Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Good Chaos

Yesterday at my house was quite...shall I say...good chaos. Is there such a thing as good chaos? I believe so. Let me share...

A few months back, God started weighing heavily on the heart of my husband and me. We knew that God was prompting us to go to a different church. We could hear Him quite clearly because we spent 5 years out west in the mission field so we are fairly familiar with God's call to move. No matter, change is hard and we had been in our church (at that time) 2 years. We had made friends and so had our children, so, as usual, we knew this wouldn't be easy. Nevertheless, we were obedient and made the change and have not regretted 1 single second of it! (Our teens are very happy also!)

Our new church is only 2 miles from our home (compared to the 12 or so of our last church) so it's much easier to be involved with the people that go there. We have been greeted with open arms and so much love that it's overwhelming at times.

The teens here, many being baby Christians, have taken Beth and Zack in and made them part of the family so quickly it's made my head spin. Any given evening will find one or several teens at our house doing anything from homework to hanging out and it is really great!! Let me share yesterday.....

God has directed Beth, our 17 year old, to lead a drama team at church. She is passionate about this ministry. She has always loved performing and directing others as well and she is very talented in this area. Her youth pastor paired her up with an intern of his and together they are making great strides with this team.

Yesterday afternoon, Derrick came over so he and Beth could plan out some future dramas and skits, plan for some fund raisers and get all of their ducks in a row, so to speak. After the "business" was taken care of, the fun began. Zack, Derrick, along with Beth at times, could be found playing video games watching movies, listening to incredibly loud music...you get the picture. Chaos..but it was good.

As it got closer to time for my husband to get home, even with company, the rule applies.....when Dad gets home from work, it must be calm and quiet for at least 30 minutes. The calm quiet was successful, and we sat down to supper. We were cleaning off the table when another teen from church showed up to do some homework and hang out.

By now it's around 7 pm, and I've got one teen texting a boyfriend and listening to music, one teen on the phone with a girlfriend and playing video games (multi-tasking??) two others going between the refrigerator, the computer, video games and music. It was exhausting and great!!! About 9 pm (everyone has to be gone by 10) these 4 teens decide to do the Cha Cha Slide. I'd never heard of it so I was in for the performance of a lifetime! The music was loud but the smiles and laughter were unending. The energy coming off these teens was contagious and even had my tired husband smiling and laughing. For 30 minutes or more the floor space connecting my living room and dining room became a dance floor and it was great!!

By 9:30 the 2 visiting teens were going home and my 2 were settling down. Philip and I were exhausted, but so thankful that teens who really hardly know us, feel so comfortable and so welcomed that they love being in our home. It's very humbling to us.

Good chaos? Yes, there is such a thing and my prayer is that each one of you will get to enjoy that over and over. All you have to do is be willing to love those teenagers for who they are. Show them that the Christian life doesn't have to be all rigid and solomn faced. I don't believe that we will all be flatlining in Heaven, why should we be here??


Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Hot Dog Bun Rolls

We buy most of our hot dog or hamburger buns from the bread store in town. We lovingly refer to this place as the "Day Old Bakery". They sell bread, buns, snack cakes, donuts..just about anything you can imagine like that...for a reduced price.

While we do eat hot dogs, we don't eat a lot of them. We do enjoy rolls however, and I don't always have time to make them from scratch, so we use hot dog buns (and I'm sure you could use hamburger buns to make rolls....or maybe individual pizzas??? Hmmm......)

I tear the hot dog buns apart and put some butter on each side. We love garlic, so I put quite a bit of garlic powder on each bun. I top that with chives or cheese or just about anything we enjoy. Broil until the tops are lightly brown and enjoy!!!

By the way....if you see those buns are going to ruin before you can use them up, stick them in the freezer. Thaw them when you want to make the rolls. They haven't gone bad, you haven't wasted any money and it doesn't change the taste at all!!


One Little Spoonful

If your family is like mine, cleaning up after supper will often find a bowl with only a spoonful of veggies. Maybe a few green beans, or a little corn....not enough for another meal, but when you're watching those pennies, the thought of throwing out anything makes you cringe!

Let me share what we do with those little spoonfuls of leftovers. I keep a plastic bowl..or sometimes a gallon zip bag..in the freezer. Everytime there is just a spoonful of veggies left, I add that to my bowl in the freezer. When that bowl gets full, it's time to make vegetable soup!!

When I make my soup, I put the frozen veggies in the microwave and thaw them out. I brown some ground turkey, usually seasoned with salt and garlic powder. I put all of this in the crockpot with 3 cans of tomatoes. If I see there is not enough veggies, I add a can or two of our favorite ones with this. I usually add 2 or 3 cups of water to this also, depending on the room left in my crockpot. Remember, I'm filling a 6 quart crockpot. I cook for dear hubby, myself, 2 teenagers and usually a friend of my son's or my daughter's boyfriend...so it takes a lot of soup! I set the crockpot to low and let this cook for 6-7 hours. About an hour before the soup is done, I add alphabet noodles to the soup and finish cooking (or crocking???). Add some crackers or hot dog rolls and the meal is ready to eat!!


What are hot dog rolls???? Post to follow!!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Run to Kmart!!

Call your local Kmart!! Find out if they are offering this awesome opportunity..

In some flyers this week is a coupon that advertises double manufacturers coupons from September 21 through September 27!! This is good for manufacturer coupons only (no internet coupons) and they are doubling them up to and including $2!! This is very exciting as you can get many items free or very low cost.

So grab those coupons and sort through them. Don't let a money saving opportunity like this pass you by!!

Friday, September 19, 2008

96 Shopping Days Left!!

Only 96 shopping days left until Christmas!!

What!! Does that send a wave of panic in you? Do you find yourself checking the balance in your checkbook in the middle of the night? Do you hear those plastic demons screaming at you from within your wallet, "BUY THIS!! CHARGE THAT!!"? Do you toss and turn wondering what you're going to do? So many people to buy for, so many people to please....

Just relax...96 days is more than enough time to get those gifts ready for Christmas. The question you must first ask yourself is who do I need to get a gift for. In our house, we, of course, give gifts to each other...Dad, Mom, Beth, Zack....then we look to our extended family...2 grandmas, 1 grandpa, 1 step grandpa, 2 couples, 2 single sis-in-laws, 1 single bro-in-law, 3 nieces and 4 nephews.

We usually purchase something for the grandparents and nieces and nephews, but for the couples and the sis & bro-in-law, they usually get a gift from the kitchen. In years past we have done cookies in a jar and homemade Christmas ornaments. I also watch for amazing sales throughout the years. One year I found grilled cheese toasters for $2 each. I bought 6 and took care of 5 gifts for $10 (I kept one of those toasters for myself!!)

I also watch througout the year for sales for the nieces and nephews. In our area different toys, books and clothes are on sale all the time. Even though I have teenagers at home, a normal shopping day will find me in the toy aisle, simply because most of my neices and nephews are under the age of 10.

One pit to avoid is buying those gifts for people you don't really know....you know who I'm talking about....the mail person, the newspaper delivery person, the bag boy...you can really rack up some expense or (forbid it!!) debt when you are buying for everyone you know or have had a slight meeting with. My teens and I usually spend a couple of days in the kitchen a couple of weeks before Christmas baking cookies and bars and making candy. We put in a couple of Christmas cd's and heat up some hot chocolate and we're off!! After we're finished with our baking, we put a few cookies in some plastic wrap, a few pieces of candy in some plastic wrap and the same with a few of the bars. I buy Christmasy (?) bags at the dollar store and we put a little of everything down in those bags. We tie up the top, add a Christmas card (one that actually says MERRY CHRISTMAS)--another soap box I'll address later-- and start sharing.

We give a bag to our newspaper lady, our mail lady, the piano teacher, the Sunday school teachers, anybody who has touched our lives in a special way. We even give a bag to our garbage men! I'll never forget the look on their faces (we were peeking out the window!) when they stopped and saw a "Christmas present" for them. Let's face it....if it weren't for them, think about the mess we would be living in!! I am very thankful for them.

For our immediate neighbors, I usually bake a loaf of homemade bread and some type of pie. All of this doesn't take much money or effort and the blessing we receive far outweighs anything we give out.

Christmas has gotten so materialistic and there is so much hype about buy this, get that...our lives will be so much better if we only had.....I just can't stand it anymore. We wonder why there is so many who are dissatisfied with their lives...when is enough, enough??

Christmas is about Jesus Christ. The Ultimate Gift. Nothing any of us could ever buy or make could surpass the gift He gave us so long ago. And once you've recevied the Ultimate Gift, everything else pales in comparison anyway doesn't it??


Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Savin' At the Store!

My husband gets paid every two weeks, so every two weeks I make a day of buying groceries and household needs. It takes a few hours to scan the sale papers, match them up with my coupons and go throughout the cabinets to see what I need to purchase and usually about 5 or so hours in town buying what's on that list.

Since we are a one income family, I try very hard to make those dollars stretch. I usually do a good job sticking to my list and finding those hidden sales. But there have been just as many weeks that I totally blow it and I come home with a lot of things that weren't on my list, or even on my mind until I saw them in the store.

I'd like to share some things that work for me that help keep me on track.

1. I always make a list. My kids lovingly (?) call my list my "brain". One thing that has really helped is I always try to keep at least one of everything "in stock". In other words, in our bathroom I have a cabinet where I keep all of our soap, shampoo, shave cream, toothpaste...etc. In that cabinet are say, two cans of shave cream. We take a can out and use it. When that can gets empty, we pull out the next can and immediately go to the list and write it down. Even my children do this because I have taught them since they were little that when they pull out the extra, you need to write it on the list. This does a few things... a) it keeps me from running out and eliminates those extra trips to the store. If you are like me, a trip to the store for a 1.50 deoderant turns into a $40 shopping spree!! b) it allows me to take advantage of sales and not needing to pay full price for anything c) it saves gas in my car. I drive a small compact car, but with gas prices it still takes $45 to fill it up!!

2. I shop the sales. In most places the sales for the week come out in the paper on Wednesday and I usually do the shopping on Friday so it gives me a couple of days to.....

3. Make a menu. Read the paper, plan your meals for the next two weeks according to the sales. By making a menu, you know what ingredients you will need. Check your cabinets for those ingredients. If you don't have them, write them on your list. Again eliminating extra trips to the store. Also making a menu keeps me from having the "I don't know what to fix" mentality and keeps me from spending needlessly on heat-n-eat items.

4. By our house we are fortunate to have a trade center or the more familiar name is a "Bent-n-Dent". They have items whose packages are 'gently' damaged. Maybe a box has been a little damaged or a can (be very careful here) that is slightly bent. At our particular store most of the items are in good shape and still well within the expiration date. Because of this though, most things are dramatically reduced in price. Check around in your area to see if you have a local "Bent-n-Dent".
I am also fortunate that all of the stores I shop at are within 2 miles of each other. If you have to drive for miles to save a buck, you may not be saving anything at all.

I'm interested to know how you save money on shopping day. Share your ideas with me. I'm always interested in learning new ways to save.


Tuesday, September 16, 2008


This morning I am reading my e-mail. Since I love to read everything I get quite the assortment of newsletters. One of the newsletters I get is One News Now. It tells me about the world news with a Christian perspective.

Imagine my shock and disbelief when the headline was this: Boltz Shocks Christian Community With Homosexuality Admission

I am still shaking my head as I write this. This man was a husband for 33 years and is a father of 4. He has written some amazing songs such as "I Pledge Allegiance to the Lamb" and one that I have sang in church myself, "Thank You". He claims to feel closer to God since he no longer hates himself.

How do you claim to have a closer relationship to the same God Who plainly states in Romans 1:24-32.."God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting." NKJV, v28.
Ray Boltz clearly needs our prayers and not our throwing of stones. In God's eyes sin is sin. He doesn't make a difference in "little" sins or "big" sins.

The state of the morality our country never ceases to shock me. How can we even think about standing before our God when everyday humans walk farther and farther from the One Who died to give them life eternal.. a home in Heaven?

We must stand up together as Christians and say, "No More!!" The Bible clearly states that if we don't honor and glorify God and praise His name, that the rocks will cry out and do it. Let's not let rocks rob us of the blessings God is just waiting to give us.


Saturday, September 13, 2008

Hot Dog Wagon

I have learned a lot today. I have been convicted and transformed. All because of a hot dog wagon.

A few months ago, my husband and I felt a direct prompting of the Holy Spirit to move to a different church. We had been in our previous church about 2 years, the kids were very involoved in their youth group, my hubby worked building and grounds and life was good. This was a very large, very active church. We were not unhappy but God was laying groundwork for something more.

Our children were on a mission trip in Florida and Philip and I just felt a prompting of the Spirit to visit a very small church about 2 miles from our house. From the moment we walked in, God made it very clear that He was about to move in our lives if we would allow it. To make a long story short, after much prayer, family discussions and much more prayer, we were obedient to God and moved to our present church.This church has a small youth group and they (the youth) are trying very hard to raise monies to do youth group things.

So let me ask, how many times have you went to Wal Mart and walked by those kids working in a tiny, hot, hot dog wagon, begging you to buy a hot dog? Come on...be honest....me too. I have walked by thinking, "Uh...if I want a hot dog, I'll go home and fix one. No thanks." So with my "sympathetic" (or maybe rather pathetic) smile on my face, I shake my head no and walk on by. But no more....

My own children, along with 8-10 other teens and a lot of parents were out at 9 this morning selling hot dogs.."Hot dogs!! 50cents!!" "Hot dog and Coke, $1" "Please by a hot dog, support our youth". People walking by, too busy or too uncaring to hand over 50 cents to a youth group. But ohhh...drive by the Bingo halls.......(sorry...big soap box issue for me!!)...Anyway, around noon, I climbed in that hot dog wagon and began my 'shift' of making and wrapping hot dogs. It was so much fun and the fellowship was great!! The discouragment on our kids faces though got me to thinking....These kids are working hard to raise money for something they believe in..their youth group. They love each other and Jesus Christ and they want to raise money so that others can fall in love with Jesus and see that Christian teens can have fun too.

Now don't misunderstand, a lot of wonderful people stopped and bought hot dogs and some even made a donation without taking a hot dog. God bless them...
I had to leave to come home and take care of some things, but I'm anxious to see what the earnings are for the day....all for the glory of God!!

I will never walk by a hot dog wagon and look at it the same again. As long as they are raising money for something that will not go against the Word of God, think I'll stop and enjoy a hot dog...or two...How about you??


Friday, September 12, 2008

Just Stay Calm!

While listening to the news this morning, it seems as if Hurricane Ike is going to make a real mess. Incredible winds, storm surges, rain, floods... a lot of people are going to need our prayers and our help. What caught my attention though, was the mention that because of Ike, gas prices are already rising again. It is predicted that Ike is going to most likely cause severe damage to the oil rigs in the Gulf. This may very likely happen, but it hasn't happened yet...

So just stay calm.....for months, even more than a year now, we have been very aware of rising oil prices, thus rising gas prices. However, in the last 3 or 4 months, those same prices have been going down because we have started combining our trips, not making unecessary runs into town. We are staying at the speed limit and making sure our tires are inflated properly. We are carpooling and doing everything we know to do to conserve our gas and ease our finances. Just keep doing what you're doing.

If the oil rig is damaged, our continuing to do what we're doing will ease the strain felt by that. Panic isn't good in any situation. No, we can't stop what the oil companies are intending to do, but we can continue to do our part by staying calm and pressing forward.


Thursday, September 11, 2008

Evening Chaos

I have been a wife for almost 25 years and a stay at home mom for almost 17 years. I'd like to think that I've learned a bit over the years about evening chaos.

You know what I'm talking about.....it's 4 o'clock and it's time to get supper going. You are tired after a day of homeschooling, cleaning house, doing laundry, running errands, etc. You haven't even thought about what to make for supper, one child is wrapped around your leg, another is crying...well, maybe even screaming...or coloring on the house (that really happened to me!). Dear hubby just called to let you know he's on his way home and he is exhausted. He can't wait to get home and you look around and say to yourself, 'Come home to this!!?'

I have one of the most patient, loving husbands I know of. He doesn't say too much about the way I school, or run the household, or shop. He's incredibly patient with me and thinks I'm beautiful whether I'm all dolled up or in sweats, t-shirt and a pony tail. He is completely in love with Jesus Christ and sold out to his children. I'm a very blessed woman. But....there are a few things he expects (and more than deserves) after a hard day at work.

He is over the maintenance department at our local hospital so his days are filled with problems and you name its that need immediate attention. Someone is always having a crisis. When he comes home he wants a cold drink waiting on him and his newspaper sitting by the couch. Please understand this same man tells everyone hi when he gets home, wraps me up in a big hug and kiss and asks how my day was. In the 17 years as a SAHM though I've also learned that..

1. He's tired. He's been solving problems all day long and the last thing he needs to hear when he hits the door are the problems I've had all day long. Not that he thinks my problems aren't important..but I've learned that if I'll give him 30 minutes to unwind, he's rested and his thoughts are cleared and he's more able to listen.

2. He's tired. Even as teenagers, and sometimes more so, our home can be very loud. The kids used to "attack" dad at the door with a quick hug and then telling on their brother or sister. So, I sat down one day and explained to them how blessed they were to have such a great Daddy and when he comes home from work we should let him have a few minutes to unwind. We began by setting a timer for 30 minutes. When Dad would get home, they could great him with hugs and I love you's, but then they had to go to their rooms until the timer beeped. Then they could come out and hang with Dad. This also got the kids separated so any disagreements they'd had during the day were soon forgotten.

3. He's tired. While he's having his 30 minute sabbatical and the kids are having their 30 minute sabbatical, I'm able to work in the kitchen and finish preparing supper. We're able to sit down together and enjoy a meal, catch up on our day and it's a peaceful, blessed time for our family.

Don't believe this will make a difference in the evening chaos and a wonderful change in dear hubby??....give it a shot. I challenge you for the next 2 weeks to try it. I can almost guarantee that your husband will think he's coming home to a wonderland.

As a little extra..take 15 minutes and pretty yourself up. Comb your hair, wash your face or touch up your makeup, spritz on a little perfume...hubby already believes you're beautiful...but make him even more glad he's home!!


Alabama Homeschoolers!!

View my page on Alabama Homeschooling

I just ran across this site a few weeks ago and I love it. I've made some new friends and it is just refreshing to know that there are others out there (well, even close to home) that understand my struggles, frustrations and how excited I get when one of my kids "gets it!"

Click on the icon above and enable yourself to learn more about homeschoolers and homeschooling!!!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

All It Takes

All it takes is a single minute...sometimes a single second. We've heard it said many times before, 'Life can change in a second'..and that's so true. Normally when we hear that, it is connected with something bad. An accident, illness, death. But what if we look at that from a different point of view. What if we look at it from the angle of a single minute changing our lives for the better.

A single minute can change us from unsaved to saved. A single minute can change us from wasteful to resourceful. A single minute can change us from sadness to happiness.

Sometimes I think that we dwell so much on the negative. Don't get me wrong, my life has also had it's share of things changing in a single minute that weren't good, that didn't work out like I wanted them to. Things changed that made me unhappy, unsettled..even angry.

But as in all things, how I choose to handle those moments are entirely up to me, as is the fact of whether I dwell on the negative or the positive. God has spoken to my heart...well, with me He was more like yelling and shaking me...(I tend to be one of His stubborn daughters)...about how I handle the situations in my life.

I used to hang on the negative. I used to think 'Oh it's never going to get any better' and God allowed me to wallow in that for a time. Then, thankfully, He set me right and showed me..through a series of single minutes..that it's all in how I look at things.

Someone shared this example with me: 'It's like a table runner that has cross stitching on it. We are looking at God from the level of this world up to Him. We're looking at the underside of that table runner and it looks awful. Thread here and there, overlapping and just a mess, but God is looking from Heaven down. He's looking at the top of that table runner and it's beautiful'.

So let's look at different avenues of single minutes: how to live the best Christian life we can because we were unsaved and now we're saved. How to live frugally because we had a job now we're a single income family...whether that was by choice or not.

Let's choose to live this life 'One Single Minute' at a time.....