Thursday, March 31, 2011

A Year Of Healthy Habits: Changing The Way We Eat

I shared last month how I've chosen to work on developing one healthy habit each month. In February, it was walking for 30 minutes every day. In March, I started drinking adequate amounts of water.

I had made a list of the months with one habit beside each one. Four of them were:

  • Drastically reduce sugar intake. 
  • Limit grains.
  • Eliminate junk food.
  • Focus on portion control.
Well, two weeks ago, my husband and I began drastically changing our eating habits to where our diet is now composed mainly of meat/protein, vegetables and fruit.

No pasta, bread, potatoes, donuts and cookies means I am drastically reducing my sugar intake. 

No pasta, bread, potatoes, donuts and cookies means I am limiting grains. 

No pasta, bread, potatoes, donuts and cookies also means that I've eliminated junk food.

And because we're focusing on weight loss, I'm also focusing on portion control. 

So much for one change at a time!

We are quite far from perfect and are still eating a few bread items while we use up what we have. Also, what we eat when dining with other people will look a bit different than when we're at home with complete control over the meal. We may eat a dessert or some bread or pasta. And as we go along, we'll most likely be a little more lenient and allow ourselves a junk food meal on occasion.

This is where self-control comes in.

My new mantra has become "Self control is a fruit of the Spirit." I chant this to myself whenever I am tempted to indulge.  We've made it a practice to eat one plate of food at each meal. Occasionally the meal will be lighter so if we think we may still be hungry, we're trying to wait a little while to see how we feel after the food settles. Usually, we find that we don't need another helping.

For April, I'm focusing on our new eating style as my healthy habit for the month!

I really don't recommend working on 4 different things at once like I find myself doing... so if you'd like to join in, choose one of the habits I mentioned above.  Or you can pick anything else you'd like to work on. Let me know in the comments!

Incorporating exercise, plenty of water and now changing what I eat have left me feeling much better! How are the rest of you doing with your healthy habits?

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

What I Learned At The Retreat

Last weekend was our annual trip to the Living Waters Women's Retreat. As always it was a lot of fun to be with the ladies from our own group and get to know one another better.

On Sunday as we had our own ladies fellowship up in the mountains- one of the best parts of meeting in homes like we do is that it can easily be taken on the road with our families or whoever we are with- we were asked to share what we felt God taught us individually throughout the weekend.

To me, a recurring theme throughout all the sessions was truth.

He speaks truth to me. I need to speak truth out of my mouth. God's Word is truth. Everything we do, say and think must line up with His truth. He is Truth!

As we know, Satan is a liar and the father of lies. So naturally, he doesn't speak truth to us. Instead, he will twist the truth and cause us to question our identity. After this, he deceives, dominates and destroys. (Genesis 1:26,27).

In Exodus 1 beginning in verse 6, we see the Israelites, who were God's chosen people, mighty and VIP's in the land- living like slaves. They were deceived, dominated and almost destroyed!

A quote that really spoke to me was, " For every thought, ask "Who gave me that information? Test every thought against the Word of God." The speaker went on to say that if you get up feeling depressed, God did not put that thought in your mind! God also will not compare you to other women or tell you that you do not measure up. We must take every thought captive and think of ourselves as God thinks of us! She also said we need to be aware that  our feelings are our feelings but our feelings can lie. We need to speak truth out of our mouths.

We see in I Peter 2: 9 and I John 4:4 who we really are in Christ:

"But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. "
I Peter 2:9

"You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world".
I John 4:4

" Your identity is not in what you do but in who you are."

God says that I am chosen, royalty, holy, His special possession and an overcomer! How am I living? Do I live like one of God's chosen people?

This is just a small summary of the pages of notes I wrote down during the sessions! There was so much to take in. I'm still pondering it all!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Spring Flowers

Some spring flowers and flowering trees in our yard and around the neighborhood:

Monday, March 28, 2011

What's Cooking In My Kitchen?

I knew I'd be tired after spending all weekend away at a women's retreat plus getting ready for a yard sale this coming Saturday, so I purposely planned a pretty easy menu this week!

This week we'll be eating:

Breakfast: Scrambled eggs with either fruit or a small fruit smoothie. Sauteed peppers and onions, sliced tomatoes or some breakfast meat may be added a couple of mornings to add variety and nutrition.

Beef and veggie soup (from freezer)
Leftovers with cut-up veggies
Salads with tuna and a variety of veggies

Eating Away From Home: Taking a salad.
Salmon filet, sweet potatoes, stir-fried veggies
Homemade pizza, chips, fruit
Beef and veggie stir fry, brown rice
Pinto beans (from freezer), brown rice, chopped tomatoes, onions, shredded cheese
Salad with chicken, hard-boiled eggs, lots of veggies; fruit

apple slices with peanut butter
green smoothie
celery with peanut butter
plain yogurt with frozen berries
hard-boiled eggs, fresh veggies
fresh fruit

Have a good week!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Food For Thought

 "After supper, Helen cleared the table and brought a pitcher of grape juice, four tumblers, and four large pieces of Jewish matzo from the kitchen.

"Let's celebrate,"  George said as he poured a full glass for each of them and gave them each a large square of the unleavened bread.

Eyeing the large glass filled to the brim, Renny asked, " Is this for Communion?"

"Yes. Jesus was not stingy in the way he gave himself for us. He didn't use little plastic cups and tiny bits of crackers at the Last Supper. It was part of a real meal, just like we had this evening."

George said a few words about the Last Supper and invited them to remember the Lord's sacrifice. As Renny drank the juice and munched on the matzo, he didn't have a vision of the cross or see the wounds on Jesus' body. Rather, he had a deep sense of appreciation for what Jesus had done for him, for Renny Jacobson, a man whose struggles with God had, on one level, come to an end. The prodigal was home."

Excerpted from The List by Robert Whitlow.

I loved this and wanted to share it with all of you. I really liked the part about Jesus not being stingy in the way He gave himself for us. Isn't that the truth!

What do you think about Communion being a part of a real meal instead of being isolated in a church service? One thing it made me think of as we do church differently and eat together as a family around the table each Sunday is that each time we share a meal together, it is a time of remembering the Lord's sacrifice for us. The elements of bread and juice are not usually there at this time but the principle is the same. (Acts 2:42)

Mr. Whitlow's example of the Lord's Supper as part of a meal is quite beautiful!

"Jesus said to them, “Very truly I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you.  Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day.  For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink.  Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in them.  Just as the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will live because of me.  This is the bread that came down from heaven. Your ancestors ate manna and died, but whoever feeds on this bread will live forever."  John 6: 53-58

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Grass Is Growing

My wheat grass is growing! I tried this a few years ago and for whatever reason, it just didn't grow. But this time it is.

I really like having something green in my house. A touch of spring!

Friends have asked why I am growing grass in pots? Just for fun. And I think it's pretty. Not planning on juicing it or anything anytime soon.:-)

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Changing My Shopping Habits

This picture is from my first full "we're eating mainly meat, vegetables, fruit and scrambled eggs" shopping trip.

Combined with the meats, rice and legumes I already had in stock, this should last us two weeks. I say, should, because I'm not sure exactly how much we'll eat! Two bags of salad greens, a cucumber and a bag of fresh broccoli (found on markdown) didn't make it into the picture. Also a few things are hiding under the frozen veggies!

 We'll eat the produce that goes bad faster the first week (strawberries, cucumbers, lettuce, bananas) and then eat the other things plus frozen veggies the second week.

I can't believe how much faster it is to shop when one is purchasing mainly meat, eggs and produce. Time will tell how this will affect the grocery budget--I'll keep you posted. While I may end up having to raise the budget to eat this way, there is so much that we will not be buying so my hope is that it will balance out somewhat! Plus we're learning self-control in portion sizes so we are not eating as much.  I'll still use coupons and watch for sales where applicable and I continue to purchase 90% of our personal care and household products by playing the drugstore game. I did a small grocery trip last week and with careful shopping and finding some excellent produce markdowns, I was still able to save 50% percent on a few bags of groceries which were mostly produce. This was encouraging to me!

I could easily become very discouraged if I tried to do all organic on my current budget. Instead, I choose to focus on a couple of items where I try to buy organic and then do the best I can with the rest. This is difficult for an "all or nothing" person like myself! In all things, I have to daily remind myself that God is ultimately in control of our health.

Overall, I really think I'll enjoy the simplicity of shopping this way!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Homemade Balsamic Vinaigrette

I've been searching for a good homemade dressing recipe for the past several years. Of all I tried, none were really good or a dressing that both of us really liked.

Back before Christmas, I checked out The Brown Bag Lunch Cookbook from the library. I copied down a number of simple recipes that looked good, among them a Basic Vinaigrette Dressing with many variations.

I haven't tried the basic recipe yet but soon after the first of the year, I mixed up the balsamic variation and we loved it! My husband said, "Now this a keeper!" I've made it several times since then.

This is inexpensive to make, especially if you already keep olive oil and balsamic vinegar on hand, and takes 5 minutes or less to mix up, literally.

I pour all the ingredients into a recycled balsamic vinegar bottle using a funnel, put the lid on and shake.

Balsamic Vinaigrette
Makes 1 cup dressing.

1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar (I use some I bought at Trader Joe's a while back and it is delicious!)
1 tablespoon Dijon or spicy brown mustard
1 small clove garlic, minced
Salt and pepper to taste

Put all ingredients in jar. Cover and shake well. Or blend in blender for a longer emulsification.

The recipe states that this is good for 5 days. We've found that it still tastes great after a week or two. Use your own judgment. :-) If using within 5 days, leave out. Otherwise, refrigerate. Bring to room temperature and shake well before using as ingredients with harden and separate.


Monday, March 21, 2011

What's Cooking In My Kitchen?

As I mentioned in my last post, we are slowly transitioning over to a different style of eating. So this menu plan is partly our old way of eating and then some the new way!

*Scrambled eggs, fruit/smoothie. Some days I'll add sauteed mushrooms or peppers and onions to this.

* Salads
* Beef veggie soup
* Veggies and white bean dip
* Leftovers

1) Eating Away From Home:  Taking some kind of potatoes; maybe a salad.
2) Steak, brown rice, steamed veggies
3) Homemade pizza, chips, fruit
4) Hamburger patties, salad, fruit
5) Split pea soup, rice
6) Leftovers or whatever!

Have a great week!

Friday, March 18, 2011

This & That

*Has Daylight Savings Time messed everyone else up as much as it has me? I've been tired and just feeling "off" all week!

*Mowed the lawn for the first time of the season this week.

*God is doing so many awesome things in our lives. So much to share but waiting for the proper timing.

*Soaking hard red wheat berries to use for growing pots of grass for spring.

*Gardening? Should I or shouldn't I? Our yard doesn't seem to be well suited to any major gardening plans. But I may do some pots of this and that like I've done in previous years. Then hit up the local farmer's market for the rest.

*We're transitioning to a different way of eating. We're doing what we can with what we have right now and hope to start completely the first full week of April. This will be a major change but we're looking forward to weight loss and general wellness. I'll share more details as we really get into this but basically we'll be eating protein, vegetables, fruit, some beans and legumes and limited amounts of grains such as brown rice. No bread, pasta, sweets, etc on a regular basis. I've been jotting down all the ideas that have been swarming through my head this week and hope to put together a binder with these meal ideas and recipes so that everything is in one place. Planning and being prepared will be key.

*If you're joining me in drinking plenty of water, how are you doing? In the almost two weeks that I've been aiming for three quarts a day, I'm noticing that I feel great! On weekends or days we are gone a lot, I aim for two quart instead of  three. This seems to work better and I'm still able to be successful!  Since starting regular exercise and drinking plenty of water, I've lost three pounds! Not sure exactly when I lost it, since we just got a new scales but I'm three pounds lighter than a few months ago. I'll take it!:-)

*Temperatures are to be in the upper 80's today or tomorrow. I really need to change out my seasonal clothing.

*Which means I also need to do some mending.

*We're trying to establish  regular weekly date nights.  So far, we typically stay home, eat pizza and watch a movie but it's still something we've begun to look forward to and being intentional about spending time together is good for our marriage.

*Having a yard sale with a friend in a couple of weeks. I keep finding more to get rid of. Yard sales are a lot of work but I do enjoy having one a year, sometimes two if I'm doing it in another location with someone else. It helps to keep things decluttered as well as earn a little extra cash. All leftovers go straight to the thrift store after the sales are over.

*Which reminds me that I will need to clean out my pantry and remove all items we will no longer be eating. Thankfully, my pantry isn't too full! Anyone think I could sell boxes of pasta at a yard sale? Haha! Just kidding! ;-) I'll probably give it away to friends or donate it; maybe both.

*Sun is shining. Birds are singing. Baby Girl is talking. Have a great weekend!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Labeling Spice Jars

During a recent decluttering and  organizing spree, I shuffled the contents of all of my kitchen cabinets around and decided to put my spice jars in a basket to save space.

This has worked really well so far. The only problem-- the cute labels I made last year and attached to the side of each jar were not really helping since I couldn't see them!

So every time I needed spices, I'd pull out the basket and take them out until I found the one I was looking for. Except for the cinnamon jar that has a different lid and the Italian seasoning with the lid marked 'chives'--I remembered those!

Today, I finally took about 5 minutes to cut some standard labels in thirds, write the names and stick them on!

Much better!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Simplify Your Email: Unsubscribe

After reading this post, I made the decision to be diligent today to unsubscribe from any emails I receive that I never open to read.

These are anything from political newsletters, coupon sites, store specials, and sites that I've registered on in order to print a coupon. After a while the clutter adds up and I have mostly emails that I don't even read.

It only takes a minute and will simplify my life tremendously as I won't have to sort through stuff every time I open my email.

I also periodically go through my Google Reader subscription and unsubscribe from any blogs that I notice that I'm not reading anymore. It does happen.  Life changes or I come to the realization that a particular blog is no longer what I need.

So let's take a few minutes today to clean out those inboxes!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

My Newest Addiction

For the past six months or so, I've really gotten into watching Wind At My Back, a show that originally aired in Canada in the mid to late 90's and is now airing daily on INSP.

It started innocently enough, as a show I really began to enjoy and watch occasionally. My addiction progressed and now I feel as though something is missing if 2 o'clock rolls around and I'm not watching!

Husband especially finds this amusing as I've never had a show I just had to watch
May Bailey, matriarch of the Bailey clan.

The show is set during the depression and follows the lives of the Bailey family. There are funny moments but yet a lot of sadness as they deal with the difficulty of the times. I am so captivated by the charm. The outfits, the hats, the characters, the nostalgia of simpler times, small town life, the hats... Oh, how I love the hats!

If you're a fan of The Waltons or Little House On The Prairie, it's likely that you will also enjoy Wind At My Back! 

**Watch an episode here

Have you seen this show? Do you have a favorite show you love to watch regularly? Tell us about it in the comments!

Monday, March 14, 2011

What's Cooking In My Kitchen?

Happy Daylight Savings Time! Hope everyone's weekend was wonderful and you're ready to jump into another week.

I like to begin each week with a little planning and a menu plan is one of the first. We gotta eat, you know!

So here's what's cooking in my kitchen this week:

yogurt, strawberries
eggs, toast
cinnamon swirl bread

egg salad sandwiches
peanut butter sandwiches
white bean dip, carrot and celery sticks

1) Eat Away From Home: Taking rice and a veggie.
2) homemade pizza, chips, dessert
3) pinto beans, corn muffins
4) Irish Stew, Irish soda bread or wheat rolls
5) vegetable soup with beef, rice
6) salmon patties, green beans, crispy potato cubes

Other kitchen related tasks on the list for the week:
*Freezer inventory.
*Make crockpot of spaghetti sauce.
*Make peanut butter granola.
*Make croutons.
*Make broth from veggie scraps to use in vegetable soup. 

What are you cooking this week?

Friday, March 11, 2011

Getting Started On Our Shoeboxes!

One of our favorite Christmas activities is packing our Operation Christmas Child shoe boxes. We always have a really fun time picking out toys and other fun and practical items to share with children who have so little.

And the best part of all is that when the shoe boxes are presented to the children, they also have an opportunity to hear how much Jesus loves them. And many have accepted Christ into their hearts as a result. I love this story of Oksana, who received a shoe box gift as a young girl.

Collection week for the boxes isn't until November, but I was determined to work on them all year and get a head start this year! I thought if I committed to adding something each month, the boxes will be nicely filled by November and I won't be rushing around at the last minute.

January- Purchased shoe boxes. Plastic boxes are nice as they are durable and useful and many children will use them for carrying water.
February- Added some nearly free toothpaste.

I also had a few items leftover from last year's boxes.

We like to pack one box for each person in our family so that means we do two. One girl; one boy. So far we've always picked the 5-9 age group. 

Starting now will give me plenty of time to find stuff at good prices as well as make a few handmade gifts.

I keep the boxes on my closet shelf and just keep adding! It's fun to see them fill up and helps me to remember to keep an eye out for appropriate items.

What do you like to pack in your shoe boxes?

Thursday, March 10, 2011

A Year Of Healthy Habits- Drinking Water

This year, I'm attempting to add a healthy habit each month and work on being consistent with that habit all month long. Then the next month add something else.

I'm hoping this method will be more effective  than my usual " start everything at once" approach.

January flew by with lots of activity and before I knew it the month was over and I hadn't started this new habit of, um, learning a new habit.

In February, I decided to exercise each day for 30 minutes. I chose to walk with the dog and decided to do it early in the morning, before Baby Girl arrived. I drew a little star on the calendar each day that I did this and I'm happy to report that I did not miss a day! There have been a few days where I waited until later in the day to walk, but still I was able to be consistent!

Both the dog and I are reaping the benefits!

What I'm doing is simple-- I set my stopwatch for 15 minutes. When we've walked for 15 minutes, we turn around and come back. For variety, I switch up where we walk several times a week. I've also noticed which streets have the most cats and limit our time there unless I'm really needing resistance training. Hahaha!

For March, my goal is to get back into the habit of drinking plenty of water each day. I recently heard that for maximum health benefits, a person should drink as many ounces of water each day as half their body weight. So if you weigh 100 pounds, you should drink 50 ounces of water.

My ultimate goal is to drink 2 1/2 - 3 quarts of water each day. If not able to make this requirement then at least 2 quarts (64 ounces) or 8 glasses which is widely recognized as a good amount of water to drink.

Already, I'm seeing that this is a more difficult habit to learn than 30 minutes of exercise!  But I continue on, filling my Mason jar with filtered water first thing in the morning and aiming to finish my 2nd quart by early afternoon. Spacing it out seems to help me a lot as fellow members of the Itty Bitty Bladder Club can most likely relate!

And every day I accomplish my goal, I add a smiley next to the star on the calendar. And maybe one of these days, I'll reward myself with a special treat!

Would you like to join me in drinking an adequate amount of water each day for the rest of March? It's up to you whether you choose to drink 8-8oz. glasses or half of your body weight. Let me know in the comments if you'd like to join in!

Tell me what kind of healthy habits you are actively trying to form?

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Linky Love

 Some good reads around the blogosphere! Enjoy.

But That Doesn't Work for Me at Heavenly Homemakers. We all know how I love my menu plans. And well, planning in general. A great read about loving and serving our families using our own God-given strengths and not comparing ourselves with what other bloggers seem to be doing.

Roku-Or How We Watch TV at If You Do Stuff, Stuff Gets Done.  Don't you just love that blog name? We were very interested in Rhonda's experience with the Roku box since we're looking into our options for less expensive TV once our satellite subscription ends at the end of this year.

Choosing The Important Stuff at Life Your Way. A helpful article on priorities and deciding what is truly important to each of us.

10 Ways To Simplify Without Becoming A Minimalist at Small Notebook. I've been in  major organizing and decluttering mode since January. My yard sale pile is HUGE! Again. Seriously, how does this happen!?! Nevertheless, I get to the point where I see so much that we do not use or need. And we're enjoying the extra space that's been created.

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Pizza Kits

We've been having homemade pizza for Friday nights a lot recently. Many weeks, we pair this with a Redbox movie for a low cost date night!

Pizza crust is like pie crust. I really don't like making it all that much.  But if I'm going to do it, I figure I should make it worth my while and make enough to last a few weeks.

Enter pizza kits.

If I'm making crusts ahead to freeze, why not bag up cheese, sauce, and toppings too?

I did pepperoni and mushroom this time around which we love but I can also add anything else I have, such as peppers or onions, if desired at the time of baking.

For freezing pre-baked crusts, I've found that the giant broccoli bags from Costco are just the right size. Extra large Ziploc bags would probably work too. I only had 2 bags so I put 2 crusts in each and then put all the little bags of topping for each pizza into one gallon-size Ziploc. So when we want a pizza, we can just grab a pizza crust and a bag of toppings and we'll be set!

For a little longer than it would take to prepare one pizza, I was able to make enough for five pizza nights--one to eat right away and four to freeze!

I've frozen homemade pizzas ready to bake, balls of pizza dough and just the pre-baked crusts. I'm looking forward to seeing how these pizza kits work for me!

What do you like on your pizza?

Monday, March 07, 2011

What's Cooking At My House

Hope everyone had a great weekend and is ready to start a new week!

Here's what we're eating this week:

peanut butter granola, yogurt
eggs, toast
oatmeal, fruit
cinnamon swirl bread, fruit

The fridge is bursting with leftovers to eat so that will take care of several lunches: beef and noodles, veggie and split pea soup, brown rice, a little roast beef, some pizza... We'll eat these up and then should be able to eat some leftovers from this week's suppers after that. I love it when we have plenty of leftovers; makes lunches extra easy!

1) beef enchiladas
2) egg drop soup, tuna melts, carrot and celery sticks
3) waffles, bacon, eggs
4) lentil and rice casserole with added tomatoes and bacon (crockpot), tortillas, cheese and sour cream
5) homemade pizza, chips, dessert
6) Israeli Spice chicken, orzo side dish or salad (make up as I go!), steamed broccoli

Have a good week!

Friday, March 04, 2011

Haven- Day 5

This was a crazy day at my house. 

I've been baking bread to sell every other Friday and today was Bread Day. I enjoy doing this but it makes the day a little more hectic!

It was just one of those days where I couldn't seem to get ahead. You know those days, right? Nothing horribly wrong, just one little thing after another!

And Baby Girl even slept for almost 3 hours straight this morning; something that almost never happens!

Anyways, I baked bread, did laundry, took care of Baby Girl,  and did a few other small things around the house.

By late afternoon, I knew I did not have the energy to make the homemade pizza  that I had planned for tonight's supper. I didn't think I could handle mixing and baking one more thing and then cleaning it all up! I was planning to heat up some leftovers when Andy offered to take me out for burgers. Well... I wasn't going to turn that down! We can do pizza tomorrow night.

So we went to our favorite local burger joint which was super yummy and now we're settling in to watch a movie from Redbox.

A relaxing way to end the week! 

**Monica asked us to share a highlight from this Making Your Home A Haven week. I think the highlight for me was really focusing on my home running more smoothly and  getting back into a routine. I really like having specific challenges to focus on each day; it helps to keep me more intentional in my homemaking. And I always enjoy reading how other ladies are creating cozy havens for their own families!

Thank you, Monica, for hosting the Haven series! 

Hope everyone has a blessed and restful weekend. 

Thursday, March 03, 2011

Haven- Day 4

Today was another busy day at my house, although I did stay home all day which was nice!

I was able to do some cooking/baking this morning while Baby Girl napped. I made a batch of white bean dip, peanut butter granola and some oatmeal raisin cookies
 Peanut Butter Granola

My husband has been asking for cookies-it's been a while since I've baked any- so he was very pleased! He also really loves the granola; a batch doesn't last long at our house.
Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

I usually meet with a friend on Thursday night  for a weekly Life Group, sharing with each other what God is doing in our lives and what he is showing us through Scripture and praying for one another. Due to scheduling, we often meet by phone, but today she called and asked if she could come over late afternoon instead. So it was nice to see her again and share together from God's Word! I was able to send some fresh cookies home with her, too.

Supper was beef and noodles with mixed veggies, toast and applesauce. Quick and easy, stretching out that roast that I cooked earlier in the week.

Looking forward to another day of making my home a haven tomorrow!

Psalm 30

I will exalt you, O Lord, 
for you lifted me out of the depths
and did not let my enemies gloat over me.

O Lord my God, I called to you for help
and you healed me.

O Lord, you brought me up from the grave; 
you spared me from going down
into the pit.

Sing to the Lord, you saints of his;
praise his holy name.

For his anger lasts only a moment,
but his favor lasts a lifetime; 
weeping may remain for a night, 
but rejoicing comes in the morning.

When I  felt secure, I said,
"I will never be shaken."

O Lord, when you favored me,
you made my mountain stand firm;
but when you hid your face,
I was dismayed.

To you, O Lord, I called;
to the Lord I cried for mercy: 

"What gain is there in my destruction, 
in my going down into the pit?
Will the dust praise you?
Will it proclaim your faithfulness?

Hear, O Lord, and be merciful to me;
O Lord, be my help."

You turned my wailing into dancing;
you removed my sackcloth 
and clothed me with joy, 
that my heart may sing to you and not be silent.
O Lord my God, I will give
thanks to you forever.

Psalm 30: 1-12 NIV

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Haven-Day 3

I knew today would be a bit busier day with Andy needing to be out of the house early and then a doctor's appointment for me this afternoon.

On my list for today:
*Clean bathroom.
*Make grocery list and plan of attack for shopping trip.
*Doctor's appointment.
*Grocery shopping after appointment. 

I usually soak a load of towels in the washer overnight so they are the first load I run through the next morning. All I have to do is turn the wash machine on when I come out in the morning. By the time I'm finished with my quiet time, the first load of laundry is ready to be switched to the dryer.

Quiet Time: 
Today I read in Romans 5. Verses 3-5 stood out to me today. "Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us." 

While I certainly have not experienced suffering as Paul did, these verses remind me to allow the trials that I do endure to be a refining fire, purifying and molding me into the person God created me to be.

I spent some extra time in prayer while walking early this morning. A sweet time with the Father. This would be a wonderful habit to cultivate!

Rest of my Day:
While Baby Girl napped after breakfast, I cleaned up the kitchen and threw some chicken broth, veggies, split peas and spices into the crockpot for supper. After that was done, I swept the floors then moved right into my weekly chores--finishing up the laundry and cleaning the bathroom. I had just enough time to plan my grocery shopping trip before she woke up.
I washed my new thrifted piece of fabric today (that I got yesterday) and while folding laundry took a picture to show. :-)

We went for a walk, had lunch and then I watched The Waltons and played with the baby until it was time for her to go home.

Next it was off to my doctor appointment and then several stops for groceries. I didn't get back home until 6:30. I was so glad that I'd put the soup in the crockpot for supper so I didn't have to cook. All we had to do was scoop it into bowls and I quickly broiled some bread with cheese on top. Cheese melts, we call them. Yum!

This has been a busy day and I'm tired. See you tomorrow!

Thanks to Monica for hosting the Making Your Home A Haven challenge! 

How Are You Affected By The Rising Gas Prices?

How have the rising gas prices affected your driving habits?

Since I do stay home most of the time and we only have one car, this helps tremendously with costs. However, we have still been rethinking our outings. Since we don't have a lot of wiggle room in the budget at the moment, we are planning out our trips a lot more to make the most out of them. This not only saves extra trips but also saves a lot of time,we've found.

Last week, I drove to the bank only to discover they were closed for President's Day. Bummer! All week, we kept saying that we needed to go to the bank again. But it kept getting pushed off. Finally, we just decided to wait until Friday when I'd have to go again anyways!

I think we'll be doing a lot more of this in the coming weeks. I'm within walking distance to Goodwill, another thrift store, the library, a dollar store, a park and once it opens for the season, the farmer's market. So I will walk to those if I can. Otherwise, we'll be combining trips and making extra stops for things we need if we are already out.

 This takes a bit extra planning and thinking ahead but is worth it in the long run!

How are you handling this?

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Haven- Day 2

I'm enjoying focusing on making my home a haven this week, thanks to Monica!

I started off my day with quiet time:
Read in Romans 4 today. Verses 18-24 were a great encouragement to me today. " Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations, just as it had been said to him, "So shall your offspring be. " Without weakening in his faith, he faced the fact that his body was as good as  dead-- since he was about a hundred years old-- and that Sarah's womb was also dead. Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised. This is why "it was credited to him as righteousness." The words "it was credited to him" were written not for him alone, but also for us, to whom God will credit righteousness-- for us who believe in him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead.

I've highlighted in bold the phrases that really stood out to me.  Here's what I wrote down:

1) Be fully persuaded that God has the power to keep His promises. 
2) Do not allow discouragement and doubt to set in.
3) Allow my faith to grow and give glory to God in the middle of it all.

God also led me to Psalm 30 and I read it and then meditated on it throughout the day. Powerful!

The rest of my day:

As I mentioned yesterday, one of my goals for this week is to begin getting back into a workable routine. So I was diligent with that again today, especially this morning. I'm still working on late afternoons!

After breakfast, and while Baby Girl napped, I cleaned up the breakfast dishes, put a chuck roast in the crockpot for supper, and then cleaned the kitchen which was my weekly cleaning chore for the day. As a part of the haven challenge, we were to pick an area to tidy. I chose to tackle a few small areas-- all some sort of paper clutter that needed to be dealt with. By the time I was done with this, Baby Girl was awake and ready to go with me to run some errands!

We went to the bank, paid the rent and made a couple other quick stops, including my favorite thrift store. I try to be very selective with my purchases but I did find a few nice things today- a nice piece of fabric, a sewing pattern that was so cute and some brand-new Brita filters!
 Blooming tree. I think this is a dogwood?

I wandered into our backyard this afternoon to take a few pictures of beauty around me.  Having a better camera this spring encourages me to capture the beauty of God's creation! Never thought I would enjoy taking pictures so much!


Another pleasant day; looking forward to tomorrow's challenge!

Toddler Bibs

Several years ago I won two extending toddler bibs through another blog's giveaway. I have used these bibs for my childcare kids and absolutely love them! They are big enough for toddlers and extend to provide ample coverage.

As Baby Girl nears toddlerhood and pulls off every bib that doesn't fasten with a snap, I've pulled those two bibs out and am using them again. I quickly discovered that I needed some more.

I traced a bib I had for a pattern  and cut big enough around the bib to allow for a seam allowance. The bibs that were given to me were made of flannel and have worn so nicely so I raided my flannel stash to make three more. This would be a great use for thrifted flannel receiving blankets. I would've purchased some for this project but I'm really trying to use what I have on hand instead of buying more.

These sewed up really quickly. I was nervous about the snaps since I've only done snaps once before and I remember that time as being a bit frustrating. But I had really no trouble with applying the snaps this time and it only took a few minutes!

A tutorial for a similar bib is here.