Friday, June 30, 2006

A Homespun Fourth!

I love the 4th of July and all patriotic holidays. Here are some fun, simple, and inexpensive ideas for decorating and celebrating this year:

* Patriotic Drink Parasols
* Stars & Stripes Fans
* Tin Cans turned Patriotic
* Sign the Declaration of Independence
* Enamelware Dishes
* Homespun Table Linens
* Empty perfume bottles with a small flag
* Star shaped ice cubes (I found an ice cube tray on the Dollar Spot rack at Target last year); you could even tint the water red and blue to create red, white, and blue stars
* Red, White, and Blue decorated star sugar cookies
* Red and Navy bandanas make great napkins or table topper decorations
* I don't know if they have them this year, but one year Tostitos marketed red, white, and blue tortilla chips!
* Make shortcakes in the shapes of stars and top with strawberries, blueberries, and whipped cream.

Now, let's have a little fun! E-mail me at thehomespunheart [at] hotmail [dot] com to be entered in a drawing for your choice of one of these patriotic pillows! All entries must be received by noon Eastern Time on Tuesday, July 4th. All names will be entered into a drawing and my husband will draw the winner. Winner will be announced later that day and I will contact you for mailing information.

I'd love to hear your 4th of July ideas as well!

Thursday, June 29, 2006

BBQ Beef Brisket

To those of you who love southern BBQ, I am sorry ~ but I must disagree! Being raised in Colorado, you just can't appreciate the mustard-based sauce over pork the same way, I guess. But, we love this recipe that my Mom taught me how to make and since you can't find western BBQ in any restaurant around here - we make it ourselves!

Spray a 9x13 glass dish with non-stick cooking spray.
Place piece of brisket in dish.
Generously cover with Liquid Smoke.
Pour 1/2 c. water into bottom of dish.
Cover with aluminum foil.
Bake at 300-325 for 2 1/2-3 hours.

Remove from pan and slice with electric knife, trimming any fat.
Place sliced brisket in clean and sprayed baking dish.
Mix 1/2 c. BBQ sauce and 1/2 c. water. Pour over sliced meat.
Cover with foil.
Heat through. Enjoy!

Yummy!

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Works for me!

My utensil drawer was overflowing and I could never find what I wanted! So, here is what I came up with. This "garden caddy" tripled my space for frequently used utensils and one section has a smaller cup in it for holding measuring spoons. This is working out wonderfully! Then, in the drawer, I purchased the blue "pencil" organizers for 3/$1 at Dollar General and got the remaining spoons and utensils organized in the front of the drawer. Now, the back of the drawer is reserved for items too big to fit in one of these organizers. The drawer always opens and closes nicely and best of all - I can find what I'm looking for without digging through or spending a bunch of time taking things out! Works for me! Visit Shannon's blog for lots more ideas!

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Using Less

I love the suggestion from Tightwad Gazette author, Amy Dacyczyn, to see how little you can get away with using.

For example, we all know we don't need the always photographed amount of toothpaste on our toothbrush to get our teeth clean!

I have recently discovered that I can use only 1 Tbsp. of dishwasher detergent per load and it has no effect on the cleanliness of the dishes. I started out using 2 Tbsp. (which is about half of what the container holds) and then tried 1 Tbsp. I'm hooked! I poured my box of detergent into a jar and included a scoop so that it is easy to get just a little. When I stand over the container with the box and just pour, it takes almost 1/4 cup to fill that thing!

Another discovery I have made is that white vinegar can be used to fill the rinse aid in my dishwasher. It helps keep the inside of the dishwasher clean and vinegar is a known help in keeping glass looking nice anyway!

In the laundry room, I keep a mug in my cabinet for used dryer sheets (like my Mom does). Then, when I have a couple in there, I use them together for another load. Just experiment to see how little you can actually use.

I'm sure there are other things I've gotten in the habit of doing that I forget about right now, but I'm interested in hearing how you use less as well! Please share your ideas so we can all enjoy stretching those everyday consumables to last lots longer!

Broccoli Chicken Crescents

Mmmm, these are so yummy! They are very simple and our toddler loves them also! This recipe is somewhat adapted from a Pampered Chef recipe. I have been fixing broccoli often lately knowing I will need to take a break very soon when I start nursing again.

3/4 c. steamed broccoli flowerets, chopped
2 Tbsp. onion, chopped
3/4 c. cooked and chopped chicken
1/2 can cream of chicken soup (you can freeze the rest, or if making this kind of soup, just make half a batch)
1 c. shredded cheddar or mexican blend cheese
1 can crescent rolls

Combine everything except the rolls in a bowl. Evenly divide the filling over each piece of dough and wrap crescent around to secure. Mixture will still be showing and they will be quite full - but this is what makes them so yummy!

Bake at 350 for about 20 minutes or until rolls are browned.

Monday, June 26, 2006

A Summer Treat!

Once in a while, I love a fresh nectarine! I saw these at the store when I did my big shopping the other night and could not resist this little special treat for myself! I love them the way my Mom always fixed them: peeled and diced and sprinkled with sugar. I love to eat them before they make too much juice, freshly cut! A simple summer pleasure...

(I got a little carried away playing around with the special effects on this photo - so it looks kind of water-colorish!)

Ice Cream Sundays

This week, I chose a new recipe called Orange Frost:

1 3/4 c. Cool Whip, thawed
1 can (6 oz.) frozen orange juice concentrate
1 can water
1 1/2 c. crushed ice

Place all ingredients in blender; cover. Blend 1 minute or until mixture is smooth and ice is melted. Makes 3 2/3 cups or 6 servings.

Enjoy!

Update: This was extremely easy to make and very yummy! It was thinner than I thought it would be, so very easy to drink. Emily especially loved drinking it from her sippy cup!

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Sweet Handprints


Isn't this sweet?! I know someday I will probably feel over-run with VBS and Sunday School crafts, but since Emily is just entering this age ~ I am just enjoying it right now!

(P.S. Just in case you are wondering, she does have five fingers on each hand, but one finger must have had trouble pressing down at the same time as the others!!)

Friday, June 23, 2006

Chapter Three



I'm not sure that anyone is reading this book along with me, or even reading these long posts - but it is helpful for me to process my thoughts here, so thanks for bearing with me!

Chapter 3: Beside Still Waters

Things that stood out to me from reading this chapter:

* page 36, "I need regular moments in my life...times of refreshment and restoration..."

* page 37, "...I cannot keep giving out without taking in."

* page 39, "...each person...needs to look at their personality and determine what things they need in their lives to keep going."

* page 41, (when describing her quiet time away in the mornings at a local bakery) "...I come home a totally different person. I am newly invigorated and ready for the active life..."

* page 41, (while remembering a time when all of her family members were gone and she had the house to herself, she thinks of all the things she had planned to get done) "I accomplished very little while everyone was gone, but when they returned I was refreshed, rejuvenated and ready to get back to real life again."

* page 41, "...give yourself the time to be refreshed in a way that is right for you..."

* page 42, "Our ability to appreciate beauty is a distinctive mark of God's image within us, much like our ability to use language...Beauty brings us closer to the Creator, showe very nature and presence is the ultimate expression of beauty."

* page 43, "I have found two keys that unlock the ministry of beauty in my home: to be creative in using beauty, and to take the time to admire it. To have some tea is one thing; to have a tea time with a creatively set table, candles, music and a beautiful book is quite another. A cup of tea may temporarily satisfy the palate, but a tea time can satisfy the soul if you take the time to unlock the beauty that is possible there. Beauty keeps my spirit refreshed."

* page 44, "I try to open my home once or twice a month for a fellowship for moms. It has been a well-spring of encouragement for me and has been the basis for many developing friendships with women I otherwise would never have known."

* page 45, (speaking of spending time with the Lord...) "He is the living water who wants to live in me and let His life flow through me. Whatever my year ahead may hold, if I am going to be a spring of refreshing water to my family, it will only be because I have kept my own well filled with living water."

Thoughts from the Living Word:

Psalm 23

* How does God make you lie down in "green pastures" and lead you to "quiet waters"? He refreshes my spirit and soul with the gentleness of His peace. The quiet waters He leads me to are often in His Word and as I am still and quiet before Him, simply seeking to receive this refreshment and being willing to receive it. He draws me to Himself and gives me a desire to spend time with Him.

* What are they like, and how does He restore your soul there? I always picture a mountain stream, it may bubble and gurgle a little - but it is so peaceful and restorative. He refreshes me by calming my heart, causing me to slow down and really just enjoy the beauty of the moment in which He is filling my heart with peace and refreshment.

* Do you ever resist His efforts to make you lie down, or to drink of His waters? How and why? Yes, I do resist this. Sometimes it is so hard to be still and really rest because I know I will need to be changed before I leave that place. And, it is hard to give up the "control" of my to-do list knowing all the things that need to be done or that I WANT to be done. Instead, I realize that I will be more effective overall if I take the time to rest, but I don't always practice this.

Psalm 19:7-11

* How does the "law of the Lord" revive your soul? By it's trustworthiness and the fact that it doens't change. It is like a toddler who tests the limits to see if there are any secretly hoping that there are. We are freed by these laws of God and obeying them means I am living where He wants me and that is the best place to be!

* What other life-nurturing effects does God's word bring about? wisdom, joy, purity, light, righteousness, riches beyond this world, warning, and even great reward

* What have you done recently to let the word of God revive you? Spend time in it, really dwelling slowly on what the words say and mean to me today ~ not just to mark something off of my spiritual to-do list.

* When you are revived, what difference does it make in your mothering? My attitude is sweeter and more loving. I have more energy and enthusiasm for being a mother. I want to give instead of feeling taken advantage of or like a slave.

Ecclesiastes 4:9-11

* Does reading this passage bring anyone to mind who is a valuable companion in your life? I think of David right off and then my family and my sweet friend Grace.

* Are you that kind of friend to someone else? I want to be and I hope that I am, I know that sometimes it seems easier not to get involved and I can be guilty of hiding behind my introverted personality.

* Consider who might become a supportive friend to you and your family. I have a desire to reach out to others, but also a fear of what that will mean.

Matthew 6:31-34

* Are you more like the "pagans" who "run after" what they need, or like the "seeker" who rests in God? As a young person, I was a habitual worrier ~ losing sleep, making myself sick, missing school, etc... I thank God that He has helped me so much with this, though I still worry about things and have a long way to go. I think I am still both ~ sometimes running after an answer I think I need and sometimes being able and willing to be a seeker who rests in God.

* If you stopped worrying about tomorrow, what difference would it make in your life? It would create more time to think about God, meditating on His Word, and how to reach out to others through His Word.

* Would you be able to "seek first His kingdom and His righteousness" more? Absolutely.

Thoughts on Living the Word:

* I want to spend some time thinking through what refreshes and rejuvenates me and how I can weave those things into my life.

* Personal application: She suggests spending some quiet time with God and asking Him to show you a verse that is especially refreshing. Then, to set aside a time when you can go shopping alone and find something beautiful or lovely that will be a visual reminder to you of that verse.

* Family application: She suggests planning a "formal" tea party for your children. Inviting several friends, using pretty table settings, music, candles, and such. Have everyone "dress up" and pland child-pleasing dessert or pastries.

Wastefulness

Is anyone else sickened by the extreme wastefulness of our country? It just drives me crazy...but here is what brought it up again recently:

David brought home 12 HUGE bags full of items left in the Lost and Found of the middle school where he works. This was not all of it, but just what he had the energy/desire to bring home.

We spent over an hour on our porch going through all of the clothes, shoes, coats, lunch bags, pencil bags, etc... and doing some "free" shopping. It is a great deal for us, but honestly, why aren't people missing these things? Why are they willing to let them go so easily that they cannot simply walk to the school office to check the Lost and Found?

We estimated that there were probably $2000 worth of coats, clothing, shoes, purses, lunch bags, etc... The purses and bags will be donated to the local SWAT and K-9 teams so that they can train dogs with searching items and following scents on real-life items.

This is only a drop in the bucket of all the wastefulness that goes on around us. I'm thankful for the items we could use and saddened by what over-abundance has done to us a country.

Denim Purse


I was asked by a lady in my dr. office to make this purse for her daughter who wanted a smaller version of this. I love how it turned out!

Thursday, June 22, 2006

VBS



I'm helping with Vacation Bible School this week and am working in one of the craft tents. We're making these bandanas wtih beads strung on them...the kids seem to think they are fun! It's been mid-90's + in the SHADE with really high humidity, so helping with this is about all I'm accomplishing this week. I get home and lay down, I guess being almost 8 months pregnant and the heat don't mix well together! :)

Ham & Cheese Muffins


These muffins are so yummy and the savory flavor is a nice change from the usual sweet muffin.
2 c. flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 c. milk
1/2 c. mayonnaise
1/2 c. chopped fully cooked ham
1/2 c. shredded cheddar cheese

In a large bowl, combine flour and baking soda. Combine remaining ingredients just until moistened. Fill greased or paper-lined muffin cups two-thirds full. Bake at 350 for 15-18 minutes or until muffins test done. Yield: 12 muffins

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Happy First Day of Summer!



Today only, celebrating the summer solstice and the first day of summer, the ladies at Gooseberry Patch are having a sale (up to 70% off)! Sale is only good through midnight tonight.

Works For Me!

A few weeks ago, I posted on keeping in touch long distance with family and friends. And, I thought I would add this as a follow-up idea to what was mentioned there.

My husband and I often send prints on-line to Wal-Mart to have them developed and then go pick them up when doing our shopping. This has worked out really well. And, we have discovered that we can also send orders to other Wal-Mart stores around the country for family and they can pick up a fresh batch of pictures with no shipping charges. Here's an example:

Last Friday, I uploaded some pictures for a photo order. I placed my usual order and then returned to the pictures. I was able to place a second order under my Mom's name and send them to her closest Wal-Mart in Colorado. Her pictures were ready the same day, she went in and picked them up and it went very smoothly, she has updated pictures and we have updated pictures. All of this only used about 10 minutes on the Wal-Mart web site.

This definitely works for me! And, my Mom said I could feel free to do it again anytime! :)

Visit Shannon's blog for more great tips and ideas!

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Ethics of Thriftiness

I *LOVE* to get a good deal! But, aren't there times when we really should draw the line? Here's an example of what happened to me recently...

I received a coupon in a flyer which came in the mail advertising a new party store. The coupon was for $5 off. There was no minimum purchase mentioned and no exclusions mentioned except that it could not be used on helium balloons. The coupon also mentions that only one can be used per month per household. Ok, so I finally get there and I check with the cashier to make sure I have correctly understood the coupon. There is no minimum purchase and the only exclusion is the balloons. Great!

I was looking for a few small items that I could stash away for future birthday parties and specifically for Emily's second birthday this fall. She will be 2 on the the 2nd, so it will be her "golden birthday" and I want to do all yellow/gold theme things to play off of the golden theme. I found some cute gold crowns, yellow leis, and a gold star that I could use on the front door.

While I am in the store, their phone rings and the cashier speaks with someone she obviously knows (I am the only customer in the store). She explains to this caller that there is a group of ladies who have accumulated a stack of these coupons and have each been assigned a certain part of a party to provide for. So, one comes in and buys plates, one cups, one streamers, etc... She mentions that none of them spend over $1.27 out of their own pocket. Then she explains that they have completed their shopping for the birthday party and are now working on a wedding together. And, that this is adding up to a significant amount of money out of the store's pocket.

Doesn't this seem to break the ethics of getting a good deal? Yes, maybe the party store has learned their lesson and will mention a minimum purchase in the future ~ but really, when it is so obvious that the cashier remembers these repeat customers and knows what kind of events they are planning, isn't that a little much?

What are your thoughts on the ethics of getting a good deal?

Monday, June 19, 2006

This & That

Lots of little misc things seem like they could fit into this post, so here goes:

Some great new blogs I've discovered lately:
Joy In The Journey
One Woman's Cottage Life
The Sparrow's Nest

A great post from The Sparrow's Nest: If Jesus Came To Your House

Fun and cute Bingo cards that you can download and print for car trips.

A money-saving idea called Ebates that seems worth checking into.

And, an idea called Coupon Trains that also sounds worth looking into.

Starting July 1-September 30 the Discover 5% Bonus will be on purchases made for the following:
Tuition: classes from preschool to college
Apparel: Gap, Kohl's, Marshalls, T.J.Maxx, and Famous Footwear
Office/Home: Dell, Office Depot, OfficeMax, Staples, Linens 'n Things, and Pier 1 Imports
Call 1-800-Discover or click here to sign up.

Enjoy all the fun potpourri!

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Happy Father's Day!



Happy Father's Day! To all the fathers in my life (from top) my Dad, David's Dad, and my sweet husband and Daddy to our little Emily! Love you all!

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Ice Cream Sundays



This week, in honor of Father's Day, we are having David's favorite! Homemade Blizzards...think Dairy Queen, but made in your own kitchen for a fraction of the price!

To make your blizzard, chop the desired amount and type of flavor you want. David's choice is Butterfinger and mine is M&M's. Then, mix with vanilla ice cream using a blender or hand mixer blender attachment. Yummy!

Friday, June 16, 2006

Balance

Ok, I need feedback here! How do you other moms do it?

I have had an ongoing struggle in knowing how much one-on-one time I should spend with Emily and how much time I should allow (require) her to play by herself so she doesn't expect to be entertained all the time. I seem to go in phases - spend more time with her and spend less time with her.

Yesterday morning, she was so whiny and crabby and it dawned on me that she probably just wanted a little attention. Sure enough.

I am home with her all day ~ so it is not like she is not spending time with me. But, what I am talking about is play time, quality time, reading story time, etc...

I'd love to hear your thoughts on this!

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Junk Drawer

Yesterday it finally got to me that this drawer was such a mess...so, I took everything out and straightened it up! I have always enjoyed using this muffin tin to help keep little things tidy! An old 8x8 metal baking pan holds pads of paper at the back and pens fit nicely along the side!

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Works For Me!

When we re-did our kitchen floor, we got this great laminate wood flooring ~ which I've been very happy with! What I have not been so excited about is purchasing the $5-$6 per bottle of cleaner for keeping it nice and clean! So, in an effort to be more thrifty, I researched some other options and found this one works just as well as the "store-bought" kind!

Pour 1 tsp. baby shampoo into a spray bottle and fill with water. Use as you would use the "laminate floor cleaner" by spraying and wiping with a rag! I also thought that the bottle should be cuter and why shouldn't my cleaning supplies look cute and homey too? So, I hot-glued some toile fabric around the bottle and voila!

Another thing I have found very helpful is to cook several packages of bacon at one time (only clean up the mess once!) and crumble it. Put it into the freezer and whenever you need some for a BLT Wrap, salad, scrambled eggs, etc... it is all ready to go! One 16 oz. pkg of bacon will make approx. 1 3/4 c. crumbled bacon.

And, on the subject of food, my Mom taught me a great trick for keeping lettuce fresh in the fridge. We don't usually eat the entire head of lettuce fast enough to not waste some of it, but since trying this - we haven't wasted any! After washing and towel drying your head of lettuce, wrap in a very slightly damp paper towel and place in a large ziploc bag. Seal bag and place in the vegetable drawer - our head lasted for nearly two weeks this way!

Visit Shannon's blog for more ideas!

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Seven Things I Say

I was tagged by Michelle to list seven things I say often or every day...here they are in no particular order:

* Please help me, Lord.
* Good grief!
* Emily, no-no (to a sweet 19 month old disobeying!)
* I love you! (to my husband or daughter)
* Fabulous!
* Did you get enough to eat? Did you like it?
* Katie! STOP! (To the chocolate lab licking her paws - this drives me crazy!)

I will now tag Momxtwo, Fireflies & Frogs and Joy! Have fun!

New Ideas

One of the fun things about Works For Me Wednesday is all the ideas that are posted to make homemaking and homekeeping simpler or easier. I just wanted to do an "update" on a couple of ideas I've learned and taken and done in our home.

The first is a grocery list organized by aisle in order that I visit them. This was Shannon's first idea and then I saw my sister do the same thing! I was so motivated! I walked through the aisles and wrote down key items that I shopped for each time, so all I have to do is check the box on the list hanging on my fridge! The next time I went shopping - there was no backtracking or double checking (or checking it a zillion times) to make sure that I had everything! (I'm sorry I don't know how to create a link to this list!)


The second idea is shown in the picture. This was on Joy's blog last week! It seems that I have all these people I WANT to pray for and have trouble with a way of keeping track who I've prayed for, etc... and most often just don't do it because it feels somewhat overwhelming. So, after reading Joy's idea - I came up with these jars. I already had everything except the metal rimmed key tags. The jars were full of dusty potpourri that needed to go anyway! So, now one jar says "Pray" and one jar says "Prayed". I can just move the tag from the "Pray" jar after I've prayed for them to the "Prayed" jar and then when all the tags have moved over, I can start over.

This has been a fun weekly thing to participate in - have any of the rest of you implemented any WFMW ideas?

Monday, June 12, 2006

Ice Cream Sundays!

It's time once again for another edition of Ice Cream Sundays! Here's our recipe for this week:

Cookies 'n Creme Pudding Pops

2 c. milk

1 pkg. Vanilla Flavor Instant Pudding Mix (4 serving size)

1/2 c. thawed Cool Whip

6 Oreo sandwich cookies

Pour milk into medium bowl. Add dry pudding mix. Beat with wire whisk 2 minutes. Place cookies in resealable plastic bag. Crush with a rolling pin. Gently stir whipped topping and crushed cookies into pudding mixture. Scoop pudding mixture into plastic cups or popsicle molds using 1/3 c. dry measuring cup. Insert pop stick into each for the handle. Freeze five hours or until firm. Unmold when ready to eat! Makes approx. 9 servings

Enjoy!

Update: These popsicles were a hit! They were really easy to make and very yummy! Here's a picture of Emily enjoying hers:

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Drum Roll, Please!

Ok, it is noon ~ and all the guesses are in, so here are the results:

Toothbrush: 4.99 with 4.99 rebate (tax only) = 0.25
Nail Polish: 2.99 with 2.99 rebate (tax only) = 0.15
Lipstick: 4.99 with 4.99 rebate (tax only) = 0.25
Lady Speed Stick: 2.00 with 2.00 rebate (tax only) = 0.10
Speed Stick: 2.00 with 2.00 rebate (tax only) = 0.10
Toothpaste: 4/$10 with 5.00 rebate = 5.00 minus 3 x 0.75 coupons = 2.75 + tax = 2.89

GRAND TOTAL: $3.74

The winner is Megan! Her guess was $3.62 - an amazing 0.12 within the correct price! Great job Megan!

Since she doesn't use lipstick or nail polish - I thought I'd donate them to a local Children's Shelter that takes in youth who are in abusive homes and collects items like this to give out to them when they arrive.

Thanks, everyone, for playing along!

Friday, June 09, 2006

Thrifty Thursday

I thought it might be fun to play a little game, so here it is:


Your challenge is to guess the TOTAL price paid for all of these items, including tax paid (hint: our local tax is 5%). The items are: (I have included links so you can see exactly what each item is)

Colgate Total Toothpaste 6.0 oz tube ~ four tubes

Oral B Cross Action Power Toothbrush (including battery)

Lady Speed Stick Deodorant

Speed Stick Deodorant

Revlon Super Lustrous Lipstick

Sally Hansen Nail Polish

Ok, now total up your guess and submit it by leaving a comment. I will mail the winner both the lipstick and nail polish! If there is a two-way tie, I'll send one the nail polish and one the lipstick. If there is a tie more than two ways, I'll draw two names out of a hat. So, let the guessing begin! Have fun! All entries must be posted before Friday, June 9 at 7 a.m. EST.

Update: The comments on blogger were not working for part of the day yesterday, so I'm going to extend this another couple of days for those who may have tried to post and could not. The new deadline is Sunday at noon (EST). Thanks to you have already guessed!

Chapter Two


What stood out to me from the chapter:

* Changing My Will is the title for the chapter and that is her point throughout. Setting aside my will to do the will of the Father. I was reminded that we can even be involved in the right activities and still have them be at the wrong season or time. For example, if it takes time away from my husband and children consistently, it is probably the wrong time for me to do whatever it is that is taking me away from them.

* John 6:38, "For I have come down from Heaven not to do My will but to do the will of Him who sent Me."

* pg. 22, "...will we do God's will, or our own?"

* pg 22-23, "The only true, biblical path of blessing for a mother is in reaching out to the children whom God has given to her, to raise and nurture them into godly adults." This reminds me of something a friend used to always tell me, "Lord, You know I'm not willing, but I'm willing to be made willing." (Dee Denney)

* pg 23: How do I respond to someone who steps down from something to make more time for their family or obey God's will? Do I guilt them or support them?

* pg 24: I'm reminded of a quote from A Woman After God's Own Heart by Elizabeth George, "Good better best, never let it rest, until your good is better and your better best."

* pg 24: surrender.

* pg 24: I'm reminded of a Michael Card song which has a phrase, "...it's hard to imagine the freedom we find in the things we leave behind..."

* pg. 26, "I have seen numerous warm relationships cool or die simply because of my convictions about motherhood. That is a difficult sacrifice."

* pg. 27, "My dedication to life at home as a mother is a seed of sacrifice."
"By God's (standards) it is a fruitful sacrifice that will yield a harvest of righteousness."

* pg 28: The example of Mary, "Be it done to me according to Your will."

* pg 29, "God's will isn't always easy, but it's always right."

* pg 30, "God's will is not something hidden that needs to be found, but something revealed that needs to be done."

Questions:

* John 6:25-40:
~ How do you resist God and choose to do your own will instead of submitting to God's will?
Choosing to do something else instead of having my quiet time or to put something else first. Choosing to have a poor attitude about a situation or person when I know that I should follow the example of Christ. I think this list could go on and on unfortunately.

~ How do personal desires and cultural expectations keep you from doing God's will?
I must CHOOSE to do God's will, it isn't just going to happen. It is often easy to think about what others will think or say if I do such and such. But the thing that keeps me from doing God's will most often is probably just my own will choosing to do what I want instead of what God wants.

~ How can you better know the Lord?
How do I get to know anyone better? Spend time with them. Spending time in His Word and with Him in study and prayer, memorizing His Word, etc...

* John 12:20-28:
~ How have you seen the principle of the "seed" at work in your own life, especially as it relates to your role as a mother?
When I am selfish and choose to do my own thing instead of what is best for my family, it doesn't benefit anyone just as the kernel of wheat falls to the ground. But, when the seed dies and produces many seeds ~ it is fruitful to many. When I choose to do what is best for my family, it benefits me as well. For example, if I choose to work on a craft instead of playing with Emily, and she is really needing some attention, it makes me stressed to deal with why she is whining (needs attention) and therefore I do not enjoy the project I'm working on anyway. So, choosing what is best for her at that time is better for both of us.

~ What is your "seed", and what "fruit" would it yield?
The seeds I have are investment of time, energy, and love into my family. The fruit it would yield is a family full of people who know they are important enough to me to set aside other things. I think with my children, this would also be spiritual fruit as they grow in Christ and eventually pass that seed and fruit onto other generations.

~ Why do you need to "hate your life" in order to "keep it for eternal life"?
Because when I love my life - I am focused on ME. To keep my life forever, I need to surrender myself to Jesus and give it to Him so that I will be focused on Him and not ME. Realizing that I can do nothing to earn or gain salvation other than believe in Him.

~ What service is God desiring from You that He may "honor" you?
Service that honors Him, that is done with an attitude and heart to glorify Him. What would bring Him the greatest glory?

* Philippians 2:1-11:
~What is the place of "humility" in motherhood?
I don't usually like to answer questions like this by simply quoting Scripture, but this seems an appropriate time to do so, "Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others."

~ In what ways is Christ's sacrifice an encouragement for your "attitude" about being a mother?
His sacrifice can be an encouragement in any area when I consider all that He gave up for me. And, knowing that His example is worthy of following. I desire to be more like Him...therefore I need to know who He is and how He would respond, so that I can make my goals to act and respond like Him.

~ How can you be like Christ as a mother?
Humble myself, choose the lowest place, place the interests of others above my own, and strive to glorify God through it all.

* John 15:12-13:
~ How do you "lay down your life" to love those closest to you?
By sacrificing of my time, talent, treasure to invest in them. By choosing what is best for my family, not just what is best for me. By investing of my resources into their lives.

~ How do you struggle with that principle?
I do struggle with this in that sometimes I feel like all I do is what everyone else wants. But, not allowing those kinds of thoughts in is the first step in protecting my mind from feeling that way. It is hard to consistently lay down what I think I want to do what is best for the whole.

My Life Application:

* Note: I have really enjoyed the challenge and encouragement of the applications from last chapter. Planning a family night and recording things each day that we are thankful for. It has been a great exercise that I'd like to keep going!

* Personal application: She suggests taking a sheet of paper for each of your children and listing the things that I think that child would say compete with my spending time with them. She suggests choosing one or two things that you'd like to change and working toward that goal.

*Family application: She suggests declaring a Family Day or Family Weekend. Planning special meals, activities, songs, games, and readings. Look at photo albums and discuss what makes our family special.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Works For Me!

This week, I'll share a favorite of mine ~ making notecards! I have posted about this before, but will give specific details in this post. I have figured out how to make these cards, including envelope, for 0.02 each! Generally, I make all of my own cards including Christmas, Birthday, etc... And, they make great gifts! I had to list these in multiple posts to keep the photos going, so keep reading! Here goes:

Collect supplies: glue stick, scissors, paper cutter (optional), magazines or catalogs, cardstock, an envelope or template, Sharpie marker.

Cut paper in half using a paper cutter or scissors. The paper is from Michaels (linked above) and is regularly $3.99 for a package of 50 sheets. However, they often have it on sale for $1.99 each which makes it a great deal!

Fold each half in half again and crease firmly.

Find a photo you like in a magazine or catalog. Most of us have extra magazines and catalogs sitting around, but if you don't have any - maybe you have a friend who does. Another source is yard sales and libraries. Also, free catalogs often have great photos and pages in them that you can use. Some great catalogs are Restoration Hardware, Pottery Barn, and Pottery Barn Kids. Cut out the photo.

Glue the photo to the notecard. Using the Sharpie (if desired) draw on lines or flowers to embellish the card. Now, the card is done!

Find a full page photo that you like to be the envelope.

Cut out envelope using an unfolded envelope or template (see link above).
Fold edges of envelope in and glue bottom flap to sides. Fold top edge over. This completes the envelope. To mail, use a white label to address and tape or stickers to seal the back. Imagine how cheery this will look arriving in a friend's mailbox!
Your notecard and envelope are complete! So pretty!

Keep some notecards on hand so that they are ready anytime you need them, or to create a gift. I keep mine in an unused ice cube bin.

Stack together six notecards (or desired number) to create an inexpensive and thoughtful homemade gift to give away!

Tear off a sheet of wax paper and fold around notecards.


Fold corners in and fold over to create a package around the notecards. Use a heavy object such as scissors to hold one end while you complete the other end.

Tie around package with twine and create a bow.



Look at the cute package of notecards you can now give as a gift!
Make sure to check Shannon's blog for links to lots of other great ideas!

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Baby Doll Advice?

We're wanting to get Emily a baby doll for when her new sister is born. I was a bit overwhelmed on the doll aisle as to how many kinds, options, etc... there are. We don't need or want anything fancy - but I'm wondering if any of you experienced moms have any input in helping us to decide? Thanks!

Ice Cream Sundays!

I decided to start a new family tradition for this summer - called, you guessed it, Ice Cream Sundays! Every Sunday, I will make an ice cream treat. My goals in doing this are to create family memories, have something fun to look forward to doing together, and enjoy a cool treat in the heat of the summer! I will post a recipe each Saturday in case you want to join in too! Then, on Monday, I'll move the post back to the top with a review on how we liked it. Please feel free to add your own thoughts too! Here's the one for this week:

Strawberry Shakes
In a blender, combine 1 pint strawberry ice cream, 1 cup frozen strawberries (4 ounces), and 1 cup milk; puree on high speed until smooth. Pour into four chilled glasses. Serve immediately, over ice, if desired. Serves 4.

Update: The shakes were a big hit and I made the extra into popsicles! We're looking forward to next week!

Monday, June 05, 2006

Porch Swing Cushion

It is finally done! I can't even remember when I started this ~ (ahem) two years ago maybe? Anyway, a great use for some old denim - one end is zippered so I can take it off of the cushion and wash if needed. Now, I'm on the lookout for some pillows or the desire to make them!

Friday, June 02, 2006

Splish Splash!


This may be the best $6 we spend on Emily this summer! She loves her new little pool and has been out there almost every day this week! It is so fun to see her enjoying it!

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Be Prepared

Growing up in a home where my Dad worked professionally for the Boy Scouts, I heard this statement alot! "Be Prepared!" It is a good piece of wisdom though, and in honor of the first day of hurricane season, I thought I'd share how I prepare for this!


I have two plastic bins set aside for hurricane or emergency supplies. The top one fits under the bed and stores everything misc. like plates, silverware, can opener, matches, toiletries, toilet paper, ziploc bags, batteries, first aid supplies, etc...

The second box is seasonal ~ meaning that I fill it up at the beginning of hurricane season and empty it at the end. We eat the food or I donate it to a food pantry and the box is put away until the next time.

I plan my food mainly just for Emily and myself as I know if I had to evacuate, David would not be allowed to leave due to work requirements. However, if we are stuck here - he would be part of the equation, so I meet in the middle somewhere. Plus, keep in mind that you can always raid your cabinets for extra items.

David taught me that you can heat canned goods by opening and placing on the engine of your car. I also have a gel fueled fondue pot and an extra bottle of fuel that I would use for heating food either here or somewhere else. And, if we are stranded at home, we have a gas grill we could fire up as well.

I stocked my food box with the following items: (all opinions seem to agree that you should have enough food and water for three days for each person)

bottled water, ramen noodles, ready-to-eat-soups, canned meats such as chicken and tuna, canned veggies, crackers, granola bars, apple juice box drinks, fruit cups, cereal, and peanuts

My goal was to keep the entire cost to about $20, but it was $26, even buying store brands. Honestly though, what is a few more dollars if I have to actually use this to feed my family in an emergency?

I also keep an index card handy of what I would need to take if we evacuated:

Both plastic bins; extra water

Baby and Pet supplies

Important papers and household inventory - kept together in a handy spot

Bedding

Important Items like photo albums or family heirlooms that we could not replace

Fondue pot and fuel

Bug Spray

The one thing I have never invested in is a radio that does not use batteries, this may be the thing we add this year. The only other things I'd need to take care of would be cash and figuring out where to go! We keep the maps in our car and I have an evacuation guide, but many are very limited on taking pets. I'm hoping and praying that I don't have to use any of this, but I feel better knowing that it is taken care of if I need it and I won't be rushing to Wal-Mart to find out they are out of everything I need!