice, onion, potatoes, carrots, and salt. Cover and simmer until vegetables are tender. Meanwhile, make a white sauce with the butter, flour and milk. Stir into the first mixture and serve. Option: Add limas, soybeans, corn, green beans or other vegetables. Increase liquid as needed.


Tomato-Free Spaghetti Sauce (Nourishing Traditions)

2 lb.s ground beef
2 medium onions, peeled and finely chopped
3 cups beef stock
1 cup red wine
1 tbsp. dried rosemary
sea salt and pepper

Saucte the ground beef in a heavy skillet until crumbly. Add onions, stock, wine and rosemary. Bring to a boil and cook, uncovered for 15-30 minutes until liquid has reduced to a thick sauce. Season to taste. Serve with buckwheat or brown rice noodles. (I’ll probably use whole wheat noodles or spaghetti).


Chicken Enchiladas (My recipe)

shredded chicken
corn tortillas
chopped onions
shredded cheese
chicken stock
salt & pepper

I don’t really have accurate measurements for this. I just eyeball it for the most part. I use generally boil about 3 lb. chicken an
d then take it off the bone and shredded it. I warm up or save the chicken broth. Dip the tortillas in the hot broth to soften them. In each tortilla add some chicken, onions, and cheese. Roll up and place in casserole dish seam side down. Continue to roll enchiladas until dish is full. Make a white sauce with the butter, flour, milk and salt & pepper. Pour over the enchiladas. Sprinkle with grated cheese. Heat in a 350° oven for 30 minutes.

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My Household Servants

I believe that the majority of U.S. household employ at least one servant, most have several servants. I feel really blessed to be able to employ eight that I use on a regular basis. I thought I should take a moment and introduce you to them.

I would first like to introduce Miss Roper (#1) and her sister Miss Roper (#2). They are fraternal twins who take care of our clothing. Let me tell you, Miss Roper #1 is a wiz at washing our clothes. Our clothes come back from her clean and sweet smelling. She scrubs our clothing extremely well and she really seems to enjoy her vocation. Now her sister MIss Rober #2, is a little firecracker! She has a hot temper like you’ve never seen, but boy, she sure can dry our clothes fast. We don’t employ her for everyday use, but only when the weater is not suitable for line drying.

Our next servant is Mrs. Kenmore. She does a fantastic job defrosting our food quickly and efficiently. She’s an expert at cooking those quick and simple meals that we so enjoy.

We also employ Mrs. Kenmore’s husband, Mr. Kenmore. Mr. Kenmore has a chilly disposition and is rather cold, but he’s great at preserving our food for the future. Because of him, we’re able to store our food for long periods. He’s also wonderful at making ice and let me tell you, his ice cream it to die for! We also employ his brother, Mr. Kenmore #2. They are very similar in nature and they work together as a pair.

Next are our servants Mr. and Mrs. Whirlpool. Mr. Whirlpool’s sole purpose is to provide hot water to our home on an as needed basis. At times, the poor thing is constantly running, especially in the evening when everyone is trying to get a bath. He’s such a hard working fellow, but he’s rather shy. He often hides in the closet! Mrs. Whirlpool on the other hand, she’s a pistol. She’s our other hot head. But let me tell you, she bakes bread like no other! There’s very little that she won’t bake or attempt to cook. She does the majority of the cooking in our household.

Finally, there’s Mrs. Black-Decker. She’s a wonder when it comes to cleaning our floors! She picks up the finest of crumbs and keeps our floor neat and tidy. She’s a bit loud, but I wouldn’t trade her for anything!

I’m so glad that I got the opportunity to introduce you to our servants. I feel so blessed to have them working for me and we treat them as part of the family. Could I keep my home without them? You betcha! But God has blessed me with these servant and so I’m going to use them to their full ability!

BTW, these are not pictures of our home, DH requested I not post picture right now, as we’re in the process of remodeling our home.

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Internet Troubles

Sorry I haven’t posted in a couple of days. I’ve been having problems with my ISP. For some reason,I am having problems pulling up websites. Hopefully things will be straightened up soon….it’s driving me crazy!

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Poetic Me

From 1984 until sometime in 1989 (ages 15-20), I wrote hundreds of poem and song lyrics. I don’t know what it was during that time that spurred me on…maybe it was divine inspiration, maybe it was boredom…I really don’t know (LOL!). Most of these never saw the light of day or were viewed by anyone other than myself. A few of the song lyrics were actually put to music by a local Christian band, which thrilled me to no end. Anyway, I ran across my notebook filled with them tonight. Some, I was surprised at my self and others were just plain funny. Sometimes I was amazed by the depths of maturity my Faith had back then. Other times I was amazed by my immaturity and my need to be loved by someone other than my parents. I sure had a preoccupation with being loved my one guy or another….lots of unrequited love going on in my teen years…LOL! So, I thought that I’d bring these little gems out of cold storage and share them with y’all…at least some of the better ones (and maybe a few of the REALLY funny ones!). Some of them really date me…LOL!

Okay…here’s the VERY first poem I wrote, I seemed to have written alot of poems in this same vein…I swear I wasn’t a depressed teenager!

Will I Always Be Alone

(Written sometime in 1984)

Will I always be alone?
Doesn’t anybody care?
Will I ever be known
As part of a pair?
Where’s my sweet somebody
The kind who’s always there?
Will someone ever love me?
Will they even dare?

This next one was the very first song lyric I ever wrote. It was written sometime in 1985.

Wings Of A Dove


He will carry you on the wings of a dove

Showing us all His perfect love

Came as a Spirit, descending to us

Telling us all what His love really does

The Savior of sins

In the end always wins

And Satan can never defeat Him

‘Cause Satan’s out on a limb


Our Salvation in won

By the works of His Son

Jesus died for us

In Him only I trust


As you can tell, nothing earth shattering…LOL! I’ll try to post a couple every day or so. Some are just down right funny!

P.S. – The photos are of me during my poetic phase. The top one is circa 1987, it’s one of my Senior photos. The other one is circa 1988 during my “Heavy Metal” rebellious stage. Not that I was really all that rebellious…LOL! I was too chicken to get into serious trouble. I ALWAYS got caught whenever I did anything bad, so I just finally decided it was easier to keep out of trouble. Ask my Mom…I was a pretty good kid, a bit on the dramatic side, but I pretty much kept out of trouble. Mom would probably tell you I was WAY over dramatic, but she would be exaggerating (GRIN!).

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