Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Tour Tuesday.... Lean times but full pantry

I haven't don a TOUR TUESDAY in a long time and think I'm due to post one.... I haven't posted one since last summer!!

Thanksgiving through the first of the year are typically 'lean' times for my husband's work. Not too many folks are wanting new floors over the holidays so things slow down. He has had work (don't worry) but not compared to 'busy' times. We plan for these months by saving every penny we can during good times and have it for the lean ones. Another way that I prepare for the slower work months is by keeping a good food supply in my pantry (or pantries). I buy in bulk when it is on sale, I can fruit, veggies and meat, and I cook from scratch. The larder is full and we are going to be eating from it the entire month of January. I took these pictures back in September, but they my cupboards are still as full, just with a slightly different inventory. I always pull the older product to the front and place the new purchases in the back. It really is amazing how much you can save on the grocery bill by stocking up when prices are at their lowest. January's grocery budget will be slim... but no worries there is plenty to eat. I am going to participate in Money Saving Mom's 'Eat from the Pantry' challenge.

Anyway, for a little tour....
The first picture I am standing in the family room looking towards my kitchen (my back it facing our second bath/laundry room). The wood cabinet with the lace curtain is pantry #1! Below you can see the contents.... This yard sale cabinet has been with us for many years and has been used in multiple ways....

I LOVE old jars and use them as both decoration and for food storage.


We have a shelf in the laundry room that I store over flow of cereal and chips.
When I can get good deals on cereal I stalk up... if there isn't cold cereal the kids eat oatmeal, toast and peanut butter or pancakes from the freezer.












In my kitchen I have an island cupboard that is such a blessing... I can keep a few items that I use often while cooking.

Down in the basement I store canned goods and anything else that won't be damaged by moisture (even though we run a dehumidifier). Right now I also have home canned meat, squash and applesauce. I also hit a wonderful potato sale so we have about 30 lbs of potatoes to use up. It is so good to have a place to store these things. Notice the peanut butter stock pile... hey when it is on sale for $1/jar I take advantage!! :)





We have a nice closet next to our second bath. I am standing by the wooden pantry shelf looking the opposite way across the family room. I use this pantry to store everything from toilet paper and toiletries to pop, coffee and snacks. We make use of every storage option we have.

You can see a little of our *new* bathroom! Having 2 bathrooms with 6 people is WONDERFUL!! I am so blessed to have a husband with all the skills we need to do construction ourselves!

One last picture.... my beloved up right freezers out in the pole barn. No room in the house, but I don't mind having to go out to the barn..... I am BLESSED to have these babies!! It makes raising our own meat and hunting for deer possible... without them we couldn't do it. They aren't pretty, but they do their job.






I hope you have enjoyed my pantry tour! I will be posting more about our pantry eating challenge over the month of January. God is so GOOD!! I am always amazed at the deals he leads us to or how he provides meat. I am also blessed to have been well trained by my Mom and Grandmother in the art of cooking, canning, gardening and food storage.

I would love to see your pantries!! Let me know if you give a tour... I would love to stop by and take a look!!

Have a BLESSED day, BE a BLESSING!
Heather

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Saturday, December 26, 2009

Updates on life.....Poo, tv and daily living


Update time, but first of all I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas celebrating the birth of our Savior, Jesus!! We had a special time with family and we are now back home and planning to enjoy the rest of Christmas vacation.

Some updates....
Still no POO and loving it!!! I don't plan on going back to shampoo or conditioner. The baking soda and apple cider vinegar work marvelously for me! I also use coconut oil as a leave in conditioner/freeze treatment for my curly hair. I am down to only using 2 store bought products (down from a total of 5-6). I still use a bit of hair gel and hair spray... not much just a tad. If you haven't given the 'no poo' thing a try what are you waiting for??

TV/Screen time DECREASE! Over Thanksgiving break we celebrated the week 'old fashioned' style with NO tv or computer. How did it go?? Well the first couple of days my children suffered from MAJOR withdrawal..... MAJOR. That right there convinced my husband and I that our family had indeed slipped into a serious problem with screen time. So for 2 weeks... it was off. then we decided that we would only allow tv for movies on Friday or Saturday nights and if they asked any other time they forfeited those weekend privileges. How is it going now?? WONDERFULLY!! The kids are playing more games, reading, coloring, doing puzzles, using their imagination, building things and getting the toys back out again. We have also played more games together in the past month than we had in the past year! We have had a TON of fun and plan to keep the LIMITED screen time policy in place. As you have noticed I haven't been blogging much either... it has been a good detox for me, too. Living life is much more valuable than passively watching or reading about what others are doing.... Living MY life, the life that GOD has given ME, is my priority. DOING things with my own family takes precedent over reading what others are doing with theirs. (though I will still read blogs from time to time.... just keep my priorities in check!)

Life's challenges..... yeah, we have had some this fall. Yeah, we are still dealing with some difficult issues, but we are working on them and have been blessed to have some very wonderful Biblical guidance and counsel that had been extremely beneficial. Through Jesus we are more than conquerors!!!! The victory is already won!!!!

Looking towards 2010 God is giving me some new convictions, goals, dreams. He has also given some opportunities to just completely trust him because my human eyes can't make heads or tails from what I see. Living my life DAY to DAY, with my heart in tune with what GOD desires is going to be a huge thing.... Heart issues, peeling back more layers of ME and replacing them with GOD.... that is what I pray happens.

Living Simply... this God given desire is growing even stronger as I have had a renewed passion for the ways of God. God's way is peaceful, God's ways are different from the world. The world chases after so much and even as Christians we get sucked in to the rush for more.... stepping back farther from the mainstream world is another family goal. It is so easy for my heart to get filled up with things that distract me from the most important things in life. Defining 'simple living' for our own life will be a continual journey but one that will take on more priority this coming year than last.

I look forward to writing on this blog and sharing with you the journey that God is leading me on. I'm not sure how consistent I will be posting, but will post as I feel led. My HEART must be right..... I can NOT post to feed my pride or gain popularity. My HEART must please Jesus, not myself. I learn so much from you all and will continue to do so. I have been so blessed by friends that I have met online and know that God guides us to each other for divine purpose!!

Happy New Year!!

Have a BLESSED day, BE a BLESSING!
Heather



Thursday, December 17, 2009

EASY fudge!!

I'm a HUGE fan of chocolate and I am a HUGE fan of simplicity! Put those two together and this fudge recipe is perfect. I posted this recipe last year, too.... it is just so good I had to post it again. I usually start making it around Thanksgiving and make sure to have plenty to share and enjoy all the way through New Years. This is serious chocolate, one piece of this rich delight with a cup of coffee.....

Anyway, here is my favorite fudge recipe.... simple, easy and frugal!!

Amy's Amazing Fudge

Combine the following in a large bowl:
3 cups chocolate chips (semi-sweet is the best!)
½ lb. (2 sticks) butter, cut into chunks

In Sauce pan measure:
4 ½ cups sugar
¼ tsp. cream of tartar
1- 12 oz. can evaporated milk

Mix together and stir constantly over med-high burner. Keep stirring until it comes to a full bubbling boil- NOT a rolling boil. Time for 6 minutes. Remove from heat and pour over chips and butter in bowl. Add 1 tsp. vanilla, stir until chocolate is melted. Add nuts if desired. [Try dried cherries too- yumm-o!]
Pour into GREASED 9x13 pan and cool.
Cut into squares and serve. Keep refrigerated or at least in a cool place.
Warning: Very rich- you must have a glass of milk or a cup of coffee. Eating more than 3 pieces at a time is known to give you sugar overload.



Have a BLESSED day, BE a BLESSING!
Heather

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Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Enjoying Family... Celebrating Thanksgiving the Old Fashioned way!

Thanksgiving is my FAVORITE holiday.... What is better than Food, Family and celebrating blessings! We have so much to be thankful for and taking time to focus on them is so good for the heart!

This past year the "modern world" has taken a stronger hold in our family life than what we want. Too much TV and internet are the main culprits. So we have decided to celebrate Thanksgiving week 'screen free' and then evaluate how much of it we want back. Focusing on DOING things with each other and enjoying LIFE as God has given us. We are celebrating Thanksgiving in an OLD FASHIONED way.... with the sounds of laughter and conversations, with the activities we do with our hands, enjoying delicious food and building memories!!

See ya in a week.... HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!



Have a BLESSED day, BE a BLESSING!
Heather

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Thursday, November 19, 2009

A penny saved is a penny earned!!

This is the picture I chose to use on our Christmas cards. I ordered 100 cards using the totally FREE deals that Money Saving Mom posted. 100 cards TOTALLY free!!!! What a blessing!

Speaking of blessings, this week I went in to Goodwill and found a much needed pair of LANDS END winter boots (in brand new condition) for my daughter for only $3.99!! I looked them up when I got home and found out that right now they are on sale at Lands End for $44... LOVE that $40 savings! God is GOOD!!

If you have a need today PRAY about it! Ask God to open up doors and watch for the ways he meets your needs. It is so much fun to see how God chooses to provide... he always does. The key is knowing the difference between a want and a need.... sometimes I perceive things as needs and they really aren't! God is FAITHFUL!!!! Sometimes God meets a need by giving us a fresh dose of creativity. Using your skills, abilities and resources is one way that God meets our needs. Sometimes making and re-purposing things our self is how God provides.... just some thoughts!

Have a BLESSED day, BE a BLESSING!
Heather

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Monday, November 16, 2009

The day has finally come!!

Not even to 12 1/2 years old and my oldest son, Wesley, is TALLER than my 5' 9 1/2"!! I started guessing when he was a baby when he would surpass me and I hit the target... age 12! It is a NEW stage of parenting when your son is slightly above eye level!! Needless to say he finds this to be very cool!! He also wears a size 12 (mens) shoe and thinks it is cool that he is only one size off from his Dad's.



Robyn has found a new hobby: baking! We are the blessed recipients of her endeavors. Tonight she made (from scratch) chocolate chip cookies COMPLETELY by herself!! YUMMY!! I am so excited that she is finding joy working in the kitchen.... something we can do together! As my only daughter I have really been hoping that we could share some hobbies together.... the kitchen is fine with me!!

Each one of our children are so different from each other and yet share a part of my husband and I. We share special things with each of them.
  • Wes (TALL like his Dad) shares his love of books and thinking with me, his love of fishing with his Dad. Wes and I share wonderful conversations about all kinds of DEEP things like politics and living out our faith. He also shares my love of public speaking... Yeah!
  • Robyn has people skills like her Dad... remembers names from the first time... not me! Robyn and I share all kinds of great things... including our strong wills! Yes, her strong will is a blessing.... just have to keep praying that it continues to head in the right direction!
  • Ethan has my eyes, has my love of cuddles and has my fair completion. He also LOVES, NEEDS, just HAS to be busy with his hands... guess he gets that honestly from both his Dad and me.... we both enjoy keeping busy. (Surviving toddler hood with a boy that took everything apart was a challenge, but now he is happy to be put to work!)
  • Nate LOOKS just like his Dad. Nate makes the funniest faces like his Dad, but LOVES to write like me! He writes me "notes" all the time! He loves the written word and is so excited to be learning to read and write REAL words! He is also my 'baby' so I still get to hold on my lap more than any other FIVE year old I ever had... There are advantages to being the youngest!
OK... enough of my motherly sentiment... I need to get off to bed!! I am just CHOOSING to focus on the JOYS of motherhood and forget about the never ending chores.

Have a BLESSED day, BE a BLESSING!
Heather

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Friday, November 13, 2009

Harvest... reaping what I have sown....

We don't farm, but we live in the middle of CORN country! Our farm consists of chickens, cats, dog and occasional pigs along with our garden, berries and fruit trees. Right now it is HARVEST season... reaping of what was sown in the spring. My husband has been helping our neighbor farm this year. He is learning all kinds of new things and having fun driving tractors and such!

Anyway, all this harvesting has me thinking about a Biblical principle that I try very hard to teach my children and to put into practice in my own life: we reap what we sow! Boiling it down to the Golden Rule. Sometimes I will admit that I don't always plant seeds I want to harvest! YIKES!!

These past few months have been a might bumpy for us. We are dealing with some difficult situations and the stress level has been elevated. However, one thing that God is continually trying to teach me is that everyday I am 'planting'!! I don't get to just let my attitude go sour or my words get edgy or my disposition be snappy just because life isn't fun. Fact is HE is the same yesterday, today and forever!! He will fill me with HIS strength EVERYday... not just the GOOD days... HE is faithful to me and I need to always keep my eyes on HIM and keep planting seeds I want to harvest!!

So, if you are like me and see fields being harvested right now use it as a reminder that our personal life is just like that... we plant seeds and then after time they have grown and produce a crop.... what crop are you planting??


Have a BLESSED day, BE a BLESSING!
Heather

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Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Chicken Lime Tacos

From the November Simple Family Supper Menu Kit:

Chicken Lime Tacos

Crock Pot or Stove Top

Ingredients:

1 ½ lbs boneless skinless chicken (breast or thigh)

¼ cup lime juice (concentrate is fine)

1/2 pkt taco seasoning

½-1 tsp chili powder (optional)

1 cup frozen corn

1 cup chunky salsa

12 flour tortillas

Optional Toppings: Shredded cheese, shredded lettuce, sour cream, salsa

Stove Top Directions:

1) In a sauce pan cover chicken with water and boil the chicken for 10 minutes. Remove from water and shred meat.

2) Combine chicken and remaining ingredients (not the optional toppings) in a skillet and simmer for 15 minutes on LOW.

3) Serve with tortillas and optional toppings.

Crock Pot directions:

1) Place chicken, lime juice, chili powder and taco seasoning in crock pot. Cover and cook on LOW 5-8 hours or until chicken is tender.

2) Remove Chicken, cool slightly. Shred chicken meat and return to juices in the crock pot. Stir in corn and salsa. Cover and cook on HIGH 30 minutes until heated through. (OR you can use the stove and heat everything up in a skillet or put everything in a microwave safe dish and heat in the microwave)

Side suggestions:

Optional toppings, salad, fruit


Simple Recipes, Family Time!!

Have a BLESSED day, BE a BLESSING!
Heather

Simple Family Supper

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Fall Fun!! Annual pictures.... It is about time I
get these posted! We had beautiful weather this
year to take them. This is the one thing about fall
that I look forward to doing....
Above... all together...
Below: Wes (12)



















Robyn (10)



















Ethan (6)



















Nate (5)




















Have a BLESSED day, BE a BLESSING!
Heather

Simple Family Supper

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Friday, November 6, 2009

November Menu is up and ready!


November! The month of THANKSGIVING! I have to say that of all the fall and winter months this is my favorite one...... and I have so much to be thankful for. CHOOSING SIMPLICITY means choosing to focus on the blessings rather than on any problems or lacks. Gratitude is like a salve that heals the heart!

One thing I am very blessed with is my Simple Family Supper menu plan. Having a planned menu makes life so much easier. The November Menu is ready for you... I know it is a little late, but my menus never have dates, just 4 weeks of menu, shopping lists and recipes so that you can jump in with week 1 any time. This month is packed with yummy, family friendly, budget happy, easy to prepare meals. This plan utilizes 'Efficient' and 'Fast Track' cooking to make your life as simple as possible!

November Menu includes:
  1. Chicken Lime Tacos
  2. Crescent Cheeseburger Pie
  3. Pita Pockets
  4. Garlic and Tomato Chicken and Taters
  5. Corn Chowder
  6. Cranberry Pork Loin
  7. Texas Stew
  8. Herbed Chicken
  9. Southwest Stroganoff
  10. Philly Cheese steak
  11. Biscuit Topped Beef Bake
  12. Santa Fe Chicken
  13. Spaghetti
  14. Chicken and Wild Rice Soup
  15. Roast Beef Sandwich Roll
  16. Ranch Chicken
  17. Fall Stew
  18. Speedy Taco Feast
  19. Simple Roasted Turkey Breast
  20. Crunchy Turkey Bake
November Simple Family Supper Menu Plan Kit: Complete Organization
Only $7
Add to Cart

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This is what Cara Putman had to say about the Simple Family Supper Menu Plans:

"Last week, I used Heather's sample menus at Simple Family Suppers. Gut-reaction: I loved it and signed up for three months. Why did I love it?

1. Shopping was a snap. The grocery list was simple, organized, and easy-to-use. It was easy to go through the list and mark off what I already had. It took the pain out of shopping. And Eric can tell you how much I HATE grocery shopping.

2. The menus are SIMPLE. Most took fewer than five steps to complete, several even fewer. In most cases prep time was less than ten minutes. My idea of a good time!

3. Several of the recipes could be cooked in the crockpot or in the stove. So if I was organized, I could throw it together in the morning or early afternoon, and not think about it again until supper time. LOVE that.

4. My family ate all of the meals. That's a winner right now. Several of these types of plans that I've looked at before had fish, pork, etc. in each week's menu. I hate fish, and we don't eat a ton of pork. There are a few pork recipes in the January set of menus, but they continue to be recipes we would eat.

5. I didn't stress -- all week -- about what to make. Usually, it's 5 o'clock and I suddenly start to panic. What do I have in the house? What can I make? What sounds good? Etc.

So I signed on. And if you're a busy mom like me, I think you'll find this service one that can remove some stress from your life."


Cara is a published author of several books. I have really enjoyed her novels. Next time you are on the hunt for a good book dive in to one of hers!


Have a BLESSED day, BE a BLESSING!
Heather

Simple Family Supper

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Thursday, November 5, 2009

Wonderful Night Ahead....

Tonight I have the privilege, along with my friend Kiersten, to be speaking to a group of ladies in Indianapolis. Kiersten has an incredible anointing on her life to bring people into praise and worship! I am excited that she is going with me to usher us in to the presence of God. I will then be speaking on the importance of the Family Table. The Family is UNDER ATTACK by the enemy and one thing that we can do to fight off these attacks is spend time together. Sharing a family meal together is a wonderful way to connect, bond and pass on values. Please pray for tonight's meeting that lives will be touched and that Kiersten and I will operatein the Holy Spirit. To God be the Glory!!

Have a BLESSED day, BE a BLESSING!
Heather

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Mourning with those that mourn...

Today my local area is mourning the loss of a special man. Volunteer Fire Chief "Boggie" lost his battle to cancer. Today is his funeral service. Yesterday the family received the community to pay their respect for over six hours. He was a loved man. I did not know him personally, but my life was still touched by his life. His department of firefighters was one of the units that fought my parents house fire (the year before I was married). It took several departments many hours to put out that house fire... I have lived through that and was blessed by their dedication.

My children have been privelaged to visit the fire station for school field trips and we are friends with a few of the firefighters in Boggies department. It is a sad time, the department is like a family and they have suffered a great loss. Today, I mourn with those that mourn and salute a man that dedicated a large part of his life to serving his community. Today he will get a full honor fireman's funeral and will take his final ride in the beloved fire truck. My heart is with all of his family, his loved ones and his fellow firefighters. Boggie will be missed.

So as I salute this man I also want to thank all volunteer (and paid) members of the communtiy that dedicate their lives to serving us and keeping us safe. THANK you for your service!! May God be with you!


Have a BLESSED day, BE a BLESSING!
Heather

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

What do a cowboy, pirate and twister game have in common?





Fun time!! My kids dressed up for AWANA's Fall Harvest Party/Trunk or treat!!! Our oldest, Wes, didn't go this year... Basketball practice.

Have a BLESSED day, BE a BLESSING!
Heather

Monday, November 2, 2009

Pumpkin Pancakes

Last night I made pumpkin pancakes for the FIRST time ever... I hadn't ever even eaten pumpkin pancakes before! Have you ever had them?? Well, we enjoyed them and I will be making them again. My youngest, Nate, and I especially liked them.

Here is the recipe I used and below that you will find an extra easy recipe using bisquick (or any pancake mix)

Pumpkin Spice Pancakes


Ingredients:
2 1/2 cups flour
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 TBL baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp cloves
1/4 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups milk
1 cup cooked pumpkin
1/4 cup oil
2 eggs

Directions:
Mix together all the dry ingredients add remaining ingredients and stir till smooth. Cook in a greased skillet.

NOTE: These pancakes freeze well to be enjoyed again later!

EASY PUMPKIN PANCAKES


2 c. Bisquick
1 egg
1 c. milk
1/2 c. cooked pumpkin
1/2 tsp. cinnamon

Combine above ingredients and cook on griddle as other pancakes. Serve with butter, syrup or powdered sugar.



I also posted about these pancakes over on my Simple Family Supper facebook page... hop on over and check it out! If you haven't become a friend on this page I would love to have you join us!!

Have a BLESSED day, BE a BLESSING!
Heather

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Welcoming my newest NEPHEW!!






My sister, Shawny, and her husband, Brent, Welcomed their first baby into the family this week!! Lucas Stephan... 6 lbs, 6 oz.... Totally CUTE and adorable!!!! So much fun to have a little one in the family again!


























Have a BLESSED day, BE a BLESSING!
Heather

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Using my SECRET WEAPON!!

Soup Season!! I love using my SECRET WEAPON... aka my slow cooker.... to simmer our supper all my busy day long. Yummy supper.... less stress!!! YEAH!!

Here is a good recipe that we enjoyed today!

Chicken and Wild Rice Soup

Crock Pot or Stove Top

Ingredients:

1 lb boneless skinless chicken, cut into bite size pieces

3 cans chicken broth or 4 ½ cups water and chicken bouillon

1 cup frozen mixed vegetables

¾ cup wild rice

½- 1 tsp onion powder

½ tsp garlic powder

½ tsp ground sage

Salt and pepper to taste

Optional Ingredients: 1-2 cups fresh sliced mushrooms, ¾ cup sliced celery, ½ cup baby carrots cut into coin size pieces

Crock Pot Directions:

1) Combine all ingredients into crock pot. Cover and cook on LOW 6-9 hours or on HIGH 4-6 hours.

Stove Top Directions:

1) Combine all ingredients in large soup pan. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to LOW and simmer 20-30 minutes.

Side suggestions:

Dinner rolls, salad





Have a BLESSED day, BE a BLESSING!
Heather

It's a new season... some BIG changes

Life is often far from easy, or simple. Sometimes CHOOSING SIMPLICITY is actually very complicated. I want my life to line up with God's will and that requires the often painful denying of my flesh. My flesh has been RAGING lately. Selfish desires have been rearing their ugly heads in all sorts of ways. Choosing to honor God with my life has required extra determination and an extra dose of God's grace!!

The past few weeks we have been facing some BIG issues, some affecting the entire family and others individually. I have really appreciated your prayers.

One of the big stresses we have been dealing with is with our daughter's struggles in school. Her frustrations with school have spilled into every aspect of our life. Being a 10 year old girl is hard... anyone with a middle school age daughter understands. After MUCH, much, much prayer we have chosen to Home School. We started this week and the PEACE in our home is incredible!!! I want what is best for my daughter, but I had to be willing to sacrifice on my part.... I wish I could say that I didn't struggle with selfishness in making this decision, but I can't. I struggled 'giving up' things to make home schooling possible. God gave me grace and has filled me with joy in this choice!!

Life is a constant ebb and flow. Not getting too attached to a certain way is important... God likes to get us out of our comfort zone because getting out of our comfort zone draws us to HIM! When life is EASY and smooth I am often guilty of relying on my own strength rather than holding on tight to the hand of my Savior. Turbulent times force me to get my eyes OFF of ME and on to the face of my Lord!!

CHOOSING SIMPLICITY means sometimes making HARD choices that go against the desires of the flesh. My flesh does not like being denied, but life with a spoiled brat (my flesh) is really no fun at all! Life really is so much more simple when FOLLOWING the ways of the Word and living a life of obedience!! I would greatly appreciate your continued prayers!

Have a BLESSED day, BE a BLESSING!
Heather

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Weekend Wanderings...link love

Going Natural! Simple Mom has shared about giving up shampoo and now she shares about her all natural face cleansing regime. I am THINKING about trying this.... I have trouble with my skin... oily and breaks out often... even in my 30's! I have to get past some of my long held beliefs about oil.... Anyone use this method??

Attention LADIES: I read an excellent post reminding me of the importance of certain exercise... kegals to be specific. This is a very well done post and has made me remember the value to doing this kind of strength training.

Laughter is MEDICINE!! My husband LOVES jokes... I mean LOVES jokes! Now that he has texting on his phone he passes jokes around with his friends and then I get to hear them, too. This post by Hillbilly Mama does an excellent job of explaining WHY laughter and jokes are so GOOD for you!! No wonder my husband is such a healthy guy!!

Homemade yogurt: I have been making yogurt in my yogurt maker for a few years now. Today I came across this post that shares how to make it in your crock pot. It is also a sweet vanilla version with unflavored gelatin to make it thicker more like store bought. I am going to give it a try after my next grocery shopping day. Making yogurt at home is an excellent way to stretch the grocery budget and yogurt is so good for you!


Have a BLESSED day, BE a BLESSING!
Heather

Friday, October 23, 2009

Its fall BREAK and praise time!

Four day weekend off of school! The kids are HAPPY!! The weather isn't very cooperative so we will be having fun INDOORS today. We need some extra rest since we have all been taking turns with some kind of flu.

Life has been a little bumpy for us this month, but I praise God that HE is always faithful. The storms of life are never fun, but they do cause us to cling to Jesus even more. God has been so good to speak to me throughout the many issues we have been facing. Every time I open my Bible, turn on the Christian radio or Christian TV there has been a message that I NEEDED to hear. God uses the challenges of life to grow us and develop us. He is always faithful, providing for all of our needs!! Now I am ready to MOVE on.... at least that is what my FLESH wants... enough challenges!! LOL!!

This song has been a HUGE blessing to me (once again) and I am so thankful that God speaks to me and encourages me with song!!



Have a BLESSED day, BE a BLESSING!
Heather

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

October Menu


Complete Suppertime ORGANIZATION!!
It's the middle of October, but you can jump in anytime (no dates, just weeks)! The October Menu Plan is chock full of EASY to prepare healthy and delicious food that your family will LOVE. Complete organization: The four weeks of menu plans, the EASY to prepare recipes and detailed weekly shopping lists.

Know what you are having and know that you have everything you need!
Enjoy supper with your family without the daily "What is for supper?" stress!!

October Simple Family Supper Menu Kit

Menu Includes:
Vegetable Beef Stew
Baked Chicken Cordon Bleu Sandwiches
Chili
Santa Fe Chicken
Speedy Good for you Chicken Nuggets
Cheesy Sausage Pie
Teriyaki Chicken over Rice
Hot Ham and Cheese Sandwich
Texas Corn Chip Chili Pie
Fajita Enchiladas
Pizza Macaroni
Simple Meat Loaf
Giant Sandwich
Country Chicken
South of the Border Rice Bake
Beefy Tomato Pasta Soup
Chicken and Potato Dijon Bake
Tomato meat Balls
Ultimate Grilled Cheese and Soup
Mountain County Four Bean Bake

Only $7.95
(less than $2/week) for COMPLETE organization!!

Add to Cart

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Have a BLESSED day, BE a BLESSING!
Heather

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

EASY Chicken Pot Pie ... Fast Track!

Efficient Cooking: Life is busy! I have utilized what I call “Efficient Cooking” to save my sanity! I will do extra of something one night so that another night I don’t have to do it. For instance, the biggest way to utilize “Efficient Cooking” is when preparing meats. Browning hamburger is time consuming and messy. My solution is to brown a lot of hamburger one night and then freeze it in meal size quantities in freezer bags to use later. I can throw tacos on the table in no time using meat that is already browned from the freezer!

Fast Track Cooking: This is when I use what I prepared during “Efficient Cooking”. “Fast Track” cooking saves me tons of time and I can get supper on the table extra fast! Yeah!! Simply using what I prepared earlier to save me time now. I plan on using these meals on nights I need to get food on the table with even less cooking time.



EASY Chicken Pot Pie

Oven

Ingredients:

Fast Track shredded chicken (or 2 cups cooked chicken)

1 (16 oz) bag frozen mixed veggies or soup veggies that have potatoes in them, thawed and drained

1 can cream of chicken soup

1 cup all purpose baking mix

1 tsp onion powder

½ cup milk

1 egg

1 cup shredded cheese (optional)

Directions:

1) Thaw fast track chicken

2) Place frozen veggies in microwave safe bowl with some water and cook till defrosted and warm (but do not have to be completely cooked). DRAIN.

3) Pre heat oven to 400 degrees. Spray a 2 qt baking dish with non stick cooking spray.

4) Mix together the chicken, veggies and soup and pour into baking dish. Sprinkle on shredded cheese (optional)

5) Whisk together the remaining ingredients till smooth. Pour over chicken mixture.

6) Bake about 30 minutes till crust is golden brown.

Side Suggestions: salad, steamed veggies



Have a BLESSED day, BE a BLESSING!
Heather

Monday, October 19, 2009

Become my friend on FACEBOOK!

Join me on my new Simple Family Supper facebook page. I am still fairly new to facebook (I have only had a personal page since spring) but find that it is an easy way to stay in touch. It takes much less time than blogging... don't worry I am not closing down my blog!

I would like to extend an invitation to become a friend of my page. I will be posting recipes, tips, product, give aways and encouragement. I have a passion for bringing the family together for supper! Reduce stress and enjoy the family... now that is my idea of a good evening!!

Simple Family Supper

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Have a BLESSED day, BE a BLESSING!
Heather

Fresh Pumpkin!! Pumpkin Cobbler


This week I cooked up my FIRST ever fresh pie pumpkin. I had always thought it would be so hard... wrong!! EASY!! I have now done two. First one yielded 5 cups of mashed pumpkin and the second gave me 8 cups. With the first pumpkin I made a yummy new to us Pumpkin Cobbler recipe. My husband gave it 5 stars and made my day by saying it was the BEST thing I have ever made!! I froze the second batch for future use. I compared cost and it is cheaper to make the fresh. I purchased my pumpkins for $2 each. We liked it so much that we are planning on adding it to our garden crop next year. Does anyone want me to post instructions on cooking fresh pumpkin?

This weekend I also canned up 7 pints and 8 quarts of cubed butternut squash to use over the winter in anyway I would normally use pumpkin. We do love our pumpkin, but FREE butternut squash is too good to turn down!! I have been having a great time canning new things in my new caner.... ahh the simple things that make me so happy!

If you like pumpkin you will have to give this recipe a try... I got it from Chocolate in my Cranium. (Congratulations to her... she just had her EIGHTH baby last week!!) We will be making this cobbler several times over the winter!! This cobbler does bake for a long time but doesn't take long to mix it up... definitely worth it!!

Super Moist Pumpkin Cobbler
Ingredients:
6 eggs, beaten
3 cups cooked pumpkin (or use canned pumpkin, not pumpkin pie filling)
2 1/4 cups sugar (I used 2 cups of brown sugar and it was PLENTY sweet.. could reduce)
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ginger
1 tsp. cinnamon
3/4 tsp. cloves (I did not use this much and I also added a few dashes of nutmeg)
1 spice cake mix (I used a yellow cake mix and just sprinkled on some cinnamon and cloves)
1/2 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup chopped nuts, optional

Directions:
Mix eggs, pumpkin, sugar, salt and spices. Pour into a greased 9x13 cake pan. Sprinkle cake mix over the top. Pour melted butter all over the cake mix. Sprinkle nuts on top. DO NOT MIX. Cover with foil and bake at 325 for 40 minutes. Uncover and bake for an additional 40 minutes.


Have a BLESSED day, BE a BLESSING!
Heather