Laine's Letters - Feb. 2005
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  1. #1
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    Default Laine's Letters - Feb. 2005

    I just love finding these in my inbox! I'm putting it in this forum due to the frugal content of the letter.

    Dear Sisters,
    Hi! I hope you are all doing well. We're finishing up another week of
    school, and then on to a three day weekend! I am looking so forward to

    It's been a full year already. I need so much to walk with the LORD
    through it all. I keep asking Him to teach me, to train me, and to hold
    me close. He is really so incredibly awesome. "I love you, LORD, my

    "Listen, listen to Me, and eat what is good, and your soul will delight
    in the richest of fare."
    Isaiah 55:2

    "I rise before dawn and cry for help; I have put my hope in Your Word."
    Psalm 119:147

    "This is what the LORD says, Your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel, 'I am
    the LORD your God, Who teaches you what is best for you, Who directs you
    in the way you should go." Isaiah 48:17

    We just finished up the homestudy part of our adoption yesterday. We are
    now to work on our dossier for China, which is the final part before we
    wait for a match. The case worker told us that we could have our baby
    anywhere from October to January. It's like being pregnant, for you don't
    really know the exact date yet, and there is a long wait!

    Our older boys leave for Swaziland, Africa on March 3rd. It was so good
    to listen to them talk this morning about how much they want to share the
    gospel as well as help the people there by planting gardens. They will be
    gone ten days, so they're working hard to complete their schooling and
    work before then. It's hard to believe they're going, since they so
    recently came back from Israel. We are covering them in prayer.

    My mother-in-law's Alzheimer disease is getting a bit worse, and our
    family received some very upsetting news recently. Our twenty-three year
    old nephew committed suicide this past month. He was in prison and very
    troubled by many years of drug abuse. My mother-in-law raised him from a
    baby, so it has been especially hard on her, as well as the rest of the
    family. Needless to say, it has been quite a year already. So many ups
    and downs.

    Our dog, Rosie, was diagnosed with cancer this week. She has a tumor
    under her arm with the cancer going into her left lung. We all feel so
    bad. She's been given six months to live.

    Through it all, I lean against Him and breathe Him in. Jesus is my soul
    support. I couldn't manage this life without His loving grace.

    "But blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, whose confidence is in
    Him. He will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots
    by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always
    green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear
    fruit." Jeremiah 17:7-8

    Here's what's been going on in my home recently:

    1~ My gums were a bit red and inflamed. The dentist didn't really have a
    solution. But I read about black walnut tincture being of help. After
    using it just a couple of days (just squirted over the inflamed area),
    and my gums were back to normal. They've been fine since. I had the
    problem for over a year, so this was such an answer to prayer.

    2~ The valance in my bathroom was getting a bit moldy. I really wanted to
    replace it, but we're saving for the baby, so every dollar saved is a
    dollar earned! Instead, I took it down, washed it, and soaked it in some
    water with a bit of bleach in it. Then I hung it outside to dry. The
    valance looks as good as new.

    3~ I had some mini marshmallows that someone gave to me, plus a candy bar
    that someone also gave to me. So I got the kids and we made mini smores
    at the table. We put a candle on, held a mini marshmallow over the flame
    on a stick, then sandwiched it between a piece of chocolate and a piece
    of graham cracker. Oh, the kids thought this was such fun. I did, too!

    4~ Abbie wanted to have a slumber party with a theme. So we sat around
    talking together and came up with a "Clean Your Closet Out" slumber
    party. Her guests each brought a certain amount of clothes and things
    that they wanted to get rid of, then they traded together. Abbie set up a
    table in her bedroom with candles and soft music, then served the girls
    dinner and a special cake with tea for dessert. They all had such a good

    5~ I love having a small notebook near where I sit in the kitchen to
    record what I need to do for the day. I just can't trust my memory
    anymore! So I write things down right away, and I don't cross it off
    until it is done. I also write things that I need at the grocery store in
    this small notebook, as it won't get thrown away or misplaced like a
    piece of paper, then I can retrieve my list easier when I want to
    transfer it to my grocery list in my purse. This is another small
    notebook just for errands and groceries.

    6~ I find the Dollar Store and the 99 Cents Store so amazing. This past
    week I found Cary Grant movies (2 on one DVD) for $1. I also got some old
    television shows like "Make Room For Daddy" for also $1. My husband
    enjoyed these all so much. Over Christmas I found DVD's for .99 with
    three Gary Cooper movies on it. It was a big hit at our house.

    7~ I showed Abbie the stockingnet stitch in knitting this week. She is so
    thrilled. It is just knit one row and purl the next, and so on. I also
    showed her how to make ribbing, which is knit two, purl two. She's been
    practicing this stitch since I showed her. Whenever she has to sit
    somewhere, she takes her knitting along. I can take her anywhere, and
    she's content if she's got her hands busy. She also has a pretty cross
    stitch picture she's working on.

    8~ I find that I have been able to stretch the life of my vacuum by
    weekly cleaning my filter on it. The wand just finally broke due to an
    electrical problem, but I am still using it by hand with another part
    from another vacuum. I'm thrilled to keep this thing going!

    9~ A hole started to form in the carpet on my side of the bed. Quincy
    gave us a sheepskin rug from Israel. It covers the hole, and it is
    fabulous to get out of bed and have your feet hit that first. I've always
    wanted a sheepskin rug, so this was the perfect gift at the perfect time.

    10~ We all have feather blankets on our beds as they are warm in the
    winter and cool in the summer. I love a feather pillow as well. The
    problem was cleaning them without spending a fortune. I learned a
    wonderful technique off and have been using it
    since. You wash the feather blanket in your washer, and then put it in
    the dryer with three tennis balls. The balls moved the feathers around so
    that it dries evenly. It's wonderful!

    11~ I mentioned a long time ago about my husband's snoring problem. Well,
    a lovely lady wrote and told me about a barley hull pillow. I got one
    for Art, and it works! He doesn't snore when he's on the pillow. (Unless
    he is extremely tired.) We are both so excited about a natural solution
    to this problem!

    12~ January is the best month to buy linens at reduced prices, as I wrote
    in letters past. This past month I found new covers for my couches at 80%
    off. The old ones were getting thin where we sat, so I put those on the
    outer part of the couch, the new covers on the seating part of the couch,
    and quilted slipcovers (the kind that would go over bed pillows for
    decoration) to match on the back seat cushions. It looks so nice. I've
    been keeping our couch in shape and adorned for about 17 years now. It's
    still so cozy and comfortable. Just needs a change of "clothes" every now
    and then.

    13~ I love to put praise music on in the morning as I'm doing my morning
    routine. I listen to K-Love. You can listen, too, at When
    Abbie and I work in the library at the church, we'll put this on using
    the computer. It's such a lovely station. I'm listening right now!

    14~ I love to have lots of different recipes, because when I am out of a
    certain ingredient, I have another recipe I can use. Take today, for
    example, I am out of milk. But I have lots of recipes for bread,
    breakfast dishes, and numerous other recipes that I can use which do not
    require milk. I do that with other ingredients as well. Please check out
    our website at for numerous recipes. I have a
    recipe there for Spice Cookies which does not require butter, rather oil.
    I use this recipe when I am out of butter.

    It also helps in hospitality. We are all to practice hospitality as Peter
    speaks, "Practice hospitality." Hospitality is making someone feel at
    home in your presence. Home cooking is such a comfort to others. When you
    have many recipes, you can cook from what you have on hand, rather than
    focusing on what you do not have and feeling frustrated if unexpected
    guests should visit. That is why I try to build up my collection of

    It also helps with my food budget, so that I can cook from what is on
    special or what I can afford. It helps to have many different avenues of
    cooking experience. Therefore, I keep trying to learn as many as I can.

    15~ Art was recovering from an illness and had to put in a very long day
    of work soon after. He was up at 4:30 a.m. and didn't get home until 5:00
    p.m. I knew he would be exhausted. So when he came home, I had him get
    into the bath, then right into bed. I told him he was eating dinner in
    bed tonight! He balked at first, but then I put on a hiking show on our
    little t.v. with a nice soup, bread, and salmon spread on a tray for him.
    Gabe made him some freshly squeezed orange juice. Art was so relaxed.
    Before I knew it, he was asleep by 6:30 p.m.. He felt so much better the
    next morning.

    16~ The illness Art had ran its course through our house. Everyone had it
    or battled it, except Gabe. I was fortunate to keep us all out of the
    doctor's office by employing echinacea, usnea (for sore throats), vitamin
    C, olive leaf, and my homemade Supertonic (the recipe for this is on the
    website). Quincy took all these items with him when he went to Israel,
    and he said the guys all got well using them when they came down with a
    flu or cold. They especially liked the Supertonic. This helps to keep us
    from going to the doctor often. I am so thankful to be able to take care
    of my family at home as much as possible and to keep us off antibiotics.
    I also like to use colostrom to boost the immune system, but I was out of
    it during this bout. Throat coat tea was also especially helpful.

    17~ I had an old green chair that Art was going to throw away because the
    seat had a rip in it. It was an outside chair. Abbie and I rescued it
    from the garbage bin and covered the hole with a green bathroom carpet.
    It matched perfectly, and it worked well outside. Art was amazed, and we
    use the chair all the time now.

    18~ I've been getting a lot of questions on saving money on food. I know
    so many things are going up, and food is definitely one of them. We had
    our propane, trash, and water go up within the last month. And they are
    warning the electrical will also rise. But my husband's pay is not
    rising, so I try my best to continue stretching and saving, especially
    since we are saving for our baby girl.

    Here are some things I've learned to do to stretch our food budget and
    other things:

    ~Shop weekly. If you shop weekly, you'll be likely to take advantage of
    the weekly loss leaders. These are the lowest prices on a few items to
    get you into the store. I usually only buy those items, as I shop five to
    seven stores a week. As I've mentioned before my food budget is $100 for
    food/paper/cleansers. In other words, absolutely everything is on my food
    budget, except for pet food. My husband and my three boys are hardworking
    men, so I need this much each week to build up my pantry and to have
    substantial meals. That is approximately $16 per week per person covering
    eating and all cleaning.

    ~ I am back to hanging out my clothes and using my dryer only when
    absolutely necessary, since propane has risen considerably. I don't mind
    at all, just so glad I can save in this way. I just hung out a load
    before the rain hits this afternoon. I still use half as much detergent,
    and my clothes are just as clean.

    ~ I keep a price book of my lowest prices on items, so that I know when
    something is really a good deal or not. I am teaching my children to
    figure out costs based on per ounce or pound, so that they can learn what
    is a good deal.

    ~ Many times you can make two meals out of one piece of meat, or even
    three. Take a turkey breast, for example; I made a roasted turkey breast
    with all the fixins' one night, then I used the bone to make a turkey
    soup a couple of nights later. (The recipe is on our website.)

    Or you could take a whole chicken (I buy them when they're on sale and
    freeze them), take off the breast meat and make a Chinese dish of some
    sort, or a chicken over spaghetti (on our website), or a chicken salad of
    some sort, then pop the rest of the chicken into a pot with onions,
    carrots, garlic, celery, water to cover, and spices to simmer for an
    hour. Take the meat off the bone when done, save the meat for enchiladas,
    burritos, or tacos. And make a minestrone or another kind of soup with
    the broth after skimming it of the fat. Three meals from one chicken!

    ~ Make your own cleansers. I have some recipes on our website for this.
    It helps a lot. The rest of my cleansers I buy at the Dollar Store, which
    are furniture polish, Pinesol, and Comet. I also buy three bars of soap
    there for $1.

    ~ I find making your own bread to be so profitable. It's healthier and
    cheaper. I pop my ingredients into the bread machine and then let it rise
    in there. Then I shape it into a pan, let it rise again, and pop it into
    the oven. I can't even buy good quality bread marked down 1/2 price
    cheaper and better than I can make it. So I make it all week. Today we're
    making two pizzas, and I have a whole wheat bread rising in the machine.
    Yesterday I made two whole wheat french breads. It's just my Uncle
    Raymond's Wheat bread (on the website) formed into two french loaves and
    baked at 425 for 20 minutes after rising. Brady told me he loved it last
    night. So glad! I also have a dough of tortillas ready on the counter for
    rolling out and frying up. I have been watching tortillas go up in price,
    and it is just so good to know how to make them yourself. I can make them
    for a fraction of the cost in the store. Again, the recipe is at the

    ~ We make a pot of pinto beans about two times a week in the crock pot.
    (You know where the recipe is!) Then we refry them and use them in many
    recipes. It's very inexpensive and so good! Especially with a homemade
    tortilla, a little cheese, a little diced onion, oh, what a lunch!

    ~ I find that the more organized I am, the more I save. So, even though
    this is not something that comes natural to me, I keep trying to change
    my habits to save time and money. So when I step out to do my shopping,
    my list is all ready. I know where I am buying what, and how much I will
    be spending at each store (roughly). I do all my organizing before I shop
    the day before. It's so nice to know exactly what I need and where I'm
    going to get it at the best possible price within my budget. The verse
    from Proverbs 31 that spurs me on is, "She is like the merchant ships,
    she gets her food from afar." She isn't like just one merchant ship, but
    like many merchant ships. It sure takes a lot of prayer and practice! I
    am still learning so much.

    ~ I read somewhere that someone said, "Coupons are like money, treat
    them that way." I do. They help me save money here and there. Last night
    I saved $13.73 with coupons, and my total bill for the week for
    food/cleaners/paper was $69, which is $41 under budget.

    ~ I've been asked to share some of my evening menus again, so here is
    what we've had for the past week or so. The recipes are on our website:

    Tonight we're having Pub Stew with Uncle Raymond's Wheat bread.

    Yesterday we had Spaghetti Lasagna, salad, and french bread.

    The night before that we had Simmered Chinese Chicken over rice with peas
    and onions.

    Then we had Mexican Sloppy Joes with sour cream, shredded cheese, and
    onions over homemade wheat rolls.

    We had Mushroom Barley Soup, salad, and bread.

    We had New England Clam Chowder, salad, and french bread.

    We had Caldo Verde, homemade tortillas, salmon spread

    Here are a few new recipes for you:

    Salmon Spread

    1 can salmon drained and deboned
    1/2 c. sour cream
    2 T. diced green onions
    Juice and zest of one lemon
    1 t. dill
    1/2 t. salt

    Mix in a bowl and serve over break or crackers. Art really liked this.

    Chunky Turkey Salad

    1 c. sour cream
    1 c. mayonnaise
    4 c. chopped turkey
    1 c. chopped green onion
    1 c. chopped celery
    1 c. chopped walnuts
    1/2 t. pepper
    1/2 t. salt

    Mix in a bowl and store in fridge.

    I plan on making this next week as I'm having a turkey for Sunday
    dinner! It is delicious in a homemade crescent roll.

    Art doesn't favor too much pasta, but he liked this recipe a lot!

    Fettucini Alfredo

    3 T. butter
    8 mushrooms sliced

    Saute 2 or 3 minutes.

    1 c. cream
    1 egg yolk
    1/2 c. parmesan
    1/8 t. salt
    Dash pepper and nutmeg

    Whisk together and then whisk into the mushrooms, heat slowly until 160
    degrees or thickened. Take off the heat and toss in hot, cooked pasta.

    "Fried" Chicken

    1 c. cornflake crumbs
    1 T. paprika
    salt and pepper to taste
    1 t. garlic powder
    pinch cayenne

    Mix in a bowl.

    2 eggs lightly beaten

    Mix in another bowl.

    Dip one cut up chicken into egg mix, then into crumbs. Put on a cookie
    sheet and drizzle a bit of melted butter over each piece (about 1/4 c.
    melted butter). Cook at 400 for 30 minutes, then 350 for 30 minutes.

    I found a pork loin at half the normal price, so I made this one Sunday.
    It was delicious!

    Pork Loin Roast

    Brush roast with Dijon mustard, diced garlic, fresh rosemary and onions
    all over. Put on a rack in a roasting pan. Cook at 350 for 20 minutes and
    then 300 for 1-1 1/2 hours until a thermometer registers 145 degrees.
    Remove from oven, cover, and let rest 10 minutes before slicing.


    Gabe made this for us all one morning.

    Delicious Frittata

    2 T. butter
    1 onion chopped
    1 t. salt
    1/2 t. pepper

    Saute five minutes in a nonstick skillet. (You can do any type of

    1/4 milk
    8 eggs
    1 t. thyme
    1 c. ham or bacon cooked (opt.)
    1 c. shredded cheese

    Mix in a bowl and add to above with 1 T. butter. Cook until set and broil
    one minute until light brown. Turn over onto a plate, or serve directly
    from pan.


    Barefoot Contessa's Hashbrowns

    5 T. melted butter
    1 1/2 lbs. diced potatoes
    1 onion chopped
    2 garlics chopped
    salt and pepper

    Saute 5 minutes before stirring, stir and cook 10-15 minutes more until
    nice and brown.

    My friend, Diane, just gave me this recipe. We love it!

    Diane's Granola

    9 c. oats
    1 c. coconut
    1/2 c. nuts (we used walnuts, she uses sliced almonds)
    1 T. cinnamon

    Toss in a big bowl.

    1 1/8 honey
    1 c. water
    1/4 c. oil
    1 T. vanilla
    1 t. salt

    Heat to a boil, then toss with dry ingredients. Bake on a cookie sheet at
    350 for 20 minutes, flip oats around and cook 10-15 minutes more. Serve
    with dried raisins, dates, or dried cranberries.

    Here's a recipe I developed some time ago. I love whipping these up for
    the kids.

    Cocoa Cupcakes

    1 2/3 c. flour
    1 c. brown sugar
    1/2 c. cocoa
    1 t. baking soda
    1 t. baking powder
    1/2 t. salt

    Mix in a bowl.

    1/2 c. milk
    1/2 c. water
    1/3 c. oil
    1/2 t. vanilla
    1 egg

    Mix in another bowl, and add to above.

    Put in greased muffin tins and bake at 350 for 20 minutes.

    This recipe is great for when you don't have any butter.

    Chocolate Cookies

    1 1/2 t. vanilla
    1/3 c. oil
    3/4 brown sugar
    1 egg

    Mix in a bowl.

    1 1/4 c. flour
    3 T. cocoa
    1 1/2 t. baking powder
    1/4 t. baking soda

    Mix and add to above. Stir in 1/2 c. nuts and 1/2 c. raisins or chocolate
    chips. Bake at 400 for 8-10 minutes.

    My mom always made these, and I love them!

    Best Baked Custards

    3 eggs
    1/3 c. sugar
    1 t. vanilla
    pinch of salt
    2 1/2 c. scalded milk

    Mix in a bowl and pour into custard cups. Sprinkle each with nutmeg. Put
    the cups into a 13x9 pan and fill the pan up to half way to the custard
    cups with hot water. (Bain marie.) Bake at 350 for 45 minutes. You can
    heat hot or cold. We like them both ways.

    God bless you all! I hope you have such a lovely day. Don't forget to get
    into the Word and prayer every day!


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  2. #2
    Master Dollar Stretcher
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    Hi Kim,
    I was so thrilled to find her letter in my IN box yesterday also. Keeping her and her family in my prayers that they will have their new baby soon and for her MIL, dog and for her boys safety.

  3. #3
    Registered User Early Bird's Avatar
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    I really enjoy Laine's letters. When I'm discouraged, I go to her website and read back issues.

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  5. #4
    Registered User Layne's Avatar
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    QuilterMom, thankyou for posting this. I went to the website link you had and read some of her past letters also. Such an inspiring woman.


  6. #5
    Registered User COUNTRYBUMPKIN's Avatar
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    I love her letters too, and look forward to reading them. Tahnk you for posting this one Kim

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