Lisa's Homemaking Corner

Lisa's Homemaking Corner

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Our Christmas Menu

We are back to hosting Christmas again! Yay! I think this is the first time hosting Christmas that we are actually running on schedule. LOL! It is also our first time hosting Christmas in this house, so HOPEFULLY, the weather (and/or the road crews) will cooperate so everyone can get here safe and sound. I am praying for all those who are traveling right now, the weather is awful in most places.

I thought I would share this year's Christmas menu. :)

Appetizers: Mexican meatballs, Lil' smokies in bbq sauce, tortilla wraps, chips & dips (including Velveeta & salsa), crackers, bread & spinach dip, and deviled eggs.

Beverages: Coffee, pop, punch, and egg nog.

Main meal: Turkey with wild rice stuffing, mashed potatoes & gravy, candied sweet potatoes, green bean casserole, cranberries, condiment tray (with baby dills, black olives, and pickled beets), and rolls.

Desserts: Pumpkin pie, butterscotch pie, peppermint pie, and apple upside-down gingerbread.

Goodies & treats (these are all done and baked): Sugar cookies, spumoni, Mexican wedding cakes, peanut butter blossoms, ginger cookies, chocolate and peanut butter bars, brickle, chocolate peanut butter bark, holiday bark, mint meringues, candy cane pretzel rods, and pumpkin bread.

The goodies & treats list is actually about half what it has been in the past. Hubby requested that I scale back this year, as due to all the illnesses in the last few months, I didn't get quite the head start I usually do. He knows me too well, and didn't want me to stress myself out trying to "stick to the list." :)

After the New Year, I plan on picking my blogging back up a little more again, starting with getting back to the Proverbs 31 study. :)

Merry CHRISTMAS, everyone!!! Have a blessed and safe time.

Lisa

Monday, November 16, 2009

Proverbs 31 Review 1

11The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil.
12She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life.
13She seeketh wool, and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands.
14She is like the merchants' ships; she bringeth her food from afar.
15She riseth also while it is yet night, and giveth meat to her household, and a portion to her maidens.
Proverbs 31:11-15

The above verses are the characteristics of the Proverbs 31 woman that I have covered so far. Before I move on, I wanted to make sure I've got these down. :) I see one area in particular I've improved greatly in, and that's verse 14. With a little help, of course. Things have been so busy around here lately, I decided to subscribe to Saving Dinner, a menu service I have used before that my family has been very happy with. It has been working swimmingly! In the last month and a half, the only times we've gone out to eat is when we've *wanted* to, as a treat. The meals from these menus are always healthy (they use a ton of fresh produce, and they have kosher options for those of us who don't eat pork or shrimp), and our grocery spending has not changed from before. Plus the meals are GOOD! There was only one I can remember that no one really liked, and that was the next day as leftovers, it was good right after I made it. :) Oh, and they're usually easy to make, and they don't use foods that are too "convenience-y," either. Needless to say, the hubby has been pretty happy with how our meals have been going around here lately, and that's a big praise!

Now, I also see an area I still really need to work on, and that's verse 15. It is *hard* implementing a new sleep schedule! I really need to make this my top priority, as it really sets the whole tone for our day. I'm going to make a point tomorrow of getting the kids to bed on time and then taking a nap and setting the alarm for about 10 minutes before hubby gets home. That way, I can still get some rest, but hubby's not coming home to a drowsy-looking wife, either. :P

So, my Proverbs 31 "project" for this week will be working on a better sleep schedule. Next week, I will move on in the study.

Lisa

Sunday, October 18, 2009

And yet a little while longer...

All I can say is, What a month! I really am going to commence posting soon...as soon as our routine is back to normal. Yikes, we've been going back and forth with illness in this house for about a month now, with it culminating last Thursday (after I had a Wednesday night fever of 106 YIKES!) with a trip to urgent care for our. whole. family. Yes, you heard that right, all five of us waited right on through dinner time for our turn. And then they couldn't take all five at once, so I went in with the baby and hubby went in with the other two boys. We left with hubby having a sinus infection and possible flu, myself having an ear infection (which has since turned double) and possible flu, Vinny our horse being perfectly fine, Andrew with the beginnings of an ear infection and possible flu, and the baby got away with an eye infection and a cold. So we headed on home with our 500 pound bag of prescriptions and are praying for TOTAL healing soon! I wonder how long it will be before we can laugh at this? I guess the fun side was that we were eating dinner when the youngers should have been in bed. Could you call that fun? I think the kids probably could. But I digress...

All that to say, I totally miss blogging and will be back soon, but as I'm getting better, my main priority is to make sure our home is CLEAN and that I'm getting back to cooking our meals. :) At least it will be a good time (at least for ME anyway!) to go back over what I've already worked on in Proverbs 31 and have a refresher week, and get myself back on track there. Although, hopefully, I think I can say besides being able to do meals, I haven't really gotten off track. :)

Anyways...

Lisa

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Colds, apples, and paint, oh my!

Yikes, it's been awhile since I've blogged! I just wanted to let my readers know I'm still here and will be back to my regular blogging shortly. :) We've had a nasty cold sweep through our house (on top of that, the little one's been teething--BACK teeth, ugh!), so that's kept me "busy."

Today, we had our big apple harvest...I know, I know, ONE tree, but it's big for us! LOL! It is a VERY heavy producer, too. And, I found out what kind of apples we have...Haralsons. So, at the moment, I've got another crock pot full of applesauce going, and tomorrow I will be making apple butter. And now that the apples are bigger, the canned apple pie filling will be much easier. I may also try some apple-mint jelly if I can remember to get some pectin from the store.

We are also painting the master bedroom today! I just finished taping it up, and when hubby gets home, we will start painting. My dad helped us put a chair rail around the room, so we are doing two different colors for the bottom and top. I may do the bottom color before hubby gets home, but that's if I have time. My first order of business is to make sure the kids get a good dinner, that the house is in order, and that baths happen tonight, as we have church in the morning. :)

So, I will be back to posting the Proverbs 31 study this week as things wind down, but I will give you a hint and tell you that it will basically be a review of what's been covered so far before we move on. :)

Lisa

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Menu Plans for the Week of 9/6/09

Sunday-usually, we just have leftovers for dinner, but we're having family over for lunch, so I'll post that menu. Chili and cornbread.
Monday-Swedish Meatballs, buttered noodles, cauliflower and cheese
Tuesday-Leftovers
Wednesday-Seven Layer Tortilla Pie (new recipe), Pineapple-Orange Ambrosia
Thursday-Leftovers
Friday-Grilled hot dogs, chips, baked beans
Saturday-Rarebit (Welsh rabbit), Curried mixed veggies, Pineapple upside-down cake

Lisa

Friday, September 4, 2009

On Becoming a Proverbs 31 Woman Part 4

She riseth also while it is yet night, and giveth meat to her household, and a portion to her maidens. Proverbs 31:15

Yikes, this is one I seriously need to work on! It is very rare that I'm up before everyone else, and this is something I want to change. The problem in our house is, is that the kids go to bed way before hubby and I do, because of hubby's work schedule. He gets home late, so I usually end up staying up until he goes to bed. We both hated it back when I was working, and I had to always be in bed before he got home from work. What I need to do is take a nap between the time the kids go to bed and the time he gets home. I think now, especially with cutting out my computer time, this will be entirely possible. I'm not usually tempted by housework that late, either. ;)

I love how the Proverbs 31 woman makes sure everyone is fed, including her servants. Now, I know that most of us these days don't have servants like people did back then, but, I do like to consider servants those appliances that make my job easier. :) Such as my washer, dryer, dishwasher, coffee pot, oven/stove etc. So my goal is to make sure I'm up early, preferably before everyone else, and get my servants "fed" and going. If I can do that, a lot of my basic housework will be in progress. Then I will sit down and spend some time in the Word. This is another thing I know I've been missing. I will usually read my bible at night before bed, which I love doing, but I also want to be giving God the very first part of my day as well. I've said it before, and I stick to it, that when I make sure I am in the Word right away in the morning, my day ALWAYS goes better. Then, once I've spent time with my Lord, I can get the kids up and get them breakfast. Because of hubby's work schedule, he prefers to sleep in, so the kids and I will get our day started while he does that. ;) That way, he can wake up to a house that's in order, and a wife and kids who have had a good breakfast and are in good spirits. :)

My goal is to start this coming Monday. So on Sunday, I will make sure I am getting enough sleep so that on Monday, I can "riseth while it is yet night," and give God and my family the best part of my day.

Lisa

Up to my ears in apples

When we moved into our new house last year, it came with an already mature apple tree in the back yard. Yay! While the apples are not necessarily completely ready to harvest, lots of perfectly good apples have fallen on the ground, and the boys are quick to pick them up. ;)

We already have counted over 100 just off the ground alone, so I decided I better get busy finding ways to use them. The other day, I made a big pan of apple crisp, and today I got to work looking for other ways to preserve them. I made a crock pot full of applesauce, which I am in the middle of getting canned right now. After the kids go to sleep, I will also be making apple pie filling to can, using this recipe. I will probably also be making apple butter soon, too.

Here's the way I made the applesauce. I cored and quartered apples until they filled my crock pot. I added a cup of water and turned the crock pot on high until I could hear them boiling when I opened the lid. Then I turned them down to low and cooked them until they were very soft. I then ran the apples through my food mill to get rid of the peels and mush them into sauce. I put the sauce right back into the crock pot and added 1 cup of sugar and cooked it on low for about another hour. It turned out perfect!

Okay, my canner is boiling, so I better go take care of business. :)

Lisa

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Proverbs 31 Offshoot 1

And withal they learn to be idle, wandering about from house to house; and not only idle, but tattlers also and busybodies, speaking things which they ought not. 1 Timothy 5:13

Today I posted on facebook that as of Friday morning, my account would be disabled. Why? I was reading in Created to Be His Helpmeet last night and was convicted. A section having to do with the above verse caught my attention and really convicted me. I may be at home, but by means of the internet, and especially facebook, I had been "wandering about from house to house" and using facebook "breaks" as a means to be a busybody. It had been taking up more and more of my time lately, and preventing me from being a good keeper of my home, mother to my children, and wife to my husband. And the most heartbreaking of all, the enemy had been using it to put more and more distance between myself and my Lord...and I was letting him do it. I was not really aware of it at the time, but still, I let him do it.

So, at that moment, I decided I was going to disable my account on facebook. And you know what? The Lord has already given me incredible peace about this and even excitement and relief. I will miss "being in the loop," but at the same time, it will be a relief not feeling "obligated" to keep up on things, and instead focus more on what I need to be doing in my OWN home. Yes, at the moment, my home is clean and the kids are behaving fairly well...but ever since I started getting more and more involved on facebook, things have ever so slowly been deteriorating around here. More and more I have felt myself struggle to do even the simple tasks I am supposed to be doing. More and more, I have felt myself become annoyed at being "bothered." Oy! Luckily, the Lord spoke to me and I responded before there were too many pieces to pick up, but there are, nonetheless, pieces to pick up. I almost feel like I have to start our routines all over again, and that is going to be HARD, but with the Lord's help, I will do it!

I am still keeping up my blog (I've been loving doing the Proverbs 31 study!), but my going around "visiting house to house" via *reading* blogs is going to be considerably lessened, if not stopped at least for a little while. I've noticed even that stresses me at times with thoughts of, "I wonder if I should be doing it that way, or that way, or that way..." which I have touched on before and have already significantly reduced the number of blogs I read. I have gone through my reader, and I now only have a select few blogs that I will keep on there. From my internet de-clutter before, I still only have one message board that I belong to, and have not joined any more, nor WILL I be joining anymore.

Ladies, PLEASE be careful out there. I strongly encourage you to not only *think* about the time you spend on the internet and how it affects your duties at home, but also to PRAY about it, and listen to what God is telling you! It is so convenient and easy (just a mouse click away!) to slip into the cares and worries of this world and let it take you away from what you are supposed to be doing. Let me leave you with another verse that is good to think on.

Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. Philippians 4:8

Lisa

Monday, August 31, 2009

On Becoming a Proverbs 31 Woman Part 3

She is like the merchants' ships; she bringeth her food from afar.
Proverbs 31:14

This verse didn't really click for me at first, so I did a little research. Here are a few good links I found:
Be Like Merchant Ships
The Proverbs 31 Woman
This is something I am constantly working on, and yes, even struggling with at times. Like I have stated before, making sure I have meals made instead of going out is a big deal around here, and a lot of times I have the very good excuse, "I just don't always have time." As I said, it's a very good excuse with everything else going on, between homeschooling, housework, and just plain spending time and being there for my family. Nonetheless, it is still an EXCUSE that I need to put a stop to. I need to manage my time better so as to *make* time to make good meals. Now, there are times when there's just nothing you can do about the schedule for a particular day, but if those times are not VERY rare, you are trying to do too much. Take some time to re-focus on your priorities and get rid of everything else. Even in those rare times when you may not have time to make dinner, there's no reason you can't be prepared with something perhaps you've made ahead of time and stuck in the freezer. For us, even having a simple soup and sandwich night is better than going out and buying fast food...it's just not worth the money!

So, I will leave you with the above links to read. There's a lot of good info in them and they have inspired me, and hopefully will do the same for you. :)

Lisa

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Dinner menus for the week of 8/23/09

Sunday-keeping it simple with leftovers. :)
Monday-crock pot roast beef with carrots, onions, and new potatoes, dinner rolls
Tuesday-Husband's Delight Casserole, salad, bread
Wednesday-leftovers if available, or soup and sandwich night
Thursday-BBQ chicken pizza, salad, fruit
Friday-Burgers and steak on the grill, corn on the cob, baked beans, chips
Saturday-I usually leave this open as hubby's off...we will probably grill :)

Lisa

On Becoming a Proverbs 31 Woman Part 2

She seeketh wool, and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands.
Proverbs 31:13

Okay, next in my journey, we come to verse 13. It talks about the Proverbs 31 woman working willingly with her hands. I take this to mean her hands are used for the good of her household.

How am I working on applying this verse into my own life? Well, this verse has inspired me to learn new things in the way of homemaking, to be able to do things as efficiently as possible while being as economical as possible. For instance, I have, and am still learning, to cook and bake from scratch. As I said in a previous post, meals are a big deal to my husband, so they are a big deal in our home. I am educating myself on nutrition and how to prepare things from scratch. Now I'm at the point where I cringe if I have to make something out of a box. I'm still not nearly as far along in this journey as many women, but I have come a long way from where I used to be.

I have also taught myself how to knit. I'm pretty slow at it still, but with more practice I will get better. :) That opens up a whole new world with what I need to buy versus what I can make. Same with sewing. I am a very amateur sewer, but I am working toward a goal to get to the point where I can make many of our needs in that department.

My ultimate goal is also to be able to take care of basic things without having to bother my hubby about them. Some ideas on what you can simply teach yourself are basic plumbing, basic home repair, etc. I don't believe in the "honey-do" list anymore (oh, trust me, I used to be all for it!). If there's something that *I* feel needs to be done and it's simple enough, I will try and learn how to do it myself. If for some reason I can't do that, or if it's something my husband prefers that he does instead of me, I will simply let him know what's going on and leave it at that. There are times when I catch myself nagging, so I do need to work on that a little. ;)

So, in conclusion, take a look at those wonderful hands God gave you, and think about how He wants you to use them in regards to your home. Speaking for myself, I know He made them to be able to handle a lot more than what I'm doing right now. So this week, let's work on finding ways to use our hands more around our homes, to better our homes, and to glorify God!

Lisa

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Chicken and Dumplings

I made this for dinner last night and it was a huge hit! I took a basic recipe and modified and tweaked it to make it my own.

6 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
1 can chicken broth
water
1 10-12 oz. bag frozen mixed veggies
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
1/2 cup flour
1 T chicken broth powder (I have a bucket of the Knorr brand from Sam's Club)
Pepper to taste
4 cups milk (roughly, I didn't measure, but that's my guess)
A recipe of your favorite drop biscuit dough, already made (I just used Bisquick)
*You will not notice any salt in this recipe because between the broth and the broth powder, there's plenty!

1. Place the chicken in a large stock pot and pour the broth over it. Pour in enough water to cover the chicken. Bring to a boil, and boil, covered, about 18-20 minutes, or until chicken is cooked all the way through. Dump in the bag of frozen veggies about halfway through.

2. Meanwhile, melt the butter in a saucepan. Stir in the flour, broth powder, and pepper; cook for 1-2 minutes over medium heat, stirring constantly. Slowly stir in the milk, using a whisk to make it smooth. Turn up the heat to medium-high and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Cook about 2 minutes until thick, then take off the heat.

3. Back to the chicken...when it's done, leave the broth simmering and remove the chicken to shred roughly. Carefully put the shredded chicken back into the pot and bring back to a boil. Stir in the milk mixture and bring it back to a gentle boil. Gently drop spoonfuls of the biscuit dough onto the top of the stew. Keep it at a very gentle boil (almost a simmer), cover, and cook about 15-20 minutes. Do not stir! When it is done, the dumplings will look wet on the outside, but when you stick a fork in them and lift a piece out, it will looked as though it was baked (like a biscuit) inside.

This is basically a one-pot meal, so I just served it hot in bowls, and everyone ate it up. ;)

Lisa

On Becoming a Proverbs 31 Woman Part 1a

The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil.
~Proverbs 31:11 KJV

I thought I was done working on this point, but as it turns out, I wasn't. One thing I didn't really touch on is, when your husband's out at work, can he trust you to keep his castle running smoothly? As far as housework goes, my husband could really care less about how the house looks (although, as a side note, he said he *does* notice a better overall feeling when the house is clean ;) ). But there are two things that are a big deal for him: meals, and having a shirt pressed and ready every work day. And, ironically, when I'm in a motivational slump, those are the two things I slack on the most.

Right now, we are at a major turn with our finances (for the good!). My husband has never liked going out much for meals, but especially now when we're at this point. It adds to his stress when he has to dig up himself a lunch for work or when he has to think about going out and spending money at the local fast food joint. It's a big pet peeve for him when I'm not on top of meals around here. So, I need to make sure that he can trust in the fact that he will always have good meals not only at home, but also that he will have a good meal packed and ready for work.

Also, my husband does work a lot, and he has a pretty high-stress job. It is not mandatory for his job, but he will not wear non-pressed shirts to work...it's just part of his work ethic that his uniforms are always clean and pressed. I feel bad when I get behind on the ironing to the point where he has to ask me to do it. And I know it adds a little stress to him to *have* to ask me.

My husband works hard in order for me to stay home and take care of our house and family. He gets enough stress from his job, without having to worry about whether or not I'm doing mine. My philosophy is to try and make things as easy on him as possible once he punches out at work. If there's something around the house that I can do, I need to be taking care of it, and not putting it off until he has to say something.

Find whatever it takes to motivate yourself to get things done. Sometimes for me, it's as simple as making sure I'm taking my MS medication when I'm supposed to. I have noticed that if I skip a day or two, my motivation to do my job takes a pretty steep dive and my cognitive skills dip, too (aka, I turn into an airhead ;) ). Some days I need to pray more and ask God for motivation. Then I remember that every little thing I do for my husband, kids, and home gives God glory. That is a huge motivating factor right there! Another good motivator is to just work on being thankful...for EVERYthing. Even if you have to make a conscious, forced effort at first, it WILL come naturally if you just practice being thankful ALL the time!

So, tonight I'm off to iron, and hopefully by tomorrow, I will have a menu plan done for the rest of this week and next. I do plan to post my menus here, so stay tuned for that! :)

Lisa

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

A rant: Open Your Eyes, People!

I usually try to stay away from politics on my blog, but this was just too much. This was brought on last night when hubby was flipping through the channels and accidentally lingered a little too long on MSNBC. It was a good thing he turned it after thirty seconds due to his own disgust, because I was already seeing red.

They were talking about taking the health reform plan to various town hall meetings, and were talking about all the "loud, shrill voices" and the "disruption" being caused by people who are against government health care. Are you kidding me?!?! I'm sorry, but those "loud, shrill voices" are the voices of the American people, who YOU POLITICIANS are *supposed* to be working for! If this were a few years ago and this were some sort of reform President Bush was trying to push through and the liberals were voicing their opinion, this liberally biased media would be saying how wonderful it is that the American people are speaking out and those darned politicians just aren't listening. But no, people like us are "disruptive" and I'm sure they're thinking "dissenters." And now the White House wants people to report websites who disagree with their health care reform??? Seriously?!?! Does this, or does this not, sound like DICTATORSHIP???

Let me ask you, since when has the government stuck their nose into something, that it has gotten better? Or cost LESS? HA! Why is NO ONE talking about Medicare/Medicaid??? Is anyone who has to rely on that singing it's praises? WHY is no one concerned about the fact that the government (higher-up employees, anyway) will get a totally different and separate health care plan, different from the citizens? Why are doctors and nurses actually living the system in Canada and saying "DON'T do it!" being shut up and swept under a rug? Think you're going to be able to keep your private insurance? Observe Obama's actual plan:


What is going to happen to people who have issues that without proper and PROMPT treatment could possibly KILL them a lot faster? Ask the healthy people in a country with socialist health care and yes, they will sing praises of a single payer system. They get a cold or an ear infection, or their kids do, and they can get in the same day and get it taken care of and it's "free." Guess what? No, it's not free, the taxpayers are paying for it! Now, go to that same country and ask someone with cancer how they're liking their health care system. Do you know that in Canada, if you're diagnosed with cancer, you get put on a 3 YEAR WAITING LIST just to get seen by a specialist? Do you know how many patients die in that amount of time? Still think socialist health care is going to save a lot of lives?

And every time a politician or someone in the media opens their mouths, the number of uninsured in this country gets bigger and bigger. There are 47 million in the US without health insurance. NOT hundreds of millions, certainly NOT billions, as I heard last night on MSNBC! A good chunk of those are people who WILLINGLY opt out of the insurance they are offered. Another good chunk of those are most likely illegal immigrants. Key word: ILLEGAL, as in, they are not supposed to be here! They are not paying taxes, yet somehow they are recieving all the benefits. I can't say exactly how I know because I would be revealing too much about a family member and their past employment, but believe me, there are people on the databases that have never paid a cent of tax to this country in their entire lives, yet are enjoying retirement benefits as I type.

No, we don't have the perfect system for health care, no one ever will. What can we say, though, about the *quality* of our health care compared to the rest of the world? There's a reason people from other countries come to America when they're sick (if they can afford to travel). And before you start throwing tomatoes at me, I'm ALL for making sure everyone's taken care of and less people are dying! That is not what I'm saying! Getting the government involved in health care is NOT the way to do it! I even don't mind helping out. It's being FORCED to "help out" that I have an issue with. And it's when the money that's being stolen (yes, STOLEN) from my husband's hard-earned paycheck may not even be going to help someone TRULY in need of it, since there's already so many who take advantage of the system because they don't WANT to work hard for what they have like so many Americans do.

Anyway, this vent went on longer than I expected it to...there's so much more I want to say, but I'll leave it at what it is for now. I'm sure most of your eyes have all glazed over by this point. I'm not going to apologize for my rant, truth be told, I'm extremely concerned about this going through. Concerned for what will happen to my own health as well as many others across the country who will eventually get put on waiting lists. Oh, but OUR country certainly won't be anything like all those *other* countries who have adopted this very same system, will we? (Note: the sarcasm)

Lisa

Monday, August 3, 2009

On Becoming a Proverbs 31 Woman Part 1

10Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies.
11The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil.
12She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life.
13She seeketh wool, and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands.
14She is like the merchants' ships; she bringeth her food from afar.
15She riseth also while it is yet night, and giveth meat to her household, and a portion to her maidens.
16She considereth a field, and buyeth it: with the fruit of her hands she planteth a vineyard.
17She girdeth her loins with strength, and strengtheneth her arms.
18She perceiveth that her merchandise is good: her candle goeth not out by night.
19She layeth her hands to the spindle, and her hands hold the distaff.
20She stretcheth out her hand to the poor; yea, she reacheth forth her hands to the needy.
21She is not afraid of the snow for her household: for all her household are clothed with scarlet.
22She maketh herself coverings of tapestry; her clothing is silk and purple.
23Her husband is known in the gates, when he sitteth among the elders of the land.
24She maketh fine linen, and selleth it; and delivereth girdles unto the merchant.
25Strength and honour are her clothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come.
26She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness.
27She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness.
28Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her.
29Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all.
30Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the LORD, she shall be praised.
31Give her of the fruit of her hands; and let her own works praise her in the gates.
Proverbs 31:10-31 (KJV)

It has been on my heart for awhile to do some sort of a series on the Proverbs 31 woman. I am a long way from these standards, to be sure, but I think God put this (among many other things) in scripture to kind of give a vision to us wives and mothers on what our life should look like. While I realize this is not a checklist, I would like to go through the various characteristics of this ideal as I work on becoming the woman God wants me to be. I don't want to say I will focus on one per week, because there may be some things I want/need to focus on, or touch on more, or maybe even less. For now, let's just say I will be working on one characteristic at a time. :) Feel free to join me and comment/discuss your experiences!

The first characteristic in the Proverbs 31 woman is found in verses 11-12.
"The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil. She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life."

Ah, I have such a long way to go in this, but this is so much easier for me than it used to be. I believe these 2 verses are a good summary of all God wants us to be in regards of being a wife. This covers so many areas! It all comes down to, can your husband fully trust you to do him good and not evil, ALWAYS? Not only on the surface, but in your heart and attitude as well? When he's not around, are you STILL doing him good and not evil? Are you making sure you are careful what you talk about to others? HOW you talk about your husband to others? If you have issues with the way he's doing things, are you making sure to not only go to HIM (instead of friends or family) about it, but also going to him *respectfully*? Are you honoring and reverencing your husband the way God wants us to be? Are you *bringing* him honor? One thing I used to be in a bad habit of (mostly before I was saved), was joining in on the poking fun of him with family and friends. Not behind his back, but when he was there, and he was good-natured about it. BUT, it was usually putting him into the category of what most of society thinks of men today, and looking back it was just not cool. Even if he wasn't directly hurt by it, here's the deal. Since we've been saved, my husband has told me numerous times that next to God, MY opinion of him is the only one that counts as far as he is concerned. Us wives have so much influence on how our husbands view themselves. When we were married, we became one flesh...that is a huge thing! One is truly affected by pretty much everything the other does. If I keep poking fun at my husband's very character, even if it IS just in fun, that is still going to eventually wear on his confidence, especially his confidence in what kind of a husband and father he is.

Does this mean we cannot have any disagreements? Of course it doesn't! It just means that when we do, we bring it up respectfully and *submissively*. Ooooh, now THERE'S a word that's controversial to utter, isn't it? I may touch more on submission this week, since I think that's a big part of of the kind of wife the Proverbs 31 woman is, but for now I will continue with our husbands trusting in their wives.

Ephesians 5:33 says, "Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband."

God knows what each of us needs! He commands husbands to *love* their wives, and he commands wives to *reverence* their husbands. Yes, we both need love and respect, but in the relationship structure men NEED respect like women NEED love. Giving your husband respect IS showing him love! If you don't respect your husband, anything else you do to try to "show" him love will mean absolutely nothing to him.

I almsot feel like this was a rambling post, but I'm going to leave it. :) As I said earlier this characteristic covers such broad area in regards to being a wife to your husband, and I'd never be able to cover everything. I just thought I'd share what personal experiences stick out in my mind, and what's on my heart. As I said, feel free to comment and start a discussion, or just share your thoughts. As a forewarning, any disrespectful comments will be deleted. I do have a family and a home to take care of, so I don't have time to debate something that's already set in stone for me and for many others, as I'm sure they'd agree. Respectful discussion is fine, but this is MY blog, and if I deem something to be disrespectful, it WILL be deleted.

And speaking of taking care of family, my youngest is clearly ready for bed. ;)

Lisa

Friday, July 31, 2009

Amazing Changes

Sorry it's been awhile...I've been taking a break from certain areas of the internet lately to kind of re-evaluate my priorities. I've been hanging out on Facebook, but that's about it. No groups, no tons of blog reading...maybe a few blogs here and there that I'm really wanting to keep up with, especially MckMamma's goings-on with baby Stellan. Please keep this family in your prayers if you feel so led.

For now, I just want to talk about how God has led our family down some incredible paths lately. I can't really talk about everything here, but just know He has released us from a TREMENDOUS burden that was weighing us down big time. And, as usual, it was all done in his perfect timing! I cannot tell you how freeing it is to just be able to trust in the Lord and let Him take care of you! Yes, sometimes it is SO hard to wait on His perfect timing (and trust me, in this case it WAS really hard!), but, oh, the blessings He will pour down on you when you just submit yourself to Him and His will and His plan. So many times in these last couple of months, we were so sure that OUR plans were the right plans, and even what the Lord had wanted for us, but we never really, truly can see the BIG picture...GOD'S picture. Yes, God is truly good, ALL THE TIME!

So, I'm am working to try and get blogging regularly again...about being a mommy, about being a housewife, about being a child of God...not necessarily in that order! ;) Plus, blogging kind of holds me accountable in a way, and I so need to get some accountability back here! I've gotten better over the last week, but man, for awhile there, I was really letting things go around the house just from a pure lack of motivation from the stress we were under. Thankfully, with the way I had things going before everything happened, it hasn't been like pulling teeth to get back under control again. So, look for our daily goings-on and maybe even a photo house tour soon!

Lisa

Friday, May 29, 2009

S.H.M.I.L.Y. 30 Days of Prayer for our Husbands

Amy over at Dandelion Seeds has organized a group over at Facebook for using "The Power of a Praying Wife" to pray for our husbands during the month of June. She already has over 600 wives committed to praying for their husbands, including me. :) Won't you join us?

Lisa

Thursday, May 21, 2009

What a day! Whew!

First, as part of my internet de-clutter, I will soon be permanently closing my other blogs. That means I will be copying posts from those that are important to me over here. Last night, I reduced the amount of blogs in my reader from 86 to I think 23. Wow! It feels nice to not feel "obligated" to read so much. :)

Second, I spent some major time in the Word today. I read all of Ezra and am about halfway through Nehemiah. I have obviously been thirsty for the Living Water! I have been working on reading through the bible from cover to cover, and I can't tell you what good it's done my soul to just spend so much time getting to know my Lord better!

Also today, we started our first major project around the house. TOYS. I was listening to a CD by Michael Pearl recently, and he was talking about how we always want our kids to "have it better" than we did, but a lot of times, we do them a serious injustice by making things *too* easy for them. This is evident in my own family. Our boys have so many toys, so many that they don't even play with. I know that having clutter around all the time definitely affects my attitude, so, it has to be the same way with kids, too. Plus, our (as in, mine and dh's) kids have no idea what it means to work to earn things. Dh and I accept full responsibility for this. It shows in my oldest when he whines every time we give him something to do that's "too hard."

So, I came up with a plan. We took every single toy out of the older two boys' room today. I did leave ds3's teddy bear and a couple of stuffed animals ds8 likes to have for bed time. But everything else went.
See the empty bins? Everything except for ds3's books are gone (we didn't take ds8's books, they're just kept on the shelves in the dining room with the school stuff).

This was not done as a punishment. I had already gone through about a month ago and culled a bunch of toys. I still felt they had way too much, though, but couldn't figure out what to get rid of (mostly due to feeling guilty because most of them are gifts from relatives). So, I thought I'd combine a lesson in getting them to work for what they have (thus, they will be able to appreciate it better), and figure out what they *really* want, and what they don't really care about. I moved all the toys to our laundry room (and they KNOW not to touch them!).
I will randomly ask each boy which toy they would like to earn. They will each pick one toy (or set, for instance, Legos, or something) and we will put it on the kitchen counter. Depending on the toy, I will choose a job for them to do (*outside* of their normal chores and duties) to earn it. For instance, the bigger or more complex (or in real life, more expensive) the toy, the bigger job they will have to complete to get it back. The boys know (um, obviously I'm not doing this with the 10 month old LOL) that I will *not* keep nagging them to get the job done, they cannot whine, complain, or anything else, they have to work nicely together (if I have them working on the same project), and the job *cannot* be done sloppily, it has to be done right and to my (or hubby's) satisfaction. Hubby and I haven't set a time yet, but after a certain amount of time (2 weeks? a month?), whatever's left in the laundry room goes.

So, I set them to work on their first job this evening. Ds3 barely got started when he decided he didn't want to earn his toy. So, I put it back. Then, when ds8 was almost done with the job, ds3 decided he wanted to go back to work. I told him no, he would have to wait until I gave them another job, that it wasn't fair that ds8 had to do most of the work and for him to get the same reward. He was not happy about that, but oh, well! It's teaching him that if you don't work, you don't earn the things that you would like to have.

In other news, I felt like the worst mother in the world with what happened after that. I realized that we were almost out of milk, so we had to run to the corner store to get some. As we were leaving the house, I checked to make sure the kids were clear of the door, while holding ds10mo. It didn't do any good though, because as soon as I turned and shut the door I heard a blood-curdling scream. Ds3 had grabbed the door frame as he was walking down the steps and got his hand stuck in the door (the other side from the handle). The knob was already locked, so I had to unlock it to get his hand out. :( Poor thing. The fingernail on his middle finger was purple, so I got some ice for him and we headed off to the store (it's so close it took less than 10 minutes there and back, and I just had ds8 run in to buy the milk) after a few minutes of hugs and kisses. Luckily, when we got home, I observed that it wasn't swollen, just very purple. So, I kept it on ice and gave him some infant's Tylenol to help out with the pain. He's sleeping now, but he is going to be so sore for the next couple of days. Poor guy. :( If you think of it, please keep him in your prayers for a speedy recovery.

Yikes, this post turned out longer than I expected! I will continue to post updates on our journey as I have time. :)

Lisa

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

A New Journey

I will not be spending nearly as much time on the internet as I have in the past. I really need to re-examine and simplify my life. It's not just the internet, but I realized when we got back from our camping weekend just how many unnecessary things are cluttering my life and taking away my focus from God and family. I will be updating my blog periodically on my journey to a simpler life, but I will not be spending so much time reading about others. You see, in my attempt to live a Christian life, I became too focused on reading about how others live theirs, and less focused on what GOD wants *me* to do.

So, here's the start of my journey. I cut my yahoo groups by more than half and went to "no mail" on the ones I've kept. I am about to go through and cut down BIG time on my Blogger reader list. While I'm not completely going to be off the internet, from now on, I will only be on when my little ones are napping/sleeping and all my chores are caught up. I'm also going to be doing things like my to-do lists with plain old paper and pen. Usually I put them on Word, but checking my list will make it too tempting to "just check a few a few things while I'm at it."

Well, now I'm off to do a little de-cluttering. ;)

Lisa

Monday, May 11, 2009

Menu Plan Monday--Simplify, simplify, simplify!

My menus are going to be dramatically simplified, hopefully from here on out. A couple of different factors have influenced this. 1) I'm trying to cut down on our energy bill. And, 2) I'm trying to cut down my time spent in the kitchen. Having the daily menus for every meal is great, but it seems since I started doing them regularly, I'm spending way more time in the kitchen than I should. Don't get me wrong, I *love* spending time in the kitchen! But, between meal preps, actually eating the meal, and cleanup, it's cutting into my other housework, homeschool, and family time more than I like it to (yes, even with the kids helping!).

So, I've made a decision that all week, we will have only one choice for breakfast and one choice for lunch (plus the option for leftovers, if needed). Dinners will be planned as usual, but I am going to try to use my crockpot as much as I can. If I do have to turn the oven on, I want to be prepared to make several things at once.

So, this week's breakfasts will be cereal and yogurt. Lunches will be PB&J's and soup.

Dinners:
Monday-Crockpot rosemary chicken, rice, and green beans.
Tuesday-Crescent roll-wrapped hot dogs, chips, raw carrots and cukes. Since I have to turn on the oven, I will also make an artichoke spinach ring and plain crescent rolls for leftovers.
Wednesday-Crockpot chicken and wild rice (with leftover chicken from Monday), crescent rolls from Tuesday, and veggies.
Thursday-we will be trying to eat as many leftovers up as we can, because...
Friday-we are going camping! We keep our meals as simple as possible here, since most of the time, we're using the fire. Eggs or pancakes for breakfast, sandwiches and chips for lunch, burgers or hot dogs with baked beans and chips for dinner. Friday morning, we'll stop and get breakfast on the road somewhere. It's a tradition. ;)

Lisa

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Menu Plan Monday (on Sunday!)

Monday:
Cereal, yogurt
Leftovers
Sweet & sour meatballs, rice, snap peas

Tuesday:
Chilaquilles
Tacos with fixin's
Cinco de Mayo casserole, refried beans, dessert tacos

Wednesday:
Muffins, fruit
Leftovers
Crustless quiche, biscuits, fruit

Thursday:
Pancakes, syrup, fruit
PB&J's, soup, carrot sticks
Leftovers

Friday:
Cereal, yogurt
PB-stuffed celery, graham crackers with cream cheese
Baked ziti, buttered corn, apple slices

And yes, most of my dinner menus are from this week's basic weekly menu from Menus4Moms. :)

Lisa

Last week

Whew! Sorry I haven't been posting much lately! I've been working hard at keeping things up around the house, and it's definitely showing. ;)

Last week was mostly cleaning in the living room, with Friday (the start of a new month) the only day to work on the entrance, dining room, and yard. I didn't really get a whole lot done on the living room (although we did the week before with all the game/puzzle de-cluttering!), but worked extra hard on the front hall and dining room. The desk and homeschool area of the dining room were getting pretty cluttered-looking, so that's where I concentrated most of my effort.
It is soooooo nice to have this done! School seems to flow so much smoother now.

I am definitely excited to be moving on to the kitchen this week, though. It's been kept up, but it's been awhile since I gave it a really good cleaning...and the cabinets definitely need to be reorganized. Not rearranged, though! I'm actually pretty happy with where things are at for now. ;)

I already pretty much have my menus planned out for the week already, so I will probably be posting them later on tonight.

Lisa

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Menu Plan Monday

Better late than never, right?

Monday
Cereal, yogurt
Pizza, salad, fruit
Leftovers

Tuesday
Oatmeal, fruit
Grilled cheese sandwiches, tomato soup
Spaghetti with meatballs, salad, garlic bread

Wednesday
Muffins, yogurt
BBQ chicken pizza, salad
Spinach artichoke ring, veggies

Thursday
Scrambled eggs, toast, fruit
PB&J's, crackers, salad
Leftovers

Friday
Cereal, fruit
Soup, PB-stuffed celery, crackers
London broil, baked potatoes, veggies, rolls

Lisa

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

A brief internet break

I am back after a brief break from the internet. It was involuntary, because our internet went down after someone from the cable company came and buried the cable line (it was installed in the winter, so they had to wait until the ground was thawed to bury it). Then, we had to wait 2 days to get an appointment for someone to come back out here to fix the mistake.

It was actually kind of nice being internet-free for a couple of days! I got so much done around here. I am supposed to be working on the master bedroom and bathroom this week. I did get them cleaned, and since I pretty much got them de-cluttered last month, I decided to go back to work on the older boys' room. I got it completely done yesterday, including the closet! We have FIVE garbage bags full of stuff to give away and we ended up using an entire garbage bag for the stuff we needed to throw away. It feels SO nice to have that done!

I started on the baby's room today. Since we got rid of so many toys from the older boys' room, they had a whole toy rack (the rack that you put the different colored containers in) that was going unused, so I moved that into the baby's room, as we were still using bins for his toys. When Isaac wakes up from his nap, I will go in there and finish up his room and get started on his closet. Since we have Awana today, I probably won't finish it, but who knows? It's definitely not as bad as the one I did yesterday. We'll see. ;)

We also sorted through all of our board games and puzzles today and managed to fill 2 bins to get rid of. So, yes, our house is losing some weight! :D I am just amazed that with all the de-cluttering we did before we moved, we are still getting rid of this much stuff. Hubby's also going to go through our shed sometime within the next couple of weeks and de-clutter in there. So, we will have a LOT of stuff to bring to wherever hubby decides to drop it off. :)

I will probably be taking some of these breaks more often!

Lisa

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Weekly Cleaning Rotation

My weekly cleaning schedule is one of those things I picked up from flylady.net that I keep in my routines. Every month, I follow the same cleaning rotation:

Week 1: Front hall, dining room, and yard
Week 2: Kitchen
Week 3: Main bathroom and one other room (which I rotate the older boys' room, the baby's room, and the laundry room)
Week 4: Master bedroom and bathroom
Week 5: Living room

The one thing I don't follow from Flylady is that I do detail cleaning in each area, even if it's not totally de-cluttered yet. Clutter bothers me, but leaving things dirty/unclean bothers me even more. So I basically make sure the area is picked up, give it a good cleaning, then de-clutter here and there as I feel like it.

I also do the "Home Blessing" every week, although I have modified that to fit my needs as well. I don't necessarily have a set day every week for it, I just fit things in where I can, and as needed...sometimes I need to do certain things more than once. Here are the components of my "Home Blessing," which is the weekly cleaning that stays consistent every week, all month long:

Change sheets (I do mine & hubby's bed and Isaac's crib; the boys do their own)
Dust (yes, I have Flylady's feather dusters, bought them quite a few years back and I *love* them!)
Glass-I run around with the bottle of glass cleaner and a rag and clean any glass surfaces that need it, including windows and mirrors. This doesn't take very long if I'm keeping up on it and am only doing spot cleaning.
Vacuum carpets
Mop floors (the sweeping is done daily)

Most of the time, this will not get all done at once, or even all in the same day. Although I do like to try to keep the dusting and glass cleaning together, and vacuuming and mopping together, if time allows. If not, oh well! I've learned in the past, I am not the type of person who can stick to a list strictly, even though I *do* need those lists! At least for awhile. I tend to rely more on just *knowing* my routines, and I'm more of a do-it-as-you-see-it-needs-it kind of person. It works for us! And it helps to train my kids to listen more to me, instead of them getting too used to a strict schedule and then saying, "But Mo-om, we NEVER do this thing on this day at this time!" when I need to change things a bit.

Lisa

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Morning Routine

Wake up, get dressed (have the older boys get dressed while I am), fix hair and makeup
Make bed and pick up bedroom (have the older boys do the same in their room)
Pick up bathroom and do a swish & swipe (have Vincent do the same in the main bathroom)
Vincent unloads the dishwasher while I do laundry
We all pick up the house together
Vincent gets breakfast for himself and Andrew while I get Isaac up, changed, and fed
I eat breakfast and check email and such while the boys play
A little play time with the boys...if it's nice we may go outside for some fresh air and exercise
Isaac will usually go down for his morning nap (I am so thankful he still takes these!)
If hubby's working during the day (most times he's not), we do school at this time
If he's not working like most days, we just do whatever we end up doing.

And of course, this all goes easier and faster if we completed our evening routine the night before, especially the dishes and laundry part. If dishes were not done the night before, we easily tack on another half hour--at least!--to our morning schedule.

Lisa

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Evening Routine

I thought I'd start by posting one of the most important routines of my day, in keeping my home.

This starts after dinner and a time of relaxing a bit. Baths don't happen every day, but I've put them into their normal spot on the days they do happen.

Load dishwasher and start-Vincent
Wash dishes that don't go in the dishwasher-Mom & Vincent
Pick up kitchen-Mom
Pick up dining room-Vincent
Sweep kitchen & dining room-Vincent
Keep laundry going if necessary-Mom or Vincent
Make sure Isaac's room is cleaned up and everything is put back-Mom, Vincent, Andrew
Isaac's bath-Mom, but Vincent and Andrew help sometimes
Feed Isaac-Mom usually does his bedtime bottle
Put Isaac to bed
Andrew's bath-Mom helps, although he can mostly do this on his own
Make sure Vincent's and Andrew's room is cleaned up and everything is put back-Vincent while Mom is helping with Andrew's bath
Vincent also gets his bath stuff ready so he doesn't have to go in his room while Andrew's trying to fall asleep
Bedtime prayers
Andrew goes to bed-Mom tucks him in
Vincent takes his bath
Go through the rest of house and make sure everything is picked up and put away, and for the most part clean-Mom and Vincent (he joins in after his bath on bath nights)
Mom and Vincent relax for awhile while we wait for Andrew to drift off. If Vincent tries going to bed before Andrew is asleep, Andrew will start talking away. So for now, we just wait until he's asleep, then Vincent goes in to bed.
This is when I usually check email and do online stuff, if I didn't do it after Andrew went to bed. I also pull out my bible and read along while I listen out loud on BibleGateway. For some reason with me, I have found that I retain what I read more than when I just read or just listen. So, I do both. A lot of times I'll read until Nick comes home, either the bible, or another book I'm reading...but I always try and get some bible reading in first. I also have a flashlight in my nightstand that I use to read before I go to sleep if I have energy to stay up a little longer. Usually I'll read until I fall asleep, hence the flashlight. That way, I don't have to get up to turn the light off (we don't have lamps in our room...yet). I'll usually wake up, turn off the flashlight, put it and my bible down, and go back to sleep.

Sound like a lot? Well, it does get a lot done. I definitely like having the house all ready when I get up in the morning. But in reality, once you get used to doing it, and especially if you get the kids involved (I think this is key!), it doesn't take long at all! On non-bath night, I would say 45 minutes, from the time I start the routine, until the time I put Andrew to bed. And that includes putting 2 kids to bed at separate times and a feeding for the baby.

So, that's our evening routine.

Lisa

Starting Over

Just starting a new blog...coming over from Xanga. I like that I have a lot more options here at blogger without paying for "premium."

Lisa

Monday, April 13, 2009

Finally, a morning routine!

Well, we have been doing pretty good on our evening routine, so I started integrating a morning routine for our family as well.

Wake up, get dressed (have the older boys get dressed while I am), fix hair and makeup
Make bed and pick up bedroom (have the older boys do the same in their room)
Pick up bathroom and do a swish & swipe (have Vincent do the same in the main bathroom)
Vincent unloads the dishwasher while I do laundry
We all pick up the house together
Vincent gets breakfast for himself and Andrew while I get Isaac up, changed, and fed
I eat breakfast and check email and such while the boys play
A little play time with the boys...if it's nice we may go outside for some fresh air and exercise
Isaac will usually go down for his morning nap (I am so thankful he still takes these!)
If hubby's working during the day (most times he's not), we do school at this time
If he's not working like most days, we just do whatever we end up doing. 

And of course, this all goes easier and faster if we completed our evening routine the night before, especially the dishes and laundry part.  If dishes were not done the night before, we easily tack on another half hour--at least!--to our morning schedule.

That's it, so far.  It may get tweaked here and there, but for now, it works well!  Next, we will be working on our weekly stuff. 

Menu plan Monday

Menus for the week of 4/13/09

Monday:
Cereal, yogurt
Turkey sandwiches, chips, leftover tuna salad
Homemade chicken nuggets (from the freezer), mac n cheese, salad

Tuesday:
Scrambled eggs, toast
Salmon patties, raw baby carrots, crackers
Leftovers

Wednesday:
Muffins, yogurt, fruit
PB&J's, soup, crackers
Sweet & sour kielbasa, rice, salad

Thursday:
Oatmeal, fruit
Ants on a log, crackers
Leftovers

Friday:
Cereal, yogurt (or fruit if there's no yogurt left)
Toast pizza, salad or baby carrots
Stuffed chicken breasts, mashed potatoes, veggies, rolls

Monday, April 6, 2009

Menu plan Monday

Menus for the week of 4/6/09

Monday:
Cereal, yogurt
Leftovers
Spaghetti, rolls, salad

Tuesday:
Bagels, fruit
Leftovers
Beef tenderloin, baked potatoes, veggies

Wednesday:
Oatmeal, yogurt
Grilled cheese, tomato soup
Leftovers

Thursday:
Muffins, fruit
Mac & cheese, bread or rolls
Pizza burgers, chips, baby carrots

Friday:
Cereal, yogurt
Leftovers
More leftovers (if there's any left), or fish (salmon or tilapia, whichever I can get to the easiest LOL), fries, and veggies

Weird math

In case I haven't said it before, I LOVE the Grocery Game!  Take a look at my wonderful trip to CVS today.

Transaction #1:

2 packs green tea supplements
1 tube toothpaste

Shelf price:  $16.25
What I paid:  $1.20

Transaction #2:

6 boxes tissue
2 cans infused air freshener spray
2 bottles of *nice smelling* dish soap
2 things of popular name eye shadow
2 packs good lip care sticks

Shelf price:  $45.46
What I paid:  $1.00

And, I still have $2.00 in CVS Extra Bucks for next time.

Then on the way home stopped at Sonic and got a couple of cherry limeades for hubby and myself.

Total spent there: $4.70  More than double of all of my CVS stuff! 

Seriously, check out the Grocery Game!

Sunday, April 5, 2009

How much really changes?

I stepped out tonight onto our deck, much in the same way I stepped out our deck at the old house many times before we moved.  I looked up at the sky and saw the almost full moon, the thin, wispy, scattered clouds passing over, the stars.  As much as life has changed for my family in the past year, when I look up at the sky from my new deck, it's pretty much the exact same view as from my old deck.  Two totally different places with the same view.

It reminds me of how no matter how much life, this world, or whatever else has changed, when you look to heaven and to God, He hasn't changed.  Not one bit.  Just like when I look up at the sky in the midst of all the change in my life, I'm comforted by the familiar view.  In the same way, I know that no matter where the storms of life take me, I can look to God, and be comforted in who He is...the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow.  He will not ever go back on His Word or His promises.

Never give up

I'm currently reading in 1 Samuel.  Today as I read, a particular verse stood out to me.

Moreover as for me, God forbid that I should sin against the Lord in ceasing to pray for you: but I will teach you the good and the right way:  1 Samuel 12:23

Samuel had just appointed Saul king over Israel.  He did it reluctantly as he knew God was their true king, but the Israelites wanted to be like "all the other nations" and have a king over them.  He showed them what a horrible decision they were making by replacing their Lord with a king.  But they insisted.  So, God told him to go ahead and give them a king, in spite of what both God and Samuel knew what would happen to the nation of Israel under the rule of a king.  Samuel was giving an address to Israel after anointing Saul king in front of all the people, and the verse above was toward the end of his speech.

It was another one of those verses (aren't there many??) that I haven't seen/noticed before.  He said that ceasing to pray for the people would be a sin.  He was to keep praying for Israel even though the Lord had already revealed what would happen to them in the time ahead.  Even though it looked bleak for them and it seemed praying for such a stubborn people would be useless.

Woah.  Do you have anyone like that in your own life?  Someone you just "know" is never going to change?  Maybe at first, you prayed for them fervently, but after awhile, you felt it was a waste of time.  You give up on any hope for change in them.  I know there's people in my life I have felt that way about.  But here it is right here in 1 Samuel.  If it was a sin for him to cease praying for a people who desperately needed to get right with God, wouldn't it be the same for us?  If there is someone you know who needs prayers, and the Lord puts in on your heart to pray for them, don't shove those thoughts away thinking it's useless.  Even if we don't feel like it, we need to be on our knees for those in our lives who need our prayers.  It doesn't matter if *they* are receptive to them or can "feel" them.  What matters is that GOD hears our prayers.  Keep petitioning Him and He will answer...maybe not when or how we *think* He should, but in HIS own way and HIS own time.

So, please join me in re-committing to praying for all in our lives who need prayers, but especially for those who we feel like giving up on.  Someday, you may just be surprised...and GOD will be glorified.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

BBQ Chicken Pizza

Last night I made BBQ chicken pizza for dinner and it turned out so yummy, I thought I'd post a recipe.  A while back, we had one by Bellatoria and I really liked it.  But, I haven't been able to see them anymore at the wonderful price I got them for, so I thought I'd make up my own.  I browsed online for different versions and wasn't really happy with any of them, so I made up my own.  WARNING:  If you must have exact measurements, this recipe is NOT for you!

Start with your favorite recipe for pizza dough.  I rolled mine out (I so wish I could toss!) onto my pizza stone. 

Pour some of your favorite BBQ sauce onto the dough.  I used Famous Dave's, as it's what was open in my fridge at the time.  Now, like I said, I don't have exact measurements, so you'll just have to use your own judgment.  I would go with a little less than what you would normally put on for pizza sauce in a regular pizza.  I think I put on about the same this first time, and that's about the only thing I would change, is to go a little lighter on the BBQ sauce. 

Next, sprinkle on some cooked, shredded or cubed chicken breast meat.  I had a small bag of pre-cooked grilled chicken breast strips in the fridge, so I went with that...just tore them up as I went along. 

Next, cut a red onion from top to root and peel one half and put the other half in the fridge for some other time (it will last longer if you leave the outer peel on).  Thinly slice the peeled half and disperse those over the top of the chicken.  Now, you can skip right to the cheese.  But, I had some broccoli and cauliflower pieces in my fridge that were just this side of going bad, so I chopped those up roughly and threw them on.

Next, I sprinkled just a light amount of grated Parmesan cheese, then a mixture of shredded colby/jack over everything. 

Pop it in a *preheated* 400 degree oven for 15-20 minutes.  I have a gas oven, and with the pizza stone, 20 minutes made the crust absolutely perfect.

I wish I would've thought to take pictures, but it disappeared fast!  I think there might be one lonely piece left in the fridge that will most likely be gone before the day is over.   I won't bother the poor thing with the camera. 

Enjoy!

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Show and tell

What I've been reading this week.

Great Learning Games
Here There be Monsters  Demons just for Bible times?  No way.
Children and Chores  As someone who had to have her hubby show her how to iron, I'm big on teaching my children everything I do, too.
The Return of the Homemaker  A wonderful post about the homemaker in today's world versus yesterday.
The Frugal Home  A wonderful vision for the homemaker in our current economy.
Small Steps Toward a Simpler Life  A follow-up to the post above.
Idiots in the Midst  I found the bit about the toddlers particularly funny. 
Lunch Ideas for Busy Moms  A treasure trove of lunch ideas!
Easy Recipes  For those days when you have to throw something together fast.

Enjoy!

Tackling the living room...sort of

This week, I'm in the living room, de-cluttering and cleaning.  I'm pretty sure there's not a whole lot to de-clutter, but I've been surprised before.

I started out today NOT in the living room, though.  Remember my messy laundry room?  It was putting a hamper (pun intended ) on our evening routine.  Picking up the whole house doesn't really feel like it's getting done when you have a huge clutter "hot spot" (as flylady calls it) going on, that isn't as simple as just "picking up."  While Vincent worked on some independent school work this morning, I tackled the laundry room in between times when he needed my help.  Now, while it's not perfect yet, it is back to being functional again.  I've got laundry almost caught up, and now I've got a huge pile of ironing to do, so I will probably try and get that done before even thinking about the living room.  Ironing is a necessity around here, and especially today, as I'm pretty sure hubby has no more ironed work shirts.  So, I'm off to the ironing board for now!

Menu plan Monday

Monday:
Cereal, fruit
Leftovers
Beef pot roast with veggies, mashed potatoes and gravy, rolls

Tuesday:
Oatmeal, fruit
Leftovers
BBQ chicken pizza, salad

Wednesday:
Chilaquilles, fruit
Soup & sandwiches
Leftovers (Awana night)

Thursday:
Muffins, fruit
Ants on a log, crackers
Almond chicken casserole, veggies, rolls

Friday:
Cereal, fruit
Egg salad sandwiches, chips
Spaghetti, garlic cheese bread, salad

Thursday, March 26, 2009

In the mood for chocolate

For the past two days, I've been in the mood for...something sweet...possibly brownie-like?   Maybe not quite brownies.  Hmmm...

I was browsing through my blog list and came to Pioneer Woman's site.  I remembered seeing her post a chocolate sheet cake awhile back, saying it was the best chocolate cake ever.  Oh. My. Goodness!  You can say that again, PW!  I made it right away while the kiddos were napping.  I tried a piece right away, which led me to try another.  Then later we had company, and, well, I couldn't be rude by not eating dessert with them, could I?!  I'm pretty sure I gained about 20 pounds today.  But I'm telling you, all the extra work to lose the weight is soooooooooooooooo worth it with this cake!   You simply must try it.  Really.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Master Bathroom

I got my entire master bathroom organized AND clean!  Yay!  It feels so good to have this done...way more functional.  Plus, now I have more room to store stockpile items.    I play the Grocery Game, and my stockpile is ever growing.  Now, I will share pictures with you of my beautiful bathroom. 


I love the cute little window!  And it's textured, so you can't really see in or out, but it adds natural light, which I love.

And this is the most excellent shower.  It has it's own light, two heads and two seats.  Okay, moving on...

This is standing with my back to the toilet area.

I hope to get a towel bar for this area, so I don't have to put the hand towel on the counter.

Here you can see the linen closet across from the vanity.

And this is just to the right of the linen closet (I LOVE the cabinet space!!!!).

This is standing with my back to the floor-to-ceiling cabinets...going into the master bedroom, which, you can see far back there, goes into the living room.

And this is standing with my back to the master bedroom.  This goes to the laundry room.  Umm, ignore the mess...that's a whole 'nother project! 

So, there's the photo tour of my finally *organized* and clean bathroom.  Yes, I know it needs a little something on the wall.    I still have to find a few things, but, nothing's going up there until it gets painted, hopefully sometime this spring or summer (along with a few other rooms!).  Now, for the rest of the week, I move on to the master bedroom.  I'm actually quite excited to get through the house.  I guess this is a spring cleaning of sorts, but SHHHHHHHHHHHH, don't tell that to my inner child.  LOL!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Show and tell

Just thought I'd share some good blog posts I've read recently.

Slavery
Two Thousand Words
Peanut Butter Banana Cream Pie  I sooooooo can't wait to make this!  Mmmmmmmmm...
Dead Babies Who Don't Count  Very sad and scary...NOT FOR YOUNG READERS
Cleaning Off the Gunk  A helpful hint if your iron looks anything like mine right now...

That's all I've got for now.    I hope to share more of the reading I enjoy in future posts.  Enjoy!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Menus for the week of 3/23/09

Monday
Breakfast:
Cereal
Fruit
Lunch:
Leftovers
Dinner:
Creamed chicken on toast

Tuesday
Breakfast:
Oatmeal
Fruit
Lunch:
PB&J's
Baby carrots
Crackers
Dinner
Chicken pot pie
Rolls

Wednesday
Breakfast:
Muffins
Fruit
Lunch:
Soup
Crackers
Fruit
Dinner:
Leftovers

Thursday
Breakfast:
French toast
Fruit
Lunch:
Leftovers
Dinner:
Bubble pizza
Salad

Friday
Breakfast:
Cereal
Breakfast leftovers
Lunch:
Grilled cheese
Chips
Dinner:
Leftovers

A brand new week: The master bedroom and bathroom

Last week, I got our main bathroom completely clean and de-cluttered.  I also got a good start on the boys' room, although I didn't get as much done as I would have liked to.  We did make good progress, though, and it will be easier for next time.

This week, it's on to the master bedroom and bathroom.  I am going to be starting with the bathroom first.  It needs a good deep cleaning, and I really need to go through the linen closet.  I could be storing things much more efficiently than I am now in there.  I know a couple of bins are just leftover unpacking from the move...one is shoes and stuff that needs to be unpacked either to the front closet or bedrooms.  The other is a bunch of curtains from the old house that I think I will just bag off and drop off at the Goodwill or something.  Those 2 things alone will free up quite a bit of space in there, and I know there's probably some other stuff that can be re-located or gotten rid of altogether.

We are trying hard to stick with our evening routine.  There were a couple of nights last week I didn't get to it for one reason or another, and I definitely regretted it the next morning, and all the next day, really.  So, before I add any other routines, I want to really get the evening one down.  In my opinion, it's really the most important...as I have found out, it really sets the tone for the next day!

Anyway, I am off to finish up a thing or two, then I will send my oldest off to bed.  Have a good night everyone!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Menu for the week of 3/16/09

Today Isaac is 8 months old!  Yay!  And this mama is excited that he slept straight through the night for 2 nights in a row.    Big boy!

Anyway, here's the menus for this week.

Monday
Breakfast:
Cereal
Fruit
Lunch:
Leftovers
Dinner:
Pelou (from the freezer, from when we were studying Central America...it's from Trinidad)
Bread and butter

Tuesday
Breakfast:
Muffins
Fruit
Lunch:
Soup
Sandwiches
Dinner:
Dr. Pepper spaghetti (from the freezer)
Garlic bread

Wednesday
Breakfast:
Oatmeal
Fruit
Lunch:
Salad nicoise (since we just studied France)
Dinner:
Leftovers (AWANA night)

Thursday
Breakfast:
Fried egg sandwiches
Hash browns
Lunch:
PB&J's
Crackers
Baby carrots
Dinner:
Leftovers

Friday
Breakfast:
Pancakes
Lunch:
Leftovers
Dinner:
Monte Cristos
Chips or crackers

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Evening routine

This starts after dinner and a time of relaxing a bit.  Baths don't happen every day, but I've put them into their normal spot on the days they do happen.

Load dishwasher and start-Mom (will train Vincent on this soon)
Wash dishes that don't go in the dishwasher-Mom & Vincent
Pick up kitchen-Mom
Pick up dining room-Vincent
Sweep kitchen & dining room-Vincent
Keep laundry going if necessary-Mom or Vincent
Make sure Isaac's room is cleaned up and everything is put back-Mom, Vincent, Andrew
Isaac's bath-Mom, but Vincent and Andrew help sometimes
Feed Isaac-Mom usually does his bedtime bottle
Put Isaac to bed
Andrew's bath-Mom helps, although he can mostly do this on his own
Make sure Vincent's and Andrew's room is cleaned up and everything is put back-Vincent while Mom is helping with Andrew's bath
Vincent also gets his bath stuff ready so he doesn't have to go in his room while Andrew's trying to fall asleep
Bedtime prayers
Andrew goes to bed-Mom tucks him in
Vincent takes his bath
Go through the rest of house and make sure everything is picked up and put away, and for the most part clean-Mom and Vincent (he joins in after his bath on bath nights)
Mom and Vincent relax for awhile while we wait for Andrew to drift off.  If Vincent tries going to bed before Andrew is asleep, Andrew will start talking away.  So for now, we just wait until he's asleep, then Vincent goes in to bed.
This is when I usually check email and do online stuff, if I didn't do it after Andrew went to bed.  I also pull out my bible and read along while I listen out loud on BibleGateway.  For some reason with me, I have found that I retain what I read more than when I just read or just listen.  So, I do both.    A lot of times I'll read until Nick comes home, either the bible, or another book I'm reading...but I always try and get some bible reading in first.  I also have a flashlight in my nightstand that I use to read before I go to sleep if I have energy to stay up a little longer.  Usually I'll read until I fall asleep, hence the flashlight.  That way, I don't have to get up to turn the light off (we don't have lamps in our room...yet).  I'll usually wake up, turn off the flashlight, put it and my bible down, and go back to sleep. 

Sound like a lot?  Well, it does get a lot done.  I definitely like having the house all ready when I get up in the morning.  But in reality, once you get used to doing it, and especially if you get the kids involved (I think this is key!), it doesn't take long at all!  On non-bath night, I would say 45 minutes, from the time I start the routine, until the time I put Andrew to bed.  And that includes putting 2 kids to bed at separate times and a feeding for the baby.

So, that's our evening routine.

Back to the basics

A long time ago, I went by the FlyLady system and it worked really well for me.  Since then, I've tried a good mix of different techniques for keeping my home.  Now, with the home I'm in now, it seems like doing things the FlyLady way makes a lot of sense, so that's what I'm going with, for the most part.  Mostly, I'm following the "zone" schedule, and maybe a few other things, but I have kind of developed my own way of doing things, now that I've been at this homemaking thing for awhile.   For instance, our weeks around here start on Sunday, not Monday.  Most of the time, Nick's work schedule is Sunday -Thursday, so that's what our whole family's "work week" is, including homeschool.  Although, we still tend to keep Sundays light.

Anyway, this week in my home, I will be working on the main bathroom, plus one other room.  I have decided that "one other room" is going to be the older boys bedroom.  The place is a disaster.  On the surface it doesn't look to bad.  On the surface.  You go anywhere beyond the surface, and it's scary.  I would say that is the one room in this whole house right now that needs a serious de-cluttering.  They have such a nice, huge closet that has so much organizing potential, but right now, no one wants to touch it.  So, as soon as I'm done with the bathroom, I'm rolling up my sleeves and going in!  I hope to be done with the bathroom tomorrow, so that I have almost a whole week to work on the boys' room.

So, in upcoming blogs, I hope to share routines being set up, more studies on joy, homeschool happenings, and fun things with the kids.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Menu for the week of 3/9/09

I meant to post this on Monday, but did not have it complete yet.    I'm sorry I haven't been on a lot lately.  I am trying to come up with a regularly posting "routine," so to speak, so I can better manage my time on here. 

Monday
Breakfast:
Breakfast sandwiches
Lunch:
Leftovers
Dinner:
Ground beef Romanoff
Peas (after I steam these, I add butter, Spike seasoning, dillweed, zest and juice from half of a lemon)
Bread and butter

Tuesday
Breakfast:
Bagels with cream cheese
Lunch:
Pizza
Dinner:
(Hubby made dinner tonight! *swoon*)
Fish
Corn
Dinner rolls
Cheese-stuffed oven pretzels

Wednesday
Breakfast:
Bagels with cream cheese
Lunch:
Leftovers
Dinner:
Leftovers

Thursday
Breakfast:
Cereal
Lunch:
Lime chicken soft tacos
Corn
Rice (we will use some from our Uncle Ben's flavored rice stash)
Dinner:
Chicken Divan
5-cup salad (a fruit salad)

Friday
Breakfast:
Egg sandwiches (my dad's famous fried-egg sandwiches...I will have to post a recipe sometime!)
Hash browns
Lunch:
Leftovers
Dinner:
Egg drop soup
Fried rice

I know it seems like we have lots of leftovers, and we do!  I tend to cook on the, um, heavy side, and my family doesn't seem to mind eating the leftovers until they're gone, so that's what we do.  Unless I purposely make extra to stick in the freezer.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Our school room

Someone asked on a board that I'm part of how everyone's school room is set up.  I thought I'd make it easier and put mine in a blog post with pictures.    We don't have a separate school room, but besides eating, our dining room is used mostly as a school room.  Here's some general shots...







As you can see, we have school-related things all over.    But it's mostly concentrated to this corner.

The bottom 2 shelves (of the book shelf on the left) are for encyclopedia-type books.  Then next shelf up contain the toddler toys and board books for Andrew.  The next shelf is chapter books for Vincent.  The first shelf contains books related to our current curriculum, plus dictionaries and easy readers.  On the very top is a basket containing markers, this year's binders holding Vincent's papers, an art case and a bunch of different kinds of paper/paper pads, and our globe.


The shelf next to the white cabinet contains art/activity supplies and our ant hill on the bottom shelf.  Andrew's puzzles on the next shelf up.  The next 2 shelves contain general books and books from previous years, plus pattern blocks and perler beads.  On top is a bucket of play-doh, a play-doh caddy, and our electric pencil sharpener, tape dispenser, and stapler.

The basket on the white cabinet contains general art supplies.  The stack next to that is all the books I need for the next school day.  The rest of the cabinet contains science or other kits and extra school supplies.

We have much more space than our old house, and we love it!  Things are so much better organized and accessible.  And I LOVE having the kitchen right there for our kitchen-type science experiments and lessons that involve cooking...don't have to walk through 2 rooms and around the corners anymore to go back and forth! 

So, that's our school area...works for us!