Monday, December 31, 2007
For years the Kenmore Progressive has been one of the top rated reasonably priced canisters. My mom--a connoisseur of vacuum cleaners--has one and likes it a lot. So I figured when mine finally gave up the ghost, I'd buy one, too. But guess what? Sears doesn't make that model anymore and their new one's have not yet been rated by those who rate vacuums! Lovely. So I tried the Sears outlet--nope. Tried looking for the next best rated canister--a Hoover Windtunnel Bagless number--at Sears, Meijer, and Target--nada. And by the end of the hunt we were all irritable, hungry, and cold.
This is where you come in, delightful friends. And this is time for you lurkers to come out of hiding! In order to help my family have a happy and clean new year, please tell me what type of cleaning machine you use, if you 'd recommend it or not, and why.
As a thank you I will randomly pick three names from the comment list and send you a sample packet of my favorite chili mix. If you don't have a blogger account, be sure to send me an email (click the cute little birdie on the right) with your email address so I can let you know if you win.
Blessings on thee and a happy new year to you and yours!
Sunday, December 30, 2007
My new little bag holds most everything I need for my study--Bible, pen, colored pencils, notebook, and book.
Saturday, December 29, 2007
Thursday, December 27, 2007
My folks have been here for a week and are probably longing for the quietness of their own home.
My children desperately need to return to the discipline of school. Their listless wandering are driving me nuts. They lay sprawled out on our library floor, surrounded by mounds of legos, and listened to The Voyage of the Dawn Treader in its entirety today.
And my dear husband has spent the last week (and probably will spend the next one) in Sissy's bathroom or at Home Depot. He abhors home improvement and is not at all experienced--grew up with a sister and a single mom in apartments--but in order to avoid the cost of a professional he's replacing the whole thing himself. We are very thankful for my dad's expertise and step by step instructions as well as the generosity of our friends with their tools and time.
So what's next for me? On the practical side of life, Monica's list has been driving me crazy! So I've cleaned out the crawl space, reorganized my craft closet, and am planning to de-clutter a room a month in 2008. (There, I put it in writing. Lord, help me!) I've created a pattern for a messenger bag for the new Bible JT gave me for Christmas and now I need to sew it. And I've started to read Passionate Housewives Desperate for God. On the spiritual side, I'm purposing to take a closer look this year at what it means for me to be in the world and not of it. It's very hard to find the balance. I either want to be in the world or not of it, but haven't yet figured out how to be both.
Monday, December 24, 2007
Saturday, December 22, 2007
For those of you who are saying "so what?" this is a genuine hardwood library truck that retails for $265 at Gaylords. A homeschoolers dream!
Years ago when my dad worked for a major accounting firm he salvaged it from their trash where it ended up on account of a bum wheel bracket. He fixed it for my mom and she's used it in their church library. Mom recently resigned her post as church librarian and brought me the treasure, knowing I'd value both the truck and the fact that it was a trash pick.
Thanks Mom and Dad! Now to fill it with books!
Friday, December 21, 2007
I love you, JT! Happy birthday!
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
I have to admit, my first thought was, "what is this world coming to?" and my second, like unto it, "what is all of these young famous single people having babies saying to our youth?" But I'm kinda thinking that's the response of the stereo-typical hand wringing, hole yourself up until Jesus comes back or you die kind of Christian I'm really trying not to be.
Purity was not "in" in my day, but the lack of it was still referred to as "promiscuity" and in general, we hid our exploits from parents and friends. Now close encounters are expected if not encouraged by friends and parents alike. We live in a different world, and no amount of bemoaning will change that. So how do we bring the gospel to the kids (and their parents) in our neighborhoods who see these types of extracurricular activity as no different than a game of ping pong? Do we see them as moral pariahs or ripe for the good news?
On the bright side, all these pregnant celebs are, despite many of their political views, practicing pro-lifers. And I guess if it takes Jamie Lynn Spears, Jessica Alba, and Nichole Richie (to name just a few) to reduce the traffic at Planned Parenthood, so be it. Do I think that they're suddenly turning into responsible, self-sacrificing people? Not for a moment. But the obvious search for the next best thing among our idols, be it finding new love or creating new life, seems to be a wide open door for the gospel. We need to be asking Diana Ross's famous question, "do you know where you're going to, do you like the things that life is showing you, where are you going to, do you know?" And we need to have the answer, not only with Bible verses, but with our lives. We can't impart what we don't possess. Christ fills the void that people have tried to fill with love and are now trying to fill with offspring because He restores our broken relationship with our Heavenly Father. I've got the answer, now who'm I gonna tell?
Without the stupid comedy, potty jokes, and political messages found in so many of today's movies for kids, The Water Horse was pure family entertainment. I did count two occurrences of language not appropriate at our house and there was some drinking and smoking, but let's not forget this is a Hollywood production and it's supposed to take place in Scotland, for goodness sake.
So, in our opinion, it gets 8 thumbs up. And thanks Grace Hill Media!
Thursday, December 13, 2007
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
After a few tries, I think I've found a recipe that duplicates the wonderful taste of yesteryear.
(a slight variation on Brenda's recipe found here, which she originally found here--you know, credit to whom it is due!)
6 cups water
1/2 tsp. whole cloves
1 cinnamon stick
3/4 cup fresh orange juice
1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
In a saucepan, bring water, cinnamon, and cloves to a boil. Add tea bags, remove from heat, and steep 10 minutes. Cool slightly, then strain out spices. In another saucepan, bring sugar, orange juice, and lemon juice to a boil. Combine tea and juice mixtures. Chill and serve over ice.
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
But on a cold night like this we need some good hot vittles to warm us up. Here's my menu:
6 Tbs. butter
1 cup onion, chopped
1 cup celery, chopped
3-4 Tbsp. flour
1 qt. half and half
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper
1 lb. frozen corn
2 cans (4 cups) chicken stock
1 lb. diced cooked ham
dash cayenne pepper
green onions, chopped
(adapted from a recipe found in The Occasional Cook, by Cyndy Salzmann)
3 Tbsp. honey
2 Tbsp. oil
1 tsp. salt
2 cups flour
1 cup oatmeal
2 tsp. active dry yeast
Monday, December 10, 2007
Yet while the clutter and the dirt makes me nuts, cleaning it up is not what makes it a haven. Having a home where my family wants to be is what makes it a haven. Crystal has made a point of reminding her readers of this and a book by the same name, Making Your Home a Haven, by Cyndy Salzmann, has encouraged me a great deal in this area. I am a perfectionist, and a home where a perfectionist lives is rarely a haven! Instead it is a place where everything must be done to ideal specifications, where visitors are only invited when things are up to snuff, and where it all hits the fan if "mama ain't happy". This is a huge chunk of my personality that must be mortified, but like all living sacrifices, I keep crawling off the altar! Cyndy has helped me to put it all in perspective, to see that just as God wants my heart not just my deeds, my family needs a mommy not just a maid.
God willing, we will have a lovely Christmas season, but not because everything gets done in a Martha Stewart kind of way and our house is ready for guests, but because we've imperfectly decorated the tree and the cookies together, sat down each night and talked about the incarnation of Christ, and truly loved as He loved us--by dwelling together.
Friday, December 7, 2007
So this is what I've come up with:
Our table needed a centerpiece that was easy and festive and could stand up to three children. I took a tray I've had for years, put clear glass marbles in some of the tray's divots, and added a 25-cent ring of artificial berries and beads from the thrift store to one of my usual table candles. Fire and ice!
We live in a raised ranch and I needed a focal point that would draw visitors' eyes upstairs instead of into the basement when they come in the front door. I took my kids' old rocking horse (purchased 9 years ago by my mother at a garage sale) and painted it red with some spray paint we'd used on a trash-pick wagon. I distressed it with some sand paper around the edges and added some decorations I'd found at the dollar store.
While I'm not Martha Stewart, I'm pretty pleased with the outcome. Who says you can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear? Oink!
Thursday, December 6, 2007
Wednesday, December 5, 2007
Last night I finished up the gifts for the folks at my husband's office. Don't the jars look festive? I usually make chocolate goodies but this year wanted something different. My mom made this jam for me when rhubarb was fresh. It was so tasty and beautifully colored that I thought it would make perfect Christmas gifts, so I chopped up some of my rhubarb and put it in the freezer. Besides, it was so easy!
1.5 cups sugar
1 (3oz) package cherry Jello
1 (21oz) can cherry pie filling
Combine sugar and rhubarb in a large saucepan and let it sit of 1.5 hours, stirring occasionally. Bring to a boil and cook, uncovered, for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in Jello until dissolved. Add pie filling. Transfer to jars and cool. Cover and store in refrigerator for up to 3 weeks. Makes 8 cups.
I put the jam into $1 jars I found at Big Lots and tied on tags I found at Razzle Dazzle Recipe's Artist's Cafe with a raffia ribbon. Voila!
Sunday, December 2, 2007
1. Do you put up a real tree or artificial? Artificial (with lights already on it!)
2. When do you put up your tree? The first weekend of Advent
3. When do you take down the tree? After Epiphany
4. Do you like eggnog? If yes, spiked or not? No, yuk!
5. Favorite gift received as a child? My Friend Mandy Doll who now belongs to Sissy and, oddly enough, looks just like her!
6. Worst Christmas gift ever received? A salad spinner from my husband the year I was expecting an engagement ring. I still have the salad spinner, and did eventually get the ring!
7. Favorite Christmas movie? Charlie Brown Christmas and Treasures of the Snow
8. Have you ever recycled a present? Yup, but not to or from you :~)
9. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? Why, cookies, of course!
10. Favorite Christmas song? Once in Royal David's City
11.Most annoying thing about this time of year? Shopping
12. What you love most about the holiday? Focusing on the first coming of Christ and re-examining all the prophecy surrounding it in the Old Testament
13. How many reindeer did Santa have? Who's Santa? If you mean Sani, why, none. He comes in a garbage truck every Thursday and we set out our packages for him on Garbage Eve.
14. Best Christmas memory? The childhood excitement of Christmas Eve and the delight of waking early to find my stocking full of goodies on my bed.
15. If you could have one Christmas wish what would it be? That Christ would come to the hearts of all my loved ones
As is the case with all of these little treats, I am compelled to pass it on. So Lizzy, Rebecca, and Monica, you're it!
Thursday, November 29, 2007
I'm on the left and Ruth Ann is on the right. We've always been a matching set right down to our double names, but now she's quite skinny and I'm, well, getting "settled" and pudgy around the middle. She's earned it with discipline and self-control--she's careful about her eating and exercises often. I'm not and I don't. And until this past weekend, I thought I was ok with that. Now I'm not so sure.
I picked up a Walk Away the Pounds video at the library.
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
Their affiliate Fashionably Modest Patterns is also having an end of the year sale. All of their patterns are 10% off until December 15.
So hurry on down, don't you wait, to get a great deal at Biblical Womanhood. Tell 'em Saralyn sent you, and don't forget to say "thanks y'all". (I'm thinking about auditioning for a spot in advertisements for either carpet or used cars. What do you think?)
Gone-Away Lake and Return to Gone-Away, by Elizabeth Enright, tell of the adventures of Julian and Portia, two cousins who stumble upon an abandoned row of fantastic summer houses from a time gone by.
We borrowed the audios from our local library and are having a delightful time!
Friday, November 16, 2007
a beautiful black knitted scarf ( I know in the picture it looks as if a black cat has perched on the edge of the box), sparkly candle, crocheted doily, Thanksgiving kitchen towels, sweet smelling soap, and mounds of wonderful teas.
To see all the other fun things sisters have swapped go here. And keep watching for the next sister swap.
The thing is, I'm not sure if I had more fun filling my box for Lizzie or opening the one she sent me! Who knew being a grown-up could be so much fun!
It started off innocently enough. I was just looking for some fun clothes to sew for Sissy. I clicked from blog to blog, sewing site to sewing site, oohing and aahing over all the delightful garments others had made. I found Sew Mama Sew during kid's clothes month. It was like hitting the jackpot and I was in seamstress heaven!
Then Rebecca and Monica announced that their Christmas plans were already taking shape and they inspired me to start looking for gift ideas. I spent many evenings looking for just the perfect thing to sew or knit and waited "on pins and needles" for Sew Mama Sew to put up their month of homemade holiday tutorials. But the other day it hit me--what have I actually crafted? NOTHING! I've spent so much time admiring the beautiful work of other people that I haven't done any of my own.
Guess what? Scripture speaks to this one, too (and all on the same page in my Bible).
But he who follows frivolity is devoid of understanding." Proverbs 12:11
"The lazy man does not roast what he took in hunting,
But diligence is man's precious possession." Proverbs 12:27
"The soul of a lazy man desires, and has nothing;
But the soul of the diligent shall be made rich." Proverbs 13:4
It stinks to realize I've been lazy and frivolous instead of being industrious, so today I am spending some time organizing my home and getting the patterns and fabric picked out in order to (hopefully) accomplish some of these exciting projects others have put before me.
Any advice on how you choose projects and actually finish them in due time would be appreciated.
Thursday, November 15, 2007
CVS--These bargains were found with some great coaching from Crystal the Money Saving Mom. Total spent out of pocket was $14.48. I received $14 worth of ecbs for my next trip and the Tums had a rebate for $4.79. I made a $4.31 profit on this trip!
Target--thanks to some info from Angie at Thrifty Florida Mama I picked up some pantry essentials and some of our favorite "junk" for a whopping $4.71.
Meijer--Between the loss leaders and the manufacturer's coupons, I got the peanut butter for $.50 a jar, the pies for $1.48 a piece, the crescent rolls for $.85 a tube, The Spray n' Wash for $1.42 a bottle, and the cheese for $1.50. The oranges were from the reduced produce cart for $.90. Grand total--$10.68.
And last but not least is the Mom's Best Naturals Cereal from our local market. Mom's Best is a Malt O Meal company in disguise that makes great tasting, low priced cereal. You can find a dollar-off coupon here . We got all four big boxes (each being between 18 and 23 oz) plus the bananas from the reduced produce cart for $5.54.
I think this is pretty good for $16.62 (and I'll break my arm if I pat myself on the back any harder)!
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
Saturday, November 10, 2007
Friday, November 9, 2007
1. I have an arranged marriage with a man eight years my senior. Ok, so not exactly. But my college roommate's dad--who's also my husband's boss--decided we needed to meet and arranged a blind date. My roommate, her parents, two brothers, brother's future wife, and a family friend all accompanied us on it. The rest is history. (Thanks, Yenta Ron!)
2. I spoke before a Congressional Committee when I was in college.
3. I know the States in alphabetical order.
4. I used to sail dingy class boats competitively.
5. I've birthed a 9 lb 3 oz baby with no pain meds. A 7 lb 12 oz one, too, but that sounds less impressive! ;~D
6. I love wearing dresses.
7. I shake like I've got the palsy if I have more than one cup of coffee.
8. I'm obsessed with old things (see no. 1) and have a very hard time getting rid of old stuff people give me even if it's junk (definitely NOT no. 1).
I know "the rules" on this meme says to tag another 8 bloggers, but I'm pretty sure these ladies will humor me and participate. I'm tagging Anika, Beth, Sharon.
Monday, November 5, 2007
Anyway, here's what my trusty federal employee brought me:
40% off any one item at Chadwick's -- use promotion code CH11935
I don't order often from Chadwick's, but what I have gotten has fit well and looked nice for a comparatively low price.
30% off already reduce items at J. Jill November 8-12
If I could get all my clothes from one place it would be J. Jill. They are flattering, feminine, and modest. Of course I always buy clearance and about half of what I own of their label came from the thrift store, but this is a good enough deal to pass on to hubby for his ease of shopping.
$3 shipping from Paula's Choice on all November orders
Another favorite of mine is Paula's Choice. I happened upon Paula Begoun's book Don't Go to the Cosmetic Counter without Me at the library and it has changed the way I buy cosmetics. Basically she's the Ralph Nader of cosmetics. She explains that there are dime store brands that are on par with the very expensive cosmetic counter brands, and some cosmetic counter brands that aren't worth a dime. Go to her Cosmetic Cop site for more information.
Paula has her own brand of products called Paula's Choice. They are no-nonsense, well researched, reasonably priced products. I've struggled with very uncooperative skin since I was pregnant with my first child, and let me tell you, this stuff is terrific. Worth every penny.
So there it is, from me to you. Charge! (On second thought, please don't.)
Sunday, November 4, 2007
Saturday, November 3, 2007
Friday, November 2, 2007
Thursday, November 1, 2007
While definitely not immune to either extreme--I've lived at both ends--my question is more about living in the center. Where is the line between being frugal and being unethical? This conundrum surfaced in my mind when the discussions started over this week's free money at CVS. For those of you not into coupon gaming, CVS has a glucose monitoring machine on sale for $29.99, that when purchased, will generate $20 worth of Extra Care Bucks to be used on the next shopping trip. Well it turns out that a booklet available at the pharmacy has a coupon for this same machine that makes it free while still generating the $20 ECBs. On top of this, the deal can be run up to 5 times, giving the lucky winner $100 in ECBs for spending nothing.
This deal is completely and totally legal, but I guess that something about it just doesn't seem right to me. Just because it's legal doesn't mean it's right. I'm not a diabetic and I don't need this machine, let alone five of them, but there are folks out there who do. If I go to CVS and work this very legal deal I will gain $100 but I may very well be depriving others of something that is not just nice to have, but necessary for their well-being.
I admit, this was a hard line for me to draw. On the one hand, free money looks really good. But on the other hand, I am a follower of Jesus Christ Who says an awful lot to me about loving my neighbors and having a self-sacrificing love. I also know that there are tons of rationales for this deal. "If I don't do it, someone else will." "There's nothing wrong with it." "Diabetics can buy a different machine." All of these are true, and I don't think ill of you if you feel totally justified. I'm just saying that for me, there is a line. Knowing my own weaknesses, to cross it would be quickly swinging me to the outer edges of frugality, choosing my money over my God.
Passionate Housewives Desperate for God. The biggest things she taught me through her session was that the "perfect" housewife doesn't look like Martha Stewart or June Cleaver or even Jennie Chancey. The perfect housewife looks like Jesus Christ.
As someone who battles the life-dominating sin of pride, this is crucial, even life-changing. It doesn't matter how much I get done, how clean my kitchen floor is, how stocked my freezer is, how obedient my children are (or aren't). When not done for the love of God and my neighbor, all these things are worthless. And if these victories should come, they are gifts from my Heavenly Father, not badges I should wear.
I'm looking forward to hunkering down with this book--it's at the top of my Christmas list (hint, hint, hubby dear)--and am trusting God to use the wisdom He's given these two godly women to disciple me. If you're interested in picking it up, it's available here through Vision Forum for $16.
Wednesday, October 31, 2007
Tuesday, October 30, 2007
All you need to do is post a comment on this post any time before midnight this coming Saturday, November 3. On Sunday we will do a very scientific game of pick a number out of a hat and you may be a winner! If you don't have a blog, please be sure to leave me an email address so I can let you know if you win. The winner will also be posted at the bloggy giveaways page. One entry per person, please, and of course I will pay the postage. Anybody hungry?
Monday, October 29, 2007
Friday, October 26, 2007
L.B.'s (Newly) Famous Mac N' Cheese
Put about half a pound of macaroni on to boil.
Melt in a saucepan:
1 Tbsp. butter
Blend in, cooking and stirring until bubbly:
1 Tbsp. flour
1/4 tsp. dry mustard
1/4 tsp. salt
a healthy shake of black pepper and onion powder
1 cup milk
Cook until smooth and thickened slightly.
3/4 cup grated cheddar cheese
When macaroni is done cooking, drain it and mix it with cheese sauce.
We let it cool a bit while setting the table and getting out veggies so the pasta sucks up some of the cheese sauce and it congeals a tad bit. If you decide to try it, post a comment for my little chef. He'd be pleased as punch!
Thursday, October 25, 2007
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
Today and tomorrow, Crystal Paine is running a 50% off special on her e-book Supermarket Savings 101, making it only $8.97. This includes her step-by-step explanation on how to save at the grocery store as well as 6 additional e-books with budgeting tips and recipes. I've been extremely blessed by her suggestions on her Money Saving Mom website so I'm going to take advantage of the deal, hopefully save some more pennies, and at the same time send some of that savings she helped me get back to her. Go to her site and check it out.
Monday, October 22, 2007
Friday, October 19, 2007
Thursday, October 18, 2007
And passing over the transgression of the remnant of His heritage?
He does not retain His anger forever.
Because He delights in mercy.
He will again have compassion on us,
And will subdue our iniquities.
You will cast all our sins
Into the depths of the sea."
Tuesday, October 16, 2007
Monday, October 15, 2007
Together we are studying The Young Peacemaker, by Corlette Sande. One of my "older woman" friends suggested it to me, and at first I bristled at the suggestion. But God quickly revealed my lack of humility in the bristling and I agreed to take it home to check it out. After reading the table of contents I realized that we, along with most of the free world, needed this study.
Today a Psalm that I know by heart actually hit me there:
Sande connected the dots in my oblivious mind that sings the tune to this truth but never saw the big picture--if I am to be an imitator of Christ I must love people the way He loves them. Merciful, gracious, slow to anger, abounding in mercy. Remember this is a book about conflict and these words do not often describe my good day reactions, let alone my times of trouble! I am a truth and justice gal. I want my pound of flesh. I want to be right.
Slowly God is showing me my pride and lack of the humility that should characterize the life of a follower of Jesus Christ. He is opening my eyes to see that I am the one in desperate need of His mercy, that once received, should flow through me to my family, friends, and even my enemies. What a vibrant picture of the Savior we could be if we truly loved as He loves.
Tuesday, October 9, 2007
Some rabbit trails have happy endings. Case in point:
I was listing some resale stuff on-line for a friend of mine and decided to "browse the aisles" of the site when I came across a lady who was trimming down her fabric stash. Come to find out she lived a mere two blocks from me! The kids and I took a lovely walk this afternoon, met a kindly lady, and did her such a wonderful favor by taking the above off her hands for a delightful $2 a yard. Bernina, start your engine!