Thursday, April 30, 2009

Freezer Fundamentals

I have found two new useful blogs. Check them out: hyper homemaker and adventures in frugal living. They are on my blog links. 
I promised a friend i would post this and Brennan is napping so i must be quick so that i can also get a shower!
This is taken from Real Simple magazine..one of my faves!
WHEN FREEZING FOODS REMEMBER:
  • Use containers or wraps made for freezing. It is the only stuff that can withstand the chill and retain flavor.
  • If you freeze bread or bagels slice before you freeze
  •  Squeeze out excess air
  • Wait for hot foods to cool first
THINGS THAT FREEZE EASILY:
  • Berries
  • casseroles
  • eggs (out of shell and beaten)
  • cooked pancakes and waffles
  • cakes
  • nuts
  • firm cheeses (not grated)
  • fruit
THAWING YOUR GOODS:
  •  It is better to thaw ALL foods overnight in the fridge
  • remember meat eggs and diary should never get below 40 degrees until being cooked (beware of microwave defrosts)
  • shrimp (in & out of the package) should always be thawed under cool water-not hot. This goes for most seafood
  • if foods are frozen flat, it makes for an easier thaw (i.e. soups, sauces, broths-freeze lying flat and 'defrost' in a sink or bowl of warm to hot water
Hope this was helpful. I know it was for me as i prepared meals for when Brennan came home from the hospital and i couldn't really cook. When i was a nanny the family had a big cooking spree regularly and froze several meals for later use..i thinnk there is a whole book on how to do that...anyway..happy freezing!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Marriage

A great quote from this weekend was "If my marriage is not about something greater than me-it will essentially end up being only about me"
Two other things that greatly challenged me were: 
1.) Am I constantly thinking on & talking about the goodness of God? The verse in Philipians that tells us to dwell of praiseworthy things has always been vague to me. Here is a great way to apply that verse. Daily speak aloud (maybe to your hubby at dinner..) Isn't God good to _______?

The lady teaching pointed out that most men are not aware of God's activity as much as they are their own sin or shortcomings. So what better way to encourage our men and put THEIR minds on  praiseworthy things?!

2.) Listen to topics that repeatedly come up in conversation with your husband. Whether it be a concern, or an interest (say..canoeing:) Take great interest in this topic. Draw out more info about it. Ask great questions like "I've noticed you bring up ___ a lot. Is there something bothering you about that? Is there a way I can help?" (then refer to above thoughts)
If its something like bungy jumping or in my case canoe trips, make a purpose to plan a specific time or make a goal as to when he or the both of you can do that together!

I hope this helps. Please share any thoughts or other things that YOU do to encourage your hubby!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

final prayers for hubby

Here is the final of the prayers for your husband series. Ben and I enjoyed the privilege of going to a wonderful marriage retreat this weekend. So I want to continue some of the hubby posts. We learned so much and i hope to pass along the blessing and encouragement we received! so look for that coming soon!

  • Pray that your husband will learn how to relax in the Lord and, in his greatest times of stress,find joy and peace in his relationship with God. Pray that he will submit his schedule to the Lord.  (Neh. 8:10; Prov. 17:22; Ps. 16:11) 
  • Pray that your husband will practice forgiveness in your relationship and with others. Pray that he will recognize any roots of bitterness, and yield any resentment and unforgiving attitudes to the Lord.  (Eph. 4:32; Heb. 12:15) 
  • Pray that your husband will be a good father—disciplining his children wisely and loving them unconditionally. If he is not a father, pray that he will find a young man to mentor in the things of the Lord. (Eph. 6:4; Col. 3:21; 2 Tim. 2:1-2)  
  •  Pray that your husband will have a balanced life—that he will balance work and play. Pray that he will fear God, but also gain favor with people he knows at work and church. (Luke 2:52; Prov. 13:15)
  • Pray that your husband will be courageous in his stand against evil and injustice, and that he will stand for the truth. Pray that he will protect you and your family from Satan’s attacks.  (Ps. 31:24; Eph. 6:13; Ps. 27:14) 
  • Pray that your husband will discover and live his God-given purpose. Pray that he will offer all his dreams to the Lord, and pursue only those goals that will bring God glory and count for eternity.  (Jer. 29:11; 1 Cor. 10:31) 
  • Pray that your husband will understand the importance of taking care of his body—the temple of the Holy Spirit—for the glory of God. Pray that he will practice self-control by making wise food choices, and get sufficient exercise to stay healthy.  (Rom. 12:1-2; 1 Cor. 6:19-20, 9:27) 
  • Pray that your husband will be a man of prayer. Pray that he will seek and pursue God in purposeful quiet times.  (1 Thess. 5:17; Luke 22:46; James 5:16) 
  • Pray that your husband will surrender his time and talents to the Lord. Pray that his spiritual gifts will be manifest in his career, at church, and in your home.  (Eph. 5:15-16; 1 Cor. 12:4, 7)
  • Pray that your husband will serve God and others with pure motives. Pray that he will obey the Lord from his heart, and glorify Him in everything.  (1 Cor. 10:13; John 7:17-18; Col. 3:23-24)
  •  Pray that your husband will recognize the lies of the Enemy in his life. Pray that his attitudes and actions will be guided by the truth as he brings his thoughts into captivity to the Word of God.  

Friday, April 24, 2009

menu and recipies

It has been a while since i posted our menu, so on this one i am going to post the last several weeks' menu. If you are like me, i am always looking for simple, inexpensive meals that are different and yumm.

week one:
1. burgers, chips and dip
2. chicken kabobs, mashed potaoes and salad (chicken, pineapple and tomatoes on a skewer)
3. spagetti noodles with melted parmesan cheese and leftover grilled chicken
4. red beans and rice (i do the box by zatarans-extra cheap if you have a coupon!)
5. pork chops (our grocery had a special) corn on the cob (from dad's garden)
6. chicken fried rice (rice, soy sauce, chicken, egg, sesame seed. Cook chicken in soy sauce w/ butter while rice boils, add to pan with more soy sauce, scramble egg on side of pan, sprinkle with sesame seed &/or add asian veggies from the frozen food section)
7.white chicken chili (2 cans of white beans, 1 lb of chicken, a can of rotel w/ chilies, a tsp cumin-crockpot low 2 hours if chicken is already cooked)

week two:
1. florida chicken ( 1 c. orange juice per lb of chicken-crockpot 3 hours on high) serve over rice
2. spinach quiche, bacon and vanilla pudding (1.5 c. bisquick, 3 eggs, 1 c. spinach, 1 c. cheese. put in blender until well mixed. pour in greased pan bake 45 min on 425)
3. pot roast (veggies, meat 1 c. cream of mushroom soup, 1 c. Dales sauce crockpot 5-8 hrs. low)
4. (tureky) hotdogs and (whole wheat) macaroni
5. Jeanie-o turkey breast (sale!!) black eyed peas and rolls
6. BBQ chicken pizza (pillsbury pizza dough, 1 lb of chicken cooked w/ 1 c. BBQ sauce. pour extra cup of sauce on dough, add chicken and chopped purple or green onion-bake 350 for 15-20 min)
7. chicken and cheese quesadiallas (tortilla shells, cheese and southwestern chicken strips-in the sandwhich meat section)

week three:
1. Betty Crocker chicken pot pie in a box
2. Taco seasoned porkloin (in crockpot 5 hrs low) serve over chopped lettuce, chips and salsa
3. Cheesburger Macaroni (hamb. helper box)
4. Crispy ranch chicken (i will try to find the link for this its a lengthy recipe-but GOOD)
5. Turkey Wraps (wheat tortilla shells, lettuce, ranch dressing) carrots and celery w/ dip
6. Pinto Beans and cornbread
7. Breakfast for supper..still thinking..

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Unseen Stories

I have a friend I would like to help; I would also like your help (if you want to help). Allison White has become a dear friend to Ben & I. She works full-time at Camp Living Stones (www.camplivingstones.com). This summer she is traveling to Benin, Africa with an NGO called Unseen Stories, for the purpose of educating people throughout the entire country about child trafficking, the dangers, how to protect their children, etc. A full-length documentary is currently being developed for viewing in the U.S. The movie trailer & info on Unseen Stories is below.

Ben & I have committed to helping her see this trip through by way of raising awareness, prayer, & financial support. How can you help? The most practical way to help is to purchase a ticket ($8) for a dinner she is hosting at Camp Living Stones on Thursday, April 30 at 6:00pm. That evening will be a wonderful time to hear more information about human trafficking & the work that exists in taking action against it. Plus, you will be able to meet Sarah & Jen, the founders of Unseen Stories, who are making the trip up for the dinner. Please let me know if you would like to purchase a ticket as your contribution helps make this trip possible.

Unseen Stories exists to raise awareness of need and injustice in the world through the production of documentary films that inspire change by providing individuals with clear pathways to take action.

Unseen Stories goals are:
  • To tell the stories of trafficked children in Benin, raising both national and international awareness of this atrocity and those who are working to combat it.
  • To mobilize individuals and groups within both the US and Benin to action by providing clear pathways to become involved.
  • To help catalyze sustainable change in the country of Benin by aiding in bringing an end to child trafficking.

Feel free to link to this site. Thanks!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Home Organization




My friend Laura Beth asked on her blog about how to stay "on top" of things. I by no means claim to be an expert on this, we are just all sharing ideas, and yours are welcome as well!
Since being at home is my job now, i have had to take to doing things a little more on purpose in the area of organizing and planning schedules.  I try always to have the proper mentality by asking "What is eternal?"
Let me share what i mean: One morning recently Brennan got up and things got going. I cooked breakfast for all of us. Changed his clothes in doing so began looking around the house at all that needed to be done. So i immediately i got to work cleaning. As i was mopping my floor i felt like i heard God ask me "what is eternal?" "will it matter if your floors are clean in eternity?" Of course the answer is no. And the bigger question was "Had i made spending time with Him, listening to Him speak through His Word and gotten His Order for the day?" NO i had not. 
After spending time in what mattered most, i then made my list of things that needed to be done that day and then that week (it was Monday).  It was amazing what i got done that day. I do not say this as its like a magic trick that you must do to be able to say TA DA at the end of the day and its all done. But what NEEDED to get done that day did.
Now, for things that help me. As i posted in later posts i had days of the week that i do certain things (i.e. mopping Monday etc). Which gives me small do-able priorities and allows me to get the entire house cleaned each week. I also meet with three different girls during the week on their lunch hour (they work & go to school). One of them I am discipling, one we are kind of "walking together" weekly discussing His Word, and the other is my accountability partner. i consider this and precious time spent with my son and husband as eternal too, b/c I feel those relationships can have an eternal impact. 
Believe it or not, life as a stay at home mom can become in need of a great deal of scheduling. I am posting pictures of what i asked for this Christmas that has really helped me be organized.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Homemade Bread-to bake or not to bake?

Hi friends. Okay, i know that I have at least 6 followers and i need all of your help on this one.  I have seriously contemplated making homemade sour dough bread. As a child it was a favorite treat when one of the elderly ladies in our church brought by a loaf. My mom saw how much we loved it and began to make it herself. It is quite the process and includes having the goo grow in your fridge. 
However, when i was home for Easter. I made my first "cook off" with my mom's guidance. It was a success. Now i am just trying to figure the cost. She said my most expensive item would be the bread flour (around $3 a bag) and potato flakes ($1). The other items you usually keep on hand, like: salt, sugar, oil, water.. If you figure up buying all the ingredients (as if you had none of them) you come to the rough estimate of $20 a month added cost to the grocery bill. I would be selling the loaves at $5 a loaf each week. A cook off makes 3 large loaves or two large, two mini loaves (which i would flavor -a sugar & spice loaf and a garlic loaf) [added minimal cost b/c i keep cinnamon and garlic on hand] Mini loaves would be priced at $3 a loaf.. So i would shoot for making four loaves (2 lg/2 mini) at a total possible profit of $16 a week or $65 a month. 
If i doubled the cook offs by having another cup of starter, i could double the profit to roughly $130 a month. Subtract the total cost of $20 added to grocery bill for flour and flakes, my total profit would be $110. However if i just did regular cook offs with one cup i would only be clearing $45 a month which would not really be worth the work right?
Thus my dillema. I have been so excited about this little brainstorm, but now i am wondering if it is such the great idea. ?? The work is not all that much-mix. allow to sit. knead.  allow to rise. bake. butter. bag. You know?
I would only be marketing to three schools in this area. I was going to set up bags (with the cute little stickers Ben is going to design) [which reminds me thats an added, uncalculated cost...umm..] with a sample loaf for two weeks. Then i was going to begin taking orders a week in advance so that i would know how much to cook. And delivering to the schools on Fridays (thinking thats when people would have a special occasion or even that they might want it for).
So friends..please, PLEASE...i need your thoughts, suggestions, ideas!!! ANY comment is welcome!!!!

Monday, April 6, 2009

homemade bread for sale?

I sent out over 40 fliers to schools in our area. All at schools that I had a connection with the people who I gave the fliers to. However, i have not had ONE single call about tutoring (although i lowered my price and offered a call before April 15th and get half price on the first two sessions) I know that everyone is worried about finances & so maybe that is why i haven't gotten any calls, or MAYBE its just that God doesn't want me doing that right now..
Ben and i were brainstorming ideas of ways i could "work but not work" from home. My mom makes delisious and famous sour dough bread from scratch & i thought of getting her recipe, the gross growing fermented stuff to put in my fridge and giving it a try. I would bake off once a week and try to sell 6 loaves a week at $5 a loaf which comes out to $120 a month..HELPFUL!! I thought about making "rounds" to the schools in the area, to sell in the teacher's lounge, the board of education, and maybe even a hometown restarant on the square-to market it for sale by the loaf there...
Any thoughts, suggestions or name ideas are greatly appreciated!!!!!! 

prayers for hubby part 3

Okay dear friends. I have personal testimony of the goodness of God when you pray for your husband..Ben has truly been encouraged and motivated by what God has done. He may not even realize the fruit of the prayers completely, but there is an obvious uplifting.

I hope that you guys are using this guide and that it is helpful. it seems like anytime i put something spiritual on my blog not many people comment..anyway, I hope this encourages all of your husbands!

16 Pray that your husband will choose healthy, God-honoring activities. Pray that he will not live in bondage to any questionable habits or hobbies, but that he will experience freedom in holiness as he yields to the Spirit’s control.  (1 Cor. 6:12, 10:31; 2 Tim. 2:4)

 

17 Pray that your husband will enjoy his manliness as he patterns his life after Christ and strong men in the faith. Pray for his physical, emotional, mental, social and spiritual strength.  (Eph. 3:16; 1 Peter 2:21; 1 Cor. 10:11)

 

18 Pray that your husband will have an eternal perspective—living in light of eternity. Pray that he will reject materialism and temporal values and put God first in his life.  (Matt. 6:33; Deut. 6:5; Eph. 5:16; Ps. 90:12) 

 

19 Pray that your husband will be patient and a man of peace. Pray that he will not give in to anger, but will allow the Holy Spirit to control his responses.  (Rom. 14:19; Ps. 34:14) 

 

20 Pray that your husband will yield his mind and thoughts to the Lord. Pray that he will not entertain immoral or impure thoughts, and that he will resist the temptation to indulge in pornography.  (Prov. 27:12; 2 Cor. 10:5) 

 

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

New Pictures of Brennan


Brennan loves playing peek-a-boo with these big pillows!


This is supposed to be of Brennan crawling and getting closer and closer, so that you can follow the action..but they're in reverse order..one day i will remember to put them in backwards.oh well! He has mastered crawling, we are looking forward to walking now. He only wants to stand all the time and goes from furniture piece to piece so that he doesn't have to sit down, but gets frustrated when he can't get where he wants standing and has to crawl..

continued prayer for hubby

9.Pray that your husband handle finances wisely, will have discernment concerning budgeting and investments, and will be a good steward of his money in regard to giving to the Lord’s work. Pray that money will not become a source of discord in your family. (Prov. 23:4-5; Rom. 12:13; Heb. 13:5) 

10 Pray that your husband will cultivate strong integrity, and not compromise his convictions. Pray that his testimony will be genuine, that he will be honest in his business dealings, and will never do anything that he needs to hide from others. (Prov. 20:7; 1 Tim. 1:5, 3:7; Eph. 6:10-12)

11 Pray that your husband will have a humble, teachable spirit and a servant’s heart before the Lord. Pray that he will listen to God and desire to do His will. (Prov. 15:33; Eph. 6:6) 

12  Pray that your husband will yield his sexual drive to the Lord and practice self control. Pray that your sexual intimacy together will be fresh, positive, and a reflection of selfless love.  (Prov. 5:15, 18; 1 Cor. 7:3; Song of Solomon 7:10) 

13 Pray that your husband use practical skills to build your family and make wise decisions for your welfare. Pray that he will serve unselfishly. (Gal. 5:13; Phil. 2:3-4) 

14 Pray that your husband will speak words that build you and your family, and reflect a heart of love. Pray that he will not use filthy language.  (Prov. 18:21; Eph. 4:29)

15 Pray that your husband will choose his friends wisely. Pray that God will bring him men who will encourage his accountability before God, and will not lead him into sin. (Prov. 13:20; Prov. 27:17)