Friday, April 27, 2007

Frugal Friday - Homemade Yogurt

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


I have tried to be modest since I became a Christian and got married to my husband. (Marriage followed shortly after surrendering my life to Christ.) I can't always say that I have been. The biggest reason that I have not always been modest is that I just don't think like a man. Some things that seem comfortable to me are stumbling blocks for a man trying to keep his way pure. When my husband has pointed such things out, I have to admit of a reluctant attitude because what I was wearing was comfortable or because I felt "cute" in it. But, the truth is, there are so many modest alternatives out there that it just should not be a big deal. Especially because I want to be considerate of others. To give us a better perspective, I think it helps to hear how a man might struggle with these things.
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

Diligence Dollars

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

Underground History of American Education

I have wanted to read John Taylor Gatto's book titled The Underground History of American Education. I just finished the prologue. You can read it free, online, here.

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?

Frugal Homeschooling

If you are a homeschooler and have issues with spending money on curriculum (and I say "issues" because this covers it all). I have "issues". I want too much, and have too little budget. I have to confess one of the reasons I always wanted to homeschool is that I wanted an excuse to buy books. I was blessed this past year when a friend loaned me all of her first grade curriculum that corresponded with A Well Trained Mind. I just purchased some math curriculum and a few odds and ends. However, I always like to remind myself that homeschooling doesn't have to cost a lot. Here is a great series from Lindsey at Finding Contentment In The Suburbs about frugal homeschooling. Check it out.

Monday, April 23, 2007

"I Miss My Husband Monday"

I always miss my husband when he goes to work on Monday. I miss him most other days too, but sometimes Mondays can almost be unbearable. It is wonderful to be able to all be together for so much of the weekend, but then when Mondays come, his absence seems so much greater. I use to be able to get up with him when he got up to get ready for work. We would not talk too much as it was rather early. The hugs and smiles where enough. We would read our Bibles and sometimes comment on something we were reading. Now since I have been pregnant, I have slept in a bit to get some extra sleep, since naps rarely happen. Now I wake up in time to tell him that I love him and I hope that he has a good day,give him a quick hug, and then say good bye. I get up and the house seems so empty without him. I like to sit in his seat to read my Bible just to seem closer to him. I pray for him and pray that the Lord fills my day so it will go by quick until he gets home.

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

Frugal Friday...Wait till it is free

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.

Excuse me? A zen mom?

The results are in. Drum roll please.......I am a zen mom!

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

Sharing Meals With Friends

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

Late Night Theology Gives Me Bad Dreams

Remember how Mom used to say, "Don't eat sweets before bed or you'll have bad dreams."? That goes for Theology too.

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

There is Hope

Yesterday I had the energy to help my 6 yo daughter organize and clean her room. Hallelujah!!!! It was a crazy place in there.
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

Blogging Around With Frugal Friends

I had an identity crisis this week. I was visiting some really good blogs about organizing and home management. I really enjoyed reading them and getting ideas....only I took things a little too far. I started to... gasp....
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!!