Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The ABC's Of Thanks: W, X, Y, Z

  • Word of God
  • Wednesdays-- sometimes a half or whole day off!
  • Work
  • Windows that open--our last house's windows did not.
  • Warm house when it's cold.
  • Wiggly kidlets.
  • Water
  • Waffles-- Andy's mom makes the yummiest fluffy waffles!
  • Wonderful family-- Both biological and church families!

  • X-rays-- When we need them.
  • X-acto knife for crafting.
  • My mom whose name begins with 'Y'.
  • Yogurt.
  • Yams or sweet potatoes.
  • Yarn--although my knitting and crocheting skills leave much to be desired.
  • You! --So grateful that you continue to choose to come back and read my writings!
  • Zippers.
  • Zoos--fun to visit.
  • Zucchini
  • Zephers
  • Zinnias
  • Zinc--boosts the immune system.
  • Zero mice in my home.
  • And just for fun--Zero elephants in my pocket!
  • Zest for life. 
  • Zeal for God.
  • Zzzzzzzz-- a good night's sleep!
Whew!!! I made it all the way through the alphabet. So much to be thankful for!

I'd love to hear your W, X, Y and Z's if you care to share!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The ABC's Of Thanks: T,U,V

  • Thankful for Thanksgiving!
  • Turkey--lots of it!
  • Trials--this is a hard one for me to write. But looking back I can see how these times have built Godly character and continue to draw me closer to Jesus Christ. May it always be so!
  • Toddlers
  • Thrift stores
  • Toys
  • Tidying up after toddlers and toys!
  • Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan movies-- especially Sleepless in Seattle and You've Got Mail. Love those movies!

  • Umbrellas--when it rains!
  • Uncles
  • Underwear (clean)
  • Umbrella strollers
  • Unfailing love of God

  • Voting--it's a priviledge.
  • Violet-- a pretty color.
  • Vacations--occasionally.
  • Vet-- We love our new vet!
  • Veterans
  • Vegetables
  • Vintage items

Monday, November 28, 2011

The ABC's Of Thanks: 'R' and 'S'

So let's try to finish up our "ABC's Of Thanks" before the  end of November, shall we?

  • Riches in Christ Jesus.
  • Rhubarb.
  • My mother-in-law whose name begins with R!
  • Repurposing items.
  • Renting.
  • Rite Aid--I get lots of good deals there!
  • Reruns of classic television.
  • Redskins--We're thankful they actually won a game yesterday!:-)
  • Rice.
  • Reading books to kidlets.
  • Reading.
  • Red--one of my favorite colors!
  • Righteous--what I have been made because of Jesus!
  • Savior
  • Selling things.
  • My brother in law, Shawn.
  • Sleeping in or just sleeping in general!
  • Sales!
  • Soap.
  • Shampoo.
  • Sewing. 
  • Storage space.
  • Small house--it's cozy sometimes but a roof over our heads!
  • Snow days--few and far between.
  • Susie--my husband's great aunt.
  • Squash-yummy! 
  • Simplicity.
  • Simple things.
What are you thankful for?

Menu Plan Monday-- Frugal Low-Grain Meals

I've been working on keeping meals extra simple lately. It just seems to work better for this season of life! Since this is the end of the month, I'm trying to use up odds and ends we already have on hand before I go grocery shopping sometime this weekend.

**For weight loss and general health, we eat a diet low in grains but higher in protein, healthy fats, vegetables and fruit.  For the most part, we avoid wheat, corn, refined sugar and most processed foods. It is a work in progress--our diet isn't always perfect and we are far from eating all organic but we have both lost a good bit of weight since changing to eating this way and we feel great! And for the record, we do eat a lot of brown rice and eggs!**

What we're eating this week:

**scrambled eggs, turkey sausage links (2x)
**scrambled eggs (2x)
**scrambled eggs, bacon (2x)
**hard-boiled eggs, cheese (1x)

**eat out
**celery with cream cheese, eggs, cheese, almonds
**vegetable soup (freezer)
**celery with tuna salad
**garlic butter rice pasta, veggie
**whatever is left!

**clementines, almonds
**yogurt smoothies
**bananas with peanut butter
**whatever is left!

**Snacks for meeting: cookies(Thanksgiving leftovers), nuts
**Rotisserie-style crockpot chicken, sweet potatoes, broccoli/cauliflower mix
**Chicken gravy on rice ( Using chicken and broth from the Rotisserie-style chicken--this makes the BEST gravy!) , veggies
**Southwestern lentils
**Meeting: TBD
**Stir-fry using a bag of frozen stir-fry veggies with shrimp and rice
**Cheesy chicken and rice casserole (new recipe--looks really yummy!), salad or veggie

**This post is part of Organizing Junkie's Menu Plan Monday!

Crayon Roll Closeout!

Through tomorrow November 29, all crayon rolls are marked down to $5.00 in my Etsy shop. These come complete with crayons and make wonderful stocking stuffers!

Thanks for looking!

**Through the end of the year, proceeds from all of my Etsy shop sales go towards a mission project in India providing wells for villages and rescuing girls in sexual slavery through E.A.R.E. ministries.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

The ABC's Of Thanks: 'Q'

So 'Q' promises to be a bit more difficult but I've already thought of a few things!
  • Quiet--in my heart, first thing in the morning, at naptime, after the storm,etc.
  • Quiche.
  • Quilts.
  • Quick cleaning jobs.
  • Quick meals.
  • Quitting for the day.
  • Quaint, old-fashioned things.
  • Quantity of food--especially the 11 meal-size portions in the freezer from the turkey baked yesterday given to us by someone who got it free at the grocery store and wouldn't be able to use it!
  • Quarterbacks--some days.
  • Quartet music.
  • Quarters--great for spending at yard sales!
  • Quotes--" God does not call the qualified; He qualifies the called!"
  • Quips.
  • Quenched thirst. 
  • Quality kitchen tools
What are you thankful for?

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The ABC's Of Thanks: 'P'

Today, I'm thankful for:
  • Parents
  • Pears
  • Pineapple
  • Pinterest-- Follow me there if you wish!
  • Paint- Made a huge difference in our current home!
  • Pie!
  • Pumpkin Pie
  • Paved driveway
  • Purple--One of my favorite colors.
  • Pacifiers-- For the baby, of course! A little thing but it sure can help!
  • Pack and plays-- Great places for the littles to rest!
  • Pans--To cook with.
  • Poppie--What we call my husband's grandfather.
  • Payday!
  • Pantry--First time I've ever had one!
  • Pacific Ocean-- Grew up about a 2 hour drive from the coast so have lots of fond memories there! So beautiful!
  • Paper
  • Patience-- From God and other people.
  • Parks
  • Pansies
  • Peonies
  • Parades--I always enjoy a good parade.
  • Parties
  • Pastor
  • Pawn Stars--A TV show that we enjoy.
  • Patterns
  • Peace from knowing God is in control.
  • Pickles!
What 'P' words are you thankful for today!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The ABC's Of Thanks: 'O'

Today's letter is 'O'!

I'm thankful for:
  • Olives--One of our favorites!
  • October.
  • Old-fashioned living.
  • Omelet.
  • Omnipotent God.
  • Omnipresent God.
  • Omniscient God.
  • Onion rings--I will always choose these over fries!
  • Oranges.
  • Orchids.
  • Orchards.
  • Oxygen--What we need to breathe.
What would you add? 

Monday, November 14, 2011

A Peek At Our OCC Shoeboxes

This week (November 14-21, 2011) is Collection Week for Operation Christmas Child's shoebox projects. In this video or vlog, as they say, I share what we put into our boxes this year. My hope is that this will encourage more people to participate in this worthwhile project and maybe give some ideas of what kinds of things to put into your box(es)!

Related posts:

How To Pack A Shoebox by mary bailey. Cute!
Operation Christmas Child--Meryl's Story by Passionate Homemaking. This is super awesome!

Find out all the details at the Operation Christmas Child website!

The ABC's Of Thanks: 'N'

Already to' N'! This month is flying by!

I'm thankful for:
  • My brother Nathan.
  • Nieces and nephews.
  • Naps--Although they seldom occur these days!
  • Nativity.
  • Our Nation.
  • Nearness of God to us, His children!
  • Nature.
  • Natural living.
  • Necessities-- We have everything we need!
  • Necklaces--Jewelry is pretty!
  • Nectarines.
  • Need for God.
  • Needles--when sewing.
  • Neighbors.
  • Our cozy little Nest!
  • Newborns--So sweet!
  • Night--Time to rest.
  • Noodles!
  • November!
  • Nuts.
  • Good Nutrition.
What would you add to this list? 

Sunday, November 13, 2011

The ABC's Of Thanks: 'M'

I'm thankful for:
  • Myself! haha
  • m&m's
  • Milk
  • My blog friend, Monica!
  • Mom
  • Mother-in-law
  • Magenta--Love to wear purplish-pinkish colors.
  • Maps--So we know where we're going.
  • Marriage.
  • Mason jars!
  • Meals.
  • Mattress-nicer to sleep on than the hard floor!
  • Medicine--If we are sick.
  • Memory.
  • Melons of all kinds--Yummy!
  • Memorial Day--thankful for those who died for our freedom.
  • A Merry heart!
  • Milkshakes.
  • Moon.
What 'M' words are you thankful for today? 

Saturday, November 12, 2011

The ABC's Of Thanks: 'L'

What I'm thankful for that starts with 'L':
  • The Lord. 
  • Love.
  • God's Lovingkindness
  • Leila, my niece.
  • Life.
  • Laughter.
  • Lentils.
  • Living room.
  • Little ones.
  • Little house--not so much to clean!
  • Little House series by Laura Ingalls Wilder--Love the books but haven't yet watched much of the TV show yet but would like to!
  • Lilacs.
  • Lavender.
  • Lilies.
  • Lovey-- Toddler Girl's special, well, lovey! Makes naptime much smoother.
  • 'Likes' on Facebook.
  • Lettuce.
What 'L' blessings are you thankful for? 

The ABC's Of Thanks: 'K'

Here's 'K'... a day late...'k? :-)

I sat down to do this post last night and woke up this morning realizing that I had not written it. How's that for sidetracked?

I'm thankful for:
  • My sister Kathryn.
  • My nephew Knox.
  • My blog friend Katie. She is super sweet!
  • Kidlets--What I call the young ones who spend their days with me!
  • Kingdom of God.
  • Kindness of God.
  • Kidneys--Thankful they work well!
  • Kitchen--Because I love to cook!
  • Kinfolk--Why yes, I am reading through the dictionary!
  • Kiwi-fruit.
  • Kittens--They are cute when small. Not really a cat person although they are useful for some things!
  • Kisses.
  • Knives--When I need to chop food.
  • Knowledge that I've acquired through the years.
  • Krispy Kreme--especially like the cruller!
  • A Knowing God.
Now it's your turn! What are you thankful for that begins with 'K'? 

Thursday, November 10, 2011

The ABC's Of Thanks: 'J'

Let's see. What am I thankful for today that begins with 'J'?
  • Joy of the Lord
  • July--my birthday month!
  • Jabbering of the littles--so sweet to hear.
  • January--a fresh start each year.
  • Jeans--comfy to wear!
  • Jehovah Jireh--my Provider.
  • Jehovah Rapha--my Healer.
  • Jesus--my Savior.
  • Justine--my friend.
  • Jump rope--I always loved jumping rope as a kid. My dad tells about the time when I was pretty young (and very shy!) and at the hardware store with him. Looking at spools and spools of rope, I whispered to him, "I'd really like a jump rope!" He bought two lengths for me that day--a regular  and one long enough for several friends to jump at once. He knotted and burned the ends so they wouldn't fray. Those were the best jump ropes--they lasted for years! In fact, my parents may still have them.
  • John Beck--Redskins quarterback; this was my husband's idea! LOL!!
  • Jelly beans.
  • Just being at home!
What are you thankful for that starts with 'J'?

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

The ABC's of Thanks: 'I'

I spy with my little eye... things I'm thankful for that start with 'I'.

Hmmm... this might be a bit more difficult!

  • Ice cream
  • Instructions from God in His word.
  • Icicles- so pretty!
 Icicles hanging from our house during last winter's snow.
  • Inchworm in the form of Baby Boy as he 'army crawls' from room to room.
  • Ideas from Pinterest and other bloggers. Follow me on Pinterest if you're so inclined!
  • Ideas that God gives me that enable me to more creatively stretch our budget.
  • Identity in Christ.
  • Immovable God.
  • Imperfections that force reliance on a perfect Savior.
  • Irises, especially purple ones.
The letter 'I'. What are you thankful for? 

Making Yogurt In The Crockpot

Yogurt is easy to make in the crockpot! I follow these instructions from A Year Of Slow Cooking and have found it to work great.

When I first started making yogurt, I used a small yogurt maker that I picked up at Goodwill. It worked ok and made 1 quart at a time. But when I discovered that yogurt could be made in the crockpot I was eager to try it! Not only would I be able to make more at a time but it would eliminate the need for the yogurt maker and instead be made in the crockpot which can be used for lots of different recipes.

While yogurt making in the crockpot is super easy, you do want to plan to make it on a day when you're going to be mostly at home. And I find that setting the timer helps me to not forget about it!

  1. Pour a half-gallon of milk into crockpot. Put lid on and turn to low. Let cook for 2 1/2 hours. (Or until just below boiling.)
  2. Turn crockpot off and unplug. Let set for 3 hours. 
  3. After about 3 hours the milk will have cooled down to about 110-120 degrees. Sometimes it takes a bit longer; I set the timer for a few more minutes and come back and check the temperature. I don't usually use the thermometer; I just test it with my finger. If it's too hot, it will kill the cultures in the yogurt starter you're about to add. Too cold and it won't work either. I guess a good way to explain it is that it should be just a bit warmer than lukewarm. I've done it both a  bit hotter and a bit cooler and it has worked so not too scary! If in doubt, use a thermometer until you get a feel for it!
  4. When milk is right temp., scoop out a cup or two of warmish milk into a bowl. Whisk 1/2 cup of plain yogurt into milk. Any plain yogurt will work as long as it contains live active cultures. Stonyfield Farms organic plain yogurt is one of my favorites to use.
  5. Pour milk/yogurt mixture into crockpot and mix gently to combine the yogurt.
  6. Keeping crockpot unplugged, wrap with towels to cover and keep it warm. Let set to culture in a non-drafty place for 8-10 hours or overnight. I place mine in the bay window which is a nice sunny spot in my house! At the end of culturing, the milk should have thickened to make yogurt. Place crockpot in refrigerator to help it to thicken up a bit more.
  7. Eat!
  • Homemade yogurt will not be as thick as store-bought.
  • For a thicker Greek-style yogurt, line a strainer with cheesecloth or tea towel. Pour yogurt in and let whey (the liquidy stuff) drain off, leaving a thicker yogurt. Draining longer will result in a kind of yogurt cheese,similar to cream cheese, which I think is delicious with crackers or celery!
  • Pureed fruit or jam can be mixed into yogurt. We like to keep it plain and add fruit or honey right before eating.
  • The longer it cultures, the tarter the yogurt!
  • Save a half-cup of yogurt to add to your next batch. I like to drain it some before adding so it's a little thicker. 
  • For more information and pictures, go here
  • Previous posts I've written about making yogurt--Homemade Yogurt, Yogurt In The Crockpot, Steps We've Taken To A Healthier Diet.
Happy yogurt making!

If you have any questions, I will try to answer them.

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

The ABC's Of Thanks: 'H'

Today, we think about blessings that begin with 'H'!

  • My dad, whose name starts with 'H'.
  • Helpful Husband who went grocery shopping at Aldi's for me today!
  • Healing-- We have both received physical and spiritual healing this year. So thankful!
  • Ham--yum!
  • Hope--God's hope that does not disappoint!
  • Home
  • Heaven
  • Health
  • Hymns--While I enjoy all kinds of Christian music, I love the old hymns, especially instrumentals.
  • Hobby Lobby--Love this store!
What words that begin with 'H' come to your mind? 

Monday, November 07, 2011

The ABC's Of Thanks: 'F' and 'G'

What I'm thankful for that start with 'F':

  • Faithfulness (God's)
  • Forgiveness
  • Freedom in Christ
  • Fruit
  • Friends
  • Family
  • Fried mushrooms--yummy, yum!

What I'm thankful for that start with 'G':
  • God
  • God's grace
  • Groceries
  • Baby Boy whose name starts with 'G'--He is so sweet!
  • God's goodness
  • Growth (spiritual)
'F' and 'G'. What are you thankful for today? 

Saturday, November 05, 2011

The ABC's of Thanks: 'D' and 'E'

Didn't get my post up yesterday so am doubling up tonight with two letters! I don't know how many I'll come up with here but I'll give it my best shot! Feel free to chime in with your comments.

The letter 'D':
  • Our dads
  • Dogs-- I would have never imagined that I would become a dog lover. Up until we got our dog 4 years ago, I was very scared of dogs and didn't like them one bit! Now I enjoy them so much. Miracles never cease!
  • Doughnuts-- I have a very weird sense of humor; those who know me in real life will totally get this. The other day I came up with a "new joke". My husband always groans when I announce this!:-) Anyways, I thought it was pretty funny: "Donut let your heart be troubled!" Anyhoo...
  • Doctors
  • Dentists--Actually I really am NOT that fond of dentists but they do serve their purpose and I'm thankful for that! Maybe I would like them more if I went more often. Hahahaha
  • Dear friends who are like family!
  • Dark chocolate.

The letter 'E':
  • Eggs-- We eat  a lot of them these days!
  • Extra income this week--God is so faithful!
  • Extra hour of sleep tonight!
  • My Etsy shop.
  • Ebay.
  • Extravagant love of God.

Hmmm...I think I need to come back to these when I'm not so tired! What blessings can you think of that start with 'D' and/or 'E'?

Thursday, November 03, 2011

The ABC's Of Thanks--'C'

Continuing on through the alphabet...

Today I'll focus on words that start with 'C'. 

I'm thankful for...

  • The C. Family--My husband's and now my family as well!
  • Chicken--Yummy to eat!
  • Candles
  • Chocolate
  • Crockpots--Use them almost every day!
 My crockpots at work. Today, making yogurt and apple butter!
  • Our niece whose name starts with 'C'.
  • Camera
  • Christ's compassion
  • Cooler weather
  • Cheese
  • Cozy home!
  • Cherished Dog
  • Cookies
 Sugar cookies from last Christmas!

What 'C' blessings are you thankful for today?

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

The ABC's of Thanks: 'B'

What I'm thankful for that starts with 'B':

  • My family-- the B***** family.
  • Babies
  • Broccoli--It's good for us!!!
  • Bible
  • Books
  • Blogging/blogs
  • Bargains-- Thanking God for the deals He provided on eggs, cheese and bananas this morning!
  • Berries--Yum!
  • Butter--It's yummy and I'm thankful that organic butter's a recommended good fat so we eat it with no regrets!!!
  • Beauty all around us that God created.
  • Black dog.:-)
  • Budgets--They help us stay on track!
  • Blessings--Way too many to count!
  • Becky--My wonderful sister-in-law!
  • Brownies
  • Blizzards-- Love the Pumpkin Pie Blizzard this time of year!
  • Bacon--Everything tastes better with bacon!
What are you thankful for today that starts with the letter 'B'?

    Tuesday, November 01, 2011

    The ABC's Of Thanks-- 'A'

    This month I'll be going through the alphabet and giving thanks for those things and blessings that start with each letter!

    Today for the letter 'A', I'm thankful for:

    • Andy- my husband!
    • A*****aka Toddler Girl-what a blessing and delight she is to her family and to us. 
    • A*****aka Big Brother- he genuinely loves the babies which is so sweet to see and keeps us on our toes!
    • Apples- So delicious this time of year and made into applesauce and apple butter, a wonderful treat for the rest of the year.
     Applesauce from a recent canning day!
    I'll update this post if I think of any more 'A' blessings!

    **Now it's your turn! I'd love to hear what 'A' things you're thankful for. Either leave a comment on this post or if you'd like to blog about it, come back and leave a link to your post in the comment section!