Saturday, July 25, 2020

Another Hot, Sticky Saturday Ahead

The Monarch butterflies are coming into our area right now - gorgeous.  : )

Well, as the title to this post says - it's going to be another hot and humid day.  We had a beautiful week and then yesterday it turned on us with the heat index in the 100's again.  So, alas, another couple of days in the house until it gets better on Monday.

When it's like this, I always think that it's times like these (unless you absolutely love it when it's hot and humid and enjoy being outside in it) when having lists of things to do and projects to work on is so important.  I don't think it's profitable to use days like these as excuses for not getting anything done.  The exception to that would be if you are unusually tired and know that you need some rest, or if you just aren't feeling well and know that you need the time "off" - other than that, we should do SOMETHING.

I know that I've said this in the past, but having projects to work on is actually very good for us.  Hobbies that include working with our hands can make us feel so much better.  To be creative is such a good way to get us out of the slump we're in.  This year has been a huge challenge to all of us.  By now we're just tired and weary and we need something to get us up and out of that (even if it is just temporary).  So.................I REALLY encourage you to find something to get you moving and doing.

I always have several things going on at once so that whenever I feel like I need to do something, I can just pick something up and work on it:

*making cards, sending letters
*little quilting projects
*reading (always important to have a good book to read!)  : )
*studying about something of interest
*cleaning and organizing

If there was ever a year to NEED something to do, it's this year!!!!!!!!!  Is there a hobby that you enjoy working on?  Is there a hobby that you've always wanted to learn?  There are tons of on-line classes and videos to help you.

One thing that I'm also doing lately is thinking about Christmas.  I can see where "Christmas in July" came about!  Who knows what Christmas will even look like this year, but I'm determined to "keep" Christmas.  I've made a list of Christmas gift basket ideas using our pantry as a springboard.  I've come up with seven ideas so far:

Pasta basket:

Jarred organic pasta sauce
Organic pasta
Quick bread mix
Bottle of sparkling cider
Bars of dark chocolate

Mexican dinner basket:

Taco shells with seasoning packet
Salsa and/or taco sauce
Tortilla chips
Couple of bottles of fun soda pop
Package of cookies

Beverage basket(s):

Bag of organic coffee (beans or ground)
Coffee creamer
Sugar packets
Good dunking cookies


Container of tea
Jar of Honey
Bag of cookies


Jar of Hot Chocolate mix
Package of marshmallows
Candy Canes

Snack basket:

Bag of unpopped popcorn
Container of raisins
Jar of Peanuts or other nuts (if you know they don't have allergies)
Packages of dried fruit

Cleaning basket:

Dish soap
Disinfectant spray
New dish towel and dish rag

Breakfast basket:

Box of pancake mix
Jar of pancake syrup
Bag of coffee or bags of tea

Baking basket:

Bag of flour
Bag of sugar (white and brown)
Container of baking powder and soda
Vanilla extract
Variety of chips (white, dark, milk)

Those are what I came up with so far.  It's only limited to our imagination (and, yes, the pocketbook).  While thinking of these ideas, I was also thinking about how all of us can be food snobs in one way or the other - I know that's not very nice to say, but I think it's true.  So, when putting food baskets together, I think it's important to put things in that people are familiar with.  

For example, we do most of our shopping at Aldi, so to put a beverage basket together, I can buy the organic coffee there because it really is good coffee and the bags are pretty, but there is something special about buying the "CoffeeMate" brand of creamer that everyone knows and likes instead of buying the Aldi coffee creamer (which I'm sure is just as good but they might not think that it's as good).  We've become so accustomed to brand names and feel like they are somehow better than off-brands (and some are!).  I have often heard people say that they will not eat/drink a certain brand of something - it HAS to be that particular brand.  So to make our gifts baskets nice we should take that into consideration.

I know we need to be aware and concerned about our money these days so, again, I encourage you to take the time now to build up your pantries in order to be prepared for the upcoming winter.  For yourselves and others.  Instead of picking up one of something, pick up two.  If you do this with every shopping trip you can build the pantry quite quickly.  You'll never be sorry for being prepared.

So that is enough said today on the pantry and baskets.  : )  One thing that I wrote down in my notes for this week was to tell you about what I learned in doing one of the Bakeovers that I've posted about before.  Around here, Wednesdays are Pizza nights and I made the Pizza Bakeover again only this time I thought I would try one of our oven proof non-stick skillets since it is lighter than the cast iron and would be easier to flip.  Well......I don't recommend it and I won't use it again.  Yes, it WAS easier to flip, but the cast iron skillet gives the Bakeovers a wonderful crust on top and bottom that is just SO delicious.  So if you make these Bakeovers that I share once in a while, use a cast iron skillet!!!!  : )

We found that midweek this past week (Wednesday to be exact) was a nice and cool day so we did something that is out of character for us.  We actually took the morning and went on a little field trip just to do something different.  We have a Japanese garden not too far from us that is located on the grounds of a community college in our area so we just drove there and spent a while just walking around and taking pictures (that I want to share with you as well):

this was at the entrance and thought it was pretty

LOTS of these flowers around and it was filled with bumblebees

more pretty  : )

just starting our walk

very groomed

the nice thing is that we had the whole place to ourselves so we could sit on benches and just have some peace and quiet

an upper area looking down 

isn't this funny?!!!!  - I zoomed in on him and he looks like he was trying to say something - there were quite a few fish in the pond

along the trail

leaves turning already?  So pretty though.  : )

they even put a little waterfall in so that when you sit you can hear the gentle water - what a calming effect THAT had!

a cute little bridge

more pretty purple flowers but I loved the yellow interspersed as well

That's pretty much it.  I hope you enjoyed the photos.  It really was the perfect morning for us - so very relaxing (we felt like we were miles away from here).  : )

Well.......before I go I wanted to share more from my "Victorious Christian Service" book that I'm reading (and enjoying!) so here it goes:

*"We are prepared to serve the Lord only by sacrifice.  We are fit for the work of God only when we have wept over it, prayed about it, and then we are enabled by Him to tackle the job that needs to be done.  May God give to us hearts that bleed, eyes that are wide open to see, minds that are clear to interpret God's purpose, wills that are obedient, and a determination that is utterly unflinching as we set about the tasks He would have us to do."

*"It is only the man with a crushing sense of burden and responsibility whom God can trust with His work.  If you don't have a heart that is burdened with an overwhelming sense of conviction you will never be fruitful in the service of the Lord.  The need never constitutes the call."

*"Recognition of need must be followed by earnest, persistent waiting upon God until the overwhelming sense of world need becomes a specific burden in my soul for one particular piece of work which God would have me to do.  Nobody should begin teaching children in the Sunday school, or preparing for the ministry, or training for the mission field until, as the outcome of prayer, the burden for the particular sphere of service has become so intense that you cannot keep it alone any longer.  When that happens, God acts.  The initiative for opening doors of service is never ours, but His."

*"When God sees we are willing to accept the burden, He opens the door."

That's all I will share today - isn't it good?  We can ALL work for the Lord, but be sure it's what HE wants us to do!!!  Remember to pray about it and He will make it work.  : )

I hope you will enjoy this day even with everything that is going on.  Again.........PRAY! For protection, for deliverance, for mercy, for help.  Enjoy your home - make it a place that is pleasant to spend time in.  Enjoy your family.  Stay in touch with friends - whatever that looks like.  Do something.  God bless you and thank you for taking the time to be with me for a while.  I do appreciate it.  : )

Saturday, July 18, 2020

Saturday After a Stormy Night

Storm over the Badlands of South Dakota.

We were awakened around 1:30 last night with summer thunderstorms moving through our area.  Expecting heat indexes in the 100's and then another round of storms this evening.  It will definitely be another day of staying indoors.  We're so thankful for the rains the Lord has been providing for us this summer - just when things begin to dry out, more rain comes.  

Well, I hope all of you have had a good week since the last time I visited with you.  It's still a crazy, mixed-up world where everything seems to have been turned upside down, but you and I have to keep our eyes on Jesus and trust Him to get us through.  

I have been continuing to read my book on Nehemiah (and SO enjoying it) and I want to keep sharing parts of this book with you, so here are a few thoughts to ponder this week:

*"There is no blessing until we look deep down in our own soul and see our spiritual life as it really is.  Should you mourn over that in your life today?  It was after Nehemiah's weeping that he began working.  It was after his despair that there came determination."

*"When God takes up a man and uses him in His service, the first thing He does is to show him his own utter inadequacy, insufficiency and unworthiness for the task."

*"Then Nehemiah moved in his prayer to confession; he included himself in the confession of the sins of the people, and in acknowledgement that they had not obeyed God, and that their troubles were the result of their own disobedience."  (this particular sentence is SO needed for our day - we have all taken part in the ruins we now see in our own country - and it is now that we need to confess our disobedience)

*"We do not hear much of this kind of praying these days, I fear.  Most of our prayers are just asking God to bless the work, and to bless some folks that are ill, and keep us plugging along, to keep the work going.  But prayer is not merely prattle, it is warfare.  Real prayer engages in a battle.  Real prayer is rooted in the promises of God and in the covenant of the blood.  We have the reasons given to us by God in His Word why He should answer, and we can read them there.  That is why Nehemiah's prayer was answered:  it was based on God's purposes and God's promises."

Can you see why I am loving this book so much?   Our self-confidence isn't necessarily a good thing.  There are times when we are called to humble ourselves.  To do a little inventory of ourselves and realize that we have a lot to learn.  To know that we really can't do anything unless the Lord is behind it.  If our lives aren't working out the way we would want them to, chances are we are not asking of the Lord if this is what HE would want for us.  

So, I hope this helps you as much as it has helped me this week.  I will continue to bring more in upcoming posts.  : )

Well, for all things home this past week I am continuing to build our pantry.  Now "they" are saying that September is going to be pretty rough so I am determined to be ready so that just in case they are right, we will be able to have what we need without having to go to the stores for a while.  And I would encourage you to do the same.  Again, just take some time and go through everything you can think of that you would need every day for a few days, then for a week, then for a month........this not only includes food, but toiletries, medicine, etc.

While looking at what we do have, I was thinking about how nice this will be around Christmas.  There are so many ways to make lovely food baskets (or toiletry baskets) for others this year.  Putting a few items together and adding a dish towel, wooden spoons, etc. would be very nice (and needed if you know of someone who would like to add to their own pantry as well).

Also, of course, is the ability to pull food and toiletry items from your pantry to help those in need.  Food shelves are definitely in need right now and will be for a very long time.  So building our pantries doesn't have to be all for us, it should be for wherever a need arises.  : )

Once again I've been spending a lot of time in the kitchen.  I was just thinking about this yesterday - the one room in our house that I've always had a difficult time with is now one of the most important and enjoyable rooms for me.  I'm learning and growing in this area and it's been a lot of fun.  One thing that I'm learning, and I think I've mentioned this in past posts, that playing that part of sous chef in the kitchen is of utmost importance.

making pesto

making a meal for supper

Having everything prepped and ready to go is such a smart thing to do when cooking.  It may take a bit of time to do, but once you begin a recipe the last thing you want to do is stop the process and make it wait until you get the next ingredient out and measured.  Preparation also means that you will not miss an ingredient - everything will be chopped, measured, be in separate bowls, etc. and once one thing is added you'll know that that part is done.

The other thing about being your own sous chef is that it's fun.  : )  There is a special kind of feeling - a feeling like you are really organized and ready to create a meal that will be enjoyed.  You see it done in cooking shows all the time and it just looks nice.  For me, this is actually the relaxing part of cooking.  I'm a detail person, so this just fits my personality.  I know it takes time, but that's okay isn't it?  I know it takes more dishes, but if I can do it without ever having a dishwasher, you can do it.  If you don't take this step in your cooking, I encourage you to do it.  If you have helpers around, ask them to help!  We're supposed to make the kitchen important and what comes out of the kitchen is to nourish us and since most of us have more time on our hands, why not?  : )  Have fun with this.

I've also been trying to keep up with drying herbs.  With all the rain and sunshine, they are growing wild!

this is a little bit of basil - I've also done the thyme, oregano, and sage and still have lots more to cut and dry yet.  Again, wouldn't fresh, dried herbs in pretty containers be a nice gift to give?

Well.......that's pretty much it for this time.  Thank you so much for dropping by again and visiting.  I really appreciate you.  Before I go, I will share a few garden pictures:

I keep clipping little bundles of lavender to put into our closets - it smells heavenly.

Mrs. Tom Turkey had more children, so she decided to bring them back to our bird feeders - sorry the photo is blurry but it was taken through the window screen.

then they perched on the fence for a while.




sorry - not sure of the name of this but we love it.  : )

Remember to keep praying for country - for protection, for deliverance, for healing, for mercy.  Cry out to the God who hears!  And may God bless you today.  Enjoy your home, your family, your friends.  Bye!!! : )

Saturday, July 11, 2020

A Calm, Quiet, Saturday Morning

Simple beauty.

Well, I woke up early this morning to the sound of thunder.  This year, more than ever, the sound of thunder has been a sound of comfort.  I have no idea why.  The Lord has been giving us timely showers throughout the summer and everything just looks so lush and green.  I know that there are some plants that don't like it so wet, but everything else sure does!  : )  We were created to enjoy beauty so it's important that we notice.  Try not to just walk by something growing - actually take the time to stop and look at it - to see how God has created it and then make sure to thank Him for it.  

A couple of posts ago, I had mentioned that I feel the need for some changes in my blog.  And I have been doing a lot of thinking about it.  There are three areas of my life that I feel passionate about:

*God's word (the Bible) and Christian books that teach
*My home and homemaking
*Providing "helps" for others - whether that be helpful tips, recipes, homeschooling ideas - anything that would make others feel, well........helped!

When I first started this blog in 2014 (can't believe that!) it was kind of along those lines - God first, family second, and everything else next.  And, in some way, I want to go back to that.  For me, putting God first is a necessity.  It isn't an afterthought.  I need God like I need the air to breathe and I want others to feel that way as well.  Every time I read the Bible and come across a verse, I just stop and wish that everyone could read that verse.  Or, if I'm reading a book by a Christian author and something jumps out at me, I just wish there was someone there to share it with.  So, that's what I want to do.  And I'm going to begin today.  : )

And then my home and homemaking - I truly believe the home is vitally important to our well-being.  The home isn't just the physical building we live in, it's what's going on inside.  The care we put into it, the taking care of something that God has provided for us.  It should be a place of safety for our family and friends.  Our children and grandchildren need it to be a place of stability.  It should be a place of comfort after coming in from a stressful day in the outside world that we live in.  It should nurture us - it should be the place we want to be.  That has been important to me throughout all these years and so I want to continue to share in that.  

And, lastly, providing help - I believe we can all help each other in so many ways.  I love to hear ideas and ways of doing things from other women.  I love to read about ideas and giving them a try and then passing them on to someone else.  It's not good to be stagnant.  And I think that this stressful and odd year (to say the least) has left us feeling overwhelmed and sad and sometimes without the strength to do much.  But do much we should!  We need to keep on keeping on!  It's good for us physically, mentally, and emotionally to keep up our work (inside and out), to keep reading, to keep trying new things, to stay motivated in helping out where we can.  

So..........with all that said, let's begin.  : )

Along with the Bible, I am reading this book:

I bought this at a used book sale a couple of years ago and it has been sitting on the shelf.  And since the idea of Christian service has been on my mind this year, I finally dusted it off!  It's about the Book of Nehemiah in the Bible.  I love Nehemiah and I hope you will pick up your Bible and read it for yourself.  Alan Redpath has written a couple more books - Victorious Christian Living and Victorious Praying - both that I've noticed I can order on-line and am definitely going to do that.  

I just started reading the above book and I already have a couple of things to share with you today.  First this - "......the Lord Jesus Christ has the supreme claim upon the life of each one of us."  Ask - "Lord, what wilt Thou have me to do, and how wilt Thou have me to do it?"  I love this because how many of us have just gone ahead and did something without asking the Lord if it is something that He wants us to do?  I know I have - and I've been miserable.  I took things into my own hands without His guidance and it was all wrong for me.  

When we ask God for what He would like us to do - and here comes another thing that I highlighted - "there is no winning without warfare; there is no opportunity without opposition; there is no victory without vigilance.  For whenever the people of God say, "Let us arise and build," Satan says, "Let me arise and oppose."  Working for the Lord is not easy and I feel like we've become a people of ease.  We don't like it when things get tough - I think that's why what we're going through right now is so difficult.  We've all had it pretty easy up until the year 2020.  But we are commanded to keep going and keep working for the Lord!

And then this - "You are never used of God to bring blessing until God has opened your eyes and made you see things as they are."  This is a hard one for me - I'm the kind of person who wants to pretend that everything is okay.  I don't like what we're in right now - the spiritual battle going on in our country.  But I have to see it.  I have to feel it in order to be of any use to God.

And lastly - 

*".......before you begin any service for the Master, I urge you first of all to survey the ruins around you."

*"......before you attempt any service for God, you get alone with God on your knees and mourn over the human heart."

*......before you start any service of God, you should begin to mourn over the indifference of Christian people."

Isn't that wonderful?!  I am SO looking forward to reading this book.  If I got all of this from just reading the first few pages..................  : )  I hope this will help you as well in thinking about YOUR Christian service in this crazy, mixed-up world we live in.

Now for the homemaking!

Since it was SO hot and humid this week, my work was indoors.  I tweaked my home cleaning schedule a bit.  After reading some homemaking books, I realized that, although I was doing an adequate job in my home, there was definite room for improvement.  Even just little things that I've overlooked - simple things like disinfecting trash cans in the house.  I know the kitchen and bathroom ones are important, but how about the little ones throughout the house?  And something so simple as the importance of airing out the bed instead of making it right away when we get up?  We don't take showers before bed so we carry all the sweat from the day into the bed at night, so airing the bed every morning gives it a freshness that it needs.  Things like keeping up with dusting - I know we aren't supposed to waste our time in cleaning things that don't need to be cleaned, but in our house I NEED to dust a couple of times a week.  I have NO idea where it all comes from but if I wait a week before dusting, it wouldn't be healthy.

Also, if you have a room or an area of a room that is neglected, you and your family will continue to neglect it if it isn't cleaned up and organized.  How many of us have experienced this?  That one table that everyone just throws things on and it becomes chaos.  Or that one room where things just get set down and left and it grows and grows and becomes overwhelming so we just shut the door.  The answer to that problem is to nip it in the bud beforehand.  If it's already chaos, be determined to not let another day go by without addressing the problem and cleaning it up.  You will be so glad you did!  And be determined that your family will have a place for everything so everything can be in that place instead of heaped on a table or in a room.  : )

So.....just things like that where I would encourage you to be watchful and mindful of in your own homes.  Every home is different, of course, but they all need to be taken care of as much as you possibly can!!!  If our homes are supposed to be a place of comfort, we cannot be comfortable in a mess.

Lastly, I wanted to share another recipe with you.  I know I shared "Bakeover's" before.  I got the idea from MaryJane Butters in one of her books.  I've tried two so far and they have been excellent.  The first one I shared was a brunch bakeover - today is a:


In an oven-proof skillet (I use my cast iron, but it is heavy to flip so I always need help), saute' onions and colorful bell peppers till soft.  Add green and/or black olives and any cooked meat you want - pepperoni, Canadian bacon, sausage - and lastly shredded Mozzarella cheese.  Roll out a refrigerated pizza dough (or your own, but having store-bought pizza dough around is a great time saver) and lay it on top of everything in the skillet.  Bake at 425 degrees for 20 minutes or till dough is cooked and nicely browned.  Flip over on a plate (I put the plate inside the skillet and hold with one hand while flipping with the other) and cut into wedges.  Serve with warm pizza sauce (which, for me, is an 8 oz. can of tomato sauce with homemade pizza seasoning mix).

Seriously, ladies, this is SO good and SO quick and easy to put together.  Who needs take out pizza?  

Of course you can put any topping you want on this - experiment and have fun.  If you have kids or grandkids, this would be fun.  Definitely going to make this again and I hope you can give it a try!!

Well I've sat here for about an hour and a half now, so I think it's time to call it quits.  : )  Thanks so much for taking the time to read what little I have to offer and please feel free to share with me what's going on with you!  Again, we learn from each other.  May God richly bless your day ahead.

Saturday, July 4, 2020

4th of July

Fireworks from years past.

Well, since today does NOT feel like the 4th of July (except for the heat and humidity), I will at least hope that you are having a good day.  Our neighborhood is very quiet - really too hot to do much of anything.  I'm sure once the sun goes down we will hear the neighborhood come to life in firing off their fireworks.  Because of COVID, of course, there are no public fireworks to watch.  It's just strange this year, I don't like it, and don't mind saying that it'll be fine to just get this holiday over with.  Hate to be a Johnny raincloud, but that's pretty much how I'm feeling today.

I took yesterday "off" after much cleaning on Thursday so I watched a lot of cooking shows, read, and rested.  Again, very quiet.  My family is funny in that whenever they ask what I would like for my birthday and I say "books" they don't believe me!  Once upon a time, receiving a book for your birthday or Christmas used to be nice but I think gift giving has become so over-the-top that "just a book" seems rather boring.  For me it is not!  So.....after actually having to give them exact titles to what I would like, this is what I received yesterday:

I love classics and I love British literature, so this excites me.  Right now I'm half-way through "Persuasion" by Jane Austen.  : )

I NEVER read when I was young, nor was I interested in reading, so I'm determined to read a lot of children's literature as well (older children - junior high/high school), so I also asked for, and received, this:

Kind of silly maybe, but I've always wanted to read these and what's fun is that they can be added to.  I don't know how many of them there are.  When we homeschooled, I had our son read a lot and I read what he read, but of course they were "boy books" - so now I can read "girl books"!  : )  I'm sure nowadays it's probably against the law to say girls and boys but I'm not so sure I really care!  LOL  

Wow.  A couple of HUGE fireworks went off somewhere!  Maybe they'll use them all up before bed. summer will have books to pick up and enjoy.  VERY happy.  : )

Since it's just my husband and me this year our 4th of July food looks like this:

All-American hot dogs with the works and with toasted buns (gotta have toasted buns)
Our favorite potato salad
Bean casserole
Watermelon slices
Cake and ice cream for dessert

That is pretty much it.   Thank you for stopping by.  God bless you and yours and God bless the USA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!