Monday, December 30, 2013

Thrift Schooling's Top Ten Posts of 2013

The Top Viewed Post of 2013 is not surprising!
 GLIDEWARE is by far the winner!!! This new product has JUST recently gone into production and is the hottest new accessory to maximize your kitchen space. 

Ordering glasses online is a cinch these days, all you need is a prescription from your doctor and you can find some great deals at discount sites such as Firmoo. 

My absolute favorite children's book that I read this year. Totally deserves to be at number 3!

#4 An Etsy Shop Review: Woodworks By Brooks
This post was a big hit. Customers are hungry for handmade.

A book I will so be keeping on my shelf!

Throughout the year I've been able to provide my readers with several Purex brand products. The most popular among my readers was their new Fels-Naptha Bar!

A new cereal hit the shelves this year. One of my kids favorite item to review this year!

An excellent resource dealing with anger issues on all levels. Scripturally based and thought provoking.  

A Crew Review that my kids thoroughly enjoyed.

An excellent digital product. 

Looking forward to a great New Year with plenty of reviews, recipes and encouraging posts! Stay tuned and thanks for reading!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Personal PIzza Making {For Kids}

 Pizza is generally a big hit with kids. So why not use pizza making as an opportunity to learn? Begin by making a simple pizza dough recipe, with very few ingredients
Pizza Dough
3 1/2 cups all- purpose flour
1 package yeast
1 cup warm water
2 tablespoons oil
1/4 teaspoon salt

In a measuring cup, measure one cup of warm water, add yeast and let sit 2-3 minutes.

In mixing bowl combine 1 1/2 cups of the flour and 1/4 teaspoon salt.

Add water and yeast mixture.

Beat in electric mixer until combined.

Add remaining flour one cup at a time until nice ball forms.

Knead 8-12 minutes.

Add small amounts of flour if dough becomes too sticky. You are looking for an elastic like consistency.

Place dough on lightly floured surface. Divide into four small balls.

Cover with a damp cloth for 20 minutes.

Grease cookie sheets and give each child a cookie sheet, dough and rolling pin. Roll out dough into desired shape.

Cover again and let rise for 90 minutes.                                  Pizza Sauce
                                                                                            2 small cans Tomato Sauce
Preheat oven to 375 degrees                                                2 Tablespoons Italian Seasoning
                                                                                            1 Tablespoon Garlic Powder
Bake crust for 15 min                                                           Salt and Pepper

Combine sauce ingredients and spread onto hot crust.

Have each child top with mozzarella cheese and desired toppings.

Bake for another 20 minutes or until browned.                                          

This post is linked up to:


Monday, December 16, 2013

TV in the Home

I was a young teen. Some meetings were being held at my non-denominational, non-confrontational, non-political, church. Strong, challenging words were not the norm from the pulpit. Yet a guest speaker had come through and was holding a Friday evening and Saturday morning service. The topic? I honestly can't remember. But what I do remember is this comment, " sometimes I think that all Christians just need to throw their TV's out the window!" 


I was flabbergasted. I honestly had no clue as to why anyone would say that or what television had to do with Christianity. I was confused, what was wrong with TV? So of course, after the meeting I went right back to watching Full House and Saved By The Bell episodes day in and day out. Along with MTV, HBO and everything else cable had to offer back in those days.

 Now I laugh because the extremist in me had gone both ways since I've lived on my own. In my first apartment, after college, my friends and I had no TV and I continued to live without one for several years. It was kind of a hippy, getting back to nature reasoning back then. Then when I got married we didn't have one at first but I think people felt sorry for us or something and thought we were deprived and kept trying to give us one. I guess they didn't understand that some people really do not want a TV in their home! (Which makes sense, I didn't understand it either at first). 

Finally, my husband and I ended up accepting a TV but only watched the station with the rabbit ears. Over the next few years we went from small, to big, to no TV again, to only in the kid's playroom. It was a battle really. What do we do with this monster? Get rid of it completely, cut back on how much we watch or not really worry about it and go with the flow?

3 Ways To Keep TV Watching In Your Home To A Minimum

1- Set a Standard
Whether it is for the shows you watch, or the kids, have a set list of guidelines concerning what kind of shows you feel are appropriate in your home. I know some people who say they turn off any show, no matter how much they like it after they hear at least three swear words. Some might cut it off after one. My husband and I have agreed that if we wouldn't watch a show in front of the kids, then we don't watch it at all. This puts a limit on many things, but helps keep the atmosphere in the home more peaceful. As for children's shows, saying no to certain shows may be hard at first but after a while the kids get used to it. Now our kids generally know what they can and can't watch and will willing turn off anything that is against what we believe as Christians. 

2- Family Screen Time
We've all seen the old movies where the families hovered around the old radios to tune into a radio program. Then TV's began to enter the home and it was the same idea. Only certain shows were aired at certain times and if you wanted to watch something, it was as a family. Our family has a few certain programs that we watch on Hulu, or several movies we enjoy on our TV that we will watch together in the evenings once in a while. It makes it more special when we are together as a family rather than having the adults in one room and the kids in the other watching whatever they want. 

3- Try to Limit the Amount Per Day
There is actually one day in the week that we don't have the kids watch any programs at all and it's amazing how creative they can get in their playtime! They honestly don't seem to miss it. Then the other days, they have a limited time. But honestly, some days we don't even watch anything because there is so much to get done. I don't get rid of TV simply because I do use some programs for educational purposes and I don't want the children to grow up thinking it's entirely evil. Rather I want them to learn self-control when it comes to leisure activities. To learn how to balence work and play is a healthy skill. 

What are your thoughts? How to do handle TV in your home?

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Perfect Pork Chops

The key to perfection in this recipe is generously oiling your pan! It gives the chops a nice crispy texture that makes you wanting to keep going back for more!

**Printable Version**

6-8 Boneless Pork Chops
2 cups Italian Style Bread Crumbs
2 eggs (beaten)
salt and pepper
2 tablespoons vegetable oil

Preheat oven to 425 degrees

Season both sides of chops with salt and pepper

Dip first into beaten eggs and then into the breadcrumbs

Bake for 15 minutes on one side

Flip chops over and bake another 10 minutes or until golden brown

Quick, easy and tasty!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Roasted Chicken {Recipe}

When I know that I don't have much prep time in a day but want to have a good hearty meal in the evening; Roasted Chicken is usually my go-to dish. It's easy and tasty! 

Although, this particular chicken pictured above turned out more amazing than usual simply because the chicken was completely organic. So organic in fact that my husband and sons went to a friend's farm and killed, plucked and cleaned the chicken themselves. Best chicken ever. We knew where it came from, that it wasn't fed all kinds of weirdness nor was it injected with antibiotics or other harmful chemicals. The taste was richer and more flavorful than any store bought chicken I've ever prepared!
Don't worry. You don't need to go out and slaughter your neighbors chickens for this recipe. Any chicken will do, and the recipe still turns out great!

One 3-4 lb Chicken
6 Tablespoons Vegetable Oil (or Coconut Oil)
1 Tablespoon Cayenne Pepper
1/2 Tablespoon Chili Powder
 1/2 teaspoon Salt
1/4 teaspoon Pepper
1/2 Tablespoon Cinnamon
1 Whole Onion (cut into quarters)
3 Cloves of Garlic

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Rinse chicken inside and out and pat dry.
Combine spices, including salt and pepper and rub all over chicken, inside and out.
Cover outside of chicken with oil.
Stuff cavity with garlic and onion.
Place in roasting pan, uncovered.
Bake for 1 hour or until juices run clear. 

Monday, December 2, 2013

Save This, Buy That

I have a confession to make. I love food. With that said, I never  learned to cook until quite recently. When I first got married I had no clue which spices went with what, how to make a simple pie crust or even how to fry chicken! I have to say that it didn't come easy but now that I've gained some basic  knowledge in the kitchen I love a culinary challenge. If I am going to be preparing something for dinner and I notice I don't have an ingredient, I can't always "run to the store" to pick up what I need. Not with living out in the country, with several  little ones! Instead, I have to get creative. Some of my best dishes have been created under pressure, simply by using what is on hand.

Maybe that's why I love cooking shows like Chopped or Iron Chef America. It's always fun to see what the chefs will create with what they are given. Sometimes when I watch cooking shows I think, "it sure would be fun to be one of the judges!" You know, to actually taste the kind of food that "make your taste buds sing." 
So when I saw that Member One Federal Credit Union was holding a cook-off with local restaurants preparing delicious Thanksgiving themed meals, I knew I had to check it out!

The Five Roanoke Restaurants That Participated Were:

US. Foods
Sarah's Place 
Elephant Walk
Beamers 25

Each contestant prepared a cost friendly meal, dessert included! Proving that a delicious Thanksgiving meal is attainable, even on a budget.

It's funny, I expected just some samples, on a toothpick or something. No. Each restaurant had an all out Thanksgiving Meal presented. You could visit each station and try what they had to offer. Honestly, I couldn't even get to all of the food, there was so much of it! And, I was partial to Cedars, only because I have an obsession with Middle Eastern Food, soooo I did back to them for seconds! Needless to say, I voted for them! Actually, they are the ones that received the Judges Choice Award. Each of us there received a ticket to vote and the People's Choice Award went to Elephant Walk. I do have to say, their meal was pretty good too.

All the proceeds went to Feeding America and if you brought canned goods you received a free drink. Overall the experience was fun, we had a blast. The lack of seating was annoying though, it was hard to stand and cut your food if you couldn't get a table. But, I would certainly go again if they hold it again next year, I hope they do!