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wfmwbannerkristenThis week’s Works For Me Wednesday is themed! Everyone is posting their very best thrifty ideas. I have to say, I’m not normally the most thrifty person, my normal philosophy is to save, save and save for the more expensive item I want. But, where I do try to be thrifty and save money is in food.

One of my favorite ways to save money on food (besides using coupons and buying what’s one sale), is to buy a whole, cut up chicken. This usually costs me about $9 or $10. Then, I boil it along with some ends of celery, carrot peelings and a few pieces of onion. Not only do I end up with great tasting cooked chicken, I also get a good bit of tasty chicken stock to use in other meals.

This does require some extra work — I trim off as much skin as I can before cooking and have to let the chicken cool before removing the meat from the bones, for me, its well worth the extra effort!

My $9 of meat will make me three casseroles. One casserole will feed Hubby and I for about 3 or 4 days. That’s over a week of meals y’all! This is also great if you’re making a meal to take to friends too!

Saving money on meat really works for me! To learn how others save money, check out We are THAT Family!

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The ants go march one by one, hurah! Hurah!

Except, when the ants marched right on in to my kitchen, it was not something to celebrate. In general, I’m not in a hurry to change my Clorox Wipe cleaning style, but I do, on occasion, love me some chemical-free, non toxic solutions to common household problems. Since the ants were in my kitchen, on my food-prep areas, near my fruit and dishes, I really didn’t want to use something that could possibly contaminate those things.

So, I did what anyone in my situation would do — called my mom (which also works for me — when in doubt, call your mother!)! She suggested using half water and half white vinegar to spray on them and around the areas they seemed to be coming from.

It worked like a charm! A few days later we were ant free, and the best part was that, because the ants were in my kitchen, I didn’t have to worry about getting any toxins on my food or dishes.

While this worked for my small-ish ant problem, it probably wouldn’t work for a larger infestation. For more tips and tricks, check out We are THAT Family!

I recently purchased nine books from Barnes and Noble online. I started out only looking for one particular book, Start Your Family, but when I discovered that Hubby gets 5% off through his work as well as free three-day shipping on orders over $25. So, I started looking for a second book, and noticed that Barnes and Noble now has buy 3 get the third free on their bargain books! That order, I had four books, but a few days later, I received a gift card from my in-laws, and decided to head back online for another round, and ended up with five more books! I found books from three different series I’ve been reading, as well as some books that just seemed interesting. Here’s what I’ve ended up with:

* Start Your Family

* The Kitchen Boy

* Scarlet

* Shepherd’s Abiding

* Gentlemen and Players

* The Thief Taker

* The Moor

* And Only to Deceive

* On Agate Hill

Nine books for under $50 sure works for me! For more tips and tricks, check out We are THAT Family!

Ya’ll, my mom makes the BEST biscuits. Growing up, she used to whip them up for dinner ALL THE TIME. The best ones were the half-moon shaped biscuits she made with the little bit of leftover dough. They were soo good, soo cool, and my brother and I used to fight over who got to eat one all the time. She got the recipie from my grandmother’s dear friend, Mary Butler years ago. Mary Butler is the QUEEN of biscuits. She is seriously famous for them in her town, and if Mary Butler made the biscuits, YOU DON’T NOT EAT ONE! In fact, you scarf that puppy right on down. Really, I don’t know how Mom got the recipie because when Mary Butler and her daughters threw a bridal shower for me, her daughters mentioned THEY don’t even have the recipie. Anyway, when I got married, my mother passed the famous recipie down to me, and now I will share it with you!

Mary Butler’s Buttermilk Biscuits

You will need: 1 1/2 c. self-rising flour*, 2/3 c. shortening, 1/2 c. buttermilk**.

1. Place flour in bowl. Add shortening and cut in until evenly distributed evenly in pieces with flour.

2. Add buttermilk and mix. Mixture should not be too damp.

3. Roll dough out on flour on wax paper and pat or cut into rounds.

4. Back at 425 for 13 min.

Enjoy!

* Don’t have self-rising flour on hand? Use all-purpose flour mixed with 1/2 tsp. salt, 1/4 tsp baking powder, and 1 1/2 tsp baking soda.

** Have a biscuit hankering but no buttermilk? Mix a 1/2 TBSP of white vinegar or lemon juice with half a cup of whatever milk you have on hand.

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For more tips and tricks, check out Works for Me Wednesday at We are THAT Family!

wfmwbannerkristenYou’ve heard it here all this week — I am SICK. And while I have been practically on my death bed here on the sofa (there’s a lovely butt imprint at my “spot”), Hubby had been taking care of me. This has included several runs to the grocery store, phone calls, schlepping my stuff to church, cooking my meals, cleaning the kitchen, and yes, cleaning my puke. Let’s just say it hasn’t been a stellar weekend for him (or me either, but I’m trying to make this post not about me).

I was out of town last weekend, we were both around, but working Monday, and early Tuesday morning Hubby left to go out of town for work and returned on Friday, which marked the beginning of my illness. Yeah, we haven’t seen much of each other in a week and a half.

Hubby asked me last night, after flipping through our couple’s Bible study (Dream Team), if I thought our marriage had “hit a rut.” I responded with a hasty no, but Hubby stated, “well, this past week has been pretty boring.” I conceded to that, but I thought that the past week was a pretty poor barometer of our marriage. Hubby agreed, and I continued getting ready for bed.

But, as I’ve thought about it, I can see how easy it would be to fall into thinking that you’re just having an “off week.” Then, an “off week” becomes “that’s just how we are,” and before you know it, you have a stagnant, boring marriage.

I spent a TON of time with Hubby this weekend, but I didn’t talk to him, I didn’t consider his needs. To be honest, it would be easy to live this way most of the time because it doesn’t take any effort. I know this doesn’t come as a shock to anyone who’s been married several years, but this was the very first time I’ve really the reality of what a lack of effort can do to a marriage. So, what works for me this week is remembering, each day, to put effort into serving, loving, and communicating with my Hubby.

To learn more about what works for others, Check out We Are THAT Family.

worksformeLast night, I canceled my gym membership. I felt bad doing it, but it had to be done.

I’ve been going to aerobics classes taught at my church and become friends with the instructor. While I’ve done the gym on my own for several years (and lost over 20 pounds working out on my own), GROUP CLASSES KICK THE GYM’S BUTT!

I thought I wouldn’t like group classes, that I would be too focused on what other’s were thinking of me, or that I wouldn’t be as “good” as everyone else, or even that I wouldn’t get as good of a workout as I would on my own.

I was so, very wrong. I love group fitness because I have five ladies who I can count on to be there, every day, and who ask me where I was when I’m absent, and CARE. And I can talk to these ladies about the pain I’m in from yesterday’s workout. And man, nothing beats working really hard on an excerise, feeling like you might die, or at the very leas, pass out, and when you are finally released, hearing a groan from every other woman in the room.

UPDATED TO ADD: There are some other great benefits I thought of too! You work in a small class, so the instructor gets to know you, know your body and can really help push you to do things you didn’t think were possible. You benefit from the experience of someone who is trained and certified to help people excercise! They also know about anatomy, and they know several excercises that work the same muscles. If an excercise doesn’t work for you, they can help you find one that does! And, with all that excercise-knowledge you can’t get stuck doing the same things every day. For me, the best part is that I’ve lost 4 pounds since January!

Community exercise really works for me. Oh, and Works for me Wednesday has moved! Check out all the new tips and tricks at We are THAT Family.

worksformeBefore I got married and moved to my new hometown, I had lived in the same town my whole life; my library card still had my five year old scrawl on back. I grew up in a relativly small town that had one library. The county had several other libraries you could request books from, but only one serviced the town. Because of that, it stocked just about every kind of book from classics, to fantasy, to best sellers, to Christian books, to biographies, well, you get the idea.

In new town, not so much. We have about 7 or 8 libraries that service the entire town. I happen to live closest to the “Headquarters” library, which isn’t very large and doesn’t stock quite as wide a range of books. I mean, if a library in a town that claims to be souther doesn’t have ANY Flannery O’Conner, then something is wrong. Needless to say, I’m when I go looking for a particular book, I don’t usually find it. Also, when I go, I’m usually pressed for time, so I don’t want to spend a long time looking for something that’s probably not there.

Enter my library’s online card catologe. Not only can I check to se if my closest library carries the book I want, but I can reserve any book online. Its great! Usually I request two to three books at a time, then wait for a phone calling telling me my books have come it. Usually I get as many calls as books I reserved, so I wait until I know all the books are in, then swing by to pick them up. While I’m there, I might check out the new arrivals section for something that looks interesting, but it takes me about 10 minutes max to get the books I just can’t wait to read.

I know this works for other ladies who have young children who need to suprvise their children and help them pick out books rather than brose for themselves. Timing a library visit with the arival of mom’s books can make sure everyone leaves the library happy! Oh, and your library will even hold a book they carry for you, in addition to getting books they don’t have as well.

Requesting library books online really works for me. For more tips, tricks and great ideas, check out Rocks in my Dryer.

A little while ago, a new gym opened in our area. I’d been wanting a gym membership, but figured they’d all be too expensive for our budget. This particular gym charges $10 a month. Yes! So now I can go work my tail off in a shiny new gym. I still have to motivate myself to get there though! So, I decided to make a chart for me to track my exercise (I used Microsoft Publisher, but Excel would be just as effective). Then I thought, “Oh boy, I haven’t bought any new clothes since I quit my job working retail. I could really use something new!” I combined something I wanted (new clothes) with something I needed (more exercise), and created a chart!

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I picked four items I would really like to have: a new top, a new pair of pants, a new dress, and a new pair of black boots. Then I thought about how hard I needed to work for each item. I decided after 25 days of 30 min or more of excercise I would have earned the right to purchase a new top. After 35 MORE days (a total of 60 days) I would be able to purchase a new pair of pants, after 50 MORE days (110 total days) I could purchase a dress — hopefully a size smaller dress! Then, after 100 MORE DAYS (for a whopping total of 210 days) I could earn a nice pair of knee-high, black boots.

By this point, I plan to give up the rewards and stick to just monitering my days. My hope is that by the time I reach 210 days, going to the gym will have become a habit, and something that’s fun for me. But for now, I’ll stick to rewarding myself for exercise. At the rate I’m going now, I figure I’ll have finally earned those black boots by 2010!

Just a 20-something girl living on the East Coast, trying to figure out life. I'm a wife and mom to two. I'm trying to rediscover my love for long walks, yoga and pilates. But not hiking. I still don't like hills. I was raised at the beach, but I don't like the beach. I like to look at it, but I don't like to swim in it, I'd prefer a pool, thanks. I'm just trying to become the best person I can be -- the woman God wants me to be. That's easier said than done!

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Contact me at longbrakeliving@gmail.com - I'd love to hear from you!

Hubby is my all-time favorite guy. A perfect mix of serious, sarcastic, laid-back, handy and nerdy, he is the perfect complement to me. I love his strong work-ethic and the way he always loves and supports me through everything. Some of Hubby's favorite things include: hiking, Virginia Tech football, woodworking, and his family. When I married him in July 2007, I had no idea what an amazing journey we were headed on, and how I could come to love him so much more each day.

Our oldest, Colton, is three years old. He is equal parts sassy and hysterical. He loves all things train, car, bus, truck, and machine related. He has a penchant for made-up words and loves to be the clown of his pre-school class. Our younger son, Nathan, was born this May. He is pure joy and full of smiles! He is such a blessing and a perfect fit for our family.