Wacky Cake

wacky cake

I grew up with this recipe. When the chickens were not producing eggs, this is the cake my mom baked. It has no eggs and no butter and no milk and that is why it’s called Wacky, but it is oh so yummy.

You won’t be messing up a bowl or your mixer for this one. All you need is a 9 by 12 pan, a spatula and your measuring cups and spoons.

Mix up all the dry ingredients in your 9 by 12 pan. While you are mixing them go ahead and preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

wacky cake mixing

Now make 3 holes in your dry ingredients 2 small and one large. Pour in the vinegar in one, the vanilla in another, and in the large one the oil.

wacky cake after you pour on water

Then pour 2 cups of warm water over it all, and stir it all up until it is well mixed. Make sure to really get into the corners of the pan. Then place it in the oven for 30 minutes at 350 degrees.

baked wacky cake

This will be the end result. Which is yummy by itself BUT……

iced wacky cake

It is even better with my chocolate truffle icing or for a vegan friendly icing you could try this recipe that uses coconut milk.

easter cupcakesThis recipe also makes 12 delicious giant cupcakes!


Wacky Cake (Vegan Friendly)
 
Ingredients
  • 3 cups unbleached flour (white wheat would work too)
  • 1tsp soda
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 10 tablespoons cocoa
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tablespoons white vinegar
  • 10 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 cups warm water
Instructions
  1. mix all the dry ingredients into your 9 x13 pan
  2. make 3 holes in the dry ingredients
  3. add vinegar to one hole
  4. add oil to the second hole
  5. add vanilla to the third hole
  6. Pour 2 cups warm water over the entire pan.
  7. mix ingredients well.
  8. Place in preheated oven of 350 degrees for 30 minutes

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Inching from Indifference:Part 4:Too Many Goals

I am a big fan of “To Do” lists and goal setting. I believe in the saying “if you aim for nothing you will hit it every time”, and I want my time here on this earth to have amounted to something.

Unfortunately I have not yet mastered, that a day only has 24 hours, and in those 24 hours I have to make time to sleep and eat, and spend time building relationships with the ones I love.

See that “To Do” list pictured above I believe if I remember rightly that day my to do list had 24 items on it to complete over the course of one day.My New Years Resolution list isn’t much better it has 4 different sub titles and under each sub title there are about 10 points per area.

If I could sum up my goal setting down fall in two words it would be, overly ambitious.

My brain contains more ideas than time. It thinks up ideas in the shower, while running, while eating, while grocery shopping, while doing pretty much anything.

I am however making improvements with the help of various other bloggers who I admire, and their very helpful “how to” articles,  on goal setting, as well as listing their “to do” list for the world to see.

I now glance at my calender before I write out my daily to do list. I first write down appointments, children’s activities. I take note as to what my hubby is doing that day, and how I might be able to spend time with him or help him. I figure out what workout I want to do that day and where it will fit. I also added in homeschooling. Then with the time left I try to be realistic at what I can get done.

I am still way off the mark most days, but I am improving inch by inch.

Inching from Indifference:Part 3: Technical Savvy

I often wonder why God would lay it on my heart  to start writing a blog for the general public.

This is the gal who has managed to change her beloved i-touch from her content to her husbands content, and in order to undo her accidental act ended up having to erase her i-touch to factory condition.

This is the gal who just last summer got a cell phone on which she can send a text to people at rapid speed compared to her old flip phone where she simply called back whoever texted her, since it was just faster.

This is the gal who for a year would call for her children when she wanted to watch Netflix on the Wii.

This is the gal who got a new camera for Christmas but just now realized it needs a memory card to take pictures.

This is the gal who called her friend from Staples to ask what memory card she needed for said camera. Turns out, most cameras take the same style card (I know that now).

This is  the gal who is still taking pictures with her i-touch and then uploading them to Facebook and then downloading them to her computer and then up to her blog, because she has yet to get up the nerve to take  the time to figuring out how to do it with her new camera.

Yet, I do have a blog, an i-touch and a new camera, and I am willing to learn. I might be slow learning, I might make mistakes, but I am learning.

How about you, are you technically savvy? Can you learn how to operate new gadgets at lightening speed? Or are you like me, just inching forward one inch at a time?

Thankful for the Power of my Legs

I love training for marathons, more than I enjoy the actual race day.

Why? because in my long training runs, I grow closer to God.  Out there on the roads the distractions of the day, melt away and my pride crumbles as I put one sweaty foot in front of the other for miles and miles. My world, becomes silent, its just me, my feet, and my God.

Like two close friends we chat away the miles. Sometimes I talk, and He listens and sometimes He talks, and I listen. Sometimes I praise Him for all He has done, other times He encourages me to keep pressing on.

It is because of this close time of intimate fellowship with My God that I am so thankful for the set of strong able legs He has given me. Legs that can run to him and with him. Thank you Lord for my legs.

 

Inching from Indifference:Part 2:Gardening

My Dad has a green thumb. My Grandad had a green thumb. My Grandma has a green thumb. So what happened to me? That’s  the line of questioning I ask myself every August, when the garden I planted in spring should be flourishing in bright shades of green but instead it is various shades of brown.

It starts off well. With a list and a plan. With strong green baby plants from  the nursery. Like the ones in this picture.But by fall it usually ends up looking like this garden.

In which, the only things that are green are actually weeds, and nothing that I originally planted.

You see in spring my ideas are new and fresh, long forgotten is the summer of yesteryear. Then summer hits, and the swimming pools call, camping trips beckon, long bike rides whisper and then next thing I know the garden is deadly silent from great neglect.

I refuse to give up. Each year I pull out the weeds, I make a new plan and I inch forward with it. I got some fruit for my efforts this year. like this little cumber in this picture that managed to survive in the weeds.

But for the most part, the gardening season ends with me shaking my head in defeat and asking the children to go and rip out what is left while I return to my favorite line of questioning. My Dad has a green thumb. My Grandad had a green thumb. My Grandma has a green thumb. What happened to me?

 

Two is better than One

My family loves the taste of homemade rolls, bread, hamburger buns, pretzels, bread sticks, pizza dough, pretzels and cinnamon rolls.

Making them from scratch not only tastes better but it saves our family money.

I however don’t have the time to do it all by hand. So when I discovered the power of the dough setting on my $10 yard sale found bread machine I feel in love with it.

I soon found a problem though. One bread machine makes dough just enough for one batch, and with five mouths to feed, I had my bread machine working over time to produce enough bread products to meet our needs.

So when I eyed a second bread machine for just $15, I snatched it up. I knew I had a perfect spot to keep it.

Now I can whip up two batches of pizza dough, or hamburger buns, and cook them up at once. This saves me money, as I am heating the oven only once.

I can serve up one loaf of bread that day, and freeze another for later in the week. Freeing up my time to take care of the millions of other things on my “To Do” list.

How about you? Have you found a way to make the “Two is better than One” principle work for you?

This post is linked to, WFMW at We are That Family and Frugal Fridays at LifeAsMOM

Simplest Fudge Ever

simplest fudge ever only 2 ingredients I got this recipe off a college roommate almost 20 years ago. It has been my go to fudge recipe since the day I got it. It is simple to make using simple ingredients. I often refer to it as my 3 minute fudge, as it now takes me about that long to prepare it.

You will need, a microwave safe bowl, a mixing spoon, and a 9 by 9 pan lined with slightly greased wax paper and a kitchen spatula and a wooden spoon.

Ingredients: 3 cups Chocolate Chips, 1 (14 oz) can of sweetened condensed milk.

Place the 3 cups chocolate chips in the microwave safe bowl. Cover with sweetened condensed milk. Stir.

Place in microwave at medium heat setting for 1 minute. Take out and stir. Place in microwave one more minute. Take out and stir. Place in microwave a minute more. Take out and Stir.

At this point all the chocolate chips should be melted (if not try 30 seconds more in the microwave).

Using a kitchen spatula scrape the contents of the glass bowl into the lined 9 by 9 pan, and then smooth out the top of it.

Place the pan in the fridge for about an hour or so. Then using the wax paper, pull the now set fudge out of the pan and place it on a cutting board. Remove the wax paper and then cut into squares.

If you want to make it fancy, you can crush peppermint candies and gently push them into to top of the fudge before you let it set in the fridge. Or just before placing the fudge in the pan to set, stir in marshmallows, crushed nuts, or crumbled cookies. The variations one could invent are endless.

Simplest Fudge Ever
 
Ingredients
  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk
  • 3 cups semi sweet chocolate chips
Instructions
  1. Place the chocolate chips in a microwave safe bowl
  2. Cover with the sweetened condensed milk
  3. Place mixture in microwave for 1 minute on med to high.
  4. Take out and stir
  5. Microwave 1 more minute
  6. Take out and stir
  7. Microwave 1 more minute
  8. Stir and then place the contents into a waxed and greased 8X8 pan
  9. Place in Fridge of Freezer for 1 to 2 hours
  10. Use wax paper to lift fudge out of pan
  11. Take off the wax paper
  12. Cut and serve

 Linked to One Project At A Time,

 

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Inching from Indifference: Part 1: Housecleaning

Last week I told you all about my 6 main passions, and how I plan to share them with you on my blog. I thought that those 6 topics would be the bulk of what I wrote about.

Then God tugged at my heart to open up areas of my life that I am not passionate about.These are areas of my life that I either wish I was better in  or I have  to force myself to care about. These are the areas of my life that often leave me struggling with envy, comparison and defeat. Nonetheless I am trying to inch forward in these areas as  well as those of my passions.

So this week I want to introduce you to my 5 indifference’s, house cleaning, gardening, technical savviness, over ambitious goal setting, and clutter piles.

Today lets jump in to perhaps my biggest indifference; Housecleaning.

Housecleaning has been an issue with me since childhood. My mother all be it great in other areas, was poor in sharing tasks around the house.She showed her love for me by picking up anything I dropped and cleaning up anything I messed up.

Sure I was asked to clean my room an odd time or two, I did do dishes here and there, and once or twice I remember vacuuming, oh and I think I might have dusted furniture one time. In  general however, I did not do household chores with any regularity, and some chores I never did do.

So when I went off to college and was forced by my dorm mates to take a turn cleaning the common bathroom. Well, I was left with a blank stare on my face and this odd looking tool with a brush on the end in my hands.

Luckily I was dating a man (now my husband), that knew what to do. I am sure most people in their courting years do not share the “let me show you how to clean a toilet” date me and my man shared nor have they had the “how to clean a shower” date that followed.

For the most part however, I have learned to clean by simple  trial and error, or asking others with homes I admire envy: how they do it? I have also read those articles in magazines, you know the ones “how to clean any room in just 15 minutes” yeah, they lie, or perhaps they didn’t think about just how bad a state of a room could be before one decides to clean it.

Pictured above is just how bad it can get. This dust bunny was found reproducing under my bedroom dresser, which has long legs that keep the floor well exposed, yet no one bothered to sweep under it for so long, that a bunny of this size had the opportunity to grow.

I took this picture the last time I got hit by the deep clean bug, just before it was annihilated. I try to make the most of those infectious cleaning bugs, I cancel every activity I can and run the infection out. However, I just do not catch them all that often.

I do want to put one thing out there though. My lack of cleanliness does not spread to the kitchen. I keep the kitchen counters scrubbed, the dishes at the very least stacked and waiting for the kids to do (because I am not allowing them to leave home as helpless in the household cleaning department as I did). My fridge, rarely has out of date leftovers in it, and I regularly clean the fridge shelves when they start to appear dirty.

Nope the filth I keep will not make us ill, but it does make me discouraged. I however, know that I can get better at this, I  have inched forward over the years , and I will continue to inch forward.

If housekeeping is also your achilles heel, why don’t you inch forward with me. If it’s not why not help us inching forward. Leave a comment below of what housekeeping strategies have worked best for you.

Many Passions no Perfections: Part 6: Renovating

This is the last of my “Many Passions no Perfections” introduction series. These 6 topics  fitness, frugality, food, homeschooling, crafting, and renovating will be the bulk of what I talk about.

I have other passions such as family, faith, friends and fun but most of those will come out naturally inside my  5 main topics as those passions engulf who I am and leak in to all I do.

So it is with my last main passion; Renovating. Our road to renovating, started with a mixed blessing. My mother passed away in 2007, leaving behind a financial legacy to be split between me and my sister, and also a great hole in my heart that shall never be completely healed.

I wanted to be a wise steward of the money. I knew how hard my mother had worked to leave it for me. I knew how somehow in some odd way, knowing she was blessing my future made her feel just a slight bit better of not seeing it with her own eyes.

So I  prayed and ran it out with God. One day, a run ended with the urge to look up homes on Realtor.com, there I found a home listed for $9,900 in a decent neighborhood of our town.

My husband I immediately set out to look at it. We were not deterred by the ceiling high trash filled rooms. We could see the home as it could be, beautiful and bright, full of friends and afternoons of sipping sweet tea on the big front porch.

With that vision in our minds we bought the home, with the plan of renovating it with my inheritance, moving into it and then fixing our current mortgaged falling apart home, and selling off one of the homes leaving us debt free.

God however, had a different plan. He planned for us to buy the cluttered filled home, but that was just step one, we made up the step two (selling off one), while he kept the second step hidden from us till the  timing was right.

Just as we were putting the finishing touches on house number one, my mom’s mom (my grandmother) passed away. My sister and I received what would have been my mother’s share of the inheritance. Once again, the blessing was tearfully accepted, as my grandmother was a strong vibrant woman who lived life to the fullest into her 90’s. She lived life like I want to, strong to the finish line.

With the second inheritance we were able to pay off our modest mortgage on our original home (remember I live in the town where housing is very low cost). We had just enough left to fix that original home, or so I thought.

God, had other plans. An acquaintance  of my husband needed an inexpensive place to live ASAP. So my hubby let him move into our original home falling down plaster ceilings and all  for just the price of it holding costs (He knew the homes issues before he even approached my husband about renting it). With a renter in our old home we were unable to start renovations. My husband and I were left pondering what to do next.

So I ran it out again with God. I fought Him on what He spoke, until one day I could stand it no longer and sat down to run the numbers to show Him it could not work; but it did.

Sure there was some faith for provision involved but for the most part, on paper the plan I thought was insane in my head looked some what doable.We were no longer selling any homes, we would become landlords of 2 paid for homes, and live in a 3rd paid for home.

So I took, what money I had left and went looking for a home with my husband. We were very particular about the location of the home, in order to attract good renters. Problem was homes in that area were double what money we had, and we did not feel like God wanted us in debt for a rental.

We found a home we felt wouldn’t cost much to get up to rental condition. The bank had it listed for double what we had; but we thought, well might as well make an offer and leave it in God’s hands. God, gave us the house. The bank took one week to respond, saying yes they would take our cash offer.

We spent the next 7 months renovating the home with cash that came in bits and dribbles just as we needed it. Renters moved in just as our original home became vacant, and so we spent the next year and a half renovating that home, and again the money for the renovations came in here and there as we needed it.

We now have both paid in full rental homes rented. The rent money allowed my husband to quit his second job, allowing him to be home more, and be more involved in our children’s schooling, and giving me more time to write. I am sure my mother would love knowing her financial legacy gave her grand children and children such a gift.

In this blog I want to share what my husband and I have learned about renovating. How to renovate inexpensively. When to do it yourself, and when to higher an expert. I will also share stories that have happened to us while renovating. Once again, we are not perfect renovators we simple have a passion for it, and we are inching forward with that passion one inch at a time.

(post update: Since this writing the renters in our originally home moved out and we decided, after much prayer that the home was just too big to be a great rental unit for renters and us as landlords so we sold it. My husband has had to take a second job again although he doesn’t work as many hours as he once did. We used the money from the sale of the home to pay our vehicles off in full and become completely debt free, we also made a comfortable emergency fund and bought a second hand camper trailer to take the children camping more.  It just goes to show you, you can have think you know what God has planned but truth is only He knows the plan, and He reveals it in His timing)

 

 

How To Use Up Lotions In Squeeze Bottles To The Last Drop

(post contains affiliate links see disclosure)

I practice thrifty tips, I use coupons, I thought I was a good example of a frugal queen. Then one morning as I am running on the treadmill at the gym, I saw another frugal queen on TV sharing tips on saving money. I immediately pulled out  my headphones, I was using to listen to my favorite workout tunes  and started listening. Would this queen of frugality  teach me something new?

How to get the very last drop of lotion out of a container like this

She did. With an empty container of moisturizer in one hand and a pair of sharp kitchen scissors in the other she proceeded to cut down the sides of the container and show all the viewers the days worth of product they were throwing away.

supplies used to get the last drop out the container

I was hooked. I couldn’t  barely wait until my suntan lotion got empty enough to try her trick.

cutting a lotion bottle open to get the last drop outWhat I discovered was you need a very sharp pair of scissors to snip into one of these types of containers I used kitchen scissors that are super sharp. First I cut into the top layer and then cut it toward the left and then towards the right of the container.

You won't believe how much product I found in this bottle when I cut it openThen I cut it all the way down the bottle and to again to the sides at the bottom.

The wasted lotion I foundI used a spoon to scoop out the remaining lotion I found inside. There was at least 3 to 4 tablespoons full. The Dolphin Organics Naturals brand of sunscreen goes a very far way so this is enough for several more applications.

This idea works for moisturizer, foundation, face cleanser,  and suntan lotion basically any product that is thick and creamy in nature.

Looking for ways to save money? Follow my Saving Money Tips Board On Pinterest.

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