Tuesday, July 31, 2012

July Review of New Year's Goals


I thought I would show you our "lake."  As you can see, the water has not receded much.  (Here is a picture from last month.)  It has gone down about two feet, but there is probably another six or so feet left to go.  It's getting a little old, honestly -- for us.  There are people in our area whose homes still have water in them.  How do you repair homes that have been waterlogged for two months?  I don't think you can, and my heart hurts for these people.

Anyway, we've had a good month here:  I took a trip up to my parents' house for a friend's wedding; I discovered a ministry opportunity next door; and we celebrated John's birthday.  A good month.  Here is how I did with the goals I made this year:
  • School.  We have school about three days a week because there are other fun things for us to do the other days.  And that's okay.  It's summertime, and we're enjoying it.  However, we start Classical Conversations on August 23, so it'll be soon enough that we need to knuckle down and hit the books for real, especially since Sarah Beth will be in the first grade.  I'm just not sure that I'm ready to teach two children at once.
  • Reading.  I don't know why I even made this goal; I always get at least two books read every month.  I can't seem to help it.
  • Losing weight.  I have two more pounds to go.  Considering that I had three to go at the end of last month, I only lost one pound this month.  I think I'm slacking off as I near my goal.
  • Run a 5K.  The date for the 5K that I'm planning to run is September 29; it benefits our local pregnancy center.  I've been working my way up minute by minute, and I am now running 18 minutes.  I hope to run the whole thing, but I won't be too upset if I can't.
  • Hospitality.  This goal has fallen by the wayside, and we need to get back on the wagon.  (How's that for mixed metaphors?)
  • Florida license.  This goal has changed to looking for a job, and I've got a lead on one, I think.
  • Monthly service night.  Here is another goal that has fallen by the wayside.  Maybe I should change this one to visiting my neighbor once a week.  
How was your month?  How are you doing with your goals for the year?

Monday, July 30, 2012

Monday's Quote: Loving Our Husbands

I've been reading Feminine Appeal by Carolyn Mahaney for a study at church, and this quote stuck out when I read it.
If we find that our affection for our husbands is waning or has subsided altogether, then we do not need to look any further than our own hearts. Where sin is present, warm affection dissipates. 
I don't think I need to say anything else except that without God, a happy, healthy marriage is impossible.

Friday, July 27, 2012

3 in 30: Making Progress!


Whew!  It's been another busy week.  We've been out of the house almost every morning this week which throws us off our schedule.  We're homebodies, well, at least I am.  But it's been a good, fun week, so I'm not complaining.  Here's how I did on my goals:
  • Find a job.  I've made progress on this.  That's all I'm going to say for now...in case I jinx myself.
  • Sort something.  I didn't get anything sorted last week, but I made up for it this week.  I got two boxes sorted.  Yea!  To be honest, they were easy boxes:  one was full of baby toys that I just took out and washed for Mary; the other had a few nicknacks in it along with some old journals.  I unwrapped the nicknacks and stuck the journals in the top of my closet.  This box had been packed since 2003 when John and I moved out of our first house.  It was time for it to get unpacked!  
  • Leave five comments on new (to me) blogs.  Nope, not a one.  I've even had trouble keeping up with my regular blog reading.  Oh, well.  Maybe I'll get to one or two today or tomorrow.
How was your week?  What were you able to get accomplished?

Thursday, July 26, 2012

My New Bread Recipe


About a month ago, I bought a loaf of Five Grain Bread from Publix, and it was so good.  I mentioned to John how much I enjoyed it and how I wish I could make something similar.  He told me to look for a recipe online.  What a smart man I married!

I found this recipe for Hearty Multigrain Bread, and it sounded pretty good.  I gave it a try, but it only made a small loaf.  I was looking for a full one, so I adapted the recipe.  I'm pleased with the results, and I thought I would share my new recipe with you.  I added more of each ingredient to make the loaf a standard size.  And I left out a few things:  I couldn't tell that the sesame seeds added anything; I couldn't find millet at our grocery store; and I'm too cheap to buy dry milk powder.

Here's my recipe:

1 cup water
1 tablespoon of butter, softened
1 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons sunflower seeds (I use the toasted and salted ones; yum!)
flax seeds (I don't measure; I just pour some in)
1 1/2 tablespoons quinoa
3 cups bread flour
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons yeast

I make this bread in my bread machine, so I just dump everything in and let the machine take over.  I do take the bread out after mixing and let it rise the second time before I bake it in the oven.

I really enjoy this bread.  I like having the different seeds in it because they make it taste better and the texture is so nice.  It must make nice sandwiches, too, since my kids don't complain.

Do you make your own bread?  What recipe do you use?


Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Random Question: Favorite Children's Book

Sometimes, a random question goes through my mind, and I wonder what other people's answers to that question would be.  I thought it might be fun to ask you, to see what your answers might be.  Of course, it's only fun if you play along.

So here's my first question:  what is your favorite children's book?


My favorite children's book is There's a Wocket in my Pocket by Dr. Suess.  Why do I like this book so much?  I'm not sure other than I enjoy the rhyme and rhythm of it.  I'm sure the silly words don't hurt, either.  When my children bring me books to read, I always hope this one is in the stack...but it's usually not.  I don't think they like it as much as I do.  Oh, well!

I'll ask again, What's your favorite children's book?

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Tuesday's Tip: Ministry Opportunity Right Next Door


Last month, I prayed that God would send me a ministry opportunity, one that I could actually do.  Do you know what I mean?  I have four small children, so volunteering at the local pregnancy center really isn't an option.  I have crocheted blankets for pregnancy centers, and that is a great thing, but I was hoping for something a little more personal.  But what can a mother of small children do?

I don't remember how it came up, but while my mother was visiting, the topic of one of my neighbors came up.  This sweet, old lady lives right next door.  She has no family, at least, no children, and she is homebound.  She has full-time caregivers, but we decided that she is probably still lonely.

What had I been praying for?  A ministry opportunity that I could do?  And here it was, right before my eyes, and it hadn't even occurred to me.  *Sigh*  I decided to visit her with my children, and she was thrilled.  She enjoys the company (she can't thank me enough), and she enjoys seeing my children.

It's still hard to get over there sometimes, even though she's just a few steps away.  And I'm still a little nervous about going because I'm really not a people-person.  I would rather communicate via email than the phone, but I go because God has given me what I asked for.  It's a way to serve without leaving the country, without spending a lot (or any) money.  I don't even have to leave the neighborhood!  And it means so much to this lady.

Is there a ministry opportunity right outside your door?  How does the Lord use you right now in this season of your life?

Monday, July 23, 2012

Monday's Quote: Using Your Talents to Bless Others


I've been reading The Hidden Art of Homemaking by Edith Schaeffer, and it's not exactly what I expected -- in a good way.  This book is full of practical ideas of how to make your house into a home using the talents God has given you.  Here are a couple of quotes from the book:
I would define "Hidden Art" as the art which is found in the "minor" areas of life.  By "minor" I mean what is involved in the "everyday" of anyone's life, rather than his career or profession.  Each person, I believe, has some talent which is unfulfilled in some "hidden area" of his being, and which could be expressed and developed.  
I am simply going to outline a few areas of life where I feel ....many of us could experience a greater personal fulfillment in creativity, and so enrich the lives of the people we live amongst. 
In other words, we don't need to wait for the perfect time to use our gifts; right here and now are the best times.  We don't need a huge audience to see what we've done; it's enough that we bless our family and friends.  We can take the "little" gifts that God has blessed us with and use them to bless those we come into contact with daily.

I enjoy crocheting baby blankets for my friends when they are expecting; my mother makes baby quilts.  These talents we have can and should be used to bless others.  I find this very encouraging; don't you?  Our seemingly small gifts and talents are given to us by God to use in seemingly small ways.  But don't you feel immensely blessed when someone does something for you?  Don't you think they feel the same way when you do something for them?

What kinds of gifts and talents do you have that you can use to bless your family and friends?

Friday, July 20, 2012

3 in 30: Home Again!


The "thing" that threw me off last week, the thing that I wouldn't tell you about, was my trip back to where I used to live.  One of my friends got married on Sunday, and I used her wedding as an excuse to head back up to Georgia to visit my parents and some good friends.  As a matter of fact, my real life, good friend Laura was there, as well, for the same wedding.  It was so good to see her and catch up, to see how much her children have grown.  And the reason I wouldn't tell you about it beforehand was that I'm not comfortable advertising that I'm going to be gone just in case one of my readers, well, isn't a good person.

Since I headed up to my old stompin' grounds Thursday, and since John took Tuesday and Wednesday off, last week was really messed up...but in a good way.  And we didn't get back until Tuesday, so this week is messed up, too, especially since we're heading to a funeral today.  Goodness, now that I think about it, I only had one "normal" day last week and two this week.  No wonder I feel like I'm so behind on things!

But here is how I did this week:

  • Find a job.  I did absolutely nothing on this goal this week.  I plan to work diligently on this next week, though.  
  • Sort something.  I have done nothing on this goal so far this week, but there's a chance that I will get to something on Saturday.  I just have to figure out what....
  • Leave comments on five new (to me) blogs.  Nope.  I haven't even caught up on reading my usual blogs yet, so the new ones will have to wait.  Maybe Saturday????  
Maybe I didn't get much accomplished towards my monthly goals, but I sure did have a good time visiting.  It was great seeing old friends and family.  Now that I know that I can travel with all four children by myself, I feel like the whole world is open to me.  Well, maybe not the whole world.  But I feel up to another trip soon....

How was your week?  What were you able to get accomplished?

This post is linked to Welcome to Our Good Life 3in30 Check In.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Book Review: Where Lilacs Still Bloom


Where Lilacs Still Bloom by Jane Kirkpatrick is based on the true story of Hulda Klager who was one of the pioneers of plant hybridizing.  With only an eighth grade education, Hulda developed about 250 different varieties of lilacs.  This book tells her story as she starts tinkering with apples, moves to daffodils, and ends up with lilacs.  As she works with her flowers, Hulda has to juggle the demands of her family and the different people whose lives she touches with her flowers.

This is a wonderful story of a simple, hardworking woman who brings beauty into her world without realizing that she doesn't have the training for it.  It should be great encouragement to someone who thinks they can't do something because they don't have the right...whatever.  It's also fun to read about the early 1900's and what life was like for a "normal" household.  While the first few chapters were a little confusing as I had to get used to the points of view changing, I recommend this book, even if you don't like flowers.

I want to thank WaterBrook Multnomah for my copy of this book, but my opinions are my own.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Finished Object Friday


I made this blanket for a friend who is getting married this weekend.  I dropped it by her house this morning, and I hope she opens the gift before reading this post!  This sweet lady is held in high regard in our house because she kept my children for me for almost three years, one morning a week so I could run some errands.  When she started, Sarah Beth was two years old, and Daniel was six months old.  When she finished, just a few months before we moved, Rachel had been born, and I was pregnant with Mary.  It's amazing how much can happen in such a "short" amount of time.

Anyway, I got this pattern out of Reversible Ripple Afghans Kim Guzman.  I bought the book last year, and I just didn't have any good reason to make a blanket out of it.  Finally, I did.  And this is the one I made.  I hope she likes it!

What have you been working on?  To link up your own project, head to Finished Object Friday at Fresh from the Chari Tree.

3 in 30: Not Such a Productive Week



It's been another busy week.  That seems to be my new normal, so I guess I should get used to it.  But there is something a little out of the ordinary going on this week, but I'll tell you about that next week.  Another thing that threw me off was that John took Tuesday and Wednesday off.  Yea for us!  It was nice having him home, but it threw my routine off.  That's not a bad thing; I just didn't get as much done.  It was worth it, though, to have him home!

Here's how I did this week:
  • Find a job.  I didn't do a single thing towards this goal this week.  John says he isn't surprised because there's something else going on.  But I plan to start work on it diligently next week.
  • Sort something.  I didn't get anything sorted last week...until Saturday which still counts, doesn't it?  I went through our medicine boxes, and I can't believe how many expired and duplicate medications I found.  Really, it's embarrassing for a pharmacist to admit this.  You should go through your medicine cabinet at least once a year, but obviously it had been years since I had gone through ours.  I'm a poor role model.  Sorry.  This week, I worked on my kitchen cabinets, specifically my baking center.  I didn't like having so much of my baking supplies under the cabinet where I had to bend over to get them.  I moved a lot of them up into an upper cabinet, and it's much nicer.  It still needs a little tweaking, but when I used it Wednesday morning, it worked beautifully.  Here are before and after pictures:
before

after

before


after
  • Leave five comments per week on new (to me) blogs.  I didn't accomplish all five, but I did leave a couple or three.  That's something.
What did you get accomplished this week?

This post is linked to Welcome to Our Good Life 3in30.

Mary is Seven Months Old!


Mary turns seven months old today.  


She didn't like her first taste of bananas, but she's got to start eating real food since she is apparently not getting enough from me.  (I haven't had this problem before.  It's strange.)


Sarah Beth and Daniel love Mary so much. 


Mary loves her new toys:  her hands.


I enjoy posting about Mary every month on my blog because it motivates me to take pictures of her.  I think I would forget otherwise, and that would be shame.   She's such a cutie!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Booking It: July Edition

I found an extra half hour per day of reading!  It only requires that I wake up early and walk/jog on our treadmill.  Reading while I exercise makes the exercise bearable, and I have more time to read some of the books on my "to read" list.  Win/win!  Here's what I was able to get read this month.  While it doesn't seem like much, it's better than the two books a month which is my goal.
  • Emma by Jane Austen.  Busybody Emma tries to marry off all of her aquaintances with poor results not realizing that she has fallen in love herself.  Here's another of Austen's stories with a flawed main character who matures into a better person.
  • The Beautiful Fight by Gary Thomas.  Being more like Jesus is a fight, a beautiful fight.  Thomas relays what is required in order to change and how to fight for it.  Unlike the popular motto, you can't just "let go and let God."  It takes effort from us and power from God in order to make the transformation into something holy.
  • The Pig in the Pantry and Other Homeschool Tales by Rose Godfrey.  This collection of fun stories with morals tied to them kept me entertained while walking/jogging on the treadmill.  If you homeschool, especially if you live on a farm, you will enjoy this book.
What have you read lately?

Monday, July 9, 2012

Monday's Quote: Developing Christlikeness at Home

I read The Beautiful Fight by Gary Thomas recently, and I found it to be a thought-provoking book.  This book describes the process of becoming more Christlike as a beautiful fight, hence the name.  Lately, I've been thinking that, in order to become more godly, I would have to go through something significantly bad.  I hate to admit it, but I'm not sure I want to go through that process if it means that I have to lose a child or develop a terrible disease.  I'm weak like that.  Thomas reassured me when I read these words:
The ordinary events of family life provide more than enough drama to increase and foster spiritual maturity if we will only embrace them as such.  Christlikeness is born in us when we deny ourselves in the small tasks of life - seeking to understand instead of being understood, holding our tongue when before we would readily and openly criticize, having our will broken by forgiving and serving and listening.  These are often the truest tests of spiritual discipline.  They are rarely easy, but if we accept and engage them as tests, if we are willing to do the work required to maintain our relationships, we will be transformed in the midst of that process.
So, as long as I embrace the learning opportunities in my home, I can still become more and more like my Savior.  That's comforting.  I don't have to go through some dreadful experience, although He still may require it of me.  There are plenty of chances for me to develop spiritual maturity as I go about my daily routine.

What do you think?

Friday, July 6, 2012

3 in 30: A New Month


This week was a little strange for us.  John had to work the past weekend because of all the flooding in our area, so we were looking forward to Independence Day.  But he had to work that day, too.  So the holiday ended up being just another day; we even did school.  Hopefully, John will be off this weekend, but we don't know yet.

Anyway, it's a new month which means it's time for new goals.  Here are my goals for the month:
  • Find a job.  Now that I have my Florida pharmacist license, I need to find a way to use it.  I didn't do anything about this goal this week because it was the first of the month (which is always a bad time in a pharmacy), and then Independence Day cut the week in half.  But I'm going to start making phone calls next week.
  • Sort something.  There is always something at my house that needs to be gone through.  Yes, we even still have a few boxes left from our move that I really need to get unpacked.  This week, I had hoped to go through our medications and get rid of the expired ones and the ones we don't need, but I haven't yet.  Maybe today or tomorrow.  There's still a little time left in this week.
  • Leave more comments on more blogs.  There are days when I feel like I barely have time to check my email, much less read other blogs.  I want to make the time, however, to look for new, fun blogs to read...while not neglecting my family in the meantime.  Since I don't have time everyday, I think I'll try to make this goal as simple and easy as possible:  leave a comment on five new blogs a week.  I ought to be able to do that, don't you think?  I think I've only left one comment so far on a new (to me) blog this week, but there's still time.  Do you have any suggestions for good blogs to read?  
What are your goals for the month?  What did you accomplish this week?

This post is linked to Welcome to Our Good Life 3in30.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Giveaway Winner


It's taken me a while to get around to it, but I finally did.  I let random.org pick the winner for my giveaway, and the number assigned was 4...which is Laura from Seven Little Arrows.  Congratulations, Laura!

Thanks to everyone who entered!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Happy Birthday, John!


I want to wish my sweet husband a happy birthday today, so 

Happy birthday, John!  I love you!

Monday, July 2, 2012

June Review of New Year's Goals


The floodwaters continued to rise until Friday morning, even though it stopped raining Tuesday afternoon.  Our lake receded a little bit on Friday, but it has remained at that level since then.  Apparently, it is fed by a creek, and it drains into an underground aquifer.  Since the ground is saturated, there is nowhere for our lake to go.  I imagine it will be weeks and weeks before this golf hole is playable.  I took this picture this morning, and the water may have come down a tad since yesterday.  And it may not have.  All of the greenery in the background, well, it's not land.  It's floating vegetation.  The water on the golf hole is probably close to ten feet deep, and it's deeper in the actual lake.  There's a lot of water that has to go somewhere.

However, this post is about my yearly goals.  Let's see how I did this past month.
  • School.  After a month break while we went to the beach and I studied for my test, we've started doing school again.  And it's going well.  While we may not do schoolwork everyday, we're slowly and steadily making progress...which is good enough for me!
  • Reading.  I was able to get two books read last month.
  • Losing weight.  I've only got three more pounds to go to get to my pre-baby weight.  Whoohoo!
  • Run a 5K.  I've started jogging, and I'm up to eight minutes.  I think I'll be ready to run the race when it comes, but if I have to walk some of it, that's fine.  Running has definitely helped me lose weight even though it makes me soooo hungry.  (Here's my training program, if you're interested.)
  • Hospitality.  We did have another family over for supper one evening this month.  It's so much fun that we have got to keep it up!
  • Florida license.  Hooray!  I am now licensed as a pharmacist in Florida!  Now I just need to look for a job.  I'll be working on that this month.
  • Monthly service night.  I'm not doing well on this goal at all.  I feel like I should just give it up, but it's a worthy goal to work on.  So I'll keep working at it.
How are you doing with your yearly goals?

I haven't forgotten about my giveaway; well, actually, I kind of did with all of the excitement last week.  But I plan to draw a name Wednesday evening and post the winner on Thursday.  If you haven't entered, you still have time!  (I got the peppermint soap made, so whoever wins will get a bar of that, as well.)