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Thursday, November 30, 2006

A Quiz

What Kind of Reader Are You?
Your Result: Dedicated Reader

You are always trying to find the time to get back to your book. You are convinced that the world would be a much better place if only everyone read more.

Obsessive-Compulsive Bookworm
Literate Good Citizen
Book Snob
Non-Reader
Fad Reader
What Kind of Reader Are You?
Create Your Own Quiz

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Advent

We have never really celebrated Advent during the holiday season. Every year we do countdown to Christmas with an advent calendar. We always pick ones that have Scripture in each window. This year we are making a Jesse Tree using this book. I've spent a lot time researching what to use and this one seems the best fit for our family. There are a lot of free resources on the web and they are easy to find by googling "Jesse Tree" but I liked this one best. I have been reading Ann's blog, Holy Experience, for a long time and I feel I "know" her and her heart for the Lord. If you haven't been reading her blog, you are missing out on some challenging words!

Tomorrow we'll go in the backyard and look for a branch that we can use for our Jesse tree. You can make your own tree on posterboard but I like the idea of having a branch as described in Isaiah 11:1: "Then a shoot will spring from the stem of Jesse, and a branch from his roots will bear fruit."

We have always tried to make our Christmas more and more Christ-filled each year. Some years are better than others. I fail and get caught up in things that don't really matter. I admit that I am very sentimental about Christmas but not in the way I should be. I love the all the old, animated Christmas shows and wouldn't miss them every year (did anyone watch Charlie Brown tonight?). But I haven't always been that careful to honor the Lord during this time. I have realized lately that I have not been living my life deliberately. I need to get rid of things that are hindering me from living a life that is honoring to Him. So, one of the things I am doing is honoring Him each day of this Christmas season by focusing on His coming. Preparing my heart (and my family's) to worship Him in all His glory. Christmas! God in the flesh! A time when God took on human form so that He could save us from our sins (Matthew 1:21). That fact alone should cause me to worship and thank Him every minute for what He has done.

As Ann says her in book:

He's coming. Let's prepare.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

10 Guidelines for Keeping Christ in Christmas


TAKE time to be alone and ponder your relationship with Christ.

READ the story of Jesus' birth and note how people responded--Mary, Joseph, the
shepherds, Simeon and Anna.

PRAISE God at Christmas. Join other Christians in celebrations of music and praise.

HELP those in need at Christmas. Follow the example of Jesus whose heart was filled with compassion for those who were suffering.

KEEP your "to do" list as short as possible. Limit your social obligations so there is time for reflections.

USE cash when you buy gifts to avoid holiday debt. Invite your relatives to support a mission cause instead of giving you a gift.

TELL others about the Savior. Find opportunities to give a tract or a Bible.

REMEMBER Christ's church around the world. Some of these churches are enduring great hardship.

LIVE like Christ in this season. Be compassionate. Be forgiving (especially in mall parking lots and with harassed sales staff). Be sensitive to the people with whom you work and play.

BE JOYFUL at Christmas! You are celebrating the greatest event in the history of the world--the arrival of God in human form.

Taken from a tract that can be purchased here.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Psalm 100

Shout joyfully to the Lord, all the earth.
Serve the Lord with gladness;
Come before Him with joyful singing.
Know that the Lord Himself is God;
It is He who made us, and not we ourselves;
We are His people and the sheep of His pasture.

Enter His gates with thanksgiving,
And His courts with praise.
Give thanks to Him; bless His name.
For the Lord is good;
His lovingkindness is everlasting,
And His faithfulness to all generations.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Thanksgiving Menu




Our Thanksgiving Menu

Turkey breast
Stuffing
Mashed Potatoes
Sweet Potato Casserole
Green Bean Casserole
Gravy
Cranberry Sauce
Rolls

Pecan Pie
Pumpkin

Appetizers for earlier in the day:
7-layer bean dip
Cream Cheese dip
Bacon Delights

What's on your menu this Thanksgiving?


Monday, November 20, 2006

Christmas Organizing


12 Days of Holiday Organizing:Countdown to A Successful Celebration

by Debbie Williams

It's that time of year again. The holidays are almost upon us. We know it arrives at the same time every year, and yet it sneaks up on us year after year. However, your holiday preparations don't have to be stressful if you create a holiday countdown, a checklist if you will, to halt the holiday madness:

Day 12 - Be prepared.Create a budget for your gift purchases and stick with it. This will determine who is on your gift list, and how what you will purchase. Then make a detailed gift list and keep it with you in your purse, briefcase, or planner for quick reference. Write down a few ideas for presents, based on the preferences of those on the list and hints they have given you throughout the year.

Day 11 - Slow down.Utilize slow times to run your errands so that you won't burn out. Shop for groceries in early mornings or late evenings (not during lunch hour or after work), visit the malls during your lunchbreak while others are at work or in the classroom, and try to avoid standing in line if at all possible. Take bottled water and a snack for quick energy.

Day 10 - Take stock.Start stocking the freezer for quick meals. Just double a recipe every day this week and you'll have instant leftovers. You'll thank yourself in the busy days to come.

Day 9 - Limit interruptions.Learn how to screen incoming interruptions to eliminate stress at the job and home. Use voicemail, caller i.d., and email filters to avoid chaos creators.

Day 8 - Helping hands.Hire a babysitter or mother's helper to watch the kids while you shop, wrap gifts, or visit your favorite day spa.

Day 7 - Delegate.Delegate simple decorating and gift-wrapping tasks to others. Small children love to help by adding bows or gift tags to presents, while visiting grandparents can polish silver or press linens.

Day 6 - Multi-tasking.Multi-task whenever possible so that you can play and work at the same time. Watch TV while polishing silver, or listen to classical music while ironing table linens. Try to avoid isolating yourself from the rest of the fun while you're working on your to do's.

Day 5 - Game plan?Create a game plan for your holiday meal. Cook rolls, stuffing, desserts, and meats in smaller portions for easy heat and serve dinners on the big day. Focus your efforts on family time, rather than kitchen duty.

Day 4 - Check it out.Take an inventory of the linen closet so that there are no surprises as you serve the turkey. Is your best tablecloth stained, or did Uncle Bert's cigar burn a hole in one of your damask napkins? Maybe it's time to assemble paper and plastic ware for the big day instead. (Sometimes it's better to lower your expectations of a perfect tablescape than to spend all your time washing dishes in the kitchen. I doubt anyone will call the Entertainment Police!)

Day 3 - Open heart, open home.Consider having an open house rather than trying to squeeze in several parties. Invite everyone to visit one home at staggered times for some good cheer. This can work on the big day too, especially if all the in-laws live in town. It sure beats driving around all day from house to house to see those you love!

Day 2 - Speedy delivery.Order take-out or pull a prepared meal from the freezer for a stress-free meal today. Let the oven rest for tomorrow's big feast.

Day 1 - The Main Event.Start the morning with easy preparations in the kitchen, leaving other items for the last minute. Chop vegetables, mix dips, then assemble snack trays for munching. Put the turkey in the oven, set the table, and bake pies. Leave candles, music, and last minute preparations for later. Leave the house to take a stroll around the block, enjoy a bubblebath, or listen to some relaxing music before your family or friends arrive. Enjoy yourself. You've earned it!

And the day AFTER Christmas, make next year's 'to do' so that you won't have to work so hard again! Shop year round for gifts, decorations, and cards for those you love. Keep a running list of things you need, should not do again, and tips for making things easier on you and your household. Getting organized for the holidays is truly a process, but with some effective planning you can enjoy the journey. Happy Holidays!
-----
Debbie Williams is an author and speaker who offers tools and training to help you put your life in order. Read more practical tips like these in Debbie's book, Common Sense Organizing (Champion Press, January 2005).

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Homekeeping and Organizing Websites


www.organizedhome.com
http://www.flylady.net/
http://www.organized-mom.com/
http://www.thehomeschoolmom.com/
http://www.hisgraceworks.com/
http://www.nutnhoney.net/ (Lots of links to homekeeping sites)
http://www.getorganizednow.com/
http://www.organizedtimes.com/
http://www.organizetips.com/
http://www.hillbillyhousewife.com/
http://www.t2chk.org/ (Christian Homekeeper)
http://www.creativehomemaking.com/
http://www.menus4moms.com/ (free weekly menus and recipes)
http://www.helpformothers.org/ (Keepers at Home organizer)
http://www.oldfashionedhomemaking.com/
http://www.thefamilyhomestead.com/
http://www.makingithomemagazine.com/
http://www.homemakingorganized.com/ (article on how to make household organizer)
http://www.kristensguide.com/House_Home_Life/Organizing/Home_Organizer/index.asp (a guide to making a household organizer)
http://www.practicalhomemaking.com/

This list is by no means exhaustive! Do you have any you'd like to share? Please leave a comment with your favorite homekeeping and organizing websites. Thank you!

Old Christian Radio

Do you like sacred Christian music? You know, the hymns of yesteryear? I like all kinds of Christian music from contemporary to hymns. As always, there is a time and a place for everything. While I'm working at my desk and while we're doing school I like to listen to the old songs of the faith. I found a website called "Old-Fashioned Christian Music" that I can listen to while my computer is on. If you enjoy sacred music, give this website a try!

Monday, November 13, 2006

Quotes of Contentment and Simplicity


The ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak. ~Hans Hofmann, Introduction to the Bootstrap, 1993

Eliminate physical clutter. More importantly, eliminate spiritual clutter. ~D.H. Mondfleur

Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius - and a lot of courage - to move in the opposite direction. ~E.F. Schumacker

Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler. ~Albert Einstein

Simplicity is making the journey of this life with just baggage enough. ~Author Unknown

Frugality is one of the most beautiful and joyful words in the English language, and yet one that we are culturally cut off from understanding and enjoying. The consumption society has made us feel that happiness lies in having things, and has failed to teach us the happiness of not having things. ~Elise Boulding

To find the universal elements enough; to find the air and the water exhilarating; to be refreshed by a morning walk or an evening saunter... to be thrilled by the stars at night; to be elated over a bird's nest or a wildflower in spring - these are some of the rewards of the simple life. ~John Burroughs

The best things in life are nearest: Breath in your nostrils, light in your eyes, flowers at your feet, duties at your hand, the path of right just before you. Then do not grasp at the stars, but do life's plain, common work as it comes, certain that daily duties and daily bread are the sweetest things in life. ~Robert Louis Stevenson

Besides the noble art of getting things done, there is the noble art of leaving things undone. The wisdom of life consists in the elimination of non-essentials. ~Lin Yutang

As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler; solitude will not be solitude, poverty will not be poverty, nor weakness weakness. ~Henry David Thoreau

Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful. ~William Morris

Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication. ~Leonardo DaVinci

How many things are there which I do not want. ~Socrates

Who is rich? He who rejoices in his portion. ~The Talmud

You have succeeded in life when all you really want is only what you really need. ~Vernon Howard

Simplicity, simplicity, simplicity! I say, let your affairs be as two or three, and not a hundred or a thousand instead of a million count half a dozen, and keep your accounts on your thumb-nail. ~Henry David Thoreau

We don't need to increase our goods nearly as much as we need to scale down our wants. Not wanting something is as good as possessing it. ~Donald Horban

Reduce the complexity of life by eliminating the needless wants of life, and the labors of life reduce themselves. ~Edwin Way Teale

Not that I speak from want; for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. ~Philippians 4:11

Let your character be free from the love of money, being content with what you have; for He Himself has said, "I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you," so that we confidently say, "The Lord is my helper, I will not be afraid. What shall man do to me?" ~Hebrews 13:5-6

But where our hearts truly lie is in peace and quiet and good tilled earth. ~Bilbo Baggins

The way for a man to be contented, is not by raising his estate higher, but by bringing his heart lower. ~Thomas Watson

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

More Rain Today

The weather report stated that the rain would be gone by the morning. They were wrong! As I took JK to art class this morning, it was very foggy but looked as if it would burn off. By noon it was pouring and it continued that way for most of the afternoon. A lot of the leaves are off the trees now.....on the ground, on my car, stuck on windows. Thankfully it was warm today.

There's not much going on today. While JK had art, I went grocery shopping at Super Wal-Mart. Christmas displays are everywhere. What happened to Thanksgiving??? While I was there I ran into a friend from church. She was there with her new baby girl--only 12 days old! She has lots of hair and was even wearing a clip. So cute!

After art, JK had school but it was a light day because we usually don't get back before 2:00. She took a history test which I have yet to grade. This was an alternate test as she did poorly on the first one. Hopefully she will do better this time.

Groceries are put away, laundry is done, kitchen is cleaned and downstairs is straightened. That makes me dance!! I know it won't stay that way for long but it does feel good to have everything in order.

Tonight we had chicken enchiladas, Spanish rice and refried beans. I'll post the recipe in the next day or two because I am very tired and headed to bed.

What did you do today?

Monday, November 06, 2006

Dinner Tonight

Baked Potato Soup

4 large baking potatoes
2/3 cup butter (or margarine)
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon white pepper (I used regular)
6 cups milk
1 cup (8 oz.) sour cream
1/4 cup thinly sliced green onions
10 bacon strips, cooked and crumbled
1 cup (4 oz.) shredded cheddar cheese

Bake potatoes at 350* for 65-75 minutes or until tender; cool completely. Peel and cube potatoes. (Ok, I don't do this! I peel the raw potatoes, cube them and put them into a pot with water and cook for about 15-20 minutes until they are done. Much easier and quicker!)

In a large saucepan, melt butter; stir in flour, salt and pepper until smooth. Gradually add milk. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Remove from heat; whisk in sour cream. Add potatoes and green onions. Garnish with bacon and cheese. This is a very thick chowder-like soup. 10 servings.

Corn Bread

1 cup milk
1/4 stick butter or margarine, melted
1 large egg
1 1/4 cups yellow, white or blue cornmeal
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 T baking powder
1/2 t salt

Heat oven to 400*. Grease bottom and side of 9" round pan or 8" square pan with shortening.

Beat milk, butter and egg in large bowl. Sitr in remaining ingredients all at once just until flour is moistened (batter will be lumpy). Pour batter into pan.

Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown and toothpick comes out clean. Makes 12 servings. You can also make muffins; just grease bottom only of muffin cups or use paper baking cups. Fill about 3/4 full. Cook time is the same.

What did you make for dinner tonight?

Friday, November 03, 2006

Library Finds and A Busy Day

Our trip to the Richmond Public Library booksale proved to be fruitful. I came home with about 40 books for $22.00. Not too bad! I was a little late to the sale and I was all the way at the back of the line so by the time I got to the children's books whole shelves had been scooped up! It happens like that sometimes. My friend, Michelle, was first in line and she picked up a lot of good books. I think she had about 6 or 7 boxes. I was very pleased with my finds and felt it was worth going. Most the of the newer books were in mint condition. Here's some of what I found:

The Secret Garden; I have this already but bought it for the illustrations. They're by Nora Unwin and she is one of my favorites. I also have this book illustrated by Tasha Tudor. I'll keep both!

A Farmer's Wife--The Story of Ruth; from 1906; neat book retelling the Bible story with b&w illustrations.

Flipbook Animations and Other Ways to Make Cartoons Move

A Treasury of Flower Fairies; poems and pictures by Cicely Mary Barker. I love fairies and her books are very sweet. This one is in mint condition. The pictures date back to the 30's.

I Love America--A Treasury of Popular Stories, History, Poems and Songs; very nice Golden Book from 1990.

When I Grow Up and The Wonderful House; two Little Golden Books from 1950; first editions. I love Little Golden Books and have about 200 of them. I'm always on the look out for the older ones because they have such sweet stories and they remind me of the ones I had when I was little.

Oh, Were They Ever Happy! by Peter Spier; he is another of my favorite author/illustrators. Tells the story of what happens when the sitter doesn't show up.......

Betsy Ross by Alexandra Wallner

Start Exploring Bulfinch's Mythology. Neat coloring book and poster of 16 classic tales of adventure.

Hear, Hear Mr. Shakespeare; story, illustrations and selections from Shakespeare's plays.

Explorers Who Got Lost by Diane Drehel

Peter the Great by Diane Stanley; another addition to her picture-book biographies. These are very well done and recommended by me!

Saint Valentine by Robert Sabuda

America--A Young Person's Guide to the USA. Very nice, oversized book with a state on each page; filled with lots of illustrations and facts.

A Little Book of Manners by Emilie Barnes

The Essential Calvin and Hobbes; every home library should have at least one Calvin and Hobbes book!!

The Great Rubber Stamp Book; a perfect companion to our rubber stamping supplies!

The Tea Party Book--with recipes, menus, decorations and favors to make. Don't these sound like fun: A Valentine Tea, A Japanese Tea Party, A Royal Tea Party, Tiny Tea? I can't wait to have a tea party soon!

Shirley by Charlotte Bronte; I haven't read this but am looking forward to it. Jane Eyre is my favorite book so I'm sure this will be good also.

A Severe Mercy by Sheldon Vanauken; I've heard a lot about this book and am glad to have found a copy.

The Lord is My Shepherd and Give Us This Day; beautiful two-book boxed set of The Lord's Prayer and The Twenty-Third Psalm illustrated by Tasha Tudor. Looks as if it was never read.

Cranford by Mrs. Gaskell; beautiful 1924 copy; I almost passed this by but picked it up because it was in such good condition. Mrs. Gaskell is Elizabeth Gaskell, author of Wives and Daughters and North and South. She was a contemporary of the Brontes but not as well known. She is well worth reading!

The Confessions of the Faith together with The Larger Catechism and The Shorter Catechism; nice 1944 copy in very good condition. Printed in Richmond!

A Wonder Book by Nathaniel Hawthorne, illustrated by Aurth Rackham; nice paperback copy of this book. Has nice color plates along with b&w illustrations.

Drummond's Addresses by Henry Drummond; includes The Greatest Thing in the World. I can't find a date but this looks to be from the late 1800's or early 1900's.

JK also picked up some funny poetry books because she saw some new poems by Ogden Nash that she had not read before. She really like Ogden Nash's poetry.

After the library, we drove to a teacher store and then spent an hour in the Hallmark store looking at all the new Christmas ornaments. That was a lot of fun. Then we went to lunch at Taco Bell, drove to another library to pick up some DVD's we had waiting, picked up pictures at Sam's Club and then arrived home around 4:00!! We took a one-hour nap and then got ready to go stamping. Whew! Stamping was a lot fun and I made about a dozen birthday cards so I was glad I went.

So.......that was our day! We don't have ones like that often so it's fun for us every once in a while. JK was glad to be home and in her bed.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Serving Him at Home


A quick entry here to let you know that the fall issue of my newsletter, Serving Him at Home, is now available. If you would like to read more about it, please visit here. If you would like to receive the newsletter, just click on the "Join This Group" button at the top of the page. Once you have joined, you'll have access to all my newsletters for the past four years. I hope you'll give it a try and that they will be a blessing to you.

Thank you!