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  • A gift of thought.

    Looking over my kid's Christmas lists this year once again I'm amazed at God's goodness. Another hard year is nearly finished and God found a way to make it possible for us to gather some pretty great gifts for the kids. The best memories of this year won't be the presents under the tree. Instead it will be when we set our our decorations. Perhaps we'll remember the hot chocolate or playing Shredder's Revenge as a family. Some of the greatest gifts to receive are the ones that take thought and perhaps some planning. A night off, a day at the spa, maybe a nice massage or some quiet time to rest after a busy season. Those are the moments that matter the most. While this has had it's difficulty, it was filled with thoughtful gifts. Josh always made a point to say "I love you." Not a day goes by he doesn't tell me. He always helps out, no matter what is needed he's been right there to step in. The boys have always been considerate enough to help with laundry or cleaning up the house with me. That's what I'll remember most about this year; not the difficulty. I'll always remember this year was filled with love and thoughtfulness. That's the best gift to give. Love you friends. I hope you had a great Thanksgiving.

  • Making it stretch: potatoes

    Potatoes are a fun and affordable way to spice up your dinner plate. Fried diced potatoes. Dicing potatoes into small pieces and frying them in some oil creates a nice side for the breakfast plate. Peel the potatoes and dice them into equal sizes. Cook the potatoes over medium -low heat. Cooking them too fast can make the exterior crunchy and the inside still firm. A baked potato takes about 50 minutes in the oven, but is relatively simple to bake. Wash your potatoes well, and stab them with a fork a couple times. Place the potatoes directly on the rack in the oven about 400 degrees. Let them cook until the skin is crispy, but the potato is soft inside. Homemade potatoe chips is a recipe we recently explored this year. They're eaten quickly every time! Peel your potatoes, then using your peeler, slice the potatoes. Place the potatoes slices into hot oil. We use a deep fryer, but it can be done on the skillet too. Just be careful not to over-crowd your potatoes in the skillet. They'll need room to float. The potatoes will be done when they're a nice golden brown color. Other recipes to explore are roasted potatoes mashed potatoes, quarter potatoes and potato soup.

  • Making it stretch: a variety of eggs

    When you're living on a budget eggs are a staple to keep on hand. You can use eggs to make desserts, noodles, sandwiches or use the in a burrito. (After having tacos for dinner, the extra tortilla shells can be used to make the burrito.) Scrambled eggs are an easy way to get protein on your plate. Make an omelet by adding a little flavor to a scrambled egg with peppers, onions, mushrooms or cheese. My son likes having a poached egg with his ramen noodles. Hard boiled eggs are a good snack too! Put your eggs in a empty pot, add water then put it on the stove and bring your water to a boil. The eggs will nearly float when they're done (if they're not too crowded). It's usually about 8-10 minutes. Before you peel the shell, place the eggs in an ice bath. It makes the process much simpler . You can turn hard boiled eggs into deviled eggs. (Admittedly a recipe I haven't mastered yet.) Fried egg sandwiches are a favorite in my household. The sandwich can be put on a biscuit or toast. Mixing eggs into a ground beef mixture helps retain the shape of burgers and meatloaves. Eggs are the main ingredient in making egg noodles, which only require a few common kitchen items, flour, salt, eggs, and water. (We'll dive into that recipie later, with a post of it's own.) Enjoy and get creative in the kitchen!

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