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So glad you came to visit today! Here at my little corner of bloggy world I share a little bit about everything--family, parenting, goals, struggles, photography, recipes, n more! So curl up with a cup of hot tea {or not} and feel free to peruse around my site! Check out my sidebar for links. And come back again!

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Menu Plan Monday - Dec. 31

I was reading in the Woman's Day magazine I got in my Christmas stocking and it offered this tip for cutting back on grocery expenses: Double the time between your grocery shopping trips, then stick to this schedule like glue. If you currently buy groceries twice a week, stretch it to once weekly. If you usually shop weekly, hold out for two weeks. If you normally spend around $100 a week, you won't spend $200 for two weeks. It will probably be more like $150.

I have a hard enough time planning a menu for just one week, BUT I'm going to try doing TWO weeks this time to see if this tip helps. It's guaranteed I'll be back to the store before two weeks is up. But for milk and produce items only, hopefully! Soo... here we go!

Dec. 31-Jan. 6
Monday - reuben sandwiches (finishing off Christmas corned beef)
Tuesday - best-ever meat loaf, cauliflower, apples
Wednesday - ham n white sauce over rice
Thursday - soup
Friday - bagels
Saturday - south-of-the-border enchiladas, oranges
Sunday - day off

Jan. 7-13
Monday - broccoli sausage breakfast bake
Tuesday - goulash, garlic bread, salad
Wednesday - sandwiches
Thursday - appetizer nite- summer sausage and crackers, cheesy spinach and artichoke dip
Friday - tacos, peaches
Saturday - celebrating 3 yr anniversary!
Sunday - day off

Dessert of the week: fruit custard (new recipe! I'll post it if it's good)

Friday, December 28, 2007

Family Focus Friday: Goals

With the end of the year rapidly approaching and a new year dawning, I thought I'd talk about GOALS this week and what goals we set for our family and children. A couple months ago I created a list of 101 Things to Do in 1001 Days and from that list, here are my family goals:

1. Finish reading A Mom After God's Own Heart. completed 11/1/07
2. Finish reading Shepherding a Child’s Heart.
3. Read/print all of “Raising Godly Tomatoes”. completed 11/27/07
4. Read Babywise.
5. Read Bringing Up Boys.
6. Finish watching parenting video and take notes.
7. Read a book to children every day.
8. Plan one fun family activity every week for 1 month.
9. Take vacation to Colorado.
10. Get new family photo.
11. Go to Vermont.
12. Go to Long Island.
13. Go camping.
14. Find play group for Eli.
15. Go an entire month without any TV.
16. Establish special time with each child daily.
17. Create list of specific rules for Eli. (will help us be consistent)
18. Go 24 hrs without computer.

And to that list I would add:
19. Create set "Bible time" with children.
20. Volunteer somewhere or do something for a neighbor as a family.

It's a good mix of parental goals, fun goals, and family challenges (no TV). But above all we always seek to achieve Biblical goals such as these:
* Salvation for children.
* For children to have the ability to live in fellowship with God to support daily growth in the spiritual life.
* For your children to have inner happiness, the peace of God that passes understanding, and great inner joy that doesn't depend on the details of life.
* For your children to have respect for authority.
* Teaching your children about the production of divine good, the lifelong production of "gold, silver, and precious stones" rather than "wood, hay and stubble". (this includes a life of witnessing)

I'm all about having lists of goals. Long-term goals, short-term goals. I love lists, and setting goals focuses your life on having purpose and being productive with the time and gifts God has given us.

So what are your goals for your family this year? And what do you do to teach goal-setting to your children?



Previous Family Focus topics: (it's never too late to comment)
* Jesus vs. Santa
* 12 Days of Christmas
* Preparing for Christmas
* Thanksgiving
* Bible Reading
* Fun Fall Activities
* Nutrition
* Meal Times
* Halloween
* Your Neighbors
* Family Worship
* TV Time

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Our Christmas

Thought I'd take a little time to share about our Christmas celebrations the last two days. My Christmas Eve plans were to read the Christmas story from the Bible by the tree at Eli's bedtime, sing some carols by the piano, put Eli to bed, and then watch The Nativity Story movie. Those were the plans. BUT Eli is a toddler. He does not know how to sit still well, except up in the rocking chair in his room at bedtime. So bringing him downstairs by the tree threw things off and he didn't want to sit still for the Bible reading. And he was about equally excited about the carols. We ended up giving up in the middle of the songs and just putting him to bed. Kevin and I watched The Nativity Story, and it was very good and we've already recommended it to our families. It was a good Christmas Eve but not quite what I had imagined. Is it ever?

Christmas Day we got up around 7:00am. I got the breakfast coffee cake going and then we opened stockings. We ate breakfast, cleaned up, then opened presents. Eli had a great time and actually seemed to understand the idea of unwrapping something to see what was inside. He was a great helper. And his favorite toys are his new tool set (first tool set!) and magnetic farm set for the fridge. The rest of the day we just hung around the house, relaxing. It was a quiet day. I actually wasn't feeling the best so it was good to not have a busy schedule. For Christmas dinner we had corned beef, cheesy broccoli, rolls, and fruit salad. 'Twas yummy! =)

Okay, so there's not much to tell about our Christmas, but I thought I'd share anyway in case you were wondering. Now here are a few pictures... Enjoy!

The boys helping in the kitchen while I was making the coffee cake. We got out the old baby carrier just to see what Eli would think of it, even though he's way too big now at 17 months! And surprisingly, he liked it! He sure does like being a part of everything! =)
Eli sitting in his new big-boy chair, opening his stocking.
Opening presents...
Loving the new chair--when he sits in it we say "Yay!" and he claps.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Weekly Memory Verse

We got back from vacation last Tuesday and I had full intentions to still post a memory verse for Wednesday, but I completely forgot! Sorry about that! We'll get back to it this week, and if you're still busy with the holidays, don't worry about it. Just join in whenever you're ready! This week's verse...
~*~
Hebrews 4:16
Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.
~*~

Review:

Colossians 2:6-7 So then, just as you received Christ, continue to live in Him, rooted and built up in Him, strengthened in father as you were taught and overflowing with thankfulness.

Psalm 119:9-11 How can a young man keep his way pure? By living according to your word. I seek you with all my heart; do not let me stray from your commands. I have hidden your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.

Romans 15:13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Hebrews 10:24-25 Let us consider how may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together--as some are in the habit of doing--but let us encourage one another, and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

Psalm 86:11 Teach me your way, O Lord, and I will walk in your truth; give me an undivided heart that I may fear your name. I will praie you, O Lord my God, with all my heart. I will glorify your name forever.

Joshua 1:8 Do not let the word of the Law depart from your mouth. Meditate on it day and night, so you will be careful to do everything in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.

Luke 10:27 Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind. And love your neighbor as yourself.

2 Corinthians 3:5 Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God.

Colossians 4:6 Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you will know how to answer everyone.

Colossians 3:16 Let the word of Christ dwell in your richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts toward God.

Romans 12:2 Do not conform any longer to the patterns of this world, but be transformed by a renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is--his good, pleasing, and perfect will.

1 Thessalonians 5:16 Be joyful always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.

1 John 3:18 Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.

Psalm 19:14 May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O Lord my Rock and my Redeemer.

Proverbs 3:5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all you ways acknowledge Him, and he will make your paths straight.

Proverbs 4:23 Above all guard your heart for it is the wellspring of life.

Proverbs 22:6 Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old is will not depart from it.

Philippians 4:8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things.

Matthew 12:34 For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks.

Psalm 27:14 Wait on the Lord--be of good courage and He will strengthen your heart. Wait, I say, on the Lord!

Romans 8:28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him.

Colossians 3:23-24 Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for me, since you know you will receive an inheritence from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord you are serving.

Philippians 4:6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.

Colossians 4:2 Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.

Proverbs 19:21 Many are the plans in a man's heart, but it is the Lord's purpose that prevails.

Proverbs 9:10 Fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.

If you'd like to join me this week in memorizing Hebrews 4:16, sign your name below. May it be a blessing to your life!



Monday, December 24, 2007

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas, dear friends!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Overwhelmed.

Here comes an honest, this-is-life blog.... I know it's Christmastime and everything's supposed to be all hunky-dory and cheerful and I wish it was, but I am overwhelmed. Ever since we got back from vacation last week, Eli has been handful! Very disobedient, overreacting about everything, and fussing like crazy. Crabbing at meal times, pushing my hand away, hitting back at me, not stopping back when he's doing something he shouldn't, not listening. He's having tantrums about everything and nothing multiple times a day when normally he'd listen to us when we just verbally correct him and tantrums aren't a big issue. Thankfully, Kevin's been home so we can help each other out. But we are exhausted and frustrated and just don't know what's going on. He's working on molars. It's been a couple months and two are almost all the way in and we haven't any problems so far. And a third one is still just poking through. So I don't know if it's his teeth bothering him? Or could it be something to do with having been on vacation? I'm kind of an emotional wreck and feeling very overwhelmed at the idea of baby #2 coming in about 8 weeks. I just can't imagine adding another bundle to the house right now when Eli is going crazy like this! Any suggestions at all??

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Family Focus Friday: Jesus vs. Santa

I'm still tired from vacation and just having a hard time getting back into routine here. I didn't know what to post for a topic this week, even though next week is Christmas! So I thought I'd just share this...

Santa lives at the North Pole.
JESUS is everywhere.

Santa rides in a sleigh.
JESUS rides on the wind and walks on the water.

Santa comes but once a year.
JESUS is an ever present help.

Santa fills your stockings with goodies.
JESUS supplies all your needs.

Santa comes down your chimney uninvited.
JESUS stands at your door and knocks, and then enters your heart when invited.

You have to wait in line to see Santa.
JESUS is as close as the mention of His name.

Santa lets you sit on his lap.
JESUS lets you rest in His arms.

Santa doesn't know your name, all he can say is "Hi little boy or girl, what's your name?"
JESUS knew your name before you did.

Not only does He know your name,
He knows your address too.
He knows your history and future and
He even knows how many hairs are on your head.

Santa has a belly like a bowl full of jelly.
JESUS has a heart full of love.

All Santa can offer is HO HO HO.
JESUS offers Health, Help and Hope.

Santa says "You better not cry."
JESUS says "Cast all your cares on me for I care for you."

Santa's little helpers make toys.
JESUS makes new life, mends wounded hearts, repairs broken homes and builds mansions.

Santa may make you chuckle but
JESUS gives you joy that is your strength.

While Santa puts gifts under your tree.
JESUS became our gift and died on a tree.
Yes, from sin He sets us free!



Or click HERE to check out another Santa vs. Jesus chart.

The remainder of our Christmas is actually going to be pretty quiet for us. We've already flown home and back, and that seems kind of weird. But we're looking forward to just relaxing and celebrating as a family instead of being busy busy. Saturday is the Christmas program at church. Christmas Eve at Eli's bedtime we'll get him into his jammies, turn off the lights, bring him back downstairs by the Christmas tree, read the Christmas story out of the Bible, and I'll play some Christmas hymns on the piano before putting the little one to bed. Hopefully Eli will comply with all of this because I'm really looking forward to it. Then on Christmas Day we'll get up, open our stockings and presents, having some sort of special breakfast, relax for the day, and have a nice dinner. So that's our Christmas. Simple and relaxing, yet very special! What are you most looking forward to? What are your plans/traditions for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day?

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

We're Back!

From our vacation to Iowa, that is. We went home early this year to actually avoid Christmas celebrations and trying to plan so much into just one week. We just wanted to visit, so that's what we did. It was a packed a week, and even though we didn't get to see nearly as many friends as we would have liked I still think we over-extended ourselves. It was very tiring going here, there, and everywhere and packing up our gear twice every single day. We spent the mornings with my parents, afternoons with Kevin's family (30 minute drive), and then back to my parent's again for bedtime. Just doing that meant packing up the pack n play, blanket, video monitor, booster seat, toy basket, snacks, and diaper bag every day. Ugh! Needless to say, with all the running around we did and new people and places, Eli missed at least one nap almost every day. But he was really good about it anyway. We were able to visit Kevin's sister and her husband in Minnesota (4.5 hr. drive) and stay with them over the weekend. And while we were up in that area we visited with a crew of all my college friends (and their babies). It really was a great week seeing family and friends, just exhausting. And that's not including the flights it took to get there and back. We got Eli his own seat this time because he's squirmy and strong, doesn't sit in our lap well, and the last time I tried it was miserable. He did pretty good, but both going and coming we had at least one big tantrum and it was frustrating. It's those moments when I really see how much work we have to do yet in parenting! So I'm VERY GLAD we're moving back next year and we won't have to make those big trips anymore!

It's good to be back home! Kevin still had today off yet so we could just relax and recoop, for the most part. Still have errands to do though. Gotta feed the family! And with that being said, I should get going, but wanted to let y'all know I was back! I missed you!

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Sunday Psalm

Psalm 115

Not to us, O Lord, not to us,
but to your name be the glory,
because of your love and faithfulness.

Why do the nations say,
"Where is their God?"
Our God is in heaven;
he does whatever pleases him.
But their idols are silver and good,
made by the hands of men.
They have mouths, but cannot speak,
eyes, but they cannot hear,
noses, but they cannot smell;
they have hands, but cannot feel,
feet, but they cannot walk;
nor can they utter a sound with their throats.
Those who make them will be like them,
and so will all who trust in them.

O house of Israel, trust in the Lord--
he is their help and shield.
O house of Aaron, trust in the Lord--
he is their help and shield.
You who fear him, trust in the Lord--
he is their help and shield.

The Lord remembers us and will bless us:
He will bless the house of Israel,
he will bless the house of Aaron,
he will bless those who fear the Lord--
small and great alike.

May the Lord make you increase,
both you and your children.
May you be blessed by the Lord,
the Maker of heaven and earth.

The highest heavens belong to the Lord,
but the earth he has given to man.
It is not the dead who praise the Lord,
those who go down to silence;
it is we who extol the Lord,
both now and forevermore.

Praise the Lord.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Come on over!

...for some hot chocolate and cookies (virtual style of course)! Just sharing some winter love!


And some music, while you're here...


Friday, December 7, 2007

Family Focus Friday: 12 Days of Christmas

I found THIS WEBSITE a couple weeks ago that explains that symbols of "The 12 Days of Christmas" song. For each day there is scripture, a book/story to read, craft, family discussion topic, song, and prayer, along with a part of the Christmas alphabet. It's a really neat website with great ideas! You should check it out! But for now I'll share the what the symbols mean...

Day 1 - Partridge In A Pear Tree - Christ who died on the Cross for our sins. A partridge often feigns injury to draw attention to herself and away from her young to protect them from danger. Because of its self sacrifice the partridge was used to represent Christ.
Day 2 - 2 Turtle Doves - Old and New Testaments. Because they have one mate for life the turtle doves represent enduring relationships, such as the unbreakable bond between the Old and New Testaments.
Day 3 - 3 French Hens - Holy Trinity. Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
Day 4 - 4 Calling Birds- The four Gospels. Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John
Day 5 - 5 Golden Rings - The first five books of the Old Testament, known as the Torah.
Day 6 - 6 Geese a Laying - The six days of Creation. (eggs represent new life)
Day 7 - 7 Swans a Swimming - The seven gifts of the Holy Spirit: prophecy, ministry, teaching, exhortation, giving, leading, and compassion (Romans 12:6-8; cf. 1 Corinthians 12:8-11)
Day 8 - 8 Maids a Milking - The eight Beatitudes: 1) Blessed are the poor in spirit, 2) those who mourn, 3) the meek, 4) those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, 5) the merciful, 6) the pure in heart, 7) the peacemakers, 8) those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake. (Matthew 5:3-10)
Day 9 - 9 Ladies Dancing - The nine Fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. (Galatians 5:22)
Day 10 - 10 Lords a Leaping - The 10 Commandments
Day 11 - 11 Pipers Piping - The eleven disciples who remained faithful to Christ.
Day 12 - 12 Drummers Drumming - The twelve points of doctrine in the Apostles' Creed:
1. I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth,
2. And in Jesus Christ, his only begotten Son, our Lord,
3. Who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary,
4. Suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead and buried; He descended into hell.
5. The third day he rose again from the dead;
6. He ascended into heaven, and sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty.
7. From there he shall come to judge the quick and the dead.
8. I believe in the Holy Spirit,
9. I believe in the holy catholic church, the communion of saints,
10. The forgiveness of sins,
11. The resurrection of the body,
12. And the life everlasting. Amen.

As for the ABCs of Advent, there are a couple variations though mostly the same. Here are two: Version 1, Version 2

CLICK HERE
for more fun Advent resources!

Enjoy!


I won't be posting next week since I'll be on vacation! See you in two!

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Thankful Thursday

It's kind of been a hard week. I thought he'd be done but Kevin's still working nights again this week (12-hr shift) which complicates the schedule and makes for really long days for me. It's cold, and we can't get out much except for shopping errands which just mean spending money. I've been frustrated and losing my temper lately, and I'm just in need of a good break! But today I set aside all of that and I choose to be thankful. Because that's what God asks of me. "Be joyful always, pray continuously, give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." 1 Thes. 5:16

So today, Lord, I thank you.

Thank you for my beautiful son. I may lose my temper and get so frustrated and wish that he would just go away for a minute so I can do what I need to do. But the truth is, I love him so dearly. And I miss him when he's gone. He's such a joy and blessing that I wouldn't trade for the world.

Thank you for my loving husband. He may not always be there when I need him, but he's there when it matters most. Always. I can count on him. And I can trust him, with my whole heart. He makes me laugh and smile, and what we share together as a family is beautiful.

Thank you for my family. It's hard being away, but it creates such joy and anticipation for when we're home. It adds a special value to pictures, emails, and phone calls. It makes you appreciate the little things all the more.

Thank you for the cold weather. I hate it. BUT it encourages us to stop being so busy busy and just be together as a family, to find warmth and coziness, to relax. To enjoy the simple things like games, books, music... and cookies!

Thank you for the joyful holiday season as we prepare our homes and hearts for the arrival of Christ the King, Your Son! For traditions, symbols, hymns, and a spirit in the air that unites us all.

Thank you for new life. For the child I carry within. For the birth of my friend Amy's baby. For the new life you've created in me every day through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. For forgiveness and grace and mercy.

Thank you, my Father. Thank you.

Share your thankful heart with us by visiting Laurel Wreath. Have a blessed week!

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Weekly Memory Verse

~*~
Proverbs 9:10
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom,
and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.

~*~

Review:

Colossians 2:6-7 So then, just as you received Christ, continue to live in Him, rooted and built up in Him, strengthened in father as you were taught and overflowing with thankfulness.

Psalm 119:9-11 How can a young man keep his way pure? By living according to your word. I seek you with all my heart; do not let me stray from your commands. I have hidden your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.

Romans 15:13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Hebrews 10:24-25 Let us consider how may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together--as some are in the habit of doing--but let us encourage one another, and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

Psalm 86:11 Teach me your way, O Lord, and I will walk in your truth; give me an undivided heart that I may fear your name. I will praie you, O Lord my God, with all my heart. I will glorify your name forever.

Joshua 1:8 Do not let the word of the Law depart from your mouth. Meditate on it day and night, so you will be careful to do everything in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.

Luke 10:27 Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind. And love your neighbor as yourself.

2 Corinthians 3:5 Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God.

Colossians 4:6 Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you will know how to answer everyone.

Colossians 3:16 Let the word of Christ dwell in your richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts toward God.

Romans 12:2 Do not conform any longer to the patterns of this world, but be transformed by a renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is--his good, pleasing, and perfect will.

1 Thessalonians 5:16 Be joyful always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.

1 John 3:18 Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.

Psalm 19:14 May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O Lord my Rock and my Redeemer.

Proverbs 3:5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all you ways acknowledge Him, and he will make your paths straight.

Proverbs 4:23 Above all guard your heart for it is the wellspring of life.

Proverbs 22:6 Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old is will not depart from it.

Philippians 4:8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things.

Matthew 12:34 For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks.

Psalm 27:14 Wait on the Lord--be of good courage and He will strengthen your heart. Wait, I say, on the Lord!

Romans 8:28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him.

Colossians 3:23-24 Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for me, since you know you will receive an inheritence from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord you are serving.

Philippians 4:6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.

Colossians 4:2 Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.

Proverbs 19:21 Many are the plans in a man's heart, but it is the Lord's purpose that prevails.

Next week we're going on vacation (yay!!!) so I won't be posting a new verse. You can either just do review or choose a verse that we've already done. This week, if you want to join me in memorizing Proverbs 9:10, sign your name below! May it be a blessing to your life!



Sunday, December 2, 2007

Menu Plan Monday - Dec. 3

Well, I don't really know what Hubby's work schedule is this week. We're thinking he's done with night shift, so we'll just plan as though it's going to be a normal week!

Monday - French dip sandwiches, green beans, grapes

Tuesday - hot dogs, potato salad, apples

Wednesday - Stouffer's lasagna, garlic bread, salad

Thursday - breakfast nite- breakfast burritos, fruit cocktail

Friday - Zuppa Toscana Soup, oranges

Saturday - Chicken Divan, fruit salad

Sunday - day off

Dessert of the week:

Nannie's Blackberry Cobbler (SO EASY!)

1 bag of frozen blackberries (or a couple cups of fresh)
1 refrigerated pie crust
2 Tbl corn starch
Sugar to taste (probably something like 1 cup?)

In a bowl combine, blackberries, cornstarch, and sugar. Transfer to baking dish. Lay pie crust on top (trimming to size of dish) and make vent slots.

Bake at 350 for 30 minutes? (check baking directions on pie crust package)

Visit Laura at OrgJunkie for more yummy menu ideas!

****************************
My friend Amy is being induced today and we are anxiously awaiting their new baby girl! Take a minute to send a prayer her way!

****************************

More at this blog:
* Read about earning extra income right from home.
* Wednesdays join us for a weekly Bible memory verse.
* Share your fun family ideas on Family Focus Friday (topic: preparing hearts for Christmas)
* Stop by for a refreshing Sunday Psalm.


Sunday Psalm


Psalm 95 (v. 1-7)

Come, let us sing for joy to the Lord;
let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation.
Let us come before him with thanksgiving
and extol him with music and song.

For the Lord is the great God,
the great King above all gods.
In his hand are the depths of the earth,
and the mountain peaks belong to him.
The sea is his, for he made it,
and his lands formed the dry land.

Come, let us bow down in worship,
let us kneel before the Lord our Maker;
for he is our God
and we are the people of his pasture,
the flock under his care.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Family Focus Friday: Preparing for Christmas

My husband and I attend a Bible church where they don't follow a liturgy or the church seasons, and when it comes to holidays I miss that. I miss Lent and Advent and the leading up to the Big Day, whether it be Easter (or Resurrection Day as our church prefers to call it) or Christmas. So this year, now having a child, I've been thinking a lot about what traditions I want to start for our family at home and how we can celebrate these holidays so our children understand these significant events in life.

This article "The Real Meaning of Christmas" provides some suggestions on teaching your child the true meaning of Christmas. I'll summarize the points here for you, but go to the article for additional info...

1. Start a family tradition of reading the story of Jesus' birth. (Luke 2)
2. Listen to and sing Christmas music that focuses on reason for the season. (good ol' hymns)
3. Involve your kids in displaying the Nativity scene.
(Here's a cute, child-proof one from Fisher Price)
4. Celebrate Saint Nicholas Day (Dec. 6). If you still want to exchange presents, do it on this day and explain who St. Nicholas was and how he came to be part of Christmas tradition. Then on Christmas Day keep the focus on Jesus.
5. Light the candles of the Advent wreath during the four weeks leading up to Christmas. (that starts
this Sunday!) Advent means "coming" and is observed in many churches in anticipation of Jesus' birth.
6. Attend a Christmas pageant or concert at an area church.
While this won't be happening this year, I kind of like the idea of moving gift-giving to St. Nicholas Day. Not sure how that works with family get-togethers. But hmm.... I'll have to see what Hubby thinks about it. After all Christmas isn't about presents or even family. It's about CHRIST.

Last year we were given a small Advent Devotional for the 24 days leading up to Christmas Day. So this year, even though Eli is too young for the craft activities included, I'd like to make a special time each day to read through the day's devotion. I look forward to when he's a little older and can understand more and participate, but already I am often surprised at just how much he understands now!

And here's another article, called "Keep Jesus the Focus of Christmas," that has this great idea about cards and letters:

Make it a priority to send out Christmas cards that points people to Christ. Whether it is through the design or the wording, send out cards that focus on Christ and the meaning of Christmas as opposed to Santa or other secondary matters.

Enclose a Christmas letter with your card and make a point of sharing what Christ is doing in your life. The letter can be brief, but this is the one time of the year it is especially natural to share what Christ is doing in your life with all of the people who are important to you.

Place all of the Christmas cards you receive in a pretty box or basket. Each day, take a card out of the box, read it, and pray specifically for the person who sent it. Consider going through the cards again and again, specifically praying for the sender all year.

Oh, I just love this idea about praying for a family each night! I think we might adopt this tradition!

Besides getting busy with Christmas shopping and decorating your house, what are you doing to prepare for Christmas? For the celebration of Christ's birth? What are you doing to teach your children about the importance of this holiday and what it really means?
(Don't feel obligated to do a whole post about this. Just a comment would be nice.)

Thankful Thursday

Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.
Colossians 4:2

I kind of have a lot I'm trying to do today, so this will have to be quick. But I did want to pause to thank God for his many blessings...

* I am thankful for a joyous Thanksgiving celebration with our good friends Shawn and Lisa. The food was all delicious, but even better was the sweet fellowship.

* I am thankful that Eli is finally growing into story time. I've waited a year for this! I always dreamed of rocking with my children, reading them stories all the time. And I was in for a shock when at 6 months my baby boy would no longer sit still EVER and reading stories together like that was just a battle. Now at 16 months he's still quite the mover, but at bedtime and short moments through the day he'll actually sit contently in our lap for 2 or 3 stories, and I just LOVE it!

* I am thankful for Kevin's job. While I often get frustrated with its irregular hours, I am thankful for the job and all that it provides for our family.

* I am thankful for Christmas decorations. I think our home is so beautiful when our tree and lights are up, and it's adds such a joy to the atmosphere. And to my surprise Eli loves it! I really thought it was going to be stressful always telling him not to touch the decorations, but he's been just fine about it and hasn't really even tested us. Instead he gawks and points and babbles all about it! It's very cute!

* I am thankful that I am nearly done with Christmas shopping! We went simpler this year and I don't have to think much about it anymore, and we can just enjoy the rest of the season for what it is and what it's really about... CHRIST.

* I am thankful that it's only 2 weeks until we go back home for a visit!! We're VERY excited!!

Join us and share with us what you're thankful for! Visit Laurel Wreath who is guest-hosting Thankful Thursday this week!

CLICK HERE to join me in this week's memory verse!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Weekly Memory Verse

~*~
Proverbs 19:21
Many are the plans in a man's heart

but it is the Lord's purpose that prevails.

~*~
This week's verse is especially good for me to put to heart. Next fall we get out of the Navy and are then free to take whatever path "we want". We plan to head back to Iowa where all our family is, and we have a very specific location in mind. For many reasons it's ideal for us, and we have our hopes set on it, with backup options in mind too, of course. We have fun looking at real estate online and dreaming about what life will be like when we live there and how close we'll be to everyone. BUT then I come back to reality and realize that GOD has a plan. And it will be HIS plan than prevails! I need to go at this next year with an open heart and an open mind, putting my full trust in Him, and this verse will strengthen me as I try to do just that!

Review:

Colossians 2:6-7 So then, just as you received Christ, continue to live in Him, rooted and built up in Him, strengthened in father as you were taught and overflowing with thankfulness.

Psalm 119:9-11 How can a young man keep his way pure? By living according to your word. I seek you with all my heart; do not let me stray from your commands. I have hidden your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.

Romans 15:13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Hebrews 10:24-25 Let us consider how may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together--as some are in the habit of doing--but let us encourage one another, and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

Psalm 86:11 Teach me your way, O Lord, and I will walk in your truth; give me an undivided heart that I may fear your name. I will praie you, O Lord my God, with all my heart. I will glorify your name forever.

Joshua 1:8 Do not let the word of the Law depart from your mouth. Meditate on it day and night, so you will be careful to do everything in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.

Luke 10:27 Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind. And love your neighbor as yourself.

2 Corinthians 3:5 Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God.

Colossians 4:6 Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you will know how to answer everyone.

Colossians 3:16 Let the word of Christ dwell in your richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts toward God.

Romans 12:2 Do not conform any longer to the patterns of this world, but be transformed by a renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is--his good, pleasing, and perfect will.

1 Thessalonians 5:16 Be joyful always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.

1 John 3:18 Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.

Psalm 19:14 May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O Lord my Rock and my Redeemer.

Proverbs 3:5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all you ways acknowledge Him, and he will make your paths straight.

Proverbs 4:23 Above all guard your heart for it is the wellspring of life.

Proverbs 22:6 Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old is will not depart from it.

Philippians 4:8 Finally, brothers, whatever is truth, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things.

Matthew 12:34 For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks.

Psalm 27:14 Wait on the Lord--be of good courage and He will strengthen your heart. Wait, I say, on the Lord!

Romans 8:28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him.

Colossians 3:23-24 Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for me, since you know you will receive an inheritence from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord you are serving.

Philippians 4:6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.

Colossians 4:2 Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.


If you'd like to join me this week in memorizing Proverbs 19:21, sign your name below! May it be a blessing to your life!





Monday, November 26, 2007

Husband Encouragement

It's been awhile since I've posted any husband encouragement goals, so we're getting back to it this week with the following:

1. Play computer game with Kevin. He just got this new car racing game and he keeps asking me if I want to play it with him. And I really don't have any interest. But this week I'll support his interests and at least give it a try!
2. Make no comments about how much time he's on the computer.
3. Take care of errands on my own so Kevin can just relax at home.
4. Plan a candlelight dinner for Saturday night.
5. Ask how I can pray for him this week.

Want to join in? You planning something special for your husband this week? What can you do to encourage him as he goes about his day? Share your goals with us!

Menu Plan Monday - Nov. 26

It's the start of a new week, and I hope you all had wonderful Thanksgiving celebrations with your family! It was a wonderfully relaxing weekend at our house. We avoid the shopping crowds if at all possible and mostly just stayed in. Yesterday we got our Christmas tree and decorations up, so I'm fully in Christmas mode now! As for the menu, this week we're going for few ingredients, little meat, and lite because I have an OB appointment/weigh-in on Thursday, and I am convinced this is the worst season to be pregnant with all the yummy goodies and cold weather!

Monday - turkey panini, orange, carrots
Tuesday -chow mein
Wednesday - bean and cheese burritos
Thursday - breakfast nite- omlets, fruit cocktail
Friday - broccoli cheese soup, apple
Saturday - glazed ham steaks, mixed veggies, orange
Sunday - day off

Dessert of the week: Oatmeal Cranberry Drops

Have a great week, everyone! For more menu ideas, head over Laura's!

************************

More at this blog:
* Read about earning extra income right from home.
* Wednesdays join us for a weekly Bible memory verse.
* Share your fun family ideas for Family Focus Friday.
* Stop by for a refreshing Sunday Psalm.


Sunday, November 25, 2007

Sunday Psalm


Psalm 19

The heavens declare the glory of God;
the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
Day after day they pour forth speech;
night after night they display knowledge.
There is no speech or language
where their voice is not heard.
Their voice goes out into all the earth,
their words to the ends of the world.

In the heavens he has pitched a tent for
the sun,
which is like a bridegroom coming forth
from his pavilion,
like a champion rejoicing to run his course.
It rises at one end of the heavens
and makes its circuit to the other;
nothing is hidden from its heat.

The law of the Lord is perfect,
reviving the soul.
The statues of the Lord are trustworthy,
making wise the simple.
The precepts of the Lord are right,
giving joy to the heart.
The commands of the Lord are radiant,
giving light to the eyes.
The fear of the Lord is pure,
enduring forever.
The ordinances of the Lord are sure
and altogether righteous.
They are more precious than gold,
than much pure gold,
they are sweeter than honey;
than honey from the comb.
By them is you servant warned;
in keeping them there is great reward.

Who can discern his errors?
Forgive my hidden faults.
Keep your servant also from willful sins;
may they not rule over me.
Then I will be blameless,
innocent of great transgression.

May the words of my mouth and the
meditation of my heart
be pleasing in your sight,
O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.


Thursday, November 22, 2007

Thankful Thursday

I am thankful for God's mercy and grace. For loving me even when I am so unworthy. For saving me so that I may live eternally with Him in His Kingdom and glory.

I am thankful for family--for my wonderful parents and in-laws, my dearest husband, my beautiful son, my sweet daughter on the way, my brother, my sister-in-law, my grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins. I am so blessed with a great, loving family who all love the Lord.

I am thankful for friends--oh, our dear sweet friends. Those who we've just met, those who we've known for years, and those who have yet to come into our lives. We are so thankful.

I am thankful for God's goodness--for security, a home, a job, good health, a safe community, a church family. For watching over me yesterday when I got a flat tire on the van, the sweet person who left a note on the side mirror warning me about it, and the tire store conveniently located at the closest exit where they filled me up and I continued on my way to a doctor's appointment I could not be late for! God is good!

I am thankful for this day--oh this beautiful day! I don't know where this weather has come from! For 2-3 weeks straight now it's been cold, our heat has been on, and I haven't gotten out for any walks with Eli. But today, TODAY it is GLORIOUS! It's high 60's, sunny with a slight breeze, the air is off, the door is open, I got out for a morning walk, and we have friends coming over this afternoon to join us in celebrating these Thanksgiving blessings!

HAPPY THANKSGIVING, EVERYONE!
MAY YOU BE BLESSED TODAY
AND ALWAYS!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Thanksgiving Prayers

At one of our discount stores I found this mini-box of cards called "52 Ways to Say Grace" for only $1 so I picked it up and opened it already, but I'll probably put it in my own stocking for Christmas. haha Anyway, it's filled with prayers of different cultures, and here are some of my favorites that I thought I'd share with you today, in case you want to use them at all tomorrow...

To God who gives our daily bread
a thankful song we raise,
and pray that He who sends us food
may fill our hearts with praise.
--Thomas Tallis, 1505-1585
~*~
Be present at our table, Lord
Be here and everywhere adored
Thy creatures bless and grant that we
May feast in paradise with Thee.
--John Cennick, 1718-1755
~*~
Now thank we all our God
With heart and hands and voices,
Who wonderous things hath done,
In whom this world rejoices;
Who, from our mother's arms,
Hath blessed us on our way
With countless gifts of love,
And still is ours today.
--Martin Rinkart
~*~
We thank thee, Lord, for
happy hearts,
For rain and sunny weather;
We thank thee, Lord, for
this our food,
And that we are together.
--Traditional Mennonite Blessing
~*~
Bless these Thy gifts,
most gracious God,
From whom all goodness rings;
Make clean our hearts and
feed our souls
With good and joyful things.
--Traditional Christian Grace
~*~
Lord Jesus, be our holy guest,
Our morning Joy, our evening rest,
And with our daily bread impart
Your love and peace to every heart.
--Traditional Christian Grace
~*~
Thank you, kind Father, for
giving us food to make our
bodies grow stronger. Dear God,
teach us to share with others
what we ourselves have. Amen.
--Chinese Child's Prayer
~*~
When I'm worried and I can't sleep,
I count my blessings instead of sheep.
And I fall asleep counting
my blessings.
When my bankroll is getting small,
I think of when I had none at all.
And I fall asleep counting
my blessings.
--Irving Berlin, 1888-1989


Week of Thanksgiving

Be blessed.

"Thankful" Josh Groban



Some days, we forget to look around us,
Some days, we can't see the joy that surrounds us,
So caught up inside ourselves,
We take when we should give,
So for tonight we pray for,
What we know can be,
And on this day we hope for,
What we still can't see,
It's up to us, to be the change,
And even though we all can still do more,
There's so much to be thankful for,
Look beyond ourselves,
There's so much sorrow,
It's way to late to say, I'll cry tomorrow
Each of us must find our truth,
It's so long overdue,
So for tonight we pray for,
What we know can be,
And everyday, we hope for,
What we still can't see,
It's up to us, to be the change,
And even though we all can still do more,
There's so much to be thankful for,
Even with our differences,
There is a place were all connected,
Each of us can find each others light,
So for tonight, we pray for
What we know can be,
And on this day, we hope for,
What we still can't see,
It's up to us, to be the change,
And even though this world can still do so much more
There's so much to be thankful for.

Weekly Memory Verse

~*~
Colossians 4:2
Devote yourselves to prayer,
being watchful and thankful.
~*~
Review
Colossians 2:6-7 Just as you received Christ, continue to live in Him...
Psalm 119:9-11 How can a young man keep his way pure?
Romans 15:13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy...
Hebrews 10:24-25 Let us consider how we may spur one another on...
Psalm 86:11 Teach me your way, O Lord...
Joshua 1:8 Do not let the word of the Law depart....
Luke 10:27 Love the Lord your God...
2 Corinthians 3:5 Not that we are competent in ourselves...
Colossians 4:6 Let your conversation be always full of grace...
Colossians 3:16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly...
Romans 12:2 Do not conform any longer...
1 Thessalonians 5:16 Be joyful always, pray continually...
1 John 3:18 Let us not love with words or tongue...
Psalm 19:14 May the words of my mouth...
Proverbs 3:5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart...
Proverbs 4:23 Above all else guard your heart...
Proverbs 22:6 Train up a child in the way he should go...
Philippians 4:8 ...whatever is true, whatever is noble...
Matthew 12:34 For out of the overflow of the heart...
Psalm 27:14 Wait on the Lord...
Romans 8:28 And we know that in all things...
Colossians 3:23-24 Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart...
Philippians 4:6 Do not be anxious about anything...

If want to join me this week in memorizing Colossians 4:2, sign your name below or leave a comment! May it be a blessing to your life!




Monday, November 19, 2007

Menu Plan Monday - Nov. 19


It's Thanksgiving Week! So I'm trying to go simple and fairly light to build up for the Big Day! So here's the menu...

Monday - ground beef gravy (recipe below) n mashed potatoes, carrots, apples

Tuesday - hamburgers, curly fries, oranges

Wednesday - chicken noodle stir fry

Thursday - THANKSGIVING- turkey with gravy, stuffing, fruit salad, sweet potato casserole, veggie, rolls, pie. We're celebrating with friends and splitting the menu for who cooks what!

Friday - loaded potatoes

Saturday - Dad's Spaghetti (seriously, you have to try this recipe! it's different from the norm), garlic bread, salad, peaches

Sunday - day off

For more yummy menu ideas and recipes, go to Laura's.

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RECIPE: Ground Beef Gravy
This one's from my mom. We had this frequently growing up, and I just really like it! It's sooo simple to make, very few ingredients, and cooks quickly!

1 lb ground beef, browned
onion
1 can cream of mushroom
1/4 can milk

Brown meat with onion. Stir in cream of mushroom soup and milk. Heat through. Serve over mashed potatoes.

***************
If you want to learn how to make extra income, click here!

Extra Income

A few months ago I discovered a way to make a little extra cash from home....

Treasure Trooper
Cash Crate

They're both survey sites where you can do daily surveys and free offers and get paid for it.

Daily Surveys
You get $0.75-$0.80 for each daily survey about all kinds of topics from car insurance companies to cat litter to chip flavors. It's the most reliable way to make money because it's guaranteed, but you can only do one survey a day at Treasure Trooper ($0.75) and two surveys a day at Cash Crate ($0.80 each). And occasionally there are days where I just don't qualify for any surveys, regardless of how many time I try throughout the day. But just doing three surveys a day for 30 days would give you at most $70.50! How easy! It takes a little while to just get into a survey and then about 20 (sometimes 30) minutes to complete the survey. I give myself about 30-45 minutes some mornings, and then again in the evening while we're watching something on TV. It's mindless work and easy cash.

Offers
There are also offers you can do. Mostly free offers, and that's mostly just clicking "No, thanks" to signing up for things and those pay about $0.50 each. But they don't always approve. Or you can do free trials for things like Netflix and Blockbuster for a month and get paid like $10. You just have to remember to cancel the service before the trial period ends.

Referrals
You do make money off referrals. In Treasure Trooper you can win pearls when you complete offers. And once you get 8 pearls, you can trade them in for 2 referrals (the next two people who sign up for Treasure Trooper, so they don't even have to be people you know). Right now I have 5 first level referrals (I make 20%) and 8 second level referrals (I make 5%), and last month I made $12.74 just off of them! Now THAT'S an easy $12! Treasure Trooper also has VIP status for people who make $500 (lifetime earnings, not in just one month) and one of the great benefits is that every month you get 20 free pearls! So every month I could trade them in for 4 new referrals and still have some pearls to carry over until the next month! So that's my goal with Treasure Trooper, to make VIP status so I can start making a lot more money just off of referrals. Cash Crate has referrals too (earn 25% first level and 10% second level), but they don't have the pearl game, so you actually have to refer people you know, and that's harder.

I've been doing Treasure Trooper for a few months and have made $192 so far and I just started Cash Crate last month and am waiting for my first check to come for $21. If I actually remembered to do the surveys regularly I could make even more. It's not a ton of money, not enough to count as a full-time job (or even part-time probably), but it's definitely a GREAT way to get some extra cash to go out or put in a jar for something special or for REAL savings too, of course! haha


*TIPS*
1. Set up a bunch (5-6) of "fake" email addresses so all the junk mail goes into those and you don't have to worry about it. They are real addresses you set up at Hotmail or Gmail, just not email that you actually use for anything other than for doing offers.
2. If you do a trial offer though where you enter your credit card info (like Netflix or something), then DO use your normal email address, so you have all your information easily accessible and you don't forget to cancel the service!
3. After doing each free offer, clear the cookies on your computer. That's supposed to help the offers approve.
4. Don't do too many offers in one day. (maybe just 5 or so)
5. Click "No, thanks" to everything. And "Skip" all the pages you can.
6. For doing free trials on products or services where you enter credit card info we got a Green Dot Mastercard, put $20 or so on it, and just use that for trials to protect putting our actual credit card out there.

I don't do that many offers because I don't have much luck getting them to approve, for the time it takes to get through them. Cash Crate is a little better though.

There is also another survey company called Send Earnings, but I just started with them and have barely made anything yet. So I don't have much to say about them.

Anyway, I'd encourage you to check it out! And if you do, use the links from this post, and you'll be counted as one of my referrals! And if you have any questions, just leave a comment, and I'll get back to you! Hope this helps!