Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Tuesday Tip

It is official this is the strangest blog post EVER! LOL Not really but I have found the best tip for cooking dry pinto beans and I had to share. Who doesn't love a big ole' pot of beans loaded with flavor (and ham) with a slice of cornbread? Or what about flavor packed pintos for your chili at a fraction of the cost of buying 4 cans of beans (1 bag dry beans $1, 4 cans depending on brand $3-4) or how about re fried beans without fat or frying;) Talk about universal I use this same "recipe" every single time I make pinto beans and since I don't buy canned beans and it is soup time we might use these more than I care to admit.

Universal Dry Pintos:
1-1lb page of dry pinto beans
1 jalapeno pepper (seeded and chopped)
2 cups chicken broth
1 medium onion
1tsp salt
1tsp Lawry's
1tsp pepper
1tsp garlic
2 tsp cumin

Wash and separate beans. Place in the bottom of your crock pot. Add jalapeno and onion along with seasoning. Pour in chicken broth and the cover remaining with water. Amount of water will vary because you want there to be "juice" after cooking and since beans soak up so much water you'll likely have to add more throughout the day.


Here are my beans all ready to go in my crock pot. I cook mine on high most of the day. And I also normally do a double batch. If you are going to serve as a meal add some ham at the beginning before you start cooking.
Once beans are done if I have made a batch to replace canned beans I scoop (juice and all) about 2 cups of beans into a quart size freezer bag, release all the air and store in my freezer until ready to use. When I am using them for chili I use the above single recipe and once the beans are done I add my fixings and allow to cook until ready to serve. For re fried beans just scoop beans using a slotted spoon in to a shallow bowl, mash with a potato masher adding the "juice" as needed until desired consistency. I also use about a half of the above recipe mixed with a pound of ground beef for our taco meat helping stretch the meal a little farther.

I have slowly started replacing things I use to buy canned because I was unsure of the high sodium levels and was leery about what they are adding to make them so shelf stable. Figured the "fresher" the better. So venturing to using dry beans was part of making that change. My family assures me these are LOADS more tasty than the canned ones I use to buy.

Hope you enjoy and if you try them please let me know how they turn out!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

When it's said and done...

NO "THING" will really matter!

I was recently down right offended when I posted on fb that Michael was praying and waiting for a word from God on whether or not to look for a new job. You see their comment went a little something like " your kids are older now...they can go back to school and you can get a JOB!" Seriously! I couldn't believe my eyes as I read the comment over and over in an attempt to make my blood stop boiling. Because first of all peer-pressure is less the older you get...um correction it is worse. And second because nothing about my post should have lead a soul to believe we were starving and about to be homeless (neither of which are anywhere near the case). The comment got me thinking not about going back to work which I would do in a minute flat if it came to that, but about the fact that when it all boils down we have chosen a path others think is less desirable.

We have chosen not to focus on the "things" of this world but to focus on God. "It's not what you have but who you have in this world that matters!" We have gone against the mainstream listening to God's call for me to stay at home, home school our children and leave family planning up to Him. Most people would look at our "books" and think we are crazy;) And that is okay...the only real opinion that matters is God's of course. Money is tight over here and I have never hid that. But the sacrifices we make now will all be worth it in the future. I promise we would live in a shack before we spent one more minute trying to achieve the "American Dream." Just can't do it anymore...could care less what the Jones are doing or driving or buying their kids. I know just like I know that the grass is green that one day my children will be left with something special because we chose to give them our time, love and affection and not material things.

After the fb comment I realized just how passionate I was about what we have chosen to do. And quite honestly I am sick and tired of being judged for my choice. Over time God gives me little "hugs" or blessings that confirm it is He who had spoken those things into my heart and I am thankful. We are so blessed to have been given 3 children (so far) to love and raise. We only get one chance at this thing and want to make it count.

So we chose to set "our sights on the unseen for those things are eternal."

Friday, September 7, 2012

I am bankrupt without out LOVE!

"If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don't love, I am nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate. If I speak God's word with power revealing all mysteries and making everything as plain as day, and if I have faith that says to a mountain, JUMP, and it jumps but do not love I am nothing. If I give everything I have to the poor or even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr but don't love, I've gotten nowhere. So no matter what I say, what I believe and what I do...I AM BANKRUPT WITHOUT LOVE!"

No more powerful convicting words have I ever heard!!! I just want my life to be the proof of HIS LOVE!


Thursday, September 6, 2012

Life Lesson?

I have spent the last 2 (almost) years living in a state of worry, fear, stress, and such a state of exhaustion that I wasn't sure what it even felt like to feel "normal". I never understood this self imposed way of living since I lived the reality so many wonder if is even possible....That is...God was in control of my life and I had a roof over my head, food on my table, Michael had a job, we had a car to get us back and forth and despite the struggle I was able to stay at home with my little treasures and began homeschooling. I wont lie life was a struggle and that is why I let Satan in and fear dominate my way of thinking and living.

UNTIL...I had an encounter with God. Now know I have had encounters with God before and had somewhat yielded to the reality that He reigned in my life. But this recent encounter was like NO OTHER. I hadn't gone boldly before the throne as a matter of fact I was at a service trying to be as "small" as possible not wanting to be noticed. I had gotten to a point where as hungry for God as I was I was afraid of what would happen with my "mess" if he showed up! God sought me out that night with a word given through another person. It may not have sounded profound to the others in the room but it rocked my world because of the aftermath. I woke up the next day no longer afraid, worried or feeling stressed. I had rested the night before and actually "felt like somebody!" It was such relief. It was then that I realized I had lived so long in that state that I had let that replace my reality and no longer lived like I believed what I said I believed.

In the days ahead as I prayed and sought God to uncover my "alabaster box" I realized I had filled my life with "things" or  duties that I thought were important but that were actually filler. I started praying for God to lead me where He would have me go. As I prayed I uncovered several areas that I had been serving or rather obligated to because of my own guilt over saying no. I also realized those things I was using as filler were keeping me from actually doing what I have known for YEARS God was calling me to do. NUTS I myself was/am standing in the way of being all I could be. I finally was beginning to understand I can't do it all and give 100%. I had to say no to some new "opportunities" and I had to rid myself of some old ones. This was profound for me...I am a YES girl. I never say no not because I am worried of what others will think but because I can't stand a need not being met if I can meet it. But it is not my job to meet every need or do every job even if it means the job goes undone. God has called me home my first ministry after HIM is this home, my husband and our children. I want to pick only a few things to have my hand in and be able to give them 100% rather than doing 10 things and only give them 10%...Life Lesson for me for sure.

I am so excited to see where God leads me...leads my family. I am still standing firm clinging to the promises He has set in my heart.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Love One Another

When asked what the greatest command was Jesus said "to love one another...your neighbor as yourself." (Paraphrase compliments of yours truly) Then my pastor taught that as a Christian your debt to this world is LOVE. Seems plain and simple to me! Why is it then that people seem to think different when I stand up for what I believe? Why can't they seem to understand that I can LOVE a person even if I don't agree with their choices or opinions?

Seems like my LOVE or rather my ability to LOVE has been tested over the past few weeks not once but several times. As a national debate waged on Gay Marriage I decided to still support said fast food chain not necessarily because my belief lined up with theirs but because as a Christian organization they chose not to back down from what they believe is right and true. People said those of us in support where guilty of "hate and judgement"! I was appalled! You stand up for what you believe in and it is free speech we stand up for what we believe in and it is hate? I posted a fb status a little like this " I don't have to agree with what a person does to love them. The command was simple LOVE! With the same passion you believe what you believe I also believe what I believe. And to quote a rather smart guy " I am not ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ and I refuse to change the subject!" My LOVE was tested again when a family member made a choice for their family that was not one I agreed with as a matter of fact went against everything I believe. But I respected their choice and even kept my opinions to myself (not that any were needed they already knew how I felt). During what was one of the hardest times in their life I loved them and prayed for them.

That is the thing with Loving like Jesus loved us... You don't have to agree with a person to love them. He loved us even before we were born and went to a cross so that we would NEVER have to pay the price of our sin. NOW THAT IS LOVE. Love without conditions, love without reward, love beyond understanding, all consuming love! Why is it so hard for others to believe that if we are called to be like Jesus and follow those commands we are capable of that same love? Come lets just love one another despite our differences!

Not to curve too far off course but I want to clear one thing up about love. It has been said that if I "loved" one person or another I might do more to help them in their situation. I like how my pastor puts it " you can love them but don't have to take them home to raise." That is a wonderful way to look at things. Take them to lunch, give them a ride, pray for them and their family but not take them on as a project. I personally struggle with the part of love. I like to fix things, I can't stand to see someone struggle if it is a need that I can meet. But the truth is even if I can meet the need it isn't always my place to do so.

I just wanna love! I wanna love like others love me! I wanna love like Jesus did! The command really was simple....LOVE ONE ANOTHER!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Sum Sum Summer time!

We here at the McClendon house LOVE us some summer time. And even though it is a million degrees here we try to get out and enjoy the wonderful weather our area does have to offer. We have spent the last 2-2 1/1 months just being a family and enjoying each other. I thought I would save JUST A FEW pics of some of our summer fun! ENJOY...



Jesse started the summer of right. She took her blue ribbon winning dress to 4-H regional and won 3rd! Great job Jesse!
Cooper helped daddy clear some paths in Grandmothers woods. Highlight of the summer for Cooper for sure!
Took the kiddos (and my niece and nephew) to the local water park Spring Valley Beach. The kids were so excited I had to snap a shot while we waited for the gates to open.
360 Rush water slide that the Duece, Taylor, and Michael spent most of the day on.
"Ding Ding Bucket" in the kiddie area where Cooper and I spent ALL DAY!
Bella, Duece and Taylor
Cooper relaxin
Jesse waiting for lunch
 

Welcoming Jesse home from a week at camp

We spent several night this summer babysitting this little doll. J and D loved helping out with her:)


Decor at Coopers 4th Bday party. We celebrated at our local Chick-Fil-A easiest birthday party EVER! And so much fun!

X marks the spot for a wonderful birthday.
Present time
I made Cooper this cape for his birthday. He is showing off his mad bike riding skills with no training wheels and how the cape catches wind.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Updates...

Seems like forever since I took the time to up date everyone on all our "madness". With a move, swim team, unpacking, setting up house, and looking at curriculum for next year there just hasn't been a seconds time for updating this lonely little blog. I have come to find out several people actual read this thing:) So I thought I better get back to it.

We have been here at the "country house" for 3 weeks tomorrow. We are so in love with both our new location and with our new home. It is such a wonderful place for us to practice making our lives a little more simple like we want. I am working so hard to get things all "set up" so I can share pictures with you all. I am working hard to have everything done in time for Coopers upcoming birthday party.
I am finally back at my sewing machine working HARD on a big order to recover a moses basket. I can't wait to share what I come up with and possibly add it to my shop! I have been BUSY BUSY turning out birthday gifts for the many parties we have attended the last couple months;) I love being able to create something personal for gift giving.

Exciting things seem to always be happening around here these days. My family has been asked to care for a sweet sweet 1 month old baby girl named Ryleigh. Her mom is a special person to us and it is our pleasure to look after this angel and love on her. My kids say they are practicing for when God blesses our family with another treasure. I have to admit Michael and I really do enjoy looking after her;)

Not much more to update! I think I have about covered it all. I am praying things will settle down enough that I will be able to update more regular. I would love to share more about our journey homeschooling and the road to simplifying our lives. Keep reading you never know what kind of "madness" awaits here at the McClendons!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Bet you didn't see this one coming...

On July 1, 2011 Michael and I signed a one year contract on a house that we loved in hopes that when he had been at his "new" job long enough (now is current job) we might be able to buy said house. If nothing else we would possibly even owner finance what we believed to be the best house for this season of our lives. When we packed up and walked away from our other rental we thought we were moving to possibly a forever home. Or at least a 5 yr plan kind of home:) We didn't and couldn't have imagined what the year would hold. And now almost 1 year to the day later I find myself in my living room with barren walls and boxes lining every single empty wall in my house....we are moving again! One door closes and God opens another one and this is the story of how it came to be and how wonderful and MIGHTY our GOD really is!

So about 2 months after moving to this house we got some horrible financial news that would impact our income for at least 18 months but more like 2 yrs. We were devastated but determined to keep this house. We did ok for months then things got REALLY REALLY tight. My sweet husband was and still is working 7 days a week to make ends meet and we are still falling very very short. We went from being very comfortable in our lives to not being able to breath and in a very scary place a place we had never been before. Fast forward several months to the beginning of June. A gentleman Michael works for on the weekends approached him about a rental house they had. The name told Michael "that they had been praying for the right family and we were that family." Of course hearing the price and knowing how much money we would save made it a really good idea.  But because of how much we loved where we were currently live it wasn't black and white to us. Our flesh really wanted to stay here. So I asked a friend at church to pray with us about a decision we were about to have to make. I told her how this man had approached us and she said "she had been praying for us a new house for months." In that moment I realized that before she even knew my need, before I knew my need God had spoke to her and told her what to pray! It was like God was using these people to show us in the flesh what He had in store. We prayed about it and decided to move. And God has been ordaining every single step of the way. And He never stops amazing me. As a matter of fact this move was in jeopardy of not happening when I asked a friend to pray and someone showed up to meet the very need we had to make this happen!

No I don't want to move but who is going to argue with God. We know this is a door that only God can open because only He can work like this to make sure all the details are taken care of. I am so overwhelmed by His love and how He is holding us up during a very emotional time.

I guess if you walk away from this post and remember anything I want it to be...God loves all of us just this much. I mean He sent us a house and was working out the details before we even knew we needed a house. If you lean on Him He will do all the work for you...just believe! I am still in awe how everything is working. I am grateful for the door He opened for this season that lead us to this house but I am also excited about this new door leading us to another house. He sure is good and He is so much better and writing the book of my life than I could ever be.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Works For Me Wednesday- Snack Mix

I have been buying a "Sweet-N-Salty" snack mix at my local Dollar Tree for months now. It happens to be the ONLY pre portioned snack I buy! It is an okay deal 4 in a pack for $1. But I have to buy like 4 packs for our family since Michael takes them in his lunch. Much to my surprise and upset they haven't had them in weeks and don't know when they will be getting more. I was so sad so using the ingredients that are normally found in the mix I thought I would make my own. I bought all the ingredients at the Dollar Tree but the peanuts were small cans so I think I would have come off better if I bought those where you can get a larger quantity:) But my grand total was about $7 and I was able to make just over 20 bags. I didn't figure in the cost of the snack size baggies b/c I keep those here to package my own snacks anyway! I think if we hadn't of snacked on it before I started packaging it I could have gotten more bags out of it. Side note the most expensive thing was the M&M's which you could totally leave out. Total per snack was about .30-.35 cents not bad for nuts!

Ingredients:
Salted Peanuts
Cashew Pieces (instead of almonds since we don't think those)
Sunflower Kernels
M&M's
Rasins
Mix everything in a large bowl then scoop desired amount into snack size baggies.
I used snack size bag and put 1/4 a cup of the mix in it.
 
Here are the bags all lined up. I stored all of them in a larger Ziploc!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Music Therapy Thursday

"But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.”
Joshua 24:15

A few year ago after attending an Emmaus walk my husband come home and declared this verse over our home and our family. That year on his birthday I gave him a sign quoting the last line "As for me and my house we will serve the lord". That sign hangs over our dining room table as a reminder of the covenant we made as a family to serve God and no other idols. Until recently I hadn't really thought about the idols we were serving...then as I drove my children to one of our many activities I heard the song I am sharing today. It brought me to tears as I was reminded of the kingdom I was busy building that had nothing at all to do with what God was calling me to. And then last week God gave Michael some verses Deuteronomy 1:29-33:

Then I said to you, “Do not be terrified; do not be afraid of them. The Lord your God, who is going before you, will fight for you, as he did for you in Egypt, before your very eyes,  and in the wilderness. There you saw how the Lord your God carried you, as a father carries his son, all the way you went until you reached this place.”  In spite of this, you did not trust in the Lord your God, who went ahead of you on your journey, in fire by night and in a cloud by day, to search out places for you to camp and to show you the way you should go.

Michael looked up from the pages of his Bible and said "What do you think? Is he talking to us!" I was beyond moved! Of course God was/is talking to us. Do you know the story do you know where this story is found? It is after God has brought Moses and his people out of Egypt they have made it to the promised land and aren't going in!!! They are there everything God has promised is at their fingers tips and what do they do they send in spies and vote NOT TO GO! It was like a spiritual ah ha moment...God was telling us "I have led you there my promises are at arms reach, what are you doing complaining about your situation, I have protected you! I have not left you I love you and I am fighting just for you...just for you! Do you not trust me?"

Then enters this song again at the perfect time. As the words played over the speakers in my car my heart nearly jumped out of my chest I was overcome once more by HIS great love for me. I called out "God forgive me for not trusting you! I stand firm on all you have promised my family. We surrender... use us!" Now this song is part of our declaration kind of our theme song.

I 'm done building my own kingdom...No more seeking worthless idols...Like sheep we have gone astray...but we must chose this day whom we will serve...As for me and my house we will serve the lord...Idols raised tear them down...to one kind we bow down...I'm done with powerless religion...no more living in deception...We will cross over Jordan and claim what you promised!


Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Works for Me Wednesday-Snack Cups

 A few weeks back I did a post on ways we save money and one thing I mentioned was that I don't by proportioned snacks because they cost so much more. But my kids love Jello and Pudding but making and storing it in large bowls takes up alot of room in my fridge. So I had an idea to save space and money I wanted to make my own. For the cost of 1 4-pack of jello or pudding ($1.20) I can make 5 snack cups of my own. I am not counting the cost of the containers which are a one time cost and can be used over and over again. I only paid $1.00 a pack of 5 for these bowls I snagged at my local "Dollar Tree". I am going to get more because all me have made so far is Jello and I want to also make pudding.


Here is a photo of the lable that was on the snack cups. I found them in the baby section of the store!
Here is a photo of the bowl so you can get an idea on the size perfect for snack sized portions:)

Pack of Jello .60 cents fills 5 cups. Mix jello according to package directions.
Use a ladle to fill the cups up with the desired amount of jello.


After all my cups are filled I place them in the fridge to set up without the lid on them. Once they are set I snap on the lids.



There you have it a ready made snack for about .12 cents a cup compared to .30 cents for the ones you get at the store so that is half the price!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Blessing or Curse

Proverbs 18:20-21
20 From the fruit of his mouth a man’s stomach is filled; with the harvest from his lips he is satisfied.
21 The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.

Powerful words! To realize that life and death (blessings or curses) are in our tongues. I was reminded last week just how powerful our words can be over our lives and the life's of the ones we speak into. You know the bully who is always made fun of, pushed around and talked down to who later commits suicide? Or the child who is always told they are stupid and therefore they believe they aren't able to go to college and work at a fast food restaurant instead? Or the limb I don't climb out on because I don't believe I am strong enough to handle what may or may not come of my choice because I have been told I am weak?

You can not take back a word that has already been spoken no matter how much you wish you could if the words you spoke cause damage the damage is done in that instant. While an apology may be offered the words are never forgotten. And the way your words make a person feel never goes away either. Do you think of that before you speak? No not me not normally. I am a rather blunt person I say what is on my mind and most of the time with out even thinking I am spewing a curse right over myself, my husband or our children or over those around me. Why in the world would I want to consciously do that? Why would I want to tear anyone down? The truth is I don't I want to build up! So I had to make a conscious decision that I was only going to allow my tongue to offer blessing over my life, my family, my household, finances and those around me. Because lets face it was all have enough in this world cutting us down. When you speak blessings over yourself or those around you that is what comes! Our words are so much more powerful than we even realize. Here are a few more scriptures on the subject from the book of Proverbs...

Proverbs 31:26 She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue.

Proverbs 10:11 The mouth of the righteous is a fountain of life, but violence overwhelms the mouth of the wicked.

Proverbs 11:9 With his mouth the godless destroys his neighbor, but through knowledge the righteous escape.

Proverbs 12:18 Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.

Proverbs 13:3 He who guards his lips guards his life, but he who speaks rashly will come to ruin.

Proverbs 15:4 The tongue that brings healing is a tree of life, but a deceitful tongue crushes the spirit.

Better yet google Proverbs on the power of the tongue! I could post these things all day. But the book of Proverbs has so many wise wise words on the subject. Find a few read over them and let me speak to you about what you are offering...Blessing or Cursing? The choice is ours!

Friday, April 13, 2012

Worry and Fear

After yesterday's post I thought about worry all day. And as a Christian we are told not to worry we are also told not to fear. I do both and I do both very very well! It's me I am always scared about something ot honestly anything and I worry ALL THE TIME. God started speaking to me and so I took to my computer for a little research on the topics and found this...

The Bible tells you to fear not 365 times. How about that 1 time for every single day of the year! Sounds easy enough right? For me it is not so easy and I don't know why. I know God has my back he always has and I know He protects me but still I live in fear over so much. My sweet friend April always tells me fear is faith in the wrong kingdom! Talk about a reality check...I don't want any of my faith or time wasted on the wrong kingdom! I found these scriptures on fear I thought I would share:

Psalm 23:4 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.

Isaiah 43:1-3 But now thus says the LORD, he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you.For I am the LORD your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior. I give Egypt as your ransom, Cush and Seba in exchange for you.

Hebrews 13:6 So we can confidently say, “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?"

I know with God's help and a little study I can conquer my fear. I know I sure need to because I should be free!

I also looked up some verses about worry. I honestly think this is going to be the hardest one for me to break. I think I have consumed myself with worry over every little thing. I can not live this way anymore I am going to cling to the scripture read it study it and allow God to speak to me.

Matthew 6:25-27 “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?

Matthew 11:28-30 Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

Psalm 55:22 Cast your burden on the LORD, and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved

And then I found this last one. It jumped off of the page at me and I am going to have it be my mantra for a while. I know God will take my junk and make it wonderful I just need to lay down these things to Him!

Luke 12:25 And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?

I found all the above scripture here it is a great read so head on over:
http://www.whatchristianswanttoknow.com/bible-verses-about-worry-20-comforting-scripture-quotes/

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Realization

Since I spent all of yesterdays blog post ranting about how overwhelmed I seem to be right now because you know LIFE HAPPENS. I got to thinking it was time to reshape MY way of thinking because lets face it those around me who I feel like expect so much out of me are going to change their expectations:/ I had a couple realizations yesterday as I was cleaning my you guessed it nasty house.

Realization #1- I am only one person! No matter how much I wanna do I can only do so much. And I am the one who says yest to things and some of those things piled on me are there because I put them there. Learning to say No because I am already too busy is OKAY!

Realization #2- My house has 3 children who live in it full time. We don't leave to go to work or school every day and therefore it is not going to be spotless until they all move off to college and then we will only wish we had match box cars, random shoes, and books to pick up.

Realization #3- Laundry is never going to go away! I have to wash it people can not go naked. The sooner I get a handle on it the better!

Realization #4- I need to STOP! I need to stop worrying over EVERY LITTLE THING! I need to start really enjoying this time with my children that I have been given. I will not be able to replace these years if I waste them depressed and worried about things that I can not control.

I have known all these things but my own worry and self imposed ideas over what I should be doing have been beating me down. I just want to be the best wife, mother, daughter and sister God wants me to be. It was then that I realized I had neglected my own spiritual health. I wasn't feeding what I REALLY NEEDED! I have to find an outlet for what burns inside of me for God and stop letting life be in the way.

So how about you? Do you worry to much? Let life get in the way of the ultimate relationship? What do you need to put down? Or take up? Stop beating yourself up! All you ever have to be is the best you that you can be!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Confessions of This Overwhelmed Mommy

It is not to often that I admit defeat and throw in the towel. But that is where you find me today. Ready to just give up. Nobody ever said being a stay at home homeschooling mommy to 3 kiddos and wife to a husband that works insane hours was going to be easy. Be warned you will not find any warm fuzzies in this post...just sayin!
Confession #1- I am so annoyed by people who think that just because I "stay at home" my time is disposable and in abundance. You couldn't be more wrong brothers and sisters if there is one thing this mommy doesn't have it is extra time! So please please please refrain from "dumping" on me when you are just too busy to do something yourself...newsflash I am busy to!
Confession #2- When you don't return my email or phone calls please remember it might take me time to get back to you when you finally return mine! Seriously!
Confession #3- I love love love homeschooling and if that was the only thing I had to do every day that would be wonderful but reality is I have a million other things to do and those things wear me down and overwhelm me!
Confession#4- Sometimes I need to freak out! I promise you will survive and I will feel better. What I need is for people to not act like I am the first person to ever have a melt down!
Confession#5- I can't be "on" 100% of the time. It is impossible I do have bad days and sometimes I need to just be down.
Okay so enough of my rant. I am so thankful that Gods mercies are new every morning and that He is able to save me from myself! I love my life and am beyond blessed by being able to be at home with my lovelies. I also wouldn't have it any other way. A momma just needs to vent from time to time know what I mean. What drives you crazy how do you keep from feeling overwhelemed? Please share and help a sister out!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Holy Week Reflection

As most of you know this week is Holy Week. Marking the days leading up to Jesus' death and resurrection. You can read a little more about it here. For me I like to spend time each day reflecting on what was done for me at the Cross. I mean the very thought of my King being beaten, spit on, a crown of thrones pressed onto His head and then made to drag His own cross up the hill makes me beyond sad. But of course I know the good news He didn't stay in the grave! He lives as an exalted KING! Back to reflection...What was done for me...for you...for every single person living and yet to be born was done out of pure unconditional love. I mean Jesus went to the cross with me in mind before I was even a twinkle in the eye of my mother or her a twinkle in her mothers eye. I can't even wrap my mind around it sometimes and then sometimes I am so over come by the love shown for me I can't stand it! What Jesus has done means I never have to pay the price for my sin which is death. It means that I get to live forever and ever in heaven celebrating with Him. Now that is love. Can you even as a parent imagine what it was like for Mary? I have 3 children and can't even begin to imagine having to select one of them to save the others but that is just what God did He sent His ONLY son so that we might have life! I promise there is no greater love!

I heard this song a while back and I think it is perfect for the Lenten time. Listen, receive and know that you are love beyond anything you can or ever will imagine!

UGH major trouble posting and/or linking the video. Here is the link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w1GzOUnUN20

Friday, March 23, 2012

How do you do it?

So a few months back someone asked me about how it is that I am able to stay at home with what my husband makes yearly. The truth is it was a hard decision to make...we use to be a 2 income family with only 1 child...WooHoo...You should have seen the money we use to BLOW! At that time if you had of told me that 8 years down the road not only would I have 2 more children but I would be a stay at home homeschooling mom I would have thought you had lost your marbles. Truth is I never thought I would be at home and I never thought we would have anymore children. When we did decide to have more children I wanted to keep working but God had different plans for me and my family. At first the choice was easy to make I was only weeks pregnant with child number 2 when my mothers leukemia relapsed and my sister was just weeks away from delivering her first child and on top of all of that I was sick as a dog and had a husband just beginning the road to addiction recovery! I had alot on my plate so I quit my job for the sake of the child I was caring and to be with my family. I honestly thought that once my mom was better and I had delivered said child I would go back to work...wrong again...Remember I think God had a different plan. Once Duece was born it didn't seem to be worth paying full time day care for 2 kids so I stayed at home. The full benefits of being home with my children are for another post. But once there was no longer 2 incomes so many things had to change about our budget. And over time things have had to change due to income change, number of children and other circumstances. So some of these things seem logical and some may not but this is what we do to save money. I wont lie our budget is TIGHT and EXTRA TIGHT right now. But these are things that help keep us reined in so I can be at home with my lovelies.

Before I run down my list I want to say that I think it is important for me to be a good steward of what is given to me. My husband works very hard to provide for our family and I don't want any money going ot waste on things that aren't necessary or on things that can be done or found cheaper.

One of my biggest money saving tips is to buy the store brand! If it isn't compromised by nutrition or taste then it is a winning choice in my book:) That being said here's my list of no brainer ways to save money and cut a little waste.

  1. Make a menu before you make a list. Shop your pantry so you don't rebuy things you already have. I never go to the grocery store without making a menu.
  2. Always make a list no matter if it is a quick run for milk. If you have a list to stick to you aren't mindlessly buying!
  3. Shop the dollar and discount stores. I know that not all these stores are actually cheaper. But I go to my local Dollar Tree alot because I can get many things for just $1 that would cost at least double that at the big chain stores. My regular purchases here include cat liter, paper towels (only for dog messes), body washes, soap, shampoo, snacks, office supplies, trash bags, all Ziploc bags, and so much more. Worth the trip every single time!
  4. I don't use paper plates, cups, napkins, or bowls. Like I said in another post that is why we have a full set of dishes;) We use cloth napkins and there is a strict rule in my house that the paper towels bought are for dog messes ONLY! Paper products for me are a total waste of my money and I am not too good to wash dishes and fold napkins. Guess the only time we buy these would be birthday parties and large get together like when we had a Christmas Open House.
  5. Eating out...this was one of my last frugal changes because my family loves to eat out. But now that there are 5 of us I have realized the huge waste of money this is and it is now a treat from time to time. Plus hello it is so unhealthy.
  6. Your crock pot is your friend. Allowing you to get away with buying cheaper cuts of meat because they will become wonderfully tender when cooked all day, plus they make cooking the ober cheap dry beans so easy.
  7. Turn off the lights....computer, TV, actually unplug it all. If you aren't using it regularly it is draining energy and running up your bill the longer you have it plugged in.
  8. Set your thermostat a few degree higher it will not kill you and it will save you money. Oh and open the windows and air the place out!
  9. Before planning a trip for my family to local zoos, water parks, aquariums, etc I look to see if and when they offer a half price or free day. Alot of places do and if they don't look into buying the family "season pass" for our family it was cheaper to buy the pass the the aquarium than it was to get in 1 time so we did and used it 2 mores times...for free awesome!
  10. Just be smart. You don't need it don't buy it!

So there you have it this is how we save money and I get to be at home with my kiddos:) Maybe one of my tips can help you. How do you have money?

Friday, March 16, 2012

Frumps to Pumps ebook

I couldn't be more excited sweet Sarah over at Like a Warm Cup of Coffee has written a ebook for her frumps to pumps challenge. Remember back a few months ago I took part in this challenge to get up and get dressed every single day. I loved it and it really transformed the way I thought about myself. So head on over and pick up the free download and enjoy. You can even find the details about a fantastic giveaway. Enjoy:)

Friday, March 9, 2012

Menu Making and Grocery Budgets

People often ask me how it is that I feed our family of 5 and 3 animals on a weekly grocery budget of around $80-120 a week. Truth is that there was a time when there was only 3 of us and I would easily spend $150+ a week of course this was at a time when I was not budget minded and obviously had a more disposable income. As we have added more children to our family I have had to pull in the reins of course! I thought I would share my strategy and how I actually make it work.

My weekly budget depends on 2 things first what our income was that week Michael works a job where he NEVER makes the same thing 2 weeks in a row and our income can vary drastically from one week to the next and the second thing that affects how much I spend in any given week is what we already have in our pantry...But mostly income:) I try to stay around $100 a week no matter what. But last week I tackled something I haven't done in about a year and that was 2 week menu making and shopping. I had a plan to get everything needed for the meals, pet food, toiletries and paper products. I should have said that above my budget is not just groceries it includes all the above! My goal last week was to spend only $200 I almost made it;) I had a b-day gift to purchase and some "school" supplies plus several things we buy regularly have gone up. Grand total ended up being more like $240 but I thought that was good. Now there were things that I didn't get or things I only bought 1 week worth of so I am sure another $50 will be spent this week to fill in those gaps. I set in with my sales papers, pintrest boards for crock pot and recipes I had been wanting to try and can up with the following diner menu. I don't plan lunches in advance I just keep things here and let the kids decide what the want.

Menu for March 4-16
Sunday- Crock pot chicken tacos
Monday- Taco Pizza
Tuesday- Cheesy bacon potatoes (crock pot), sirloin patties, and corn
Wednesday- Bacon wrapped chicken breast, baked potatoes
Thursday- Pull Pork (crock pot) baked beans
Friday- Fried potatoes and sausage
Saturday- Sour cream crock pot chicken, over rice with green beans
Sunday- Mexican Stuffed Shells
Monday-Vegetable soup
Tuesday- Ranch pork chops with flavored noodles and peas
Wednesday- Cowboy casserole
Thursday- Tortilla Soup
Friday- Old Clothes (don't remember the Spanish name) over rice...This is one of our favs all you do is brown some thin cheap steak with onions and bell pepper then lay them in your crock pot with some spaghetti sauce. Cook all day and serve over rice or noodles we do ours over brown rice...so yummy!

So there you have it! 2 weeks! Most people look in my fridge and pantry and think we keep very little food. The truth is we only buy what we need when we need it to keep the cost down. We don't have a lot of excess and we don't buy a ton of prepackaged snacks. I also don't buy alot of paper products that is why I have a full set of dishes:) Everyone gets plenty to eat around here and we have very little food waste. I would love to hear what other people do how you make your menus what is your budget for your family?

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Weight Loss Wednesday

I don't know about you but I have a hard time getting motivated about ANYTHING and normally my excitement dwindles and well I put aside whatever it is I was so passionate about to start with. Well, how about something that I can't get passionate about something that makes me so upset I can't even see straight. I bet some of you who know me well might guess what it is. I am overwhelmed with were to start and how to stick to a weight loss plan! I have several friends doing Weight Watchers and as much as I would love to join I really can't do that right now. And I honestly don't know if I can do it on my own. Yet the scale, the mirror and the looks as I help myself to dessert don't lie and sister has to do something. I am not happy and my body can't handle those extra pounds anymore. I have to do something I have to change. But I don't know where to start. Cooking healthy makes me nervous as I already have a hard time feeding my family of 5 for $100 a week as it is adding even MORE fresh fruits and veggies makes me nervous about my budget. I have recipe after recipe for things that are "healthy" but my family turns their noses up every time one of those makes an appearance at our table. I feel lost, overwhelmed, totally lack motivation, have almost no will-power, and honestly would rather be fat then even have to try! But the reality is this I am not healthy, I am ALWAYS tired, I am setting the worst example ever for my children and this weight is stopping me from doing things I want to do. So here I am positively at my weighty low...my rock bottom with this situation. Guess here goes nothing I have to make things happen for real this time because I CAN NOT wait any longer. Every Wednesday I am going to do a weight loss post all of it the good the bad and the ugly. Maybe my journey will encourage someone but more than anything I am going to use my blog to hold me accountable.
Starting weight:204 (last time I weighed which was wks ago and I don't own a scale...guess I better get one!)

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

To Paint or Not to Paint...That is the question?

So I read this blog all the time and I love the inside look she gives to her everyday life. Just today she posted this blog all about her new eye shadow. Funny that she posted that when I had been asking myself To paint or not to paint...the barn as they say;) I am I know before you all comment young but my face is really starting to show the stress of my life. I use to and by that I mean in High School wear make up and my mother was one who got up every morning and almost never left the house without a "full face on". But once I became a mother shower and dressing were are enough forget make up. Plus I had been told what a wonderful complection I had and that I didn't need make up. Yeah I own an entire drawer full but have never been faithful about using anything other than moisturizer and lip balm. Like I said my face is showing the years ladies and I have been wondering if makeup should be an everday thing like my routine (thanks to the get dressed challenge) to GET DRESSED!?!?! Am I vain for even caring about what my face looks like? Hum uh NO! So I was wondering what my sistas out there do? Do you "paint the barn" everyday? Do you do it for you or the hubby? I can't decide if I really need it or not but I know one thing...age and stress are not face friendly! Thoughts friends?

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

I love this quote

“Before you were conceived I wanted you. Before you were born I loved you. Before you were here an hour I would die for you. This is the miracle of Mother’s Love“ -Maureen Hawkins

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Music Therapy Better Late Than Never

I seem to have missed Thursday last week. But the honest truth is the hubs was off work so I didn't spend too much time on the computer. I wanted to share this song manly because like most music that is on repeat at my house my kids have latched on to this one. My 3 year old has been singing the line " I was blind blind blind but now I see" over and over and over again for weeks now. No better choice for what to share then was is on repeat around here...it encourages us and we pray it encourages you!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Tastey Tuesday-Crock pot Chicken Tortilla Soup

This week I am going to share a yummy crowd pleaser! The best part is that it is a crock pot meal and my family LOVES when I make this. Hope you enjoy!


Crock Pot Tortilla Soup

3-4 boneless chicken breast

1 4 oz can of chopped green chilies drained

1 LARGE can of diced tomatoes WITH Juice

2 cups chicken broth (tend to use more)

Cumin, Salt and Pepper to taste

Flour Tortilla's

Monterey Jack Cheese


Place chicken in the bottom of crock pot (I do use my raw chicken some people cook theirs first). Pour tomatoes, chilies and 1 cup chicken broth over top. Season with cumin, salt and pepper. Cook on high for about 4 hours. When chicken is done shred it with 2 forks and return to crock pot with another cup or so of chicken broth allow to cook another 30 minutes to an hour. This is a good time to add more seasoning. Cut tortillas into strips with a pizza cutter.

Deep fry tortilla strips until golden brown making "chips". Make as many as you want for topping you soup.
Serve finished soup with cheese and tortilla strips.


Hope you enjoy this easy week night diner. You'll have to let me know if you try it:)

Friday, January 20, 2012

Fruit is our encouragement

Sometimes as a parent I think you make choices that you at the time aren't really sure how they will actually work but you are confident you are making the right choice. Clear as mud? Back this time last year we were at the start of our 2ND semester of school and we had already chosen to at the end of that year pull our middle child out and bring him home to be home schooled. Short back story...He was being bullied at school and he was only in the 1st grade and nothing was being done about it. It was then as I emerged myself in research of curriculum, laws, and resources I realized as I prayed over what we were about to embark on that I realized I had a slew of other reasons why my heart was being called to this and almost none had anything to do with the bullying but rather what kind of children we wanted to raise. I have always been straight on this blog I am a lover of Jesus, He is my friend, He is the way the truth and the life, and my family chooses to serve Him! I realized I wanted my children at home during this very "touchy" time in their lives. I wanted to be the one who called the shots as to what they are actually subjected to. As I prayed I prayed that God would show me how to handle actually pulling our oldest child out of school also. I knew I might have a fight on my hands. But thanks to wonderful influence from some AWESOME home schooled kids whose parents share much of the same views as us her heart was also changed softened to the idea and SHE told me she wanted to be home too!

When we started this year there were many tears as attitudes, preconceived notions, and worldly desires stayed in the for front of our children's minds. I had days when I wanted to throw in the towel and days when I wondered what I had gotten myself into. All of those things have changed. I am really beginning to treasure this time with my children as God intended me to . I am so blessed by the fruit I see each morning as we snuggle on the couch for a read-a-loud or when I see one of my older children tying the shoes of their toddler brother. Attitudes theirs and mine have changed.

I just had to share what a difference time and commitment makes. I have watched my almost 8 year old son mature, change, grow in his hearts desire to help others as he shares Jesus' love, I have watched him go from tears over hours of homework to actually being proud of what he is doing and putting forth more effort. I have seen my daughter who seemed more self-centered open up making new friends, caring less about what others have to say, I watched her love for Jesus grow and I have been able to develop a much closer relationship with her. As a matter of fact this experience has helped grow much more positive relationships with me and all of my children, helped their relationships with their siblings and with all of us as a family unit.

Sometimes you just need fruit and I am so blessed by fruit...It gives me the courage to continue on and it seeds my decision letting me know I am doing just what God wants me to do for my family. I need that right now as we are going through some of the toughest times in our almost 11 year marriage and I feel so pulled to enter back into the work force. Thank you God for fruit and for opening my eyes to basking in this moment not to rushing through the tough to get to something better because when we do we miss the good in this storm!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Music Therapy Thursday

For Music Therapy today I have to share a current worship favorite at our house. Last Sunday our normal worship leader was out of town on a youth trip so we had a fill in from another church. He did a good job and shared a new song or two this being one of them. Cooper had stayed in church with us instead of going to the nursery and he was taking in all the songs. He loves music...I can see lots of music in his future a talent I pray he uses for the Glory of God. Anyway...Monday on the way to the eye doctor Cooper said from the back seat " When I grow up and can stand up holding a guitar I wanna sing the loin roaring inside song!" I was stunned he had remembered the words and a little proud all at once:) We then heard it on the radio the next day. We googled and found a youtube video...and have been hooked. We love this song. Listen, enjoy, be free in your worship!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Works for Me Wednesday-Snack Baskets

Sometimes (and not all that often) I come up with an idea that actually works and I stick to it! After weeks and weeks of my kids mindlessly snacking about all day I decided I need to do something about it. I mean my budget can only take so much mass consumption if know what I mean;) I had seen this idea some where...not pinterst though this is pinterest worthy...I think I actually saw this back in my Supper Nanny watching days. Anywho, You purchase a basket, box or some kind of container for each child. Either the night before or in the morning they choose their snacks for the day if you child attends school outside of the home school snacks don't get included. If they choose to eat all their snacks at once then no more for the day. Now of course I am not starving my children I am just trying to eliminate the mindless eating that has been going on around here. You know the I'm bored lets eat kind of thing.


So Monday I hit up my local Wal-Mart and purchased these. It was a 3 pack and only set my back around $1.50. I would really like to spiff them up but because of their size I am not sure how I am going to do it yet...but for sure they need to have each child's name on them or a ribbon to indicate who they belong to!

Here they are all lined up on my kitchen counter awaiting snacks. See what I mean they need some jazzing up. Someone craft please give me and idea or two!
Here they are all lined up and filled with snacks. Now this was taken later in the day and doesn't have a whole days worth of snacks. My general snack allotment is 2 morning snacks and 2 afternoon snacks. Not pictured is Coopers snack box he takes to Kiddie Kollege with him on the days he attends I let him select that snack on the mornings he attends and but it right in his pack. What kind of snacks do your kids enjoy? We are always looking for yummy ideas!

I am so proud of this idea. It has been a wonderful thing for both me and the kids. It really has helped us be mindful of what we are eating, when we are eating and most important why we are eating. Now onto trying to find a better chore system for us that we can actually stick to;)


Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Tastey Tuesday-Mexican EggRolls/Loaded Potato Bites

This year we decided to ring in the New Year with a little get together with our friends the Poole's. And to make it easy and fun we did appetizers/snacky food and not a sit down meal. I chose to make Mexican Egg Rolls and Loaded Potato Bites as 2 of my appetizer's. I wanted to share the recipe for Mexican Egg Rolls because every time I make them people RAVE on and on about how yummy they are! I seem to be famous for these. This time I documented the process which seems long but if you prep the chicken the day before or even have some shredded chicken in your freezer (I do this often) you can really cut down on your time it can also be completely prepped the day before and then rolled and fried or baked when ready!

Mexican Egg Roll
Veg. Oil 1-2 c. grated cheddar cheese
1 1/2 lbs. shredded chicken (cooked) 4 Tsp. picante sauce
1pkg. chili seasoning 1can of black beans
4 oz can green chilies 1sm onion chopped
1pkg egg roll wraps found in produce section near tofu
salt and pepper to taste

Heat oil until hot add chicken and onions. Stir until onions are translucent and tender. Drain and rinse black beans combine in a large mixing bowl with chicken, onions, chili seasoning (I only use half a package), picante sauce (I use more then called for), cheese, and drained chilies. Mix well.


This is my ingredients combined (well minus some).
These are the egg roll wraps we buy. Any brand is fine as long as it is the egg roll wrap.



Now that your ingredients are combined...spoon a heaping tablespoon of the mixture into each wrap and fold/roll following the "rolling directions" on your package. Here you see a plate of rolled wraps ready to fry. I don't have any picks of the frying process but it is easy...Just heat a small amount of oil in a frying pan, lay wraps in and allow to cook until golden on one side then flip and repeat. I will add here yes you can bake them I have never personally tried it but if you do please let me know how they turn out. I have been afraid to bake them for fear they wouldn't crisp up.




Finished product below


Since we were having these as an appetizer we just served them with sour cream. If it is a main course serve with sour cream salsa, and we do a side of rice with them. YUMMY FOR SURE!


READY FOR SERVING!


For this shindig I served them on the same platter as Loaded Potatoes Bites you see the sour cream in the middle. I got the idea for the Potato Bites on Pinterest but tweaked the process for myself. Recipe for those below:


Loaded Potato Bites


4 (or more depending on how many you plan to serve) baking or russet potatoes washed well not peeled


shredded cheddar cheese


real bacon pieces (I used the ones out of the salad section)


green onions




Slice potatoes about 1/2 an inch thick. Submerge in melted butter. Place on a sprayed or oiled cookie sheet. Bake for around 12 minutes on 350 flip and bake another 10-12 minutes or until just tender. Top with bacon, green onions and cheese. Serve warm with sour cream or ranch for dipping.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Declarations not Resolutions

So if you have read this blog for anytime or if you know us personally you know that 2011 wasn't the best year to date. We started the year with a job loss and things just seemed to get worse from there. We did have some great things happen we got a wonderful new home, our kids made it to the state swimming meet, started homeschooling, and then last but not least God rescued us from the enemy and continues to today. That being said when you make a list the bad seemed to out weigh the good. So after a very motivational sermon from my pastor on January 1 Michael and I decided we wouldn't make any resolutions but instead we would make declarations over our lives, marriage, family, home, finances, well over every area of our lives. God has promised much to those who follow Him we have tasted and seen and we want more. So here goes nothing we are putting all our eggs in one basket that is the "Jesus Basket" we have no fall back position and no amount of luck will ever see us through only Jesus will. This year will be good we will prosper and we will not fall victim to the lies of the enemy in our lives.