The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases
His mercies never come to and end...

Monday, May 30, 2011

Anniversary Week at Raising Homemakers

I've been following Raising Homemakers from the beginning, and this week they are celebrating their first anniversary.

Raising Homemakers is just as the title suggests, it's about equipping mothers to raise up their daughters in the call of homemaking.  It can be a challenging job, but the most rewarding as well.  RH gives you the encouragment you need to help fulfill this calling.

Take time to visit the Raising Homemakers site this week, they are having a lot of great give-aways this week.  Today's give-away is for the complete set of Sally Clarkson's books-  WOW, what a give-away!!

So, go- check it out, you'll be glad you did!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

The Modesty Quest- Revelations.

It's been about a month since I started this modesty quest and I've learned a lot about myself in this time.  That sounds a bit cliche, but it's true. 

I've realized that this is just as much of an issue of femininity as it is modesty for me.  I've come to realize that the main reason that I started thinking about my wardrobe in the first place was because my clothing choices weren't always feminine. 

I lived in sweat pants and t-shirts when I first got married, that changed about 7 years ago when my husband mentioned something about my 'ratty old sweats'.  I felt convicted by my choice of sweat pants, so I got rid of them.  But my clothing choices were still on the unfeminine side- jeans, t-shirts, tennis shoes, etc.  This is really the reason that my quest was started, I was feeling that same conviction that I had over the sweat pants as I was having now with the unfeminine clothes. 

Since I began this quest I've made it a point to dress in a prettier and more feminine way, whether it was a skirt or pants that I was wearing.  I have been wearing more skirts, and I did get rid of most of my jeans during the past month, but I've realized that "only skirts" is not the main issue for me.  I have one pair of jeans left and two pairs of pants, none are tight-fitting, and I truly did not feel led to get rid of these last three.   In this past month I've become more comfortable wearing skirts more often, I don't feel as awkward wearing a skirt during the week as I had in the beginning of this quest.  My family doesn't find it odd either, early on in this quest I was asked all the time, "mom, why are you wearing a skirt?", or "mom, where are you going?".  Now it is more common to see me in a skirt and they don't find it so strange.  Actually my 8 year old daughter has been wearing her skirts more often too, she likes "looking nice"- as she puts it. 

I feel blessed that the Lord saw fit to put me on this journey, I have realized many things during this past month, and I'm sure there is still much more to learn.  The main question I have asked myself during this past month is this:

"Is the Lord pleased with my choice of outfit?" 

If I have no reservations in that question then I feel confident that I have made a good choice, whether a skirt, a dress, or a pair of pants.  In the past month I have felt convicted, on more than one occasion, in a particular outfit and I felt it was the Lord telling me I needed to change into something more modest, more feminine, or both. 

 The Lord has been speaking to my heart, and He can do the same with yours if you'll allow Him to. 

Let's allow the Lord to speak to our hearts about everything, including our wardrobe.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Morning Sickness that lasts ALL day!

Happy Friday everyone!  I've not been around so much lately but I thought I'd do a quick post since I have a few minutes.  We found out that we are expecting our fifth baby!  This is so exciting for us and we can't wait to meet the new little one in January.  After I had my fourth baby 3 years ago we weren't sure if we would have anymore children.  I knew I was up to having more if the Lord wanted us to, but my husband was quite happy with our four.  I knew I would never try to talk him into having another one, I wanted it to be something that he truly wanted as well, so I started praying about a year ago that the Lord would change his heart about having more.  The Lord answered my prayers!  About 4 months ago my dear husband told me that he would like to have another baby, oh happy day!  Just about 2 weeks ago we took the test and it was postivie, we feel so blessed! 

Almost exactly a week after I took the test I started having morning sickness, unfortunately my morning sickness lasts all day.  A few times throughout the day I feel pretty good, but then without warning it starts back up again.  I'm unable to just lay down all day to help me feel better, there is still a house to run. 

My question for you ladies is this:  What has helped you with morning sickness?

I'm sure you all have some good advice that you can share, I'm looking forward to hearing what has helped for you.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Take the weight off- Declutter!

I like to say that I'm a reformed pack rat.  I used to hang on to everything, I just couldn't throw something away if it was in perfectly good condition, and my fear of giving it away was that if I needed it again later then I would have to buy another one.  So everything that came into our house, stayed in our house!  This did not leave things looking very neat and tidy, and even though I would clean the house it would still look messy because of the amount of stuff that we had accumulated. 

Before we put our house up for sale I knew I needed to change my pack-rat ways.  There were times I just felt closed in while in my home.  I didn't want to create that kind of atmosphere in my home, I wanted a place where a person felt comfortable and welcome.  I wanted a safe haven for my family, and I wasn't creating that type of atmosphere with all the stuff.  Something had to be done, and I knew what the answer was, it was time to de-clutter.  At first it was difficult for me to let go of things, but I realized that I'd much rather have a restful and peaceful home without all the stuff, then a house packed full of unnecessary items.  Once I started getting rid of things I started feeling better, I felt lighter in a way.  I felt like a weight was being lifted off my shoulders.  Mostly I gave the stuff away to Goodwill and The Salvation Army, other stuff I packed up and took down to our local consignment store, and there was a few things we just decided to throw out- and that was okay.  In the end I knew it was okay to throw some things out, it made for a more peaceful home when the clutter and stuff was gone.  

I noticed a big difference throughout the house, I realized I didn't need every nook and cranny filled.  I didn't need every shelf or counter full of stuff.  I realized that I could put some decorations away and switch them out every now and then.  It was a good feeling walking through the house and seeing free space here and there.  My house seems cleaner now too, it's funny how "stuff" came make a house look messy and dirty, even when it's not.  It's the perception it gives.  My kitchen was the biggest change of all.  I put away a lot of little appliances that I don't use every day, they're stored in a cupboard until I need one.  I still have the same size kitchen, but it looks so much bigger now, all because I de-cluttered!

I encourage you ladies to take a walk through your homes, look at all the stuff you have and make a decision if you really need it all, or if it's possible to get rid of some of it.  It really is such a simple thing to do, it doesn't cost any money, and it can make your home seem so much more calm.  At least it did mine.

Friday, May 20, 2011

The Modesty Quest, pt 3. Keeping Warm!

Another bitterly cold morning in these parts, oh how I long for warmer weather!  Until then I am given the opportunity to learn different ways to keep warm while wearing a skirt.  

I have to confess that this morning after rising early to exercise, having my quiet time, and getting ready for the day that I was still so cold that I chose to put on a pair of jeans with knee-high socks, a tank top, a long sleeved shirt, and a sweater.  I had looked outside as the wind was blowing and knew that heading out to the bus stop was going to be very trying, so I opted for the jeans.  After the bus stop I came inside, warmed myself with a cup of coffee, then headed to my closet to change clothes.  I've been wearing skirts most days, but changing into them after the early morning coldness wears off a bit. 

You gals have shared some really great ideas in keeping warm, so thank you!

What I now have in my wardrobe to try to keep warm are these items:
     * nylons (I only wear these to go to church)
     * microfiber tights (ivory, black, and brown pairs)
     * microfiber thigh-high tights
     * knee-high socks
     * thin pair of long johns

Like I said, I only wear the nylons when I am going to church, they are just so uncomfortable on my legs for any length of time (over 3 hours), they make my legs sort of itchy.

The microfiber tights are a little better than the nylons, but they usually start getting uncomfortable if I've worn them for over 6 hours or so.

The long johns are nice and thin but seem awkward to wear under a skirt, at least a skirt with any sort of slit or kick pleat, because then the long johns are noticeable.  I am however going to try these with a pair of knee-high socks to cover them up a bit on the next morning that is bitterly cold.

The knee-high socks are the most comfortable, I found them at Target for only $1 each!  The only problem is that I can't figure out which shoes to wear with them, they are too thick for a pair of ballet flats, and look funny with any of my other shoes, plus there is a design on them which makes it harder to match with a pair of shoes.  Any ideas?

This morning I put on the thigh-high stockings/tights that I had yet to try.  I found them at Kohl's for under $5 and I was really excited to try them out.  I figured that they would keep me warmer since they go up to my thighs, however they were so uncomfortable that I couldn't wear them as thigh-highs.  They rolled at the top which made it feel like they were digging into my legs.  I could only wear them as thigh-highs for about 5 minutes!  I decided to keep them on but push them down so they were right above my knees, that helped alot!  But throughout the day they would slide down on their own, landing just below my knees, so every couple hours I had to pull them back up to above my knees. 

I think I'll look for some solid colored knee-high stockings/tights instead.  I also wish I could find the kind of tights they make for little girls, the cable knit type.  Those seem thicker like socks, and more comfortabe then the microfiber tights. 

I feel like since I started this journey that I've accomplished a lot, at least in my own mind I have.  :)  I am actually looking forward to the next cold morning so that I can try a different appoach in keeping warm.  I know I just need to try some different things until I find something what works for me.

Thanks again for your input, it's really so much appreciated!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Chicken Pot Pie- Talk about YUMMY!

Country cookin' at it's finest!  That's what I'm going to share today.

I was given Ree Drummond's book "The Pioneer Woman Cooks" a few months ago from my mom.  I had a little collection of cookbooks already, but this book fit me right to a T!  Under the title of the book it reads, "recipes from an accidental country girl".  That was me!  Maybe not the 'accidental' part, but the 'country girl' was all me! 

I am all about comfort food, I could eat a casserole just about everyday and be happy about it.  As I started leafing through the pages of the book I saw recipe after recipe that I couldn't wait to try, the first being Leftover Turkey Pot Pie.  I didn't have any leftover turkey, but I had some chicken and I couldn't wait to try the recipe. 
Let me tell ya- this recipe is to die for!  It is creamy, filling, and most of all TASTY! 

Oh and by the way, the book is more than just a cookbook.  Ree tells about her life, how she met her husband, and how much she loves country life (being a city girl).  I would recommend the book, for the yummy recipes and the story that is woven throughout. 
Okay, so on to the recipe. 

Chicken Pot Pie  (picture from Ree's cookbook)
1 pie crust (she also has an amazing pie crust recipe that you can freeze and take out as needed)
1/2 stick butter
1/2 cup finely diced onion
1/2 cup finely diced carrot
1/2 cup finely diced celery
2 cups chopped, or shredded chicken
1/4 cup flour
2 cups low-sodium chicken or turkey broth
1 cup heavy cream
Frozen peas (optional)
Fresh thyme, chopped
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Melt butter in a skillet or dutch oven. Add onion, carrots, and celery, and cook until translucent (a couple of minutes.)
Add chicken and stir. Sprinkle flour over mixture and stir. Cook over medium heat for a couple of minutes, stirring constantly.
Pour in chicken or turkey broth, stirring constantly. Pour in cream. (May add frozen peas at this point if you’d like.)
Bring to a slow boil and allow mixture to cook and thicken for a few minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste (do not underseason), and fresh or dried thyme to taste. Do one final taste at the end and add what it needs.
Pour mixture into a casserole dish or deep pie pan.
Roll out crust so that it’s about 1 inch larger than the pan you’re using.
Place the crust on top of the pot pie mixture, and press crust into the sides of the dish. Cut vents in the top of the crust.

Bake for 30 minutes or until very golden and bubbly.
Allow to cool for a little bit before serving.

I'm telling you ladies- you've got to try this recipe!  This is country cookin' at it's finest!


Saturday, May 14, 2011

The Apron Experiment

I love old pictures of 50's housewives.  The pictures show happy families with simple homes, children playing happily together, the husband looking pleased as punch with his surroundings, and the wife looking lovely in an apron.  Oh I know they are just pictures, but I do believe times were simpler back then, and there was a peace and joy that quite a lot of families are missing these days.  I don't think joyful looking women donning lovely aprons should be a thing of the past either. 

I was given my first pretty apron for Christmas about 4 years ago by my husband.  I had mentioned to him that I loved the aprons that were in our church kitchen, made by a lady at our church.  They were pretty and old-fashioned looking, and I adored them.  Well, my husband remembered that I had mentioned them and he had the lady at church make me one for Christmas.  I would wear my apron quite often, putting it on in the morning and usually keeping it on most of the day.  A funny thing happened when I would wear my pretty apron- I wasn't lazy!   Wearing an apron changed something in me, I wasn't happy to just sit around the house, I wanted to get up and do something, and I wouldn't do it grumpily- I would work happily.  That pretty apron made me into a hard-working housewife, I wasn't satisfied being idle.

Proverbs 31:27 say, "She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness."

This verse is such a great reminder for us, isn't it?  God is the one who made the change in me, not the apron.  But the apron sure helped me remember that I could be a happy housewife, serving my family with joy, all the while wearing a lovely apron.  Since then I have begun a collection of vintage aprons, a few I've found myself on ebay, and the rest my mom has bought for me at an antique store.  They're all different and unique- different colors and different styles, and I love each one of them! 

I've begun an apron experiment, to wear an apron each day for a month.  For awhile I had stopped wearing them, I had put them all away in a drawer instead of hanging on a hook where I used to have them, and without seeing them hanging there I would easily forget about wearing one.  Just this last week I pulled out my aprons and began wearing them again, and again I noticed a change in how I worked around the house.
I've decided to do an apron experiment, to wear an apron for the next 30 days, would you like to join me?  It doesn't even have to be a pretty apron, any apron will do, so what do you say?  Let's put Proverbs 31:27 into action!

Simple Homemaking Link-up at Raising Arrows!                     

Titus 2sday Link-up at Time-Warp Wife!

Friday, May 13, 2011

The Modesty Quest, pt 2. What does the Bible say?

Since I posted last on my modesty quest I’ve received a lot of really great feedback and comments. The coldness issue is one I’m not alone in, and I was given some great ideas to stay warmer while wearing skirts. I’m really excited for the journey that the Lord has sent me on, and there’s so much on my mind regarding modesty and femininity, but I need to start at the top- the top being the Word of God.
In this post I’m going to be talking about what the Bible says about women’s clothing, because what we base our decisions on, whether about our clothing or otherwise, has to come from God’s Word.
I pulled out our concordance and looked up some words related to clothing, the words I looked up were:
Attire, clothing, adorn, woman, prudent, virtuous, and pertaineth.
So I'm going to start with a few verses that really stood out to me.

The first verse I’m going to start with is probably not what you would expect, the passage is in Proverbs chapter 7 and it is a warning for men to keep from the strange woman, this woman being a harlot. Verse 10 and 11 says: “And, behold, there met him a woman with the attire of an harlot, and subtil of heart. She is loud and stubborn; her feet abide not in her house.”
So, in this verse it states that there is a certain attire of a harlot, it doesn’t exactly say what that is, but we can get a pretty good idea that it was not good and not pleasing to the Lord. I’m sure it was seductive, slinky, and revealing- something that would catch the eye of a man and cause him to sin. This attire was something she had planned well in advance, to lure the eyes of men. So we may not know what her clothing looked like but we know what her attitude and intentions were like. We, as godly women need to be the exact opposite of this woman. We should not be clothed in a way that lures the eyes of men around us, we should not intentionally put on something form-fitting and tight that would cause a man to look upon us and sin in his heart. Our clothing should not be revealing or slinky, like that of a harlot. When we get dressed in the morning we ought to be intentional in the way we dress, we should intentionally dress in a way that the Lord would be pleased with, not that men would be pleased with. There will be times that men will look no matter what, but what they ought to see is a modestly dressed female, not a female intentionally trying to get another man's attention. This is something that we need to be careful of, the Bible calls it 'taking heed unto yourselves'.

Moving on now to what we should dress like, in other words, how we adorn ourselves. This particular passage is one I’m sure you are familiar with. In 1 Timothy 2 :9 & 10 the Bible says: “In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array; But (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works.”
We are to adorn ourselves in a modest way, and what is a modest way? Well, it says “with shamefacedness and sobriety”. Shamefacedness means ‘great modesty, bashfulness, or shyness’. And sobriety means ‘seriousness’. We aren’t to be wild and crazy with our clothes, and I’m sure that this probably isn’t the case with most, but we also shouldn’t want to draw attention to ourselves in the way we dress, as if dressing in a wild and crazy way. Our clothes shouldn’t be attention-getters, but what should be an attention-getter? Well, I’ll move on to the next verse, another familiar one that will answer that question. 1 Peter 3:3 says, “Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.”  So a meek and quiet spirit is the ornament, or appearance that is most important. This is what should get the attention of others, this is what we should be known for, not the clothing and attire we wear. If your clothing choices are getting the attention of another man, besides your husband, then you need to take heed. We should not be out to gain attention of other men, and if our clothing choices cause this then we need to change our clothes.

Just about everyone has read the second chapter of Titus, speaking of the aged women and the young women. The aged women should “be in behaviour as becometh holiness” . How often, when we choose our clothes, do we ask ourselves if our clothing becometh holiness? This should be a question we ask ourselves each day. The young women should be “discreet and chaste”, again, is this a way we dress- in a discreet and chaste way? Not flashy and not revealing, but in a way that will bring honor and glory to God. These were commands to women, to godly women like ourselves. If our hearts are where they should be, then our clothing choices will fall in line with this particular passage of scripture.

I want to bring up another verse that I have been thinking about quite frequently, this passage of scripture is in regards to what pertaineth to a man, and what pertaineth to a woman. Deuteronomy 22:5 says, “The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman’s garment: for all that do so are abomination unto the Lord thy God.”
This is the biggie, isn’t it? That which pertaineth, or that which is associated with. If there is some piece of clothing that is associated towards a man, or you think looks more like a man’s attire rather than a woman’s, then I believe, through what the Bible says, that wearing such clothes is wrong. This is where femininity comes into play, God created women to be women, to be feminine, and not to look like men. We ought to look pretty and feminine, not in a flashy way, but in a godly way. I know what one person considers feminine may not be what another person considers feminine, so like one lady said in the comments, this is a heart issue. If you know that the way you’re dressed is more in line with a man’s attire and yet you still insist on wearing it, then this is an issue with your heart, and not yielding to the Lord’s commands. We should be examining our hearts and dealing with any rebellious attitudes we may have in regards to our clothing. I know with this particular verse that there are a lot of women that consider this a command to only wear skirts, because pants are considered to be a man's attire. I will say this, I have seen alot of jeans or pants that don't look at all feminine, also because the entire outfit is not feminine. I have dressed this way before- faded jeans, t-shirts, tennis shoes, etc. The whole outfit together could be put on a man and look like it came from his closet. Now, on the other hand, I know of godly women who wear nice pants or jeans along with a very pretty and feminine blouse, and there's no mistaking them for a man. I believe this is where the heart issue is most important. You can leave the house in a nice pair of pants and a floral top with a cute pair of ballet flats and look feminine and pretty, not revealing, not scantily clad, not slinky or tight or form-fitting, and I believe you're better off than the woman with the long skirt that is too form-fitting and a blouse that is too flashy that grabs the attention of men. Just because you wear a skirt doesn't make you any more pious than the lady wearing the pants, it's a heart issue. God sees our hearts, whether they be focused on Him, and wanting to please Him, or whether they be focused on showing others that you are a holier-than-thou woman who only wears skirts. Please don't get me wrong, you may be a woman who wears only skirts because that is what the Lord has layed on your heart, and you are not 'holier-than-thou' about it, you mindset is to truly please the Lord in all you do, and that includes your wardrobe. That is where all women ought to be, whether wearing modest pants or modest skirts, we should be only concerned with how the Lord views our hearts.

The virtuous woman in Proverbs 31 knew something about proper attire, “she maketh herself coverings of tapestry; her clothing is silk and purple”. I can only imagine that this was a feminine lady, she was obviously a godly woman who was praised by her husband and children. But the main thing she had right was found in verse 30, “Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the Lord, she shall be praised.” This should be our goal, this should be our attitude, this should be our mark. Her clothing was right because her fear of the Lord was right.

Let’s examine our hearts ladies, and strive to be where the Lord would have us be, including in the way we dress.

Read part One of my modest quest HERE!

and next time...Keeping Warm!   Subscribe to my blog so that you don't miss any posts on this series!  and Follow my blog too!  :)

Homemaking Link-Up at Raising Homemakers!

Thursday, May 12, 2011


Good morning ladies! It's such a beautiful day out my way, the sun is out and the skies are clear. Weather like this has been rare, so I'm going to enjoy it today!

I got up at my regular early time this morning, 5:00am- ugh! I get up at that time to exercise, and when I'm done I always feel so much better! Then I got myself ready, got dressed, hair and makeup, etc. I sat down at my kitchen table and had my quiet time, praying and reading my Bible.

I love how the Lord can fill a person with JOY, even if they don't wake up in the most joyful of moods. I feel joyful and I'm determined to have a joyful day. I'm going to get up and put on one of my pretty aprons, I'll wake up the kids with a little song and hugs & kisses, then I'll make them some nice hot oatmeal with brown sugar and maple syrup- it's one of their favorites! I'll smile at my husband when he gets up (it's his day off today), and be a lovely and joyful housewife today. This is what the Lord intends of me, and I'm happy to do it!

I hope you all have a joyful day as well!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

My Front Porch

Ahhh, the weather is finally warming up around here!  Usually this time of year my lilac bush has bloomed already, not this year, not yet anyway.  But today is a beautiful day, my two younger kids and I worked outside today, and it felt so good!  Yesterday we planted some summer squash in our little raised garden, and today we planted the rest of my flowers I had bought about 4 weeks ago.  They say not to plant anything until the snow is off the hills, but I just couldn't take it anymore- I had to plant them, I hope I don't regret that decision.  :)

I'm going to brag on my husband a bit today, he built me a covered porch about 6 years ago during his paternity leave when I had my second baby, and I just LOVE my front porch.  It's off the front of the house and so we get a magnificent view of Mt. Adams as we're sitting on the front porch.  I wanted an open porch, not something entirely closed in, but I did want one side closed in because of the wind we get out here.  My husband, ever the wise man, added 2 big windows on the one side so that we can still see out the side of the porch.  I love the spring and summer time because we get to enjoy our porch nearly every day.  We recently put our barbeque out on the porch too, so many nights my dear husband will b-b-q for us and we'll enjoy our dinner on the porch.  We also have 2 white rocking chairs out there and many days and evenings we'll just rock in our chairs, enjoying the sound of our kids playing in the front yard.  I just love my front porch! 

I love having a welcoming porch too, a place where you feel like you can sit down with a cold glass of iced tea on a summer day, or a cup of coffee in the evening, a place where you want to sit and stay awhile.  My goal with my front porch is to make it as welcoming as possible.  I've done a few things over the years that have helped with this goal.   Take a look...

The first was to put a wreath on the front door.  I've had the same wreath for about 10 years, and for the first nine of those years (up until this last year), my wreath has looked the same.  It's a grapevine wreath (I bought it at Joann's for about $2.99) and I wrapped a brick red and tan checked ribbon around it, along with some raffia for a country look.  I never thought to change it because I liked it for all these years, well I finally decided to do something a bit different this past year.  I decided to change out the ribbon for the different seasons, but keep the same wreath.  So for Christmas this past year I took off the red and tan checked ribbon, and bought a roll of satiny ivory and red ribbon with gold trim  at the dollar store.  I also bought a Christmas embellishment of evergreen, pine cones, and sparkly red balls to add to the wreath.  So I spent about $3 and I changed the entire look of my old grapevine wreath.  It was beautiful and I loved it, so much that I would occasionally open my door just to look at it!  Once Christmas was over I wondered what I would do with my wreath now, well since Valentine's day was just around the corner I decided to keep the ivory and red ribbon on my wreath, but took the Christmas embellishments off and replaced it will a Valentine's heart garland instead.  On the garland were tiny little hearts, so I just wrapped a piece of the garland around the wreath,  it was beautiful and only cost me $1 for the garland.  Once Valentine's day was over I knew I would need to take down the ivory and red ribbon so I started looking for a new ribbon to replace it.  Well at our local dollar store I found a shimmery teal green/blue ribbon and bow set (about $2.00), I figured this would work just fine for St. Patrick's day and it did.  It was not a bright green, but it did have a greenish color about it.  This ribbon is what I still have on my wreath because it matches my porch perfectly.  My shutters and floor of my porch are a hunter green so the wreath matches well.  In the late spring/early summer I'd like to find a new ribbon, maybe something with some yellows, reds, greens, and blues in it. 
So if you're looking for an inexpensive way to change the look of your porch with the seasons, then why not do what I did with a wreath.  There's no need to change to a new wreath every few months, just the ribbon.  It's quick, easy, and inexpensive!

Would you like to see what I did with that old red and tan checked ribbon?  I re purposed it and added it to a sign I have above my bed, it fit perfect and added a little something special to the sign. 

Here's a few other things I've done with my front porch:
I added a small wind chime by the front door, and the music it makes it soft and lovely!

This sign is above the side windows on the porch, as you're walking up the steps on the porch you're welcomed with this lovely sign.  I found it at Joann's a couple years ago, it was on sale!

This little sign is next to my front door, I bought it at Ross about 5 years ago for just a few bucks, it's pretty faded but I still love it and can't seem to take it down.  Here's what it says:
Bless This House
As we come and go...
Bless Our Home
As the Children Grow...
Bless Our Families
When They Gather In...
Bless This House
With Love and Friends

So sweet, isn't it?

Well I hope you enjoyed this little tour of my front porch, and I hope you got a few inexpensive ideas to make your porch a welcoming place too.

Homemaking Link-Up at Raising Homemakers!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Meal planning doesn't have to be difficult!

Meal planning??  Ugh! 

That was my thought about 6 months ago when I saw an article on the joys of meal planning.  Joy??  In my past experience with meal planning it was anything but joyful.  I'll take you back to the beginning (don't worry it won't take long)  :)

The first time I heard about meal planning I was a younger mom with just 3 kids,  I was no longer working outside the home and we had to make our budget a little lot tighter.  I kept seeing this thing called "meal planning" and how it could save you so much money, so of course I wanted to try it.  Well I suppose I clicked on the wrong article because this particular meal plan was not designed to save you money.  It basically said that you go through your cookbooks, find about 2 weeks of meals, write down all the ingredients you'll need to buy for each meal, go to the grocery store, then voila! When it's time to cook dinner you just take out what you need for that particular day and no more stress about "what am I going to make for dinner?".  Sound easy right?  Wrong!  I did what it said, I went through my cookbooks and found a bunch of new recipes that looked fantastic, made my grocery list, but when I came home from the store I was mortified!  I had spent more for 2 weeks of meals than I usually spent in a month!  So I kicked the idea of "meal planning" out the window!

Now, fast forward about 4 years and here I was again adjusting our budget.  I knew that there must be a way to shrink our grocery budget down, I just wasn't sure how to go about doing it.  Then I saw another article about meal planning and my reaction was: Meal Planning??  Ugh!  But as I read further it became clear to me that there are two forms of meal planning, the cheap way and the expensive way.  The expensive way being that you do what I did all those years earlier, the only reason you're meal planning is to have a written out meal list so that you don't have to worry at 5:00 pm what you're having for dinner.  In this type of meal plan you don't care how much you spend, just as long as you have a dinner plan for each night of the week.  That's not my type of meal planning, I go the inexpensive route, I need to- I am feeding a family of 6 and I can't be frivolous in how I spend my grocery budget. 

Would you like to know how I go about it now?  First I found a great site with the exact Weekly Meal Planner sheet I was looking for.  It didn't include a big list for breakfast or lunch, I didn't need a list like that.  I only wanted a list for dinner, and that's what I use.  I found it at:   It's free and easy to print up, I have my master copy and when I need a new one I just make a copy of the master.  It also has a little corner for a grocery list, which I love. 
Okay, meal planning- the first thing I do (and this is the real money saver), I go through my cupboards, fridge, freezer, etc. and make a list of all the foods I already have on hand- meats and side dishes, etc.  Then I write a list of meals that I can make with the food on hand.  Main dish and 2 side dishes usually.  For example:  I have on hand ground beef, gravy packets, baking potatoes, canned veggies.  So my dinner might be: Salisbury steak, mashed potatoes and gravy, and canned peas. 
As I write down my meals from what I have on hand I am crossing off the list the things I am using in my meals.  Then I see at the end how many more days I need dinners for and I make another list of easy and inexpensive meals.  For example, if I have spaghetti noodles but no sauce then I'll plan on buying a can of sauce and a bag of salad for an easy meal.  For spaghetti nights I usually make my own cheesy bread to add as another side dish. 

And that's about it, if I do meal planning this way it saves me a whole lot of money, and actually it's pretty easy and simple, and dare I say, fun??  Well, maybe not fun, but in a way it is enjoyable because I know I am saving money and I know that the stress is still out of it, no more 5:00 pm "I don't know what we having for dinner".

I hope this helps you in your future meal planning!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Games for the whole family (young kids included)

We are a game-playing family.
   I can remember having family get-togethers when I was younger, where we would all stay up late playing games and having fun together as a family.  Now that I have my own family I want to instill in my own kids a love of games, a time that we can turn the TV off and spend the evening at the kitchen table with a board game in front of us, enjoying each others company.

Since our kids range from 3-8 it can be hard at times to find a game we can all play together as a family.  Most games are just right for the older ones, but too difficult for the younger ones, and vice versa.  But, I have happy news for you...
For those of you in the same situation, wanting a couple of games the whole family can enjoy, I'll tell you two games that our family plays all the time.

The first is Handy Manny Picture Find Game.  This is a little like a memory game, but the point is to get around the board and back to your space before anyone else.  Along the way you have to find the correct match from the middle of the board.  My whole family can play this game, adults included!  My 3 year old loves this game and actually beats me most of the time.  My husband and I can play with the kids and have fun ourselves, and my older kids don't think of this as a "baby game".  I definitely suggest this game for the whole family.

The other game that is a big hit at our house is Toy Story Yahtzee.  Basically it's pretty similar to regular Yahtzee but with pictures on the dice instead of numbers.  On your turn you get 3 rolls to get as close to 5 of the same picture as possible.  But watch out for Lotso, if you roll him it makes that dice "dead" for the rest of your turn.  Again, this is super easy for all ages, but there's competition involved so the older ones have fun playing too.

So, if you are wanting to have a family game night, a time away from the TV, where you are connecting with your kids and having fun with ALL of them at the same time, then you ought to look into these two games I've suggested.

  Have fun playing games with those kiddos!


Friday, May 6, 2011

My Modesty Quest

I love wearing skirts on a warm summer day!  There's just something about wearing a light, flowey skirt when the weather is warm, and actually I think a skirt is more comfortable than any type of shorts or capris. 

But when the weather is cold you'll find me in my jeans or pants, usually with a pair of long john's underneath, as is the case right now.  I am cold by nature.  What I usually wear to bed is a pair of pajama pants and a long sleeved shirt, that's just how I am. 

Recently though, the Lord has been doing a work in my heart, as far as my wardrobe is concerned.  I'm not sure why it's been in my head to start wearing skirts more often.  There's not been any big changes in my life to make me want to wear skirts more, I didn't just start going to a new church that preaches strongly on just skirts/dresses, my husband hasn't mentioned anything to me about my wardrobe either.  So the only thing I can think of, is that it's the Lord who's been making a change in my heart. 
I'm not opposed to just skirts or dresses, but it is something that is a bit of a struggle for me, because like I said, when I'm cold a skirt just doesn't seem to keep me warm enough. 

I am drawn to the idea of wearing skirts more often because I do believe that if our walk with the Lord is where it should be, then it will show in the way we dress.  I want to give God my best because He gave me His best in His Son, Jesus Christ.  I want to look nice for God, whether it's on a Sunday or any other day.  I also want to look nice for my husband, it's a sign of respect for our husbands if we make ourselves pretty and attractive on the outside.  Now, don't get me wrong I know what 1 Peter says, that a meek and quiet spirit is of great price in the sight of God, more important than our outward adorning.  And if we are thinking more about our clothes than we are about God then there is something wrong.  But like I said, our appearance can be evidence to how our walk is going.  I suppose that is why I'm on this quest, if you will, regarding my wardrobe.  I want to give God my best in everything, and that includes the way I dress, and lately it just doesn't seem that a t-shirt and jeans is the best I can give.

In this quest I've begun I will be searching the scriptures in regards to a women's appearance and wardrobe, I'll be praying and asking the Lord to reveal His plan for me, I will also be looking into what other women do to keep warm in skirts, I'd also like to start "practicing" wearing skirts more often- setting aside another day or two of just skirts, and I'll be looking into how I can still look pretty and fashionable and not frumpy while wearing skirts. 

If you'd like to follow along with me in my modesty quest then just subscribe by email to my blog so you won't miss any of my modesty posts.  And leave a comment, let me know what you think!

Read part two of my modesty quest HERE!

Nature's beverage

"But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life."  John 4:14

I love this passage of scripture speaking about the woman at the well.  Just like the woman, we are all sinners who need a Saviour.  God knows everything about us, there is nothing we can hide from Him.  And once we are saved we ought to be excited to witness to others about what God has done for us.  After speaking to Jesus, she ran back home and told the others: "Come, see a man", we can do the same thing, we can be a witness of the Living Water! 

And speaking of water...I remember as a child hardly ever drinking soda pop. My parents very rarely ever bought it when we were younger, and it was the same thing for my husband as he was growing up. As we grew older I remember that my mom or dad might bring home a 6-pack of soda once every now and then, but by that time I didn't want it. To this day I still don't like the taste of coke or pepsi, every now and then I'll have a 7-up, but I'd much rather drink water, juice or milk. I attribute this to being raised on these drinks. We don't usually buy soda pop here at our house unless we are having company, or I'll buy some diet cokes for my husband if they're on sale- as a special treat for him.
My kids are water-drinkers, and I'm so thankful for that.  They don't usually drink any soda pop and I don't usually buy drink boxes, but I know they like to carry around drinks like they see others do. So, when my husband and I were doing some Christmas shopping this past year we saw some small kids sized water bottles that we thought would be perfect for our four kids. The lids unscrew for easy filling but to take a drink they only have to pull up the top and then push it back down when done. I think we only paid about $1.50 for each one and they love them! They each have their own color top so they don't get mixed up either. If we are going out and we know the kids will need something to drink later on then we take their water bottles out of the fridge. When they ask for a drink I remind them to get their water bottle from the fridge, the water is always cold!
The small size and convenience of these water bottles are perfect, and not to mention- the water is so much better for them than soda pop and sugary juices.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Under His Wings

Under His Wings

My way was filled with danger,
I felt alone.
The enemy had singled me out to do me wrong,
And when he drew near my heart filled with fear,
Then I heard Someone dear calling me to His side.
And I ran under His wings,
There He covered me and now I can sing.
And the enemy still looks for me,
But what he can’t see is that I’m under my Lord’s wings.
Under His wings.

Thunder roll, dark clouds hung low,
I was out in a storm.
Shivering in the coldness there,
no safe retreat from harm.
And there blew strong winds,
Would this be my end?
Then I heard my Friend calling me to His side.
And I ran under His wings,
There He covered me and now I can sing.
And the storm still rages but in the Rock of Ages
I’m nesting warmly here under my Lord’s wings.
Under his wings.
And there He covered me and now I can sing.

Under His wings, under His wings,
Who from His love can sever?
Under his wings, my soul shall abide,
Safely abide forever.

Monday, May 2, 2011

The Super Spud!

Oh, how I love potatoes!  No seriously, I love potatoes!  Ok, maybe not more than my husband and kids, but potatoes are pretty great, aren't they??

The reason I love them so much is because they are such a simple food that you can make into a variety of ways.  What other food can you say that about?  And what's even better is that they are so incredibly cheap!  I mean, you can buy a 15 pound bag of potatoes for under $3 most of the time. 

My love for potatoes came to light when we were serious about cutting our grocery budget a few years back.  I realized that the bag of instant potatoes that cost me $1.49 was not that great of a deal when I needed at least 2 to feed my family for one meal.  Then...voila!  The Potato!  Oh, I had heard about this vegetable before, but now it all became clear to me- I could actually make more mashed potatoes for less money by buying them in the produce aisle! 

Since then I've realized just how much you can do with just a simple spud.  Mashed potatoes and gravy, sour cream and cheese mashed potatoes (no gravy needed for these yummy things), fried potatoes for breakfast, fried potatoes and ground beef for dinner, french fries in the oven (much healthier too), potato salad, etc.

The great thing I realized in all this is that cooking potatoes from scratch is pretty simple, no packages needed to make an easy meal.  It's the simple things in life that make me happy!  Really, cooking from scratch is how cooking used to be done, and is something that can bring you back to the simpler days. 

Enjoy those spuds ladies!

Tea Party Game Ideas

Do you know how challenging it can be to find games for a Ladies Tea Party?? 

For the past few years I've been put in charge of games for our annual Ladies Tea at church, and I've been pretty successful in finding games online. 

However, this year was another story! 

I searched and searched for over an hour and was unable to find anything suitable for our ladies.  Oh, I found games, but either they seemed a little, ah...boring, or they seemed a little too crazy (running around and such).  So in the end I just decided to make up my own.  I figure I may not be the only lady out there who has this problem, so I decided to share these ideas with you and hopefully you'll be able to use some yourself. 

In this list I've put down all the games I can think of, games that I've used in years past as well.  Hope it helps in your search.

1.  Name That Beverage-  (since this is used at a tea party, and beverages are the main menu item)
This game is one that the ladies can all sit down and play.  You just have to say a description of the beverage and the first to yell out the right answer gets a point. 
a.  comes from a cow  (milk)
b.  summertime drink  (lemonade)
c.  what we're drinking now  (tea)
d.  what you need in the morning  (coffee)
e.  a kids drink that comes in little packets  (kool-aid)
f.  the most popular soda pop  (coca-cola)
g.  comes from nature  (water)
h.  an energy drink  (red bull)
i.  this drink has a number in the name  (7-up)
j.  moms give this drink to sick children  (ginger ale)
k.  you can make floats with this  (root beer)
l.  coca-cola's competitor  (pepsi)
m.  the official drink of astronauts  (tang)
n.  athletes drink this  (gatorade)
o.  Tropicana is a brand of this  (orange juice)
p.  this drink has a profession in the name  (Dr. Pepper)

2.  Tea Word Game-  (actually it's "-ty" word game because all words end in "-ty")
With this game you just have to find a list of words ending in "ty", because it sounds like "tea".  I came up with a list of about 25, but if you do an online search of "words ending in ty" you'll find a list of 100's.  Then I came up or looked up the definitions, and I've printed up the list of definitions to give to each lady.  They'll have 2-3 minutes to come up with the correct word.  For example:
Affordability- when something is in your price range
Deputy- the person ranked under the Sherriff
Curiosity- a desire to know or learn something
Sensibility- the movie title "Sense and ____________"
You get the idea.  You can make your list as long or short as you like.  And some you can make really easy just for fun, like:  Not clean  (dirty), the number after 59 (60), I even put in a verse they have to look up for the right word:  the -ty word found in Genesis 3:15  (enmity).  You get the picture.

3.  Name the TV Daughters-
It's just like it sounds.  You give the ladies a list of TV mom characters and they have to write down the names of the TV daughter/s.  I've also done it where I've given the ladies the name of a TV show and they have to write down the name of the TV mom, so there are different varieties of this game.
a.  Caroline Ingalls (Little House on the Prarie)-  Mary, Laura, Carrie
b.  Harriett Olson  (Little House)-  Nellie and Nancy
c.  Carol Brady  (The Brady Bunch)-  Marsha, Jan, Cindy
d.  Olivia Walton  (The Walton's)-  Mary Ellen, Erin, Elizabeth
e.  Elyse Keaton (Family Ties)-  Mallory, Jennifer
f.  Shirley Partridge (The Partridge Family)-  Laurie, Tracey
g.  Vivian Banks  (The Fresh Prince of Bel Air)-  Hilary, Ashley
h.  Edna Garrett (The Facts of Life)-  Blair, Tootie, Natalie, Jo
i.  Claire Huxtable  (The Cosby Show)-  Sondra, Denise, Vanessa, Rudy
j.  Marion Cunningham (Happy Days)-  Joanie
k.  Wilma Flinstone  (The Flinstone's)-  Pebbles
You can add to list with others you may know of, but you get the idea.

4.  Tea Tray Memory-
With this game you find a pretty tray, actually it doesn't even have to be pretty, then you put on top of it different items you may use during a tea time.  For example, when I did this one last year I first put on my tray a pretty cloth napkin, then on top of this I placed a tea cup and saucer, spoon, two different packs of tea, a sugar packet, a creamer packet, a small votive candle, a little mini Bible, a small notebook, a pretty pen, and a bookmark.  Then I covered it up with a towel and I explained to the ladies that when I uncover the tray I would walk around the tables and let them look at the items on the tray for just a few seconds, then I would cover the tray again and they would have 1-2 minutes to write down everything they remember that was on the tray.  You can add whatever you want to your tray, or if you are having a themed tea party you can put items that are related to your theme.  The lady who remembered the most wins

5.  Flower Meanings-
This game I recall doing last year because we had a garden themed tea party last year.  So I did a search online about Flowers and their meanings.  I came up with a list of about 12 flowers and gave the ladies both the meaning and the flower in seperate lists, they had to match up the flower to the correct  meaning.  For example:  This flower has the meaning of Passion  (Red Rose).  The lady with the most matches wins.

6.  Name that Tea Bag-
This may or may not be an easy game- depending on if the tea bags really smell like what they are called.  You get an assortment of different kinds of tea, about 6-8, cover up the tag and number each one (1-6), then you pass the tea bags around the table and let each lady sniff and look at the tea bag.  They will have to write down what they think the tea is.  For example:  a fairly easy one would be a peach tea, but you can choose easier types or harder types, or a mix of both.

7.  The Price is Right
Actually, I used this at a baby shower, but you can easily change it to tea type items for a tea party.  You get a large piece of poster board and print up (as large as you need) a bunch of pictures of different tea items.  You paste these pictures to the poster board and put beneath each picture the price of each item, then you cover up the prices so that no one can see them.  Then one by one you describe each item, just like Bob Barker would do on The Price is Right, and each lady has to write down what they think the price is, closest without going over!  At the end of all descriptions you go back to the beginning and reveal the correct prices.  3 points if you guess the exact price, 2 points if you were the closest without going over, and 1 point if you even got under the price, no points if you were over the price. 
Items for example:  A pretty teapot, a box of tea, a cup and saucer set, a set of fancy napkins, a bag of sugar, a bottle of creamer, a tea tray, etc.   And if you are having a theme party, you could also go with items that pertain to your theme.

8.  The Purse Game-
This I use as a tie-breaker game alot, but you can also use it as a regular game.  Just have all the ladies grab their purses and you'll say an item, the first lady to hold up that particular item gets a point.  Have a list of 10-15 items like:  lipstick, picture of child, bobby pin, mirror, grocery receipt, tissue, child's toy, tylenol, phone, picture of husband, pen, gum, etc.  The lady who held up the most first, wins.

9.  Have You Ever?-
This game you just need to come up with a list of different things the ladies may have done, they get a point for each one they have actually done.  For example:  Worn two different socks,  wripped the hem of your dress with your high heel, called the wrong person on the phone, called your child by the wrong name, called a friend by the wrong name, kept your bra together with a safety pin, forgotten your husband's birthday, sucked up a sock with the vacuum, gotten to church early on daylight savings time, etc.  You can make them as crazy as you want, it's fun to see what some women have done. 

10.  Draw a Teapot-
This was an idea I got from a baby shower I went to where they had each lady put a paper plate on top of their head, then they each had to draw a baby.  In the case of a tea party, you could have the ladies draw a teapot on the paper plate instead.  Then you have to go around, after giving the ladies about 30 seconds to draw it, and choose which one looks closest to a teapot.

Well, that's about all I have for now.  If you can think of anymore then why not share them?  Let's share the Tea Party Love