Sunday, February 28, 2016

Daily Bible Reading Challenge

 This past week and this weekend have been very full. We had a Retreat at our church and we had much to do to prepare for it and all the company that we would have during it. We had 3 families (18 people total) stay with us at our house and then this weekend much time has been spent at the church building. The Retreat was a big blessing to us but now that it is over we are tired.

  In the business of this past week somehow I misplaced the paper that I was right down my scripture highlights from the week. I did manage to read every (though over the weekend not quite as much) but I didn't always manage to write it down and then I lost what I did write down. But anyway...

   I read from Genesis, Exodus (my personal naptime reading), John (aloud to the kids in the AM), Song of Solomon (My morning reading) and Psalms (To the kids in the afternoon).

 In reading from the book of Song of Solomon I kept looking for a scripture that perhaps I might want to share with you but to be honest I didn't find one that I wanted to write out and talk about. But at the same time I do think it is a good book. It reminds me of how God created men and women to love each other and to have an intimate, wonderful relationship. It leaves me in awe of our wonderful God who gave so much to us to enjoy. It also does prompt me to nurture my relationship with my husband and to fully enjoy it.

  I had been reading in the end of Genesis this month so it was neat when at the Retreat this weekend to have the preacher take a deeper look at those chapters as well. He was showing us the story of Judah and how Judah had majorly sinned but that he had acknowledged his sin and it seems changed and then he was very much blessed. He, the 4th son, was blessed above any of the other of his brothers and God sent his Son through Judah's line. Judah had said in Gen. 38:26 "....She is more righteous than I...." We also need to recognize our sins and our need to God and then we can turn our life around.

   I will plan on having a more complete Bible reading report next week. How did your reading go this week? Would you like to share anything that you learned or were motivated by?

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Daily Bible Reading Challenge

How did your Bible reading go this week? Did you grow in your understanding?

Here are some of my favorite verses and insights from the week:

What did I read that causes me to worship God more?
"But Moses said to the people, "Do not fear! Stand by and see the salvation of the Lord which He will accomplish for you today; for the Egyptians whom you have seen today, you will never see them again forever. "The Lord will fight for you while you keep silent." Exodus 14:13 & 14

This just reminds me of the mighty power of God and His care for us. The Israelites were in an overwhelming situation and they had no idea that I could possibly work out - but God can do anything! He is still that same God today and He can take care of our overwhelming situations as well.

What scripture touched me heart?
"I do not ask on behalf of these along, but for those also who believe in Me through their word; that they may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that you sent Me." John 17:20 & 21

Jesus prayed that those that follow Him- Christians - would be united. He wanted us to be united just like the Father and the Son were united. That is a pretty tall order but the reason He prayed for that is mentioned as well - So that the world would believe!!! What can we do in our lives to help Jesus prayer be answered? Can we seek to all know the truth of God's Word clearly so that we can unite around that, can we show preference to one another and truly love one another and be patient with one another?

What can I apply to my life?
"I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing."John 15:5

A great reminder to cling ever nearer to Jesus. To spend time in prayer. To study God's word. To seek His will for my life. I want to abide in Him completely so that I can bear fruit!

Interesting Fact:
"But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I should go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you. And He, when He comes, will convict that world concerning sin and righteousness and judgement..." John 16:7 & 8

This is interesting because my first reaction, and probably yours too, is "How is it to my advantage for Jesus not to be here in the flesh with us?" Wouldn't that have been much easier? We could just point blank ask Him the questions that we have and we would have no uncertainty. But the things is - when Jesus came in the flesh - he really truly was in the flesh. So He wasn't everywhere at once. He only visited with one person or group at a time. He wasn't with anybody constantly. We now have a Holy Spirit that lives in us and is always with us and who will convict us and help us. That is truly better.

I would love to hear what you learned in God's word this week!!!

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Master Bedroom Tour

 In my very slow tour of our house I am ready to show you the Master Bedroom Suite today. There are still things that I would like to add to it - curtains, throw rugs, a throw pillow for the chair and a deck for our sliding door but I decided to share pictures now and then I can update later.

   The picture above is what you see when you walk in the door. Eventually we will put a deck out the sliding door but for now that door is screwed shut. Out of our window you can see our neighbors' house. This is the closest we have been to neighbors in a long time but as much as I love country living I am rather loving close neighbors. The neighbors there, have been so nice (truly all of them have been) and we have come to consider them pretty much like another set of Grandparents. We discovered this window is a good place to "spy" on them which we had fun doing on May Day after Aaron had run over with a May Basket and hung it on their door, rang the bell and came running back. Alice came out to check on it and then went to find Merle, who I think was in the shed and they discussed it and then she went back in and promptly called us to say she was a little suspicious of us having hung up the basket. That is a fun memory. They are down to Texas for the winter and we are missing them.
This is a picture of our room from the other way. The bed set Ken bought as a birthday/anniversary gift for me in 2014. We had been wanting a nice bed frame for years but were picky about looks and price. We are enjoying this one. The quilt on the bed I made for our anniversary in 2009.
 And the view from another way.
 A peek into our closet. My hats kind of predominate. :-)
 This is our bathroom. After going for the woodsy/natural look in much of the house we decided it would be fun to have a little fancier look in here.
  We decided to have a walk-in/open shower.
The shower was probably the most challenging project that I tackled in this house. It is nice to now be able to use it and appreciate it every day. The link above goes to a post with a lot more details on our shower.

 The view of the bathroom from the shower. Yes, the window curtain is very high on my priority list! :-) Thankfully we live in the woods and this faces North - not towards our neighbors.

   Our Master area is over top of our attached garage. That sometimes makes for a little chillier floors in the winter but it isn't bad. Over all we are very happy with our special area.

Friday, February 19, 2016

Frugal Friday

 How did your week go for being frugal? Ours went pretty well. Here are some of the ways that we lived frugally:

  • I fixed the objects in the picture about using a 50 cent tube of super glue. You can read more about that here.
  • I processed some squash up that we had been storing. I used every bit of it - the flesh is for us to eat, the seeds I made into a snack for us as well and then the skins and any bad seeds went out to feed the chickens and ducks. 
  • Mara and Jonathan were needing new jeans (those kids just keep growing on me!) and so I stopped in quickly to look at a thrift store. I found 2 pairs for Mara (one might end up being for me instead) for 50 cents each so that was nice. I am going to have to keep looking for Jonathan.
  • I also found 2 old hardcover books for free at the thrift store. They were in pretty good shape and seemed like fun old stories.
  • I made up a batch of laundry soap.
  • I was able to use a 7 cents off per gallon of gas coupon when I filled up yesterday.
  • We had thought we would go downhill skiing this evening but decided to stay home and work on building projects in the basement instead. This definitely saved us money and got some work done too. That was especially nice just now as next weekend we have a lot of company coming and we are trying to get ready for it. My parents came over to help some this afternoon too. My Dad installed the door to Megan's room as well as doing other things and Mom helped me in cleaning up the basement. I am very blessed.
  • I mended an old sleeping bag by sewing a used sheet inside. Now it should be warmer and more comfortable and be usable even longer.
  • Jonathan made "Cream of Wheat" for breakfast the other day by simply grinding wheat in our grinder and then bringing water to a boil and whisking the flour in until it is all smooth. We also added a little almond flavoring. It tastes like the store bought "Cream of Wheat" but is much cheaper.
Did you work on any frugal projects? I would love to hear about your week.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Super Glue to the Rescue!

  One of my very favorite hobbies is to take something that is broken or worn out and either fix it or repurpose it in some way. This week I was able to do that with the help of a little 50 cent tube of super glue. I was pretty happy with the result.
The cast of characters for this fixing day (from left to right in the picture above):

  • A mug that had been given to Mara for her birthday back in September. It got bumped and the handle broke off within the first month.
  • A beautiful mug that Ken gave to me for Christmas. It features a picture of loons on a lake (or river) and says the name of our town on it. It got chipped during the dish washing process last month.
  • Megan's new (from a 2nd hand store) China doll. She had bought it at the end of January. When she and I were cleaning up her room I arranged her China dolls on a shelf. I tried putting some up high so that little kids that came to visit wouldn't mess with them (as we have a lot of little kids that come to our house). Megan was a bit concerned about the location but I thought that I had her safely up there. That night or the next day she came up crying - her doll had fallen and her head was very broken. Thankfully the wig was helping to hold some of the pieces together. I felt really bad!
  • Mara's favorite drinking cup that one of her brothers broke on accident.

I wasn't sure if we would truly be able to fix them all, but look!!!
The cups seem to be holding very sturdily together. I enjoyed drinking hot chocolate from my mug this evening.

 Megan's doll thankfully had her face all in one piece and I glued and glued and got the rest to fit together. We then pulled the hair down to cover the cracks along the side of her face and then for her little hole in the neck we covered it with a piece of ribbon. Megan is very happy to have her fixed up again.

   Mission accomplished! How fun to be able to just spend 50 cents and maybe 1/2 hour and have 4 items that are once again usable. I did have very messy fingers too but the glue is gradually wearing off. :-)

  Do you ever fix things up with super glue?

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Daily Bible Reading Challenge

Did you read your Bible every day last week? Did it help you to learn and grow? What new insight did you find?

  Here are the verses that I picked out to share with you to go along with my questions this week.....

What did I read the causes me to worship God more?
 "Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father's house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also." John 14:1-3

How very cool is that? I am excited to see what they have prepared for us!

What Scripture touched my heart?
 "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly." John 10:10 

Jesus wants us to have abundant life. He offers it and we receive. It is a wonderful things and I am so very, very grateful!

What can I apply to my life?
"A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another." John 13:34-35

I still have a lot of work to do at loving my brothers and sisters. I do love them but sometimes I can get irritated or impatient and often just plain selfish and self- interested. I truly want to grow in my love for others. I want people that don't know God to be able to look at Christians and truly see a difference in the way we treat one another.

Interesting (and in this case - sobering) Fact:
"He who rejects Me and does not receive My sayings, has one who judges him; the word I spoke is what will judge him at the last day." John 12:48

We need to pay attention to what Jesus taught as we will be judged by that. We are going to all face the judgement someday. Are you ready?

I would love to hear about what you read in the Bible this past week!

Frugal Fri.... Oh no, that is Saturday (Never mind that - Frugal Sunday instead)

So this week has been super busy getting ready for a big event today so I haven't done much blogging but I thought it would still be fun to share a frugal post with you as many of you said that you enjoy them. So here are a few ways we have been frugal this week.....

   -I found apples and oranges on sale for 99 cents a pound (which is pretty good around here) and I stocked up.

-  I made a pair of pants for my nephew's baby shower very quickly using this pattern (though I did modify it a little) I was able to whip them up in about 10 minutes this morning.
-At the mentioned baby shower  I had fun decorating using children's books that were already at the Church building. I didn't take any good pictures but I made "bunting" to hang above the door and then on each table I combined books with toys or other objects that went with the books to make a fun centerpiece. No books were harmed in the process but it was kind of fun and very easy and free.
 -I finished a rag rug that Megan and I had been working on for our kitchen. I love the way it looks and adds some more blue and white to our room. It was all made from old dress shirts and so it was free.
 -I fixed up window seat cushions for our living room as well as new throw pillows for there as well. Everything was made using what we already had. All the pillows and cushions had been given to us and the fabric had been given to us as well. I have one more set of pillows to make (the 3rd set) and then I hope to show you the finished product.
 -I tried making a new recipe for breakfast one morning. It was brown rice pie which also used quite a few eggs. It was economical and turned out fairly good. Not a prize winner but filling and fine.
 -The reason I have been pretty missing in action this past week is because I was super busy getting ready for an event that I decided would be good to do to help teach people (and we specifically targeted homeschool families but invited others as well) about how the government works and the election process particularly. I wanted to encourage people to go to caucus and to get involved a little to help get our country back on track. The event went well and we had around 80 in attendance even though it was on a Saturday morning where the temperatures were around minus 20 degrees.  I will tell more about it later probably but for now I will share how we hosted it without spending a lot of money. I think I only spent around $5 on it (that takes care of some stickers I bought for a dollar and ingredients to make hot chocolate mix.
 Here are ways we saved money on the event:

  • I used facebook, e-mails, getting interviewed on the Christian radio station (they found out about it and invited me to do that)and listing it in our local homeschool newsletter (free) as means of getting the word out.
  • I thought it would be fun to serve doughnuts because we were having a speedy election cycle and at our real county conventions we serve doughnuts so I thought we should here as well. I mentioned the idea to a friend and we trying to decided if I would make them or buy small ones or how I would get enough for everybody without spending a fortune. She said, "let me check with a local bakery because I know they are good at donating" Sure enough they said yes very willingly and gave her 8 dozen doughnuts for our event. My mom also brought pumpkin bars (just to make sure we had enough) and another friend offered to bring gluten-dairy-egg and soy free muffins for those with allergies.
  • I found google slides is a very nice free program where you can put together a power point presentation. That was a first for me - it was kind of fun.
  • We decorated a little with flags we had around home.
  • We used name tags that a friend had given us.
  •  We used paper that another friend had given us.(When cleaning out their house - it was in various colors and they didn't want or need it)
  • I used envelopes that Ken had gotten rid of from his business because they had the wrong logo on them to put the ballets in.
  • I made voting booths out of cardboard.
  • Aaron made a ballot box out of cardboard.
  • We used a bunch of old poster board things that a friend had gotten free and then passed on to us. They had school stuff on one side but were blank on the other side so I made a lot of signs with them.
  • I invited a Representative and a couple of others that are running for office to come and they gladly did at no charge to speak.
  • The church where I go let us use the building for free.
So this event did take a lot of time. But happily it didn't take much money. 

-For a gift for Valentine's day for Ken I was able to find a book for $1 at the Dollar Tree (I love glancing over their books when I go in there as sometimes you will find a good one) This one is Marco Rubio's Book and it was a New York Times Bestseller and it has a $16 price on the back but at Dollar Tree it is a dollar. Ken is working on Marco Rubio's campaign in MN so I thought he would enjoy the book. Chocolates is another part of his gift. These I won as a prize at the baby shower- they are his favorite brand of truffles. I think this sounds possibly a little cheap but it is stuff I feel confident about him liking and I love figuring out a good deal and I don't think it is the money that makes the present.

-I have saved a lot of money on not buying Kleenex this week since I use handkerchiefs instead. We have been dealing with colds and so we would have gone through a lot of Kleenex.

  So that is a few ways we have saved money this past week. How about you?

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Working on Megan's Room

 Way back in November (before Thanksgiving, when Ken's parents came to visit) we walled in the bedroom in our basement. We thought it would be nice to have a place that they could stay while they were here without anybody else needing to move. We had been given a nice bed when a friend moved and so we were able to set it up nicely.

  The room isn't truly finished but it has walls, a doorway (with just a curtain at the moment, but the door arrived Friday so it is ready to put in), a window and a bed. After Ken's parents left Megan wanted to use it. The plan was for that to be her room eventually but I wasn't sure about yet - after all it wasn't done and I wasn't sure I wanted her two floors down from me. But the girls were both eager to have their own room and so we agreed to it. She moved down just partly (her dresser was still up in Mara's room) and has been living that way for a couple of months. Saturday we decided to finally get her officially moved in and do a bit of cleaning and decorating.
  Megan is our resident artist. She draws all of the times and we often have piles of pictures around the house. So because her walls are not yet mudded or painted and since it would be nice to have a place for all the pictures we decided to use them for wallpaper in her room. She has more drawing to do as it didn't even cover one wall but she is excited about that.
Megan is also a doll collector. She is trying to get a wide variety of dolls collected (hence the making of the wax doll for Christmas) We decided to put some of her unique hand made dolls on her dresser.

I also told Megan that if she wanted to draw on her wall and paint a picture (that will get covered up eventually) that would be fine. She was pretty excited about that plan. So the beginning of a nature scene (with a hill, trees, flowers and a river) is going up on her wall. How fun to see creativity at work. The fixing up is making her basement bedroom more fun and exciting and giving her a creative outlet too. That is a win-win in my opinion.

   Have you ever let your kids draw on their walls? :-)

Monday, February 8, 2016

Daily Bible Reading Challenge

 I didn't manage to get this posted yesterday but I wanted to share it anyway so you get it today. If you are new here what I am doing is asking a few questions as I read through the Bible each day and then sharing my favorite answers each Sunday (or in this case Monday). You can read more about it here.

Here we go....

What did I read that caused me to worship God more?
"So Jesus said to the twelve, "You do not want to go away also, do you?" Simon Peter answered Him, "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have words of eternal life. We have believed and have come to know that you are the Holy One of God."  John 6:67-69

What a great reminder! I want to worship always at Jesus feet. No where else can I find what I truly need.

What Scripture touched my heart?
"This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil." John 3:19

The sadness of this verse is what truly touched me. We are offered light and everything wonderful that comes with that but still so many love darkness instead.

What can I apply to my life?
"Now as they were traveling along, He entered a village; and a woman named Martha welcomed Him into her home. She had a sister called Mary, who was seated at the Lord's feet, listening to His word. But Martha was distracted with all her preparations; and she came up to Him and said, "Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to do all the serving along? Then tell her to help me." But the Lord answered and said to her, "Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered about so many things; but only one thing is necessary, for Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her." Luke 10:38-42

There are a couple different lessons that I can take away from this and apply to my life:

  1. Don't get frustrated and upset when it seems like others aren't helping the way they should. Perhaps they are doing more important things like sitting at Jesus feet.
  2. To always place learning at Jesus feet as first importance. Don't get all distracted by the things in our life that are less important. That doesn't mean we don't prepare meals or clean our house but that Jesus should always be the first priority in our lives and the others stuff needs to go along with having a strong relationship with Jesus Christ - not the other way around.
An interesting fact:
"Do not marvel at this; for an hour is coming, in which all who are in the tombs will hear His voice, and will come forth; those who did the good deeds to a resurrection of life, those who committed the evil deeds to a resurrection of judgement." John 5:28 & 29

We will raise again someday and face a judgement. It is very important that we be ready!

What did you learn from your Bible reading this past week?

Friday, February 5, 2016

Frugal Friday

    I have been wanting to write a frugal Friday post for quite a while now and just haven't gotten it done. It wouldn't have had to be a Friday post obviously but I think it is fun to share different ways that we have been frugal lately. I know that is probably one of the biggest ways blogging has impacted my life and that is through me reading about various frugal things that other people have done and getting the idea to try it for our family too. Something work for us and some don't but it doesn't hurt to try. By living frugally in many different ways it allows us to have more freedom of choice financially. We can spend a little more in some areas because we have saved in others. I like having a choice!

  So with hopes of have a post like this every week again we shall begin....
Here are some odds and ends of ways we have been frugal in the last few weeks:

 -Mara and I went to a free Violin Master Class (we were able to observe a college violin teacher teaching 6 different students - this was great for helping both of us - me as a teacher and both of us as violin players- learn too) and a Violin and Harpsichord concert at our local university.
 There was a break in between the Master Class and the concert so Mara and I had fun exploring the building where I used to take Violin lessons. We had fun checking out the practice rooms and found this Xylophone in one of them.

-I cut the boys hair.

-We used cloth napkins

-We didn't do any grocery shopping in January except for Milk and butter (because it was on sale and I had been waiting for a sale to stock up again as it has been so expensive lately. I was also very nearly out) and one bunch of bananas. I really think the challenge of using what we have food wise is pretty fun. I have gone shopping again now that February is here and the kids were pretty excited when I came home with fresh fruit.

-I patched a bunch of pairs of socks.
 -We went downhill skiing - now that in itself is not a money saving thing - in fact it is a kind of expensive sport but we did save money on it by going on Friday nights which is a much better deal than going on Saturday. The first time I also packed us a supper which saved us a considerable amount of money. This evening I didn't end up having time to pack a supper so we bought stuff there but we did at least figure out a way to save money by buying a coupon book and getting meals from that. I also brought along fruit and cookies to supplement our purchased supper.
-Aaron want a tube scarf thing for skiing so he made one this afternoon from an old sweatshirt.

-I used homemade laundry detergent.

-We drank a lot of herbal tea (made from herbs that we dried this Summer) so that we didn't need as much milk and could save money that way.

- I have been using water (or squash) instead of milk in all of my baking or pancakes lately. It works find and saves money.

-I made some cards from scraps of paper that I had saved.
- I made some gifts to give away rather than buying them. I made Fudge, Granola and a Nursing cover all to use as gifts lately.

-We have been burning wood in our fireplace a lot to help to heat our house and reduce our propane or electric usage.

-We have made many supplies for Sunday School classes using things that we already had on hand.

-I baked my own bread.

-I called the Motel (that we needed to stay at when going to Jonathan's Robotics tournament out of town) rather than booking online and discovered that we didn't have to get 2 rooms after all and also that I could get a AAA discount.

-I used a 7 cents off per gallon coupon whenever I bought gas. That doesn't save a ton but it all adds up.

That is a few of the ways we have saved money lately. Now, how about you? What have you done to save money? Do you find it interesting to read how others are saving money?

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

A Nursing Cover and a Sweet Baby

One of my recent sewing projects was a nursing cover for my youngest sister Keren. She had a sweet baby boy not long ago and he likes to eat (not caring where they happen to be) and so the nursing cover comes in handy. It was a quick and easy project that I was able to make from things that I had on hand so that was fun. I wrote up a tutorial quite a few years back and so I followed that to make one again.

  We have all fallen quite in love with little Ephraim. His schedule of being held stays very busy.
 I get such a kick out of watching him when he sleeps as his face makes so many different expressions. I am so glad God made babies! They are pretty special.

  Thinking again on the nursing cover... I really think it is great to be able to breast feed babies. It is the healthiest thing for them and so very convenient. I also think that it is a natural thing that should be able to be done without a lot of readjustment and going off to a private place, etc. But I get a little sad when I read the blog posts/articles that I find pretty often anymore that think that it is fine if they breastfeed in public and display everything too. No covering up needed - they aren't ashamed. I am not, nor do I think we should be, ashamed of the body God gave me either but that doesn't mean that I want to show off every part. There are some areas that we keep private - that doesn't mean that we are ashamed of them it is just showing modesty and not wanting to cause anyone to stumble. It is pretty easy to nurse a baby in public and still be covered up - especially with a simple nursing cover.

  Anyway - I had read something on that subject again lately and I just wanted to share my thoughts too.

As always I love to hear from you!


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