Monday, March 31, 2008

Choosing Simplicity.... again

Choosing.... Choices.... How do I spend my time, my money, my energy? What emotions do I nurture? What attitudes to I hold, what words do I say??? Oh, so many choices and you know as much as I would like to pass the buck, I can't... It stops right at me!

I am participating in a wonderful bible study ("Life management" by Elizabeth George) with my weekly "mom's group" that meets at my house. We are on week 2 and it is just what I need.... kind of a spiritual kick in the ___! It has all been about PRIORITIES and making God #1! If we do that, then the rest will fall into place! Not majoring on the minors and giving our best, our first, to the word of God!!!

I have asked this special group of friends to hold me accountable. I have made a chart that I will keep track on and have asked them to initial it each week after they read it. I have also asked my hubby to make sure I am up by 5:30 am.... he is an EARLY riser (usually no later than 5am without an alarm)! Getting up earlier than the kids gives me time to shower, spend time with Chris and get in the word *before* life with 4 children starts! I must get my mind/emotions/choices lined up with God and then HE can guide me through the craziness of the day with HIS strength!! I am soooo blessed to have this amazing group of ladies! We have bonded and can be honest with each other. We trust each other and love each other!

If you don't have a group like this I challenge you to start one!!! That is what I did! About a year and a half ago I was lonely and needed a real life group of friends that all loved the Lord. I just made phone calls and invited women to participate.... I had a wonderful response. I was the only common link... the other women didn't know each other. Women are hungry for relationships that go beyond the superficial..... I challenge you to pray and then reach out!!! You will be blessed! Be an honest, open, trustful friend! Love, show compassion, be real! Open up your home (no it does not have to be perfect) and start something that will impact lives!!!

If you have any questions or comments about starting/facilitating a small group please ask!

Have a great day!
I need to get OFF the computer, that is a CHOICE I need to make... less computer time!!!
Heather

Choosing what is for supper doesn't have to be stressful!
Check out www.simplefamilysupper.com to take the stress out of "What is for supper?"

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Works for me Wednesday....Special Plate

*You are SPECIAL today*
As part of works for me wednesday!
I read about this in an Emily Barnes book about 6 years ago. I thought the idea of allowing the "special" person to use this plate on "special" days to be a wonderful family tradition. God is so good because not a couple of weeks later I found this plate at a YARD SALE!!! Yeah!

We have used it ever since to celebrate birthday's, big events, special days etc. If I ever forget my children remind me! It is a BIG deal to use the special plate. We keep it special... each member of the family gets to eat off of it about 3-4 times a year. We also will honor special quests by allowing them to eat off of the "special" plate.
Building memories and encouragement is what it is all about. For some reason, food just tastes better on the special plate!!
Have a great day!
Heather

Make every day special by serving simple, easy to prepare meals.
Visit me at www.simplefamilysupper.com

Monday, March 24, 2008

Tipster Tuesday!

Tipster Tuesday as hosted by becentsable:

What to do with all those plastic store bags??? I use them to line my bathroom trash can. I found a nifty way to store the bags under my bathroom sink (makes it easy to grab one to change the trash every day after I "swish and swipe" my bathroom. (flylady term)
I store my bags in an empty tissue box.... you can fit a ton of bags in there and they pull out easily!!!

Have a great day!
Heather

It is 5 o'clock.... What is for supper???
To end this daily stress join me at www.simplefamilysupper.com

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Simply overwhelmed to simply overjoyed in 15 minutes!

OK,
I am going to be very honest here....
When we got home tonight from all of our Easter activities this is what I faced in the kitchen!!!! YUCK!! I am no where near born organized and I chose to take an Easter afternoon nap rather than clean up the kitchen before we headed over to my in-laws..... So my procrastination has landed me here!
BEFORE:What am I to do? I have a sore arm, am tired, and have "mom's group" Bible study meeting at my house in the morning! YIKES! So, I decided to just put flylady to the test.... I chose to simple give it my all for 15 minutes and see if I can make a dent. What do you think:

After 15 minutes (I set my timer!):


Now that is simply amazing! If I ever doubted simply getting busy I won't again!
Simply giving my kitchen 15 minutes gave me this result! What else in life could I tackle 15 minutes at a time???? Now I don't feel overwhelmed and can go to bed with peace!

Heather


One thing I do tackle is my menu....
It is 5 o'clock.... What is for supper???
To end this daily stress join me at www.simplefamilysupper.com

Simply Celebrating!!!!

Simply Celebrating..... the true meaning of Easter.
Today at church an ENTIRE family got saved!!!!! The mom, dad and two elementary age children all went up to the alter to receive the salvation that Jesus offers!!! They were a first time visiting family for Easter! Glory be to God!!! Now that is EASTER!!!!!!!!

Heather

Friday, March 21, 2008

Frugal Friday......deviled eggs

We eat a lot of eggs in our family. Having Chickens helps that! Anyway, my family loves deviled eggs so I have two tips to save you money, time and mess when making them:

1) Use OLDer eggs for boiling..... fresh ones will NOT peel! I can not make deviled eggs with my own fresh eggs... unless I mark a dozen in the fridge and then wait 6 weeks to use them. Buy eggs on mark down because they are at their sell by date. I bought 2 dozen last week at $.95 each for that reason.

2) To save time and eliminate mess I have a nifty tip! Put the yokes in a quart size zip lock bag. Add your other ingredients and zip the bag shut. Use your hands to mash and smash till the yoke mixture is smooth. Now here is the best part. Cut a small piece off one bottom corner and SQUEEZE the yoke mixture into the eggs like you would frost a cake.... NO mess... just throw away the bag when you are done!!!!!! Enjoy!!!!!

Happy Easter!!!! Enjoy some eggs!

I love saving time and mess in the kitchen!
Join me at www.simplefamilysupper.com

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Choosing Simplicity......when you have a mouse in your room!!!

OK, I will fess up! I profess to be a "country girl" but I HATE mice! After a mouse ran up my arm when I reached in the chicken feed bin two years ago I immediately called a neighbor with extra barn cats and promptly went and picked a couple up! Since then we have had a cat population growth (a common happening with barn cats) and we now have 7. I haven't seen a LIVE mouse in the barn since. YEAH!!!

However, last winter we still had some mice find their way into our house... YUCK! I went on a massive mission to find where they were getting in and plugged a few spots with steel wool. I almost let some of the cats inside the house after I experienced the worst mouse incident of my life. WARNING!!! Do not read further if you want to sleep through the night any time soon!!!

Are you still reading?? I gave you fair warning!!!!

Last winter I woke up during the night to hear "mouse sounds"... you know that annoying scratching sound. The next morning I told my hubby (who could sleep through a train going in our room) and he was sure I was imagining things. (after all we have the cats now) I wasn't convinced, but relented that indeed, I could have been sleep disoriented. I will NEVER believe that again! The following night I didn't wake up to "mouse noises" instead I woke up because someone was pulling my hair.... oops I mean SOMETHING! I sat straight up and that little guy thunked down on the pillow!!!!! I was out of that bed faster than a lightening strike! I guess my mass of thick curly hair looked like great nest possibilities!!!!!!!!!!!

The next morning (after I had slept the rest of the night with my daughter upstairs) I tore our bedroom apart. I did find mouse tracks under our bed and on the night stand beside my pillow. I completely re arranged our room and set up about a hundred mouse traps.... ok about 6. I also went and bought a large case of mouse poison cubes and tossed and tossed under the crawl space and in our basement. The result: 2 dead mice!!! I also slept for a week upstairs with our daughter..... it really took some convincing that the culprit was indeed dead.

Still to this day I sleep with mouse traps set by the head board of our bed! Two nights ago I heard "mouse sounds" in our room! NO!!!! Not again! It had been over a year and the terror was immediately re-lived.... what is a "country girl" to do in a moment like that? I chose simplicity.... I simply made a bee line up stairs and slept with our 3 year old!!!

Now I have again set up a major amount of mouse traps.... I am going to get that little guy before he has a chance to discover my hair!!!! I did manage to sleep in my own bed last night..... but only after making sure that the traps by my bed posts are ready and waiting!!!!! I kept one ear open....

**************************************
It is 5 o'clock.... What is for supper???
To end this daily stress join me at www.simplefamilysupper.com

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

He is how old??!!??!!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!
Here are my two March birthday boys!
Ethan turned 5 on March 8th.
Chris turns 35 today!!! THIRTY FIVE!!!! Remember when that sounded OLD??
I met him when he was 19.... I have been blessed to be with him this long!

We celebrated his birthday last night with one of his favorite meals: hamburgers and oven baked tater tots.

Come try some of our other favorite meals.... check out the sample menu at www.simplefamilysupper.com

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Works for me Wednesday, Chickens!


Chickens = Eggs.... most of the time!!!
My chickens went on "vacation" over the winter, but they have started laying again!!! YEAH, nothing beats fresh eggs! Today I gathered 7 eggs and with today's egg prices even paying feed for my girls doesn't seem so bad. Have you ever had a fresh farm egg?? They yokes are ORANGE, not yellow!!!

How to tell if eggs are "good": Ever wonder if the eggs in your fridge are still good? Put the egg in a large bowl of COLD water... if it floats, throw it out (carefully!) !! In 4+ years of raising chickens I have only had 1 egg float, but I check faithfully. The same will work for "store" eggs!


It is 5 o'clock.... What is for supper???
To end this daily stress join me at www.simplefamilysupper.com

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Frugal Friday...... hospitality

Is it possible to be both frugal and practice hospitality?? To stay on budget and still prepare a meal for a friend? YES!!! I believe 100% that as Christians we are called to practice hospitality and sharing. God has called us to love one another. A meal is a wonderful way to show and express love and care. I also know that God is our provider and if he is calling for us to be generous (which he is) then He WILL supply all of our needs!!! You can not out give God.... He will always make a way!!! Thoughts about this were stirred by a recent post here.

How to be both Hospitable and Frugal:
  1. Make big batches of food. If I am taking a meal to someone I will just make double of what I am making for our family. If you are having quests over just make double to serve.
  2. Stock up on loss leaders so that you have a supply in your pantry to prepare from.
  3. If you don't want to make a complete meal a loaf of home made bread is a BIG treat for most people. Also, dropping of a desert always shows love. You can also invite friends over for desert and cards... this is one of our winter time favorites.
  4. Never turn down help. If you invite friends over and they ask what they can bring have them bring a side or a desert. I NEVER mind taking something when we are invited and it really helps cut down on cost.
  5. Keep the meals simple. Use the frugal recipes you use with your own family.
  6. Give a gift from your garden. I don't know of anyone that will turn down fresh produce... unless they have a garden in full swing!
  7. Give a gift from you pantry.... Do you can? Do you freeze? A homemade loaf of bread and homemade jam is a real treat!
  8. Remember it is the HEART and ATTITUDE that God looks at!!!! A gift in love is what God desires.... He calls us to be cheerful givers. Don't give out of DUTY!
I believe in keeping things simple!!! Give my sample menu a try... they are easy to double, have some friends over and practice hospitality! www.simplefamilysupper.com

Have a Blessed Day,
Be a blessing!
Heather

When stress starts to take over......


I have an incredible full plate right now!!! For the next two weeks! Anyway, it could be easy for me to get swallowed up in the stress of it all and make myself sick (stress headaches are BAD) and make my family sick of me!! (I have done this in the past) LOL!! This would be the WRONG WAY for me to live!

Anyway, yesterday I sat down and wrote EVERYTHING out day by day. It helped me to see that YES, I can get it all done if I stay focused!
Also, during my Bible reading time I read in Galatians the passage about the fruit of the Spirit. What is it that God was trying to say to me?? He will help me get all my stuff done, He wants me to get it all done and be walking in the Spirit... with the fruits of the spirit evident. If I get on the "stressed out" band wagon I will not be living out love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness and self control.

Last night I found myself getting STRESSED out! I just STOPPED! I was starting to go the WRONG way!!! I prayed and changed my attitude! With God's help I can get everything done and still be pleasant to be around! For me having a simple life means getting back to the basics of the fruits of the Spirit! God will help me get everything done, best to have an attitude and life that lines up with Him!

What do you do to keep yourself from jumping on the "stressed out" band wagon?

One stress I don't have is "what is for supper?" My menu is all planned out!!! Tonight we are having our weekly family tradition of pizza! Do you want to eliminate this stress from your life? visit me at www.simplefamilysupper.com Give the sample menu a try!

Heather

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Works for me Wednesday, SECRET WEAPON!




Choosing Simplicity is a HUGE ambition for me! It is sometimes hard to feel like life is SIMPLE when I have a thousand things to get done and it all seems to need doing NOW! In this time, more than ever I need to be focused and organized. This helps me choose simplicity because I know what to do in what order so I don't forget something important and go into panic mode. For me on crazy days it is a goal to NOT go into panic.... stay focused, one task at a time. I also try to practice the "What can I do now to help me later?"

Secret Weapon: CROCK POT!!!!
Today I am using it to make supper now, so that later I won't have to worry about supper as we get through homework/chores and prepare for AWANA's tonight. Simple food in my secret weapon:

BBQ Chicken in Crock Pot
6 Chicken breast halves in crock pot
Pour a bottle of BBQ sauce on top
Cook all day on low, serve with rice (or mac and cheese), steamed veggies (microwave) and salad (bagged).

I also use a planning sheet to organize my mornings/afternoons/evenings. I can designate things I need to do in different time periods.... It helps me stay focused and see that I CAN get it all done!!!

Choosing Simplicity also means that I need to RELY on CHRIST! He gives me the strength, wisdom and ability to get everything accomplished!!!!!!!

Visit Simple Family Supper to take the stress out of the dinner hour. Give the sample menu a try!
www.simplefamilysupper.com

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Tackle it Tuesday! Mt. Washmore!

Tackle it Tuesday!
I am going to tackle Mt. Washmore!!!!! Where does it all come from??? I am convinced laundry multiplies like rabbits overnight!
It is out of control!!!!!!!!
I have about 8 loads of laundry piled up that need to be done!
Will I get it all done today? No, I have some meetings out of the house, but will do my best to get THREE loads done! I will check back in later to update!


It is 5 o'clock.... What is for supper???
To end this daily stress join me at www.simplefamilysupper.com

Tipster Tuesday! Efficient cooking!

Efficient Cooking!
Tipster Tuesday as hosted by BeCentsable:
I believe in "Efficient Cooking" (as I call it on my Simple Family Supper website). Efficient cooking saves me a ton of time and $$. I brown LARGE quantities of ground meat (usually venison in our family since my hubby is a deer hunter) and then freeze it in meal size quantities. It makes for FAST track cooking to make any meal that calls for browned ground meat!!!

  1. Brown the meat in a large pan
  2. Drain it (I put it in a large strainer) and allow it to cool.
  3. Package it in high quality freezer bags, label and freeze!
  4. When ready to use, just quickly defrost in microwave




















It is 5 o'clock.... What is for supper???
To end this daily stress join me at www.simplefamilysupper.com

10 minute Tuesday, Pursuing God

10 minute Tuesday as hosted by faithfulchick:

I participate in a weekly "mom's group" Bible study. We are transitioning to a new study next week, but God laid this on my heart for us to do this week. God really touched my heart on Sunday with a message on Pursuing God Encounters..... God wants encounters with us!!!! I am focusing on pursuing God this week! Take 10 minutes to Pursue God!

Pursuing God

Pursue (to put forth an effort, to focus, to spend time and energy, to be determinied,) encounters with our God Almighty. He desires to have 2 way communication with us. He longs to spend time with us!

Getting Real:

Pursuing God comes at a cost. We all only have 24 hours a day and our days are full. What are you willing to give up to Pursue God? What are the other things in my life that I pursue? Where does God fall on the scale of my focus?


Bring it to reality:

On a scale of 1-10 (1 being extremely little, 10 being very much) how much time (of the 24 hours given to us) do you spend pursuing the following: (this is not to say that the activities listed below are bad…. Most of them must be done) Just be honest about the time you spend on these activities: Rate on the scale of 1-10

Sleeping ________

Eating ________

Outward Beauty ________

Chores/housework ________

Laundry ________

Cooking/baking ________

Work ________

Time with husband ________

Romance ________

Taking care of kids ________

Fun time with kids ________

Organization ________

Shopping/acquiring ________

Money ________

Paying Bills ________

Friendships ________

Hobbies ________

Seeking attention ________

Reading ________

TV ________

Computer ________

Planning ________

Church ________

Volunteering ________

Extended Family ________

Phone ________

Running errands ________

Children’s Activities _______

Negative thinking _______

Worry _______

Praise and worship _______

Prayer _______

Listening to God _______

Time in the Word _______

Journaling _______

Bible Studies _______

Outreach to others _______

Hospitality _______

Other:_______ _______

Other:_______ _______

Other:_______ _______

Other:_______ _______

Other:_______ _______


Now it is more clear what things I spend my greatest time and energy pursuing. Am I giving God any reason to be “Jealous”? Where is my focus? What do I spend a lot of time pursuing:

________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

_________________

How Can I make pursuing encounters with God a reality? What is the plan? What will I need to reduce my time on in order to have more time to pursue God? ____________________________

__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________


Follow up: Encounters with God

This week I changed some of my “pursuing” habits in the following ways: ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Encounters with God: Share anything you feel comfortable sharing about your time spent pursuing God. What did you learn? What did you hear? What did you experience? How did you grow?

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

How did the “cost” of giving up time in other areas affect you? Are there some things that you found you need to spend more time on? How about balance? __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

What does pursuing God mean to you now? How does this impact daily life? ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________





It is 5 o'clock.... What is for supper???
To end this daily stress join me at www.simplefamilysupper.com

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Simply Wonderful!!!!

We now have K-Love Christian radio in our area! This is a wonderful blessing. Click Here to listen online if you don't have K-love in your area (yet).

It is 5 o'clock.... What is for supper???
To end this daily stress join me at www.simplefamilysupper.com

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Simply Growing Up!

Happy 5th Birthday, Ethan!!!!


Time flies when you are having fun!! Ethan is 5 years old today!!!
We celebrated by meeting my sister and her family at McDonalds Playland for fun and food. (this is a RARE treat, so it was a BIG deal!)

Here is my little man.... my "helper boy" "Worker boy" as he calls himself.

Here is Ethan at 6 months and then now:

He is my SMILING kid!!! He melts my heart with his "Mommy, I love you! Mommy, I love you FOREVER!"



It is 5 o'clock.... What is for supper???
To end this daily stress join me at www.simplefamilysupper.com

Friday, March 7, 2008

Frugal Friday

It is Frugal Friday, as hosted by Biblical Womanhood.

My sister, Melissa, and I hosted a bridal shower for our youngest sister, Sriyani, last Sunday. We are in the picture below. I am on the left, Melissa on the Right, Sriyani is in the middle.



It was a wonderful time and we didn't break the bank. For centerpieces we used lilac votive candles (her colors are lavender and pale yellow) and a mason jar filled with kitchen tools (which Sryiyani will use in her kitchen) or a kitchen tool.

The funniest one was a bottle of lavender dish soap with a scrub brush tied to it with Raffia. It was centerpieces/gift combined!


Sorry the pictures are so small... I will try to fix that later!
Have a great day!
Heather

It is 5 o'clock.... What is for supper???
To end this daily stress join me at www.simplefamilysupper.com

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Spring Cleaning

I am participating in Spring Clean 2008 as hosted by The Homespun Heart.
For me, it is a little early to be doing "spring cleaning" because we literally have to do the historical cleaning.... we burn wood to heat our home. If you have ever been around wood heat you know how DIRTY it is. Between the bark and stuff that comes in when carrying in the wood and the ash and smoke that escapes the stove we have a constantly dirty floor and DUST everywhere! I almost didn't sign up to participate since we will still be heating for the next 1-2 months. However, as soon as the wood is done the farmers will be in the fields that surround our home so there really isn't a good time for "spring cleaning"! I might as well jump in with the rest of you!!!!

Today I
  • Dusted down the walls and got rid of cobbwebs and tons of DUST in the entire down stairs (living room, dining room, family room, master and our only bathroom).
  • Mopped the living room and dining room hardwood with a strong vinegar wash.
  • Moped the kitchen and bathroom.
  • After the mopping had dried I applied 3 coats of this AMAZING product to the hardwood! I do believe I have a new floor.... it does work as good as the pictures. I took some pics.... I will try to get them up, but for now here are the pics they have on their web site. I have been using this product for 4 years.... it really is wonderful. I had gotten behind on this.. I generally apply it every 6 months, but it has been a year. I was able to buy it for buy1/get one at walgreens a couple of weeks ago.



It is 5 o'clock.... What is for supper???
To end this daily stress join me at www.simplefamilysupper.com

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

I was on the radio!

I listen to Midday connection (moody) regularly. Today they were talking about being in God's presence out in nature! This is sooooo me!!! I made it on as their last "commenting caller"! If you want to here this fantastic program and catch me as the last caller click here.
Heather

It is 5 o'clock.... What is for supper???
To end this daily stress join me at www.simplefamilysupper.com

Tackle it Tuesday! PAPERWOK!!!

Tackle It Tuesday Meme

I have some paperwork that needs done:
  • Prepare for our annual insurance audit (my husband is a self employed sub contractor and our liability insurance company does an annual review)
  • Sign up our children for baseball/softball
  • clear off the "hot spot" on my kitchen counter
PAPERWORK is NOT my favorite thing to do... but it MUST be done!!! I am going to TACKLE it today!!!!!!!

It is 5 o'clock.... What is for supper???
To end this daily stress join me at www.simplefamilysupper.com

Tipster Tuesday! STRAWBERRIES!!!


Over at BeCentsable they are hosting Tipster Tuesday!
Last week my tip was about growing your own food. I thought I would continue with that topic since spring is around the corner for us (and has made it to some)! I am READY to get out there!

Growing STRAWBERRIES!!!!
Strawberries are easy to grow and home grown ones taste fantastic! I started mine in a 3 x5 grow bed we built... with the first season growth it filled in completely. It is important to pick off ALL flowers from the plants the first year. You want to give the plants time to establish their roots and send of new starts the first year. The second year you will have a wonderful crop! You can grow strawberries in the ground or in a container.... they are flexible! Go here for a good basic article on growing strawberries.
Start small, but you can grow some of your own food! Nothing tastes as good as something you have grown yourself and you KNOW what is in it/not in it!!!!!
Have a great day!
Heather

It is 5 o'clock.... What is for supper???
To end this daily stress join me at www.simplefamilysupper.com

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Simply Interesting!


Yesterday I had the AMAZING opportunity to go to the library WITHOUT any children. Now don't get me wrong, I take my kiddos to the library nearly every week, but to have the opportunity to browse the shelves and linger over interesting books was a BLESSING!!! I ended up with a basket full of books and DVDs, something for everyone. One of my finds was this book: A Slice Of Organic Life by Goldsmith.
  • Has wonderful ideas for everyone... town folk and country folk
  • Tips on everything from gardening, to diapers, cooking to traveling.
  • Explore little things you can do to make a BIG difference.
  • Chock full of old-fashioned living presented with modern flare.
  • Info on raising animals to foraging for mushrooms, making flavored oils and vinegars to controlling household pests.
  • Container Garden!!!
I think this book is definetly worth seeking out if you want to make some "simple life" choices. I was encouraged to see how many things I was already doing and inspired to try some more!

Have a great weekend!
Heather

It is 5 o'clock.... What is for supper???
To end this daily stress join me at www.simplefamilysupper.com