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Showing posts from February, 2010

Tackle Your Projects 1...2...Or 3

If you're anything like me, you've spent plenty of time wandering around the house looking at all of the half-completed projects and chores that need to be wrapped up. One room has craft projects, another needs a deep cleaning and several have little things that need to be done.
But where do you start? How do you budget your time and decide what to do and when? This can be the biggest challenge - just getting inspired and started - but it's actually as easy as choosing Strategy One, Two or Three.

Strategy One: Chronological Order

One of the easiest ways to prioritize your to-do list is to set it up in the order things have to be done. Instead of staring at baskets of laundry, stacks of paperwork and piles of craft projects, think about them as an item on your calendar.

Start with today: What absolutely has to be done by the end of this 12 hours? Within that list, arrange all your chores in order - are there things that need to be done before the kids go to school? Before lunch…

My Own LOLCat

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One of my favorite websites to visit daily is icanhascheezburger.com. It's simply pictures people have uploaded of their cats and then added funny captions. It took several months to realize it (silly me), but we have an LOL Cat right here!

Oh yeah? Come in here and say that!


MY mommy. Get your own.


Your call will be handled in whatever order the cat deems necessary. Or relevant. Or interesting.


Mommy, look! The new neighbors have parakeets...for the moment.


You woke me up? Unless the house is on fire, back away slowly.


Nobody knows...the trouble I've seen...

Money Myths

Finances are such an important part of our everyday lives. We think about money while we're looking for groceries, when we're planning for the future and as we check the mail each day.

So we look for information about making more money, making what we have work for us and making it last as long as possible. The problem is that everyone has an opinion about what's best for you and your situation. There are lots of myths and strange ideas about finances. Let's take a look at a few of them.

1. Little savings here and there aren't worth it. Before I go to the grocery store, I take 10 or 15 minutes to go through both my coupon envelope and the store's weekly circular. I plan my meals around the sales and double up on savings by adding in the coupons for those sale items. There are also several sites and stores that will e-mail you coupons, too. (Just make sure your grocery store accepts them. In one week (and a few minutes of planning) I can save about $50 just by usi…

Friend, Lend Me Three Loaves

Last week I posted a recipe for banana bread, but I didn't write everything I had wanted to write. I didn't leave out any ingredients or forget a step in the recipe, but I didn't take the time to write out everything that was on my mind.

This recipe made me think about the passage from Luke 11 when Christ tells the parable of the man who comes at midnight asking for three loaves of bread. He explains that a friend has arrived and there is no bread in the house, so he awakens his neighbor to borrow some. The neighbor has excuses - it's late, the children are in bed and he's too tired to get up and do anything.

The greatest blessing comes from verse 8: Jesus says that because of the man's preseverance, the neighbor would rise and give him all that he needed. In the previous verse he had only asked for three loaves, but the story says that he was given more than he asked for.

These few verses bless my heart every time I read them. Isn't this what God does for us …

A Manly Gift Cubed

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It's so hard to find gifts for a man. I know my husband better than anyone, but it's still difficult to find something out of the ordinary and yet perfectly in tune with him.

And then I found this craft idea!

It's a great photo cube with a guy-theme that you can personalize in any way you want.

You'll need:
6 floppy disks (Yes, they still exist, and you can probably find several in your closet somewhere.)
hot glue gun
scrapbooking paper and embellishments
six photos

1. Using the hot glue gun, run a line of glue along one edge of the back of the first disk. Quickly, before it cools, position the second disk in the glue to make the second side. Continue for all four sides of the cube.


2. Run glue along all four edges of the finished square, then lay the top disk on. Flip the cube over and repeat with the final disk. Allow to dry and cool for a few minutes.




3. In the spot where the label goes, adhere coordinating paper and your chosen photos. Then embellish - in a guy-appropriate m…

Love - Part 4

Love is a gift.

Can you truly comprehend that God knew you and loved you before the foundation of the world? We were on His mind before He even put heaven and earth in place. If we could understand that kind of love, we would want to be filled to the brim with it.

For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. John 3:16

We hear this verse over and over, but until you understand the gift of love that can only come from our Heavenly Father, it doesn't really sink in. And until it does, and until you realize that you have the capacity for the same love in yourself, there's so much untapped potential for love.

Think about all of the things you can't be without love.

Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; rejoiceth not in iniquity, but…

Achoo...Cough...Sniffle...

I had a terrible couple of days this past week fighting some kind of head cold. Even this weekend I was still nursing a sore throat and some sneezing. I hated being down and out for so many days with a to-do list a mile long, but there were certain things that had to wait so my body had a chance to recover.

The temperatures have been so up and down over the past few weeks that many people are fighting some kind of cold/flu/virus/etc. Once you've got something in your system, you want some quick and easy ways to get rid of it.

* Stay home. Please don't share your germs with everyone else! I went to church yesterday and felt like I was infecting everyone I came in contact with. Think about each person you might see while you're sick, picture them sick, and then stay home. You might feel like you're backsliding, but you're sparing other's people's health.

* Drink lots of fluids. Water is the best because you need to stay hydrated, then add in fruit juices and bro…

Remember The Sabbath

Quick question - How do you spend your time on Sunday?

Is it church, dinner out, sports on television, some yard work, supper and then to bed? Do you have the same routine every Sunday just because it's the one day you don't go to work?

This is a touchy subject for some people, but the Bible is incredibly clear about what is and is not supposed to happen on the Lord's Sabbath.

But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shall not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it. Exodus 20:10-11

Ultimately, the command is to spend a day, the Sabbath day, doing nothing but resting and worshipping the Lord. As times have changed and people drift away from church services and a day of relaxation,…

Groom, Groom, Everybody Groom

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I went around the house last week getting a list together for our Spring cleaning. I'm a die-hard list maker, so this was one of the highlights of my day!

Until I noticed a reoccurring theme on every page - dog hair!

There was black fur on every floor, in nooks and crannies, behind doors, on furniture (which is interesting because there aren't supposed to be puppies on the furniture) and under just about everything.

So before I start a deep cleaning of the house, it's time to do a deep cleaning of the dogs! In just a few minutes a day (which I should have been doing all along) you can keep fur under control and make your dog feel loads better!

* Find a really great dog brush. There are different kinds of different types and lengths of fur. Choose one that matches your dog and will do the required job. For example, we used a wire brush on Bailey for a while, but we finally figured out that the bristles hurt when they dug into her skin. I found a different one that still gets al…

Quick-N-Easy Banana Bread

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Normally I think of baking bread as some out-of-reach goal that only the best of bakers even attempt.

Then I tried it.

Not only was the outcome of this recipe incredible, it was so easy that I was afraid I'd done something wrong! You can mix the whole batter right in the pan and adjust the mix-in ingredients most any way you want. The prep time takes just about as long as it takes the oven to preheat.

Ingredients:
3 large eggs
3 large, ripe bananas
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla
2 1/2 cups baking mix (I used our store brand's reduced fat variety)
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
3/4 cup chocolate chips
1/3 cup chopped pecans
1/3 cup chopped almonds

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Liberally grease a 9x5x3 loaf pan.

2. Beat eggs in the loaf pan. Break bananas into pieces and mash them into the eggs. Add oil and vanilla.

3. Add the dry ingredients. Mix unto completely combined.

4. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour, until a toothpick comes out clean.

Recycled Mini Album

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There are so many ways to save money when you're stamping and scrapbooking, but this is one of my favorites. Using three little brown paper bags you can put together a great mini album for your coffee table or a gift.

For this album, I used three 10.5x5.25 inch lunch sacks and Scripture I printed from a word processing program. Choose whatever color combination and theme you'd like.

1. Stack the three bags, alternating the direction they open. The openings will end up being pockets in your album, so you want them to open in different directions.






2. Punch two holes along the folded edge. Thread ribbon and fibers through the holes. (If you do this now you'll be able to keep them all in place and see exactly how big your paper needs to be cut.)




3. Cut coordinating paper to fit each square (page) of the bag. Trim down pictures, Scripture or other journaling to fit on each page.

4. Cut tags or mat small pictures to go in each pocket. Attach them to the inside of the pocket with a sm…

Love - Part 3

Love is decision.

Just because a Christian woman has God's love placed in heart doesn't mean she's going to share it. That's the down-side to free will - something that should be given freely and without restriction is often kept under wraps to the detriment of everyone.

The decision is ours to make. Will we share God's love today or will we keep it to ourselves? Will we spread the Gospel through our testimony of charity and kindness or will we be seen as just another woman?

Let all those that seek thee rejoice and be glad in thee: and let such as love thy salvation say continually, Let God be magnified. Psalm 70:4

Will you make the decision to witness to someone today or will you walk through life with your head down?

Will you put God's laws and commandments above all else or will you let doubt, compromise and human choice overrun your life?

Therefore thou shalt love the LORD thy God, and keep his charge, and his statutes, and his judgments, and his commandments, al…

Why I Dress The Way I Do

Leaving the commissary a while back, the older man carrying my groceries for me asked me a question I had never heard before. We had been talking for a moment - a little small talk about weather - and then asked me: Why are you so dressed up today?

I had to look down to remember what I was wearing. I knew I was going straight home (frozen foods and all), so I had no other plans. I was wearing a blouse, jacket and denim skirt - nothing I'd wear to weed the garden for sure, but a more casual outfit for me.

So I said these were my normal clothes, not for anything special.

After he looked at me funny, the man said, Most people don't care what they wear out running errands. Thank you for taking care of yourself.

I was shocked, to say the least. I always notice when ladies wear their pajamas or something similar out in public, but I wasn't dressed in anything unusual - for me.

So I explained that I was an independent fundamental Baptist and that when God saved me He changed me from t…

The Gift of Your Time

Since Danny has already received his Valentine's Day present, I can tell you what it was. (He reads this every day and I'd hate to spoil the surprise!)

One of our traditions is chocolate for special events, so I gave him a plastic heart full of M&Ms. I'm sure it found its way to work today. I also made a Valentine, but my favorite part was what was tucked in the envelope with it.

Instead of buying some "thing" that will sit on a shelf or spending money on a short-lived gift, I gave my time.

I printed out eight love coupons and laminated them before putting them on a metal ring. Each one promises a special gift, event or activity - but each one has to be done together. And they're laminated to be reusable over and over again.

We also have a date for next weekend for our actual Valentine's Day celebration. It's hard to make plans when Danny's on call because the phone usually rings right in the middle of something special. And I'd hate to be gri…

Let It Snow!!!

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The practically unthinkable happened in South Carolina last night - and the girls loved it!

We ended up with several inches of wet, packed snow, something the girls hadn't seen since before we moved to this state.

Bailey tore all over the yard, and Sadie just trailed behind, barking her encouragement. They'd stop and shake their paws, and then keep right on running.

And apparently it was all the dogs in the neighborhood could talk about, because everyone was yipping or woofing at the top of their little puppy lungs.

When they came back in they had all sorts of white speckles all over their black fur. I suppose it had been quite a while since the last time they'd been snowy, so Bailey immediately ran to the living room. (As a rule they will automatically wait by the door until they get dried off.) From the next room I could hear her shaking the snow off, and I just wondered what piece of furniture was now soaked.

The one downside to this beautiful weather is cleaning up water fr…

The Importance of Tithing

Did you know that the best way to make money is to give it? Huh?
No, really.

You can be assured of financial security and favor from the Lord by following one simple command - to tithe.

What is your tithe? It is a tenth of your income before taxes. The Hebrew word for tithe translates to "tenth" or "tenth part." You figure one tenth of all you and your family earn and that is your tithe.

And all the tithe of the land, whether of the seed of the land, or of the fruit of the tree, is the LORD'S: it is holy unto the LORD. Leviticus 27:30

Where do you give your tithe? To the local New Testament church you are a member of. This is not money for missions or the money you choose to send to a TV evangelist - your tithe goes to your home church.

Why is my tithe so important? Several reasons, but most importantly because you are being obedient to the Lord. Anything we read in the Bible, regardless of whether it is Old Testament or New Testament, is relevant to our daily Christ…

Smart Spice Storage

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There was a time, not so very long ago, that I was scared to death of spices. Not because I thought they were stalking me or bugging my phone, but because I didn't know anything about them. The only spices I ever really used were salt and pepper. (Boring, huh?)

Then I began trying recipes that called for seasonings I had never even heard of...and they were fantastic! With a little husbandly encouragement, I was off and running.

One of the first things I learned was that spices can be fickle little creatures. They can lose their flavor, they can cake together in their container, they can lose their color and even eventually lose their potency. So here's what I've discovered about keeping your spices fresh and useful.

* Keep your spices away from heat. If they become to warm, seasonings will lose their flavor much more quickly. Don't store them above the stove, next to the refrigerator or near the dishwasher. While it may seem more convenient, choose a spot away from your c…

A Valentine With A Special Gift

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There's nothing more boring than a store-bought card with a single heart on the front. That's what you'll see everywhere when you browse the greeting card aisle of your local store. Plus, you'll fork over an arm and a leg for that one little card - unfathomable!

Instead, use some of your paper scraps and couple of extra ingredients to make a one-of-a-kind card/gift/smile-maker.


1. Make a card out of white cardstock. Cover the entire card with a light-colored, patterned paper. Using a darker colored ink, random stamp a heart design over the entire piece of paper.



2. Cut two panels of coordinating paper, one for a background and one to attach your wire. For this example I cut the black patterned paper to fit on the left side of the card, then a piece of white cardstock to fit inside that. Then I random stamped the hearts and colored them with a stipple brush.

3. Poke two small holes very close together in the center of the top panel. These are for the wire that will hold yo…

Love - Part 2

Love is a noun.

Love is a very tangible, very real force in our lives. It can be given, it can be taken away and it can be shared.

This becomes even more real in our Christian walk when we read and study about how we even have the capacity to love in the first place.

Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God: and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God, for God is love. 1 John 4:7-8

We have no love in us until the moment of salvation. We think we love people and care about them, but we can't fully comprehend or share true love until we've met Jesus. That's because He is the source of perfect love, and we can only share what He's given us first.

In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 1 John 4:9-10
Jesu…

Home Sweet Leaving Home

Whether you're headed out of state for a week or across the country for a month, leaving your home for any length of time can be a concern. You think about thieves, bad weather, leaving your pets at home and the other headaches that come with being away.

We're going to a graduation in Colorado in May, and we're already making plans for being out of the state for a week. What are the options for the time you're away? How can you protect your home for those days it's empty?

1. Look for a house-sitter. Is there someone you know who can actually live in your home while you're gone? This is the best option for our family because we're leaving the girls here. This is a great way to make sure there's someone in the house at night and the mail and paper are brought in. Plus you can have your plants watered, your messages checked and the lights on in the evening.

Consider some single friend or young adult living with their parents. Offer to pay for gas and have the…

What Do You Linger Over?

Linger, verb: to delay, to hesitate, to be in suspense, to remain in one state.

Can you remember the last time you lingered? In this fast-paced society it's probably been a while, and it probably wasn't for very long. We tend to cram as much into every single minute as we can, as if the busier we are the happier we'll be.

Lately the word linger has been in the forefront of my mind. I feel like I've been hurrying so quickly through daily life that I've forgotten a few things.

* It's called a walk with God for a reason. No one encourages you in your sprint with the Lord. Life isn't a timed event with medals handed out at the end for how quickly you did everything on your list. Walk speaks of a leisurely pace, taking time to enjoy the path God has placed you on and growing your relationship with Him. Linger over each special moment with the Lord.

* Life may be short (compared to eternity) but each individual minute has importance. I've found myself hurrying th…

A Day In The Life

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We have pretty scheduled days around here. We don't always plan it that way, but the girls and I are pretty structured. Throw something new and different into the mix and we're thrown out of our frame a little. On any given day you'll find us doing many of the same things.

4:45 We all wake up to exercise. Or perhaps I should say we are awakened to get up and exercise. Cayenne lets us know by poking me and crying that it's 4:45 already. The girls go outside to stretch their legs and then come in for breakfast.

5:00 Exercise time begins and the girls wait patiently in their corners for us to be done. Sometimes they think we need a little extra help and end up getting underfoot. Not great when you're
doing Kenpo karate.

7:15 Danny heads out the door and we all settle in for the day. The first thing I do is my Bible study and prayer time - usually with a kitty on my lap.

8:00 Nap times begin for anyone with more than three legs. This will continue off and on throughout …

Too Much Of A Good Thing?

The South Carolina State Fairgrounds will be filled with bargain-seekers this weekend as they host the Clean Sweep Sale. A fund raising event, an entire building will be dedicated to yard-sale style shopping in massive quantity.
My first thought when I heard about this event was - Ooh Ooh Ooh! I love a good bargain just like the next woman, and this seems like a great way to do some one-stop shopping. They'll have everything from books and music to furniture and appliances at some pretty decent prices.

My second though was - I need to stay away from this event. Not because it's not a worthy cause or because of the crowds, but because financially it wouldn't be smart.
Think about this scenario...you go with $50 to have a fun day of shopping the bargains. You find many, many things you'd love to buy, but only carry a couple of them around with you. Then you see a crowd around certain items and you decide to go see what they've found. Suddenly you're hauling much mor…

Pantry-Cleaning Skillet Dinner

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Did you ever have one of those evenings where you didn't have a meal planned and there didn't seem to be a whole lot of food in the cupboards? I had one of those earlier in the week, so here's the clean-out-the-kitchen-and-still-have-a-really-great-meal recipe I used. Look through your refrigerator and cabinets and see what you can throw together. 1 can beef broth
1 cup rice
1 tbsp veg oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 tbsp minced garlic
1 tbsp minced garlic
1 lb ground turkey
1 1/2 cups chopped peppers (I used a 10 oz box of pre-chopped traffic light peppers. Letting someone eles do some of the work can often pay for itself!)
1/2 sm bag frozen mixed vegetables
Worcestershire sauce
Seasoning salt (I used Tony Chachere's)
1. Cook the rice using the can of broth and 1/4 cup of water, cooking for about 20 minutes.2. Heat the vegetable oil in a large, deep skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, ground turkey, garlic, peppers, Worcestershire sauce and seasoning salt. Once the meat is …

Iced Over

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We've been having incredibly cool weather for the past little while - I went to the mailbox this weekend and had to chip the ice off before I could get into it. Very out of character for South Carolina, but something I've missed since having moved to the South.


So in the theme of winter, I made the cutest little icy decoration for the front porch. (Trust me - it's not going to melt for a while.) It's so easy and can be adapted for a variety of themes and colors.

You can freeze pretty much anything in ice. For this example I used a crocheted doily and submerged it in an appropriately-sized plastic container. If you spray it with non-stick spray first, it will slide out quite easily. To make the hole for hanging, slide in a straw (sprayed) and hold it in place with some tape. When you pop it out of the bowl you may need to chisel a little extra ice out of the hole, but do so carefully so you don't crack the ice.

Experiment with different cake pans and multiple sizes.

Mak…

Love - Part 1

Love is a verb.

Love means demonstrating your affection and respect for someone. It's an action word, showing what we do because of those feelings.

Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. Matthew 22:37

Love without action is just words. Your husband can tell you he loves you a hundred times, but if he doesn't show you respect or respond to your requests, you probably won't believe him. And if you repeat loving words all the time but don't serve your husband with honor and compassion, he won't believe you either.

God responds to love in the same way. We may flood Him with songs of praise and prayers of thanksgiving on Sunday, but if we're not serving Him in our daily lives during the rest of the week, those words lose their meaning.

Being doers of the Word includes the actions we perform out of love and respect for the Lord. If our heart is right, our love will show by the work we do in J…

How Do I Love Thee...?

The month of February warms my heart - I can prepare for Valentine's Day, Danny's spiritual birthday is the 10th and Spring is just around the corner. Love is in the air more now than ever, and the Bible says affection for your husband is both right and lovely.

The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness...that they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands... Titus 2:3-4

There are so many ways to show your love for your husband, and much more than just on February 14th. Here are some ideas I've gathered over the years. (And knowing Danny will be reading this, I'll have to come up with some more! I love you Sweetie!)

* Hide love notes everywhere. Get some kids' valentines, make some cards or buy a big box of stationary at the dollar store. Fill them out with lots of sweet words, and then the fun begins! Hide them in his briefcase or computer bag. Tuck them into his dresser drawers. Put one in the freezer. Place another o…