Friday, January 30, 2009

Addicted to blogging???

64%How Addicted to Blogging Are You?

Letting go!

Got anything that gets you stressed?? Choosing Simplicity means letting go of as much as possible! It can be hard to sort out our priorities, there is just SO much to do! If you are anything like me it is easy to do the things I WANT to do, not so easy to do the things I NEED to do. I have all kinds of things I do just to keep myself busy from what I NEED to do! Anyone relate??

Starting next week I am going to do a series on this very topic. I have been doing a lot of praying and journaling this week. God wants us to walk in victory in every area of our life! He says to take up his yoke because His burden is light! Too many of us are feeling the heavy weight of life! I am ready to shed some "pounds", are you?? What weighs you down the most??


Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Give me a "V", Give me a "G"! Give me a Vegetable Garden!

Vegetable Garden!!!!
I bought some "spring mix" salad yesterday and eating it sure does have me ready for spring! As good as this salad has been, nothing compares to a salad fresh out of my own garden.

Back in the 1940's a campaign to encourage families (whether living in town, city or country) to plant a garden became known as the "victory garden" campaign. The nation had just come out of the Great Depression and were now in the thralls of WWII and war time shortages. People picked up on this Victory campaign and estimates are that in 1944 40% of all vegetables were grown in home gardens!!! WOW!! That is HUGE!! Please go to revive victory garden for more information about this campaign and also for basic gardening information. In our current economic situation gardening could really mean VICTORY for the food budget. (Long into winter is the harvest is preserved)

Now, I realize we live in a different world from the 1940's. Most people are VERY far removed from their food sources. However, I believe that gardening is very alive and that we can ALL grow something!

These are my garden grow boxes. Well, that is what they look like UNDER all the SNOW, but they are there!!!!! This picture was taken last April and before I planted last summer's garden.
A garden does't have to be fancy. When we lived in a duplex in town I planted 3 tomato plants along the south side of our building (under our living room window). It wasn't much of a garden, but those tomatoes tasted wonderful!!!! Every little bit counts.

How about you?? Are you a seasoned gardener or just now thinking about giving it a try?? What is your favorite thing to grow, or what do you dream of growing?? Every little bit counts! Think about it... If everyone grew JUST ONE meal of there own!!!!!!!!!


Monday, January 26, 2009

Marriage Challenge... Day ONE

Choosing to put deliberate action into your marriage will be a BLESSING!!! Choosing to build up your marriage can be hard, but it will be 100% worth it!!!!

Today is day one with the Revive our Hearts 30 day marriage challenge. It is not too late to join in! Please go HERE to join up with us and to read the daily challenge. If you have signed up please make sure you add the email address to your address box so it doesn't go to your spam box. If you signed up and haven't gotten any messages check your spam box and then approve the email address. I had to do this in my own personal email.

I am excited to see what God is going to do in my marriage and in yours! Please know that I am praying for you all!!!! With God ALL things are possible!!!!!!!


Saturday, January 24, 2009


My husband came across this story..... It is GREAT to hear some GOOD news for once and hear about extraordinary love!!

The stock boy!


In a supermarket, Kurtis the stock boy, was busily working when a new voice
came over the loud speaker asking for a carry out at register 4. Kurtis was
almost finished, and wanted to get some fresh air, and decided to answer the
call. As he approached the check-out stand a distant smile caught his eye, the
new check-out girl was beautiful. She was an older woman (maybe 26, and he was
only 22) and he fell in love.

Later that day, after his shift was over, he waited by the punch clock to find
out her name. She came into the break room, smiled softly at him, took her card
and punched out, then left. He looked at her card, BRENDA. He walked out only
to see her start walking up the road. Next day, he waited outside as she left
the supermarket, and offered her a ride home. He looked harmless enough, and she
accepted. When he dropped her off, he asked if maybe he could see her again,
outside of work. She simply said it wasn't possible.

He pressed and she explained20she had two children and she couldn't afford a
baby-sitter, so he offered to pay for the baby-sitter. Reluctantly she accepted
his offer for a date for the following Saturday. That Saturday night he arrived
at her door only to have her tell him that she was unable to go with him. The
baby-sitter had called and canceled. To which Kurtis simply said, "Well,
let's take the kids with us."

She tried to explain that taking the children was not an option, but again not
taking no for an answer, he pressed. Finally Brenda, brought him inside to meet
her children. She had an older daughter who was just as cute as a bug, Kurtis
thought, then Brenda brought out her son, in a wheelchair. He was born a
paraplegic with Down Syndrome.

Kurtis asked Brenda, "I still don't understand why the kids can't
come with us?" Brenda was amazed. Most men would run away from a woman
with two kids, especially if one had disabilities - just like her first husband
and father of her children had done. Kurtis was not ordinary - - - he had a
different mindset.

That evening Kurtis and Brenda loaded up the kids, went to dinner and the
movies. When her son needed anything Kurtis would take care of him. When he
needed to use the restroom, he picked him up out of his wheelchair, took him and
brought him back. The kids loved Kurtis. At the end of the evening
, Brenda
knew this was the man she was going to marry and spend the rest of her life

A year later, they were married and Kurtis adopted both of her children.
Since then they have added two more kids.

So what happened to Kurtis the stock boy and Brenda the check-out girl? Well,
Mr. & Mrs. Kurt Warner now live in Arizona , where he is currently employed
as the quarterback of the National Football League Arizona Cardinals and has his
Cardinals in the Super Bowl. Is this a
surprise ending or could you have guessed that he was not an ordinary person.

It should be noted that he also quarterbacked the Rams in Super Bowl XXXVI.

He has also been the NLF's Most Valuable Player twice and the Super Bowl's

Most Valuable Player.

Also, don't forget to sign up for the 30 Day Marriage Challenge... It starts MONDAY!!!!


Friday, January 23, 2009

Join me! Building up Marriage!!!

Ahhh, love!!! Marriage can be WONDERFUL, God created it to be. However, sometimes it isn't so great. Marriage is HARD, we get hurt, we hurt our spouse. Feelings go up and down. It takes determination to make a marriage GREAT!! It takes maturity. I am no "marriage expert", but as a wife of 12 years I know that it is worth any effort we put into it! We have had our share of life's difficulties and I know that through it all I have a choice: build my marriage or tear it down. I am choosing to be a wife the builds rather than destroys.

Do you want to strengthen your marriage?? You may not FEEL in LOVE with your husband.... You many not FEEL like it would even be worth it... but it is! You might already have wonderful relationship or you might be on the verge of divorce... either way, this 30 day Challenge from Revive our Hearts Ministry is for you!!!!!!! Sign up and join the free yahoo group I have created. Starting Monday, January 26th, 2009, you will receive a daily "challenge" to build up your marriage!! Are you up to it?? Are you willing to invest 30 days in the love of your life?? Sign up now, and prepare for a challenge well worth every effort!!!!!!!!


Thursday, January 22, 2009

Choosing Simplicity.... starting first thing in the morning!

If there was a magic pill to make life simple we would all take it... since there isn't, we have to face the facts that simple life is created by all the little choices we make.... one by one, the little things add up. What we choose to do, NOT do, have and NOT have, say and NOT say, and on and on is what determines if our life is simple or crazy. Life happens, it is how we choose to respond to life that determines the "rest of the story".

One of my real life role models is my sister. She hasn't had an easy life, they have faced many medical, health and financial challenges throughout their marriage. However, she NEVER lets things get her down and keep her down. She faces life and realizes her attitude is key to survival!!!! She wakes up with determination to make the best of EACH day! She comes out stronger each challenge she faces (though I know she would love to have some time without any more challenges!).

Choosing Simplicity: Starting first thing in the morning!! The first hour or two of the day set the tone for the rest of the day. Choosing to start off with a good attitude (whether you feel like it or not) gets the day off going right. Starting the day on the right note is VERY important to me.... I'm not always successful, but it is so worth it! When I stick to my "morning routine" it is amazing how much I am able to accomplish!!!!! I have been working on going to bed earlier and getting up by 5:30am. My kids get up by 6:15 so this gives me 45 minutes to get myself ready and to spend some time with my husband. (My hubby is a NATURAL morning person and is very chatty in the early hours.... it is very good for my marriage to spend time with him in the morning... if I wait to talk to him till the evening, he won't remember half of it!)

What can I do now that will help me later?? This one question has made life more simple for me. If I have a few minutes to spare I can do something NOW that will help me LATER! I am a natural procrastinator, so this has been a BIG change in my thinking!!! Starting my morning the night before (by having things organized and getting to bed early) make mornings much smoother.

My goals for the next week are:
  • Continue to get to bed before 10pm
  • Get up by 5:30 am
  • Spend time with hubby before he leaves for work
  • Be dressed and ready for the day before the kids leave on the school bus
  • Give my kids the gift of a cheerful and smiling mom..... the older ones are gone all day and I only have an hour with them in the morning... make it a good hour!
  • Spend time in the Word and in prayer after the big kids get on the bus and while the little ones are playing.
  • Exercise... even if for just 10 minutes each morning!
Do you have any goals for your mornings??? Join me and others at Biblical Womanhood!


The BEST $50 purchase we ever made... and a new EASY bread!

Four years ago we installed this $50 find and it has been keeping us warm since!!!!! We have saved THOUSANDS in LP gas by not running our furnace! Praise the Lord! It isn't anything to look at, but who cares. It also cooks a mean pot of soup! I have cooked on it more this year than any year before... I try to cook a couple of nights a week on the stove. Obviously we don't leave the door open... just for the picture.... maybe I should have at least cleaned it off first...! When our electricity was out due to the ice storm in December we stayed warm and well fed those two days thanks to this wood stove... I don't think I would ever want to live without one.

I came across this recipe and am going to give it a try today. I have some other baking mix recipes I really like and they are great for a busy mom!

Hearth Bread

2 c. Bisquick baking mix
1/2 c. cold water
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
2 tbsp. margarine or butter melted
2 tbsp. sesame seed
2 tbsp. salted sunflower nuts or chopped nuts

Heat oven to 425 degrees. Mix baking mix, water and garlic powder until soft dough forms. Pat dough with floured hands into 10 inch circle on ungreased cookie sheet. Brush circle with margarine, sprinkle with sesame seeds and sunflower nuts. Press into dough, cut circles with 12 wedges. Bake until golden brown 15 - 20 minutes. Makes 12 servings.


Sunday, January 18, 2009

Ice and fishing????

Ice fishing is a FAVORITE winter activity for my husband! Now our oldest son has been bitten by the ice fish bug.... not me... I went ONCE, I much prefer reading a good book by the warmth of the wood stove. However, Chris and Wes had a blast and came home with 75 fish!! It took Chris more than 2 hours to clean them all.... A big mess of fish in the freezer for a fish fry come spring. (one more thing to look forward to when warm weather returns.)

Today they went coyote hunting... It was good for them to spend so much time together. The other kids and I stayed warm at home reading books and watching "The Walton's".....

Hope you stayed warm this weekend!


Friday, January 16, 2009

Organization for the NOT Born Organized!

Born Organized??? Not me!! (That award goes to my sisters!) However, I know I am not alone... Flylady helps so many of us! I have learned so much from her over the past five years and our home shows it.

For frugal Fridays I am going to share some of my favorite "organizing" tools I have put into action in our home. I use an empty tissue box to hold plastic store bags. I keep this box of bags under the bathroom sink and every morning after I "swish and swipe" the bathroom I empty the bathroom trash can and replace the bag! Simple, Organized, and Frugal!

Do you have a favorite frugal organizing tip to share?? I am always looking for helpful hints! For other frugal tips visit Biblical Womanhood.


Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Making the most of EVERY circumstance....

We have all heard the saying: "When life gives you lemons, make lemonade!" Well, how about when life gives you snow and FREEZING temperatures, make a snow man and go ice fishing. (This weekend when it "warms" back up I know where to find my hubby... out on the pond doing his favorite winter activity... ice fishing!) For the time being though, we have 3 days of insanely cold weather to live through (I don't know how you Canadians do this week after week!).

How do you take life's lemons and make lemonade?? It is at these times that our true selves shine through. Our paster used to say: "When life squeezes you with hard times you will know what is really in you... it will come out in how we respond and react." Sometimes it isn't so pretty to see the yuck that we work so hard to hide! The key is to not stay down, but to rise up and stand in FAITH! With God all things are possible!!!!! God has a plan and a purpose... He will use every situation/circumstance for HIS good! Sometimes some of the greatest blessings and victories come out of our biggest times of stress and challenge! God will NEVER leave us or forsake us!!!!

Making Lemonade requires a VICTORY mindset!!! Go into the battle determined to WIN! Don't let a negative attitude destroy you!!! Life's challenges aren't fun, but they don't have to destroy you!!! God will give you everything you need (grace, wisdom, understanding, creativity, patience, peace, joy, ingenuity, determination)... ASK Him for it, TRUST Him and STAND in FAITH that He is who He says He is!!!!!!!!! Giving up stink'in thinking and thinking VICTORIOUSLY will take you far!!!!!!!!!

So, how am I applying this in my own life???
  • Well, I HATE the cold, so rather than let winter get me down (especially the gruesome cold days) I am going to focus on making memories with my children inside (next to the warm wood stove). I will have more time to read (since I won't be on the computer... it is in the COLDEST part of the house), and I will get caught up on housework since for the next few days I won't be going anywhere! I can always warm up by exercising!
  • Since finances are extra tight I will practice and expand my "pioneer" mindset and skills! I have always said that I would have loved being a pioneer... really?? Now I can put it to test!!! Learn, grow, develop new skills to serve and bless my family.
  • Look for opportunities to help others... nothing helps with contentment issues like helping others less fortunate!
  • Learn knew skills of all kinds, look outside the box, be creative!!!! Don't give up!!!!
  • Practice DELIBERATE thankfulness!!!! "Count your many blessings name them one by one"!!! I have SO much to be thankful for.... my "lemons" could be much more "sour"!

Stew is on the wood stove simmering for supper..... I had some leftover BBQ pork from the weekend, so I put that in my big soup pot, added broth I made when I cooked the roast, mixed in some brown rice, split peas, barley, shredded potatoes and spices.... That is what I call a "pioneer" supper! I am going to make up a batch of my favorite bread and will serve the rest of the pumpkin bars I made last night. Being resourceful and creative are my favorite parts of "making lemonade"! Having fun with it and keeping the right attitude make life so much better!!!


Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Life as a "Country Girl".....

Is never boring! There is always some fun to have and some work to be done!
Highlights of the past few days:
  • My sister and her family came for the weekend and we butchered our second pig! It was a smooth process.
  • We have carried in a TON of wood and stayed busy watching the fire to keep it's warmth flowing throughout the house (the furnace has not ran in a LONG time)
  • We enjoyed home canned applesauce, jam and peaches
  • We ate SAUSAGE we made ourselves
  • Replaced the heat lamp in the chicken coop and did the usual chicken chores
  • Used the hose and then put it back in the basement (to keep it un-froze)
  • Scraped ICE off of windshields (no garage to park in)
  • Based our trips to town (20 mile drive to the big town) on wind chill factors... don't want to be out on the road when the wind chill is below zero... just call me a wimp, but I would rather be home by the wood stove)
  • Decided that I don't care if the overalls stay piled up by the back door for a while... they are being used EVERY day!
  • ENJOYING the un-obstructed views out my windows! AH, country life!!!


Friday, January 9, 2009

New skills! Back to Basics... and coffee cake

Getting Back to the Basics?? Having a "simple life", "back to the basics", and "frugal" are all the rage right now (a lot to do with the current financial crisis)..... I even have a blog titled Choosing Simplicity! For goodness sakes though, being "simple" can be a lot of work (and even costly when my adventures don't work out so well)!!!!! I LOVE my ever becoming more simple life... wouldn't want it any other way. However, I have a lot to learn. The "simple" country life has a whole set of skills required. There is a definite learning curve.

One should never feel that they have to know everything all at once. Learn something new, do it for a while and then learn something new again. I have made it a life mission to learn something new (big or small) everyday of my life. One way I like to learn is by reading (and then doing). I have been devouring this Reader's Digest book I checkout out at the library. It covers skills of all kinds, from making soap to digging a well. From tanning hides to brewing beer. The learning phase will save you a ton of money in the long run. Talk to others, watch others, take a class, read a book, ask questions. Learn first, jump second!!! Then build on your new skills to do more. For example we now have the ability to butcher pigs since we have mastered butchering deer.... My sister and I upped our canning this year and canned things we hadn't canned before. I have discovered that we like canned applesauce as much as the frozen version we have made for years (thanks to my Grandma for teaching me to make applesauce).

I have found that the more I learn the more I want to learn! The more things we have learned to do our selves or make the more I want to make and do.... Then there is always the "re-doing", but that is for another post!!! Don't be afraid of failure!! Learn from every mistake (and trust me, I have had many.... just ask my family about my attempt to make home made corn tortillas this week! YUCK).... KEEP TRYING! I am going to try flour tortillas next, I haven't given up! Keep learning, keep growing. Today my "new" thing worked: Coffee cake tastes GREAT cooking in a cast iron skillet. I made this favorite recipe for the "Mom's Group" Bible study that meets at our house. We enjoyed it! Here is the frugal (easy) recipe (of course it can be baked in a regular pan):

Overnight (or not) Coffee Cake
Mix together in a large bowl:
2 cups flour
1 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp cloves
1/2 tsp nutmeg

Stir in:
1 cup sour milk (1 tsp vinegar or lemon juice with the milk)
3/4 cup oil
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla

Crumb topping:
Cut the following together with a pastry cutter or with two knives until well blended.
2/3 cup flour
1/4 cup butter or margarine
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon

Mix and refrigerate overnight in a 9*13 GREASED baking pan. Top with crunch topping in the morning. Bake at 350 for 30-40 minutes until tooth pick in center comes out clean. You can also just bake it right away without refrigeration. If I am going to make it the night before I prepare the crumb topping and just store it separate till morning. ENJOY!!


Wednesday, January 7, 2009

In the stillness.....

The day has wound down, the house is quiet... except for the hum of the dishwasher. The children are asleep in their beds after a busy day of learning, playing and laughing. Toys have been picked up and laundry hangs drying on the racks by the wood stove. The smell of fried chicken cooked in the large cast iron skillet on top the wood stove still slightly lingers in the air. The house is warm and snug as the fire in the stove casts it's heat. Blessings, the simple things in life that I am so thankful for.

This life on earth gives us plenty of opportunities to experience challenges, hurts and loss. Daily we are presented times of stress, disappointment and pain. What we do with these is up to us. The choice is there to make: do I choose to get swallowed up by the waves or do I choose to stand on solid ground? It really is up to us!

Tonight as I finished cleaning up the kitchen I turned on my favorite praise music. There is so much power in praise!! As I praised I once again released all the pressures of life into HIS hands!!!! He is my SAVIOR, my life is in HIS hands!!!! I praised HIM for who HE is! I worshiped him for all HE has done! As you face trials and stress, stand on the solid ROCK of Jesus!! He loves you, He died for you, He rose again to make us HIS!!! His arms are out stretched! Nothing we have done, or ever will do, can stop HIM from loving us!! What Grace, what Mercy!!!! Call out to HIM and REST in His love!!!!

Worship our Savior! This is one of my favorite songs and it always reminds me of HIS love, HIS plan, HIS faithfulness. The STORMS of life, the GIANTS, the HURTS, the DISAPPOINTMENTS don't stand a chance against the love He has for us!!!! STAND, STAND on the solid rock of JESUS!!!!!!


Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Got any Giants in your life???? Peace in the midst of stress part 2

Giants like health challenges, financial struggles, job challenges, relationships, family issues, confusing situations, bondage, longings, needs, marriage problems, exhaustion, loss, and the list could go on and on! Go here to read part one.

What are we to do when these giants loom in front of us and make us feel so weak, helpless and overcome?? Stand up to them!!!!!!!!! Tell your giants what GOD has to say! With God ALL things are possible. Don't focus on your giant and listen to it bully you! God never promised that life would be a smooth sail without any challenges, but He does promise to be with us, to never leave us or forsake us. He has OVERCOME this world!!! He has victory for you!

This song goes out to Michelle, Erica and the rest of us facing a giant. Remember that we serve the SAME God that helped David slay the giant!
I would be happy to agree with you in prayer. Feel free to leave me a comment or email me.


Sunday, January 4, 2009

Ready for "normal"!

Christmas is fun! But life will go back to "normal" this week and we are ready for it. Life would be so much less fun without holidays and breaks, but God is a God of order and routine and order and routine are good! Anyone that knows me in real life knows that I am NOT overly structured and get BORED with a tight schedule to follow, but a framework of "normal" is comforting. It has been FIVE years now since I found FlyLady. My life has never been the same (praise the Lord)!! She taught me that "routines" are not a BAD thing, but a freeing thing! "Normal" is different for every family, and sticking to a framework makes everything run more smoothly. If you struggle with keeping organized, the house clean, food on the table and remembering things then FlyLady is there for you.