Friday, June 01, 2007
It is always fun to get together with friends and family in the summer. It doesn't have to cost a lot to host a BBQ at your home. Our main menu is pretty simple and usually consists of potato salad (inexpensive if made at home, homemade baked or slow cooked beans, and hot dogs and or hamburgers. I usually make the salad and beans the day before if I can. I let guests bring a dish if they offer, such as fruit or chips. Lemonade is an inexpensive beverage. An even healthier option is just to add lemon or limes to ice water. It looks really pretty in a glass carafe. For dessert my favorite is strawberry shortcake. If you pick your own strawberries and make your own shortcake it isn't too expensive. Popsicles are a fun alternative. Have the kids make their own from juice. For cute and reusable summer dinner ware check JoAnne Fabrics if you have one in your area. They often mark things way down around the 4th of July.
If you don't want to host at home, why not invite other families to a nearby park? Maybe for a dessert potluck instead of a full meal.
There are many ways to show hospitality with out wearing ourselves out or costing a lot. I have been shown the best hospitality by people who don't have a lot of material things but do have a lot of love. The important part is hospitality and fellowship.
Check out more Frugal Friday ideas here.
Our vegetable garden (Square Foot method)
Our flower garden in the front of the house. We removed the all the grass in front last year to cut back on mowing. It's strange, but both my husband and I would rather weed by hand than mow the a lawn.
Monday, May 28, 2007
I have the secret to great boiled eggs. You probably do too. But in case you don't, I would like to share this secret. My family and I were blessed when I was given this information by a dear friend. No more green, rubbery centers for our boiled eggs. I think this is definite Titus 2 knowledge.
Put eggs in pot and cover with water. Add a little salt to help keep shells from cracking. Bring to boil. When water boils, turn off burner and cover with lid. Set timer for 20 minutes. When timers goes off, remove eggs from heat and rinse with cold water. Voila! As near as perfect boiled egg as you can get.
Now I shall go and make egg salad sandwiches for all (all of my family that is).
Saturday, May 26, 2007
Watch out if you are on a diet and do not proceed to next blog: cupcakeblog. Y-U-M-M-Y! I think this will be my new summer project. Baking and tasting new cupcake creations. Wow!
Saturday, May 19, 2007
Thursday, May 17, 2007
We are also looking at ways to cut our budget back a bit more for a while to catch up in some other financial areas and canceling the Internet may be an option. Anyone blog with free dial-up connection? How's that for you?
So, I may or may not blog very much this summer. We will just have to see how it goes. Now....I am off to go weed the garden.
Saturday, May 12, 2007
Wednesday, May 09, 2007
All mothers have a peculiar place in the divine economy. Who can tell the far-reaching effects of a godly mother's prayers, counsel, and example? The most hardened men melt when reminded of a good mother, no matter how far they have strayed from her precepts.-H.A. Ironside
Monday, May 07, 2007
1. Dog hair is the bane of my existence. We have a long haired, big, black dog. I need to vaccuum twice a day if I don't want to see dog hair balled up on the floor. I vacuum once at least so it doesn't end up in our food. My second bane is my son's hermit crab that tries to escape from his cage nightly.
2. These days I get joy from watching my 18 month old little guy wearing snow boots around the house that are about 10 sizes too big. Especially if he is in just his diaper and the snow boots.
3. I have a hard time being crafty/arsty and talking at the same time. So if I go to parties that involve a craft I usually have to choose whether I will be social or do a project.
4. I love drinking ice water out of a Nalgene bottle. It tastes better to me than out of a glass and when I finish a whole bottle I feel that I have accomplished something.
5. I love to read. I usually read a book too quick and forget many facts. Lately I have joined with other ladies for book clubs. I alway feel dumb after we get together because I can't remember all the details that they do. I usually just remember the emotional things that happen.
6. I love to garden and see plants and flower produce. It is like giving birth (without the screaming) to see the fruits of my labor. However, when August comes I like things to be on cruise control in the garden because I am usually burned out putting work into it.
7. I love to be able to share my faith with others, but is scares me something fierce. When I want to share about Christ with non-believers I usually get real light headed because I take shallow breaths and and even start to shake a little.
I am going to tag Kristine at MamaArcher's blog. Visit her to see what she posts.
Friday, May 04, 2007
I recently was made aware of the idea of pant extenders for those first few months of "not quite big enough for maternity pants....not wearing my normal jeans". Maybe everyone else already new about this. It would save money on buying in between maternity pants. I heard they where at Motherhood but I also found this site. Not quite as frugal as I like....Hey, I bet I could make my own! For more Frugal Friday visit Biblical Womanhood.
Thursday, May 03, 2007
So I just have to remind myself to take baby steps and not get scared off because we all have to start somewhere, right?
Wednesday, May 02, 2007
This week at Rocks In My Dryer it is WFMW Birthday Edition. So I started to think of any different birthday things I have done in the past.
When my son turned 4 and we started having a few friends at parties, we asked the friends to bring a picture/drawing for a birthday present. I included a photo of my son in the invitation that they could use to incorporate into their artwork, sort of a mix media thing. I took the artwork and put it into a 3 ring binder along with photos of the party. I wrote a letter to my son about the year he just completed and looking forward to the adventures he would have the next year. It became a Birthday Book that he enjoys looking at still. I intended to do this more, but we all know about good intentions.......
Tuesday, May 01, 2007
I love this verse. He has blessed me many times with the desires of my heart. I just want to share what desires He has blessed me with lately. I have had a great deal of spring fever lately. I always feel a little couped up after winter and combine that with the sickness of the early weeks of pregnancy,chasing a busy 18 month old around and trying to keep reign on my 6 and 7 year old's "spring fever", I have had the desire for a little retreat.
A good friend of mine just recently went on a cruise and when I saw
her photos I just wanted to be where she was, on a beach, next to a pool, in the sunshine. A cruise is probably not going to happen anytime soon and logistically I just don't think I could tackle that type of retreat. I have been praying for some fun and refreshment around home though. This past week the Lord has really answered my prayers. I feel as if He has planned a retreat for me with all my needs in mind.
Last Thursday I had the opportunity to attend a fundraiser for the local pro-life pregnancy center because the church I attend was hosting a table. It was at a beautiful hotel with a wonderful luncheon. The best part was to get to listen to the speakers. I love mothering and homemaking, but sometimes my head gets so involved in home life that I miss the opportunity to be challenged about putting my faith into action in other ways as well. It was refreshing to hear what is happening nationally in the pro-life arena and locally in our city as well. I walked away challenged and refreshed.
Friday our homeschool support group planned a field trip at a wildlife refuge. I haven't been hiking in nature for a while. I got to be refreshed in God's creation.
Saturday I took the kids to a local museum where they had a dinosaur exhibit and lots of activities for the kids. This was fun for all of us. While I was there, I saw an old friend. We where talking about how she was involved with a benefit art night for a local community project we had both been involved in. I had made the comment that I had received the invitation but do to budget cut backs (ha,ha) couldn't go. She told me that her mother in law had said that if she new anyone who couldn't afford to attend, that she would love to buy their ticket. I was that person. That night I went to a lovely art night where artists helped the attendees make art. There were wonderful desserts and gourmet snacks. I got to sit for 2 1/2 hours designing gourds, making prints, and refreshing my creative side.
On Sunday at church a friend invited me to go with her (as her guest)
next Monday to a Homeschooling mothers "Oasis" (as the invitation reads). It is hosted by a veteran homeschooling mom. She is an author and has arranged for a one day retreat to talk about homeschool encouragement and a chance to get a little crafty. My in-laws even said they would babysit for the day! I will get a chance to refresh in my job at homeschooling.
Tonight I get to go to coffee with a couple of ladies from my small group at church. We are all reading the book by Sharon James titled Elizabeth Prentiss: More Love To Thee (a great read). I will get a chance to refresh in discussion of spiritual things.
As I write this, I am so teary eyed just to know how well God knows my heart and exactly what I need. It is so perfectly balanced. From spiritual/political battles that I am passionate about,nature, art, friends, and homeschooling. I couldn't have planned a better retreat for myself. Where could I have gone to get all those topics in one place? And the best part is...I don't have to leave my family for an extended amount of time. When we delight in the Lord, He takes care of us in many ways.
Friday, April 27, 2007
Five years ago I bought a Yogourmet Yogurt Maker to make my own yogurt. I like our family to eat organic yogurt when possible, and to buy a quart container can cost $3.50 or more. It is hard to find on sale as well. To buy a gallon of organic milk costs me $5.00. So If I am doing my math right, (it is early so I am probably messing this up, but I think it is right) a quart of yogurt costs me $1.25 to make from buying my own milk. It actually costs a little more because I add non-instant milk powder to thicken it. It is good, it tastes like Greek Yogurt, nice and thick and creamy.
When I got the Yogourmet maker is costs me $40 new. I think I saved that in the first 8 months or so. Another great feature is that I don't have to worry about how to recycle all those extra containers (we eat a lot of yogurt). For more Frugal Friday visit Biblical Womanhood.
Thursday, April 26, 2007
This past Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, pastor C.J. Mahaney addressed this issue on Family Life in a series called The Soul of Modesty. It was eye opening. Also, a good friend of mine sent me this link to Rebelution survey about modesty that was also very informing. I encourage ladies to check it out.
One thing I never thought of was that it is a stumbling block for men when women wear straps from their purses across their body and the strap falls between their chest and accentuates their feminine body parts. See, God made men different. (Hallelujah!)
This is one of those things you can look past and get over, but it will, if only for an instant, draw bad attention. It kinda runs along the lines of, 'Light bulb! There's a chest. Alright, get over it, you idiot. She's just wearing a bag with a strap.' At which point you get over it, but often feel a little embarrassed, especially with girls you know because you realise that you've just noticed/thought about their chest. If they, or someone else asked you about it - and you were honest - you'd have to admit that.-From a participant in the Rebelution Survey
Oh, and if you think modesty can't be fashionable, please check out Rebecca's blog at The Space Between My Peers.
Wednesday, April 25, 2007
I created a system for rewards around our house. I use it mostly for homeschooling, but incorporate at other times when I see fit. We call it "diligence dollars". I printed out a small business card size of paper with the title "diligence dollars" and under that included the verse of Proverbs 12:27 "diligence is man's precious possession". When they have showed diligence in completing their schoolwork, they receive one. When they have saved five, they get to "buy" something from a goody basket. It is usually filled with sugar free gum, juice boxes, granola bars, stickers and other small items. They usually have a chance to earn five a day.
We were having some whining issues about doing some things they were not to eager to do (ie: math worksheets and handwriting). This helped to give them incentive to not whine and show a positive character quality. It worked for me! For more Works For Me Wednesday go to Rocks In My Dryer.
Tuesday, April 24, 2007
All I can think of right now are how some of the thoughts and questions he poses might relate to school/social violence such that we have just witnessed recently as well of others in the past.
Any thought from anyone else who has read it?
I will try to get my thoughts in some what working order and attempt to post them later. Not to victimize criminals, but namely does the institution of education bind people into such a labeled box that they act out in horrific ways?
Monday, April 23, 2007
When I really think about it though, I am glad I miss my husband. I am glad something seems like it is missing when he is not home. I am glad that after 10 years, 8 hours away from him can seem like forever. I am glad that when he pulls up to the house after work, whatever difficulties that happened today will seem miles away. Thank you Lord for my husband.
Thursday, April 19, 2007
My Frugal Friday post is similar to Crystal's at Biblical Womanhood.
For approximately 9 years I have wanted to have a KitchenAid Stand Mixer. Every time my husband says "Why don't you go buy one" (Which has happened about three times, because only about three times have we had the extra money to even think about it in the past nine years), I have gone to the store, looked again at the price, and thought "I just can't do it. That is a lotta dough to spend for mixing dough."
Well yesterday my husband came home from work carrying a white KitchenAid Stand Mixer. I was shocked. It turns out that a woman who lives where he works wanted to get rid of it because it was too heavy for her to use. She said he could have it, so he brought it home to me, in perfect condition. God is good. Some people don't think He is in the details such as these, but I know He is. I know in times of trouble and pain He answers even greater desires of our hearts, but I think He worthy to be praised for the small ones too. Nine years is definitely worth the wait to see Him provide a gift like that.
So my frugal tip is, if you can wait, you might end up getting it free! For more tips you don't have to wait for, go to Biblical Womanhood.
I took an online quiz that now I am sure was only to get me to release my e-mail so they can send me major junk mail. I answered all the questions and waited patiently for the results to be in. I checked it this morning and it announced that I was a zen mom. The type that when chaos ensues I keep my cool and let the waves of confusion pass by. HA, HA! Could you here me laugh in Minnesota? I am so not a zen mom. Sometimes during moments of chaos I do go to my "happy place" but only out of pure survival instinct.
Where do they get this stuff? Maybe because I checked that the only full hour of TV I watch is the News Hour with Jim Lehrer. That is only because one way I like to release stress is by having arguments with the TV when the subjects have a liberal slant. That is not zen!
Wednesday, April 18, 2007
This will be a Works For Me Wednesday post. I have not done one yet and feel like probably no one will read it as I will be like the 8 thousanth contributor.
What works for me is sharing cooking with friends. Two other friends and I rotate cooking on Thursdays (usually). When it is my week to cook, I cook three of the exact same meals and deliver one to each of my friends. When it is not my week to cook, I recieve a home cooked meal that I did not have to cook!!! (Or have to give birth to recieve). We use to do it three times a week, each of us taking a specific day. Our families have grown and found it easier to do it once a week. It is fun to try new recipes and I found that it made us not desire to go out to eat. The yummy meals where coming to us!!!
Friends that like to cook for eachother works for me!!! See more Works For Me Wednesday at Rocks in My Dryer.
Monday, April 16, 2007
For some reason I seem to get the gumption (and time) to sharpen my bean on theological matters after everyone is in bed. Then I go to bed with my head all a scramble of ideas and wake up continually thru the night trying to reconcile the thoughts mix mashing around.
Well, last night I visited the Friends of Missional website and visited some blogs linked there, and that is what got me thinking.
One blog that I visited had a post that was critical of Reformed Theology. His thought was that "reformers" have grown complacent in their beleif of being saved by Grace alone and no longer do good works because, well, good works don't save you. I made a comment that it was our "cushy American Culture" that was to blame and not Reformed Theology. But I think I was overgeneralizing there as well. My thoughts this morning are two point (mainly because my children will wake up soon, so there is no point to point out more than two points).
1. God has given each member of the body different gifts. I think that flavors how each person and each Local Church looks. We can not generalize because we can not know what each persons gifts are. Sometimes I have gotten upset because "so and so doesn't care about the poor". I can't say for sure that they don't care about the poor, they might, but their gift might be to encourage and pray for leadership and they are being faithful to do that fully so caring for the poor is not evident in their works. Just because I don't see them helping out the homeless does not mean they are not involved in good works. God has made the Local Church and we must be obediant as to what he has called each one of us to do. (On a side note, have you ever thought about or looked into how much money international missions recieves from American churches. This could not happen if America was not so prosperous and those who were called to, where not so faithful in giving.)
2. Reformed theology does teach to do good works.....It just emphasizes that we are saved by Grace alone and not by good works. Anyone who is spending time in the word and being transformed daily into to likeness of Christ will show good works as a fruit. This is my big point: It is not theology or methodology that gives true fruit, it is the transforming relationship with Jesus.
The church we attend could be called reformed (I prefer to call it Biblical. Because we seek to apply the truth of the Bible to our lives.) Yesterday they celebrated their 5th Anniversery. (Hooray! I hear that 80% of church plants fail.) The pastor was preaching on our mission as the Local Church. He said our church goal was to "Preach the Word, apply the Word, Export the Word." I am paraphrasing the rest now.....We have to hear the word first from the Bible to hear the truth, apply the Word to our life to be changed, export the Word by sharing the life changing Truth that is evident in our life to others. And if you read and apply the book of James, you will see how important good works are. Well not only James, but I have to sum stuff up here. So my point is the works we display ought to be evident because of the fruit we have because of the life changing effect God's Grace has on us when we are faithful to walk in His Grace (no matter your theology).
And the beauty of being involved in the Local Church is that we can spur one another on to good works. I think this young man who got me thinking might have the gift to spur others on to good works.
Okay, I am loosing any cohesiveness to my thoughts now.....must go have more tea.
Sunday, April 15, 2007
It really helped me feel like I got something done, with realistic expectations. I was so encouraged by a post at Organized Junkie. She interviewed Sheila Wray Gregoire about her new book on Wednesday, April 11. You can see it here. The best quote from Sheila Wray Gregoire is.....
Let it go! God gave you your home for only one purpose: to be a place of ministry where people will grow to be more like Him. That means your home is a training ground for your kids for your kids to learn how to clean, even if it’s not as clean as you would like! It’s more important for them to be trying than for everything to be perfect! That means you have to feel at ease if the kids have friends over, without worrying about all the crumbs. That means you have to be able to relax with your husband at night, without glancing at your bedroom walls and wondering when the last time you wiped them down was. It is more important to have a comfortable home where people can talk, bond, and pray than to have a house that is a showpiece where people are scared of incurring your wrath by messing something up. And you will never feel comfortable at home if you’re aiming for perfect, either! You’ll always feel like a failure, and I really don’t think God meant for us to torture ourselves like that. It wastes an awful lot of energy.
I am going to paste this to by bathroom mirror so I see it every morning!!!
Saturday, April 14, 2007
compare myself with these lovely ladies of bloggity land. It is generally never good to compare in any situation, but this crisis got even worse I believe because I was comparing myself and home to people who aren't in the same season of life of me and who may not have the same priorities as me. Like I said, they were good blogs on organizing and making my home beautiful. However those things look a lot different for me while I am pregnant,have a toddler, homeshool, and try to live below 30,000 dollars a year for a family of 5 1/2, than someone who no longer has children at home or a family of 3 with a larger income and children who attend school away from home.
So I fell victim (or more the truth...sinfully walked into the chaos of comparison and coveting).
I thought I was not "perfect" enough and justified it by denying my discontentment and by calling it noncomplacancy. The truth is I will always be far from perfect.....far, far,far,far, far.....and contentment is not complacancy. So at the end of the week of mental chaos and crying because of my frustration of comparing myself to women who I only see a snippet of their life on my computer screen...I prayed. It was hard. I confessed to God of my discontentment and asked Him to help me see the truth. It was beautiful. He answered. It wasn't immediately, but close. Two hours later I once again felt at peace and full of thanks for the life He has chosen for me. I am thankful for my not quite finished home with expand a foam for accent decoration, for my children and their creativity that comes with a little clutter, and my husband who can fix anything and does so all day at work, so I won't demand that he do it at home when he is tired. There is still hope of the continuation of decluttering, organizing, and making my home beautiful, but it is a continuing process. . I cannot clean for a lifetime, or even for the next day, today. Clutter is sort of like manna, it will be there everyday. I just have to collect it for that day and put it in the right receptacle.
So I am back visiting frugal friends and it helps to hang out with people in the same boat,so to speak, as me. It gives me information that I can use right now in my life. There is a great frugal blogroll that I hope to figure out how to get on soon. I will call one of my close by fugal friends to help me figure out how to link there. Long live frugal friends!!
Sunday, March 04, 2007
The average American, let alone the average Christian, does not believe that God is sovereign. The Washington Times reporting on a Harris Poll, notes:
"Twenty-seven percent of Catholics said God "controls what happens on Earth," compared with 41 percent among Protestants and 57 percent among Born-Agains. Forty-four percent said God "observes but does not control" what happens here. That figure rises to 58 percent among Catholics, but falls to 37 percent among Born-Agains."
 Washington Times, "Americans Believe in God with Conditions," Jennifer Harper, Nov 12, 2006
This was a poll that was stated in the sermon today at Church. It was into relation to what God allowed the Assyrians to do to Israel as we are reading in Isaiah. The text in Isaiah 10 is about Israel fearing Assyria and not God. They did not trust God and did not believe that He was in control.
God used the Assyrians to judge Israel for His purpose. God is sovereign and causes or allows all things to happen. God is in control. Whatever happens in my life has been allowed by God for His purpose for my life. The verse so many of us know here is Romans 8:28 "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." This is so true. All things. How many times do I need to get that into my head. Everything that happens in this world is part of His greater plan and when we can except this with thanksgiving, not always understanding yet trusting, we will have much more peace.