Sunday, October 30, 2011

Blessed Assurance

Sunday Hymn Post

Blessed Assurance

by Fanny Crosby

Bless├Ęd assurance, Jesus is mine!
O what a foretaste of glory divine!
Heir of salvation, purchase of God,
Born of His Spirit, washed in His blood.

Perfect submission, perfect delight,
Visions of rapture now burst on my sight;
Angels descending bring from above
Echoes of mercy, whispers of love.

Perfect submission, all is at rest
I in my Savior am happy and blest,
Watching and waiting, looking above,
Filled with His goodness, lost in His love.

Refrain -

This is my story, this is my song,
Praising my Savior, all the day long;
This is my story, this is my song,
Praising my Savior, all the day long.



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Sunday, October 23, 2011

All the Way My Savior Leads Me

Sunday Hymn Post

All the Way My Savior Leads Me

by Fanny Crosby

All the way my Savior leads me;
What have I to ask beside?
Can I doubt His tender mercy,
Who through life has been my Guide?
Heav’nly peace, divinest comfort,
Here by faith in Him to dwell!
For I know, whate’er befall me,
Jesus doeth all things well;
For I know, whate’er befall me,
Jesus doeth all things well.

All the way my Savior leads me,
Cheers each winding path I tread;
Gives me grace for every trial,
Feeds me with the living Bread.
Though my weary steps may falter,
And my soul athirst may be,
Gushing from the Rock before me,
Lo! A spring of joy I see;
Gushing from the Rock before me,
Lo! A spring of joy I see.

All the way my Savior leads me
O the fullness of His love!
Perfect rest to me is promised
In my Father’s house above.
When my spirit, clothed immortal,
Wings its flight to realms of day
This my song through endless ages—
Jesus led me all the way;
This my song through endless ages—
Jesus led me all the way.


(Keep in mind, this song was written by a woman that had been blind since birth. She is also one of the most prolific song writers in history. Here's her bio.)

My thoughts today: Jesus leads us, but do we follow Him? Do we allow Him to direct our steps? Do we give Him the steering wheel? Do we seek His will?

He "doeth all things well". Trust Him. Follow Him.

Jesus said it again and again in the gospels...
Matthew 6:24 - Then Jesus told his disciples, "If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me."


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Thursday, October 20, 2011

"Wonder Song"

Pumpkin patch
Thankful Thursday

The writings are from Mrs. Wilder, the photo is from me. If you look carefully in the background, you can see the workers harvesting the pumpkins. They were tossing them down the line until the pumpkin got to the closest person to the truck. Not the ideal day to visit the pumpkin patch, but it had its own sort of beauty.


King Winter has sent warning of his coming! There was a delightful freshness in the air the other morning, and all over the low places lay the first frost of the season.

What a beautiful world this is! Have you noticed the wonderful coloring of the sky at sunrise? For me there is no time like the early morning, when the spirit of light broods over the earth at its awakening. What glorious colors in the woods these days! Did you ever think that great painters have spent their lives trying to reproduce on canvas what we may see every day? Thousands of dollars are paid for their pictures which are not so beautiful as those nature gives us freely. The colors in the sky at sunset, the delicate tints of the early spring foliage, the brilliant autumn leaves, the softly colored grasses and lovely flowers-- what painter ever equalled their beauties with paint and brush? I have in my living room three large windows uncovered by curtains which I call my pictures. Everchanging with the seasons, with wild birds and gay squirrels passing on and off the scene, I never have seen a landscape painting to compare with them.

As we go about our daily tasks the work will seem lighter if we enjoy these beautiful things that are just outside our doors and windows. It pays to go to the top of the hill, now and then, to see the view and to stroll thru the wood lot or pasture forgetting that we are in a hurry or that there is such a thing as a clock in the world. You are "so busy"! Oh yes I know it! We are all busy, but what are we living for anyway and why is the world so beautiful if not fur us? The habits we form last us through this life and I firmly believe into the next. Let's not make such a habit of hurry and work that when we leave this world we feel impelled to hurry thru the spaces of the universe using our wings for feather dusters to clean away the star dust.

The true way to live is to enjoy every moment as it passes and surely it is in the everyday things around us that the beauty of life lies.

I strolled today down a woodland path--

A crow cawed loudly and flew away.

The sky was blue and the clouds were gold

And drifted before me fold on fold;

The leaves were yellow and red and brown

And patter, patter the nuts fell down,

On this beautiful, golden autumn day.

A squirrel was storing his winter hoard,

The world was pleasant: I lingered long,

The brown quails rose with a sudden whirr

And a little bundle, of eyes and fur,

Took shape of a rabbit and leaped away.

A little chipmunk came out to play

And the autumn breeze sang a wonder song.

Mrs. A. J. Wilder. "An Autumn Day." Missouri Ruralist, (October 20, 1916): page 9.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

"The Voice of the Lord"

We've been reading the Psalms as a family during meal times. We're working on making it a habit for every meal, and doubtless we miss some, but it has been a pleasant addition for our family. I got the idea when I read "Honey for a Child's Heart" where the author describes her own family's tradition of Bible reading at meals that goes back several generations. Her account is inspirational. Preacher Man is a fast eater, so he does the honors as soon as he finishes his meal.

Anyway, that accounts for my posting quotes from Psalms twice this week. :)

Do you have a family Bible reading time in your family? What works for you?

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Psalm 29
Ascribe to the LORD Glory
A Psalm of David.
Ascribe to the LORD, O heavenly beings,
ascribe to the LORD glory and strength.
Ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name;
worship the LORD in the splendor of holiness.

The voice of the LORD is over the waters;
the God of glory thunders,
the LORD, over many waters.
The voice of the LORD is powerful;
the voice of the LORD is full of majesty.

The voice of the LORD breaks the cedars;
the LORD breaks the cedars of Lebanon.
He makes Lebanon to skip like a calf,
and Sirion like a young wild ox.

The voice of the LORD flashes forth flames of fire.

The voice of the LORD shakes the wilderness;
the LORD shakes the wilderness of Kadesh.

The voice of the LORD makes the deer give birth
and strips the forests bare,
and in his temple all cry, "Glory!"

The LORD sits enthroned over the flood;
the LORD sits enthroned as king forever.
May the LORD give strength to his people!
May the LORD bless his people with peace!



I love the way David describes "the voice of the Lord"! It's even more notable when read aloud. Try it!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Fantastic Fall Meal

Very simple, and very tasty, this is a perfect company meal for fall! May I suggest pumpkin cheesecake for dessert? Mmmmmmm!

pork chops n apples 3

Pork Chops and Apples

  • 3 lbs. apples, peeled, cored, sliced
  • 1/4 c. brown sugar
  • cinnamon
  • 2 tbs. butter
  • 6-8 pork chops
  • salt & pepper
  • 1/2 c. white cooking wine, sherry, or chicken broth*
*I ran out of cooking wine, and the last time I made it, I thought using just the broth missed a bit of the spark I so enjoyed in this recipe. I found a wonderful way to add the missing "spark" is to add a Tbs. or two of apple cider vinegar to the broth. It worked perfectly!

Brown the pork chops in a little bit of oil in a skillet.

In the meantime, grease a 9x13 pan. Arrange the apple slices in the bottom of the pan. Sprinkle the brown sugar and a generous amount of cinnamon on top. Dot with the butter.

pork chops n apples

Lay the pork chops over the apples. Sprinkle with salt & pepper to taste. Pour your liquid of choice on top and bake at 350* for one hour.

pork chops n apples 2

Acorn Squash
Cut your squash in half lengthwise and scoop out the insides.

acorn squash

Prick both sides gently all over with a fork. Fill the cavities of the squash with a Tbs. or so of butter, brown sugar to taste and some walnuts or pecans.

acorn squash 2

Put the halves into a small baking dish (8x8 works well) and add some water to the pan until it is about 1/2" deep. Bake with the pork chops for about an hour.

Fall Inspired Green Salad
  • 1 head of romaine, washed and torn
  • 2 small apples, cored and chopped
  • 1 small red onion sliced as thinly as possible
  • a handful of craisins
  • a handful of pecans or walnuts coarsely chopped
  • 1 small carrot, grated
  • tastes delicious with raspberry pecan or poppy seed dressing
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Monday, October 17, 2011

Balance

A dear friend is writing a wonderful series of posts on balance. She is calling it, "Balancing Balance". She is a woman worthy of emulation, too. She has graduated 2/3 homeschoolers, kept her home, served her fellow Christians, and has even served the community as mayor! Go and glean her wisdom!

Start here with Part 1.

I find that it is becoming crucial to learn these lessons now that I am the mama. There are so many really GOOD things that can be done and despite what you may have heard, you cannot have it all. We must make choices and If I fail to properly filter, the entire family can fall apart. Sounds dramatic, but it is so much the case!

If I fail to keep up with the dishes, the entire kitchen becomes over-run and a person cannot even work there to prepare food. What happens then? Mama's blood sugar plummets and she tries to correct it with dark chocolate peanut M&Ms which only make her crash even further in 20 minutes. (NOT PRETTY! Ask Preacher Man!) Children become irritable and hungry, and have to scrounge for whatever can be eaten with their hands. Then mama has to wash a room full of dishes and it takes an hour, during which time the children run AMOK and cause an even bigger mess! (Oh mama tried to involve the children in the dish washing, but really, it wouldn't work because of the horrendous mess.) It's ugly folks. Ugly! I should know!

Remember this?

Dirty Dishes Take Over

*shudders*

Or what about when the family's schedule is so utterly hectic, running here, there and everywhere and the children miss too many naps and have irregular meals, and are the kinds of children that can only poop when they are at home (sorry, I know that is TMI), so their entire digestive system gets out of whack, not to mention the effects of eating bad food on the road...

All of this because MAMA fails to filter!

It's a different ball game now. My poor decisions don't just affect me anymore. My family needs me and needs me to BALANCE!

So if you struggle with this, and I don't know a woman who doesn't, go visit Mrs. Lori and learn how! :)

Psalm 27

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The LORD is my light and my salvation;
whom shall I fear?
The LORD is the stronghold of my life;
of whom shall I be afraid?

When evildoers assail me
to eat up my flesh,
my adversaries and foes,
it is they who stumble and fall.

Though an army encamp against me,
my heart shall not fear;
though war arise against me,
yet I will be confident.

One thing have I asked of the LORD,
that will I seek after:
that I may dwell in the house of the LORD
all the days of my life,
to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD
and to inquire in His temple.

For He will hide me in His shelter
in the day of trouble;
He will conceal me under the cover of His tent;
He will lift me high upon a rock.

And now my head shall be lifted up
above my enemies all around me,
and I will offer in his tent
sacrifices with shouts of joy;
I will sing and make melody to the LORD.

Hear, O LORD, when I cry aloud;
be gracious to me and answer me!
You have said, "Seek my face."My heart says to You,
"Your face, LORD, do I seek."

Hide not Your face from me.
Turn not Your servant away in anger,
O You who have been my help.
Cast me not off; forsake me not,
O God of my salvation!
For my father and my mother have forsaken me,
but the LORD will take me in.

Teach me your way, O LORD,
and lead me on a level path
because of my enemies.
Give me not up to the will of my adversaries;
for false witnesses have risen against me,
and they breathe out violence.

I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the LORD
in the land of the living!
Wait for the LORD;
Be strong, and let your heart take courage;
Wait for the LORD!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Guide Me, Oh Thou Great Jehovah

Sunday Hymn Post

Guide me, O Thou great Jehovah,
Pilgrim through this barren land.
I am weak, but Thou art mighty;
Hold me with Thy powerful hand.
Bread of Heaven, feed me till I want no more;
Bread of Heaven, feed me till I want no more.

Open now the crystal fountain,
Whence the healing stream doth flow;
Let the fire and cloudy pillar
Lead me all my journey through.
Strong Deliverer, be Thou still my Strength and Shield;
Strong Deliverer, be Thou still my Strength and Shield.

When I tread the verge of Jordan,
Bid my anxious fears subside;
Death of deaths, and hell’s destruction,
Land me safe on Canaan’s side.
Songs of praises, I will ever give to Thee;
Songs of praises, I will ever give to Thee.

Words by William Williams


Friday, October 14, 2011

Cloth Diaper Tutorial 3

How to Replace Leg Elastic

Specifically, for Fuzzi Bunz and Blueberry pocket diapers. In order for this to work, there must be a leg casing. (This is a big reason why I like to buy these two brands - once the elastic is shot, I can fix them instead of throwing them away!)

Notes
  1. I did the stitching in navy thread so you can see it better. You will probably want to use white to match the fleece.
  2. The entire process is done sewing by hand. No machine necessary!
  3. You will need a needle, scissors, thread, and 1/4" braided elastic cut in about 6" lengths.

Let's get started!


Step 1:
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Find the leg casing on the diapers. Cut a small slit (slightly more than 1/4" long) about 1/4" to the edge of the casing. You will do this on each end of the casing on both sides, making four slits total. *Do not cut through the PUL - Cut the fleece ONLY!)

Note: If you are replacing elastic in Blueberries, you will want to go ahead and cut out the old elastic at this time. Just snip it and pull it out - a little end left is ok. There is no need to cut out the elastic in Fuzzi Bunz - it is hidden under a seam and it will not make your casing to bulky to leave it in.

Step 2:
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Tuck the elastic back in the casing. Bring the needle (with knotted thread) up under the elastic and through the fleece so the knot will also tuck back into the casing.

Step 3:
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Do a blanket stitch to anchor the elastic inside the casing.
A blanket stitch is similar to a whipstitch, only you are catching the loop of thread and pulling it into a knot with each stitch. It is meant to be nice and strong.

Step 4:
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This picture shows the first stitch completed. Blanket stitch all the way across the width of the elastic and just for extra strength, stitch back to where you first started.

Step 5:
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Tie two knots to anchor your thread and snip it close to the knot.

Step 6:
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Attach a safety pin to the other end of your elastic. Push the safety pin along the casing, pulling the elastic along. Try not to let it roll or twist.

Step 7:
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Pull the elastic as tight as it needs to be. Use a newer diaper with good elastic to compare.
(I try to err on the side of being too tight rather than too loose because the elastic will loosen over time.)

Step 8:
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Hold the elastic in place as you bring your knotted thread up under the casing and through the elastic. Blanket stitch across the width of the elastic. Once the elastic is secure, you can trim off the excess elastic.

Step 9:
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Tuck the little bit of tail of the elastic back into the casing. Blanket stitch back across the width of the elastic to where you started, this time, catching both sides of the fleece and the elastic with each stitch. This will close up the opening in the fleece.

Step 10:
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Tie a couple of good knots and trim the tread.

Step 11:
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Side one is done! Now do the same on the other side.

And this is what it will look like when you are finished:

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Good as new!!

Other Cloth Diaper Tutorials:
How to Re-waterproof PUL on pocket diapers
How to your own Microfiber Inserts for pocket diapers
How to sew a waterproof pail liner

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Thursday, October 13, 2011

Grocery Store Math 101

Food prices are climbing, and we are feeling the pinch. Almost a year ago, I wrote the post Half Price Groceries, and while it still has some wonderful tips in there, my baseline prices have had to inch up along with the rising grocery prices. It is HARD for me to find dried beans for less than $1 per pound anymore, and beef less than $2 per pound is rare indeed. When I DO find amazing deals like these, there is usually a limit that prevents me from stocking up the way I would like. It is becoming more crucial than ever to be conscious of prices... REAL prices, not just the flashy sales signs. You have to look at the numbers and do the math! This may be elementary for many of my readers, but I know that when I was a fresh, new homemaker, I had to learn these lessons along the way. I had been grocery shopping for over 5 years for our family before I realized just how much deli meat and bagged lettuce cost per pound. It PAYS to look at the unit price!!



You will see a tag like this for nearly every item at your local store. If you are looking at the big numbers that you see, you get the cost per item. Look at the smaller numbers - the ones in the orange box in this picture. That is the UNIT PRICE and it is golden! You see, not all packages are equal size. Perhaps you have noticed the trend in frozen vegetables to only include 12 oz. per bag instead of 16 oz. that used to be the standard. You may think you are getting a good deal when you buy a package of frozen broccoli for a dollar, until you look closely and realize that instead of paying $1/lb the way you used to do, you are now paying $1.33/lb. The manufacturers are hoping that you don't notice this change. You have to beat them at their game. Don't look at the flashy packaging and advertisements, look at the cold hard facts - the numbers, and especially the unit price.


Take a calculator with you to the store, and start doing the math while you shop. It's isn't calculus, it is basic math - addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. You can do this!


In order to get prices on a level playing field, I look at the price per pound and try to mostly buy foods that cost less than $2 per pound. Here is how to calculate the price per pound:


There are 16 oz. in a pound. Some foods are packaged or sold by the pound and that makes it easy for you. Others take some fast math and it is usually as simple as two easy calculations. Here is your formula:

Price of Item % number of ounces = unit price per oz.


Unit price per oz. x 16 = price per pound


Here is an example with a 5 oz. can of tuna:


$1 % 5 oz. = $.20 (unit price per oz.)


$.20 x 16 = $3.20/lb


If your item is sold by the pound, it is even simpler and here is an example with a bag of onions:


$1.50 % 3 lbs = $.50/lb


To illustrate how important it is to look at the cost per pound, I pulled out this week's sales flier for the lower priced grocery store in my town where I do about 80% of my shopping. Because I advocate buying everything on sale, everything on the list is this week's sale price. As you will see, many times an item is still not a good buy, even when it is on sale.


Buy from this list:


Food

Price/lb.

Bag of yellow onions

$.50

20 lb. bag Goya white rice

$.40

Hunts canned tomatoes

$.57

Store brand wheat sandwich bread

$1.43

Fresh Broccoli, Grapes, and Red Peppers

$.99

5 lb. Bag Russet Potatoes

$.60

5 lb. Whole Carrots

$.60

Romaine Lettuce

$1.50

3 lb. bag apples

$.67

Barilla Whole Wheat Pasta

$.99

Allen’s Frozen Vegetables

$.99


Look! Lots of healthy food choices for less than a dollar a pound! Now, I realize there is no meat on this list and it is worth noting that in our family we are omnivores that very much NEED meat. (There are at least two of us that have a super metabolism that requires plenty of daily protein.) This just wasn't a terrific week for meat buying, though I did buy a beef roast for $2.57/lb. My target prices for meat are generally $1/lb for chicken and $2.50/lb. for beef. I occasionally buy wild caught salmon, though more often we make salmon patties from wild caught canned salmon so we can get our good omegas and calcium.

Avoid buying from this list:

Food

Price/lb.

Store Brand Deli Turkey

$6.99

Chicken of the Sea chunk light tuna

$3.20

Kellogg’s Cereals

$3.32

Store Brand Boxed Mac & Cheese

$3.43

Quaker Granola Bars

$7.38

Applegate Farms Organic Hot Dogs

$5.59

Organic Box Baby Spinach

$11.17

Dole Bagged Romaine

$3.56

Lays Potato Chips

$3.11

Dove Chocolates

$5.88

Yellowfin Tuna Steaks

$13.99!!!


So sad about the Dove Chocolates! Still, you have to weigh out cost vs. benefit and I am a firm believer in the sacredness of mama's chocolate stash, so if you have room for it in the budget, indulge. :) Just be sure you savor every bite!


This post is a part of the Four Moms linkup on keeping your food budget down as prices rise.
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