Thursday, May 31, 2012

Memorial Day 2012

I got to spend this past Memorial Day with my Grandpar and my sister, Rebekah.  This was a special treat for me.  Thank you for serving our country, during World War II and more recently in Afghanistan.  I love you both.



Yummy Trail Mix

You need about 5 cups of nuts and seeds and 2 cups of dried fruit, chocolate is optional.  The following is a combination that I used recently.

1 cup raw pecan halves
1 cup raw organic almonds
1 3/4 cups raw organic cashews
1 cup raw organic pumpkin seeds
1 cup raw sunflower seeds
4 Tablespoons organic butter, melted
about 3/4 teaspoon Real salt (pink/white)
1 cup dried organic cranberries
1  cup organic raisins
2 cups chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 250 degrees.  Get out a large baking pan with raised edges.  In a large mixing bowl combine nuts and seeds.  Add salt to melted butter and pour over nuts and seeds.  Mix thoroughly.  Pour mixture onto baking pan and spread it out as much as possible.  Bake for 60 minutes, stirring thoroughly after 20 minute intervals.  When finished place mixture onto platters or drying racks covered with 2-3 layers of paper towels.  Let cool.  Occasionally stir to help remove any wet butter and be sure it is completely cool before continuing.

Add dried fruit and chocolate chips.  Mix well and store in an airtight container. 

This recipe makes a nice lightly salted, roasted mixture.  I usually prefer to eat my nuts raw, but Jeff prefers them salted, so hopefully this makes a good compromise for the rare occasion, we might need one.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Quote of the Day

Overheard at 1:30 yesterday afternoon.



Kent:  "It is 2:30 in New York City!"

Kaomi:  "So that means it's freezing?  Maybe it is even snowing!"

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

The Hidden Art of Homemaking - Creative Recreation

I wanted to finish sharing my thoughts on each chapter of The Hidden Art of Homemaking by Edith Schaeffer.

Chapter 11 talks about Creative Recreation and getting down on the ground, out in the open air and in a river, etc.

"Man was made to relate to the things in the earth, mineral as well as plant, oxygen as well as animals.  However, although everything we find in 'civilization' has come from, or has been produced out of the raw materials existing in the earth, still it seems we have become more and more separated from the basic things of the earth."

When was the last time you took a long walk in the country, the woods, the seaside or the snow?  Have you ever left your home and walked to your destination or do you always drive?  When was the last time you sat outside on the ground or a rock to watch the sunset or sunrise?  After you did one or more of these things how did you feel?  Tired, invigorated, refreshed, grumpy, mentally stressed, relaxed?  Did it make you feel like you should do it again sometime?

"It is in nature, among the things which God has created, designed and brought forth Himself, that we are in the most natural atmosphere to be inspired.  Creative ideas are apt to flow in the midst of the creativity expressed in God's creation, as one is temporarily separated from the confusion of conflicting voices which would separate us from the simple basic realities of what 'is'..."

When was the last time you sat outside in the morning listening to the birds as they greeted the day and enjoying the coolness of the morning?  When was the last time you slept under the stars and listened to the night creatures and crickets chirping?  When was the last time you tended a garden and watched it grow and enjoyed the results?

One of the creative ideas she suggests is to make a "Meal Hunt".  Give clues to find and make the kids hunt for the meal.  Make it 2-3 courses.  This can be done inside or outside.  If you do it outside they might actually have clues that take them to a bush, tree or plant in the garden that they can pick part of their food to eat.

How do you encourage creativity in your kids?

"Children are naturally creative, but it needs encouragement."
Let them tell you about their ideas and encourage them.  Allow them the freedom to make something with stuff.  Give them "trash" to make into "treasure".  Do they really need that "kit" or can they do something similar if allowed a little glue, paper, rubber bands, sticks, grass, rocks, etc?

I guess this post is all full of questions to help you get your creative juices flowing.  What are you going to do about it?

I know that I love to be outside, but it sure is easy to stay inside and not get dirty or hot.  I need to make a conscious effort to go outside more to enjoy it.  Being outside makes me feel refreshed, relaxed, joyful and gives me a sense of wonder that my God created all of these things that I enjoy.


       day2day joys   

Monday, May 21, 2012

Using Up Leftovers




Another way to save on food costs is to work to incorporate your leftovers into your menu or future meals.  If you have to throw it away, then you are wasting the food you could have used and having to buy more.  If you missed the other posts in this series you can read them by clicking on the button above.

Here are my tips for using up leftovers.

1.  Make sure you put your leftover food away shortly after your meal.
2.  Package leftovers into lunch size portions and put in fridge for the next day or two or freeze for a future lunch.
3.  Make sure if you buy something like fruit that you use it before it spoils.
4.  Put leftover vegetables all in the same container and save them in the freezer to add to soups.
5.  If you don't have enough leftover _______________, can you add it to something else that week to make it stretch or give variety to another dish you are making?
6.  Make an omelet and add leftover bits of meat or veggies to it.
7.  If you don't see yourself using the leftovers within a couple of days, put them in the freezer and label them well.


What do you do with leftovers?


         

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Being Involved in Church

This post has been co-authored by Jeff and Suanna.
   
 I grew up in a small town church where I knew everyone.  When you stay in the same place for the majority of your life you make relationships with people that are strong and you know each other well.  Then I got married and moved to Texas where the only people I knew were my husband's family and the church we chose to attend was very large.  It was a hard change and sometimes still is hard.

     Jeff and I realized that we needed to make ourselves get involved in our church, so we started going to the Young Married Class.  We really liked that there were various ages and stages of married couples who attended the class and we quickly made a few friends and signed up for a small group.  We also got actively involved in our class greeting on Sunday Mornings and working in different areas of ministry. After a couple years the church was growing and built a new building and the Young Married Life leaders felt that there was a need to change and try to get more people interested in attending our class.  So the Young Married Class split into two classes: Young Married Life and Married Life.  It was hard to make a new transition as we didn't feel that we really fit into the Young Married Life class because of the evening meeting time and the fact that we already had two or three kids, but we had friends who were now attending that class.  We attended the Married Life Class then.  This class was mostly made up of those who had been in the Young Married Class, but didn't fit into the new Young Married Life Class.  The Married Life class moved around a little and changed some and became a Sunday School class that anyone was welcome to, but much of the teaching was still geared toward married couples or those who had children.  During part of this time we volunteered in the children's Sunday School classes to be used in whatever class we were needed in on a week to week basis.

     So again we stayed involved.  We weren't to sure about what God wanted us to do, but we knew that being involved was a key part of what we needed in attending a large church.  One Spring Sunday in 2009, our Pastor announced that we would be doing a special group prayer thing and they wanted people to host one time prayer groups.  We signed up.  Several local people came to our home that evening for prayer group.  We didn't know a single one of them.  That was okay though.  After we talked with the people who joined us to pray and prayed we told them that we had been thinking about starting a small group and if they were interested in coming back again the next week we would pray again.  God wanted us to do that, because the next week all but one of them returned.  We met for several weeks to pray and then we asked them if they would be interested in doing a book study.  They were and we started studying The Power of Integrity: Building a Life Without Compromise by John MacArthur.  We've been meeting with most of those people since then.  We've also enjoyed getting to know new people who've joined our group for short times.  God has blessed us by allowing us to lead a small group of believers in our town that we join together with for prayer, Bible study, fellowship and encouragement.

After a while the Married Life, Young Married Life, and young singles classes merged into what is now called Fusion.  When this merge took place Jeff and I didn't feel like this was the right class for us, so we ended up not attending any class.  Sometimes we would help out a Sunday School class, but more often than not we found ourselves just sitting in the lobby during the 11:00 am service.  Before the Married life class ended, we would normally attend the 9:00 am service with Kent, Katy and Kaomi and then at a 11:00 take the kids to their classes and then go to the Married life class.  After the Fusion class started, the kids still wanted to go to Sunday School and we still wanted them to join us for church (we are very much old school in that respect-we believe that the kids should go to "big church"), so we couldn't just change to going to one service.  We thought about maybe trying to find another church, but that didn't really seem to feel like that was what God was wanting us to do.  This all might sound odd to some, but you must understand that Denton Bible Church has always intended their members to get involved in small groups during the week.  That is why there are only a few adult Sunday classes and only one church service per week.

In October 2010, Jeff and I started thinking and talking about starting a Fellowship and Prayer Sunday School Class that we would also have missionaries come to and share about God's work through their ministries.  We realized that we had enough commitments that we couldn't start the ball rolling in that direction until the beginning of the next year.  In January of 2011, we heard about a new class that had started called Adult Bible Fellowship.  We started attending this class and have enjoyed the teaching, the sharing of prayer needs, the small group breakouts during class, and hearing the missionaries who share what God is doing where He has chosen to have them serve.  Another thing we appreciate is the variety of ages and life stages (singles, newlyweds, empty nesters, etc.) that attend Adult Bible Fellowship.  We feel that it is important to build relationships with a variety of people as God can give us wisdom and guidance through those who have already been in our stage of life and our hope is that we would be a Godly encouragement to those who are where we have been, as well.  This class has met a large portion of our need to stay involved.  Though we don't participate in everything that our class plans we enjoy the fellowship and camaraderie that comes from building relationships with other Christians.  We would not have that blessing if we didn't get involved in our church.

We thank God that he has given our church a desire to teach the Bible and that there are smaller classes and life groups that we can be involved in that help us have a sense of belonging which can be hard to find in a very large church.  We thank God for the vision he has given to the various leaders in our church and that the Bible is the forefront of each ministry.  We also encourage each of you to get involved in your churches.  Being involved provides many opportunities to build relationships and friendships that help us navigate through our lives, provide us support when we are in need, and give us opportunities to get beyond ourselves and minister to others.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Quote of the Day

This quote is from Kent on Wednesday evening:

"Mommy foiled my plans."

"She told me to set the table and it foiled what I was going to do."


Thursday, May 17, 2012

Watching the Zoo Animals









This trip to the Frank Buck Zoo was on May 4, 2012.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

9th Anniversary

Today Jeff and I have been married for 9 years.  We've loved a lot, learned a lot, listened a lot and lugged a lot (of kids).
We're praying for many more years together where we continue to love, learn, listen and lug.

Our Anniversary dinner will be beans and cornbread.  Jeff's already forgiven me for not thinking about our anniversary when I planned our menu for this week.  I'm trying to make it special by making the beans a 4 bean mix and making a special dessert as well.

UPDATE:  Jeff stopped and got our favorite mexican as takeout.  So just the kids had beans and cornbread and Jeff got them some nachos locos to share as well.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Preparing Food after My Shopping Trip




     After I return home from my trip to the grocery store.  It is time to put the food away.  Putting the food away helps me save money, by making sure that everything that belongs in the fridge or freezer is put there and doesn't spoil.  It's not very pleasant to find melted butter, wilted vegetables or rancid meat in a grocery sack a couple days after you come home.  I also can see what is in my pantry when it is all out on the shelves, saving me the hassle of wondering where something is that I purchased a couple of days later.
     As I am putting away my meat I decide if I can keep it in the fridge until the day I am going to use it or if it should go in the freezer.  Something else that I sometimes do is get my meat ready for cooking before I freeze it.  That means I get it out of the package, add any spices or veggies that will go with my meal and then I freeze it all together so I just have to thaw and grill or bake it or put it in the crockpot.  This works very well especially for a complete crockpot meal or soup.  Sometimes when I buy extra meat because it is on sale I will make up several meals with it to freeze, rather than freezing the family size package of meat and having more than I need when I thaw it again.  Easy ways to freeze meals are to put them into gallon size freezer bags or meal sized plastic containers.

Have you ever made a freezer meal?  Do you have a favorite freezer meal?

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Sunday, May 13, 2012

Mother's Day - 2012

Jeff told me I get the day off!

He made my breakfast, lunch and dinner today (with various helpers).  The kids have all wished me a happy mother's day at least once and it's been a great mother's day.  I feel like a queen or someone very special at least.  Thanks everyone.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Last Week of School - 2012

Our school year is coming to a close.  We have 3 days left.  Tomorrow, Friday and 1 day at the end of the month.  The kids have been finishing things up and getting ready to present something they learned this year to Daddy.  Kent finished his English today and is looking forward to finishing his math book.  Katy was so excited that she only has a math review left that she started it this evening and will finish it tomorrow.  Kaomi still has the last 5 letters of the alphabet to finish studying, but she likes foing her school so we will try to double up on lessons and finish by the end of next week.  She is looking forward to starting Kindergarten.  I think we are all ready for school to be done, but they've been real troopers trying to finish up.  I'll be finishing getting everything together from this year that needs to be put away, so everything for starting the new school year in 2 months can be ready and on the shelves waiting for us. 

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

What is Growing in our Garden?

It's been 2 weeks since we finished planting our garden.

Garden 1
In Garden 1 we planted:  Baby's Breath, Zinnia's, Okra, Cantaloupe, lettuce, cowpeas, green beans.  I haven't seen any sign of the Baby's Breath or lettuce yet.  I think there is one okra plant that didn't sprout, so I will plant another seed in that spot later this week.

Garden 2
In Garden 2 we planted: 1 Marion Tomato, marigolds, 1 San Marzano Tomato, 2 Jalapenos, 2 Red Bell Peppers, 1 Yellow Pepper, 1 Poblano pepper, chives, carrots, cilantro, zucchini and a few onions.  I haven't seen any sign of the marigolds, chives or carrots and 1 of the Red Bell Peppers.   I'm just seeing 1 cilantro plant sprout up, so hopefully the others will join it soon.

Garden 3
In Garden 3 we planted: 1 Brandywine Tomato, marigolds, cucumbers, zinnia, cosmos, 2 chili peppers, onions, 2 basil, black beans and potatoes.  I haven't seen any sign of the chili peppers, marigolds, or basil yet.

We have been so excited to see so much happen since we planted our seeds.  I also found a black caterpillar with a yellow stripe on each side munching on my onions yesterday afternoon.  Hopefully, there aren't more.  I did a little research and it looks like it is a Yellowstriped Army Worm.

In case you are wondering about the buckets in Garden 3, that is where we planted the potatoes.  I planted the potatoes on the bottom of the garden and took the dirt out of the squares.  As the plants grow we are adding the dirt back into their spots to cover the potato plants.  When they get to the top of the garden I won't hill them up anymore and we will see what happens.  The bucket has the bottom cut out and I am using it to keep the soil from the other squares from caving in.  I will remove the buckets when the holes are refilled with dirt.

Do you have a garden?  How is it growing?

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Monday, May 7, 2012

Jeff's Birthday Pictures - 2012


Lemon Cake





Special Place Setting and dinner.


The King with his gifts on his new throne.

Shopping/Buying Bulk/Couponing

After I've made my menu, list, and shopped my pantry I am ready to head to the store.

Here are a few common going to the store tips I try to adhere to:

1.  Go in the morning, it's not usually as busy.
2.  Eat before you leave the house.
3.  Don't forget your list.
4.  Try to limit distractions in the store if possible.
5.  The only go down isles that you know you need to buy something.
6.  The freshest food is usually around the outer perimeter of the store.
7.  Just because it is on sale doesn't mean you have to buy it.
8.  If it's a really good sale and you have the money, buy a little bit more than you normally would
     if you have somewhere to store it.  Next time when you shop your pantry it will be there.
9.  Only buy meat that is on sale, if possible.
10.  Don't forget to check the bargain bin or clearance racks, but only buy something you know you
       will use and that truly is a good deal.

    

 When I go to the store I be sure to take my list and I try to take as few children as possible.  Less children makes for less distractions and I can pay attention to my list and not just buy stuff that I see and know we buy regularly.  Jeff is wonderful at keeping the kids home so I can shop on a day that he is off work.

The following ideas I may or may not do, but may be helpful to you.

Try to move through the store as quickly as possible.  If you organized your list by aisle that can help.  The longer you are in the store the more money you will spend on things you weren't intending to buy.

If there is something that you use a lot of you might want to consider buying it in bulk.  Meat is usually cheaper in a family pack.

Use coupons.  They can help.  I know there are a lot of people who are coupon happy and that is fine if it works for you.  It's too much stress for me to keep up with coupons.  If I run across one in the store or get store coupons in the mail I make good use of them if it is something I usually buy.  Remember when using a coupon that if its not something you usually use or won't use you really aren't saving money.

I also usually only shop in one store.  It's too confusing to make it to several stores and probably doesn't save much money by the time you spend the gas on shopping.  I shop at Kroger regularly.  Occasionally I shop at Target instead, they have a few things that Kroger doesn't have and sometimes a better price, but not always (currently, Target's cheese costs $2 more for the same 2# block that Kroger has).  I go to my local health food store for certain foods that I can't get elsewhere about once every 2-3 months.  I also use Amazon's subscribe and save program for some things in bulk.  I have to watch the prices, but somethings I get for good deals.   Jeff buys our milk on his way home from work most of the time, which is a big help for me.  I don't shop at Sam's Club very often.  They have a few things that are a pretty good deal, but when I've priced items I can usually get them cheaper at the regular store when they are on sale. 

I realize that shopping can be a different experience for everyone and there are many different situations.

Do you have any shopping tips to share about what works for you?

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Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Snakes!?!

On Sunday while we were driving to church we heard Felicity say, "Snakes."

I turned around and looked at her trying to figure out what she was talking about and she had her little hands smashed up against her nose.

I asked her with a smile, "What snakes?"

She replied, "Snuk snakes."

Jeff and I had fun with that as, yes, Skunks do stink.

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Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Planting!

Since we finished getting the gardens ready to plant we were able to plant our seeds last week.

First we got out all the seeds I already had.


Then we made squares for our garden and each of the kids got to pick out something they wanted to plant.  Then we figured out how many plants of each thing we could plant in the square.


Then we made a mock garden layout so we could see where we thought everything should be planted in the first garden.

 

After we did all that I made a map of Garden 1.  So when we went out to the garden we would know where we needed to plant each thing.  I also made maps for gardens 2 and 3.  The maps serve as a record as to what we planted, where and then I can make notes as to how well it did or didn't do or if there is an adjustment I need to make for something next year.



We finished planting gardens 1 and 2 on Monday and we planted garden 3 on Tuesday.  I'll share what we planted in our gardens next week.


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