Thursday, October 30, 2014

Is it Enough?

Every once in a while, I consider this question.  I heard a speaker on the radio a while back where he said that in the United States, we wear busy-ness like a badge.  The busier the better.  The busier you are, the more important you must be.  The busier you are, the more fulfilled you should be.  So, OK, since 5:00 this morning I readied myself for the day, provided breakfast for my husband and I saw him off to work, had my morning Bible reading and prayer time, cleaned up the kitchen, sent a couple of correspondence off, ironed, and now here I sit writing this blog.  Was I busy?  Yes, I think so.  It feels like I was busy.  And I will continue to be busy the rest of the day.  But is it enough?  I don't work outside the home, I don't have kids activities to tend to anymore, I only volunteer once a week.  How DO I answer the questions from other women as to what I do all day?   I think modern day homemakers feel they must justify that question with a list and it seems like no matter how long that list is, we're looked at as being unmotivated, unwilling to share the load financially, lazy perhaps?   Do I bring these feelings of not measuring up on myself?  Maybe.  But the questioning from others is real and so brings on the feeling of inadequacy.  I have to fight that feeling at times reminding myself that what I do inside the home is important work.  We've seemed to have lost that "old-fashioned" notion that women in the home matter.  They do.  And for some of us, it is enough.  : )

1.  God first.

Today's Reading:   Matthew 5: 1-12  The Beatitudes

I like calling this the "Blessing and Reward" passage -

*Blessing - "Blessed are the poor in spirit"
*Reward - "for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."

*Blessing - "Blessed are those who mourn"
*Reward - "for they will be comforted."

*Blessing - "Blessed are the meek"
*Reward - "for they will inherit the earth."

*Blessing -"Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness"
*Reward - "for they will be filled."

*Blessing - "Blessed are the merciful"
*Reward - "for they will be shown mercy."

*Blessing - "Blessed are the pure in heart"
*Reward - "for they will see God."

*Blessing - "Blessed are the peacemakers"
*Reward - "for they will be called sons of God."

*Blessing - "Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness"
*Reward - "for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."

Extra point that Jesus makes -

*Blessing - "Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me."
*Reward - "Rejoice and be glad because great is your reward in heaven."

The cost of following Jesus is high.  Are we prepared?  Remember the rewards received and that in the end it will have been worth it.  Tough now, blessing later.  : )

2.  Family second.

Remember people.  It's important.  Phone calls, e-mails, cards and/or letters in the mail.  Just to let them know you remembered.  Just to let them know they are important to you.  Just to let them know how they are doing.  Fill your calendar days with names of people in your life.  Send Betty a card on Tuesday.  E-mail Margaret on Thursday.  Call Donna on Saturday.  Then pray for them.  Lift them up to the Lord for whatever they are going through at the time or just for protection for them as they go about their day/week.  I never feel more loved than when someone tells me that they are praying for me or when I hear from them in some way.  Let's extend these kindnesses.

3.  Everything else.

Homeschool idea:  Geography - draw maps!  By drawing your mind is seeing and by seeing it is fixed in your mind so when it comes time to look something up on a map, you'll be able to locate it more quickly.  Don't trace!  Draw your state. Draw the United States.  Draw other countries.  And then fill in some information - rivers, lakes, etc.  Hang them up and use them, filling in information as you go.

Gift giving ideas: 

Grieving basket - a beautifully framed quote, candle, inspirational CD

Writing basket - lap desk, stationery, stamps, pen

Enjoy your day!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Make Time for Fun

For several years, we, as a family, got together at this time of year and had a pumpkin carving competition in our garage.  We ate supper together first, carved pumpkins, and then sat by the bonfire with our dessert.  So much fun, so much silliness.  Some years we even had an "anonymous" judge sneak into the garage (with the door closed), judge the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winners and leave prizes beside each one.  One time we bobbed for apples.  It really was a lot of fun and it was so fun to host!  In the photo above, are just a few of the pumpkins.  Everyone got so creative.   We stopped doing it a couple of years ago.  Kids grow up and get busy and adults get busy because the kids are busy.  I miss it so much and have tried to think of something else to do but I fear that probably won't happen.  That's the thing.  We have to do things with our family while everyone is able or the opportunity passes us by.  We all have good and fun memories with this one little thing we did every year and that counts for something!  : )

1.  God first.

Today's Reading:  Matthew 4: 23-25 Jesus Heals the Sick

What Jesus did:
* taught in synagogues
* preached the good news of the kingdom
* healed every disease and sickness

What the people did:
* brought him people with various diseases (severe pain, demon-possessed, seizures, paralyzed)

Crowds came from:
* Galilee
* Decapolis (the Ten Cities)
* Jerusalem
* Judea
* across the Jordan

Just come to Jesus.  No matter who you are or where you are from.  Come to Jesus.  See what He can do for you.

2.  Family second.

I think I'm just going to re-iterate the importance of having fun with, and in, your family.  Everything is just so serious now days and everyone is so busy with stuff that won't build any memories at all except for the fact that you will look back some day and remember how busy you were and everyone is all grown up and gone and you can't get it back again.  So, please, plan for fun.  Most of the time it doesn't just happen.  You have to go the extra mile and put in the time to make it happen.

3.  Everything else.

Homeschool idea:  Art and Creativity - buy child an inexpensive camera (even disposable are fine) and have your child take all kinds of pictures.  Develop and choose which ones turned out and what didn't and talk about it.  You can talk about subject matter, color, design, etc.  Frame the nice ones or put into a photo scrapbook with captions telling where you took the photo.  Gets you out and about!

Gift giving ideas:

For someone's bedroom:  Padded hangers, sachets, beautiful pillowcase, scented drawer liners, candle

Little girl basket:  coloring book and crayons, doll w/clothes, puzzle, sidewalk chalk, bubble mix

Have a good day!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

What to do?

On Saturday, we rushed our cat, Carl, to the emergency hospital, and that evening he went through surgery.  This morning we finally brought him home.  In between that time, we literally anguished over what to do, how much to do, and of course, how much to spend.  On a cat.  How far DO you go for a pet?  I think, for me, it's that I don't want to come across as the kind of person where every time our pets have a problem, then we just put them down because we don't want to deal with it.  I feel that since we bring pets into our home, we have a responsibility to care for them since they cannot care for themselves.  With that said, it's still difficult when you see the veterinarian bill go up and up.  He is home now and we're hoping that will help him to be less stressed out and more comfortable so that his desire to eat and sleep will come back.  He's part of the family now and we just have to deal with the bad times along with the good.  : )

1.  God first.

Today's Reading:   Matthew 4:18 - 22  The Calling of the First Disciples

I like the title of this passage - "The Calling."  As followers of Christ we all have a calling.  Jesus "calls" us to do his work here on earth.  Is it service?  Is it giving?  Is it teaching?  Only we, with the help of the Holy Spirit, can determine this.

I also love the picture this passage depicts - "As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee."  It seems calming.  Can you see it?  Probably early in the morning.  Fishermen in their boats.  The sky tinted with early morning light bouncing off the sea.  Beautiful.

Then, Jesus' invitation - "Come, follow me, and I will make you fishers of men."  In verse 20 - "At once they left their nets and followed Him."  In verse 22 - ......"and immediately they left......."  That always amazes me. To be that obedient is incredible.  How often have I put things off because it just didn't seem like the right time or there were other things going on that I wanted to do first.  I don't ever think it's "at once" or "immediately" with me.  Very thought-provoking.

2.  Family second.

I wrote about caring for a pet in the home, but with cold/flu season upon us, we need to care for the people in our homes too!  I do understand that some people like to be left alone, but I do think there are certain things we should do for them (because they won't feel like doing it for themselves):

*Bring fluids - bottled water, gingerale, tea.  Something that will make them feel better.
*Bring cold compresses to the feverish brow.
*Bring chicken noodle soup or broth, apple slices, orange slices, etc. - again, something nourishing and nutritional.
*Bring the medicine, throat lozenges, etc.
*Wash the bedding so they don't feel like they're laying in a bed of germs.
*Air out the room.

These are just a few things that make a person feel loved and taken care of.  If you (the caretaker of the home) are the one who is ill have a plan.  Teach others to:

*Keep up with the laundry
*Either bring in a meal or have on hand meals in the pantry/freezer that they can heat up
*Keep up with light cleaning (kitchen and bathroom especially!)

This is so that when you DO feel better, you won't feel overwhelmed with things that have not been done for a few days.  And don't criticize when things haven't been done the way YOU would have done them!  Be appreciative.

3.  Everything else.

Homeschool idea:   Math  - give your child a yardstick and have him measure things around the house.  Write them down and then have him put these items in order from smallest to largest.

Gift giving ideas:

Sewing basket:  measuring tape, thimble, needles, thread, pins and pincushion, buttons, scissors.

Gift-giving basket: (nice for an elderly or home-bound person) - box of assorted greeting cards with stamps, pen, gift wrap, bows, tape, scissors

Have a good day!

Sunday, October 26, 2014

The Lord's Day

Good Sunday morning to you.  As we begin another week, and as followers of Christ, I think we all ponder what we can do to make this week a little bit better than the last.  How can we be used by God for his purposes?  As I read the old hymn "Take My Life, and Let it Be" I realize how wonderful it would be to say it as a daily prayer.  The words are:

Take my life, and let it be consecrated, Lord to Thee.  
Take my moments and my days; let them flow in ceaseless praise.

Take my hands, and let them move at the impulse of Thy love.
Take my feet, and let them be swift and beautiful for Thee.

Take my voice, and let me sing always, only, for my King.
Take my lips, and them be filled with messages from Thee.

Take my silver and my gold; not a mite would I withhold.
Take my intellect, and use every power as Thou shalt choose.

Take my will, and make it Thine; it shall be no longer mine.
Take my heart, it is Thine own; it shall be Thy royal throne.

Take my love; my, Lord, I pour at thy feet its treasure-store.
Take myself, and I will be ever, only, all for Thee.

Doesn't that just say it all?!  My life, my days, my hands, my feet, my voice, my lips, my money, my intellect, my will, my heart, my love, my self.  On those days when we feel we have nothing to offer, this list of things proves differently. : )

Have a wonderful day.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Preparing the Home

At this time of year I get in the mood to prepare the home for the upcoming holidays and the winter months.  That preparing includes deep cleaning rooms, going through stuff, and getting rid of stuff.  It ALWAYS amazes me that I can keep finding things to get rid of.  At this moment I have 3 shopping bags full of items to give away.  It feels SO good after this is done and then it kind of clears my mind for other things that I want to do.  Preparing also includes having inventory on hand, whether that means holiday baking ingredients or items around to use for a crafting or sewing project.  I think when we do this in our homes, we save on time by not making those last-minute trips to the stores and it saves money by knowing what we already have.  It takes energy and time to just dive in and get it done.  But, oh, it feels wonderful.  : )

1.  God first.

Today's reading.  Matthew 4: 12-17  Jesus Begins to Preach

The geographical area that Jesus went through in the beginning -

I wondered why this information was important until I read verses 15 and 16 - to once again fulfill prophecy from Isaiah 9: 1 and 2 that points to Jesus.  God knew exactly what to put in the Bible for our benefit.  To go back to the Old Testament and see the prophecy fulfillment strengthens our faith.  It shows us a plan.  And, from now on, Jesus began to preach "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near."

2.  Family second.

Homey things to try for preparing your home - trying canning something, make your own homemade butter, make your own candles, make your own soap, make gifts this year, stock your pantry and freezer, etc.  You can get books from the library or look on-line for directions or ideas that will help you with any of these things.  It's a lot of fun and really gives you a sense of accomplishment.

3.  Everything else.

Homeschool idea:   Living in a metropolitan area gives us access to go places that others in smaller communities may not have, but here are a few field trip ideas to think about.
*Visit an air museum
*Tour an historic home
*Visit an arboretum
*Visit an old cemetery
*Go to a clock shop
*Go to plays
*Tour a factory
*Go to a fair
*Visit old forts
*Go to an aquarium
*Tour a lighthouse
*Go to a cave
*Go to a symphony orchestra
*Take a train ride
I'll have more ideas later!  Have fun.  Take lots of pictures.  Write things down when you get home.  Make a scrapbook of it all.  Enjoy everything your area has to offer.  Some things are free, some are not and requires a bit of planning but do it!  Do SOMETHING.

Gift Giving ideas:

Shower gift basket:  Wooden spoons, measuring cups and spoons, can opener, dish towel, potholders, wire whisk, spatulas, cookbook.

For the guy:  Key ring, commuter cup, car organizer, accessories, car wash and waxes, dashboard protector.

Have a wonderful weekend.  : )

Thursday, October 23, 2014


This is something that I put off for so long.  I knew the importance of volunteering but I really had no idea what it was that I could do (which is silly because anything we can help with is what we can do).  A few years back as I was walking in our neighborhood, I saw a young woman coming out of her house with a little plastic tray that had nail polish on it along with whatever goes along in doing our nails, and I thought how she was probably going somewhere to do nails for someone.  Ever since that time, that was the one thing that came back to me time and time again.  How about going somewhere and doing nails?  I had no idea where that somewhere would be but the feeling of doing that was so persistent.  I just "happened" to go on a volunteer website for our area and low and behold there was an opening at an assisted living pretty much right down the road.  I answered the call and I've been there since June. : )  Like most people, we hope to be a blessing to those we are helping, but the opposite seems to be true.  It is me who feels blessed.  I am meeting elderly women who have such difficulty in getting around.  I am meeting elderly women who have a great faith in Jesus.  I am meeting elderly women who cannot hear very well and just sits quietly (but always with a smile on their face).  I am meeting elderly women who still have a sense of humor.  It's a wonderful thing to be helping out in such a simple way.  This simple act of doing their nails makes them still feel pretty.  They have positive contact with someone.  And they really look forward to this every week.  So, the "feeling" I've had over the years, I believe, was God's prompting me to get out and be of some help to someone (it's just too bad that it took me so long!)  It may not seem like much, but whatever we can do to help someone, in some way, is so worth it.  

1.  God first.

Today's reading:  Matthew 4: 1-11 - The Temptation of Jesus

Jesus was:
*led by the Spirit into the desert
*tempted by the devil

We, too, are led into the desert.  The dry, arid, places where we feel we cannot make it.  We, too, are tempted by the devil at these times because he knows we're tired, weary, and vulnerable.  We, too, must fast to give us clarity of mind enough to remember God's word and promises and use it to fight off the devil.  The three times Satan tempted Jesus, Jesus was able to use scripture to fight him off.

The 3 temptations:
*turn stones to bread
*jumping off the highest point
*worship Satan

Jesus' answers to the temptations:
*"man does not live on bread alone"...... (Deut. 8:3)
*"do not put the Lord your God to the test."  (Deut. 6:16)
*"worship the Lord your God and serve him only." (Deut. 6:13)

The way Jesus conducted himself through the desert (hot, tired, hungry) and being tempted by Satan, using the Word of God to fight the tempter and the temptation, there was nothing for Satan to do but leave.  He had been defeated!  What an example to live by!  That's why knowing what God's word says is so important.  When we're going through difficult times, when others try to convince us otherwise, we can fall back on God's word and Satan will be defeated in our lives!  Not once, but every time!

2  Family second.

Crafting/sewing is important in the home.  You can make things to accent your rooms instead of buying them.  You can sew clothing for yourself and children.  I think a very important thing to buy is a sewing machine.  And to teach your children how to use it is wise.  There really isn't any excuse now days in not learning how to sew with the advent of the internet where there are so many blogs and videos on-line to teach you.  Craft together too.  Again, there are SO many ideas out there.  It can help to begin a home business or a cottage business to bring a little money in.  Sewing for charitable organizations is very important.  There is an organization out east called Tender Loving Care Ministries (you can look them up on-line for a list of what they need).  This is a ministry that takes care of our children in the Appalachian Mountains with new coats, shoes, clothing, blankets, toiletry kits, etc.  It really is a wonderful ministry and it's an area that these sewing skills can come in handy to be able to provide for others.  : )  What a blessing!

3.  Everything else.

Homeschool idea:   Collect rocks.  Buy a plastic divider with drawers and label each drawer with the type of rock found.  Purchase a rock and mineral identifier book.  Learn the terms sedimentary, igneous, and metamorphic.  Write it all down in your Science notebook!  A good reason to get out of the house and go for walks in different areas.  As a family, remember to get out and go on field trips out in nature in areas around your community and your state.  It takes planning and saving up for, but I truly believe our kids need to see different things on a regular basis.

Gift Giving:

New bride basket:  personalized recipe book with your favorite recipes and tips.  Add pretty captions and pictures.

Young kids:  make a dress up box - go to thrift stores and buy old clothes, shoes, accessories, etc.

Thank you!!!!  Have a good day.  : )

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Rose Colored Glasses

This past summer, I had to get new prescription glasses and I splurged on prescription sunglasses as well.  The sunglasses' lens are rose colored and when I put them on, the Autumn foliage is ten times more beautiful. I have to take them off occasionally to see what the colors actually are!  I was thinking about how nice it would be if we all could have rose colored glasses to put on so that life looks better, but unfortunately that cannot be.  We can't lose touch with the not-so-good parts that we have to go through at times.   It's the not-so-good stuff that grows us and challenges us to be the people God wants us to be (or at least it should).  It's not until we get to heaven that our eyes will be like those rose colored glasses and we'll see all the beauty that God has in store for us and I'm certain it WILL be ten times more beautiful than we think.  : )

1.  God first.  

Today's reading:  Matthew 3: 13-17 - The Baptism of Jesus

Jesus' reply to his baptism:
* "Let it be so now"
* "It is proper for us to do this"
* "to fulfill all righteousness"

If we are to take our life cues from Jesus, then baptism is a very important thing to do.  I've learned that baptism isn't for salvation, but it's obedience.  Giving our witness isn't for us, it's for the people around us so that it might be of some help to them.  My walk with God is my own, but the public baptism is to say that I'm on board in giving my life to Christ.  To follow Him and put my trust in Him.

2.  Family second.

Manners for camping:  here in Minnesota, camping is just about over.  But, hopefully for next year, you can remember these important tips.

*  Teach your children to not make noise late at night or early in the morning.  Some campers really need this time to get away and enjoy the quietness of the outdoors.  Teach them to whisper during these times and play quietly.  
*  Teach your children to not drive their bikes through other campsites.  Make sure they stay on the roads.
*  Ladies - teach your girls to not leave their hair in the sinks at the shower rooms.  Always grab a paper towel and take it out.  Leave the area clean for the next person.  It's not your space - you need to share.
*  If there is a laundry room, stay nearby to watch your laundry.  Don't leave it in the washer or dryer so that others have to wait or feel they need to take your clothes out.  If you devote your time to something, stick with it until it's done.
*  Teach everyone to plan ahead.  Try not to come into the campground late at night and start pounding tent stakes or unrolling your awning or whatever the noise may be.  Thank you!

3.  Everything else.

Homeschool idea:  keep a Science journal.  Record absolutely everything you do.  How long did it take for that caterpillar to turn into a butterfly?  Sketch a lot.  Work towards being precise.  That forces you to really look at things like the differences in trees, birds, bugs, etc.  When you research something, add it to the journal.  What were your findings?  You'll feel like a real scientist.  : )

Gift giving ideas:

Tea drinker basket - tea cup and saucer, assorted teas, silver teaspoon, sugar cubes, pretty napkin

Bird lover basket - bird feeder with seed, birdhouse, gift card to birdseed store

Enjoy your day!

Monday, October 20, 2014

To Feel Womanly

Being in the home and taking care of the home is something I enjoy immensely.  This morning was spent in the kitchen.  Putting a big pot on the stove and filling it with chicken parts, onions, carrots, celery, water, and letting it simmer all day for homemade chicken broth.  I popped molasses cookies in the oven.  I had a turkey breast thawed out that is in the crockpot for meat and then using the bones to make turkey noodle soup later on.  I swept the floor, shook the rugs, and cleaned the sinks. In the meantime, I had loads of laundry to wash, dry, and put away.  I even had time to go outdoors and do a little raking and clean out a couple of garden beds.  The day just flowed so naturally and that natural rhythm of doing what needs to be done and making the house smell so good always makes me feel womanly.  Like I'm doing what I was intended to do in keeping the home as kept up as I can so that everyone can enjoy it.  There was a time when women took pride in how well they kept house and how well they cooked.  It was enough for them to take care of the home and family.  It certainly keeps me busy!  In the 25 years I've kept house, I have never awakened in the morning wondering about what I was going to do all day.  Not one day.  I love my job.  : )

1.  God first. 

Today's reading:  Matthew 3: 1-12 - John the Baptist Prepares the Way -

A little something about John the Baptist:
* preached in the Desert of Judea
* told people to repent
* was prophesied through Isaiah (40:3)
* clothes were made of camel's hair, had a leather belt around his waist
* his food was locusts and wild honey
* people from Jerusalem, Judea, and Jordan came to see him where they confessed their sins and were baptized by him
* gave it to the Pharisees and Sadducees when he saw them coming to the Jordan River to see what was going on
* he explained that his baptism is by water but Jesus baptizes with the Holy Spirit
* he warned them of the consequences for unbelief

In short, repent and be baptized.

2.  Family second.   Please teach your children manners!  Here are some suggestions for when staying in a hotel:
* Don't let your kids run up and down the hallway especially late at night or early in the morning.  You have to remember that you are guests.  
* Don't come to the continental breakfast room in your pajama's.  Nobody needs to see how you look in the morning.  It's just rude and lazy.
* Don't let the doors slam shut.  These are heavy doors and they automatically slam shut.  Teach your children (by example) to hold on to the door and close it quietly.  
* Don't talk like it's high noon in your room or in the hallways especially early in the morning or late at night.  There are some people who have driven a long way and would like to either get to bed early or sleep in a little later.
* If you're staying on a floor other than the main floor, try to be light-footed.  There are people below you.  The rooms are not soundproof.
* Treat your room with respect.  Clean up as you go.  Don't trash the place.  Don't be rude and leave a mess for the maids to clean the next day.

Next time will be manners for camping!  : )

3.  Everything else.

Homeschool idea -  Make a reading tree.  Draw a large tree on paper and pin it up on the wall.  With every book you read (either together or separately) make leaves out of construction paper.  Write down the name of the book and the author on each leaf and then attach the leaves to the tree with scotch tape on the back.  At the end of the school year, the tree should look good and full!!!  

Gift Giving ideas:

Anniversary basket - a bottle of sparkling cider with 2 pretty glasses, a music CD, cheese and crackers, good chocolates.

Vacationer - maps, travel game, travel diary and pen, book on travel tips.

See you next time!!!  Thanks for dropping by.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

The Lord's Day

I really like the contemporary Christian music that we have today.  I crank it up when I'm in the car running errands.  : )  Some songs have made me feel better and get out of the slump I'm in, and others have brought me to tears as I listen to the words and can relate.  But I love the old hymns that we used to sing in church ages ago.  I hope they never seem irrelevant and outdated.  They have such a wonderful message to give.  Lately I'm trying to READ the old hymns and I want to share the words of "What a Friend We Have in Jesus" for you to read today.

1.  What a friend we have in Jesus,  all our sins and griefs to bear!
What a privilege to carry, everything to God in prayer!
O what peace we often forfeit!  O what needless pain we bear!
All because we do not carry, everything to God in prayer.

2.  Have we trials and temptations?  Is there trouble anywhere?
We should never be discouraged, take it to the Lord in prayer.
Can we find a friend so faithful, who will all our sorrows share?
Jesus knows our every weakness, take it to the Lord in prayer.

3.  Are we weak and heavy laden, cumbered with a load of care?
Precious Saviour, still our refuge, take it to the Lord in prayer.
Do thy friends despise, forsake thee?   Take it to the Lord in prayer;
In His arms He'll take and shield thee, thou wilt find a solace there.


Please read these words slowly and take them in and follow through on what they say.  Believe me when I say that when you feel lonely, tired, hopeless, frustrated, angry, frightened, sad - it is in these times that you need Jesus.  He is THE constant friend.  He is ALWAYS there.  Pray today.  Trust today.  Have faith today.  He'll meet you in the need.  And if you are in a time of prosperity, joy, contentment - PRAISE God for giving you this time of peace.  He is the one that is providing that for you to enjoy.

Make God your focus for this day.  In EVERYTHING.  : )

Friday, October 17, 2014

Making Do and Doing Without

Today, a young man came into our home and replaced a part on our stove.  Two weeks ago, gas was leaking from that stove, the gas was turned off, and I haven't used it since.  I like crockpot meals but not two weeks of them.  I am grateful that I had something to cook in but my gratitude has increased now that I have access to the oven and stovetop again.  I took it for granted that the oven and stovetop were always going to be in good working order.  Being without it, though, helped me to consider what I would do if it happened again due to a power outage (so I couldn't use the trusted crockpot either).  I went through some of my recipe books (especially the vintage ones) and wrote down all the ideas I could find on what kind of foods to prepare, and how, from my pantry shelves.  It reminded me to not put the summer grill away in the winter but keep it close to the house just in case I need to use it to cook on at some point. It reminded me of the importance of stocking a pantry well with food that won't need cooking (or just a quick heating up).  So, even though being without my stove was an inconvenience, it was a learning experience as well.  : )

1.  God first.

Today's reading - Matthew 2: 19 - 23 - The Return to Nazareth - obedience once again from Joseph and the fulfillment of prophecy in regards to where Jesus was to come from ("He will be called a Nazarene.")  Joseph heard and obeyed.  He didn't second guess.  He had faith.  He trusted.  We are called to do the same.

2.  Family second.

Today's thought - in taking care of the home, laundry is a big part of it.  I have to tell you that doing laundry is not my favorite thing but it has to be done and it's one of those things that if you don't keep up with it on a regular basis, it does pile up!  Then the work is twice as time consuming.  I have my big laundry day on Monday (sheets, clothing, towels, etc.) and I dry everything in the dryer on that day.  Then, throughout the week, I will throw in a load or two as needed, but I don't use the dryer during those days.  The dryer takes a lot of energy to use and I know it's so much easier to toss the clothes in and just be done with it, but a few years ago, my husband installed two clotheslines in our basement for me to hang clothes up.  And then I also purchased a drying rack for smaller loads.  I love line-dried clothes but our backyard is way too shady now as over the years the trees grew bigger and there are a couple of us with outdoor allergies so hanging them outside is not an option for me.  With these clotheslines downstairs, I can hang them up and save money.  I found over the years that being a homemaker means that I may not be bringing any money in, but I work at ways to save money and this is a fantastic money-saver!  The money saved on the electric and gas bills can be used in other ways in the household or given to someone who really needs it.  : )

3.  Everything else. 

Homeschool idea:   Remember to celebrate.  Make a big deal about everything.  Have fun and be creative.  Examples - for Columbus Day, decorate the supper table with maps and a toy boat, then make an Italian dinner of spaghetti.  For Thanksgiving, read about the Pilgrims, cut out paper leaves, pumpkins, and turkeys.  For Valentine's Day, cut out paper hearts, send and/or deliver Valentines to a nursing home, serve special cupcakes and punch.  There are tons of decorating and party ideas out there. Half the fun IS the planning and there can be many teachable moments too.

Gift Giving:

Family gift - a new game with a variety of munchies (this is sometimes more economical than buying each person in that family something and it's something they can do together).

Womanly gift - a book or devotional, bubble bath, fluffy towel, candle.

Have a wonderful upcoming weekend!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Marketing Day

Yesterday was  the planning.  Today is the doing.  Lists in hand, empty cooler in tow, and my empty shopping bags to fill.  The driving around to get the best deals.  The looking around and comparing prices.  The actual purchases.  The bringing them home to put them away.  And then, throughout the week, using those ingredients to make healthy and nourishing meals for our family.  What a blessing that is.  "She is like the merchant ships, bringing her food from afar."  (Proverbs 31:14)   The grocery stores aren't "afar" for me, but there is a wonderful satisfaction knowing that I did my part as a homemaker to make sure that the household will benefit from all I got done today.   

1.  God first. 

Today's reading - Matthew 2: 13-18 - The Escape to Egypt

Three things I noticed:

Joseph - again, he was obedient and did what he was told to do when he was warned in a dream to take his family to Egypt for protection from Herod.

Prophecy was fulfilled - from Hosea 11:1 ("out of Egypt I called my son") and from Jeremiah 31:15 (regarding the massacre of the children).

Herod - was furious at the Magi for not telling him where Jesus was so he ordered all the boys (age 2 and under) to be killed in Bethlehem and the vicinity around it.  Thinking that he was in control and that this would do away with Jesus he was totally clueless about his part in fulfilling Biblical prophecy.  

God in control?  I think so!!!  He STILL is.  

2.  Family second.

We, as women, can make or break our families by the moods and attitudes we bring into our home on a daily basis.  I've learned this the hard way and continue to bring it to the Lord on a daily basis.  I get so caught up in the doing that I forget that I need to make time for myself to recharge so that the stress doesn't come out in negativity all the time.  The pressure to keep up can sometimes be that simmering pot that boils over if I don't allow myself to be creative.  The old saying "If mama ain't happy, nobody's happy" can unfortunately be true.  So, here are a few ideas to stay fresh and interesting as a woman so that we can give our best to others:

1.  Always be a student of the Bible.  Get your pen out.  Underline things.  Write meaningful verses down.  Write thoughts in a notebook.  Write in the margins.  Wear it out!!!!  : )

2.  Read good literature.  Look things up.  Research different time periods.  Keep a running list of words that you need to look up in the dictionary.

3.  Write.  Try your hand at poetry or a short story.

4.  Buy a math book and do a few problems every day.

5.  Buy a sketch pad and draw.  It's only for you so don't worry about how it looks.

6.  Garden, cook, bake, sew, craft.

3.  Everything else. 

Homeschool idea -  put a puzzle of the United States together.  When finished, make it a goal to learn something about each state.  Answer questions like what is the main product that comes out of this state?  What is the geography like?  What historical sites are there?  Look up certain recipes from each state and cook them together.  When did it become a state?  If you have your timeline up, you can enter the year on that!  Pretend you're planning a trip to each state.  What would you like to see?

Gift Giving -

Necessity gifts (these could be given to certain charitable organizations, or given directly to the person if you feel they would not be uncomfortable):  phone cards, cleaning supplies, blankets, grocery card, gas card, pet food, envelopes and stamps, diapers, baby food, formula, iron and ironing board, snow shovel, basic tools.  

Man gift - a shower mirror, razor and blades (or disposable), aftershave, talc, and soap.

That's all my little brain can think of for right now.  : )  Thank you for stopping by.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Planning Ahead

Tuesdays here are for planning.  And planning, for me, takes a very long time.  I need time to think things through and write things down and figure things out.  I pay the bills and re-write our budget according to what the needs of the week are.  I write out my menu for the week and take inventory of what we have in the fridge, freezer, and pantry to make sure I'm using what I have and then write the grocery list according to what the menu is.  I look at the calendar and see what we have going on during the week and run any other necessary errands.  It takes time but without a plan everything seems to just get so out of order and we seem to spend more than we should and throw things out that should have been used.  

It is time well spent.  : )

1.  God first.

Today's reading:  Matthew 2: 1-12 - The Visit of the Magi - 
*The Magi = wise men
*Came to Jerusalem to ask where the King of the Jews was born
*They saw the star and came to worship him
*They followed the star until it stopped where Jesus was
*When they saw the star, "they were overjoyed."
*They saw the child with Mary and they bowed down to worship him
*They presented him with gifts
*They were warned in a dream not to go back to Herod
*They returned to their country by another route.

Good examples to follow!  Worship Jesus.  Be overjoyed.  Present Him with our gifts.  

2.  Family second.

The importance of saving up for household expenses:

I really do understand that this is easier said than done.  Sometimes there is no money left over to save for anything!  But, tweeking the budget and cutting back on a couple of things or doing without something for a little while helps in this area.  To have money set apart from the rest for emergencies is good planning.  In the past three weeks I've had to have a pest control guy out to dust for wasps that were getting into the house.  It had been 7 years since our furnace ducts were cleaned out, we needed a new water heater, and then the plumbing in our bathtub/shower gave out.  Those things combined ended up to be quite a bit of money.  But, with emergency money, I didn't have to use a credit card to pay for these things and the worry of how we'll pay for a bill at the end of the month won't happen.  

3.  Everything else.

Homeschool idea - Make a sun clock - now with the leaves falling from the trees and the yard will be exposed to the sun more, it's the perfect time for this.  Pick a sunny location in your yard and push a straight stick into the ground.  During the day, set a timer to go off every hour.  When the timer goes off, go outside and place a stone where the stick's shadow ends.  (At noon, the stick casts no shadow)  Begin this early in the morning so that you can see the clock shape forming.  Compare a regular clock or watch with what you're doing outside. 

Lots of fun.  : )

Gift Giving -

Someone on their feet a lot (nurses, waitresses, etc.) - a jar or basket filled with mini lotions or a foot cream, nail file, polish and remover, cotton balls, nail polish, foot spray, epsom salts.

Hostess gift - tin bucket filled with mixed nuts, nutcracker, and picks (good for the upcoming holidays).

That is that!  Take care.

Monday, October 13, 2014

A Very Autumn Day

As with most people, Autumn is my favorite time of year.  The colors, the cool temperatures, the pumpkins, the pumpkin spice coffee flavoring!  Apples, drives in the country, hot cider, oven meals, molasses cookies, outdoor fire nights.  I love it all.  The problem has always been - it's just so short.  I have to be very careful about not getting so busy that I miss it.  On some days, I focus on everything that has to be done INSIDE the house that at the end of the day I realize I haven't spent any time OUTSIDE the house. I constantly have to remind myself to take time to work in the yard or go for a walk or just sit in a chair and get the benefit of fresh air and sunshine (even the cloudy days).  I don't know the last time I went for a walk in the rain.   I hope you have a wonderful Autumn day and won't miss out on what it has to offer.

1.  God first.  

Today's Bible reading - Matthew 1: 18 - 25 - The Birth of Jesus Christ - Matthew focuses on Joseph.  

* Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph.
* Joseph was a righteous man.
* He did not want to expose Mary to public disgrace.
* He had in mind to divorce her quietly.
* An angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and told him to not be afraid.
* Joseph did what the angel commanded.
* He had no union with Mary until after Jesus was born.
* He gave the child the name Jesus.

Strong, loving, caring, and obedient to the will of God.  A wonderful example of Biblical manhood.

2.  Family second.  

Mondays.  Always a day of catching up and getting things done.  I made a homemaking notebook years ago that has helped me in remembering what needs to be done when.   I know that all I need to do sometimes is look around and the work is staring me in the face, but it's those monthly and yearly projects that I need a reminder for.  For example, this is week two in the month of October.  My notebook reminds me that I should deep clean the bathroom and bedrooms this week.  That includes washing the windows and blinds, clean the light fixtures, clean the pictures, dust off shelves, wash the trash containers, and move the furniture to clean behind.  It also reminds me that since it is October, there are seasonal things that should be done such as cleaning garden tools before putting them away for the winter, turn off the outdoor water, bring the snow shovels out (ugh), replace the furnace filter, store the summer clothes, clean the gutters, make emergency kits for the cars, stock up on cold/flu medications, check winter clothes, shampoo the carpet.  Do I actually get all of this done within the allotted time?  No.  Sometimes not.  Just because I have a notebook that tells me what to do and when to do it, life happens.  We get sick, we get busy with other things.  But it is a wonderful tool to use.  The older I get, the more help I need in remembering!

3.  Everything else.  

Homeschool idea for today - (Science) - keep a log book for the daily weather conditions.  Before school begins, have your child write down the day and time, look at the outdoor thermometer and write that down.  If you have a barometer, record the barometric pressure.  Is it cloudy or sunny?  At the end of every month, make a line or bar graph to record your findings.  It's really fun to look back from year to year to see if the weather was different or did it pretty much stay the same.  You just might spark an interest in meteorology!  : )

Gift giving ideas for today -

Movie buff gift basket - a favorite DVD, microwave popcorn, a couple bottles of pop, and boxed theater candy.

Get well basket - Gingerale, straws, magazines, crossword puzzle book with pencil

Well, that is it for now.  Have a good day today.  Thank you for dropping by!  : )

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Just Beginning

Welcome!  I never thought in a million years that I would blog, but here I am.  : )

It's here that I would like to share some thoughts on the different aspects of homemaking. I really like the saying "God first, family second, and everything else after that."  So, I think that's the format I would like to use.   Here it goes!

1.  God first.  

In the quiet of the morning I can't wait to get to my Bible and read what God has said and to say a prayer for clarification and application for my life.  I make the time after that to lift others up in prayer.  I need this time every morning like I need the air to breathe.  

Today's reading:  Matthew 1:1-17  - The Genealogy of Jesus - a good reminder of how Jesus didn't come through a family of perfect people.  We need to be reminded that when we don't feel worthy enough to do God's work, it's OK.  He doesn't ask for perfection.  He just asks for obedience.

2.  Family second.  

Ever since I was a young girl, I knew I wanted to be married, have a family, and take care of a home.  God gave me the desire of my heart.  I've been working in my home for almost 25 years now.  The same little house in a suburb.  And I love it.  And it's OK to love it.  It's work that I was meant for.  

Today's thought:  Seasonal decorating traditions - For each season(spring, summer, fall, winter) I have separate boxes that keeps decorations for that season.  I've always felt that decorating the home is VERY important.  It doesn't have to be expensive or extravagant, but decorating with those same items year after year is comforting.  In a world of constant change, it's important to have a home where you know that some things don't change.  You can count on those pumpkins being on the front step.  You can count on the Christmas tree.  You can count on colored eggs for Easter.  You can count on red, white, and blue for the 4th of July.  It takes some time to do this and it takes some thought but it's so worth it.

3.  Everything else. 

We were a homeschooling family.  Loved it.  Miss it.  But time moves on and what to do with all those ideas that were so fun?  Share them.  : )

Idea:  Make a timeline.  We have a tiny hallway so we couldn't have one of those big wrap-around timelines, but we did one century at a time (1800-1900, for example).  Write down absolutely everything you come across.   When was great-grandma born?  Write it on the timeline.  Are you reading a book written during a certain time period?  Write it on the timeline.  Are you studying an invention?  Write it on the timeline.  It becomes fun and interesting especially if you can write birthdays down and then see everything that happened during the time they were born and growing up.  It gives us a sense of timing and how we fit into history.  Hope you try it!

I love reading lists on gift giving.  So I thought I would give you a couple of ideas at a time from what I've written down over the years.

Chocolate Lover's Basket - hot chocolate w/marshmallows, chocolate cookies, chocolate bars, chocolate sprinkles for chocolate ice cream.

A Just Because Basket - set of mugs w/flavored coffee, hot chocolate packets, or tea bags, coasters, mints, cookies, napkins.

A "basket" can be anything that holds these items.  A wicker basket, a cute pail, a bowl, a gift bag, etc.  You don't have to spend a lot.  Look around your house to see if you might have a container of some kind.

Well, that's it for my first post!!  I hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I've enjoyed writing it.  I'm looking forward to passing along more thoughts that might be of some help to you for around the house and with your family.