Thursday, May 26, 2011

The Homeschool Planner ~ Coupon or FREEBIE

Right now over at you can get $2 off "The Printable Homeschool Planner) by Heather Bixter. Just use the coupon code 2BUCKS during checkout. This offer expires June 1, 2011.


Today on the blog page, Heather announces the launch of the printable planner and in return for helping spread the word on the launch she is giving away a FREE copy/membership to the Printable Homeschool Planner.
From her blog:

All you need to do to receive your copy is post a link to: on your Facebook Page then email us the direct link to your facebook status promoting The ! (To retrieve your status link just click on the time you posted it and copy the URL in your address bar.)

Be sure to let your Facebook Friends know that there is a $2 off coupon available from now until June 1st!

Once you click on the "contact" them link (on the page of blog) and send them your page link, they will send you the Printable Homeschool Planner (to your email!).

This particular offer expires Friday, May 27, 2011 at 11:59pm EST!

Here is the link to the blog page (complete with links and the info copied above)

The Best Laid Plans ~ Part Two in Homekeeping Series

What if I told you there is only ONE secret to keeping your family and home?

What would you say? What would you pay?

Thankfully, this secret is really not-so-secret and there is no charge! The debt was paid by our Redeemer and as a woman of God you have the grace covering to accept this secret and strive to live it out daily. Oh, it won’t make the mountains of laundry and dishes disappear and it certainly won’t stop little Johnny from spilling his apple juice on the freshly mopped floor, but it will definitely give you peace and joy as you deal with those things—so long as you remember it.

There are many systems for organizing your home, decluttering the junk and cleaning. There are even more charts to use in your Home Management Binder. These are all great tools but even the best laid plans of men (and women) go astray without a firm foundation.

So, what is this secret? What is this foundation?


Someone (I’m sorry I forget who) said prayer is not a monologue, it’s a dialogue. So often we are stressed out over the little trials of life that we don’t take the time to do more than ramble off an almost thoughtless, “Lord, I need help” as we bend over a mess or take care of a sick child. We forget to listen to the Lord and discover how to get that help.

We forget that the Lord is more than our Redeemer, He is our Father. We tend to box Him in to Sunday morning—or worse (something a LOT of us women tend to do) think that He doesn’t need to be bothered by the “little” things.

Let me tell you something, He knows the number of hairs on your head. I can only imagine that wiping spaghetti sauce off the wall has to be more interesting.

Psalm 28:7 tells us, "The LORD [is] my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in him, and I am helped: therefore my heart greatly rejoiceth; and with my song will I praise him."

Do you start each day hitting the floor running or do you go to your Father and ask Him for strength and direction? Do you trust Him to help you when you’re weary, frustrated or just plain overwhelmed? How often have you cried out for help?

This verse tells us that the help we long for is right there when we rely on His strength and trust in Him. It’s not about physical matters, but about your heart and mind.


Because when we rely on His strength and trust in Him to direct our steps our hearts rejoice GREATLY. Did you see that? Not just a bit, but greatly. When we turn over our day to Him we can rest in the knowledge that He has purpose and plan for us even in the last dirty sock to go into the washer. We can praise Him through song and through our actions all through the day because we serve a God who cares about every little aspect of our lives. He cares and He’s right there with us.

So, I encourage you to begin each day in prayer--a conversation--with your Father.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Super SAHM...or not

Original post edited for length--
will be breaking this up into a series of posts
for easier reading and to give you time to absorb the information.

Today someone asked me how I get so much finished each day. If you've ever seen my daily to-do lists you would know what she was talking about (my daily routines would really blow your mind). And yes, just so you know, I am a first-born child, haha.

Seriously though, let me state here and now that I do n-o-t get everything finished on my list.

There is one thing I learned about myself a long time ago and that is if I do not make a list long enough to keep me busy, I will stretch the tiniest jobs until very little gets finished. Also, I am a micro-manager and born list maker. If I don't have a list, I flounder. If I don't micro-manage, I will forget something. For example, instead of a simple "tidy the house" I have to have a main goal (which is the parts of the house people see) and then break it down by room. And my morning routine will say "eat breakfast, take vitamin" because I will get so busy tidying the rooms that I forget to do those things.

Ask anyone who knows me and they will tell you that I struggle as greatly as the next woman with some of these things. My worst offender (lack of discipline) has been maintenance of a job previously taken care of. Add to that the fact that I am clawing my way out of years and years of mementos, school papers, clothing, gadgets that were supposed to make my life easier, and all that clutter that has accumulated and helped create my Goliath-sized lists. Thanks to God and a very patient husband, and support from friends in the same situation it is getting there. I'd love to take the journey with you, if you find yourself floundering, we can encourage each other.

I will to spend the next few posts doing a series on topics to help you understand my approach to caring for my home and maybe you can find some ideas to help you create your own approach that works!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Friendship Bread

Have been keeping busy doing some serious Spring Cleaning around here. Today we took all the recycling in and also donated a bike to the local Goodwill (I did try Freecycle first, but it went unanswered).

Keeping busy gives little time to write, but I wanted to let you all know that I was thinking of you out there in cyberland and also to share a great little website that is a favorite of mine...Friendship Bread Kitchen.

They have some incredible recipes on their site to share (like the Triple Chocolate Coconut Amish Bread) and it's just a sweet site to help you bless your friends.



Sunday, May 22, 2011

You Are So Beautiful

Photo taken by Lisa Mash

WARNING: This is a L-O-N-G post! Get your tea and get comfy. :)

Well, this weekend our church hosted a women's conference, themed Project Pink! It was filled with all sorts of blessings and I would be remiss if I didn't first thank J. Harris and crew (and to the many volunteers/"fun"shop leaders) for the wonderful blessings and pampering they bestowed on the women of God this weekend.

Guests included the always sweet and funny (author, speaker and professed chocolate addict) Rhonda Rhea, the very talented Passion Painter Andy Raines who created some fabulous artwork during praise and worship which was led by Scott Reed and friends who shared their talents and beautiful voices with us.

The theme of Project Pink was essentially Beauty--mostly that we are all beautiful to the Lord and Savior who created us. Friday night opened with the always haunting song, You Are So Beautiful To Me, while on the screens images of women from every walk, nationality, size and age were shown. Women whom the world would deem "perfect" and women whom the world would deem "flawed" (some severely)--yet we are not to live by the world's standards. Each one of us was created in HIS image, and to Him we are all equally beautiful because of what is in our hearts and minds, not our outer appearance.

I Samuel 16:7b tells us, "...for the LORD seeth not as man seeth;
for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart."

During one of the funshops (they weren't work) I attended, the speaker (K. Ringler) contrasted the differences in the world's idea of beauty and the Lord's vision of beauty.

How often have we fell short of the world's idea of beauty? Why?

It is not attainable. With the millions of dollars spent on advertising to sell us this very lie, the models used for the ad campaigns have been made up and done over by a team of make-up artists, hair stylists, wardrobe, fitness instructors, surgeons, etc. Yet, even they are not deemed worthy enough by advertising and industry to be shown as they are (even in that "enhanced" state) and then the art directors and photographers step in, airbrushing and photoshopping their way to sell us what their vision of beauty is.

And that is just the modern age. We won't even go into the tortuous things women have done to make themselves "beautiful" and appealing through the ages. If you don't know what I'm talking about you only have to think of the whalebone cinch corsets that women tightened so much they couldn't take a deep breath or exert themselves without fear of passing out.

Questions posed during K's funshop really hit this point in how much we value the world's beauty or the Lord's beauty. ~~~ Do you spend more time each morning working on your outer appearance or you inner appearance? Do you spend more time in front of the mirror than you do in the prayer and the Word of the Lord?

There is absolutely nothing wrong with wanting to be clean and look pleasing to yourself and others, but when a beauty ritual takes precedence over our relationship with the Lord, that is when it is flawed. When we strive for that unattainable idea of perfection over the very real and very attainable beauty the Lord has created within our hearts, then we need to get our priorities straight.

We all need to stop and remember who we serve. We are not slaves to the world any longer. Our Redeemer saved us from that. We need to find within us that quiet and elegant beauty that the Lord gifted within our hearts. The desire to please him, to be restrained and not obnoxious and obvious, but rather to be content and yes, even joyful in serving Him in our everyday lives.

The ironic thing is that a lot of polls about discovering what is appealing to other people show that confidence is almost always at the top of the list in things that people seek and want in friends and mates.

What greater confidence can we have than to know that to the very One who created us, we are most beautiful? You wouldn't say the Lord was flawed and yet we are created in His image and have His spirit with us so why are we so concerned with the gray hairs, scars and/or freckles or cellulite dimples that could rival a golf ball? We shouldn't be, and while we should do what we can to be physically fit, we should not make it a god and put it above the Lord.

I challenge each of you this week, when you find yourselves picking out (what you consider to be) a flaw in yourself or others, to stop and pray. To ask the Lord to renew within your hearts that confidence found only in His love and grace. To ask Him to show you the real beauty within the hearts of those around you and that which He placed within you.

And I challenge you to live out Philippians 4:8 this week if you find yourself judging anyone by appearance or material goods.

8Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

Always with prayer,

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

31 Days to Clean eBook for $1

Came across this in my internet travels today...the offer is $1 for this e-book. I've been wanting this book for a while, but there always seemed to be something else we needed. Now I've purchased it for $1!!! :)

The book is 31 days to clean - Having a Martha House the Mary Way
by Sarah Mae

This deal is for 24 hours only--ends 12pm EST 5/19!!!

You can pay via PayPal (account or as a guest using credit/debit card)

Here's more information:

Monday, May 16, 2011

Verse Memorization for week of 5/16

Well, in the craziness of life, I lacked discipline to keep up. Instead of giving up, last week I spent time re-memorizing the Beatitudes. :) This week I want to relearn the passage with the Ten Commandments. This one might take two weeks, but I will prayerfully meditate on them.

Exodus 20:1-17

1And God spake all these words, saying,

2I am the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.

3Thou shalt have no other gods before me.

4Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.

5Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me;

6And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.

7Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.

8Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.

9Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work:

10But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates:

11For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.

12Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.

13Thou shalt not kill.

14Thou shalt not commit adultery.

15Thou shalt not steal.

16Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.

17Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour's.

What verse or passage are you memorizing or meditating on this week?

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Ribbon is your friend!

Here's a sewing tip that I learned way back when I became interested in sewing, then promptly forgot in the excitement of learning. Thankfully, I have since remembered and then it dawned on me, what if you don't know it? Well, let's make sure we remedy that, just in case.

When you are making long skinny pieces (like ties for chairs or aprons) you can use ribbon to help you turn it inside out. Let me tell you, it makes a world of difference and saves the tips of your fingers and time!

Here's what you do!

1) Cut the fabric (according to pattern/need) and iron the piece as needed.

2) Before you stitch, get a roll of ribbon and open it up. It is best if you use a coordinating ribbon that way any little showing bit won't be a distraction. For this demo though, I used a dark ribbon so you can see it better (and, quite honestly, it was the first one I laid my hands on).

3) Lay the ribbon inside the folded fabric, close to the fold (not the open seam). You will need to constantly check to make sure you don't stitch the ribbon to the long seam, so continuously push it over as you sew.

NOTE! It is best if you leave the ribbon on the roll (not cut right now)!
This way you will only need to use about an inch for the tie and not waste any. :)

3) Stitch the edge of the ribbon in the end seam. Turn the fabric and begin sewing down the long seam.

4) When you get to the end, lock in your stitch then take it off the machine. snip off the little piece of ribbon that is hanging out and trim any fabric (as directed/needed).

5) Pull on the ribbon to turn your tie inside out. You might need to lightly pinch the fabric at the top, but once you get the hang of it, you'll have the ties turned in no time.

6) Once it's turned, snip as close to the seam as you can get without snipping into the fabric.

VOILA! In six easy steps you've saved yourself some time and frustration. :)

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Being Prepared - Cooking Alternatives Part 1 ~~ A Titus 2sday Linkup

(The next installment in a series on preparation. You can find my posts on water storage and alternatives by searching this blog for "Preparedness".)

She hath killed her beasts; she hath mingled her wine; she hath also furnished her table. Proverbs 9:2

Here in the Midwest we get some crazy weather. Today's record-breaking heat reminds me of other extreme weather we've had. During one particular ice storm our power went out right after we put the kids to bed.

My darling groom and I debated the wisdom of leaving or sticking it out. We prayed and then decided we would tough it out in the family room. We gathered the sleepy children from their beds, poured blankets and pillows into one huge pallet in middle of the floor and added new meaning to "the family bed." We awoke the next morning to sunlight glinting off every icy surface outside and inside, well...

"We're hungry, what's for breakfast?"

Three sleepy-eyed little faces looked up at me and I had no answer.

The power had been off for the night so we feared opening the fridge and we couldn't even make toast. I gave them each some dry cereal to munch on while their father and I decided what to do. We faced the truth--we would have to brave the treacherous ice and cold in order to properly care for the kids.

That storm really shook me up. While we had plenty of food (my tired and stressed brain didn't think to grab a new jar of fruit from the cupboard) we had no way to prepare it. From that day on I began to look for foods that wouldn't need a lot of prep and also at other cooking methods that would enable us to at least survive until the power came back on.

Here are some options that might help you think about alternative ways to take care of your precious families during times like these.

~ BBQ/Dutch Ovens. We have a charcoal grill but at the time it was not covered and we didn't want to skate across the deck and chip away at it. That said, with a little thought, you could prepare enough charcoal or gas and cover the grill to keep it accessible no matter what.

~ Sterno. Not exactly cost effective, but if you can get your hands on a buffet server or special pan and rack fitted for sterno cans you could at least reheat water or soup. I found two of these types of copper pans/racks at the thrift store for just a few dollars. After a nice shine-up they were even company-ready for some nice dinners. :)

~ Fireplaces, firepits or wood-burning stoves. We don't have any of these, but they are under consideration for future renovations. If you do, consider keeping a small store of wood dry year-round for use to cook and heat water with.

~ The gals over at Food Storage Made Easy really endorse a new product called InstaFire. I have not tried it, but on their website you can watch videos of cooking on snow with it and even show it burning in water.

~ Solar Ovens. I will create a separate post on this particular method, but with the amount of sun streaming over us the next day it would have certainly been useful to have one of these.

~ Foodstuffs. Keep food items on hand that don't require a lot of refrigeration or heating. A small bit of store-bought pop tarts or granola bars won't harm too much and powdered milk can make dry cereal better, and help with other things too.

I am sure there are other methods out there and if you know of them please share!

Pray to the Lord to show you what you need and what He has already blessed you with that you might have overlooked. Look around your home and see what you can use in an emergency situation to help you feed your family meals more nutritious than simple Saltines.

Just make sure that there is no chance of a gas leak before you light a fire! This is why I wish to do a separate post on solar ovens (how tos, etc.) because if you can use that without fire, it would be great during dry seasons, etc.

And the winner is...

T.A. Allen!

Congratulations TA!

You have won a hand-sewn apron from a kit called:

The Jacqueline (as this particular apron is known) is reminiscent of television days gone by when Donna Reed or Mrs. Cleaver wore their high heels and pearls while they cleaned their homes or whipped up a delicious treat.This 100% cotton apron was sewn by me, and while not "machine perfect" it was created with lots of love and prayers for a contented life. I hope this apron gives you some sense of whimsy and cheer to help make even the most mundane chores a little more of a joy.Thank you to each lovely lady who entered my giveaway! I hope you continue to come back to keep me company in this quiet part of cyber-space and also for future giveaways!

Congratulations again, TA!

Hugs, kind to the model. She was very sleepy and already dressed for bed, but such a wonderful sport to help mom out in a pinch! :)

Monday, May 9, 2011

Third & Final Clue!

Are you ready?

Think..."Domestic Diva"

Just a reminder that we will be drawing a winning name sometime before midnight Monday and will announce it here, along with a photo of the prize!!!

Thanks so much for participating.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Clue #2

My giveaway is mostly brown and blue and oh-so-fun!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Blog Hop & Giveaway!

If you noticed the button on the right of the screen, then you see that I'm participating in an "open house" blog hop with some blogging buddies. You can access more information by clicking on the button.

Part of the fun is that a lot of these bloggers are giving something away. I had hoped to have a photo of mine but alas, I am still feverishly putting it together, but here is a clue...

It is handmade.

Do you think you know?

Stay tuned throughout the week for more clues!!!!

Giveaway will be mailed out next week. You MUST include your email so I can get in touch with you. If you are a follower of this blog, please be sure to let me know so you can get an extra opportunity to win the giveaway (not the card). All opportunities will be put into a box and one of my children will draw a name. Winner of the giveaway will be announced no later than midnight (CST) May 9th.

Be sure to check out the other blogs included for more opportunities to win some other nice giveaways!

Until later!