Friday, September 24, 2010

Get Free (or nearly free) Household Items!

Like I have said before, I love getting good deals and passing them on. Today I had one passed on to me, and so I would like to pass it on to those reading my blog!

I follow, "Surviving the Stores" on facebook, and today she posted a deal where you could get 2 bamboo cutting boards for free! Well, by the time I got in to get mine, the free ones were gone, but I got 2 bamboo cutting boards that I personally liked even better for $1.95 shipped!!!

The deal I got is now gone, but there are more deals coming up. Here is how to get in on it.

Go to Ones Kings Lane and sign up for free. Just basic sign up info... You will get a $15 credit to your account, just for signing up.

If you shop the sales and find an item you like for $7-$10, you will end up getting it for free or almost free when you checkout. Your credit will apply toward the shipping charges.

Tomorrow there will be a sale starting on some atisan cheeses! I am hoping to snag a deal on that...

If you snag a deal, I would love to hear about what you got! Leave me a comment telling about your awesome deal!
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Monday, September 20, 2010


flour (wheat + white), baking soda, baking pow...Image by alifayre via Flickr
I am finally having a little room to breathe in the kitchen project. Up to this point, so much of my input/research etc. has been needed, almost constantly. But the past week or so, I have not had to be "on site" quite as much. This has allowed me the luxury of giving our meals more attention.
So, I gave them some attention. It has been slim pickin's at times around here with mom busy with other stuff.

Several years ago, I borrowed a book from a friend titled, "Make-A-Mix Cookery" by Karine Eliason, Nevada Harward and Madeline Westover I now own my own copy and have wanted to get to a place that I could really start using it. I found that place last week.

I made the Quick Mix, Roll Mix and Muffin Mix listed in the book. In no time flat, I had cranked out biscuits, rolls, muffins, cookies, and even a cake from these 3 mixes. (Although, not all at the same time.) I love the ability to make things fast for my family without any additives, preservatives, etc.

Here is the recipe for the Quick Mix:

8 1/2 C. flour (I used white whole wheat flour)
1 T. baking powder
1T. salt
2t cream of tartar
1 t. baking soda
1 1/2 non-fat dry milk

2 1/4 shortening (I used Palm Shortening)

Mix all the dry ingredients, then cut in the shortening until it resembles cornmeal in texture.

Here is one recipe to use the quick mix for:

Never-Fail Rolled Biscuts

3 C. Quick Mix
2/3 milk or water

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Combine ingredients and let sit for 5 min. Knead about 15 times and roll out on floured board to 1/2" thickness. Cut with biscuit cutter. Bake 10 to 12 min until golden brown. Makes 12 large biscuits.

These were very good and fast to do. I doubled the recipe for Quick Mix to give me more time between having to mix up the mix. My whole family has been enjoying these mixes, or at least they are enjoying the products made from them. =) Maybe your family will enjoy them as well.

 If you have a favorite mix/recipe to share, leave me a comment or leave a link to your blogpost with the recipe!

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Wednesday, September 15, 2010

True Woman '10 Only 29 Days Til Ft Worth!

Wow. Only 29 days left until I leave for the True Woman '10 conference in Ft. Worth. I can't believe the time has flown by so fast. I am really getting excited about going. I am looking forward to the encouragement of being with women of God from all over the country, and I am looking forward to a time of God ministering to and challenging me.
For those who may not have heard of True Woman '10, here are two videos to give you an idea of what it will be like....

I encourage any woman who can to attend this conference. There is a True Woman '10 about to take place in Indianapolis Sept 24-25. The one I am attending in Ft. Worth will be held Oct 14-16.
I have a group code that anyone reading this is free to use for the Ft. Worth conference. The code is FFCF. Using this code when you register online or by phone will give you a $20 discount if you use the code by Sept 29.
To register, go to or call 1-800-569-5959.
If you are going to the conference, leave me a comment! I would love to meet you!
Just in case you are wondering, I do not get anything from someone using this code. I am just sharing this for whoever wants to go and doesn't have a group. For every 10 tickets sold using this code, I will get one free, but I will just give those away. Hope to see you there!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Who's Business Is It, Anyway?

I am taking a bit of time-out on my kitchen project posts to have a bit of a rant.

I was talking to a friend the other day about things going on in her life and in the life of some of her family. She was sharing how they were dealing with a tough situation but getting through it. She made the comment that many people had made rude comments about the decisions they were making. "Oh, I just can't believe you are considering that!"

I think so many people don't realize how rude they are when they hand out life advice. Now, just to be clear here, I think there is a time for speaking the truth to a friend when they are in an immoral situation, or headed for real trouble. Gently, and clearly. (Not that I have always been the best at that....=P) A true friend speaks the truth and sticks by their friend no matter what, even in the dirty stuff.

The situation my friend was dealing with was sensitive. But there were no immoral actions to be reprimanded for. The descions being made were just not the descions that everyone else thought they should make. And yet, people act like it is a moral issue.

Like I said above, I think a lot of people just don't realize how rude and hurtful those type of advice/comments are. Everything from pushy advice on how many kids you shouldn't have, or, when are you going to have some kids, to what color you should or shouldn't paint your kitchen, or what type of hairstyle you should have, etc, etc, etc. People just seem to say what they think and think they can figure out in an instant all kinds of important life decisions for you. Amazing talent.

I think, rather, I am sure that I have been guilty of this same transgression. I have lots of opinions on how people could edit and rearrange their lives. Plenty of times I think I am right about it, too. =D But really, whose business is it? Do I answer to God for them? NO. This is something I am personally working on, to not be too apt to hand out free life-consultant advice.

Being asked is different. If asked, if you are really asking, then some freely given advice/info/opinion is appropriate. I have some friends who I am close enough with that know they can speak into my life. And they don't have to ask me every time they do. I appreciate those friends, immensely. If I am asked, I will share what I see/my opinion with a friend.

Okay, done with the rant. We hope you enjoyed this Monday's edition of Opinions With Nichola. We now resume your usual programming. =D

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Pictures of the Kitchen Project

Here are some pictures of the project so far....
My kitchen before, (in real life, no cleaning up before the pic, as you can see!) The counters to the right of the sink/dishwasher are actually folding tables....

Before view of the stove area
 Beginning of the demolition
 Keilah taking sheetrock off the wall
Out comes the sink!
Heave, ho!
In between this picture and the previous picture, a lot happened, as you can see! Wiring, insulation, plumbing, etc. Here we are starting the frames of the cabinets.
 Planning out the corner sink...
Brothers working on things.
Keilah securing the floor of the cabinet bases.
Travis spends a lot of time holding his ears!
Lots of cuts and lots of figuring!
Face frames going on...
Face frame ready to be installed...
...perfect fit!

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Thursday, September 09, 2010

Kitchen Remodel

The roasting spit in this European medieval ki...Image via Wikipedia
I have been bouncing around and excited for about a month now, but haven’t taken time to write about it.  I think most of my facebook friends know, but for the blog friends who don’t know…..we are finally remodeling our kitchen! Or maybe I should say, re-creating our kitchen.
This has been a long time coming, and while it has not been an easy wait, I am really thankful for how God has worked in the wait. If we had built the kitchen we had wanted to build 4 ½ years ago, it just wouldn’t have been the best plan, or even close. We have changed, grown in our understanding of the hows and whys of kitchen design, (although we are by no means experts…) and though the kitchen we would have built would have been okay, it would have had so many shortcomings compared to the one we are building now.
So, here we are at last. Creating our dream kitchen.

In the interim, we have read books, made endless sketches, thought we had the design down, but when we set up mock counters to test it for a few days, found flaws that didn't show up on paper. I have rearranged my kitchen umpteen times for different reasons, and each time learned something new.
In our priorities for the kitchen, there are a few things that have been at the forefront of our list from the beginning. I’d like to share a few here.
  • Function. Our first priority has been it has to work, and we shouldn’t have to work extra hard to make it work. If the kitchen doesn’t function well in everyday life, expanding to meet the needs of a large group as well as handle the needs of everyday family life, it becomes more of an obstacle to the flow of things than an asset. We all have chores, but if daily stuff is a chore when it shouldn’t be, something isn’t functioning right. Stuff that doesn’t function well costs you, either time, money or both. Same in the kitchen.

  • Simplicity. Sometimes the simple things work the best. Take a tour of kitchens, modern as well as those in older homes, and you can find tons of anti-simple examples. Like, when you have to clear the counter before you can open the doors of the appliance garage, or the cupboard door. Or have to unload the pan cupboard every time you need a pan at the back of the cupboard. I’m sure many could tell their tale of simple tasks that took too much time to get done due to a design flaw.
  • Doable. I have had some BIG ideas during this kitchen thing. Everything from skylights, bay windows, two dishwashers and huge sinks to extension tables, detachable islands, (and could we figure out a way to still have electricity and plumbing on the part we move?), waterfalls and herb gardens right in the kitchen. Some of my big ideas are in my new kitchen design. Many aren’t. Function and Simplicity ruled out many of them, but budget, and plain limitations of the site we are building in ruled out the rest. (Can’t do a skylight through the attic we have, just won’t work structurally…) 
  • Efficient. Efficiency is where Funtion and Simplity meet and join together with your efforts to cause your work to go well. I may be in danger of becoming a nut in the area of efficiency. It is becoming a passion in everything I do. I haven’t arrived at the level of efficiency that I strive for, but I am excited about learning things that help me to be more efficient in everyday doings. Our kitchen design has been constantly examined using the test of efficiency. This includes the use of space and planning for the least amount of wasted space as well as planning for the easiest access to the tools used in everyday tasks.
These are some of the top factors we have tried to take into consideration as we have planned our kitchen. I could write more about each factor, and maybe I will at some point. For now, we will see how it all comes out. The cabinets are being installed as I type. =)

Here are a few resources to check out if you are interested in learning more about practical kitchen design.  These books have greatly influenced us in our design process. There are tons of books out there on kitchen design. These are just the books we had and would recommend them highly.
The Motion-Minded Kitchen
Remodeling a Kitchen: Taunton's Build Like a Pro: Expert Advice from Start to Finish
The Complete Guide to Kitchen Design With Cooking in Mind 

Here is a page with some videos featuring Don Silvers talking about kitchen design...
Don Silvers Media Links

I will post pictures of our project so far soon...
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