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,


Wednesday, May 07, 2008

DGD's Goals for Summer 2008

Summer is just around the corner so I need to start planning! I started out by pulling out my bin of warm-weather clothing and tried everything on. I was pleasantly surprised that only 2 pairs of shorts and jumper need to go to Goodwill. I'm almost 30 and I don't feel the need to wear such short things anymore. I need to wash everything because it acquired a boxed-up, musty smell. =( For the first time since Abigail was born, I don't have any clothing to pull out of my reserves. We used to get lovely hand-me-downs from my friend Suzie at church but Abigail has outgrown her oldest. LOL. I'm going to see how long the 5 or 6 short sleeved play dresses will last before purchasing anything else. =) Next week, I'll pull out Mr. K's warm-weather clothing and start swapping out his closet. I'm estimating that our down comforters will need to be packed away within in the next 4-5 weeks.

Last summer was NOT a pretty sight. I was pretty much an drifting boat without a sail. Four out of five weeknights, Mr. K would come home from work to Abigail and I having horrible fights. This summer I'm making a few concrete goals so that everyone in the Kortering family will have a pleasant summer.
  1. Television free from June 1 to August 31. I don't want to have the temptation to use the "electronic" babysitter so I'm going to move the tube to the basement. We can watch occasional DVDs on the laptop.
  2. Host a weekly playdate with our friends from church. This will be a blessing for the kids, the moms, and will help me be diligent in my house cleaning tasks. I've already sent out the invitations for this.
  3. Read! Read! Read! Abigail is finally old enough to enjoy chapter books. =) Just think of it ... Little House on the Prairie; Betsy, Tacy, & Tib series, The Boxcar Children, and so many more!
  4. Pick strawberries and blueberries at local farms. This was something I enjoyed doing when I was a child.
  5. Spend one morning baking something that will be a blessing for an elderly person at our church. Abigail can draw a picture and we will deliver it together in the afternoon.
  6. Pack a picnic and go sailing. Mr. K bought a small sailboat this winter and we are looking forward to spending many lazy hours on the Chesapeake Bay.
  7. De clutter the house from top to bottom. This is actually something that Abigail can help me with now and it is a wonderful opportunity to teach her to be generous to others.
Do you have any plans or goals for this summer? If you do, please share them!

God Bless,


Tuesday, May 06, 2008

TUTORIAL TUESDAY ~ Cloth Diaper Pattern

I learned about cloth diapers when I was pregnant with Abigail from my cousin Lisa. She said that they are very easy to sew and that intrigued me because I like to sew. I started researching them on the Internet (whoa, there is a lot of info!), bought several patterns, and made my newborn stash. When it was time to size up to small cloth diapers, I decided to try and draft my own pattern. It worked really well so I decided to write a tutorial so that other cloth diapering mamas could do the same. That was over 3 years ago and it's had over 130,000 views since then. =) Over the course of the next few days, I'm going to copy it over to my blog and put a link in my sidebar so it is easy to find.

God Bless,



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