Thursday, November 26, 2009

Give thanks to the Lord!

Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good.
His love endures forever.
Give thanks to the God of gods.
His love endures forever.
GIve thanks to the Lord of lords:
His love endures forever.
to him who alone does great wonders,
His love endures forever.
who by his understanding made the heavens,
His love endures forever.
who spread out the earth upon the waters,
His love endures forever.
who made the great lights -
His love endures forever.
the sun to govern the day,
His love endures forever.
the moon and stars to govern the night;
His love endures forever.
to him who struck down the firstborn of Egypt
His love endures forever.
and brought Israel out from among them
His love endures forever.
with a mighty hand and outstretched arm;
His love endures forever.
to him who divided the Red Sea asunder
His love endures forever.
and brought Israel through the midst of it,
His love endures forever.
but swept Pharoah and his army into the Red Sea;
His love endures forever.
to him who led his people through the desert,
His love endures forever.
who struck down great kings,
His love endures forever.
and killed mighty kings -
His love endures forever.
Sihon king of the Amorites
 His love endures forever.
and Og king of Bashan -
 His love endures forever.
and gave their land as an inheritance.
 His love endures forever.
an inheritance to his servant Israel;
 His love endures forever.
to the One who remembered us in our low estate
 His love endures forever.
and freed us from our enemies.
His love endures forever.
and who gives food to every creature.
His love endures forever.
Give thanks to the God of heaven.
His love endures forever.
(Psalm 136, NIV)
I wish a blessed and bountiful Thanksgiving to your and yours, remembering to WHOM it is we are thankful and to WHOM we owe all the glory.
There is joy on this journey, on my way home to my Father's house,
Cindy <><

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Getting It All Done Tip #9: Know When to Say “No”

Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. Then they can train the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.  (Titus 2:2-5, NIV)

Although we may have to work outside the home, doing so doesn’t mean that our hearts aren’t there. The time we have at home, with our husbands and our children, should be cherished, protected and defended.

I have been visiting the blogs of many beautiful Christian women who are blessed to be able to be at home. Many of these emphasize that they are “steadfast at home.” Since I am called out of the home, I want to emphasize that I am “steadfast about home.” That’s the attitude I want to encourage you to have.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Check out this contest...

Lisa Barthuly at Homestead Orignals is having a contest called Thanksgiving: Preparing the Homestead, and she is giving away a copy of her ebook Homestead Simplicity: Naturally Clean. Check it out!

There is joy on this journey, on my way home to my Father's house,
Cindy <><

The Meal Plan: Week of November 23, 2009

NOTE: Please check back later in the week, as I'll be adding a couple of recipes to go along with the meal plan. Have a blessed week, and a bountiful Thanksgiving full of praise for our Father and gratitude for his wonderful gift in Jesus Christ!
 
Week
of:

 November 23, 2009

Lunch

Dinner
Monday

e-mealz’s Pasta e
Fagioli*

Saving Dinner’s Shrimp Pompadoro
Tuesday

Creamy Broccoli Soup with grilled cheese
sandwiches

Bagged Italian Soup Meal**

Wednesday

Salmon Patties
Baby Limas

Chili Mac

Thursday

Loaded Baked Potatoes with Broccoli and Cheese
Sauce

Splurge on a Little Caesar’s Pizza
Friday

THANKSGIVING DINNER:
Cajun-injected Turkey
“Southern-style” Dressing
Broccoli Casserole
Candied Sweet Potatoes
Fried Corn
Homemade Whole Wheat Rolls
Pumpkin Pie
Southern Sweet Potato Pie

PARTY FOOD FOR
“THE GAME”
ALABAMA vs. AUBURN

Then, leftovers for dinner (if anyone can still
eat!)


Saturday

Sandwiches

THANKSGIVING DINNER AT MAW-MAW’S AND
GRANDPA’S HOUSE (yum, yum!!)

Sunday
Taco Salad*
Leftovers

* We had leftovers for lunch several times last week so I had a couple of meals on last week’s plan that we didn’t prepare, so I have placed them back in the cycle this week.

** I bought a couple of books containing recipes for “Gifts in a Jar,” and instead of putting the ingredients in a jar, I place them in a quart-size zip-close bag. I then add that bag along with any other non-perishable ingredients, such as cans of tomato sauce, into a gallon-size zip-close bag, along with preparation instructions. When I make these up, I make about 5 sets of each recipe and keep these in my pantry for quick fixes. These are also good to pull out when you need to take a meal to someone.

There is joy on this journey, on my way home to my Father's house,
Cindy <><

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Keeping Up with the Kids

Katie decided a self-portrait was in order yesterday afternoon as she was typing a paper.


Here’s another photo of my angel as a bridesmaid at her cousin’s wedding this past spring.

Cody was sick two days last week, and he decided to spend his down time watching a little historical fiction: Gods and Generals and Gettysburg. He was inspired by the movies and convinced the neighborhood boys later in the week that they needed to build a fort to defend. Watch out, aggressors! They will defend to the…well, at least until they are called home to supper…

There's joy on this journey, on my way home to my Father's house,
Cindy <><

Getting It All Done Tip #8: “Do Ahead’s” Save Dinner! (And lunch! And breakfast!)

“…she provides food for her family and portions for her servant girls.” (Proverbs 31:15b, NIV)

I think the biggest challenge that faces a woman who works outside the home is how to feed her family healthy, nutritious food when time is pinched. Let’s face it: not only does is cost more to eat real, whole foods, but they also take much more time to prepare. In addition, it’s all too easy to pick up a pizza or head to the drive-thru when it’s late, the kids and hubby are hungry (and probably complaining), and you are facing 1 to 1 ½ hours of prep time before a meal is ready.

After reading through The South Beach Diet on my doctor’s suggestion (and through working to implement the lifestyle changes therein), then through Nourishing Traditions as a curiosity after reading so many posts about it on the New Harvest Homestead Yahoo group, I have become convinced that I must work harder to eliminate the processed foods from my family’s diet. How to accomplish this is taking some time, but I have found that if I can eliminate the things that make it harder for us to eat the best foods for us, I can make the transition easier.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Mmmm...Muscadine Jelly

11:45 AM, Tuesday, November 17, 2009

“For the LORD your God will bless you in all your harvest and in all the work of your hands, and your joy will be complete.” (Deuteronomy 16:15, NIV)

I wish you could experience the aromas in my kitchen this morning! I have my pumpkin spice candles burning, and I am making muscadine jelly. The juice smells wonderful as it’s cooking, and the color is so beautiful that I just had to take a picture. It’s a lovely shade of dark garnet with a hint of purple.

Today I made one batch of 8 half-pints and one pint; I will have about 20 more pints by the time I am finished. I will have to do a batch or two a day until I get it all processed. My jelly is really a cross between traditional jelly and jam. I cook the muscadines until all have “popped,” then I press the juice through a strainer. I don’t strain again through cheesecloth, so there’s pulp in the juice, but there’s not as much pulp as in regular jam. It makes for a very flavorful jelly with a rich, deep color. The juice I am using had been frozen after I prepared it until I finally found time to make the jelly.


This tastes fantastic on homemade whole wheat bread!

There is joy on this journey, on my way home to my Father's house,
Cindy <><

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Getting It All Done Tip #7: Get Enough Sleep

“In vain you rise early and stay up late, toiling for food to eat – for he grants sleep to those he loves.” (Psalm 127:2, NIV)

Sleep is often elusive for me, because I just don’t have time for it. It seems so useless to me to by lying there doing nothing. But neglecting this very important part of life isn’t a good idea for me, or anyone. In trying to keep up with the to-do list and the schedule, I’ll often get up early or stay up late – um, in my case, later – and all I do is end up ruining my time with my family because I am in a bad mood since I am (inexcusably) tired. What good does that do me?

So, I have learned that as I plan my day, I need remember to allocate enough time for sleep, even if I have to plan time for sleeping a little late some days. It’s a word to the wise for you, too. Perhaps you might need to plan on going to bed earlier, if you must be at work in the morning. For without enough rest, nothing you do can be done at 100%. You can’t work as efficiently, which will put you further behind. You don’t think as clearly, which will affect your judgment. Trust me on this one; I know from experience.

Besides, our Father wants for us to be at rest in our bodies and at peace in our hearts. He knows our needs, even down to the smallest details. He doesn't want us worrying about how we're going to "get it all done," either. He want us to work at all we do as if we were doing it for Him, and rest peacefully knowing we have done all we can do.

"The sleep of a laborer is sweet…” (Ecclesiastes 5:12a, NIV)

“‘Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.’” (Matthew 11: 28-30, NIV)


There is joy on this journey, on my way home to my Father's house,
Cindy <><

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Cody's First Deer Harvest

This weekend marks the annual Youth Hunt here in Alabama, and my son Cody took his first deer today, a young 7-point.  We are so proud! 


Cody's First Deer, 11/15/2009

There is joy on this journey, on my way home to my Father's house,
Cindy <><

This Week's Meal Plan




Week
of:

 November 16, 2009

Lunch


Dinner


Monday

Veggie Chili

Mexican Lasagna

Tuesday


Spaghetti and Meatballs

Saving Dinner’s Sweet Kielbasa and
Kraut
Potato Salad


Wednesday


Tomato-Basil-Chicken Couscous


Thursday


Loaded Baked Potatoes with Broccoli and Cheese
Sauce


Saving Dinner’s Tuscan Chicken
Whole Wheat Linguini
Salad


Friday


e-mealz’s
Pasta e
Fagioli


Cindy’s Mushroom Chicken
Steamed Broccoli

Brown Rice

Saturday


Taco Salad


Saving Dinner’s Barbeque Roasted Salmon
Mashed Potatoes
Stewed Carrots


Sunday


Saving Dinner’s Beef with Broccoli
Brown Rice


Leftovers





Saturday, November 14, 2009

Cindy’s Mushroom Chicken

1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 pkg Onion Soup Mix
4-6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Granulated garlic, to taste
Cajun seasonings, to taste
Salt and pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 350° F. Mix first three ingredients together. Spray an oven-proof 9x13” dish with non-stick spray and place chicken breasts in the dish so that they do not overlap. Sprinkle with granulated garlic, Cajun seasonings, salt and pepper. Cover with the mixture and place in the oven for 25 minutes or until the juices from the chicken run clear. Serve over brown rice.

(If you want to make this somewhat NT friendly, used split chicken breasts and increase the cooking time to at least 45 minutes or until the chicken is thoroughly cooked – or just set it up in the crock pot and let it cook all day on low.)

There is joy on this journey, on my way home to my Father's house,
Cindy <><

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Cindy’s Quick and Easy REAL Mac-n-Cheese (ready in less than 15 minutes)

1 13.25-oz pkg whole wheat elbow macaroni
Salt to taste
At least 2 cups freshly grated extra-sharp cheddar cheese
½ to ¾ cup heavy whipping cream
16 oz cubed, browned ham (optional)
2 cups additional grated cheese

Cook the macaroni noodles according to package directions. While the noodles are cooking, brown the ham (optional) and set aside, then combine the grated cheese with ½ cup of cream in a saucepan, heating very gently until the cheese is melted. The cheese sauce should be slightly thicker in consistency than the cream. Add additional cheese and cream until you have about 2 cups total. Drain the noodles, but do not rinse. Return the noodles to the drained cooking pot and add ham and cheese sauce, mixing thoroughly. If it appears that more cheese sauce is needed, simply add a little more cream to the saucepan and grate in a little more cheese; once melted, add to the macaroni mixture. Pour mac-n-cheese into an oven-safe dish and cover with remaining grated cheese. Place under the broiler until the cheese on top is bubbly. Serve, and enjoy!

There is joy on this journey, On My Way Home to My Father's House,
Cindy <><

Getting It All Done Tip #6: Exercise Regularly

"For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come." (I Timothy 4:8, NIV)
You may be thinking, “Why should I take exercise advice from a fat girl?” Because it’s good advice, regardless of the source. ;)

It is well known that exercise has many benefits, including reducing your stress levels, increasing your energy levels, and possibly reducing your waist line (and who doesn’t need that – especially this fat girl!).

This is information we all already know, but the problem for most of us is usually finding the time. But you don’t have to be preparing for a marathon in order to benefit from exercise. In The South Beach Diet Supercharged, author Arthur Agatston, MD, presents an exercise plan that is effective and very time efficient. I have been following this plan, and I have found that in less than 20 minutes a day, I can get a beneficial cardio workout that makes me feel better mentally and physically.

The important thing is to commit to do it, at least 5 days a week. Personally, I know that I may not experience weight loss from exercising because I am hypothyroid. After my son was born, my health really deteriorated finally resulting in a diagnosis of Hashimoto’s disease, an autoimmune disease in which the thyroid is attacked and eventually killed by the body’s own immune system. I am on replacement hormones, but losing weight has become very, very difficult. My body works against me, and when I am doing everything I should be doing in order to lose weight, I’m prone to actually gain. Talk about frustrating!

I have resolved, however, that whether I can lose weight or not, if exercising regularly is good for my heart and helps me handle the stress of my day better, then those few minutes are time well spent. And, LORD willing, maybe I’ll shed a few pounds in the process.

There is joy on this journey, on my way home to my Father's house,
Cindy <><

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

This Week's Meal Plan


Week
of:

 November 9, 2009




Lunch




Dinner


Monday


Leftovers


Venison cubed steak
With biscuits and gravy
Mashed Potatoes
Roasted Veggies


Tuesday




Saving Dinner's Baked Enchiladas
Salad


Wednesday


Corned Beef Hash


Corned Beef and Cabbage
Baked Sweet Potatoes
Corn Bread


Thursday


Saving Dinner's Baked Zucchini Boats


Olive-Oil Fried Flounder
Oven –Roasted Potatoes
Steamed Broccoli


Friday


Leftovers


Saving Dinner's Tomato Feta Shrimp
Brown Rice
Sa
lad


Saturday


Sandwiches


Saving Dinner's Creamy Chicken and Corn
Skillet



Sunday


Crock Pot Roast, with potatoes, carrots and green
beans



Saving Dinner's Shrimp Pompadoro
Brown Rice

Cindy's Chicken Tortilla Soup

1 to 1½ qt chicken broth (homemade is best); add water to make up the difference
1 pint canned chicken (or a 12+ oz store-bought can)
1 can Mexi-corn (corn with red and green peppers)
~ ½ Tbsp cumin
~ ¾ Tbsp chili powder
~ ½ tsp basil
~ ½ tsp cilantro
Sprinkle of taco seasonings, to taste
Sprinkle of Cajun seasonings, to taste
Minced onion, to taste
Granulated garlic, to taste
Black pepper, to taste
Salt, to taste
~ 1 cup grated Colby-Jack cheese
½ cup half-and-half
Tortilla chips

Mix all but the last three ingredients together in a stew pot and simmer for about 30 minutes. Add the cheese and stir until all is melted. Turn the heat off and add the half-and-half, stirring until heated through and but removing from heat before it boils. Serve with crushed tortilla chips.

There's joy on this journey, On My Way Home to My Father's House,
Cindy <><

Monday, November 9, 2009

Getting It All Done Tip #5: Keep First Things First

“‘Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” (Matthew 22:37-39, NIV)

I really should have put writing about priorities higher on my list! But as we have come to it in the course of our conversation…

I often find myself “running behind,” trying to play catch-up. When it gets really bad, I find that I keep looking at all I have to get done, and everything is so important, and no one is willing or able to help, and something has to give, and…and…and I get nothing accomplished other than feeling sorry for myself. Where to start, when everything on the list is vitally important?

Well, those pity parties aren’t any fun, and they do nothing but make me and everyone around me miserable. Meanwhile, that to-do list is still there, and it ‘ain’t goin’ nowhere.’ The reality of the situation is I feel that everything is so 'vitally important,' but when I step back and look at the big picture, the situation is not so life-shattering after all. When I look at what’s really important, it becomes clear what truly needs my attention and what can be crossed off the list until next week. It comes down to priorities and perspective.

It should go without saying that you must stick to your priorities, but it is so very easy to get them jumbled up and out of order. How many of our everyday problems would disappear if we were able to keep our priorities perfectly in order? How many money problems, relationship problems, spiritual problems, would be eliminated or reduced by keeping sight of what is truly important?

Did you notice the order of those problems above: money, relationships, spiritual matters? That’s the order of importance in which many of us see our problems, especially in these trying economic times. When our priorities are out of order, the importance of the problems we face gets out of sync. If we will seek to keep “first things first,” the size of the others will begin to shrink, as we look at them from a proper perspective.

Getting It All Done Tip #4: Don't Be a Slave to Your Schedule

Many are the plans in a man's heart,
but it is the LORD'S purpose that prevails.
(Proverbs 19:21, NIV)


I know...I know...if you've been following my Tips you know that the previous post on planning, scheduling and to-do lists was rather extensive, and now I'm telling you not to be a slave to your schedule? What am I thinking??

I have found two constants in my everyday life: God's grace and provision and Murphy's Law. In case there's someone out there fortunate enough to not be familiar with the latter, it states that "Anything that can go wrong, probably will, at the worst possible time." I'll put it in flowery language by borrowing from Steinbeck (who borrowed from Burns): "The best laid plans of mice and men go oft astray."

No matter how much you plan and prepare, there is always the possibility of the unexpected. But sometimes those unexpected plan-busters are God's providence in disguise.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Getting it All Done Tip #3: Write It Down and Work It Out

Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love,
that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days…
May the favor of the Lord our God rest upon us;
establish the work of our hands for us –
yes, establish the work of our hands. (Psalm 90:14, 17)


“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11)


Thousands of books have been written that explain the benefit of planning. I don’t have a recommendation for a particular system, but I do know that taking a few minutes to plan makes my days flow much more smoothly.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Making Homemade Soap and New Friends; Celebrating Autumn Blessings

Last Friday, October 23, the kids and I, along with my mom (Maw-Maw), were blessed to attend a soap making class with Miss Olivia, who is a governess for a friend of the family.  I had the pleasure of meeting her for the first time at the class. She is a remarkable young woman, and she taught a delightful, hands-on class on cold process soap making, followed by a delicious lunch.  I now have over 30 bars of homemade soap curing, and I can't wait to get the supplies to make some on my own. 

I did not do a fantastic job cutting the bars, but they smell wonderful!  We used a "Clean Linen" scent that Katie picked out.  We have to wait five more weeks for the soap to cure before we can use it.  We also enjoyed meeting some new homeschooling friends at the class as well.

About three weeks ago, I visited my cousins at the Farmer's Market, and they very generously blessed me with some pumpkins, SIX to be exact (!!!) and I was thrilled.  Two pie pumpkins went to make goodies - one to my mother to make pumpkin pie for Cody and one to my mother-in-law to make pumpkin bread for Katie.  Two pumpkins are just for looks; they are the "warty" ones in the picture.  My cousin Bob told me that this particular variety is called "Knuckle-Heads"-I think you can guess why!  My other cousin Bud gave me the huge, lovely mum.  I think a light frost got a few of the blossoms, but it is covered with new buds and will be blooming all over in a couple of days.


The big pumpkins were for carving, but they were so pretty in front of the house that none of us could bear to cut them up!  However, in a day or so we may cut one and roast some pumpkin seeds. If the flesh is not too stringy we may even put up some pumpkin for holiday pies.

There are blessings all around, and there is joy on this journey, On My Way Home to My Father's House,
-Cindy <><
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