Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Healthier Eating

Stir-frying vegetables for Chicken Quesadillas.

I enjoy reading about how to cook better meals.  How to turn my food into something healthier and surprisingly it doesn't take much.  It's really interesting to know how to pair certain foods to gain the most vitamin content.  Here is a list:  

Serve -
Fish w/broccoli
Bananas w/yogurt
Tomatoes w/olive oil or mozarella cheese
Vinegar dressing on your salad w/side dish of rice
Apples w/cranberries
Green tea w/lemon
Raspberries w/chocolate (dark)
Turmeric w/black pepper
Blueberries w/walnuts
Whole grain bread w/peanut butter
Chicken w/carrots
Garlic w/onions
Rosemary w/steak
Eggs w/cheese or milk
Oatmeal w/oranges
Salmon w/red grape juice or red grapes

Isn't that interesting?  I love information like this.  Some of them I've already been pairing and didn't know it was best.  : )  Whenever we have fish I seem to always serve broccoli with it.  When we have oatmeal in the morning, I serve it with orange juice.  When I make chicken, I bake carrots along with the potatoes.  When we have scrambled eggs (like we did for supper tonight), we drank milk with it along with from-scratch blueberry muffins and I sprinkled the eggs with the turmeric and black pepper from the above list.  What a good flavor!!!  This is my idea of fun.  I used to cut corners in our budget by buying less healthy food but I don't do that anymore.  I'm still careful and follow a budget, but I figure that good, wholesome, healthy food is important.  If it helps keep certain diseases at bay or makes us feel better, or prevents us from further pain, then the money I put into it is money well spent.  I can't wait to try some more of paired foods (especially the raspberries with the dark chocolate!)


Our supper devotions was on witnessing to others about Christ.  Read Acts 8 as the background for the devotion.  This whole passage was narrowed down to 7 principles:

1.  We need to be available.
2.  We need to be led by the Spirit.
3.  We need to obey the leading.
4.  We need to wait for the proper opening.
5.  We need to be tactful.
6.  We need to be specific
7.  We need to follow-up.

This was called the Philip approach.

Sometimes other methods are used (which don't work):
1.  The eager-beaver approach - reach as many as you can but there is no effort to follow-up or cultivate any kind of relationship with the people.
2.  The Harvard approach - just  a discussion on the world's religions but no one gets saved!
3.  The mute approach - don't talk about it, just try to live out a good Christian life and hopefully someone will ask you about it.

I thought this was very good and thought-provoking.  Wanted to pass it along to you as well.


In a past post, I wrote about having a Homemaking Notebook that was divided into days, weeks, months, and the year.  This helps to keep me on top of things that need/should be done so that the housework doesn't pile up.  Since this is the end of February, I will give you the month of March to-do's for your home:

1.  Clean your outdoor equipment so that it's ready to use for when the nice weather comes.
2.  Make homemade household cleaners (which will follow).
3.  Plan your Easter.  Are you hosting?  What will you serve?  How will you decorate the table?  Will you be going out?  Are you invited over?  What can you help with?  Is there anyone who may not have a place to go that you can invite?

I write this under "Family" because staying on top of things just makes the home run more smoothly so that you have more time to do family things.  Also, these are things that the whole family can be involved in.  Everyone can help clean and organize.  Before Easter, read the Bible about Christ's death and resurrection and what that means to the Christian and talk about salvation and forgiveness.  It can be a meaningful family time together.

These are a few of my favorite homemade household cleaners:

*Anti-mildew antiseptic spray - 2 tsp. tea tree oil, 1/2 tsp. liquid soap, and 2 c. water - combine in spray bottle and shake before using.  Spray wherever any mildew is forming and do not rinse for a few days.

*Herbal carpet deodorizer - Add some ground herbs to baking soda (1 Tbsp. herbs to 2 c. baking soda) and sprinkle over the carpet and let it sit overnight.  Vacuum up the next day.

*Bathroom cleaner - 1/4 c. liquid soap, 1/2 c. vinegar, and 2 gallons of water.  Combine and fill spray bottles and spray areas and wipe down.  Good for everything!  Tile, mirrors, toilet, etc.

*Toilet bowl cleaner - sprinkle some baking soda in the bowl, add vinegar and let it fizz.  Leave it for 15 minutes and scrub with the brush.

Making your own is so much healthier for you than using all those chemicals and they smell so much better.  : )


READ!  When I was young, I didn't read much at all.  When we homeschooled that changed!  We read a lot and we read good old classics and I'm still catching up with all the reading that I didn't get to.  None of this modern stuff for me.  I'm talking good literature.  To Kill a Mockingbird, Jane Eyre, Uncle Tom's Cabin, Around the World in 80 days, The War of the Worlds, Pride and Prejudice, The Secret Garden, Little Women, Great Expectations, Gone With the Wind, and so much more!  As I get older I see the importance of reading (and re-reading) these wonderful books.  So I would encourage you to start somewhere and get a notebook to begin a reading list.  I, myself, like to own the book so I can go back to it, but you can just as easily get them at the library.  You won't regret it.  : )

Have a good day!

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Starting Again

Boundary Waters of Northern Minnesota

I wasn't sure about blogging again but I kind of missed doing it.  There are so many lovely blogs out there but I had to tell myself that I'm not in a competition to become blogger of the year. I am a homemaker and I do have thoughts (hence the name) so why not?  : )


After having a prayer notebook for a number of years now and knowing how much it has helped, I wanted to share what mine looks like and might motivate you to start one too.  

I like to be organized, even in my prayers.  If I don't write something down or someone's name down, I know I will forget.  My first page looks like this:


Adoration is for praising God for who He is.  Father, Holy, Healer, Counselor, Friend, Mighty, Just, Forgiving, Loving, Judge, Ruler, King, Provider, Almighty, etc.  This list goes on and on!  What's really helped me over the years is that when I read the Bible, I will write down the names of God in certain passages.  For me, there is always one that stands out on a certain day depending what I'm going through at the time.  God deserves our praise!

Confession is confessing our sins to the Lord but it should go beyond that.  Dr. Charles Stanley said in one of his sermons that confessing means that we agree with the Lord that what we have said or done is indeed against what God wants for us.  But it is repentance that He is looking for most.  Repentance is admitting our sin, turning away from that sin, and walking in a different way.

Thankfulness is just that - thanking God for all that He has done for us.  Answered prayers, providing for us financially or with friends and family that love us and care about us.  Thankful for the prayer time itself.  It's an important part of the day when you can sit at the feet of Christ and talk things over with Him.

Supplication is the lifting up of people and situations that we care about.  I have pages in my notebook for Monday through Saturday and it looks something like this:

Mondays - my immediate family (husband and son), my husband's family, my family.  If I hear that someone needs specific prayer their name is written down and I pray until I hear differently.

Tuesdays - for friends and acquaintances.  Again, every name is written down and if there is any specific prayer need I write that need next to the names.

Wednesdays - personal prayer.  I pray for my health and well-being.  I pray to be a good keeper of my home.  I pray for my spiritual growth and insight as I read God's Word.  I pray for wisdom.  I pray for help in specific areas that come up.

Thursdays - finances.  I pray for wisdom since I'm the one keeping track of this.  I pray for who God would want me to help out in some way.

Friday - government and churches and schools.  I'm not sure we pray enough for the state of our government and the state of our churches and schools.  I pray for God's mercy for our country.  I pray for specific news-worthy things that are going on that affect us all in some way or the other.  I pray for Godly men and women in the classrooms.  I pray that only the churches who are preaching the truth from the Bible will succeed.  I must admit that Friday's are my longest prayer time because there is SO much to pray about in this area.

Saturday - certain Christian organizations.   A few on my list is Samaritan's Purse, Union Gospel Mission, Salvation Army, and the list goes on (I think I have about 13).  I just pray that the Lord would provide for these organizations so that they can help and reach others for Christ.

That's it!  It has been a HUGE blessing over the years.  I look forward to my prayer time every morning.  A chance to be alone with the Lord and pour out all the emotion that goes along with prayer.  No rote prayer here - it comes from the heart (sometimes with a few Kleenex tissues).


It's also a joy to include family devotions in the evening at the dinner table.  I must admit that we go off and on with this, but when it's "on" it's very meaningful.  Sometimes I follow a certain book of devotions, but a lot of the time I find them on-line and just print them out.  Right now we're doing some from Chuck Swindoll.  He has a Bible passage that we read, then he talks about it and then we follow up with prayer.  It's short but it gets the point across and we're all hearing it together.


I enjoy making kits and baskets to give to charitable organizations and one of the things that I have to put in them at all times is a New Testament.  It's hard for me to think of people not reading the Bible. We all want a manual to tell us how to live and what to do and what to say - well, the Bible is it!!!  : )

Blessings to you!

Monday, February 23, 2015

Looking Forward to Spring

We are still in the middle of a deep freeze (although tomorrow will be a 30 degree day!) and I was looking for a winter picture to post, but chose this lovely picture instead.  A promise of things to come.  : )  Last week I sent my order in from the seed catalog as another way of keeping spring in the back of my mind.  I prayed today that the Lord would remind me of these bone-chilling days on those days in the summer when I start to complain about the heat!  These winter days are good for getting things done in the house, but it does tend to get long around about now.  So, I thought you might like to look at a few more pictures of how it will be in few short months when the white turns to green.

Lovely purple and lavender flowers.  Can't you just feel the sweet sunshine?

Green, green, green!!!!!! 

Lovely, bold, sunny yellow.  And then look off to the side.  That is a tomato cage.  Is there anything that compares to a freshly picked tomato off the vine?  Yum.

I thought I would never get enough of looking through those seed catalogs.  The fruits and vegetables all look so good to eat and the flowers and shrubs and bushes and trees would be so wonderful to grow, but of course there is only so much room on a tiny suburban lot so to narrow it all down is difficult.  I have to admit that I'm not much of a gardener but there are the must-do's like tomatoes, chives, carrots, lettuce and spinach that I do like to grow (or try to grow) every year.  And I need flowers around to clip and bring in the house on occasion.  This is (hopefully) going to be the year that I try a little harder on becoming a better gardener.  I'm keeping a gardening journal this year and writing down as much as I can as to what worked and what didn't and I'm reading gardening books and taking notes.  Gardens don't just happen - it takes work.  And knowledge.  What to grow and when to grow it and how to grow it.  If something is planted in the wrong place, it doesn't do well.  Some plants need the sunshine, some need the shade, some need a little of both.  God's creation is an awesome thing and to have a little bit of a hand in it each time we put a seed or transplant into the ground and watch it grow is truly a blessing.  : )


My Bible reading lately has been in the book of Genesis and, of course, the passages on Eve, Sarah, Rebekah ......and how they have this common thread.  That being that each of these women decided to take things into their own hands instead of believing that the Lord would take care of things.  Eve decided that she would eat the apple even though God specifically told her not to.  Sarah decided to hand Hagar over to Abraham so that he would get the much anticipated son instead of waiting on God's timing.  Rebekah deceived her husband Isaac so that her favorite son, Jacob, would receive the blessing instead.  I was reminded that we women tend to do this quite often and we need to fight this tendency at all times though not easy.  We pray for certain outcomes.  We say we put it at Jesus' feet and that we'll wait.  But we don't see any changes.  Days, weeks, months go by and still no change.  So to hurry things up a bit we pretend that we didn't know any better or we feel like we're helping in some way, or we don't think that God can see us or hear us or know what we're thinking.  But He does!  He KNOWS.  It's a big deal nowadays to be a strong woman.  To compete.  To have it all.  But after reading these passages in Genesis, not a lot has changed!  But we go about it the wrong way.  Let God do his work and trust that he will make this work together for good instead of needing to show everyone that you and you alone can do it.  That's deceiving yourself and it always ends in disaster.


I think this time of year can be hard on families because winter gets to be long and everyone is starting to experience spring fever.  Don't forget to keep having fun together.  We use to have a fire in the backyard a couple of times during the winter.  Dress appropriately and eat around the fire.  Laugh and have a good time.  

Indoor board games are fun too.  Either weekly, every other week, or once a month.  

Have other families in for games and food.

Go someplace!  Do you have a conservatory where you can smell the plants and feel the warmth and humidity?  What a treat!


Just because the holidays are over, it shouldn't mean that you forget about the importance of remembering others.  I like to write out twelve separate charitable organizations at the beginning of the year and put them in some kind of order so that every month will be a reminder of who I can help in some way.  Some are local organizations, some are far away and the "help" can come in the form of a check for them to use however they see fit, or it can be something tangible like putting hygiene kits together for a local homeless shelter.  It's so important to be others-centered and there are a lot of people who have a lot of needs especially after the holidays are over.  The Lord doesn't want us to just feel good about giving at Christmas.  It should be a year-around thing to do.  If you still have children at home, what a wonderful way of showing them that others matter.  They could save their allowance and give part (or all) of it to help out.