Wednesday, October 22, 2008

DGD's Birthday Present

I turned the big THREE ZERO on September 13. Mr. K offered to send me away for a "girl's weekend" and that sounded just perfect to me. I made plans to visit my dear friend Sue who had moved to Maryland this summer. She took me to an absolutely, lovely quilt shop in Hagerstown, MD that is run by the nicest Mennonite family. Would you like to see what came home with me?

Such beautiful fabric! Sue has an excellent sense of color.

These lovely fabrics will turn into this quilt. It's going to be my big project for 2009. I promise to post lots and lots of progress pictures. =)

God Bless,


Fresh from the Het Schaapje Dye Pot

Do you remember that I used to dye yarn to sell? It's been a REEEEEEEEEEEALLY long time since I've done any ... February to be exact. I've been hashing over and over in my mind what I want to do when Abigail starts Kindergarten next September. Well, I've decided. Het Schaapje is rising from the completely exhausted dye pot and is simmering away. I re-vamped my business plan and have a really strong focus that I think will make my small business very successful. Here are a few pictures of this week's labors:

Like what you see? There's more ... just click over to

God Bless,


Thursday, August 21, 2008

Hello My Friends =)

I'm enjoying the summer with my Abigail. We made three trips to visit my sister Sarah in New York with each trip lasting almost a week. We made our yearly summer trip to Michigan to visit family and friends. I've been cooking a good bit and Mr. K is loving it. I bought a pressure canner and I did a couple "practice" runs before applesauce season arrives. I started working on knitted Christmas presents. Abigail and I are listening to the Anne of Green Gables series on CD and loving it immensely. Once Abigail starts pre-k (September 10th), I will start blogging more. Thank you for all the kind comments you have left this summer.

God Bless,


Friday, June 27, 2008

Cottage Cheese Pancakes

I have many fond memories of my Grandma and Grandpa Mellema making these pancakes when I was growing up. Abigail wanted pancakes for breakfast so I decided to make a batch of these instead of the light and fluffy ones she usually eats. She devoured FOUR ... oh yeah! This is pretty amazing for my non-foody daughter. =)

Cottage Cheese Pancakes

1 cup cottage cheese
4 eggs
1/2 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup oil
1/2 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Whirl at high speed 1 minute in blender.
Bake on lightly greased griddle.

God Bless,


Wednesday, June 25, 2008

DGD's Favorite Storage Containers

I love, love, love GLASS CANNING JARS and find they work so well in my pantry. I've purchased them all at thrift stores so I didn't spend a lot of money switching from plastic containers to glass jars.

My all-time favorite size is the 1/2 gallon canning jar. I can fit 2 deep in my upper cabinets so they don't waste any space. I store flour, sugar, rice, pasta, bread crumbs and oatmeal in this size jar.

Quart canning jars are the perfect size for chocolate chips, dried fruit, nuts, dried coconut, dry milk etc.

Half pint canning jars are the perfect size for cocoa, baking soda, wheat gluten, salt, etc.

Quilted Jelly jars are the perfect size for spices and it's an added bonus that they come with decorative labels.

God Bless,


Saturday, June 21, 2008

I'm Back!

It is really nice being with family. =) Our trip to New York was terrific. Sarah is a wonderful hostess. Abigail played so well with her cousins. I got to baby-wear Mr. Jeremy to my hearts content.

Next week Abigail is going to VBS at a local church, so I will spend the morning blogging and knitting at a nearby library. I've got lots of stuff I want to share with you. I'm making some changes to my master meal plan. I've been thinking about a "Setting up a Simple Home" series for months and I'm ready to jump into it.

God Bless!

Erin =)

Monday, June 02, 2008

Teacher Gifts

Abigail's last day of pre-school is Thursday so this weekend I've kept my hands busy knitting Teacher Gifts. One for Mrs. Bradley and one for Mrs. Meers. They will be tucked in a gift bag along with some of my wonderfully frugal coupon shopping items. =)

God Bless,


Saturday, May 31, 2008

Hello, Mr. Drew!

I am Auntie again =) Isn't he cute?

Enjoy your babymoon, Tim and Hannah!

God Bless,


Friday, May 30, 2008

Summer Budget Challenge

WHEN: June 2, 2008 - August 30, 2008
AMOUNT: $120 per week
  • Groceries = $40
  • Meat - $10
  • Dairy & Juice - $10
  • Fruit & Vegetables - $10
  • Dry & Canned Goods - $7
  • Soda - $3
  • Gasoline = $25
  • Household Items = $15
  • Thrift Stores = $10
  • Lunch Money = $10
  • Wiggle Room = $20
Why am I doing this? I want to challenge myself to practice cheerful frugality. I want to know that I can live on much, much less if that is required of me. I want to remove myself from the running around rat-race and enjoy my home. I want to have mommy-daughter moments as we bake and cook together. I want to thank my Lord and Savior for all He has given to me by being a wise steward of my earthly possessions.

God Bless,


Friday, May 23, 2008

More Nifty Thrifty Frugal Finds

Pretty Tin Plate - $.50
I didn't realize until my friend pointed it out to me that it is made in Holland. Even better!

Melissa & Doug Wood Chore Chart (BN in original shrink wrap) - $4.99
My sister and I were JUST talking about chore charts yesterday on the phone. We were bemoaning how expensive they were and brain-storming how to make one ourselves. =)

Small Copper Pitcher - $3.00
I usually like to pay no more then $1.00-$1.50 for small decorative items but this pitcher had such charm so it came home with me.

Small Delft Pitcher - $5.00
I broke my "no more then $1.50" rule TWICE this week, but how could I say no to this little beauty! There are two kinds of Delft and this is the nicer and more expensive of the two varieties.

Williamsburg Prints - $2.50 each
There are actually four of them but one has found a home on my new desk (pictures coming soon!) I'm thinking I will hang them as a grouping in my formal dining room, but the jury is still out. =)

Botanical Print - $2.50

Handled Basket - $1.99
This actually had a bunch of figurines in it but I dumped them all on the shelf and stuck this beauty in my cart ASAP. It will be just perfect in my sewing room to hold my patterns. =)

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

"Funny Thing Just Happened ... "

My mom sent me this email this afternoon about my grandpa who died 6 years ago:

Hi there loved ones,

Skip (mom's neighbor) just brought a piece of mail addressed to Martin Mellema. I opened it and it was from Dr. Peter Olson saying that he is overdue for a physical. Skip and I said, we should call and say there is not a thing wrong with him. He is in perfect health. :) Hope this brightens your days.

Love, Mom

God Bless,


Monday, May 19, 2008

Happy Anniversary!

Mr. K and I celebrated our 12th anniversary yesterday.

Wow ... that's amazing!

It doesn't seem that long at all. I'm so blessed. =)

Mr. K is handsome, funny, responsible, hard working, generous, kind, patient, and a wonderful father.

I'm honored to spend my life with him and I'm sure the next dozen years will be better then the first.

God Bless,


Wednesday, May 14, 2008

TUTORIAL ~ Easy Hostess Gift

Items Needed:
  • One new dishcloth
  • Small handful of wrapped chocolates - the darker the better. =)
  • Small rubber band
  • 18" matching ribbon
How To:
  1. Lay dishcloth diagonally on a flat surface.
  2. Place handful of chocolates in center of dishcloth.
  3. Gather 4 corners and 4 sides together and fasten with a rubber band.
  4. Tie ribbon around dishcloth to cover rubber band.
  5. Cut ends on an angle so they look pretty.
  6. Present to hostess.
This was very fast to put together and didn't break the budget at all. I think these would make lovely wedding shower or ladies brunch favor.

God Bless,


Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Nifty Thrifty Frugal Finds

Electric Frying Pan without Non-Stick Coating - $3.00

It even came with the original users manual. =)

Set of 4 Martha Stewart Placemats with Original Tags - $1.50
(Don't you like how my checked napkin, wood napkin ring, and white dishes blend?)

Silverware caddy for the dishwasher - $.19
(yes, that is CLEAN silverware)

Set of 4 glass Americana style jars - $2.99

Excellent Collection of Children's Books - $1.50

Welcome Sign for my Front Door - $1.50

Everything was $.50 a piece

Every time I thrift shop it blows me away that my Heavenly Father supplies all my needs and my wants for such a little amount of money.

God Bless,


90 Cookies

Abigail's school hosted it's first annual Spring Fest on Saturday and I volunteered to back cookies for the back sale. I could not remember if I signed up for 5 or 10 dozen so I split it right down the middle and baked 7.5 dozen. LOL =) I made Triple Chocolate Chip cookies and they turned out great. I had a might nice sugar buzz going on while I plated these cookies. I could eat a bowl of this cookie dough with a glass of milk for lunch!

God Bless,


Monday, May 12, 2008

RECIPE - Spanish Potatoes

This recipe comes from the cookbook Miserly Meals by Jonni McCoy. She is also the author of Miserly Moms which was the first "frugal" book that I checked out of the library when I began my journey to simple living 4 1/2 years ago. =)

Serves 4
Prep Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Approximate cost per serving (1 filled potato): $.59

4 large potatoes
1/2 pound lean ground beef
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 cup diced onion
3 cloves garlic, pressed
1/2 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
6 ounces tomato sauce
3/4 cup grated cheddar cheese

Bake the potatoes at 425 degrees (or microwave) until tender in the center. Cut each potato in half lengthwise, then scoop out the center of each potato with a spoon, being careful not to cut into the skin. Place the potato pulp in a large mixing bowl.

Brown the ground beef in a skillet. Drain the beef. Add the beef to the bowl with the potato pulp. Add the chili powder, onion, garlic, Tabasco sauce, and tomato sauce. Mix well.

Stuff the potato shells with the potato-meat mixture. It will be heaping out of the skins. Sprinkle 3 tablespoons of cheese over the top of each potato. Place the potatoes on a cookie sheet, and return to the oven for 2-3 minutes to melt cheese.

Edited to add picture of tonight's supper.

God Bless,


Thursday, May 08, 2008

How to Draft a Cloth Diaper Pattern

These are the supplies that you need to draft a diaper pattern:
Paper grocery bag, ruler/yard stick, pencil, eraser, sharpie marker,
and several Tupperware lids and containers.

Cut open the paper grocery bag and fold out all the seams so that it lays flat.

Take your child's measurements over a diaper. The waist measurement is taken at the belly button. The rise measurement is taken from the belly button, down through the legs, and up the back to where the belly button would be if it was on the back.

Now reference lines need to be drawn. I line up my ruler along the vertical seam in the bag and make a line 16 inch long. This is the crotch. At the top of the line I make another line perpendicular to it. I measure out 9 inches each way. This is the waist measurement (9+9=18 inches). On the other end of the vertical line, I mark the tummy panel line, which is 1/2 the size of the waist measurement or 9 inches.

All reference lines are made and the measurement notations are made on the grocery sack: Waist = 18"/ Rise = 16"/ Tummy = 9"; **NOTE: I used a sharpie marker so that you could see the lines in the photos, but I would recommend using a pencil first and when the entire pattern is drafted, go over it with a sharpie.**

Divide the rise reference line measurement by 2 (8") and make a small tick mark.

Then measure down 1 1/2 - 2 inches down from that mark and make another tick mark. This is the crotch line. The back part of the diaper needs to be loner to accommodate the baby's tushy. If you have a boy, you might want to place the crotch line right in the middle of the rise reference line to accommodate his "equipment".

Draw your crotch line. I like my diaper's to be quite trim through the crotch, so I made it 5 inches. A nice reference list of diaper measurements can be found here.

Take a medium sized Tupperware bowl or lid and draw the front panel to crotch curves. I used the same lid for both convex and concave curves. You can take another small Tupperware lid or bowl and curve the front panel line so that it isn't square, but I like to keep my pattern like this. It makes it easier to adapt to a pocket diaper.

Use a small Tupperware lid or bowl (I think the snack cup works perfectly) to draw the wasit tabs. You can either line up the cup with the end of the line and draw the curve . . . . OR

. . . Line up the cup so that the curve merges with the end of the line and draw. This application is best suited if you want to have cross-over tabs.

Take a large Tupperware lid or bowl and draw lines to connect the crotch line to the tabs.

Now your pattern is done! Almost . . .

If you are using knit fabrics for your diaper, cut out the pattern as is. If you are using wovens, you need to add a seam allowance. Rubber band 2 pencils together and run them along the outside lines of your diaper. This will give you a perfect 1/4 inch seam allowance. =)

Cut out your diaper pattern - this pattern is for knits.

Fold in half to make sure all curves are symmetrical.
My tabs weren't so I trimmed them to be the same.

The elastic placement needs to be marked next. Fold up the tummy panel to line up with the crotch line. Make little marks at these folds close to the edge of the pattern.

I like to use a hole punch to mark my elastic placements.
Then I can just dot the fabric with a wash-away pen.

I find the waist elastic measurement by taking 1/2 of the waist measurement, divide it by 3, and measure in that amount from the back tabs. Make a mark with a pen or by punching a hole.

Take the ruler and measure straight down to the bottom of the waist tab and make a mark with a pen or by punching a hole.

Here is the diaper pattern with all elastic measurements marked and cut out.
Remember your measurements may be different then mine.
Good luck on drafting your own pattern and happy sewing!

God Bless,



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