Friday, February 28, 2014

Friday with Food: Affording Good Food

Good evening! Welcome to Friday with Food!

I really hate grocery shopping! I hate it even more when I have to go on a crowded Friday night. Normally Ed goes with me, and we do our shopping either Thursday or Friday morning. Well this week, Ed was tied up during the day cutting wood, (because we are expecting some signficant weather) so we ended up going tonight! I would have gone by myself, but we had to get dog food, which we buy 50 lbs at a time. Nah, I'm not lifting that.

Since we were getting dog food and a few other non-human food things, we needed to go to Wal-mart. I could tell that Ed was just dead tired, and really didn't feel like going to two or three different stores like we normally do, so I offered to just get what we could get at Wal-mart and go home. I can go back by myself tomorrow if I needed to. So that is what we did. Yeah, Wal-mart on a Friday night. Did I mention that this is also a payday for Military and probably other federal employees? By the time we got out of there, we both felt like we had been run over by shopping carts!

When my brain clears tomorrow, I'll figure out if Isaved any money, which brings me to the actuall subject of this post. How do normal people on an average budget, afford to feed their families healthy, real, food? The short answer is just like you do everything else: Do the best you can with what you have.

We would love to eat grass fed beef, and free range chickens/eggs, but we want to eat more than once a week, so we don't do that. We do however, read labels, and opt not to buy processed food. We don't buy white flour and or refined sugar. We've leared to do without or make healthier alternatives. Sometimes, in our budget, that means we have to do without sweets or snacks.I promise, it won't kill you. I use the money that I"m not spending on hot dogs and lunchables to buy organic milk and butter. It's a trade off. The weeks that we don't have to spend as much on meat, we load up on organic veggies. When we do have a little extra in the budget, we experiment with something new. Sometimes we like it, and sometimes we don't.

If you haven't figured it out from reading this blog, I cook almost everything from scratch. If I could, I would do it all that way, and some day I hope to be able to. Yes, that takes more time, and thats hard when you are trying to hold down a full time job and/or taking care of small children, but like the old cliche says: "Where there's a will, there's a way".  Maybe you can't afford to buy all the ingredients for something you want to try. Can you buy some of them this time and some next? I do that when I want to bake something new and don't have the money to buy different types of flours, and other things too. So, I might buy 100 percent whole wheat flour this pay check, and buy walnuts the next one. Both things will keep in the freezer until you need them.

You don't have to change everything over night. Just do a little at a time. For me, little changes seem to stick better than a major overhaul. It took me about two years to decide that I was done with refined sugar. The internet is full of information that can help you get started eating healthier without breaking the bank. Many times, the healthier foods are more filling, so you won't eat as much in one sitting. This has the potential for producing leftovers, and therefore stretching your grocery budget dollar.

The idea is to keep working at it.

Have a great weekend!

See ya Monday!


Thursday, February 27, 2014

Repurposed Thursday: Notebook Calendar

Welcome to Repurposed Thursday!

First I have to give a shout out to my oldest son, James, who is 27 today! Happy Birthday honey!

Do you have things in your house that you keep, but you don't really know why?  I do.  Like this notebook (aka loose leaf binder). It was given to me somewhere along the line, and I really don't have a use for it, but it was too good to throw out. I suppose I could have donated it to Goodwill or our church yard sale, but that never occured to me until now.

Today, still working on getting my house in order, sorting papers, and generally trying to figure out where I am going to put everything, I was once again confronted with the notebook. I opened it to take the few papers that were in it out, and it hit me: I knew what to do with it!

I went to the computer to see if I could find downloadable calendar pages. Well, of course I could, so I printed them out. At that point, I was going to take pictures of everything as I did it, but my camera battery was dead. (Note to self, "you really need a second camera battery") I did get this one of the front of the notebook.

Then, I couldn't find my three-hole punch, so I used the one-hole. I laid the paper up next to the rings in the binder, and using a ruler to help me keep even, I marked three dots on the paper. Then I used the hole punch to punch out the dots. Then I put them in the binder. It was a perfect fit.

I went to the trash and pulled out the piece of self-adhesive dry erase paper, that I had just pulled of the wall, where it was not being used. I used it to cover the inside of the front of the notebook. I attached two of those removable wall-hanger thingys on the outside of the front of the notebook. I used a large clip and a peice of string to make a pen holder. Then I put the whole thing on the wall next to the chalkboard that I painted on the wall next to the phone.

A little later, I decided to go hunt a dry erase marker, which meant an expedition into Katherine's room. I found one, and wrote one of my favorite scriptures on the dry erase paper. Then I put the marker on top of the binder rings. I don't know if it will stay like that, but it's there for now

This evening, the battery was charged so I took these pictures.
What do you think?  The best part was that everything that went into it was stuff I already had.

Have a great evening!

See ya tomorrow!


Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Wednesday with the Word: I Have Hidden Your Word

A few weeks ago, I wrote about taking up the "whole armor of God" part of which is the “Sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” (Eph 6:16). In that post, I mentioned that a knowledge of God's word is essential. You can't use what you don't know.

The Psalmist writes it this way” I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.(Psalm 119: 11)  If we know God's word, we can use it to protect ourselves from Satan's deception, just like Jesus did (Matt 4:1-11).

So, how do we hide God's word in our heart, so that our Sword of the Spirit is ready when we need it? We must commit scripture to memory. I know. I can hear the groaning from all parts of cyberspace. Memorize scripture? Yes, memorize scripture. For some of you memorizing anything is a challenge, and for others, just the thought dredges up unpleasant memories from Sunday School and Vacation Bible School.  I understand that, but I would submit that you “can do all things through Christ who gives you strength.”(Phil 4:13) That one is a good place to start! It was the one my sister hung on to when she got clean and sober after a twenty-year meth and alcohol addiction. It still makes her kids cringe, but the up side of that is that they know it too!

Even I, who never had trouble memorizing large passages of scripture, find the older I get, the more I have to work at it. I still do though. Work at it, I mean. Ed does too. One problem we both have, and I think I have mentioned this before, is that we grew up with the King James Version, and recall many verses from that, but know them in the newer versions too. Its like growing up in a bilingual household. Sometimes, scriptures come out half  KJV and half NIV! However you say them, they have the same meaning, and the same power!

So how do you get started memorizing scriptures? I don't think there is any one way to do it. A lot depends on you. Ask the Holy Spirit to guide you. Normally, I think people start memorizing what grabs them. One way to start is just to start reading your Bible on a daily basis, and pay attention to what speaks to you, those things that hit home. Those are the ones you want to commit to memory.  Ed and I both write what we want to memorize on 3x5 cards and keep them in our Bibles. Once we learn them, they go into a card file box and they get reviewed weekly. Writing them down also helps with the memorization process.

Maybe you already have some idea of what you want to learn first.
How about John 3:16? Genesis 1:1? Romans 3:23?

Want an easy start? Learn the shortest verse in the Bible. John 11:35 says “Jesus wept. “ Ok, so why would we want to memorize that? It shows that Jesus cares about us, and hurts when we hurt. Read it in its context, and you'll see what I mean.

A little more adventurous? How about the 23rd Psalm?

When I was 14, my grandma challenged me to memorize the 7th chapter of Acts. It is Stephen's testimony and has 60 verses. As I said, memorizing came easy for me, so it took about two weeks. I still know most of it, and with a little effort, it would all come back. My point is that once its in there, your subconscious has it. Before Jesus was crucified, he promised his disciples that the Holy Spirit would help them to remember all things (John 14:26) I believe the same is true today. When we make the effort to commit God's word to memory, the Holy Spirit will help us remember just what we need, just when we need it.

The 119th Psalm, part of which I quoted at the beginning of this post has a lot to say about God's word. Verse 105 says “Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path” Yes, I did say “verse 105”. There are 176 verses in Psalm 119, making it the longest chapter in the Bible. Talk about a memorization  challenge!

Seek the Holy Spirit's guidance, start small, memorize what speaks to you, or pick up a challenge. However you decide to go, start learning God's word, so your sword will be honed and ready when you need it!

See ya tomorrow!


Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Makin' Do Tuesday: Emergency Subsitutions

Welcome to Makin' Do Tuesday!

Needing to make an emergency substitution while cooking may be the epitome of making do. That is probably why most cookbooks have a list of them somewhere.

Buttermilk can be substituted by adding enough regular milk to a tablespoon of vinegar or lemon juice to make a cup. Let it sit for about five minutes before you use it.

Yogurt and sour cream appear to be just about interchangeable. There are some consistency differences, so I would supposed it would depend on what you were cooking.

1/4 tsp baking soda and 1/2 tsp cream of tarter will substitute for a tsp of baking powder.

Adding 1 1/2 tsp baking powder and 1/2 tsp salt to a cup of regular flour will give you self-rising flour.

If you have self-rising and need regular, just omit the baking powder and salt from the recipe.

Make unsweetened chocolate by adding a tbs of oil to every three tbs of cocoa.

You can make whole wheat cake flour by taking two tbs of corn starch and adding enough whole wheat pastry flour to make a cup.

You can find a ton of other cooking substitutions here.

Sometimes though, you run out of other things beside cooking ingredients. What then?

Use paper towels or napkins as  make shift coffee filters.

Speaking of coffee filters, you can use them for tea bags. Just put your loose leaf tea in the center and tie it up with cooking twine or something similar.

Baking soda works great for both toothpaste and deoderant.

Olive oil and lemon juice make furniture polish.

Use vinegar for glass cleaner.

Don't have time to shampoo? Sprinkle baby powder or cornstarch on your head and brush out.

Women used to dab a little vanilla behind their ears in lieu of perfume.

This is just my opinion, but I think that once you understand how some things work, its easy to come up with substitutes for what you need. You may have to think outside the box, but that is what makin' do is all about.

See ya tomorrow!


Monday, February 24, 2014

Catch-Up Monday: Busy Weekend and a Roadside Dresser

Good morning! Welcome to Catch-Up Monday!

What a busy weekend! I missed my Sunday afternoon nap, so I took it this morning after Katheirne went to school. I was just worn out!

Friday morning, Ed got up and made his famous King's Ranch Chicken to take for the family meal after Betty's Celebration of Life. It was set to start at 11:00, and we went about 10:00 to help with any set-up. The service was beautiful, and our pastor did a great job. We knew it was as difficult for him as it was for us. He told us later that he knew the Holy Spirit was helping him.

Afterward, we went down to the kitchen to set out the meal, while the family made the short trip to the grave site. When they came back, everything was ready. Did I mention our church has some excellent cooks? By the time the meal was finished, we cleaned up and got home, it was about 2:30 in the afternoon. Katherine was home at three, and Ed and I both took a nap, and still went to bed early. Saturday was going to be another busy day.

Before Betty died, we already had our annual February spaghetti dinner in the church calendar for Saturday. Ed had to work during the day, but would be home in time for the dinner. Since I am on the fellowship committee, I had to be at church at 3:00 to help with set up, decorating, and food preparation. The committee was making the two entrees, salad and bread, and our "guests" were to bring dessert.

Since I was not about to bring a sugary dessert, I opted for those wonderful scones that I made last week. You can read that blog post here. For Katherine's benefit, I made one batch with mini chocolate chips, as well as the one with blueberries. Ed got home from work about 2:30, and I left for church shortly after. Katherine opted to come at five with Ed. The meal was a huge success, but once again, I got home and pretty much fell into bed. Oh, I did have one request for the scone recipe.

At 5:00 a.m. Sunday morning, our phone rang. It was a manager from Ed's work. It seems that the 4:00 a.m. guy didn't show up, and they needed Ed to come in. He was not happy. I wasn't either. Anyway, he got up and went in. I stayed in bed until eight. Katherine and I made it to church a little after nine, so I could make sure someone from Ed's Sunday school class would know that he wouldn't be there.

The rest of the morning went well, with two of our young people getting baptised. I know Ed hated to miss that! After church, I met with the young people to decide who is doing what for the special youth-led service we are doing in March. They are all excited about taking over the grown-up positions for a day.

Sunday afternoon is usually nap time, but I couldn't get wound down enough. I guess I was still annoyed that Ed had to work a second Sunday in a row. By the time he got home, he only had about an hour before we had to be back at church. He told me that he told the manager that if they want to see him on Sunday, they need to come to church, because that is where he will be!

When he came in, he told me that one of our neighbors up the road had set out a peice of furniture I might be interested in. Of course I had to go look, and after checking it out, decided to bring it home.
It isn't real wood, and the drawer pulls are a little corroded, but it is sound, and I can always use more drawer space...if I decide to use it for that. I'm going to let it sit a day or two and think about it. I told Ed, "You do realize that I will have to rearrange the entire house to make room for this, right?" He said, "Yes, and all the books will have to come off the shelves too. " to which I replied, "You know I've been wanting to do that anyway." He nodded "Yes". The poor long-suffering man! He knows that he will come home one day soon, and there will just be a path through the house!

Anyway, our Sunday evening service went very well with even more new people coming. It is exciting when the young people start becoming active participants! We were done there a little after seven,  Ed was in bed by eight, and after I talked to my dad, followed about ten.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Friday With Food: You Gotta Try This!

Good morning! Welcome to Friday With Food.

This is going to be a short post, but it won't take long to share this recipe.

Yesterday on facebook, a friend posted a recipe for Paleo Blueberry Scones. I like experiementing with paleo/gluten free recipes, and have found many of them to be very good. This one also contained two of my favorite foods: cashews and blueberries.

You can see the recipe here. Cassandra gives excellent instructions with great pictures, so I won't do it again here. Let me say, to quote Ed, that this was "slammin"! It is also gone. I already have a request from Ed to make more. Katherine, of course, would not try them because they have blueberries in them.

I am going to make more this weekend, and will probably try my own variation with walnuts and raisins!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Repurposed Thursday: The Book Clock

Welcome to Repurposed Thursday!

As I told you Monday, I finally got the clock finished. There were however, a few challenges along the way.

Since my clock spindle was long, I knew I would have to put it all the way through the book, with the battery compartment on the back. First, I couldn't find a drill bit big enough. I know there are wood bits here somewhere, but I don't know where Ed put them. I finally found a bit that would work and drilled through the book. I got the clock all put together, put the battery in, and it worked....for about two minutes. After some trial and error, I finally figured out that the spindle was catching on the paper inside the book. So, I got out my trusty exacto knife and cut an inch square around the spindle. Success!

Now for the mice. I bought some Sculpey clay. I had never worked with it before, but I found it very easy to use, although I still need some practice. My real issue came from the baking. The directions say 15 minutes per quarter inch of clay. Ok, well, some of it is a quarter inch, some is a half inch, some is a sixteenth inch. I set the timer for 20 minutes to see what would happen. Well, they have singed ears and tails, but I think they turned out ok for a first time. I glued one to the top and one to the bottom corner. The latter looks more like a cat than a mouse, but it works, so I'm not going to worry about it.

Here is the finished product. It is hanging over my desk in the office.

The rest of today and tomorrow are going to be busy. Tonight is Betty's visitation, and Katherine has a band concert. Tomorrow is Betty's funeral and our church is providing the meal for the family. I will talk to you sometime tomorrow. I just found a new recipe that I have to try!

See ya tomorrow!


Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Wednesday with the Word: The Ancient of Days

Welcome to Wednesday with the Word!

A few months ago, our Bible study group did the Beth Moore study of Daniel. It was very deep, and for me, very good stuff. I love Bible prophecy, as well as connecting biblical history with secular history, and this study did all that. In addition, it shows God for who he is and shows, in the person of Daniel,  an example of who we should be in this world. Last week, in our regular Bible reading, Ed and I started reading Daniel again. Even now, we find ourselves discussing new insights about it.

This morning, through facebook and my mother, I heard some local news about a little ten-year-old girl who was missing. Just a short while later, there was more news. The body of the little girl had been discovered and the suspect was in custody. Like everyone else, I was heart sick. I cannot begin to imagine what that child's family is experiencing: the terror, the heartbreak, the rage. I can only pray that they have the Lord to hold on to. In situations like this, people sometimes lose their faith, or question how God could let something like this happen to a beautiful little girl. I don't have the answer to that. I do know that the earth is under a curse, and will be until the Lord returns. I know that the rain falls on the just and the unjust (Matt 5:45), which means that sometimes good and bad just happen; its not anything we do, or we don't do. I know something else too: Something I read about in Daniel.
 “As I looked,
thrones were set in place,
    and the Ancient of Days took his seat.
His clothing was as white as snow;
    the hair of his head was white like wool.
His throne was flaming with fire,
    and its wheels were all ablaze.
A river of fire was flowing,
    coming out from before him.
Thousands upon thousands attended him;
    ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him.
The court was seated,
    and the books were opened." (Daniel 7:9-10)
Daniel is having a vision about the end times, dosen't understand everything he sees,
so he asks someone standing there what it means. When the explanation gets to the
part of about the ancient of days, the person says:

"But the court will sit, and his power will be taken away and completely destroyed
forever. Then the sovereignty, power and greatness of all the kingdoms under
heaven will be handed over to the holy people of the Most High. His kingdom 
will be an everlasting kingdom, and all rulers will worship and obey him."
Daniel 7:26-27

When the time comes, God will take his seat as the righteous judge, court will convene,
and everything will be made right. Sometimes, in this life, people get away with stuff.
However, unless that person repents and finds salvation in the Lord, he or she will not
get away with it forever.

The "his" referenced in this passage is the fourth beast, which is a whole other study. 
It's good stuff too! I use for my online studies. You can read this 
chapter of Daniel here

Have a beautiful day!

See ya tomorrow!


Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Makin' Do Tuesday: A Hair Dye Experiment

Welcome to Makin' Do Tuesday!

I found my first gray hair when I was 27 years old, and ever since then I have battled between my desire to at least look presentable, and my loathing for fooling with my hair. My mother's hair was very dark brown, almost black, and very straight. My dad is a natural blonde, with natural curls. My hair is a literal combination of the two. It is straight on top and curly on the bottom. I really don't like short hair, but if I grow it out, I have ringlets on the lower half, which makes it look like a half grown out permanent. Curling irons don't work either.

My natural color is a lighter brown, but it is very hard to duplicate, so I don't try. In the past, I have gone several months, maybe even a year or two, letting the gray come out where it will, much to my mother's horror. Other times, I have kept it a dark auburn, and yet others, like now, a dark brown.

Hair dye can be expensive, and we won't even discuss trips to a salon. I'm not even paying that kind of money for a dye job. In addition, I'm not real crazy about putting all those chemicals on my head, so I was excited to see this article from

For dark hair, you can use coffee, tea, nettle, rosemary or sage. Well, I always have coffee, and rosemary and sage are two herbs I grow and dry myself. So why not try it. I had about a half a pot of leftover coffee last night, so I pour it into a large mason jar along with the used grounds from the pot. This morning, I poured some of the coffee into a pan and put in a large handful each or dried sage and dried rosemary. I boiled it, and then poured it all back in the jar to steep and cool. I keep a squirt bottle, filled with water, next to the bathroom sink. I poured out the water, refilled the bottle with the coffee/tea solution and started spraying my head. Yeah, it was a drippy mess, but it cleaned up easy enough (a lot better than the chemical stuff) I set my kitchen timer for 30 minutes and waited.

To be honest, I didin't see much difference, but it may be one of those things that I will have to do for awhile before I actually see any results. I'll keep at it and let you know.

Oh, on a totally different note, here is a little makin' do tip I got from my dad the other night when we were talking. He had a milk jug that he was keeping outside for something, but he couldn't find the lid. My step mom brought him a cup from a liquid medicine bottle. The narrow bottom slipped down inside the jug, but the wide top caught at the lip. Instant lid!

Have a wonderful day!

See ya tomorrow!


Monday, February 17, 2014

Catch-Up Monday: Coming and Going

Good morning! Welcome to Catch-Up Monday where we catch up after the weekend.  Happy President's Day too!

It was a busy weekend for me. I had to be at Mardel Christian and Education store at 9:00 a.m. Saturday for a Vacation Bible School presentation. This is where local churches meet, and representatives from different Christian publishers present their officerings for the upcoming Vacation Bible School season. I was there with my pastor, his wife, and another Sunday School teacher. We really had fun with the new stuff, and I am hopeful that I have convinced them to go out on a limb and try something a little new and different this year. I'll keep you posted on that.

Saturday afternoon was spent getting ready for Sunday, house work, and keeping Katherine going on her projects (homework and room cleaning). Oh, and I finished the clock! I'll share that with you Thursday. Saturday evening, we had to take the 30 minute drive to Liberty to go to my niece's twelth birthday party, which was held at a Sleep Inn because they have a nice indoor water slide. Ed and I didn't swim, because frankly, we were both too tired, but Katherine had a great time, and I think my niece really enjoyed her birthday.

Sunday morning, about 6:30, the phone rang. It was Ed's work, asking him to come in. After explaining to the new manager that normally the answer would be "no", because he teaches Sunday School (and has worked really hard to get to the point where he dosen't have to work on Sunday), he said he would do it THIS TIME, because the manager was new, and he was going to be super short-handed on a Sunday morning. So, Ed got up and got ready to go to work. About the time he left, I got up,  and as I usually do after I get my coffee, I checked my email for any new posts from Caring Bridge. There was one that said our dear friend Betty had gone to meet the Lord, shortly after midnight. I called Ed and told him, then I made some other calls, and posted the news on our Church's facebook page.

I also ditched my plans for Sunday school, or at least postponed them until next week. You see, the class I teach (5-6 grade), was Betty's class until she got sick. No one could tell me for sure how long she had taught that class, but it was at least 30 years. Those kids love her, and she loved them. So, we spent our Sunday School time taking about, and remembering, Miss Betty. The youth choir sang during the service so we didn't have choir practice after church.

I planned to come home and take a nap, but I started looking through VBS material and crunching some numbers, and by the end of the afternoon, I had what I think is a pretty solid idea of how much money making some changes is going to cost us. Sadly, that is usually the deciding factor. I have, however, already talked to several people who are willing to help in that department. So again, I am hopeful.

Ed got home about 4:45, which gave him just enough time to shower and change before we headed back to church. Our evening service had a few technical glitches, but over all it went well. My friend and co-coordinator of the Sunday evening program, had brought in pizza and that was a big hit. However, by the end of the evening, it wasn't sitting very well with me, and hen I got home, after a short conversation with my dad, I went to bed.

I'm feeling better this morning, and am already working on some things for tomorrow.

Have a wonderful day!

See ya tomorrow!


Friday, February 14, 2014

Friday with Food: 0 for 2

Happy Valentine's Day and welcome to Friday with Food!

Today was a crazy day! Katherine had a four day weekend, and she was working on catching up her homework, and cleaning her room, neither of which were things she wanted to do. While I was supervising that, I also made bread this morning, because we were completely out. In the meanwhile, I wanted to do something for Ed for Valentine's day, although neither of us are really crazy about the holiday. I didn't take pictures today, because I had too much else I was trying to do, but I hope you can follow what I"m saying without them.

Ed's favorite cake is Coconut Cream Cake. Usually that means I make a white cake mix, poke holes in it with a fork, pour on a mixure of sweetened condensed milk and cocnut cream, and cover the whole thing with Cool Whip and coconut.

If you'll remember, a few weeks ago, I decided to remake a brownie recipe using healthier, real food ingredients. That didn't turn out so well, and I haven't felt like trying it again. Today, I decided I would try to do the same thing the coconut cake.

For the cake, I found a recipe in my Betty Crocker cookbook for white cake. I substituted whole wheat pastry flour for the all purpose flour, coconut sugar for the sugar, and butter for the shortening. No, I did not expect the cake to still be white. It smelled wonderful while it was baking, but I thought it looked very dark when it came out of the oven. Of course, I had used the wheat flour and coconut sugar, so that probably explained it.

For the filling, I decided to try and make my own sweetened condensed milk, and found a recipe here, using vanilla stevia instead of sugar. As far as I could tell, it worked fine, and I will file that recipe as a keeper. I shook it up in a jar with the coconut cream, and after I had poked holes in the cakes (I had two 8 inch rounds), I poured the mixture over the cake and let it sit. The cake was soaking up the cream just like it should.

Now for the whipped cream.  I actually went and bought whipping cream, because I had found this recipe. I put the beaters and the bowl in the freezer for about 30 minutes. I started whipping and then added the sugar and vanilla while still beating. I think I almost made butter. It was very thick but had a nice flavor to it. Not too sweet though.

I removed one of the layers from its pan, which wasn't as difficult as I thought it would be. I put a layer of whipped cream and coconut on it, put the second layer on, covered the whole thing with whipped cream and sprinkled coconut on top of the cake. It looked...ok. I cut a piece for Ed, and one for me. Yeah, it was...ok.  Nothing to write home about, that's for sure. The flavor of the whole wheat flour came through strongly, and it was very filling. I told Ed that I didn't think there was any danger of his eating this whole cake in one day (that is often what happens with the original recipe), because even if he wanted to, he would be too full.

So we decided to leave this one just like it is, but only make it twice a year: December for Ed's birthday, and June for Kyle's. It's Kyle's favorite cake too. That reminds me. I have to make a German Chocolate Cake in about two weeks for James' birthday. I think we will leave that one like it is too.

Have a wonderful weekend!

See Ya Monday!


Thursday, February 13, 2014

Repurposed Thursday: Not Like I Planned

Welcome to Repurposed Thursday!

Well, I didn't get anything done on the clock, although I did find another kid's book that I want to give the same treatment.

Since I didn't do that, I thought I would share something I did a while back. Remember when I said I kind of went crazy with book pages? Well, here are a few more things I covered.

This is the switch plate in my office. It was intended for a little girl, and I really didn't like it. I don't like the paint job either, but that is more than I am able to tackle at this point. 
This is better. I would like to do a whole room like this. 
 I got this the day we went to the Goodwill outlet.
Here is the top view.
Here it is covered in dictionary pages. 

I also have a gallon-sized, plastic vinegar bottle, that I cut the top off of, and covered with pages. I don't have a picture of it, but sits just below the light switch, and is what holds all those rolls of brown paper that you can see in the first picture. 

Lord willing, I'll have the clocks done next week. I'm thinking of making the mice out of clay. We'll see.

See ya tomorrow!


Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Wednesday with the Word: The Whole Armor of God

I love the book of book of Ephesians! It is one of the most encouraging books of the New Testament,

Ephesians is actually a letter to the church at Ephesus,  written by the Apostle Paul, probably about 60. A.D., when he was imprisoned in Rome.  The letter talks about the Lordship of Christ and the position of the believer as a member of the body of Christ. Paul admonishes the Ephesian Christians to “to live a life worthy of the calling you have received.” (Eph 4:1). He encourages them to walk in love; giving instruction in matters of husbands and wives, parents and children,  and master and slaves. Today that might mean employers and employees.

In the last chapter (chapter 6), Paul says this

“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.  Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.  For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.  Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.  Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” Eph 6:10-17. (NIV)

Paul reminds the Ephesian Christians, and us, that there is a supernatural battle going on all around us, all the time. In order to withstand the attack of the enemy, the soldier of God must be prepared and protected as he or she goes into battle.

Paul says to put on the whole armor, every bit of it, not just a few comfortable pieces. We can't be protected with just the belt of truth, or the footwear from the gospel of peace, and the helmet of salvation. We have to wear that heavy breastplate of righteousness. Righteousness is not easy. It takes effort, and while no one in this life will do it perfectly, we have to work at it, every single day. The good thing about that is that we have the indwelling Holy Spirit to help us. We must pick up that shield of faith. Its what protects you from Satan's attacks. Sometimes, in the midst of a battle, hanging onto faith is one of the most difficult challenges you can face. However, this isn't just a defensive position. We are also instructed to take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. A sword is used to attack. The Amplified Bible says it this way:

“And take the helmet of salvation and the sword that the Spirit [d]wields, which is the Word of God.” That “d” refers to a footnote that says:

“Charles B. Williams, The New Testament: A Translation in the Language of the People: Subjective genitive—a type of genitive of possession. Thus here the Spirit is the subject or agent of the verbal action.”  In other words, the sword that we are to take, belongs to the Holy Spirit. He wields it, and it is the Word of God.  Jesus himself used scripture when he as being tempted by Satan. A thorough knowledge of the scriptures is a tremendous asset, and it will always be brought to mind just when you need it. That is, I believe, another working of the Holy Spirit.

Writer Beth Moore says in her book “Believing God”

“It’s about learning that we don’t have to put down the Sword of the Spirit (the Word of God) to raise up the Shield of Faith. The way I see it, that’s why God gave us two hands. If we want to live abundantly and victoriously, we must pick up both. To pick up the Sword of the Spirit without the Shield of Faith is to shrivel and dry up in the desert of legalism. To pick up the Shield of Faith without the Sword of the Spirit is to try walking by faith on quicksand.”

Can you see the illustration? A fully armored child of God  protecting herself with the shield of faith, while wielding the sword of the Spirit. She stands her ground, and when she has done everything, she still stands, and waits with anticipation to hear her Lord say, "Well done!"

Moore, Beth (2004-09-01). Believing God (p. ix). B&H Publishing. Kindle Edition.

See ya tomorrow!


Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Makin' Do Tuesday: A History of Trash and a Little More Salt

I really hate to throw things away. Every time I start to put something in the trash can, I think twice. The first question is “Can I possibly do something else with this?” The answer is almost always “yes”. The second question is “Do I have somewhere to store it until I can use it?” Unfortunately, the answer there is often “no”.

I think if I had room to store recyclables, as well as things I could use for compost, we would have very little trash. That got me thinking about how much trash we, as a society, currently produce, and how that compares with societies of the past, as well as those of other cultures.

So I've started a little research on the history of trash. The first thing I learned, is that human beings have a tendency to be wasteful and sloppy. What to do with it is an age-old question that has produced four answers: Pitch it, burn it, reuse it and minimize it.(Source) This same source indicated that waste has a tendency to go hand in hand with affluence. I can see how it would.  Lean times, and times of war lead people to want to make the best use of what they have because they don't know when or if there will be more.

I also learned that I could research this subject for days, and still not read everything. So, its something I'm going to keep working on, and when I finish, I'll let you know what I've learned.

By the way, trash bags, as we know them today, were invented in the 1950's.

A  few weeks ago, I mentioned using salt to clean a cast iron skillet. Well, I finally had another one so dirty that it needed the salt treatment.

Isn't this lovely? Its eggs and sausage (I think) with a little bit of a yogurt smoothie thrown in. This sat about two days last week when we didn't have water. Of course, if I had been thinking, I  could have cleaned this anyway.
I dumped in some salt.
Started working it in with a paper towel.
Gathered up all the crud and dumped it in the trash.
Isn't that pretty? I did rinse the salt out with hot water and dry the pan. I've had this skillet for about 30 years, and its my favorite. So there you have it. A cast iron skillet scrubbed clean with table salt. Awesome huh?

See ya tomorrow!


Monday, February 10, 2014

Catch Up Monday: Back to Normal

Welcome to Catch Up Monday!

Yes, we are back to normal. It is still cold at  10 degrees, but our water is running and we have a nice fire in the wood stove. The latter has still been a challenge because that wood is very green, but the Lord has provided and we are doing ok with it.

Yesterday's new evening service at Church went very well. We are excited to see so much interest from young people! We may have to move to the main sanctuary because our original location got a little crowded. What a wonderful problem to have!

Today was spent catching up in the kitchen after going those few days without water. I'm still working on reorganizing the work room/office, and most of it is still in the living room. Sometimes, at the end of the day, I look around and wonder what I did all day, because it dosen't appear that anything was accomplished.

I did find out some exciting news. Jane, from the Mamie Jane's blog, posted that she is going to be featured in Flea Market Style magazine, doing a "$250.00 Junk Hunt Challenge, in Kansas City's West Bottoms. Apparently, there is a huge first friday weekend event every month, in the West Bottoms, where at least thirty antique and junk stores housed in the old warehouse district open their doors. I live less than an hour from the West Bottoms! I gotta go! Can't wait to tell my junkin' buddy! I'm hoping for March, but if not, we will have to go in April for sure!

Anyway, looks like this week is going to be lovely, weather wise. However things are, where you are, make the best of it!

See ya tomorrow!


Friday, February 7, 2014

Friday with Food: Flax Bread

Today there was good news, more good news and bad news.

The first good news was that the lab results came back and my AIC (the test that determines blood sugar levels) was only 5.8! That means I have controlled my diabetes so well, just through my changes in diet, I no longer need medication.

The second good news was that Ed woke up this morning knowing what was wrong with our water.  He said  "It is frozen in the pump house. If we put heat in there, we'll have water. He was right!" We put a space heater in the floor of the pump house and within ten minutes, we had cold water in the kitchen. We then moved a space heater to the position behind the hot water heater in order to thaw out the secondary freezing spot. It thawed in about ten minutes too. Now for the bad news. One of those pipes broke and started spraying water everywhere! At that point, we turned off the breaker to the pump, left a message for our landlord, went to my mom's house for showers, and went out to eat! Sometimse, you just have to! 

The landlord will fix it tomorrow, so when we talk on Monday, we should be back to normal.

Now for the flax bread. I first found this recipe when I was researching gluten free diets. It was a big hit with Ed, the boys and I, but not Katherine. If you read my blog enough, you'll come to realize that is the norm. She doesn't like anything that remotely resembles real food.

Anyway, this is a great focaccia style bread. Ed just likes it with butter, but I've made almond butter and honey sandwiches with it.

Normally, I use a jelly roll pan when I make this, but the one I have left was indisposed, so I used a pizza pan.

First you need two cups of flaxseed meal. You can either grind your own flaxseeds, or buy it like this, preground. I've made it both ways with equal success.

Then you add a tablespoon of baking powder, and a teaspoon of salt. Here the recipe also calls for one to two  tablespoons of artificial sweetener. I used two tablespoons of coconut sugar. I have also used an equivalent amount of powdered stevia. Both work fine. Mix it all up with a whisk.

 Crack five eggs into another bowl. Then add a half cup of water and a third cup of oil. I used olive oil. Again, whisk them all together

Add the two mixtures together and whisk until blended. Let it sit a few minutes to thicken. Then pour and spread into greased pan.

Bake at 350 degrees for twenty minutes. Enjoy! 
Have a wonderful weekend!

See ya Monday!


Thursday, February 6, 2014

Repurposed Thursday: Sort of

Welcome to Repurposed Thursday!

My plan for today was to start on a new project and share with you as far as I got, as well as my idea for finishing. Well, I never even got to start, but I'll tell you my plan.

I love the idea of repurposing books that might otherwise be thrown away. I particularly like the idea of turning them into clocks. In a bunch of books I rescued was a library copy of Beverly Clearly's "Runaway Ralph" Well, it looks like Ralph, or some of his relatives, chewed on it, so its not going to make a great clock by itself.

I was at least going to get the clock mechanism installed in it today. My plan is either to make or buy (make is my preference) some mice to go on top of the book and on the tray below. I got the tray as part of my haul from the Goodwill Closeout store, so its cost is about $.88.  Anyway, this is as far as I got. Hopefully by next week, I'll be able to show you more.

Now, the reason I didn't get anything done was because about the time I was getting ready to start, I was talking to Ed about something while he was putting some rather large logs in the wood stove. Suddenly, the stove pipe was on the floor, and smoke was coming out the back of the stove. We both switched to emergency mode (which included praying while we were moving). Thank God for the heat gloves that Ed brought home from work. We were able to use them to hold the pipe while we tried to get it put back in. Still it took about twenty minutes, and probably another twenty to get our blood presure back down!

Then Katherine came in and told us there was no water cold water in the Kitchen sink. There is ALWAYS cold water in the kitchen sink. We keep a heater running in there as soon as the temperature drops below 20 degrees. We have a cistern, so we can't keep our tap dripping. The cold water in the kitchen is where the water comes into the house. Uh Oh!. If that is frozen with the heater blowing right there on it, it must be frozen under the house, and we have no way to get to it! Neat! Ed had already drawn water the night before as a "just in case" measure, so we had that, but it wasn't going to last long. So, we decided we should probably get out and go get some bottled water.

First we had to dig my car out. Thankfully, the snow is the dry powdery type, so shoveling was a breeze, what I got to do of it anyway. Ed saw me shoveling, and took my shovel from me. We got to the store, but our road is still a skating rink. I told Ed that if Katherine had school tomorrow, the bus was not going to come down our road. I would get a call in the morning telling me I had to bring her to the end of the road for the bus to pick her up. If that happened, I would just take her to school. If I had to warm up the car, I might as well driver her the other mile and a half to school.

The second issue, if Katherine had school tomorrow, was the issue of a shower. Well, I didn't want to use drinking water for bathing, so I told Ed we needed to start melting snow of the stove, so we could use it for sponge baths.
I just got the school again tomorrow.   

See ya then!


Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Wednesday With The Word: The Gospel in a Nutshell

Our winter storm is over, but it left us nearly 10 inches of the powdery white stuff. Now we are supposed to go back into the deep freeze. The low temperature for tonight is supposed to be -10, which means we will be bringing our dogs inside. The cats will be thrilled.

Ed finally got home about 1:00 this afternoon. He is tired and thankful that he has the next two days off. I am too.

Because I know that God is in control, I can experience stressful times like the last few days with an internal peace. When Ed remarked that I had a fire going today, I told him that the Lord started that one, because I didn't have to work nearly as hard to get it going. When I realized I had a good fire, I gave credit where it was due, and thanked Him profusely.

Non-Christians usually react to that kind of remark, as they would to someone they believe is mentally deficient. Thats ok, because the Bible says the unsaved can't understand. 1 Corinthians 2:14 says:

"The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit."

The "Spirit" in question is the Holy Spirit, the third part of the God-head, which is given to the believer when salvation occurs. How does salvation occur?

One must 
Hear the Gospel (or Good News)
Believe it
Repent of sin
Confess faith
Be Baptized
Walk the Walk

So what is the Gospel?

The bare bones of it is found in what is probably the best known verse in all of the Bible: John 3:16.

"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life."

Sin is disobedience to God. A literal usage of the word is "missing the mark" like an archer who misses the target. Adam and Eve sinned when they disobeyed God in the garden of Eden, and every human being on the planet has followed suit, except for one, but we'll get to that in a minute! The Bible says that "all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." Rom 3:23.

The problem is that God cannot tolerate sin. Now, he could have just left us like this and banished us all to the lake of fire dscribed in the book of Revelation (Rev 20: 14-15), but He loves us, and wanted to redeem us from our sinful state. I Peter 3: 9 says "The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance."

"The wages of sin is death..." (Romans 6:23) When God sent Jesus into the world as a human being, his job was to remain sinless, and sacrifice his pure and blameless life for the sins of the entire human race. He did exactly that.  Only three days later, God raised him from the dead, and now he sits at God's right hand waiting for the time to come back and get those who accepted his sacrifice on their behalf.

That is the Good News! Jesus died for you!  Do you believe it? Well then you're going to need to repent. That means you're life is going to change directions. Then you need to confess. That means you need to speak out and tell what you believe! Baptism is how we show that our old sinful selves are dead and buried, and we come out of the water a new creation! (2 Corinthians 5:17)

Lastly, you have to walk the walk. That dosen't mean you won't trip and fall, because you surely will. You have to keep getting up. It dosen't mean that your life will be perfect. You still live in the world, and you are still going to have problems, but you won't ever be alone again!

One more thing. There is nothing you can do to earn salvation. We have all "earned" eternal damnation, just like it says in Romans 6. but there is more to that verse (remember what I said about taking things in context?) "For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord." It's a gift! 

Will you accept it?

See ya tomorrow!


Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Makin' Do Tuesday: Snowbound!

Welcome to Makin' Do Tuesday!

Nothing like a blizzard to force you to stay home and make do! Well, at least for some of us. I guess it started snowing about 7 a.m. this morning. Since school was already cancelled last night, I got to sleep in. At the time of this posting, it is 10:00 p.m. and it is still snowing. I think there is about 10 inches out there, maybe a little less. School is cancelled for tomorrow too.

Ed was already at work by the time the snow started, since he had to be there at 4:00 a.m. He called me about 10:30 a.m. to say that they had told the afternoon and evening shifts not to come in, because they were going to close at 3:00 p.m. That meant the morning crew had to stay until 3:00. Then, because they were afraid the morning crew wouldn't be able to get back in to open in the morning, they were put up in a hotel across the road from the restaurant!

So, Ed is stuck at a hotel for the night with nothing but the clothes he wore to work and his Bible, so he is going to have to make do with what he has. The hotel did feed them this evening. Hopefully, by the time he gets off tomorrow at 11:00 a.m., the snow will have stopped, and the road crews will have some of the main roads clear. Out here is another story. We are at the bottom of the list, and the county won't come this far down our road anyway. The home owners on our road, including our landlord, kind of take care of themselves. I saw them working on it this afternoon, and I am thankful for them.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, it was just Katherine and I today. I made my weekly bread and bagles, as well as some flax bread (I"ll share that Friday) and some chicken stock. I spent most of the day cooking, when I wasn't trying to keep a fire going.

Yesterday, I had trouble getting a fire started. I couldn't get the wood that Larry brought us Sunday to catch. I finally just gave up and waited for Ed to come home. Well, he got a fire going, and put two big pieces of that wood in. When I got up this morning, the fire was completely out, and those two pieces of wood were still in there! Ok, well, I'll just take them out and start over. Only I couldn't get them out! They were wedged in tight, and I couldn't get them to budge. I finally decided to try and build a fire on top of them. With prayer and a lot of kindling, cardboard, and newspaper, I finally got a good enough blaze going to put in some smaller logs. I actually used a kitchen timer to remind me to check on it every five minutes, and then every ten until I had a good fire going. I am happy to report this evening that I have a lovely fire, and those to logs finally decided to burn. It's a toasty 74 degrees in my living room!

I told Katherine we could watch a movie together tonight if she wanted. We haven't done that in months! She picked out her "Transformers" movie that she got for Christmas. She was trying to explain everything to me, but she didn't need to. She has two grown brothers. I knew about Optimus Prime before she was born! Still, I enjoyed the time with her. I know it will be too soon gone!

On the subject of "makin' do"; there is often an overlap into repurposing because the purpose of repurposing is often to make do with what you have. Here are a few things that I have repurposed over the years in order to make do.

Silverware drawers make me crazy. I know if must have something to do with my having to see everything, as well as always having more utensils than I have space in those little dividers. Several years ago, I bought some black and white marble contact paper to cover a small table. I liked that look for the kitchen, but couldn't afford to redo my kitchen (and it was a rental property anyway), so I gave myself a little taste of it, while releasing myself from the insanity-causing silverware drawer.

Repurposed juice cans, fruit cans, veggie cans, and chocolate milk mix containers.  I've had these for quite a while and I love them! I can easily see what I need!

I hardly ever throw away a glass jar or large plastic container, because you can always make use of them. I used these to store the dried herbs that I grew last year. I just used a black Sharpie to label the jars.
I've got to the point where I take a good hard look at anything before it goes in the trash. Oh, back on the subject of fire-starting. Toilet paper tubes stuffed with dryer lint make great tinder! I have a bag full of tubes, and a coffee can full of lint! Does that make me crazy?

See ya tomorrow!


Monday, February 3, 2014

Catch Up Monday: Calm Before the Storm

Welcome to Catch Up Monday!

I pray that you all had a wonderful weekend. Ours was a little different.
Friday night, in the midst of some lovely snow and sleet, we attended the visitation for our friend's brother, which was held at our church. While we were there, we learned that the two church-related activities planned for the next day had been canceled because of the weather. This time, that was ok with me, because it meant Ed could take my car to work the next morning. I have a front wheel drive small car and he has a rear wheel drive pick up.

When he got up the next morning, he originally thought that we had a few inches of snow, which is no big deal here. Only it wasn't snow, it was sleet, which means everything had a nice icy coating. His trip in to work was interesting, but he made it there and home ok. By Saturday afternoon the roads were somewhat clear and Katherine went to spend the night with her friend Chrystal. I cooked black beans and rice for Ed and I, and we had a quiet evening at home. We don't get many of those.

Sunday morning was a normal day. Katherine came to church with Chrystal's family. She (Katherine) sang Mandisa's "Overcomer" for special music. She did a great job! You can here the original here. After church was choir practice and then home. I baked a chicken and made mashed potatoes, giblet gravy (with whole wheat flour of course) and whole wheat biscuits..

In the late afternoon, our friend Larry came by with some fire wood. He wanted to make sure we had enough because more bad weather is coming in.

Ed and Katherine both went to sleep early. I stayed up for my weekly phone call with my dad, who lives in a suburb of Atlanta. We've been talking on Sunday nights for most of my life. Dad is a natural junker and repurposer. If he needs something, he just makes it. I hope to visit him this summer. If I do, I'll be sure to take plenty of pictures to share with you.

You'll notice I have not mentioned the Superbowl...its not my thing.

Today has been normal too, except that the talk has been about the weather. We are under a winter storm warning. The snow is supposed to start after midnight tonight, and stop Wednesday morning. Total accumulation: 7-10 inches. Then its going to get cold. Air temperatures below zero for both Wednesday and Thursday night. Looks like the dogs will be coming back in.

As for me, I could use some hibernating time.  I've started cleannig the office/workroom, and I'm hoping the process will spur some ideas for new projects. I have a few things ready to share with you this week, but I hope to have some more.

Have a great evening!

See ya tomorrow!