Lisa's Homemaking Corner

Lisa's Homemaking Corner

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