Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Efficient Cooking!!!

Efficient Cooking
I believe in "Efficient Cooking". 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

Home Makers Cottage is hosting a freezer meal carnival. Even thought this isn't a complete meal recipe it serves as the easy foundation for so many different meals! Hop on over for more wonderful recipes and ideas!


Ok.... this one isn't funny.... true but makes me angry!

Ok... I'm not going to turn this blog into a political one, but some of these political cartoons have just hit the nail on the head!!! We are told in the Bible that the friends of Israel will be blessed and her enemies will be cursed! We are also commanded to pray for Israel. I personally and we corporately, at our church, pray for Israel and pray that our nation will be her friend!!! Please join in with me and PRAY!!!!


Ha ha ha ha!

Another good one from here!

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Monday, March 29, 2010

The forecast of my dreams!!!!

Do you see this forecast?? WHOO-HOO!!!!!!! Don't expect to see me around much the later half of this week!!!!!!!!

Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday
Partly Cloudy
54° F | 29° F
59° F | 40° F
70° F | 47° F
74° F | 50° F
76° F | 52° F


Saturday, March 27, 2010

Update on my homemade liquid dishwasher soap

I posted way back in the fist week of January about my homemade liquid dishwasher soap. (You will find the recipe at that post) I appreciate when other bloggers post updates on their homemade/frugal attempts... did it really work?? This time it really worked!!

I used this batch all of January, February and finished it up yesterday. Almost three entire months running the dishwasher at least once a day and many times a week it gets ran twice a day. Not bad for $3!!!! It cleans the dishes extremely well and with all that savings I am completely happy! One thing I did find was how LITTLE of this I actually need to use for the dishes to come out sparkling clean!


Friday, March 26, 2010

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

devtion from Above Rubies... PRAY!!

I am a HUGE fan of the Above Rubies ministry!!!! The following is their devotion I received this week on PRAYER! We are all called to prayer.... especially us moms! Enjoy the post! I pray that it spurs you on to pray!!! I really do a lot of praying out in the garden.... so when I think of a picture to go with prayer I always gravitate to the great outdoors! God's creation is amazing and it shows of his incredible power!!!


The secret of praying is to PRAY.

We go to seminars on How to Pray and yet still do not pray. We read books on How to Pray and yet still do not pray. I believe that there is only one way to learn how to pray and that is to PRAY. We must open our mouth and speak to God.

It is sad to find believers who are reticent about praying. They don't open their mouths in a prayer meeting. Many don't even want to come to a prayer meeting. What is wrong? We should be known as the people who "call upon the Lord." Praying should be second nature to the believer

Pray out Loud!

Don't just pray in your mind in your prayer time. There will be times when you will do this because prayer should be a habitual part of our lives. But when you have your specific times of prayer, pray out loud. Get used to hearing your own voice in prayer. It can be strange when you first start but it is the way to get used to praying.

I have always prayed out loud in my personal times of prayer and found it a great blessing. Firstly, if I pray out loud, I know when I stop praying! And that can often happen. When you pray in your mind it is easy to go into dreamland and soon forget what you are praying about. When you start to do this when praying out loud, you come back to prayer with a jolt when suddenly there is silence! It also keeps your mind on what you are doing. It also gets you used to praying out loud in corporate prayer meetings.

Teach your Children to Pray out Loud!

Teach your children to pray out loud so they get used to praying. Praying should be normal to them. Encourage them to pray out loud in their personal praying. Encourage them to pray out loud at Family Devotions.

When the disciples asked Jesus to teach them to pray, He didn't go into a great discourse on how to pray. Instead, He prayed a prayer. He showed them how to pray by praying. We learn to pray by praying. Your children learn to pray by praying.

I am frustrated when I go to a prayer meeting and have to listen to a long message. I thought we had come to pray! Why don't we get stuck in and pray? The need is so great. The nation is in peril. Our only hope is to call upon the Lord. Let's do it.

We all know 2 Corinthians 7:14, "If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and hear another sermon..." Ooops! Did I get it wrong? Sorry. But isn't that what we do? We come together for another sermon. Prayer is the last thing on our minds! But God won't save our nation by another sermon. He will save our nation when we pray.

Let's get it right, "If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land."

Pray out Loud at Church!

My husband was convicted about this Scripture. Therefore, we no longer have church as usual. We don't have a prayer meeting before the service where about three or four people turn up. We pray when we come together as a body. We spend, sometimes up to an hour, praying together as believers before we open the Word of God. Guess who is first to pray. The moment my husband says, "It's time to pray," the children run to the front. They get in line to pray for our nation and the different nations of the world. They are learning to be intercessors as they are given opportunity to pray.

Fellow believers, let's get praying.

Pray individually.

Pray together as husband and wife. Faithfully pray together each day for each of your children and their needs.

Pray together as a family. Encourage all the children to pray.

Get involved in a prayer meeting where people love to pray. Or start one in your home. Gather neighbors, friends or whoever you can together and incorporate your whole family. Pray for the nation. Pray for Israel. Pray for the nations of the world. Pray as God leads you.

For the last ten years we have prayed faithfully every week with folks who live around us here in the Tennessee woods--people from different denominations who normally would not see eye-to-eye. But we don't come together to discuss doctrine. We come together to pray. Consequently, God has drawn our hearts together in love and unity.

Now you know the secret! You don't need to read any more books or hear any more sermons on prayer. Just start praying--and remember to pray out loud.

Start today.



Monday, March 22, 2010

SPRING BREAK is here!!!!

For the past two weeks we have been blessed with SPRING weather and now my kid's SPRING BREAK is officially here!! YEA!!!! The weather isn't as nice today, but it will warm up again in a few days... isn't that the nature of spring??

What will we be doing?? I will post our frugal fun.... some things we have in mind: visiting our local state park, having friends over, making elephant ears, playing outside, working in the garden, putting eggs in the incubator to hatch out some new chicks, and lots of relaxed down time to read, talk, sing, play and just BE!


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Wednesday, March 17, 2010

So Simple Salsa Chicken and Buffalo Chicken Soup

I've got this So Simple Salsa Chicken recipe cooking in the crock pot as I speak! It is YUMMY and it is an "Efficient Cooking" recipe that will give me extra cooked chicken meat to use later. One of our favorite recipes to use the "Fast Track" chicken meat that we will have is in Buffalo Chicken Soup. Below you will find both recipes. These recipes come from the "MONEY WISE" Simple Family Supper menu. Enjoy!!

So Simple Salsa Chicken

**Efficient Cooking: Freeze remaining chicken and sauce and label

Crock Pot or Stove Top


3-6 lbs boneless, skinless chicken *amount depends on number of servings you will need for this meal and for the “Fast Track” meal. (if frozen increase cooking time)

1 (16 ounce) jar your choice chunky salsa

1 can diced tomatoes with or without chilies

2 cups shredded cheese

Opt: reduced fat sour cream

Rice (prepare according to package directions)

Crock Pot Directions:

1) Place chicken in crock pot.

2) Pour salsa and diced tomatoes over chicken

3) Cover and cook on Low 5-8 hours

4) Serve on rice and top individual servings with shredded cheese and sour cream

Stove Top directions:

Same as above except simmer in skillet for 30 minutes till chicken is no longer pink in middle of thickest chicken breast.

Side Suggestions: Rice (brown is the best health choice), steamed vegetables, salad

Buffalo Chicken Soup

Fast Track: Use frozen cooked salsa chicken from wk 3

Crock Pot or Stove Top


4 cups low-fat milk

2 (10 ¾ oz) cans reduced sodium cream of chicken soup

1 can reduced sodium chicken broth

3 cups fast track shredded cooked chicken

1 cup reduced fat ranch dressing

1-8 Tbsp. hot sauce, according to your desire for heat!

Optional: 1 cup small pasta of your choice

Crock Pot directions:

1) Combine milk and soup and broth in slow cooker until smooth.

2) Stir in fast track meat

3) Cover and cook on low for 3 ½ - 5 hours.

4) 30 minutes before serving stir in optional pasta, ranch dressing and hot sauce. **start with a small amount of hot sauce and then add more till it is the heat you want.**

Stove Top:

Same as above except mix and cook in large soup pot. Bring to boil on med/low heat and simmer for 15 minutes before adding pasta, ranch dressing hot sauce.

Side suggestions: dinner rolls, salad

It is 5 O'clock... What is for supper?? Eliminate this stress from your life!!
The Money Wise Complete Simple Family Supper Menu plan kit is full of EASY to prepare family friendly recipes, shopping lists and menu plan!! Give it a try today!!


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Friday, March 12, 2010

Choosing Simplicity..... Some thoughts on housework....

I am thankful for a lawn that needs mowing, windows that need cleaning and gutters that need fixing because it means I have a home.... I am thankful for the piles of laundry and ironing because it means my loved ones are nearby. ~Nancie J. Carmody

Housework is something you do that nobody notices until you don't do it. ~Author Unknown

Our house is clean enough to be healthy, and dirty enough to be happy. ~Author Unknown

We labor to make a house a home, then every time we're expecting visitors, we rush to turn it back into a house. ~Robert Brault


Thursday, March 11, 2010

Choosing Simplicity..... one smile at a time!!

Every time you smile at someone,
it is an action of love, a gift to that person,
a beautiful thing.
~Mother Teresa

People seldom notice old clothes if you wear a big smile.
~Lee Mildon

Wrinkles should merely indicate where smiles have been.
~Mark Twain, Following the Equator

The shortest distance between two people is a smile.
~Author Unknown

Keep smiling - it makes people wonder what you've been up to.
~Author Unknown


Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Enjoying Life!

Enjoying life is a wonderful choice! These days are full of wonderful things to enjoy!

The fresh scent of spring,
shedding the heavy winter coats,
the glee of children splashing in the mud, birthday celebrations,
fresh eggs from our hens,
garden plans,
pruning fruit trees,
baking bread,
fetch with the new dog,
purrs from the snuggling kitten,
visits with special friends,
kisses from my little ones,
love of my husband,
ice cream cones,
home made yogurt,
hanging sheets in the fresh air,
SPRING!!!!!!!!! Is waking up!!!!!!!!!!


Some important truths.....

Sow a thought, and you reap an act;
Sow an act, and you reap a habit;
Sow a habit, and you reap a character;

Sow a character, and you reap a destiny.

- Charles Reade

When a man finds no peace within himself,
it is useless to seek it elsewhere.

- L. A. Rouchefolicauld

If you would live your life with ease;
do what you ought, not what you please.

- Anonymous


Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Choosing Simplicity... Cherishing Motherhood

Women know The way to rear up children (to be just) They know a simple, merry, tender knack Of tying sashes, fitting baby shoes, And stringing pretty words that make no sense, And kissing full sense into empty words.
~Elizabeth Barrett Browning

The formative period for building character for eternity is in the nursery.
The mother is queen of that realm and sways a scepter
more potent than that of kings or priests.
~Author Unknown

I remember my mother's prayers and they have always followed me.
They have clung to me all my life.
~Abraham Lincoln


Thursday, March 4, 2010

Mary Heart, Martha Mind

Having a Mary Heart
and a Martha Mind

Lord of all pots and pans and things, since I’ve no time to be
A saint by doing lovely things, or watching late with Thee,
Or dreaming in the dawn-light, or storming Heaven’s gates,
Make me a saint by getting meals and washing up the plates.

Although I must have Martha’s hands, I have a Mary mind,
And when I black the boots and shoes, Thy sandals, Lord, I find.
I think of how they trod the earth, what time I scrub the floor:
Accept this meditation, Lord, I haven’t time for more.
Warm all the kitchen with Thy love, and light it with Thy peace;
Forgive me all my worrying, and make my grumbling cease.
Thou who didst love to give men food, in room or by the sea,
Accept this service that I do -— I do it unto Thee.

—Cecily Rosemary Hallack (1898-1938)

Broken down walls... rerun worthy... part three

Broken down walls....part THREE...

Financial walls:
WALLS! To recap: They provide protections (by keeping things in or out), create boundaries, create an identity. They provide safety, security and freedom. The strength of my walls is directly related to my self-control!!! Start with the first in this series for more on the important "walls" in our lives.

Proverbs 25:28 "Like a city whose walls are broken down is a man who lacks self control."

Self control is the BALANCE of the NOT and the DO.

I am in NO way qualified to teach on finances... I will leave that up to the experts! However, I have learned some valuable lessons relating to self-control and money!!!!!

Over the past few years our family has been attacking our debt and changing our outlook on money. We discovered Dave Ramsey and our life has not been the same since! I do believe what Larry Burket said for years "The way you spend your money says a lot about the condition of your heart."

God, how is my financial wall?? Am I balancing the NOT and the DO? Are my motives right and pure?? We have made so many mistakes in our past! God is full of GRACE and has been with us each and every step of the way as we learn to line up our finances with HIS word!

The SPENDING PLAN requires CONSTANT self-control. It is so easy to fall to weak moments and chip away at the "wall". I have those days that I just don't FEEL like cooking.... I have those days I don't FEEL like paying the bills.... I have moments that I just FEEL like buying a new whatever.... I have days that my thoughts are full of the "If I only had", "If I could just get..", "If only I had more money" "I WANT", "I need", or "I wish...". Retail therapy is a hard habit to break (even if yard sales and goodwill are my shopping of choice)!! Little chips add up to big chunks.

Financial "Walls" need constant PROTECTION.... Self-control is a key way of protecting it. We can't control all of life's curve balls, but we can use wisdom to be as prepared as possible. Eliminating debt, saving up an emergency fund, paying off the house and investing for the future are all things we can do! Walking with self-control is the ONLY way I am going to accomplish these goals.... Exercising self-control in the area of money will make me look different than the rest of America.... Like Dave Ramsey says "Live like no one else, so that later I can live like no one else"!!!

God, continue to give me wisdom each day relating to our finances. Help me to walk in self control. Thank you for being faithful to meet ALL of our needs. Open my eyes to see more clearly the difference between a NEED and a WANT!


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Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Comfort food.....Becky's Cornbread! BEST ever!!

Comfort food... we just got to have it sometimes.
My real life friend, Becky, makes the most amazing cornbread! Yesterday I asked her to share her wonderful recipe with me and I thought I would pass it on to all of you. What makes it so special?? It is so moist, and yummy and has CORN in it! Just a little unexpected surprise. She got the recipe from cooks illustrated. We are going to have it this weekend to enjoy with a big pot of chili! YUM!!!!

(Becky's) All-Purpose Cornbread

Makes One 8-inch Square.

Before preparing the baking dish or any of the other ingredients, measure out the frozen kernels and let them stand at room temperature until needed. When corn is in season, fresh cooked kernels can be substituted for the frozen corn. This recipe was developed with Quaker yellow cornmeal; a stone-ground whole-grain cornmeal will work but will yield a drier and less tender cornbread. We prefer a Pyrex glass baking dish because it yields a nice golden-brown crust, but a metal baking dish (nonstick or traditional) will also work. The cornbread is best served warm; leftovers can be wrapped in foil and reheated in a 350-degree oven for 10 to 15 minutes.

1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour ,
1 cup yellow cornmeal
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon table salt
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
3/4 cup frozen corn
1 cup buttermilk
2 large eggs
8 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 stick), melted and cooled slightly


  1. 1. Adjust oven rack to middle position; heat oven to 400 degrees. Spray 8-inch-square baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. Whisk flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in medium bowl until combined; set aside.

  2. 2. In food processor or blender, process brown sugar, thawed corn kernels, and buttermilk until combined, about 5 seconds. Add eggs and process until well combined (corn lumps will remain), about 5 seconds longer.

  3. 3. Using rubber spatula, make well in center of dry ingredients; pour wet ingredients into well. Begin folding dry ingredients into wet, giving mixture only a few turns to barely combine; add melted butter and continue folding until dry ingredients are just moistened. Pour batter into prepared baking dish; smooth surface with rubber spatula. Bake until deep golden brown and toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, 25 to 35 minutes. Cool on wire rack 10 minutes; invert cornbread onto wire rack, then turn right side up and continue to cool until warm, about 10 minutes longer. Cut into pieces and serve.


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Broken down walls... rerun worthy... part two

Broken down walls...... Part TWO....

WALLS! To recap: They provide protections (by keeping things in or out), create boundaries, create an identity. They provide safety, security and freedom. The strength of my walls is directly related to my self-control!!! Read the first in this series for more on the important "walls" in our lives.

Proverbs 25:28 "Like a city whose walls are broken down is a man who lacks self control."

Self control is the BALANCE of the NOT and the DO.

How can we practice self control in our daily lives to keep our walls strong??

My day is filled with choices from the moment I wake up till the moment I fall asleep.... choices of what I will NOT do and what I will DO. Will I choose to follow the example of the Proverbs 31 woman who "brings good and not harm, all the days of her life" or the fool that breaks down his walls with his lack of self control??

How does all of this relate to "walls" and self-control???? My flesh wants to do what feels good. My flesh is all about my "feelings". If I don't feel like getting up, if I don't feel like doing the dishes, if I don't feel like balancing the check book, if I don't feel like exercising am I going to do it?? What is it I "feel" like doing..... spending time on the computer? Watching TV?? Reading a book?? Sleeping in or staying up late??

As I look back and read in my journal from January's entry I read: "When I fall into idleness and don't get my routines done this starts to weaken the walls. After enough neglect the walls will fall. The walls are connected and one wall being weakened will weaken the others...domino effect."

Each moment I have a choice: What am I NOT doing? What am I DOING? Is this action bringing good and not harm to my family and home? Is this Idleness? Is this worth my limited amount of time? If the way I spend my time was measured the way financial wealth is measured how would my accounts stand? Am I storing up treasures in heaven or am I filling up my life with earthly pleasures?? Daily, moment by moment I have these choices to make.... self- control... Having control over my self! When I stand before my maker am I prepared to be accountable for the time HE has GIVEN me to invest?? What are the rewards of my "investments" going to be?? What condition are my walls in??

These can be hard questions to answer.... God do I really have to answer this??? I don't FEEL like it!!


Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Broken down walls.... rerun worthy.... Part one

I first posted this back in August of 2008.... but I think I need to revisit....

Broken down walls...... Part ONE....

Proverbs 25:28 "Like a city whose walls are broken down is a man who lacks self control."

hmm.... walls, city, self-control??

I have been re-reading through my journal lately.
Something I wrote back in January really jumped out at me.
What are walls?? They provide protections (by keeping things in or out), create boundaries, create an identity. They provide safety, security and freedom. The strength of my walls is directly related to my self-control!!! YIKES! What kinds of "walls" can be broken down in my life if I lack self control?

  • Financial
  • health/physical fitness
  • purity (in thoughts, word and actions)
  • time management
  • education
  • relationships
  • spiritual growth
  • respect
  • peace
  • organization
  • simplicity
  • routines/order
  • priorities
  • balance
What does self control in those ares look like?? Self control is not just NOT doing something, self control is discipline to DO the things that need done. Self control is the BALANCE of the NOT and the DO.

God, what else do you have to say to me about this??

Prov 31:11-12 "Her husband has full confidence in her, and lacks nothing of value. She brings him good and hot harm, all the days of her life."

Prov 31:27 "She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness."

WOW... God you do have more to say to me about this... directly relating to my daily life!

The Proverbs 31 woman (admit it, we love to hate her!) takes care to protect the "walls" in her life: her home, her husband and her children. She does not reap the consequences of idleness, she lives out the blessings of diligence. If she idled away her time she wouldn't be able to keep the walls up and secure and her husband, her children and her home would suffer harm!

I am not naturally born organized. I am not naturally strong in the area of routine and order! I am a very creative person by nature.... I don't want to do the same thing, the same way every day... BORING! The good news: God is a creative God, but he is a God of order and balance. I can live in self control without becoming a dud. I can find FREEDOM in self control! I can keep the very important walls in my life intact so that I can ENJOY life!! What our flesh wants to reject is really what we NEED! Just like my 3 year old fighting his nap!

How can we practice self control in our daily lives to keep our walls strong?? I will be continuing this post tomorrow and share with you more of what God has been trying to teach me... sometimes I can be a slow learner!


Monday, March 1, 2010

Simple Family Supper is my baby.... I have a PASSION for family supper. So many studies show how valuable family meals are in building strong families. I also know how BUSY and crazy modern life is. I created Simple Family Supper to make family supper simple! The complete March edition is ready for you to download today.

Have you given the sample menu a try??
Go here to print off your free one week sample menu. Enjoy stress free suppers! One week menu, detailed shopping list and EASY to prepare recipes.

Join the Simple Family Supper facebook page to enter for your chance to win a copy of the March Menu Plan Kit.


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