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Thursday, January 30, 2014

Thursday's Thoughts -- my WHY

"She considers a field and buys it; from her profits she plants a vineyard."  This is a verse on my memory list and I've been praying about how it can be implemented in my life.  I want to be a blessing to my husband and family. 

A few years back I heard of a business called thirty-one and the ladies in my Bible study talked highly of the bags from that company.  Unfortunately with our large family we don't have extras even for wonderful bags, so I had to just enjoy "window" shopping in the catalog.

Just recently, I saw a catalog again at a book party.  I had never heard of that.  The lady is my pastor's sister and she lives in MO, but she sent catalogs to her nephew and his wife and orders were taken that way.  Pretty cool.  I'm learning about different ways to party!!!!  It really seemed like something I could be involved in. 

So I signed up.  They ask you what is your WHY all the time around this company.   Hadn't really thought about it, but now I have 5 WHY's on different levels.

#5 is that I really liked the bags, but don't have the funds in our bank for these things, this way I can afford a few bags myself

#4 I love organizing and have always thought it would be fun to help people with that.  There are so many great things for organizing in the catalog and a myriad of ways to use different bags.

the top 3 are not in any order necessarily

#3 I love to share with women and really want to help them grow in their lives.  To help them be successful as wives and mothers.  This gives me a chance to get out there and get to know people and have an opportunity to minister in their lives

#2 I really believe that God has called me to stay home, but again with our size of family things get pretty tight financially.  So I'm excited to see how God is going to use this in our lives.  My kids need me home - need a constant, a north star.  Hubby and I tried tag-teaming it and it doesn't work out so well.

#1 My husband would really love to be back in full-time ministry.  I would love to support him in that from home. 

I can't tell you how much I have been on my knees about this and right now while it's a bit stressful at times, I see that it won't be stressful always and mostly just for the first couple of months as I charter new waters and navigate new territory. 

Keep pressing on!  What's your WHY?  We talked about priorities last week and I can't believe how much my WHY ties into that.  It helps me have guidance about what takes precedence in my life.

Have a great day!  Today my box arrives, I saw that it's shipping out of the big town near here today.  Yay!  I'm so excited.

Steph

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Wednesday's Household - conquering my day

Because I'm absolutely crazy and added something new to my workweek, I need to keep my time focused.  I am very much the SHE (Side-tracked Home Executive) that FLYLady talks about.  I go to my e-mail and see a note from a friend and instead of getting something done that was on my list, now I'm e-mailing my friend.  

So yesterday, I was almost in tears trying to figure out this new business (and I know that it is just for now) and I completely overwhelmed myself watching videos and reading papers on how this all works. And my national director posted a video about organizing.  Something she said clicked for me - make a top 5 list.  A list of the top 5 things you need to do tomorrow.  So I did.

Focused is so much less stressed.  Helps so much.  But I decided to focus time periods as well.

  • When I wake up in the morning until 6:30 - I must get breakfast ready, make coffee (maybe), make Carpenter's lunch, and right after he leaves, get the fire going and the laundry started and the bathroom clean.
  • Till 6:30, I'm working on Scripture Typer, and change the laundry over at 7:00
  • From then until 8:00 I need to do dishes and/or do the room project for the day (M-under beds, T-closet; W-dressers; Th-desks; F-floors).  I'm also hurrying the kids' through their paces of piano, dressed, make bed, etc.
  • Till 9:00 - Driving kids to school, breakfast for the little ones and me and e-mail check
That's as far as I've gotten.  But I'm gonna keep adding some order to my days.  Making a list of rules is overwhelming but when I view it as a guide not a rule, it helps.

Keep pressing on,
Steph

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Cooking Tuesday - Beef and Bean Burritos

Beef and Bean Burritos
3  lbs gr. beef
1 cup water
¼ cup taco seasoning
16 tortillas
3 cans refried beans.

Cook meat and drain.  Add 1/4 cup of taco seasoning to the meat and water.  Simmer 20 minutes until water has evaporated.  Cool.  For each burrito, place ¼ c gr beaf and 1/3 c refried beans on each shell.  Or divide one can of beans between five shells.  Wrap like a burrito and wrap in tin foil.  Place in Ziploc bags.


The recipe doesn't call for it, but you can put a sprinkle of cheese on the meat and beans before you wrap it up.  Yum!!!  Take from the freezer and take foil off,  place on a microwave safe plate and heat for about 2 minutes depending on your microwave.  Or if you are making a meal out of it (we don't usually do that), bake in the oven at 350 degrees till heated through.

Keep pressing on.
Steph

Monday, January 27, 2014

Project Monday - Onions

I'm trying something new this week.  I planted the root parts of the onions to see if I can grow my own.  I have pictures, but will have to post those next week.  I would love to be able to have free onions. 

Next time you cut an onion, try planting the root end of it and see what happens.  Stay tuned for pics of this project.

Keep pressing on,
Steph

Friday, January 24, 2014

Titus 2 Tea - a new study

I'm so excited that we are going to start a new Bible study in a town near my house.  We'll be covering some of the same things at the study we did last year, but with a whole new group of women.  The time will also be perfect for moms with little ones.  We're meeting mornings on Thursdays. 

If you live near here and are interested, let me know.  If you live far away, please pray for me as I prepare that I would be organized in my thoughts and words, and that I would use the quiet minutes in my house to prepare for this.

So excited!

Steph

Thursday's thoughts - Tribulation produces patience

Romans 5 says that tribulation produces perseverance and perseverance, character and character, hope. 

This will be a short thought for the day.  How many times do I begrudge the tribulation that is in my life?  Sometimes I feel that tribulation is my kids clamoring for my attention, or being sick for the fourth time this winter, or the laundry pile that is never-ending?  But most of the time I don't remember that it's tribulation. 

I easily turn to grumbling and wishing for a different life.  But if the gold jumped from the fire every time it got too hot, it would never be refined. 

As one of my friends reminded me this week, "It's hard to trust God in the small things." I forget I need to.  The big things, I usually am running to His feet and quickly leaving all my burdens there.   But the little things, well I forget that they are tribulations as well.  That I'm learning perseverance/patience with them.  And it's how I respond to the little things that earns me perseverance, which in turn brings about character.  And at the end of all these things is hope. 

May you and I remember today that the little one with the whiny voice, the running nose, and all the things they need today, will yield patience and character in our lives.

Keep pressing on,
Steph

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Wednesday's Household - Priorities

So many great things to do these days, but how do I know what to choose?  Will my life be fulfilling if there isn't something scheduled for every evening?   "Everyone else seems to manage just fine and they have kids in all the sports, why shouldn't I?"  "There's a bake class for the girls, if mine don't go they'll be lacking in this area of their lives?"

Sports, baking classes, 4-H stuff, parties, work - these are all great things but... at what point do I say no?  Really there are no right answers across the board.  There are only answers for you and your family.  And no one should judge you for the choices you make.  I think too many times our choices are made because - What will people think?  This is not the right question, not at all a good reason for making a choice.  Our choice must be made based on other things.

First of all, talk with your husband.  Prayerfully, together, consider what God has for your family.  Your family is unique and no one else will be involved in all the same things as you are.  Make a list of your desires for your family.  What do you think God has for you?  Are you desiring to be in ministry?  Can these things allow for that ministry? 

Once you have your list, prioritize that list.  Decide what is negotiable and what takes top priority in your family.  If it came to these two activities on the same night, which one would take precedence and why?  Do you have a reason for what you are planning every night?  Or is it just because nothing else is going on that night?

Now, you can make decisions based on what is on the list.  The list is not something you should be enslaved to, but rather something that helps give you direction. 

What about planning to be home as much as possible?   My kids love being home.  They can't wait to get home and see the babies I watch during the day.  They tend to be disappointed if they don't get a chance to see their younger "siblings" that day.    Is this not valuable time?  Maybe nothing is scheduled.  Maybe you didn't plan a game night at home.  But just being together is necessary for our growing family. 

Let's not do things by the "seat of our pants" as it were, but rather prayerfully, thoughtfully considering the things we choose to be involved in and the ramifications that may come because we choose them.

Some things are beneficial for US to do with our children.  A baking day at home may be much more valuable than another night out in town to let someone else teach our kids.  Again there is no judgment on your choices.  Your family is unique and you need to choose the things that your family will be involved in.

My challenge to you is - Be deliberate about your choices.  Don't let others rule your family.  You never know what regrets they may be feeling because of the choices they have made.

Keep pressing on,
Steph

Cooking Tuesday - Hamburger Goulash


Hamburger Goulash

2 lbs of ground beef

 ½ c onion

1 cups water

½ T garlic

½ c  ketchup

 ½ T mustard

1 T Worchestershire sauce

1 t paprika

½ t salt

1 T flour

¼ c  cold water

1 pkg noodles

1 gallon bags

Brown hamburger in onion, drain.  Add water, garlic, ketchup, mustard, Worcestershire sauce and salt.  Bring  to a boil.  Simmer.

Combine flour and cold water  until smooth and add to meat mixture.  Bring to a boil.  Cook and stir till thickened.   Pour over cooked noodles and mix well.  Place in bag.  Another idea is to boil the noodles on the day, and heat the mixture on the stove and pour them over the noodles. 

Label with noodles:

Thaw.  Bake at 350 degrees for 75 to 90 minutes, with a piece of tin foil laid on top of the pan.

 

Label without noodles:

Heat on the stove.  Cook 1 package of noodles.  Pour sauce over noodles.  Mix together thoroughly and serve.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Project Monday - More on my recipe binder

I'm still working on my binder.  Slowly but surely it's coming together.  Up to this point, I had no need for dividers and stuff.  I could easily find all of my recipes just by flipping through the binder.  But it's getting to big.  Too many recipes. 

So I divided up the recipes in these areas, some things overlap, so I just picked one area to put them in.  Here's my list: Breakfasts, This week's meals, bread, canned things, sauces, sides, mixes, soups, spices, labels, pork, ham, beef, chicken, hamburger and cooking days.  It's a lot of different things, but I'm also filling them up pretty fast.

My next project is to make indexes for most of the dividers.  A page to put in right after the divider.  I'll write in new recipes on the page as I add more things.  Also I want to set up the Breakfast divider - get that under way.  I'll be putting in recipes for my breakfasts, so I have a plan for that. 

And planning this week's meals.  A lot of the meals for this week are in the freezer already, but I do need the recipe where I can find it quickly, because for some of them, I need to add sour cream or put in certain other ingredients.  So it would be great to have them right there for quick access.

Keep pressing on,
Steph

Friday, January 17, 2014

It's Friday!!!!

I'm excited about this weekend.  I'm hoping to get a bunch of stuff done.  I've been faithful this week cleaning and I even did some extra stuff today, just so that I don't have to do a bunch of cleaning in the house this weekend.

So I'm going to be working on projects outside and things that I don't get to do when I have little ones underfoot.

Have a great weekend,
Steph

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Thursday's Thoughts - which one are we?

Last night, I had a dream.  Like all dreams it was strange and weird, but the important part of it was about one of my Bible School teachers.  I've been thinking a lot about him and praying for him as he was in surgery just recently.  Things are still not easy, but he's coming home today.

In my dream, Butch was running in a race with a group of younger people.  He was running alongside each one and cheering them on.  He was in the race.  He was involved in what these young people were doing.  

He wasn't cheering from the sidelines.  He wasn't yelling at them to go faster. 

He was cheering them on while experiencing the same things they were experiencing.  It's a whole lot easier to hear someone encourage you to keep it up if they are as tired and worn-out as you are, if they've run the same steps as you have. 

Honestly, in real life, Butch and his wife are like this too.  They come alongside the younger group of believers at this Bible school and help them and encourage them in their walks with the Lord.  This is their passion.  This is their life.  Butch is convinced that God isn't finished with him yet.  I sure hope not.

I want to be someone who comes alongside, who runs with the runner and encourages them to keep moving.  We can't always be experiencing all the same things that someone else is at the moment.  But we can try to walk in their shoes, we can try to get down to their level.  Or over to their level.   I don't mean they are lower or higher than us, but we do have to humble ourselves by lowering ourselves in our own eyes, and thinking of others as more important than us. 

The best place for me to start is with my kids.  Sometimes it's hard for me to enjoy listening to their reports on the latest game they were playing.  I don't have to love playing those games, but I can enjoy the time spent with them listening to their thoughts. 

Thanks, Butch for your great example to all of us!  You've impacted so many lives so far.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Wednesday's household - cleaning bedrooms

I may have already posted about this, but something I'm finding is that I'm not a routine person.   That being the case, we'll see how long this lasts.  The things that do last are the ones that work for our family.  Which means that you may (like me) try a bunch of different ideas, and then finally find the one thing that works for you and your family.

Since we have 5 rooms we're keeping up on, I find it overwhelming to go in their rooms and see all the stuff all over the floor, desks and piled in the closets. 

One thing I have to remind myself is "If they have stuff everywhere, they have too much stuff."  So I've taken the idea a long time ago that if I must go into their rooms to clean them, then I have the right to take things out of that room and give them away or throw them away.

So, I have an idea that may or may not be helpful to our family.  I'm sharing it because whether or not it is helpful to us, it may be helpful to you.
This is my planner.  I really like it and it works well for me as long as I use it.  What's new is the little tabs that I put in there.  For each day, I have a job in the bedrooms, Mondays is beds and under them, Tuesday is closet, Wednesday is the dresser, Thursday is the desk and Friday is the floor. 

Monday - the bed and under the bed   This takes care of the need for changing sheets, and replacing them with clean ones if necessary.  Also cleaning out from under each bed.

Tuesday - the closet   Straightening the hangars, and cleaning of the next shelf.  This week was the second shelf.  It's a bit hard to restrain myself from doing more, but I remind myself that I have four other closets to work on and that helps.

Wednesday - dressers  I go through their top drawer and make sure the right things are in that drawer and put away but don't organize the other drawers.  Again I have quite a few other drawers to work on, so I limit myself. 

Thursday -  desks  Usually I can get the kids to do this in the morning before school or after they get home.  Then I don't have the right to take anything away.

Friday - floors   A great day to clean their floor (sweep or vacuum).  We're trying to teach the little kids to pick up everything when they go to bed so that part is a daily thing.

Weekends - free from cleaning their rooms and we're trying to have company each Sunday, so it helps to have all this done during the week.

Keep pressing on,
Steph

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Cooking Tuesday - 3 Cheese Lasagna


3-Cheese Lasagne

2 lbs ground beef
1 onions, pureed
1 pkg rotini
1 T Italian seasoning
2 cans diced tomatoes
2 sm cans olives
1 cans sliced mushrooms
1/2 cont. cottage cheese
¼  c parmesan cheese
1 ½ cups mozzarella
2 gallon bags
1 quart bag

Cook ground beef and drain.  Cook rotini and drain.  Mix rotini and beef together.  Add Italian seasoning, tomatoes, cottage cheese and parmesan.  Divide between 6 gallon bags.  Put mushrooms and olives in the bag.  Make sure it’s mixed together.  Put 1 ½ cups mozerella in each quart bag.  Put one bag of casserole and one bag of cheese in another gallon bag.
Label with this label:  Thaw.  Bake at 350 for 1 hour to  1 hour and a half, with foil placed lightly over the pan, to hold the moisture in.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Project Monday - Recipe Binder


I have a binder where I've been keeping my recipes for our Cooking Days.  But it has become much more than that.  I have recipes for mixes, sauces, spices, and ways to make canned things homemade.

So I just need to organize all these things. 

It will take me all this week, but I'm planning on having a section for breakfasts.  I don't like waiting until the morning to decide what we should have.  I also want to have overnight cinnamon roll and coffee cake recipes, so that I don't have to always be cooking in the morning.

Join me on the adventure of making a recipe binder.  It was a slow start for me.  I simply put all the recipes I needed for one day in a word document, and I keep adding to it.  And print them off as I need them to put them in my book.  This way they are all there.

Keep pressing on,
Steph

Friday, January 10, 2014

5 positive things

My daughter has been enjoying being the oldest riding to and from school.  She sits up front in the van and we have time to talk.  She's made it clear that she values that time.  But sometimes things get on a negative turn in the course of our conversation.  She doesn't like this and that and this happened that was bad and usually when we start out that way it's hard to steer the conversation in a different direction. 
 
So this week, as we were driving to school one day, I asked her to have prepared for the ride home five positive things and to tell me two things she did today to help another person - to look out for others. 
 
 
5 THINGS...FIVE????!!!  She wasn't sure it would be possible, but instead of lowering the number I just encouraged her to simply try.  She would have to remember when it was time to get in the van because I would probably forget. 
 
 
She climbed in the van and started listing the things that were positive.  What a joyful way for us to start our conversation on the way home!
 
I am not trying to say that she can't share her struggles.  I want her to be able to share, but I also want to teach her not to stay in the depths of despair but to find a way to move on from these things.
 
 
Keep pressing on
Steph

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Thursday's Thoughts - Our inabilities

Miles Stanford in the book The Complete Green Letters quotes John Darby as saying, "..it is God's way to set people aside after their first start (salvation) that self-confidence might die down."   

In the same chapter he says "..any experience which makes us more aware of our need of God must contribute to spiritual progress."

And finally, he lists several people who after an average of 15 years "...ceased trying to work for Him and began allowing Him to be their All in all and do His work through them."

How often do I forget that it is His work in me?  And not me pulling myself up by my "bootstraps".  It is His strength not mine.  It's His work, or at least it should be, and not mine. 

So I sit here today quietly with a cup of cappuccino and ponder these things.   I have no New Year's resolutions but to obey.  To learn more of how to walk in obedience and to humble myself before Him.  To remember that it is not me, but Him in me that does the work. 

It's peaceful this afternoon,  no babies clamoring for attention, no Kindergartner asking questions incessantly, no movie that I haven't seen on.  So the TV is off, the laundry is just finished so even the dryer isn't humming as it has been all morning.

So I sit here quietly and enjoy the hour I have left.  I will spend the time put to mind the verses I pulled today from Beth Moore's book Praying God's Word.

I strongly desire to learn more about this this year.   Our pastor spoke of prayer on Sunday morning. We are starting a Bible study this week in an area that we are praying about planting a church.  I was reminded of how desperately I need to be in prayer as we venture out into unknown territory.  Then in the evening the message was about Satan and who he is.  Yikes!  Very definitely need to be shoring up things in my prayer life.  I know he wouldn't be happy with a church plant anywhere.   And yet, I don't want to be obsessed with what he may or may not be doing. 

I want to constantly be aware not of who Satan is, but of who God is and His power and working in my life.

Thank you for your prayers as we learn more of Him as we step out of our comfort zone.
Steph

 

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Wednesday's Household - an embarrassing confession

I must confess (and this is somewhat embarrassing to me) that my kids sleep in beds that are not made properly.  Part of it is busyness and part of it is I got tired of making beds when four of them would wet them in one night. 

Sometimes there wasn't even a bottom sheet, mostly because it was in the wash and I forgot to get a new one.  They always had a blanket or five, but not one of them was tucked in.  I gave up on top sheets a long time ago, because they always ended up at the bottom of the bed and were never used and simply had to be washed when the bed was wet.

It's a new year and I have decided that I am going to attempt to step it up in one way in the bedrooms this year.  I will be making the little ones beds after they go to school if I forget to have them do it before they leave.  I will make sure that before the babies (day care kids) go down for nap that every bed will have the sheets on and be properly made. 

It's a little thing, but for me that involves making or working with kids to get 5 beds made.  I haven't decided if I'll do much besides reminding the older boys.  It feels like a lot to me.  So far we are 2 for 2 (days that is). 

I committed a couple of years ago to finishing the laundry each weekday and have been able to do that with the help of my family, so now, I plan to be vigilant in this area to work toward the goal of keeping neat beds.

And my son, who still has trouble wetting his bed,  didn't want to take the sheets off because as he said, "I won't have anything to sleep with tonight."  Then I had to tell him that it was my fault that this has been happening but that if he could get his sheets down to the wash (his responsibility) I would wash them first and make sure that his bed was made before nap time.

Keep pressing on (even in the embarrassing things),
Steph

P.S  Tomorrow's post will be on the line of something rather opposite to this.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Cooking Tuesday - Hamburger Corn Bake

We have used this recipe for years.  My mother-in-law makes it the best!!!  So of course, it's great to know that it can be frozen. 

Last night one of the mommies was picking up her little one and let me know that they loved it.  Noodles frozen don't work super well, unless it's done right and this one works well, with no hard noodles.  The one thing her daughter would have liked better though was maybe 8 x the corn.  She was begging for it.  This recipe doesn't really allow for 8 packages of corn. ;)  But  more corn would work.  I think, though, that it's just about right for all of the rest of us.  I know this little girl well and she happens to love veggies.


Hamburger Corn Bake
1 pkg of egg noodles
2 lbs ground beef
1 pkg corn
4 cups of Beef White Sauce
1 cup sour cream
2 cups bread crumbs w/ 2 T melted marg
1 foil pan


Cook ground beef.  Boil noodles as directed.  Mix noodles and corn and gr. beef together.  Stir in soup and sour cream.  Spray foil pans with oil spray.  Divide mixture between three pans.  Sprinkle 2 cups of bread crumbs on each casserole.  Cover with foil. Label
 
The label would read:   Thaw on the counter all day and bake at 350 for an hour. 
 
I would suggest leaving the foil  on which would maybe even double the length of time in the oven.   This helps the noodles not to become crunchy.    You may want to experiment with it as we are still testing these things out.
 
We love our Hamburger Corn Bake.  If you make it and serve directly, you would bake till heated through - about a half hour.
 
Enjoy,
Steph 

Monday, January 6, 2014

Project Monday - cleaning up after Christmas

This last week consisted of taking down and putting away (all the way away) the Christmas ornaments and taking the Christmas tree out.  I am loving having my living room back.

The first thing I did was to have the kids bring down their ornament boxes from the top shelf in their closet and we took the ornaments off the tree.  As we did we carefully packed them back in their boxes, or put them in the totes we have for Christmas.  And the lights and the garland went into the totes as well.

Then we took the tree out and put away the Christmas skirt, which is just a Christmas tablecloth.  

Next came gathering the snowmen from the mantle and the kitchen sink area.  Into the totes.   I didn't decorate much anywhere else.  So aside from the outside decorations which still need to be brought in. 

The totes went straight up to the attic so that they aren't on the steps or in a room waiting to go upstairs. 

I love Christmas, but our living room isn't big enough, so I love having it back as well.

Next is to take my Holiday Journal out and look through it and right down what worked and what didn't.  And print new pages for next year.

Keep pressing on.
Steph