Saturday, January 31, 2009

Question of the Day #31!

Day thirty-one!

We made it!
Today will be 'questions' not question of the day.
Look back over the list of questions, which one or two really have impacted you and you are already beginning to see change?
Which one/ones have you lost sight of that you really do not want to let go? And what will you do about it?
If you answered any of the questions, have you found them helpful?
What plan/plans can you put into place right now to really make some changes?
Thank you all for being a part of these Probing Questions. I have been challenged and encouraged by your responses.

Friday, January 30, 2009


The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and His ears are attentive to their cry.
(Psalm 34:15)

Read that verse again.

He is attentive to our cry.

(Attentive: responsive, caring)

I have found this promise to be abundantly true this week. Oh for sure it is true every week; every day! But the Lord has set about this week to make Himself so real to me. He has opened my eyes to see blessings that sometimes, in the busyness of life, go unnoticed.

He is so faithful, so attentive to our every cry. I dare say I believe He is even attentive to our secret cries, the ones so deep within our hearts that no one else knows.
He can be trusted with our every cry, with the very desires and longings of our hearts, our dreams and hopes.

Is there a cry, desire, dream or hope you are holding on to? Unable to release it and trust it to your Father's care?
Let me encourage you today,

He is WORTHY of your trust

Cry out to Him, He is attentive to your cry.

Question of the Day #30

Day Thirty
In what area of your life do you most need change, and what will you do about it this year?

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Whole Wheat Bread Recipe!


Here is my bread recipe that some of you asked for it. It is Marilyn Moll's Famous recipe. I have been making this exact recipe for about eight years. It is our standard every day bread. I do make many variations of this recipe, seven-grain, cinnamon swirl, cinnamon raisin, rye-whole wheat, millet ect. I have tried many, many different recipes over the years and this is by far the softest, fluffiest and prettiest! My family assures me that looks don't matter (when a batch flops a little), I assure them that it does!


I do grind my own wheat with the Whisper Mill, and the Bosch Universal does all the work for me!

I also have been playing with adapting it to a 'soaked' bread recipe. I have not had great success, YET! Here is Marilyn's "soaked" two-stage recipe that has been adapted to more fit the Nourishing Traditions guidelines.


Marilyn's Famous Whole Wheat Bread


2/3 C honey

2/3 C oil

6 C warm water

3 TB Saf Instant Yeast

1 1/2 - 2 TB Real Salt

16-20 C fresh whole wheat flour

3 TB Dough Enhancer
3 TB Gluten Flour

Combine the warm water, yeast, and 2 Cups of fresh whole wheat flour in a large mixing bowl. Allow to sponge for 15 minutes. Add the honey, oil, dough enhancer, salt and 12-16 C additional flour until the dough begins to clean the sides of the mixing bowl. Do not allow the dough to get too stiff (too dry). Dough should be smooth and elastic. It is a common mistake for the beginning bakers to add too much flour.


I hope to post our yummy 'light and fluffy' whole wheat hamburg buns.

Question of the Day #29

Day Twenty-Nine
What's the most important new item you want to buy this year?

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Question of the Day #28

Day Twenty-Eight
If those who know you best gave you one piece of advice, what would they say? Would they be right? What will you do about it?

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

My Faithful God


Today was my bread baking day. Due to recent health issues I absolutely was not up to baking. I had about twenty loaves to make today. Tuesdays are also cleaning day, piano day and Hebrew class for the 'bigs'. I cried out to my Father, here is a excerpt from my journal this morning.


"Keep me today, Lord. Bless the work of my hands. Thank You that you bless my bread and my 'kneading trough'. Lord, I am tired and weak. Weak in body, weak in mind and weak in spirit. But, this I know, You alone are my Strength. In my utter weakness, You show Yourself strong. I rest me in You! Be Thou my Strength, my Victory, my Joy, my Hope."


I must shout from the rooftops, my God is so faithful! I was able to make all my bread, plus a batch of hamburg buns and a batch of flat bread. I also had the strength to clean up and keep a joyful heart as I did all this work. Ladies, if you knew how I felt this morning you would know just what a blessing this was. But God, never just giving enough, well, let's just say that my bread probably has never looked and tasted better!


Works for Me (personal hygiene storage;-)


Forgive me for getting personal here, but I just have to share this idea. It has solved a problem for me, maybe it will do the same for you.

Our cabinet in the bathroom is too far to reach, so, if you need to change your 'sanitary napkin' you have to have thought ahead or try and stretch for it.


I despised having a bag of sanitary napkins sitting on the floor for a week each month, as well as the box of panty liners.


This box is perfect for my needs. The lid goes on it when company is coming and it just looks rather nice, well, as nice as a box of feminine hygiene products can look!

I suppose any basket or box would work; whatever floats
your boat.

Sorry if this was TMI!

Have a lovely day and check out more Works for Me Wednesday at Rocks in My Dryer!






Split Pea Soup (Nourishing Traditions Style)

I have easily adapted my split pea soup recipe and want to share with you how easy it is to do.

We choose not to eat pork that frequently so I have substituted turkey ham. I wish I could find organic turkey ham, but have not yet.

You can see that by soaking the peas overnight and using homemade stock you have easily adapted your Split Pea Soup recipe to a more nourishing soup!


Nourishing Split Pea Soup


The night before, soak 3 cups split peas in water to cover.

The next day:

Saute in Olive Oil until tender:

2 cups chopped onion
4 cloves chopped garlic
salt and pepper

Add:

3 cups organic split peas, green or yellow (that have been soaked overnight)
3-4 chopped, organic carrots
2-3 organic potatoes, cubed
2 cups cubed turkey ham, sadly not organic, nor grassfed:(
7 cups Homemade Chicken Stock

Stir to mix and bring to simmer, cover. Simmer gently until peas are tender. I have had them tender in about an hour to sometimes 2 1/2 hours.

See more delicious NOURISHING SOUPS and STEWS at The Nourishing Gourmet.

Nourishing Beef and Sausage Soup

We eat tons of soup! It has been so enjoyable to change all of our favorite recipes over to better fit the "Nourishing Traditions" method of cooking.


This summer we began a journey to even better eating. We always ate pretty well, or so I thought.


The main source of my inspiration was indeed "Nourishing Traditions" by Sally Fallon. Also, the Weston A. Price Foundation's website is almost inexhaustible. I highly recommend them both.


There were certain blogs/websites I found also, and Kimi's Nourishing Gourmet is one of my favorites. I have learned a lot and been inspired to try converting my own recipes. She has an amazing and very informative website, as some of you may already know!


In this recipe it is so important, I feel, to use homemade stock as the base. For years I used bullion cubes and when I found a beef base and chicken base at Sam's Club that didn't have salt as the first ingredient, I thought I was doing my family a favor! Boy was I wrong! This article about broth is my favorite "sum it all up in a nutshell" article.


Besides the homemade stock, organic, grassfed beef and well soaked beans are crucial to making this a nourishing soup.

This summer we found a wonderful local farm that sells delicious grassfed meats! There is no way we could afford to feed such a large family on one income if we did not buy our beef by the side. We have been getting a 1/4 side of beef, which usually lasts our family about three months. The price per pound is obviously more than what you would buy in the store, but once you know the difference, health wise, you cannot go back! We do our best to stretch it out and soup is a very frugal way to do it.

I usually soak my beans for two days, changing the water a couple of times. I like to soak and cook up a bunch of beans and then freeze them for a quick meal.

This is an easy to adapt recipe that we absolutely love!


Vegetable Beef and Sausage Soup

Brown the following until no longer pink:

1 lb. Hamburger (organic, grassfed)
3 Italian Sausage links (turkey sausage)
1 large Onion, chopped
5 cloves Garlic, finely chopped

Add and saute for a few minutes:

½ head cabbage, chopped

Add and simmer until almost tender :

5-6 cups Beef Broth (Homemade only!)
5-6 organic carrots, chopped
3-4 stalks organic celery, chopped


Add and cook until tender:

3-4 small zucchini, chopped
1 lb. Spinach
6 cups (ish) various soaked and cooked beans (black, pinto, kidney ect.)
Salt and pepper to taste


Serve with Homemade bread or rolls and grated Parmesan cheese.

This is part of the Nourishing Soups and Stews Carnival.

Endless Reasons Why I Love My Man!

Warning: You may not let the enemy use these posts to compare or be discouraged. All husbands are sinners and therefore not perfect. But, it is our duty as wives, I believe, to focus on the wonderful and lovely in our husbands, and they all have something worth being thankful for, right?!

That said. . .
I am so blessed by my husband and how wonderful he is that I am going to post reasons why I love him so. So, bear with me, okay? You have to realize that the ultimate reason for this blog is for my daughters, they will see how wonderful their daddy is and also learn how to appreciate their husbands. Okay, and I just love praising God for the wonder of my husband!


I am so thankful today as I realize that I have been struggling with health issues more than normal these last few weeks, and my husband has been so compassionate and tender through it all. I have also had a migraine off and on for the past 14 days. My attitude has not been sweet, I have been weary and teary, and he prays with me and for me and takes care of me.


Thank you Father in heaven for a man who truly cherishes me!

Question of the Day #27

Day Twenty-Seven
What one biblical doctrine do you most want to understand better this year, and what will you do about it?

Monday, January 26, 2009

Question of the Day #26

Day Twenty-Six
What's the single most important thing you could do to improve the quality of your commute this year?

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Question of the Day #25

Day Twenty-Five
To what need or ministry will you try to give an unprecedented amount this year?

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Making Time for God




Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where He prayed. (Mark 1:35)




I understand full well that we are all in different seasons and no one way fits all. I have been pregnant thirteen times, on mega doses of progesterone, stuggled with health issues, had sick children, ect. So, I understand where some of you may be in life, and I am just sharing my heart, my own experience and my own opinion. Please, mamas don't need any more heaped on them, that is not what I intend with the following.

I personally have found and believe that a morning quiet time is so precious, special and ideal. I know of others who do not share this opinion, but I really do believe it is best.

Define and determine Early Morning:
  • You must go to bed early enough to get sufficient sleep!
  • T.V is a 'time with God robber', I believe. (though I do watch it a couple of nights a week with my dear husband ;-)
  • Rise as early as you have to, meaning, a good half hour to an hour before the littles rise. If you have to take a nap to compensate for the sleep loss, I have found it so worth the trade off.
  • Schedule it in and make it happen by the grace of God!
  • Ask your dear husband to help you, wake you, encourage you or whatever he can, just let him know you could use his help. Sometimes just humbling ourselves enough to ask is all it takes.

Define your space:

I love this one. I know it might not be possible for everyone; mine has evolved over the years. I just love my quiet time area. I have:

  • a very small table,
  • a special chair,
  • a lamp
  • baskets of goodies (Hebrew/Greek word dictionaries, concordances and the like)
  • my journal and bible
  • my favorite devotionals, (Streams in the Desert, Springs in the Valley currently)
  • oh, and a candle for those really special times.
I loved what I read in Stephanie's post about "experiencing beautiful intimacy with God and simply enjoying and having opportunity to praise and glorify Him" This has by far been the most precious to me. I simply cannot imagine going through this life without this precious time with my Father. I shared in another post about how He is waiting for you, maybe you would enjoy that.

Question of the Day #24

Day twenty-four:
What skill do you most want to learn or improve this year?

Friday, January 23, 2009

Frugal Tips on Amazon.com



I have saved tons of money over the years from using Amazon.com and thought I would share some of the ways I do just in case you haven't thought of them yet!

1. They usually have the lowest prices on new books. I always check them first before ordering or buying in my local bookstore.

2. They almost always have free shipping on their new books!

3. Amazon's used book section is huge~just make sure the price of book plus shipping is still considerably less than a new book with free shipping! I have bought used books for as little as a penny plus $3.49 shipping.

4. Search out grocery items on Amazon! I only buy from them if it is free shipping and the same or less than what I pay locally. It saves me a trip to the store for those particular items and is delivered to my door from my sweet and friendly UPS man!

Things we buy from Amazon currently are:

Eden organic popcorn~cheaper than health food store and free shipping!

Organic Tortilla chips~cheaper than coop price and free shipping!

Organic Agave Nectar~cheaper than coop price and free shipping!

Disposable Diapers, the price has gone up recently, so I check it now and again.

5. We always check Amazon first for music CDs and DVDs.


6. Selling on Amazon!


A side note that has been profitable for us is selling our used items on Amazon. I like it better than ebay in some instances. It is so easy to list and I don't have to think about it until I get an email telling me "sold, ship now!" They deposit earnings into my checking account. The items you are selling have to be something they sell new or used, unlike ebay, where you can sell anything. You do a search for your product, make sure it is exactly the same, click the 'sell yours here' button and follow the prompts! It is so easy. My son has recently sold new headphones he bought cheap on ebay for quite a profit on Amazon.


I hope these ideas bless you today in your quest to find ways to save money.


If you are a Mama who could use some encouragement, check out my Motherhood section.


Or, maybe ideas for Keeping the Home.


You may find tons more great ideas at Biblical Womanhood.


P.S. I don't work for Amazon :)




Question of the Day #23

Day twenty-three:

In what area of your life do you most need growth, and what will you do about it this year?

Thursday, January 22, 2009

The Illusion of "If I just . . . "


There is an illusion that I fell for as a younger mama, and I just want to share what I learned. Maybe it will save another mama a little bit of grief.


The thinking, while under this illusion goes like this . . .

If I just . . . home school my children and protect them, then they will never rebel.


If I just . . . Teach my children the things of God, they will grow up to always serve the Lord.


If I just . . . Model a love for the Word of God; have devotions, then they will have their own wonderful personal devotions.


If I just . . . Read these books and apply these principles, we won’t have any struggles.


If I just . . .Reach their heart, train them up, they will always walk with God.


If I just . . . Trust the Lord with family size, then I’ll never lose a baby or have a difficult pregnancy.



If I just . . .
grind my own wheat
make my own bread
drink barley juice
dress modestly
am courtship minded
wear denim jumper
wear matching clothes
read only the King James Version


If I just.... If I just... If I just...


Now, let me expose the illusion and deception, maybe you already see it.

Our hope simply cannot be in any of these things.

Our hope had better be in the Lord, and Him alone.


There was a time in my early years of being a mama when things seemed perfect. I was able to keep my plates spinning. I had read all the books, listened to all the tapes. I was sure this was it, I was doing all these things right, our kids were doing well.

The Lord allowed some serious struggles in our lives at this point. Big enough to throw us on our faces. It felt as though the life got punched right out of us!


After awhile I began questioning and crying out to God. Listen to what kind of cries were coming from my heart and see if you can tell what needed to be exposed.

"Why am I home schooling, sacrificing so much if this is the result? Why bother, we’re no better off than so and so who goes to school?


Why bother to live, preach and teach Your Word if they don’t want anything to do with it?


Why am I trusting You with this family planning thing? What is the point if my babies are just going to die?"


This type of questioning exposed my very heart.

If you asked me or told me my hope was in those things I would have said, "surely not, my hope is in the Lord"(Probably rather flippantly:))
But do you see where my hope was?

It was in the "If I just."
Now I’m not saying that we shouldn’t do any or all of the things listed above. We had better do each and every one of them if the Lord calls us to, BUT,

our hope needs to be in Him alone, not what we do.

My soul, wait only upon God and silently submit to Him; for my hope and expectation are from Him.
He only is my Rock and my Salvation; He is my Defense and my Fortress, I shall not be moved.
With God rests my salvation and my glory;

He is my Rock of unyielding strength and impenetrable hardness, and my refuge is in God!
Trust in, lean on, rely on, and have confidence in Him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts before Him. God is a refuge for us (a fortress and a high tower). Selah!

Ps 62:5-8


Our hope is in Him alone, not what we do.

I believe all my children will, and do, walk humbly with their God, but it is and will be because of His grace, His mercy and faithfulness, not because I did it all right.


Let me say it again, I’m not suggesting you stop doing all those wonderful things the Lord has called you to. We do these things out of obedience and love for our Lord, not so we get the desired result. Pray and ask God to search your heart. Put your hope in Him alone.


Where are you putting your hope?


P.S. I am not saying I did all those things, especially the barley juice, just examples ;-)

Question of the Day #22

Day Twenty-two:
What single blessing from God do you want to seek most earnestly this year?

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

"Works for Me" Priority Checklist!




In a recent post I shared what I felt the Lord was speaking to me about how I spend my time and what my focus should be each day. Read about it here.


I soon realized this priority list would not do me any good if I didn't have some accountability.



So I made a list of questions to ask myself. (or have Brian ask me each night)


I laminated it and have it hanging on the lamp; can't miss it. (That is unless my nightstand is a mess :-)


I feel it is so important to frequently ask ourselves questions that cause us to actually stop and think, instead of letting life just whizz by.

If this thought intrigues you, you might be interested in a series we are doing called "Probing Questions". They are sure to change your life!


Also on my sidebar I have a running accountability check-in. Check it out if you are interested in seeing if I practice what I preach!


Below are the questions I ask myself daily (almost)


Priority Daily Checklist

Spiritual:


Was I kind and gentle with the children?
Did I have at thankful heart?
Was I content with all the Lord had for me?
Did I see God in all things?


Relationships:


Was I a good wife today?
Did I pray for him?
Did I spend time with my ‘helper’ today?
Did I tie heart strings today?
Did I stop to soak up the precious moments?

Home Management:


Did I look well to the ways of my household?
Did I focus on my God given role as helpmeet, mother and keeper today?
Have I made the very most of every opportunity today?

My passion is to live purposely, making sure I am focused on my priorities.
Check out more ideas at Rocks in My Dryer.

Question of the Day #21

Day twenty-one

What one thing do you most regret about last year, and what will you do about it this year?

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Monday, January 19, 2009

Endless Reasons Why I Love My Man!

Warning: You may not let the enemy use these posts to compare or be discouraged. All husbands are sinners and therefore not perfect. But, it is our duty as wives, I believe, to focus on the wonderful and lovely in our husbands, and they all have something worth being thankful for, right?!


That said. . .



I am so blessed by my husband and how wonderful he is that I am going to post reasons why I love him so. So, bear with me, okay?
You have to realize that the ultimate reason for this blog is for my daughters, they will see how wonderful their daddy is and also learn how to appreciate their husbands. Okay, and I just love praising God for the wonder of my husband!


A wonderfully encouraging note!
(Tucked between my pillows,
I found it as I was going take a nap)


What makes this so special is that I have been struggling lately with feeling like I am not 'good enough' at anything in my life. This note was timely and sweet. And, to make it even sweeter, he 'bought' this card from our six year old who loves making cards like her sister and longs for a market to sell them like her sister. I think she found one in her daddy. And I, a happy recipient!

Question of the Day #19

Day Nineteen:
What's one thing you could do this year to enrich the spiritual legacy you will leave to your children and grandchildren?

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Encouragement For A Prodigal's Mama



I just hung up the phone. It was my son. My son who has chosen the other way. There is only one Way, and he has not chosen it. My heart is so heavy. Such a sadness deep, deep within my heart. It’s funny, I guess, when they speak of heart‘ache’; there really is an ache. A physical ache inside the heart.


"He knows better," I cry out, "He knows!"


Why he is choosing this path that surely leads away from our Jesus?

He knows what’s right and what’s wrong! We taught him.

Were we perfect? Surly not, but we showed him the Way. We fed him the Truth.


I cry out to God, "He knows! Why is he doing this?!" I think I hear a still small voice inside asking me "Does he know? Does he really know? He knows in his head what is right. Yes, you did teach him, but does he know for himself?


Maybe the question is, dear mama, do you know?


Do you know that I am the Great I AM?


Do you know I created him for Myself?


Do you know that I hold all things together?


Do you know that no plan or purpose of Mine can be thwarted?


Do you know that I love him more the you ever could?


Do you know that I knit him together in your womb, that I saw his unformed body, and all of his days were written in My book?


Do you know that just as you are, he is the apple of My eye?


His name is carved in the palm of My hands?


Do you know, mama, that I am God and there is no one else;

I am God and there is none like Me?


I declare the end from the beginning.


My counsel shall stand, and I will do My pleasure and purpose.


Do you know that I have plans to prosper him and not harm him,

plans to give him hope and a future?


You have no need to fret. I will pour My spirit upon your offspring.

My blessing upon your descendants.

I formed you and your children and your children’s children for Myself.

That they may set forth My praise and they shall do it.


He certainly knows, and he will know.


"My eye is upon him. His very life is in My hands."


Dear mama, dry your tears, calm your heart.

Cast your sorrow, your fear, your frustrations on Me.

Let Me carry them.


Surely, you know Me.

Question of the Day #18

What's one new way you could be a blessing to your pastor (or to another who ministers to you) this year?

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Endless Reasons Why I Love My Man!

Warning: You may not let the enemy use these posts to compare or be discouraged. All husbands are sinners and therefore not perfect. But, it is our duty as wives, I believe, to focus on the wonderful and lovely in our husbands, and they all have something worth being thankful for, right?!
That said. . .
I am starting a new series. I got the idea from another mommy blogger.
I am so blessed by my husband and how wonderful he is that I am going to post reasons why I love him so. So, bear with me, okay?
You have to realize that the ultimate reason for this blog is for my daughters, they will see how wonderful their daddy is and also learn how to appreciate their husbands. Okay, and I just love praising God for the wonder of my husband!




The most recent reason I love him is this:


A completely organized JUNK DRAWER!

My man took upon himself to organize the whole junk drawer all by himself. Of course, it was sort of selfish, because he hates the mess, but still, am I a blessed woman or what?

What could you share that you love about your man today? I would love to hear it, as would he! Why not let him know now?!

Simplifying My Mind!

One area I feel I need to simplify this year is my mind! Sounds funny maybe, but I feel the Lord has been speaking to me about my mind and/or my thoughts. See if you can relate at all.

My mind tends to run 90 miles an hour ~ not just on one thought, but many. It leaves me feeling frazzled, unable to focus, short tempered with my family, and even probably affects my health.

A calm and undisturbed mind and heart are the life and health of the body... (Pr. 14:30)
There are, of course, many aspects to having a calm mind. I could write volumes on the spiritual application of this, but today I want to share just one practical way, that really is not all that original, but that has greatly helped me.

I have recently started using a half size 3-ring binder in which I write many of my thoughts. It is still evolving, but has really been a blessing. I have so much all in one spot. What goes into your binder will be as unique as you. This is not one of those beautiful elaborate household management binders (more on that in another post) just my mind in a binder :-)

My binder includes:


Priorities of my life (see this post here)

Weekly calender in front:


(this is where I put appointments from main calendar, or plans for the week, to-do ideas, I usually leave it open to this page on the counter)

Section for shopping lists:
Costco, Grocery, health food store, all in their own column
To-do list:
running ideas of things that need to get done that I don't have to keep in my head
To-do section for kids:
Here each child has a column that I can just jot down things I want them to do, this has been HUGE, not having to remember who I told what. And, I don't have to keep them in my head, they also have a place to refer to.
Monthly calendar:
These I use only to keep track of my weekly bread sales, whether or not we had piano and Latin class.

My Rules:
Cannot write any of these things on sticky notes all over house! (I do keep sticky notes in my notebook~old habits die hard!)
I must train myself to write them in the notebook!
All lists must go in the notebook!
Keep it out and open
Make it pretty (I put pretty scrapbook paper in the front, back and sides)


A great and free resource for downloadable 1/2 size forms or full size for that matter can be found at http://www.donnayoung.org/.


Now, I still seem to have a half a bazillion thoughts flitting around, but at least it is down by half!
See more ideas to Simplify your life at http://www.keeperofthehome.com/

Question of the Day #17

Day Seventeen:
What's the single most important thing you could do to improve the quality of your work life this year?

Friday, January 16, 2009

Question of the Day #16

Day sixteen:
What is your most important financial goal this year, and what is the most important step you can take toward achieving it?

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Works for Me Menu Planning! (Downloadable Plan)

I am a firm believer in menu planning! I know many of you are also. Coming up with a workable menu plan that is so easy to do each week has changed my life. That is no exaggeration. For years I have tried various menu plan forms and ideas. I have countless attempts on my computer in various folders. I never could stick to one because it was too complicated, too boring or just didn't work for me.

I am putting my blank form online available for download. For those who are not spreadsheet literate, this may be of some help.

I am not saying that this will work for everyone, because I believe we all have unique situations and families. But I thought if I shared what "worked for me", it might bless others.

A few tips that have made it so easy for me are:

  • try to have lunches and breakfasts the same each week, this saves rethinking each week
  • it is always okay to change the plan on a whim, but at least you have something set up if need be.
  • it helps to have a freezer inventory when making menu
  • also, if at all possible, have a list of all your family favorite meals with you when you plan
  • keep staples stocked so meal planning is easy
  • keep a grocery list with you as you plan to jot down what might be needed this week
  • I have made each day of the week be the same "type" of meal so I just have to fill in the variation. ie. Monday-Beef; Tuesday-Leftover Chicken; Wed.-Meatless; Thurs.-Beef; Friday-Chicken or Meatless; Sat.-Burgers (meat, tuna or quinoa); Sun. Roast chicken.
  • one last important tip! I have a place for various 'tasks' related to each days meal, saves on thinking;-)


I have included an example of mine already filled in.




For your convenience, all you have to do is click the link below. When new dialog box appears choose save, and save to where ever you want to on your computer. (To open and edit this file you need Microsoft Excel)






See more great ideas at Rocks in My Dryer.

Question of the Day #14

Day fourteen:
What habit would you most like to establish this year?

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Out of the Mouth of Babes


My sweet Sarah Grace is almost eight years old. She loves to read mommy's blog. She has been asking me to let her respond to the questions of the day. Initially, I blew her off, which is a very bad habit of mine, but then I asked her which ones. She had put a lot of thought into it and even had the numbers of the ones she wanted to answer written down.


The conversation went like this:


"What is your answer to biggest time waster?"


She said, "playing!"


"Sarah Grace, kids are supposed to play, it's okay to play." I said thinking how cute and almost dismissing her.


She said, "No, I mean playing when I should be doing chores or my quiet time."


"Good one Sarah Grace, good one" the Mama said with conviction beginning to fall on her.


Isn't it something how they seem to get it. It is so simple to them. I have paused frequently since this conversation to ask myself if I am indeed 'playing' instead of doing my 'chores'?


The Lord uses these littles to speak to my heart everyday. This whole thought process goes with the theme of my life lately, "making the most of every opportunity".


Am I 'blogging' instead of mothering?


Reading instead of making dinner?


Putsing instead of teaching school?


Staying up too late so I miss my quiet time?


Or, still having a quiet time when I should be out with the littles. Ouch, that's a good one!


Surely we all could ask ourselves, "Am I "playing instead of doing my chores or my quiet time?"


See related post: Priorities!


Question of the Day #13

Day 13

What's the most important need you feel burdened to meet this year?

Monday, January 12, 2009

Question of the Day #12

Day twelve:

What area of your life most needs simplifying, and what's one way you could simplify in that area?

Menu Plan Monday (Click Picture to Enlarge)



Check out my menu for this week. Click the picture to see the details.







Best Soup Ever!


I made the absolutely best soup this past weekend and thought I would share it with you. I make versions of this soup all the time, but this was by far the best! Everyone agreed, which is no easy feat in a house of eleven! There is nothing like yummy, hot homemade soup. Have a great week.



Vegetable Beef and Sausage Soup

Brown until no longer pink.



1 lb. Hamburger
3 Italian Sausage links
1 large Onion, chopped
5 cloves Garlic, finely chopped


Add and saute for a few minutes

½ head cabbage, chopped



Add and simmer until tender



5-6 cups Beef Broth (Homemade only!)
5-6 carrots, chopped
3-4 stalks celery, chopped




Add and cook until tender



3-4 small zucchini, chopped
1 lb. Spinach
6 cups (ish) various cooked beans (black, pinto, kidney ect.)




Serve with Homemade bread or rolls and grated Parmesan cheese

Feel free to look around my teensy corner of blogworld. I love to encourage women in their roles of being a godly wife, mother and managers of their homes. Thanks for coming.

Check out more Menu Plans here.


Check out my "Embracing the Mess" article.

Or

"Thus Far Has the Lord Helped Us"

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Priorities!




"You find out what your priorities are by what you spend your time doing"





Yikes! That is frightening to me because I can say that my husband, my children and my home are my priorities, but do my actions show it? A lot of the time I don't think they do.



I realized lately that I try and try to do what 'I' think needs to be done in a day, yet go to bed feeling like somehow I missed it. I get so caught up in the little things that I miss my big three! (wife, mother, keeper of the home)


I have been attempting to simplify and organize many areas of my life. I will share some of the practical things I feel the Lord has led me to in future posts.



Today I would like to share with you my Weekly Check List.



I asked the Lord what my priorites are. The top three areas I feel He gave me are: Spiritual, Relationships and Home Management. The plan is to get with God and seek Him for my 'to-do' list in these areas.



I have these printed up on pretty paper and keep them in my little 'home management' journal. (more on that in future post)




Make the very most of every opportunity, for the days are evil.


Spiritual:



What should be my focus this week?
What sins am I letting slide?


Relationships:



Brian: How can I serve and encourage him this week?
What specifically should I pray for him?



Children: What specific ways can I sow into each child’s heart?


Monday: Josiah
Tuesday: Victoria
Wednesday: Isabella
Thursday: Sarah Grace
Friday: Isaiah


The Boys?
Matthew and Danniel?


Home Managing:
What items from my to-do list should I work on this week?
What should be my focus?




My hope and prayer is that each week, as I sit before the Lord, listening for His orders, (then of course obeying them ;) that my priorities will be where they need to be.

Next time, my Nightly Accountability Checklist.

Question of the Day #11

Day eleven:

What's the most important decision you need to make this year?

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Question of the Day #10

Day ten:

What single thing that you plan to do this year will matter most in ten years? In eternity?

Friday, January 9, 2009

The Touch of the Saviours Hand

I saw the touch of the Saviours hand as I watched the ladies sign up one after the other for the Blog Party.  I can be rather insecure and wondered if I had missed Him in this party idea.  But He keeps showing me that I am hearing from Him and He is leading me.

Also, with life being so busy I constantly ask Him if I am supposed to be doing this blog and each time I wonder, He sends someone who is so blessed by something He encouraged me to write.  I am so humbled and in awe of Him and being able to be His  vessel.

Surprise Birthday Wish!! (To a man uncomfortable with public acclaim)

Dearest Brian,

Happy Birthday! It really isn't just because I get to go on a date with you that today is special! Really, though I love dates with you.

It is special because today is the day, forty-six years ago God finished His work of knitting you together is your mother's womb, and brought you forth. I imagine it was with great joy your parents celebrated the birth of their first son! I'm also sure they had no idea what a gift you truly would be.

When God was forming and fashioning you, I'm so glad all the days He had written about you included me!

Brian, I know we say it so often, but I cannot even fathom the depth of our love, the joy of this marriage and the unity we share. What a precious and priceliss gift you are to me.

I cannot imagine going through what we have been through without the gracious gift of this love.


You are more than I could have ever hoped for in a husband and father. I wonder so often what I did to deserve you. Then I am reminded, you are a gift from my Father, and like all His gifts they are given, not at all because we deserve them, but because He loves us.


Praising God for the wonder of you!

I will rejoice in You, I will sing praise to Your name, O Most High!

Blessed is the man who fears the Lord, who delights greatly in His commandments. His offspring shall be mighty upon the earth.



Lord, may Brian's heart trust in me. May I comfort, encourage and do him only good as long as I live!


Happy Birthday, Honey!

Love Always,
Me

2009 Nourishing New Year Resolutions!

Find at least one more 'hot cereal' breakfast that everybody loves!

Come up with at least one FRUGAL nourishing snack that everyone enjoys.
(the ones we love take quite costly ingredients)

Use sprouted seeds at least once a week. I need to work this into our menu plan.

Fine tune our Daily Bread recipe to nourishing traditions. I make tons of bread every week for us and have yet to have GREAT success with soaking it. It is okay, but not GREAT!

Get Cod Liver Oil into my children on a regular basis. (As the Lord provides finances. I take it consistently, but to drop into 8 little mouths everyday is hard to make happen)

Switch over to natural cleaning products and my Costco supply dwindles.

Find more resolutions at The Nourishing Gourmet!

Question of the Day #9

Day nine:
What one thing could you do to improve your prayer life this year?

Frugal Chicken Tips




I know this is not original, but I think it bears repeating.







We are committed to buying only organic, free range chickens. Which, by the way, is not cheap! Especially for a large family. So we make the absolute most we can out of them.





We have two sources. One, a wonderful local farmer. Two, the grocery store that carries the next best thing, BUT, puts them on sale half off the day before their sell by date!





Frugal Chicken Tip # 1


  • check the store to see when the sell by date is and go buy all you can, double bag and freeze. Just don't do it at my store;)

Frugal Chicken Tip #2

  • Roast not only that meals worth but also another to save money heating the oven.


We have roast chicken every Sunday for dinner, I make extra to use for leftovers on Tuesday. My meal plan has Tuesday as 'leftover chicken' day. (Anything that calls for cooked chicken)

Sunday after dinner I 'pick' the chicken and put the bones, carrots, onion, celery, water and 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar (to draw minerals from the bones) in my stock pot and put in fridge until morning. Refrigerate remaining chicken.





Frugal Tip # 3

  • Make delicious, good for you stock all day Monday. Cool and freeze in small containers.

Now you have incredibly nutritious stock to use all week instead of chemical laden bouillion cubes!





This is a great link on why homemade stock is so good for you.

Check out Biblical Womanhood for more Frugal tips!

Blessings!







Thursday, January 8, 2009

Okay, Take A Deep Breath...

Repeat after me if you are a mama who needs this...


I am a joyful mother of children!



My heart is full of Joy because You, Jesus live in me!



By Your grace I can do this 'mama' thing!



The Joy of the Lord is my Strength!




I'm just saying... (grin)

Letter to My Daughters Concerning the Sufficiency of God's Grace

Dearest Precious Daughters,

It has taken mama sometime to realize this, so I thought I would share it with you now so maybe, by the grace of God, you will learn it much sooner.

You will hear thousands of times that God's grace is sufficient. You will hear it spoken concerning many different circumstances.

I want to share one very practical and important area this truth covers.

When you are up in the middle of the night, several nights in a row, with a very sick baby, if you believe that His grace is sufficient, it will turn out to be a most precious time.

It is sometimes hard to keep your mind stayed on Him when your body is weak from exhaustion, and possibly sick too. The thoughts and fears for your baby, the dread of having to be a mama to the rest of the children tomorrow, the frustration of just wanting to sleep, possibly even frustration with God, because He could just make it better.

Daughters, quiet your mind, submit your heart and life afresh to Him in that moment.
Determine and delight to do His will in this very moment, cry out loud if you have to "I know Jesus, Your grace is sufficient."

Say it again and again as you care for your wee one. Believe it with your whole heart.
Do you want to know just what might happen? I'll share my experience.

It turns into a beautiful, worshipful night. I feel His Love, His grace, Him gently caring for me as I care for this baby as unto the Lord.

Learn this truth, daughter and you will save yourself many a selfish, frustrating night.

It is a privilege and honor to care for these little ones. Especially with the realization it is for our great King and Lord that we do so.
Lovingly,
Mama

I was sick and you visited Me . . .Truly I tell you in so far as you did it for one of the least of these My brethren, you did it for Me. (Matthew 25)

Question of the Day #8

Day eight:
What's the most important way you will, by God's grace, try to make this year different from last year?

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Question of the Day #7

Day seven:
For whose salvation will you pray most fervently this year?

"Works for Me" Moisturizer

In an effort to save money, simplify things and be more natural, I have come up with a very inexpensive moisturizer!

I use a high quality Almond Oil. I know it might seem odd to put oil on your face, but it really works. (I probably have 'normal' skin.)

No more toxic chemicals.

No more $10 to $30 and up moisturizer!

No more various bottles of different kinds of moisturizers!

One bottle, one low price and natural! Can't beat that.

I also use this right after the shower for a body moisturizer.

I recently added lavender oil to it so now I have scented moisturizer.

See more Works for Me Wednesday ideas here.



Are you a mama who could use an encouraging word today? Click here

Would you like to join our spiritual challenge for the new year with probing questions? Start here

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Question of the Day #6

Day Six:
What is the most helpful new way you could strengthen your church?

Embracing the Mess






Just kidding, not even my house! :)

I think I’ve lived under an illusion for many years that has caused great frustration and much discontent. I am a person who likes order. Not much thrills me more than shelves lined with the same size Rubbermaid containers. All of which have perfectly printed labels.


Now, having said this, a few things keep me from living in this perfectly organized little world. One, my own laziness, busyness and distractedness. Two, nine beautiful blessings, my children. Three, small house, lots of people, lots of stuff. Even though I am not a pack rat, and always seem to give away or throw away stuff, eleven people have lots of stuff!


It is my job as a Mama and manager of our household to manage efficiently all this stuff. The illusion I have lived under is that if I could just go through the house and organize everything, then, well, then I would be done! It sounded so reasonable and simple to me and I didn’t understand why the children didn’t get it. Maybe if they were trained better. Maybe if my house was bigger. On and on I could go with the reasons as to why I just can’t get it done and be done. Was it me?


Praise God for opening my eyes to the realization that this is my job! My dear husband pointed out that he wouldn’t go to work one day and just be ‘done’ with his work because he did it. It is what he does, and this is what I do, at least in part.


Our needs constantly change, new babies, new seasons, new clothes, toys get outgrown, diet changes, on and on the list goes. It is my job, no, my great privilege to manage all these changes. It is extremely challenging at times, but my God is right there ready to give wisdom and unique solutions to me. It will never be done, and that is okay! Now I can accept this truth and tell myself that this is part of my calling. I’ve long ago accepted the house won’t always look perfect, though I do so love the few minutes it looks that way on cleaning day. ;)



Now I am able to look at each new area that needs reworking and reorganizing as an opportunity to ‘do my job’. I used to get frustrated because I seemed to be wired to have everything organized and could never achieve it. Now I realized that ‘wiring’ is not a curse given to me to frustrate me, but a gift from God to help me manage our stuff as efficiently as I can.



Perfectly, by no means, but well enough!


I am working on joyfully embracing the mess, looking at it as an opportunity to use my gifts, glorify my God, and teach my children how to adapt, organize and that the stuff isn’t worth losing our peace over.



...for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.



It's what we do with the 'littles' in our life

that really counts, right ladies?


Monday, January 5, 2009

Menu Plan Monday (Click Picture to Enlarge)


This week I am working on making a Menu Plan Notebook. I hope to have my lists of meal ideas that correspond to my menu, ie. chicken meal, beef meal, beans/grains/meatless.
I will also keep recipes I want to try in this folder. Probably my grocery lists. I am not sure yet exactly, but it will be nice to have everything in one spot. Kind of the 'household binder' idea, only for just my menu planning.
Check out more menu plans here.

Question of the Day #5

Day five:
What is the single biggest time-waster in your life, and what will you do about it this year?

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Question of the Day #4

Day four:
In which spiritual discipline do you most want to make progress this year, and what will you do about it?

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Question of the Day #3

Day Three:
What's the single most important thing you could do to improve the quality of your family life this year?

How Does a Mama Give?




GIVE

Lavishly,


Utterly,


Joyfully


This speaks to me not of giving 'stuff',

but of giving ME

to these children

my husband

to those in my life.

Not stuff or things,


but ME!


My smile, my heart, my time, my affection.



Oh Lord, I want to give...lavishly...utterly...joyfully!

Friday, January 2, 2009

Desires, Hopes and Dreams For the New Year

First of all, let me say that I am continually encouraged and challenged by other women out here in 'blogworld'. One lady in particular has a most beautiful blog that so expresses my heart and writes in a way I could only hope to. It is with excitement that I check her blog because the Lord ALWAYS uses it to speak to my heart.

But something odd happened the other day concerning her. I read her profile, and guess what? The Lord used it to challenge me again. Not her blog, her profile! It went like this:

Interests
Exalting God
Favorite Movies
The kind that exalt God.
Favorite Music
Exalting God music
Favorite Books
Can you guess?

I don't know why it hit me like it did, but WOW. Of course I desire to exalt God with my life, but somehow this made me question all the choices I make for my time, my viewing, my listening, my reading ect. Do I filter them through what I am now calling my "Exalting God" filter?

So, my prayers and dreams for the year??


  • Seeking to exalt God in all I do and say! ( I know this might sound trite, but it was huge to me)
  • to be sweeter
  • to be gentler
  • to be kinder
  • to speak softer
  • to love more

I am sure you are jumping out of your skin to know who this woman is. She can be found at "A Wise Woman Builds Her Home"

Question of the Day #2

Day Two:

What's the most humanly impossible thing you will ask God to do this year?

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Things to Do with Preschoolers

I am not sure of where I got all these ideas from. Some of them are from several years ago. I found them on my computer. I hope they help!


Distracting Preschoolers
(While you work with the older kids...)




Toy Rotation: bring out toys like those following that they only get to play with once in a while, or maybe even only while you're working with the other child. I've even had luck with boxing up a bunch of toys, and bringing them out later……the kids think they're new toys!


"Priming the pump." I've found that often if I just take 3 minutes to throw a few new toys out that the kids haven't played with in a while that they find new interest and will keep busy for 15-20 minutes. Just a few minutes of "priming the pump" might yield you that bit of quiet time you need!


Good quality toys like Brio train sets or Brio Mec. These seem expensive, but if you figure the dollar value per hour of playtime, they're cheap! I recommend saving them for the grandkids even though it's tempting to sell 'em off as the kids get older.


Doll houses
Toys horses with stables


Refrigerator/washing machine boxes (these are good for at least 3 weeks of play!). Any cardboard box is a thrill for me kids, and so are those bubble pad sheets for shipping!


Dominos-do you remember lining them up so they would all fall when you touched the first one?


Felt sets


Books on tape with a little kid tape recorder


Junk Mail……save your junk mail and do a "mail call" once a week or so. Let them open it up.


Car maps……these can be the commercial ones made of carpet, or you can even use tape to mark your kitchen floor


Playdough


The Tupperware cupboard-who doesn't have a drawer or cupboard filled with plastic storage containers? Pull them out all over the floor with some measuring cups. If you're brave, and depending on the age, you could even let the child measure beans or water or something else that's safe. Or maybe have them wash plastic containers at the sink.


Legos/Duplos/Lincoln Logs


Animal collections-my kids love playing with these inexpensive museum quality figurines!


Stencils-you can find these cheap or free easily.


Thread cereal rings on spaghetti noodles! You could use Playdough as a base.


Bowling with foam/rubber balls and toilet paper tubes in the hall.


Make a little photo album that's kid safe. I used my "reject" photos and made up a cheap little album for my daughter and she loved looking at the pictures of our family!


A deck of cards to play with!


A cleared out cupboard gives my 5 year old a thrill to hide in! His own little cubby hole!


A toy shopping cart. I see these at garage sales all the time. You can even have the child go collect his toys on the floor!


I don't worry if occasionally I resort to mindless computer games and TV! Once in a while it can be a life saver, and I'm sure I'm not the only one who does it! But I try to keep these two things to a minimum.




Activity Ideas for Preschoolers
From: MrsD
These are things we have done at one time or another. OBVIOUSLY, some require more supervision than others. Many are intended for when the child is near you as you work with other children on their lessons. These are in no particular order. If nothing else, maybe reading this list will get your own creative juices flowing!
· Plastic (or cardboard) coins and a piggy bank - bought or home-made (Pringles can, slit cut in top).
· Playdoh with a plastic knife, rolling pin, cookie cutters, etc.
· Painting: watercolors, paint books, or food coloring in water with a Q-tip.
· Chalk on dark construction paper.
· Scissors and paper (no other objective in mind!)
· Easy-to-use paper punch and strips of paper.
· Stencils, paper, colored pencils.
· Lacing cards: Cardboard shape with holes punched around it. Attach yarn, wrap masking tape around the end.
· Plastic canvas with yarn attached, wrap end in masking tape.
· Poke holes in thick cardboard with a tack.
For further great ideas please see Paula's Archives Awesome resource!!
Preschool Fun!
Abeka Number Cards/Beans
Pattern Matching
Sorting (paper clips)
Toothpick Art
Tracing
Bean Play
Pattern Blocks
Books on Tape
Water Color Paints
Scissor Practice
Paper Punch Fun
Lace and Shapes
Stencils
Cereal rings
Be Read to
Legos
Little People
House Stuff
Kitchen Stuff
Dry Erase
Playdoh
Coloring Books
Markers
Letter Practice in Rice

Question of the Day #1

I came across these questions to ask yourself on your birthday or a new year. The article suggested you either read them and answer them in one day or everyday for a month. I thought I would try to post one question a day for us all to pray on and answer before the Lord as we start this new year. Care to join me?

Day One:

What's one thing you could do this year to increase your enjoyment of God?

What? No Resolutions?!

A little background info...I LOVE New Year’s Day because I always have a very, very lengthy quiet time(thank you Brian;) where I pray, plan, journal, make lists, and goals. It is always a special time.

Now for a glimpse into today’s journal time.

I looked over my whole journal from the past year - searching to see if there was a theme. Surely the whole year followed the "theme" and verses from last January first. I looked and searched . . . in vain. There was no theme, how disappointing! Not even a thread of commonality?

Well now what? What is the point of once again, sitting down, praying, making a list, writing out my goals, only to look back next year and once again be disappointed?

But wait a minute here. What I do see is, each and every day, every struggle, every heartache, every fear, every doubt, every question, every joy and delight, everything, You spoke to my heart. You heard my cry! You supplied daily all I needed! It was a daily thing, not a yearly thing.

I’m always looking for this grand plan; regardless of the area of life. I’m looking for that "one time answer." Be it organization, cleaning, schedule, routine, scripture, Word from God, just find me the answer or list, I’ll do it and we are done. NO! That is not it. It is "day by day." It is a continual need to be supplied.

It is not take a drink and you are done. No, it is continual, living, flowing waters. I need You daily, hourly, minute by minute.

How dreadfully sad to think You give me one Word the first of the year and say

"there, there you go sweetie, good luck, keep focused on this and we’ll see you again next year."

No, Your way of doing this is far better. You want me to look to You constantly. To ask daily, "what’s the verse or theme or plan or goal for today, Lord"

I can make my lists and plans each new year, but somehow You orchestrate my life in such a way that I need to totally and utterly rely on You every day, all day. My big plans always seem to fail. Your plans seem to stand.

"A man’s mind plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps and makes them sure." (Pr 16:9)

" Yet you do not know the least thing about what might happen tomorrow . . . You ought to say if the Lord is willing, we shall live and we shall do this or that." (James 2:3-15)

"All the ways of man are pure in his own eyes, but the Lord weighs the thoughts and intents of the heart" (Pr 16:2)

SO–

If I do make a "list" perhaps I should hold on to it very loosely~with a whisper of "if it be Your will" and "Roll my works upon the Lord . . . He will cause my thoughts to become agreeable to His Will . . .(Pr. 16:3)

I am in no way saying we should not examine the past, plan for the future, hope and dream. I am just saying He wants me to see His hand daily, seek for His plans and goals, daily. If you were a bit sheepish about making your list of goals due to past failures I hope this speaks to your heart and encourages you as it did me. I will probably share my dreams and hopes for the new year in another post, but somehow it feels different from years past. The words I hear echo in my heart now are...
  • Trust
  • Rest
  • Follow
  • Be Content-Thankful
  • See God in all things
  • Praise Him whatever befall

It will be a good and blessed New Year!

Be sure to check out Biblical Womanhood, where other precious ladies have shared their goals.