March 31, 2011

Queen of the Castle: Week 12

We're back near the beginning of the book.  We started on week 17 of Queen of the Castle: 52 weeks of encouragement for the uninspired, domestically challenged or just plain tired homemaker HERE (in April of 2010).

This week we're on chapter 12: "In Search of the Peaceful Home".  Boy I could use a lot of that lately.  Between spring fever, arguing kiddos, grumpy people, and a husband who is busy beyond belief, my life is less than ideal lately.  I'm in survival mode, ya'll.  I grip to my morning prayer time like an alcoholic grips a bottle.  I need Him in the morning.  It's a good addiction, though.  He gives me my kick start for the day that I need.

Like the author shares I, too, "want my home to reflect that feeling of safety.  I want my family to have a deep sense that home is a haven, that we can trust each other, that inside these four walls is a safe place to be."  She shares that the word peace, in Hebrew, shalom, means wholeness, health, and well-being.  Only that can come from Him. "As we turn our thoughts toward God, we can experience peace in our homes, "the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension" (Phil. 4:7).  *sigh*  I feel peaceful already!

Psalm 29:11 "The Lord will give strength to His people; the Lord will bless his people with peace."

I love Lynn's analogy that some days our days are so hectic "a peaceful home feels as much like a fantasy as talking lions from Narnia.".  I love her way with words.  *smile*  Lynn mentions a book that I own and love; Making Your Home a Haven.  Full of tips and hints on making your home a special place, this book guide you along the way.  Another book that I own and love is by Terry Willits; Creating a SenseSational Home.


Here are a few ideas for fostering a peaceful home from Lynn:

* Fill your home with good smells -- scented candles or fresh flowers.  Author Terry Willits suggests starting outside, with a fragrant wreath on your door or potted flowers.

* Allow people to use even your "good" furniture.  (At our house we only have furniture that's kid friendly.  No white couches and silk pillows, here! LOL!)

* Remember to strive for balance.  We want homes that are orderly enough to be comfortable, not shrines to perfection.  Our homes are not museums.  Accept that people live there.

* Post Scripture verses around your home to remind you that even during the day's mundane tasks, God is present.  (Aunt Ruthie over at Sugar Pie Farmhouse has signs covered with chalkboard spray paint and uses Chalk Ink Liquid Chalk Markers to write on the surface. Super cute!  I have a few things that I'm going to do that with and writing Scripture on them is the perfect decor idea!)

* When the week's clutter seems overwhelming, remember that cleats in the middle of the floor represent healthy bodies; half-completed science fair projects mean creativity; stray books mean active minds are at work.  It's all a matter of perspective.

*Set aside a regular day or two a week for everyone to tidy the house.  We have Monday and Friday mornings set aside for that. It helps if everyone knows it's coming!

- - - -

"Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you.  Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful."  John 14:27

March 30, 2011

Heatlhy Wednesday

Last week I re-posted the first half of my review of "Making Herbs Simple".  This week is the second half.  Enjoy.

-  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  


I like to make a lot of things myself. Not only for the joy of making something with my own hands, but to save our family money. I hope to give the following recipes a try this year. It's a goal...if I don't do it this summer, maybe next year. Each year the garden gets better. Each year I learn something more about homesteading. Each year there are great possibilities. If they don't all happen I have the joy of knowing I tried.
Proverbs 31:17 "She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks."

It's good to have a goal!


-  -  -  -  -  


Part Two -- Poultices
I have to say I've never made a poultice but it seems very interesting and I might give it a try. I thought I'd share my notes with you so you could try it, too, if you like.
Garlic Poultice -- Garlic is good for fighting illness and a poultice is a good way to get garlic into the bloodstream. I would like to grow my own garlic and I am planning on adding that to my herb garden area this year. For a poultice you should separate the garlic bulb into cloves. Squish the garlic cloves using a fork or a garlic press. You want to get the juices flowing. Place the garlic in a folded cheesecloth and fold it up like a burrito. Lay it in a bowl and pour hot water on it to get it wet. Place the poultice on the skin for about 5 minutes or so. Garlic is best the first 15 minutes it's "squished" and hot. Garlic can irritate the skin so be careful not to have it on too long. For chest congestion rub a little olive oil on the chest and lay a poultice on the chest for 1-2 minutes. If you have the flu they suggest you wrap a poultice loosely and lay it on the wrist veins for about 20 minutes. (I have to add that if I had the flu, garlic is the last thing I would want to smell!)


Plantain Poultice -- As I mentioned before that plantains are great for soothing a bug bite. If you don't have a tincture around you can use a poultice of dried plantains. Crush up dried plantain in a bowl and add enough hot water to saturate the herb. Put a lid on the bowl and let it sit for 5 minutes. Pour it into a doubled cheesecloth and squeeze a bit of the juice out of it, wrap it up like a burrito and place it on the irritated skin for 10-15 minutes.
According to the ladies, plantain and garlic poultices will draw the infection out. I'm going to give it a try this summer. Let me know if you've ever tried these tips and if they've worked for you!

March 28, 2011

4-H and Muffins

I'm going to repost a recipe that is a family favorite.  I posted it last summer when my daughter, Hannah, was perfecting this recipe for 4-H judging. We love 4-H!!


The four "H"'s stand for Head, Heart, Hands, and Health.  

4-H isn't about just cows and pigs and growing zucchini.  It's so much more.  Some options for 4-H projects are animals, food, sewing, crafts, woodworking, photography, public speaking, child development, gardening, etc.  Last year some of my kiddos had entries in foods, arts and crafts, model building, and photography categories.  This year we have four kiddos who are in the age range for 4-H and one in the category of Mini 4-H (for 1st and 2nd graders...judging isn't a big deal and everyone gets a ribbon.).  My 4-H kiddos are going to each enter a food category (I can't wait for the new recipes we get to try!!), the oldest wants to enter a few chickens, the youngest of the group wants to enter a kid from our Nubian who's due next month, and the girls are working on some craft projects to enter.  I love watching them hone their skills, learn new ones, and gaining the communication experience by speaking with the judges.  But most of all I enjoy seeing the smiles on their faces when they get a ribbon (no matter what color it is!).  It's going to be fun!  Our 4-H sign up deadline for our county is April 1st.  You may want to find your 4-H county by googling 4-H and the name of your county.  If you want to learn more about 4-H go HERE.

Here is Hannah's wonderful Bananaberry Muffin recipe that she entered last year.  (It's from my dear friend, Karla, over at The Culinary Enthusiast.)

Bananaberry Muffins

2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup butter, room temperature
2 eggs
1 cup mashed ripe bananas (I used two medium-sized bananas.)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup fresh blueberries - rinse and pat dry  (You can use frozen, but rinse them to thaw and then dry with a paper towel.)

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray or grease muffin tin.
Place butter, eggs, bananas and vanilla in stand mixer.  Mix on low until just combined.
Sift flour, baking powder, salt and sugar together with a wire whisk in a separate bowl.
Add dry mixture to the wet mixture in the mixer.  Mix on low until just combined.
Fold in blueberries with a wooden spoon or spatula. Reserve some to place on the tops.
Bake for about 25 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean.
Serve while still warm with butter.
Makes 12 wonderfully delicious muffins.




This post is part of Homestead Barn Hop.

March 24, 2011

Queen of the Castle: Week 10

We're back to week 10 since we had to switch it around a bit to do the St. Patrick's Day chapter.  We started on week 17 of Queen of the Castle: 52 weeks of encouragement for the uninspired, domestically challenged or just plain tired homemaker HERE (in April of 2010).

This week's chapter is "Taking a Sabbath".  Lynn, the author, speaks to our hearts on the topics of rest.  Whether you are a stay-at-home mom, have a part-time job, or are a mom with a full-time job  (outside the home, that is...all moms have full-time 24/7 jobs!) we all need a rest. 

What usually happens when we are super busy, running from this activity to that activity, and going non-stop?  Yep...we get cranky, tired, and sometimes ill.   Our crazy-busy non-stop activity with no rest has an effect on everyone in our families.  As the saying goes "When momma ain't happy, no one's happy".  So true in our house.  My mood often times makes way for the mood of the rest of the house.  If I'm tired and stressed it permeates the rest of the house.  When I'm rested and content then everyone else is too (usually!).

How do we get that rest?  Some moms feel the need to get rest by attending a retreat or a getaway.  Some just need a day away.  Others might not have that luxury so they need to be creative.  I personally don't have the option of a get-away, but enjoy the little moments of peace and quiet that come here and there.  Sundays are a day that we try to set aside for rest and relaxation in our home.  We begin our day by having a simple breakfast; usually a muffin or something that's easy to eat for breakfast.  Then we scoot off to church for Sunday School and worship time.  For lunch on Sundays I try to have something in the crock pot that was mostly prepped the night before so all I have to do in the morning is pop it in.  After lunchtime we usually relax and visit with the kiddos often reading the newspaper and ads while sharing some stories that we're reading.  We choose for the kiddos to not play on the computer or play video games on Sunday (Saturday is their only day for the Playstation).  The house is more peaceful with a lot of technology out of the way.  We may watch a football or basketball game, depending on who is playing.  Of course we doze and nap while the little one is napping.  If hubby doesn't have any school or church work to do (a rare day) we may watch a movie while snacking on popcorn or any other treats one of the kiddos decide to make.  We end the day with dinner of what is left over in the fridge or pb & j.  Hubby teaches full-time, has a part-time church job, and works all day Saturdays at a power equipment shop so a free Sunday afternoon is a rarity for him and a blessing for us!  Even if he is busy I try to make it a day of rest for myself so I can be refreshed for the week to minister to my families needs.

How do you take time to rest?
- - -

"So there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God.  For the one who has entered His rest has himself also rested from his works, as God did from His. Therefore, let us be diligent to enter that rest."  Hebrews 4:9-11

March 23, 2011

Healthy Wednesday

O.K....I've decided to change the name "Weight Loss Wednesday" to "Healthy Wednesday".  The topics I'd like to discuss aren't 100% related to weight loss, but healthy living instead.  Make sense? 

Today's is a repost from last spring regarding herbs.  Enjoy!

-  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  

Review:  "Making Herbs Simple" -- Tinctures



I like to make a lot of things myself. Not only for the joy of making something with my own hands, but to save our family money. I hope to give the following recipes a try this year. It's a goal...if I don't do it this summer, maybe next year. Each year the garden gets better. Each year I learn something more about homesteading. Each year there are great possibilities. If they don't all happen I have the joy of knowing I tried.
Proverbs 31:17 "She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks."

It's good to have a goal!


-  -  -

Part One* -- Tinctures

I borrowed
"Making Herbs Simple" from the library the other day. The Bulk Herb Store not only sells this video but has a lot of dried herbs, accessories, and heirloom seeds that you can purchase. They also have a lot of information about herbs: using herbs, cooking with herbs, and making medicinal items with herbs. If you're a hands-on kind of gal like me you might want to watch the video to really get a good grasp on herbal remedies. Following are some of the highlights from the video.


Plantain

Plantain Tincture -- Did you know Plantains live in pretty much everyone's yards? This herb is great for soothing bug bites, bad complexions, and for toothaches (chew a bit of it and hold it on the sore tooth to soothe). What you do is pick plantain and wash it. Break it up into pieces and fill a glass jar (a canning jar does well) with the herbs. Pour apple cider vinegar (the kind that has the mother in it) over the top to cover it. Store it in a dark cool place. Shake it a couple of times every day. It will look nasty with it's greenish-brown tint. In 2 weeks you can strain it into another jar with a cheesecloth. Store it in a cool dark place. Don't forget to label and date it since tinctures last between one and three years. You dab this on bug bites and stings or use on a bad complexion. The ladies say not to be in the sun much if you're using this on your face. I'm not sure why. I haven't used this yet since it's winter and there are no plantains to be found but I will definitely be giving it a try come spring!


Chamomile

Chamomile Tincture -- I'm going to start growing some Chamomile in the herb garden this year! Chamomile relaxes nerves and muscles, and helps you sleep! It's gentle enough that children can drink chamomile tea! Wash and then hang to dry your chamomile (hang up to dry 3-5 days in a warm, dry, dark place) . Once they're dry pop off the dried flower heads. Fill a jar half full and pour enough boiling water in it to make it thick and muddy. Add food grade glycerin to the top of the jar. Heat the jar on a low setting for 3 days. (Put a cloth in the bottom of a crock pot and put your jars in. Put enough water in the crock pot so it's half way up the jar.) Once it's done strain it with cheese cloth while warm. Label and store it in a clean jar with a dropper. Add enough drops to your hot water for tea for a nice relaxing flavor. How much you add depends on how concentrated your chamomile/glycerine mixture is. Tomorrow I will share some tips on making a poultice.

*Part two will be posted next Wednesday.

March 21, 2011

Spring Cleaning: Week 5

Are you almost caught up with your spring cleaning?  Don't worry, I'm not caught up yet. Oh well the dust bunnies have no where to go so I'll get to them when I can.  But...for those of you who are caught up (kudos to you!) here is the last list of spring cleaning chores!

WEEK FIVE

SCHOOL/PLAY ROOM (OR SPARE ROOM/ FAMILY ROOM)

declutter -- use 3 trash bags to divide up clutter (trash, donate, keep) and work around the room clockwise from the door
 
vacuum ceiling corners & corners

clean ceiling fan/light

clean off cabinets & dust/wash

vacuum furniture

vacuum under furniture

vacuum baseboards & floor

clean out game cabinet & organize

clean out art cabinet & organize

clean off bookshelves, dust & organize

wash windows

wash wall spots 
MUDROOM / PORCH

declutter

clean ceiling fan & light

sort through coats - donate what you don't want or need

sort through shoes - donate

vacuum corners & cobwebs

sweep & mop

wash windows 


This post is part of Homestead Barn Hop.

 

March 19, 2011

Roadtrip!

Go visit me today over at Raising Homemakers where I share a delicious recipe for Mandarin Orange-Pineapple Cheesecake! 


March 17, 2011

Queen of the Castle: Week 11

We're switching this week's QOTC post with next week's since the topic is St. Patrick's Day.  (She also discussed Purim, too, but we'll stick with the 'ol Irish.) If you'd like to start at the beginning we started on week 17 of Queen of the Castle: 52 weeks of encouragement for the uninspired, domestically challenged or just plain tired homemaker HERE (in April of 2010).

My daddy had some Irish blood in him so I feel a little connection to this day.  However, St. Patrick wasn't Irish at all.  He was an English teenage boy who was kidnapped by pirates and brought to Ireland to be a slave.  Later he escaped, fled back to his homeland, then returned years later as a Christian missionary.  He converted many and baptized even more!  So this day is not about leprechauns, pots of gold, the "Luck 'o the Irish", or green beer.  It's about remembering a man who went and preached the gospel! 

Does our family celebrate St. Pat's day?  Sure, but we don't dye our well water green or anything.  *wink*  Tomorrow morning I'll serve the kiddos green pancakes, green eggs and green milk.  Good 'ol food coloring.  (I'll be sure to have them drink lots of water throughout the day!)  And if they don't turn green themselves I will read a book about St. Patrick's Day.  Lunch is going to be quick since we have a 4-H meeting, but they'll be happy to go and sport as much green as they can.  Don't want to get pinched, you know. *smile*  We're going to a friend's house on Friday so we'll be making the Shamrock Shakes that I posted about HERE.  That will be fun! 

Spring is almost here!  Just a few more days!  Yesterday we had nice weather (in the upper 50's!). Today we should break 60 and get close to 70!  Below are some fun "Spring is Here" ideas from Lynn.

*Paint your toenails bright red. (I prefer pink! I save red for the 4th of July and Christmas.)
*Bring your Bible outside for some warm-weather reading. (Take the kiddos out and read some books together on a blanket, too!)
*Dig out the short-sleeved shirts and sandals.  (Yesterday my friend Amy's tootsies donned pretty pink polish and sandals!  Super cute!  "Hi, Amy!")
*Start doing those push-ups and sit ups. (Good tip since I missed Weight Loss Wednesday yesterday!)
*Discuss summer vacation plans with your family.  (We have our campsites in northern Michigan reserved!  We're counting down the days!)
*Make a list of Easter activities you want to include in this year's celebration.  Write them on your family calendar.  (I'll post some ideas for you in the coming weeks.)

- - -

"Call upon Me in the day of trouble; I shall rescue you, and you will honor Me." Psalm 50:15

March 15, 2011

Shamrock Shakes!

We aren't big fans of the double arches but boy do we love our Shamrock Shakes!    I found this recipe at Saving Dollars and Sense.
Enjoy! 

Photo Credit


Shamrock Shake Recipe

2 c. vanilla ice cream
1 1/4 c. milk (we use 2%)
1/4 t. mint extract
8 drops green food coloring


Blend it all together until it has a nice creamy texture and all of the food coloring has been evenly mixed in to give it that nice green tone.  This will make enough for two people.

Giveaway over at Homestead Revival!

Amy at Homestead Revival is giving away a copy of Keeping Bees and a jar of honey.  Go check it out HERE!

March 14, 2011

Spring Cleaning: Week 4

Phew!  We're more than half way done, right?  Well...I...um, am not. I have gotten behind between various appointments, ill children, being ill myself, and all of life's other items.  But our homes don't have to be perfect so I'm settling with doing things on the lists that have to get done.  This week one of those absolutes is the string of cobwebs between the wall and ceiling of the living room (which, if you've been following along, was a task for last week).  Plus I've been saved by the fact that a lot of the items on my list are done on a regular basis in the Motivated Mom's Planner.  If you've been keeping up with that then you don't have to do as much. *wink*  Go HERE to order the planner.  It's only $8!


So if you're starting now, don't worry.  Go back and begin with week one and go from there.  Accomplish what you can. Tackle the chores a bit at a time...like doing all closets on the list at one time, all ceiling fans on the list at one time, etc.  Break it up into doable lists. Go through and decide what you need to get done this week and divide it up into however many days this week you have the time. 

I have the entire five week Spring Cleaning Check-List over HERE for you to print out.
I'll go through the list and share ideas for this week's chores...
 
Downstairs Bathroom
 
Vacuum ceilings, corners, baseboard, and floor 
 
Sort through drawers and medicine cabinets -- check for expireds and ask your local pharmacy where to dispose of meds.  They are harmful for the ground and water table...especially if you have well water!

Clean lights -- make sure to wash light bulbs when they are cool. If you use a damp rag and they are hot they will burn out.  Not that I'd have any experience or anything.  *wink*

Wash sink and toilet -- I use baking soda and vinegar!  Natural and inexpensive!

Wash walls -- You can use either a Magic Eraser or some baking soda/water paste on a dampened rag to wipe away difficult marks.  Be sure to follow after with a clean damp rag...both processes leave a residue.
 
Scrub tub -- again...baking soda and vinegar

Scrub floor -- I use a wet, hot rag and a toothbrush if needed.  (Make sure it's an old toothbrush that has a strip of tape or something to distinguish it from the currently used ones. Again...not that I'd have any experience at. all. )

Downstairs Hallway (this is adjacent to our laundry room, bathroom and playroom)

Vacuum ceilings, corners, baseboard, and floor
 
Clean lights -- make sure to wash light bulbs when they are cool.
 
Vacuum hampers
 
Wash cabinet, walls and trim --again, Magic Eraser or some baking soda/water paste on a dampened rag
 
Scrub floor --again, wet hot rag and a toothbrush if needed. 

Laundry Room
 
Declutter room -- use 3 trash bags to divide up clutter (trash, donate, keep) and work around the room clockwise from the door
 
Vacuum ceilings, corners, baseboard, and floor
 
Vacuum  dryer vent -- This needs to be done twice a year not only to prevent fires, but also so your dryer won't waste energy.
 
Wash appliances -- add 1/2 c. vinegar to a quick wash cycle in the washing machine to give it a good cleaning (I use vinegar as my fabric softener!  1/4 c.)
 
Wash walls  -- again, Magic Eraser or some baking soda/water paste on a dampened rag

Pantry
 
Clean out pantry -- check for expireds
 
Clean shelves
 
Vacuum corners and floor
 
Vacuum curtain (wash if needed) -- our pantry "door" is a curtain
 
Reorganize
 
 
This post is part of Homestead Barn Hop.


March 12, 2011

Help ... Please?

One of my husband's students is going to Kathmandu, Nepal for a missions trip this summer.  She and a group will be witnessing and sharing the love of Jesus with young girls in rehabilitation centers that have been saved from human trafficking. Most of these girls are in bondage due to their social status as a Dalit.  In their Hindu society a Dalit is lower than human.  They aren't to be touched or spoken to by any one in a higher class.  They are left homeless, without food or protection.  The only hope they have is the love of a Savior that the rehab center and missionary teams share with them.  Our family will be helping her in her endeavor.  Would you consider helping her as well?


If you would like to help her on her way there is an online site with more information and a helpful online donation button.  I don't feel comfortable posting it here for all to see so please e-mail me HERE for information.

March 11, 2011

Jewelry Giveaway Winner!

The winning comment number, drawn by random.org, is number #9,  "jlpegram" come on down and claim your prize! Actually I'll give Brenda you're e-mail address and she'll be in touch with you about your prize! Congratulations!



Thanks to all who entered and shared your favorite pieces with us!

March 10, 2011

Queen of the Castle: Week 9

We're back near the beginning of the book.  We started on week 17 of Queen of the Castle: 52 weeks of encouragement for the uninspired, domestically challenged or just plain tired homemaker HERE (in April of 2010).

This week's chapter, "When There's No Way Around the Busyness", spoke to me.  We all have moments when we are spinning a bunch of plates like a circus performer, and then look at the stack of plates that are waiting for our attention and get discouraged.  Am I right?  Sometimes we try to simplify life as much as we can, but there's nothing else we can cut out of life.  Doctor's appointments, library trips, groceries, laundry...it all has to get done.  Lynn, the author, reminds us that in our day "If you spoke encouraging words to a child, if you communicated with God, if you lent your husband a supportive ear and provided breakfast, lunch, and dinner, you have put in a good day's work.  No matter how much is still on your to-do list."  *sigh*  What a great reminder!

We can have a busy life, but still have peace.  If we start to feel panicked then maybe we've failed to ask the Lord which way we should go.  Joanna Weaver in her book Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World says "Ask God to reveal the next step.  As you go through your day, keep asking the Lord.  'What is the one thing I need to do next?'  Don't let the big picture overwhelm you.  Just take the next step as he reveals it -- wash one dish, make one phone call, put on your jogging clothes.  Then take the next step...and the next."  Wow!  Was that ever inspiring to me!  I tend to look at the list of all the things I need to do and get overwhelmed.  I like to make to-do lists for myself.  I love my Motivated Mom's planner (I wrote about it HERE.).  I love scratching off items on the list.  Anyone else weird like that?  So what I'll do sometimes is make a mini list...one for the morning before breakfast, then one for between breakfast and lunch, then one for after lunch.  It helps a bit.  Give it a try.  Baby steps. *smile*  It makes it seem not so overwhelming and if the Lord leads the day in another direction then I'll just use the next mini-list for another time.

 Lynn shares a few ideas for quick breaks for us busy moms...

*Take five minutes to enjoy a cup of tea or juice.  (I love my chai breaks when the little one goes down for her nap, the older ones are finishing school work, and the other ones who are done for the day get to watch a short video in the play room...that's my down time...a cup of chai and a quiet break.)

*Listen to classical music as you fold laundry, drive, or make dinner.  (I like to listen to a bluegrass-ish hammered dulcimer cd in the kitchen when I'm making dinner.)

*Take deep breaths through your nose.  Exhale.  (I have to do that a lot throughout the day.  *wink*)

*Hug someone.  If no one's around, hug the dog.  Or yourself.  (There's always someone around to hug in this house!  Nice problem to have!!)

*Stretch!  Lie on the floor on your back, scoot your bottom as close to the wall as you can, and put your legs straight up in the air, touching the wall.  Let your arms rest however feels most comfortable, and relax there for a couple of minutes. (I do something similar before bed, except I put my feet up on the side of the bed.  Works wonders and I feel better and ready for sleep!)

* * * 

"Then you will call, and the Lord will answer;  You will cry, and He will say, "Here I am." ... And if you give yourself to the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, then your light will rise in darkness and your gloom will become like midday.  And the Lord will continually guide you, and satisfy your desire in scorched places, and give strength to your bones; and you will be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water whose waters do not fail."  Isaiah 58:9-11

March 9, 2011

Weight Loss Wednesday ... sort of

Think of today's tip as a health tip. I recently heard about a wonderful little spice that has so many health benefits.  It's an anti-inflammatory, natural liver detoxifier, may help skin conditions, and even fight cancer. It's Turmeric. Turmeric is an herbaceous perennial of the ginger family.  It's usually used in South Asian and Middle Eastern cooking.  Read more HERE and  HERE

photo credit: healthjockey.com

Want to use turmeric but don't know what to do?  It's real easy.  Place equal parts ground turmeric, ground black pepper, and garlic salt in a shaker.  Shake well over washed and cut-up vegetables.  Roast in a greased pan (use olive oil or canola oil) approximately 20 minutes (mixing around half way) in a 400 degree oven and enjoy!

March 8, 2011

Giveaway!

I promised if the Facebook fan count got to 600 that I'd have another fun giveaway!  Sunday evening we hit the goal!  Ya'll rock!

So to show my appreciation I have a fun giveaway from my friend Brenda.  She creates beautiful jewelry and sells it on an Etsy site.  




Here's the scoop.  

Go visit Brenda's page HERE, come back and 
leave a comment with your favorite piece in her collection. (One entry)
(While your at it order something for your mom!  
Mother's Day will be here before you know it! *wink*)

Share the link for this giveaway on Facebook and leave a separate comment telling me so. (Another entry)

Blog about this on your own site...leave the web addy in a separate comment.
(Another entry)


Winner will receive a $10 gift toward Brenda's collection.*
There are some beautiful pieces that you could get for free!  
Plus Brenda has FREE SHIPPING!
 
* * *

Giveaway starts NOW and 
ends Thursday, March 10th at 12:00 (midnight).

 *Open for contiguous U.S. only.

March 7, 2011

Spring Cleaning: Week 3

Welcome to week three!  If you're starting now don't worry.  Go back and begin with week one and go from there.  Accomplish what you can. (I'm a bit behind myself so I'm catching up a bit this week.)

Tackle the chores a bit at a time...like doing all closets on the list at one time, all ceiling fans on the list at one time, etc.  Break it up into doable lists. Go through and decide what you need to get done this week and divide it up into however many days this week you have time.  A lot of the items on the list are done on a regular basis on the Motivated Mom's Planner.  If you've been keeping up with that then you don't have to do as much. *wink*  Go HERE to order the planner.  It's only $8!

I have the entire five week Spring Cleaning Check-List over HERE for you to print out.
I'll go through the list and share ideas for this week's chores...
Living Room

    declutter room & closets (armoire, etc.) -- use 3 trash bags to divide up clutter (trash, donate, keep) and work around the room clockwise from the door

 clean ceiling fan  -- if your ceiling fan is really dusty then you may want to use the hose from your vacuum to suck off  excess dust before you use a damp rag (I save old towels and dish rags as they get unsightly from the kitchen and bathrooms cut them up to usable sizes)

 wash quilts/throw (store for fall ...assuming it's warm enough where you are.  It just snowed the other day so they won't be packed away just yet.) -- air dry your quilts and throws outside if it's a nice day

 vacuum corners/ceiling -- work from top to bottom

 vacuum valances -- (wash if needed)
  
   clean light and ceiling fan

   vacuum lamp shades 

 clean off and dust or vacuum furniture

 vacuum under furniture and baseboards

   organize cd's and videos

   sort through books and magazines
  
 wash windows -- I use either the blue ammonia product or vinegar and water in a spray bottle.  I like to spray the window, wipe the window with crumpled up newspaper to loosen the dirt then wipe with a sheet of paper towel, then spray again and use a squeegee as a final non-streak step.  It really doesn't take as long as it seems and it has quite the nice result.

    vacuum floor 

  wash marks from walls -- You can use either a Magic Eraser or some baking soda/water paste on a dampened rag to wipe away difficult marks.  Be sure to follow after with a clean damp rag...both processes leave a residue.
Kitchen

  declutter room -- use 3 trash bags to divide up clutter (trash, donate, keep) and work around the room clockwise from the door
  declutter counters -- wipe down everything with a warm damp rag
  clean light and ceiling fan

  vacuum corners and ceiling

  vacuum valances  --  (wash if needed)

  wash cupboards

  wipe down appliances

  clean the top of the refrigerator

  clean out the refrigerator and wash

  clean mixer and other counter top appliances

  clean and organize cupboards (break this down however you need to) 

  clean and organize drawers (you have my permission to skip the junk drawer *wink*)

  clean the top and inside of microwave

  clean and organize shelves

  wash trim and walls -- Use either a Magic Eraser or some baking soda/water paste on a dampened rag to wipe away difficult marks.  Be sure to follow after with a clean damp rag...both processes leave a residue.

  sweep and scrub the floor  -- Use a rag, an old toothbrush, a bowl of steaming hot water, and some elbow grease.

  wash windows -- I use either the blue ammonia product or vinegar and water in a spray bottle.  I like to spray the window, wipe the window with crumpled up newspaper to loosen the dirt then wipe with a sheet of paper towel, then spray again and use a squeegee as a final non-streak step.  It really doesn't take as long as it seems and it has quite the nice result. (Don't forget to take the screens out and give them a good scrub.  You may have to wait for a really nice day to take them outside or if they are small enough they can bathe in the tub. )



This post is part of Homestead Barn Hop.



March 4, 2011

Birthday Fun!

This little lady is turning 7 this weekend. 


We're busy prepping for a party...


...and lovin' on her.



Where has the time gone?

Happy Birthday Lydia Grace!!
 

I'll be back Monday with a yummy recipe!

March 3, 2011

Queen of the Castle: Week 8

We're back near the beginning of the book.  We started on week 17 of Queen of the Castle: 52 weeks of encouragement for the uninspired, domestically challenged or just plain tired homemaker HERE (in April of 2010).

This week's chapter is "Pray First, Act Later".  How many of us have days that we don't begin with seeking the Lord and His will?  *guiltily raises hand*  Those days don't turn out to be much do they?  Maybe we have a bad day, kids are fighting, and it really gets to us.  If we look back at those days odds are they weren't started with Him. I know.  I've been there.  Psalm 5: 3 says "In the morning, LORD, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait expectantly."  Amazing, isn't it? There's something like a new morning and meeting with Him first.

When we pray what do we pray about?  Do we lay at His feet the prayers for others and ask for the His guidance for our own lives?  We need to be sure we spend time with Him.  Not just asking, but having a conversation in our hearts with him.  Listening for His guidance.

Here are some ideas (some Lynn, the author, and some mine) to get your day going in prayer...

*Relax.  Take a deep breath in through your nose for four counts and then out through your mouth for four counts.  In those breaths prepare your heart for the awareness of God's presence before you begin.

*Think of J.O.Y....thank Him for Jesus, for your salvation!  Praise Him!  While you're at it thank Him for whatever you want!  Pray for Others; your family, friends, coworkers, a prayer chain request.  Pray for You; what do you need His guidance for today?  Do you need to know what to do with your day, or with a certain situation?  Do you need to ask him Him to help you have patience and strength to be teacher, nurse, judge, referee, and friend to those babes he has given to you?  *wholeheartedly raising both hands!*

*If you don't know what to say try grabbing a hymnal and singing praises.  If you have your quiet time in the morning before the family's awake you might want to pick a soft, soothing hymn compared to a more boisterous one.  *wink*

*Try keeping a prayer journal.  Just a simple dollar store spiral notebook with a list of what or who you are praying for and the date.  Over time you can look back and be thankful for prayers that have been answered or be reminded to pray for something that has slipped your mind.

* * * 

"Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need."  Hebrews 4:16

Dr. Seuss Giveaway Winner...

The winning comment number, drawn by random.org, is number #5,  "Jenna Z." come on down and claim your prize!  Actually just e-mail me at carmen (at) christian (dot) net with your name and mailing address!


Thanks to all who entered and shared your favorite 
Dr. Seuss book with us!  

March 2, 2011

A Dr. Seuss Giveaway!!

Instead of Weight Loss Wednesday we're doing something fun!  Oh come on.  You know weight loss is not fun at. all!  *wink*  So...

I would like to wish a very HAPPY BIRTHDAY! to  
Theodor Seuss Geisel. 
Otherwise known as Dr. Seuss! 


Dr. Seuss's ABC
 is one of my favorite books!  


This is one of my favorite because I have so many wonderful memories reading this to our children!  We have read it to all of our children so much that we're on our third dilapidated copy!  I can almost (almost!) say it from memory!  Love. It.!!! 

I love it soooo much that I'm going to give a copy of it away!  
(Not my copy...a new one!  *wink*)


Contest is now closed.  Congratulations to our winner, Jenna Z.!!




And...no, this isn't the "600th "fan" on FB giveaway"...we're still working on that. *hint*  This is spur of the moment...off the cuff!  

To make things simple just share what your favorite Dr. Seuss book is (and why!) and of course your name
(something distinctive like "Carmen with 7 kiddos from Northern Indiana").  

(Of course I would be grateful if you shared this giveaway with a friend or even blogged about it! -- There's even a little Facebook button on the bottom of this post just above where it says "comments"...in just a couple clicks you can share it on FB!)

(Each entry receives an ordinal number.  A number is chosen by the number generator at Random.org.)
 * * *
Contest starts now and ends at midnight TONIGHT! (EST)

So...what's your favorite?

March 1, 2011

Kitchen Tip Tuesday: Kitchen Helpers

Let the kiddos help out in the kitchen!* 

Little ones (ages 2-5) can scrub veggies, pass out napkins, help set the table.  


Older kiddos (ages 6-9) can help measure, shred (carefully!), stir, crack eggs, and oversee the littlest ones in their preparations.  



The oldest ones (ages 10 and up) can chop, read a recipe, prepare a dish by themselves, help with meal planning and even help with grocery shopping.  Help the older ones see the importance of unit pricing, buying in bulk, shopping sales and using coupons.  


It may be difficult and even stressful at first but after a while it will be such a blessing!  Meals and memories will be made.

The kitchen is the heart of the home!


*These are all guidelines and should be to the parent's discretion.
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