Saturday, November 29, 2008

The Ham That Wasn't

We had ham on our Thanksgiving menu this year. I purchased a big 20 pound ham on sale early, pleased to get such a bargain and dreaming of all the wonderful ham dishes I could create with the leftovers it was sure to yield.

Ham bundles, split pea soup with the ham bone, ham sandwiches, ham and beans, scalloped potatoes with ham, breakfast casseroles....

I put our mammer-jammer ham in the oven on low heat Wednesday night. It cooked until late morning on Thursday. I thought it smelled a bit different than a regular ham, but oh well... I don't usually cook big 'ol hams!

I could hardly wait to eat this ham that I had been looking forward to for so long. But the first slice revealed a brown meat instead of the pink meat I was expecting.

I tasted it. It tasted like roast pork.

Apparently, before purchasing a "fresh" ham, I should have consulted the Joy of Cooking which reads:

"Fresh ham is a misnomer; it is in reality simply a pork roast---the hind leg which has not been cured or smoked..."

I had cooked up a huge pork roast for our Thanksgiving dinner!

The meat was delicious though, especially with cranberry sauce. But I still want that ham!

In the meantime, what to do with a lot of leftover pork roast?

I cut it all off yesterday. I have 9 freezer bags full of slices or pieces, plus the bone which still has a good deal of meat on it.

For leftover dishes with the pork, I've so far come up with...
--barbecue pork sandwiches(I know the South is standing up and rebelling right now but while this is an obvious answer to using leftover pork, I am not that fond of pork barbecue. My husband likes it a lot though and it makes a quick meal, so I'll make at least one meal of this.)
--heated slices alongside sweet potatoes and apples
--used instead of chicken in white chicken chili
--shredded in burritos
--the bone cooked with beans

I suppose I can use it in place of any other cooked meat in recipes, but does anyone have any pork recipes or ideas to share?

I can use the help!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Our Thanksgiving Menu

I'm hosting Thanksgiving dinner this year. It will be only a small group of five around our table this year with my sister, her husband and their son joining us. So far, I haven't discovered anyone else who doesn't have a place to go for the holiday, but if I do-they will be welcome!

Anyways, Kathryn and I planned our menu together. We love side dishes for Thanksgiving so we planned for a bunch of those-each in small amounts. We also like to try new recipes so we planned for some of those as well! We like Thanksgiving leftovers so there should be plenty for all of us to eat on for a couple of days!

Our Thanksgiving Menu
**means Kathryn is bringing that dish. Otherwise, yours truly!

Baked ham

Mashed potatoes
Twice-baked sweet potatoes**(new recipe from Country Home magazine)
Green bean casserole
Stuffing(I doctor up Stove-top mixes.)
Orange-ginger carrots
Fruit salad**
Pineapple-lime cranberry sauce**(another new recipe from Country Home magazine)

dinner rolls

Kathryn's choice. She makes really awesome desserts. Last I heard, we were having pumpkin pie and homemade cream puffs!

Appetizers(which we will be eating in the evening for dinner along with ham sandwiches)-
bacon-wrapped smokies(not sure if this is the exact recipe but looks pretty close)
fruit and veggie plate

Wish the rest of our family could be here!

How is your Thanksgiving dinner coming along? What are your favorites?

Friday, November 21, 2008

How Can I Recycle A T-Shirt?

In my closet cleaning and sorting frenzy last week, I came up with a stack of old t-shirts. Most were a little stained or too worn to donate to Goodwill but nice enough that they still had some life in them.

I really like rags cut out of old t-shirts, so I cut some of the thinner, stretchier shirts into squares. These rags are great for dusting and polishing or drying as you clean.

I had long wanted to try making some of these t-shirt bags. I've admired them on other blogs and kept wanting to try them! I ended up making 8 of them in all. All 8 bags took me 30 minutes to complete!

I wasn't totally satisfied with these bags, though. In my opinion, they are not as cute in real life as they appear on blogs. I did find that the ones that looked the best to me were the smaller shirts that I used. Most of my shirts were too big and looked really wonky! I kept my two favorites and cut the rest into more rags. The two that I kept will be used for grocery bags. I'm guessing that they will work best for light-weight items. If I really like them, I'll make more when I have more shirts to recycle! As for looks, I imagine they will look better filled with groceries.

More ideas for reusing t-shirts:
-make a quilt
-cut squares to use as hankies especially when you have a cold-I can use some of my rags for this!
-Lindsay has a great post about re-using t-shirts. There are more ideas in the comments!
-sew other articles of clothing
-make a rug by knitting or crocheting strips of t-shirts together

Edit: Thanks to Monica for letting me know about Mama to Mama; a charity that donates baby hats sewn from old t-shirts! This would be a fun project to do with friends.

Any more ideas for re-using t-shirts? Please share!

I love finding new uses for things that I have around the house!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Grocery Budget Update

It's been a little while since I posted about how I'm doing with my grocery budget. I find that it is a lot of work to take pictures of each shopping trip and post about it each time so I won't be making a habit of it. I don't want my blog to be all about grocery store deals either. There are plenty of wonderful blogs that have that subject covered!

Since going back to really using coupons, I've been able to get so much more to stock my pantry. I've also been much more aware of what I'm adding to my grocery cart.

I'm still working on having everything planned out. This past month, I've done pretty well.

One thing I've noticed that helps me to stay within budget is to have very detailed lists with sale prices and coupons I have for each grocery store I'm visiting. On my last grocery trip, I only bought what was on my list at each store. At a few stores I found items that I needed marked down. I purchased them even if it wasn't on the list for that store but was cheaper than I had planned and then crossed them off my lists.

Aldi has great everyday prices but other grocery stores sometimes have sales that beat the Aldi prices by far. I'm making a habit to go to Aldi last and get the staples that I couldn't find cheaper elsewhere. I use Aldi prices as a guide for how much I will pay for a particular item.

The downside to using a lot of coupons means that I'm bringing more processed foods into my house. We are still eating pretty healthy but more processed foods than I would like. I am still working through that !

I admit that coupon shopping is a fun pastime for me. I enjoy seeing what coupons are available each week and then matching them up with sales to get things at the very lowest prices! I have so much fun going to CVS every week, too. So for now, I'm continuing to use coupons and still buy as much healthy foods as I can!

My rule is that I will buy the best I can afford on my budget. Sometimes that means organic and sometimes not. I just do what I can! I keep taking more baby steps towards a more natural and healthy lifestyle.

So that's what's happening in the grocery department around here!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Works For Me Wednesday: Christmas Budget Planning

Each year, we save a certain amount of money each month for our Christmas spending. Since we use the cash envelope method for budgeting, it only seemed right to get the Christmas money in cash and put it in an envelope for easy access when I wanted to purchase Christmas gifts throughout the year.

It took us a couple of years to realize that this really wasn't working out. Having the cash on hand made it too easy for me to "take a little out" here and there if I needed some extra money for something. This invariably meant that we would end up not having the money in hand at the end of the year when it came time to do the bulk of our Christmas shopping. Then we would seriously go over budget.

When we reworked the budget at the beginning of this year, we decided to hide the Christmas money away in our savings account all year. If I saw something that I wanted to purchase for a gift, I could take a little out for it.

Since we are a work in progress where budgeting is concerned and each year we learn a bit more, we also realized that just budgeting for our family's gifts wasn't cutting it either. What about a budget for gifts for my husband and I, a Christmas tree, shoe boxes for Operation Christmas Child, and any charitable giving around the holidays?

Those all needed to be added to the Christmas budget as well.

To decide how much to put aside for the year, we divided it into these categories.

1)Gifts for 16 family members.
2)Gifts for my husband and I.
3)Operation Christmas Child shoe boxes.
4)Christmas tree.
5)Charitable giving.

We decided on a reasonable amount for each category and added it all together. Then I divided the total by 12 and that is the amount we put in our Christmas budget each month.

This year, we saved $35 a month and that should cover everything. Obviously, we are not extravagant spenders! And neither do we have children which would change our priorities considerably. Every family's priorities will be a bit different. And if your total amount comes to more than you can save each month, consider where you can cut back or get more creative!

My gift budget for family members is $5 a person. I am determined to really stick with it this year. Sometimes I'll spend only $2 on a person then I can spend a bit more on someone else. I do this by making gifts and watching for sales. We do not give large gifts. It helps that our families tend towards smaller and more useful gifts.

We don't give many gifts to friends. I often make kitchen gifts that come mostly out of my regular grocery budget if we want to give gifts to coworkers,friends and neighbors.

As for charitable giving, we like to choose 2 organizations each year-one local and one international. It's hard to choose only two as there are so many good ones! Unless God leads us to give otherwise, two seems to be the right number for us right now.

Putting the Christmas money in our savings account this year has worked wonderfully! Last week when I needed to buy stuff for our shoe boxes, it was so nice to get the predetermined amount of money out and have those perimeters to work within.

Now some of you are thinking that this will not help you for this year. You've had so many other things come up and saving for Christmas was the last thing on your mind. I don't have any quick fixes for you other than reducing your monthly household budget if you can and using what you save for some Christmas gifts. Money Saving Mom has a great list of ways to make a little extra money, if you need it. I would also advise you to keep it simple and make at least some of your gifts. Look for ways to make the Christmas season special without spending a lot of money. Also, purpose to spend only cash! That way, come January, you'll be ready to start saving for next Christmas instead of paying for the previous one.

Dave Ramsey says that Christmas is not an emergency since it always comes at the same time each year. Treating Christmas as a monthly expense by saving all year definitely works for me!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Making My Home A Haven: Inviting & Giving

Friday's theme was Inviting & Giving.

We had a lot of things already planned for the weekend so I wasn't able to invite guests to my home. I determined early in the week to bake some treats to send with my husband to work to share with his coworkers.

I baked a batch of cinnamon rolls on Thursday afternoon so they would be ready. I used all white flour instead of wheat like I often do. Using all white flour produces a much lighter cinnamon roll. Whole wheat is fine, but a cinnamon roll isn't really meant to be healthy anyways!

Friday is my day off from babysitting. I often plan way too much to accomplish on this day! I had a lot that I wanted to do so I wrote it all down in a long list. I knew that I wouldn't be able to accomplish everything but seeing it written in front of me gave me incentive to work as hard as I could.

This list will make you tired to read. You'll be glad to know that I wasn't able to do it all!

-empty dishwasher/reload
-one load laundry
-update checkbook
-quick run through house to vacuum, sweep, straighten up, dust/wipe
-water plants
-finish closet
-sew tote bags for Operation Christmas Child shoe boxes
-work on last minute details for tomorrow(Andy was setting up at a vendor fair.)
-make dinner (BBQ chicken, green beans, a box of rice mix)
-make yogurt
-make chicken pot pie for Monday
-print shoe box labels for Sunday
-gather all supplies to fill shoe boxes on Sunday
-make lunch to take with us tomorrow

I immediately finished several quick jobs on the list so I could cross off several things in a short amount of time! This helped to motivate me.

Next, I cleaned up the house and emptied the dishwasher. I knew I definitely wanted to finish cleaning out my closet, so I tackled that next. After spending a few minutes on it her and there throughout the week, it really did not take very long to complete. It is not a big closet at all, but I had a lot of trash stuffed in there!

While I was working on the closet, I finished switching out my out-of -season clothes. I'd done some earlier in the fall but it was still so warm that I was using both cold and warm weather clothing. I purged everything that I wasn't wearing anymore or was worn out or didn't fit right. My goal is to have a minimal but functional wardrobe where I wear everything in my closet. I will probably find that I kept a few too many of some items, but that's ok. I'm very pleased with what I have in my closet and drawers now and most everything can be mixed and matched. There is a place for everything now, too!

In the before pictures you will see some piles on the floor and trunk. I took care of all of that too. Our bedroom is quite tiny so any piles look very messy!



Isn't this nice and empty now? Even the diapers are clean! Now to hem the curtains....

After I was done with the closet, I ate some lunch then got out my sewing machine. I sewed two more tote bags that I wanted to pack into the Operation Christmas Child shoe boxes. I had hoped to sew one for each box that our group was doing(8 in all). But I was only able to get 3 sewn so I left it at that.

Here are all three little bags that I sewed this week:

After this was done, it was time for Andy to come home. I put the sewing machine and supplies away.

I put the chicken in the oven along with extra for the pot pies that i knew by this time that I wouldn't finish today and then started doing last minute details for the show. We wanted everything to be ready to go the next morning!

I finished cooking dinner and we sat down to eat. As soon as we were done eating, we packed up the table and a few supplies and headed out to partially set up for the show.

When we got home, I packed our lunch for tomorrow and headed for bed! It was a busy busy day and I was exhausted!

Thanks to Monica for hosting Making Your Home A Haven this week! I enjoyed participating and getting a few extra things done. I decided that I need to get back into the habit of making a short to-do list for each day. This keeps me more focused! Also, I'm trying to implement my quiet time with God early in the day again. When I don't schedule it, it gets pushed to bedtime when i am tired and am more apt to rush through. Reading God's Word first thing gives me a boost to start the day and even if I don't get anything else done, I feel so accomplished knowing that I've spent time with Him!

Making My Home A Haven: Fun

I didn't get around to posting the last two days of the Making My Home A Haven week, so I'm doing it now.

Thursday's theme was fun.

I started out the day with making pumpkin smoothies and bagels for breakfast. I had a little canned pumpkin to use up so decided to try a new kind of smoothie! I added the pumpkin to a banana, plain yogurt, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg, vanilla and honey. It was really good! I think I would add more honey next time.

After breakfast, I headed out for a walk with Rock. For a while, this was a regular part of my early mornings, but lately I'm having trouble getting it in. I love a nice brisk walk!

It was rainy so the boys and I stayed inside and finger painted, as well as our regular reading books and playing! I really felt very unmotivated to get things done around the house, though. I did a few routine tasks, but nothing major! I worked for a few minutes on the closet but got side-tracked.

During nap time, I baked a batch of cinnamon rolls to send with my husband to work the next day as part of my Inviting & Giving Day on Friday. My husband goes to work so early that I had to plan ahead and bake the rolls the day before so they'd be ready. My inspiration for the cinnamon rolls was that I had a big bowl of leftover frosting in the fridge to use!

In the evening, we were needing to run errands and do some shopping. I really did not feel like cooking, so we went out for dinner using a coupon. I guess eating out was our fun for the day!

Then we did our shopping. I finished shopping for our shoe boxes. This year, our Sunday Home Fellowship went together to pack the shoe boxes, so we all contributed the various items. We ended up packing 8 shoe boxes.

Andy needed a few extra things for his new business venture, so we got those and came on home.

Not a horribly productive day, but a good day nonetheless!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Making My Home A Haven: Cared For

Another day!

I was a bit more on schedule today. Andy was well enough to go back to work so we were up bright and early like usual.

As Monica suggested in her post, I chose a few tasks that I've been putting off-stuff that just needed to be taken care of.

My list for today was:
-dust and vacuum living ,dining and bedrooms
-clean out magazine basket
-clean out closet
-make macaroni and cheese for dinner

Before the boys arrived, I dusted and vacuumed the living and dining rooms as well as our bedroom. I cleaned out our overflowing magazine basket which had also deteriorated to the point of needing to be thrown out. I love to read magazines but they end up as clutter after a while since I don't want to get rid of them because I may need something out of them later. I bit the bullet and got rid of most of them. I saved a few that we really do like to re-read or use for pictures and the rest I recycled. I let the moms of my childcare kids take what they wanted before I filled the recycling bin. I threw out the basket. Maybe not having the basket will force me to purge more regularly instead of passing the magazines off to the Bin of Avoidance? I'll have to see how it goes just to have a small pile of magazines on the coffee table and not have a magazine basket/rack. How do you decide when to toss magazines? What do you keep?

By this time, my first charge arrived and he was in an exceptional mood so he helped me while I started on my closet. We sang a song about the letters and their sounds which he loves. He found all kinds of interesting items to capture his attention.

Soon, the second child arrived. After they got settled, they were playing together so nicely that I went through a couple of bags of stuff from our bedroom. Little ones do like to help go through bags!

For our outdoor time, I decided to let them help me rake some leaves. I purchased 2 small Montessori-style rakes at a yard sale this summer for $1 each. The rakes really do work as well as the "real" larger ones. The boys did so well! They loved raking as well as walking through the leaves and jumping in the pile. Their joy was contagious! This time wasn't as productive for me getting the leaves raked but was more intended as a fun learning and exploring time for the boys. When their attention started drifting, I loaded them up in the wagon and we walked around the neighborhood.

After our walk, it was lunchtime. Then a little T.V. time and stories before nap.

During nap time, I got to work on mending a couple pairs of pants that have been draped over a chair in the dining room for several weeks. It took all of 10 minutes to mend both pair. Why had I been putting this off exactly? While I had the sewing machine out, I sewed a quick tote bag to be included in our Operation Christmas Child shoe boxes. I plan to make a couple more of those and I'll post a picture when that is completed! It felt so good to sit down and sew something! I often put off sewing because of the effort involved in getting everything out and then having to put it all back away soon after.

By now, nap time was almost over so I sat and read the newest issue of Reader's Digest until the boys woke up. Then we had a snack and Andy and I played with the boys (or rather were entertained by them) until their parents came.

After they left, I walked the dog and began to work on supper. Andy's dad was traveling through on business and stopped in for a few minutes. While he was here, our new laptop was delivered. Yeah!!! I can't wait to blog using that!

After all the hullabaloo died down, we sat down for a simple meal of homemade mac & cheese and steamed broccoli.

After cleaning up dinner, I looked at my list for today. I had finished everything but the closet. I did, however, get a great start on that and will make an effort to finish that up first thing in the morning. I took before pictures and will post them after the chore is completed.

See you all tomorrow!

Making My Home A Haven: Clean

Today's assignment was to clean.

But since I did more cleaning than tidying yesterday, I decided to do a little tidying today.

On my list for today:
-care for my childcare kids
-vacuum and sweep
-water plants
-do a couple of small tidying projects
-rake front walkway
-clean out closet/piles in bedroom

I fixed baked oatmeal with cranberries for breakfast. Yum! This can be mixed in only a few minutes then I baked it while I showered and dressed.

Before the kids arrived, I did some general cleanup around the house, including vacuuming and sweeping, disinfecting doorknobs, etc. with Clorox wipes(I am not usually OC with germs but since we've had some sickness here, I wanted to take precautions!), watering the plants and raked the walkway.

I find myself to be very occupied during the time that my childcare kids are here. Once both of them arrive, I pretty much play with and supervise them exclusively while they are awake.

My morning with the kids consisted of reading, playing and supervising. One of the boys is now being potty-trained so that requires flexibility and consistency on my part to make sure that he is making trips to the bathroom every little while.

The boys were very restless this morning so I bundled them up and loaded them in the wagon. We walked to the park and stopped at the ball field. I closed the gates to the field and let them run to their heart's content. They loved it and I was feeling pretty pleased with myself until they both figured out how to open the gates and make a run for it. So I loaded them back into the wagon and we went home for lunch.

After lunch, they watched their favorite TV show-Super Why! and then I put them down for their naps. I quickly checked my email and then went to the kitchen to clean up the lunch mess and emptied and filled the dishwasher. I had forgotten to start dinner earlier, so I went ahead and soaked a couple of cups of pinto beans for bean burritos. I usually make this in the crock pot but since I hadn't planned ahead, I had to improvise. I also took a package of tortillas out of the freezer to thaw.

For my tidying projects, I put away a suitcase filled with a bunch of toys I was switching out. This all went into the shed along with some empty boxes that may come in handy for Christmas. I spent a few minutes in the shed putting the toys into the proper tote and stacking the suitcases.

After I came back in, I remembered that I needed to also put my canner and canning supplies away so I made another trip out to the shed. Having these things put away makes some extra space in the house!

Next I cleaned off my dryer which seems to be a catch-all. I took everything off and wiped it down then sorted and decided what needed to stay. I have to store some things on the dryer for the time-being; it's just hard keeping it neat and orderly looking! I swapped out some baskets from another area and I think it looks much nicer now!


After this was done, I spent a few minutes straightening a few more shelves in my laundry room/pantry.

The boys were still sleeping soundly and since Andy was home again today(although feeling a whole lot better!)and could listen for the boys, I ran outside to do some raking. In about 15 minutes time, I had about half of the front yard raked.

Evidently, the fresh air did the boys good this morning since they both took really good naps with one sleeping over 3 hours! I finally woke him up and gave them both a snack. After snack, they played with stamps at the table until one left. I read stories to the other one until his mommy came a little later.

I had planned to work on my closet while the beans were cooking but we ended up working on some other things instead. Andy has signed up with a new part-time business venture and his first show is this Saturday. We set up a table and figured out a basic layout of the products so we'll be ready! I assisted with the table cloth and making a pleasing arrangement.:-)

After this, the beans were cooked. I scooped some out into a bowl and mashed them with some salt, garlic powder and cumin. I served the beans with tortillas, cheese, sour cream and salsa. I'd brought some leftover taco shells and meat home from Monday night's leadership meeting so I served them alongside the burritos. Obviously, Andy's appetite was back that he could appreciate Mexican food! He was excited about the "combo" meal.:-)

After dinner cleanup, I worked on blogging a bit then watched a little of NCIS. Around 9:30 it was time for bed!

Thanks to Monica for hosting this week's Making Your Home A Haven!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Making My Home A Haven:Tidy

I was excited to join in with Monica's Making My Home A Haven week. My home could really use the help right now!

On my list for today was:
-clean bathroom
-clean kitchen
-clean out my closet
-catch up on my Bible study from last week

My husband woke up sick about 3 am. I had trouble going back to sleep after that. He was pretty sick so I made the executive decision to not have my childcare boys come today. (This is the first time I have had to cancel, but I didn't want the boys to be exposed to the flu and I wanted him to be able to rest.)

My schedule was off with Andy being home sick from work. I ran to the store to get him some more medicine and ginger ale.

What I got done today was:
-cleaned bathroom and kitchen(both were pretty bad!)
-took a nap(I was so tired!)
-caught up on my Bible study
-made chicken soup for Andy

The closet will just have to wait. It really needs to be done and it has bothered me something awful! It'll get done another time.:-)

I'm really glad to have the bathroom and kitchen cleaned, especially the floors! That will have to count as my tidying project for the day.

Supper tonight is homemade chicken soup for Andy and I'll be eating at our weekly church leadership meeting.

I'm looking forward to what Monica will share with us tomorrow!

Menu Plan Monday

Here's what we're eating this week:

B-toast and cheese
L-eat with our church fellowship. I took pumpkin and banana bread to share.
D-homemade eggrolls, ice cream

B-eggs, toast
D-homemade chicken soup(Andy is sick!)

B-baked oatmeal
D-bean burritos with salsa, sour cream and cheese; steamed veggies

B-baked oatmeal
D-macaroni and cheese; steamed veggies

B-fruit smoothies, bagels
D-BBQ chicken, mashed potatoes, green beans

B-banana-oat pancakes
D-homemade pizza, applesauce, carrot sticks

B-egg and cheese bagels
L-leftover pizza or sandwiches
D-eat out

For more menu planning inspiration, please visit Organizing Junkie!

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Super Savings Saturday: Triple Coupon Days

At our house we open cans,
We have to open many cans.
And that is why we have a Zans.

A Zans for cans is very good.
Have you a Zans for cans?
You should!

-Dr. Suess ;One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish

Well, we don't open a lot of cans or have a Zans, but we do like to stack all 33 of our cans in pyramids and take pictures of them!

Harris Teeter is running their triple coupon days this weekend(Thursday through Sunday), so I ran out with my very full coupon binder to snag some deals. As soon as I entered the store, I got that rush of adrenaline that often accompanies my super coupon shopping!

Harris Teeter's regular prices are a bit high, but I was able to match some sales and coupons and come up with some pretty good bargains.

I was able to get everything in the picture(including 3 Breyer's YoCrunch yogurts that had already been eaten) for a total of $34.70. Since my before coupon total was $144.44, that means I saved 75%!

Much of this will be donated. I think I can spare a few cans of soup, Veg-all and toothpaste. :-) I was almost out of Kleenex, so I got as many as I had coupons for to hold me over until the next good sale. The Healthy Choice paninis were free with the purchase of two Healthy Choice soups which I also had coupons for.

Except for using one internet coupon, all 36 coupons that I used were from the Sunday papers. I usually buy 3 papers each week and then a friend gives me the coupons from theirs. This makes for a lot of coupons! But for triple coupon sales, it's helpful to have plenty of coupons to choose from and not just one week's worth!

Thanks to Crystal for hosting Super Savings Saturday and for running the awesome Money Saving Mom blog where I learn to save oodles of money on groceries each month!

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Post-Election Thoughts

As glad as I am to finally have this election over with, I have very mixed feelings over the president who was elected.

As most of my blog readers can probably pick up, we are very conservative-minded Christians. On Tuesday, we voted that way as well. No candidate or president is perfect but we cast our votes for the one whom we felt best lined up with the conservative values that mean so much to us.

The sanctity of human life...Traditional marriage... National security... Lower taxes.

I spent a lot of time in prayer for this election and have a peace over God's ultimate sovereignty in all of this. This is the first presidential election that I have followed so closely and frankly, it really scared me!

My hope is not in this country or my president. My hope is in Jesus Christ.

I don't believe that God has removed His hand of blessing from America with this election, but rather that He has allowed it in order to carry out His plan.

But what should be my response to this election?

We have had several people coming to us panicking and asking "What do we do now?" This led me to compile a short list of encouraging Scriptures to meditate on and believe in. I know there are many more that could be listed here; these are just a few that I came across.(Feel free to add your favorite Scriptures in the comments!)

John 16:33: " me you may have peace. In this world you may have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world."

John 14:1:" Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me."

Psalm 91:9,10: "If you make the Most High your dwelling-- even the LORD, who is my refuge--then no harm will befall you, no disaster will come near your tent."

Psalm 4:8: "I will lie down and sleep in peace, for you alone, O LORD, make me dwell in safety."

Joshua 1:9:"Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go."

Psalm 39:7:""But now, Lord, what do I look for? My hope is in you."

Jeremiah 29:11:"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."

Lamentations 3:21-23:"Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the Lord's great love, we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness."

Romans 15:13:"May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit."

Hebrews 10:23:"Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful."

This is a time for Bible-believing Christians to snap out of our complacency and truly rely and trust in the power of God. This is not the time for panic! We need to stop playing around, stand up for what we believe in and pray, pray, pray for our nation. Romans 13:11 says, " "The hour has come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed."

While I don't believe that America is going to cease to exist with President Obama at the lead, our nation as a whole has forgotten God and the wonderful principles this country was founded upon. This is a frightening place for our country to be.

My next response as a believer is to fulfill my Scriptural responsibility by praying for our new leader. I will respect his authority and support him in prayer, even if I do not agree with his stand on many of the major issues. Romans 13:1:"Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God."

I praise God that He is still on the throne and in control of everything! Even in these uncertain times, I can trust and believe in a God who never ever changes.

Feel free to add your thoughts in the comments section. No matter what your view on the election, please keep your words kind and God-honoring. I reserve the right to delete any comment that I feel does not add to the wholesome content that I strive to present on my blog. Thank you!

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Works For Me Wednesday-The Toy Edition

This week's Works-for-me-Wednesday is a themed toy edition. What kind of toys will not end up in the yard sale pile soon after they are opened?

I'm not a mom, so I can't speak from that perspective. But I'll share some of the things that our nieces and nephews love for gifts.

Both my sister and sister-in-law are rather picky about the toys that come into their homes, so I often ask for recommendations for Christmas gifts. I want to give the kids gifts that they and their parents will love!

Here's the good gift ideas that they've given me in the past few years:

1)Books. My sister-in-law told me that she doesn't get rid of books. I try to pick out classics or books pertaining to subjects that the kids are interested in.

2)Craft supplies. Our oldest niece especially loves crafts. So extra supplies are helpful for her. Paper, packs of foam, glue, beads, stickers, etc.

3)Consumable items. These are things that get used up and don't hang around taking up space. They can include art and craft supplies but also things like bubble bath, favorite snack foods,etc. We gave our 3 year old niece a bottle of "Princess" bubble bath for Christmas last year. She was beyond thrilled!

4)Little People toys. All the kids love these and have continued to play with them past the toddler years. Best of all, these toys last and last through multiple kids.

5)Handmade Items. I am the resident apron-maker for the girls, sewing them new and bigger ones every couple of years. Last year, crayon pouches were a big hit!

What are gifts that your kids really love?

For more toy-themed posts, please visit Rocks In My Dryer.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Every Vote Matters!

At our house, even the dog has an opinion about the election! Today, he's barking 4 McCain.

So whoever you are, I hope you got out to cast your vote today!

*This was the best picture we could get of Rock's bandana. It's hard to keep a hyper-active dog still for a photo shoot!