Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Veggie Challenge

On last week's "Count Your Blessings," I mentioned introducing spinach to our menu.  So I was thinking that wouldn't it be great to try to introduce a new veggie for next week?  I will try to continue with the spinach in other creative ways or find a new veggie to experiment with.  So join me and post your pictures of your creations!  
The above is Tacitos with sour cream and spinach dip!

Reminder:  Keep up with your "Count Your Blessings" post and remember to link it through Mr. Linkys...

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Recipe: Chicken Fried Rice

What You'll Use:

What You'll Do:
Place some oil into pot and let it burn
Throw in angel hair pasta and stir until browned

Once browned, you will add any seasonings you use (minced garlic, ground pepper, vinegar, etc)
Add seasoned chicken and stir until browned (I like it to lock in the flavors, yummy!)
Add  cleaned rice
Throw in frozen veggies and stir it all together
Finally, you'll add the water (I add Gravy Master to give to some color)

This is what the final product will look like:)

Serve with a salad and/or sweet plantains and enjoy!

Friday, April 24, 2009

Count Your Blessings

Picture 19

1.  My nephew was dedicated to the Lord on Sunday!!!!
2.  Got a great deal at CVS on Saturday
3.  Sara Utterbach is back on air...LIVE!!!!
4.  I went to Costco and saved about $50 in coupons
5.  We seasoned the meat and chicken in record time (I think)
6.  The Lord has used my husband to make some of the best smoothies ever:)
7.  I had a wonderful chat with my tween
8.  The praise and worship ministered so much on Thursday's service
9.  A sister asked my daughter to be a part of her wedding
10.  We incorporated a new veggie into our meals......spinach!!!!!!!!!

Recipe: French Fry Casserole

What You'll Use:

What You'll Do:
cook ground turkey
once cooked, remove it from pan and place it in baking pan
mix turkey with condensed cream of chicken soup and 1/2 cup of milk
spread it evenly throughout pan
spread condensed cream of mushroom soup evenly over the turkey
sprinkle frozen french fries over until entire dish is covered
pop it in the oven at 4oo degrees for about 45-60min
take out and sprinkle shredded cheese and put back into oven (although the oven is off, the heat will make the cheese melt)

This was soooo good!  It is now a family favorite and has been added to the family menu.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Seeing Myself in Him

Have you ever felt disqualified? Inadequate?  Rejected? Or even unloved?
Well, Zaccheaus did.  The Bible tells us in Luke 19 that he was a chief tax collector and  wealthy but also a short man.  So here I see a man, who according to society, has a lot going for him, but not enough.  

Yet Zaccheaus wanted to see Jesus.  Why?  Why did he want to see Jesus so urgently?  I could imagine that Zaccheaus had heard a lot about Jesus, his miracles, and his teachings.  Zaccheaus may have thought, "Like me, this man has a lot going for him, but how does he look?  Does he look like a supermodel or does he look like me?"  This curiosity was so great in Zaccheaus that when he heard Jesus would be passing by, he overcame his height disadvantage by running ahead of the crowd and climbing a tree jsut to get a glance of the Master.  

I can imagine that when he saw Jesus, he thought, "This man is like me!  He has a lot going for him, but according to society not enough.  If God can use him, He can use me!"  You see the Bible tells us in Isaiah 53:2, 
"He grew up before him like a tender shoot, 
       and like a root out of dry ground. 
       He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, 
       nothing in his appearance that we should desire him."

So when Zaccheaus saw Jesus, he could definitely relate to Him.  More importantly, aren't you glad we have a high priest who can sympathize with our weaknesses (Hebrews 4:15)?

According to society, Jesus was not beautiful, but it was wrong, just like it was wrong about Zaccheaus. According to society, Zaccheaus wasn't worth much, he was a sinner.  But what did Jesus say about him? Jesus said in Luke 19: 9-10, "9Jesus said to him, "Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham. 10For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost."  Wow! Jesus didn't look at Zaccheaus' appearence, He looked at his heart.

Today, it is easy to look at outward appearances and focus on them.  And although Zaccheaus wanted to see Jesus, the Bible tells us he obeyed him (he immediately got down from the tree), welcomed him gladly, and converted (he makes him Lord of his life by confessing his sin and repenting of it). Let us not get so focused on who we are, how we look, what we have or don't.  Let us look for and find our identity in Jesus!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Follow the Rules

The Lord demands accurate scales and balances;he sets the standards for fairness.
Proverbs 16:11

Couponing has been a really fun find while saving me money BUT it's not worth my salvation. It's important that as Christians, we are obeying the rules and not breaking them or having someone else (the store) break them.

This is what I understand as the couponese (please correct me if I am wrong):
-one per household:  only 1 person can use that 1 coupon, bottom line (no sending hubby to the store)
-one coupon per customer (you and hubby can use separately)
-one coupon per purchase on product specified: 1 coupon on 1 item
-redeem only by purchasing the brand size(s) specified:  you can only use the coupon specifically on what they want you to buy

More importantly than saving money is showing my family that I am a woman of integrity who doesn't break the rules or cause others to do so.  

Have fun couponing while obeying the rules.  Remember, God gave us His commandments because He loves us and doesn't want sin to separate us from Him.  His presence is worth more that any coupon amount!

New Email Account

When signing up for freebies, it is a good idea to set up an extra email account at Gmail, Hotmail, or Yahoo.  This way your personal email isn't inundated with junk mail. 

Staples Rewards

If you haven't done so already sign up for a Staples Rewards card (it's free) and you earn points for buying ink and paper, as well as using their copy center.  Turn in your used ink cartridges for $3.00 each, and they will send you a check to use on a future purchase.  These checks come separate from the rewards points check which is good because you don't have to accumulate a certain amount to get a check.  I believe they send them out quarterly.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Look What I got in the Mail!

In case you don't know, Operation Christmas Child is operated by Samaritan's Purse, whose President and CEO is Franklin Graham.  This ministry is devoted to international relief.  Each year around late November they collect boxes to ship throughout the world while preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ!

Last year was the first year our family participated and it is now a family tradition. Throughout the year, we're on the lookout for items for the boxes.  The girls love it!  So, when I saw an insert in a Samaritan's Purse Update Magazine on Operation Christmas Child sending these Shoe Box Treasure Scripture Cards for free, I sent away for it immediately along with my donation.  I would highly suggest you prayerfully make a contribution to this ministry.  

These cards total 52 to help you pray effectively all year around for the project while helping you memorize scripture.  I know the girls will really enjoy this.  It is wonderful to see that as a body we can pray and give!

Picture 58

Tips for "count your Blessings"

1.  Don't limit yourself
Write down as many or as few.  Don't focus on the amount but on the Lord!

2.  Don't wait until Friday
I write them throughout the week that way I don't forget them and schedule the post for Friday's date

3.  Have fun
Look for the Lord in all situations and you will see His hands at work in all areas of your life!

Count Your Blessings

Picture 19
1.  My sister found the Reynold's handi-vac after lots of trips to Walmart:)
2.  Our co op manager found my husband's keys hanging off our door (thank you Jesus they were not taken!)
3.  I've enjoyed a school-free week with my daughters and niece
4.  We had three special services at church--a vigil, washing of feet, and the Lord's supper
5.  A Pastor from Ecuador visited our church on Thursday!
6.  Hubby ran into a sister in Christ we haven't seen in a while
7.  Street cleaning rules were suspended from Wed-Fri...Amen!!!!!!
8.  I have found some really good deals on the web
9.  A little brother and sister in Christ sang at the vigil and it was so anointed...Glory to God!!!
10.  As our Pastor reminded us last night, God loves us even though He knows us (every thought, action, intention, meditation, feeling)  Thank you Jesus!!!!!!!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Organized Shopping

Does shopping have to be an organized event?  YES!


You will save time, money on the items you're buying (coupons!!!), and gas money (one-stop shopping, at least trying to).  Organization prevents the pitfalls of overspending, forgetting items thus second trips or buying at full price, return trips to the store when you realize that purchase was a waste or you found a better deal.

So let's get started:
1.  Make a list!!! (my sister can testify to hearing this ALOT from me)
You can use an online grocery list maker to help you.  Start by making a list of everything you buy (EVERYTHING).  Some categories to help you get started are:
Packaged (chips, snacks, crackers, etc)
Breakfast Food (oatmeal, pancake mix, etc)
Baking Goods (flour, etc)
Seasonings (ketchup, mayo, etc)
Frozen (fries, veggies, etc)
Household Goods (cleaning products, sponges, etc)
Paper Products (paper towels, bathroom tissue, etc)
Misc. Household (batteries, coffee filters, etc)
Other (although I don't know how many more categories you could come up with)

2.  Once you have made your entire list, write where you buy the item
I basically shop in three places, Costco=C, Target=T, and Local Grocer=G, so I place a letter next to the item.  This helps limit unnecessary trips.  Once I looked at my list, I realized, I don't buy as much in Target as I thought, but I was going maybe 2 or 3 times a month!  And although I enjoy a Target trip (the $1 section can be filled with arts & crafts goodies and items to fill the boxes for Operation Christian Child), beware you can come out with extra items!

3.  Write the best price for the item (I am still working on this one)
This will help you know whether to wait for the item to go on sale or buy anyways.  For example, since Costco sends me coupons, I already know the items that I can buy using a coupon (shampoo, soap, etc) as opposed to items I know don't have a coupon (meat, milk, eggs).  This is also helpful in case I am at let's say Target and I see an item on "sale" from my Costco list.  Sometimes we are deceived into thinking that because it's on sale, it's a better price, but not so.  For example, Target may have a sale on shampoo but compared to the price per unit I get at Costco, it's not a sale for me.  

4.  Stick to your list
I don't believe in using a coupon because I have one unless it is for an item I use.  I also try not to deviate from my list (once in a while a bag of cookies gets thrown into the shopping cart especially if I am shopping with my husband), but for the most part, I try to stay focused. You're less likely to get unwanted items if you know what your family really uses.  Going through those aisles of attractively displayed items can be tempting, but I've got my list!

5.  Take your Tools
When shopping, I take my notebook with my list written in it (I write the prices of items as I shop, subtract the coupons, get total so there are no surprises at the register), a pen, a calculator, coupons, and envelopes to stash my receipts (don't loose money by loosing your receipts, always keep them until they expire or you're used the items in case you need to return something).

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Special Service

12When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. "Do you understand what I have done for you?" he asked them. 13"You call me 'Teacher' and 'Lord,' and rightly so, for that is what I am. 14Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another's feet. 15I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. 16I tell you the truth, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. 17Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.
John 13:12-17

Last night ass we were about to participate in the washing of the feet at church, I began to think about Jesus' message.  The actual act of washing of the feet represents our servitude to both Christ and to one another.  It is a beautiful reminder of who we are-dust!  

Jesus reminded the disciples in Matthew 20: 26-28
"26Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, 27and whoever wants to be first must be your slave— 28just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many."

How are you serving Christ?  No, not how many ministries do you belong to you or how many committees you have joined, but how are you serving Christ?  Remember Christ's warning in Matthew 7, "21"Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22Many will say to me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?' 23Then I will tell them plainly, 'I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!'"  Serving Christ is not about what I want to do for Him but what He would have me do.  On my own, I probably wouldn't voluntarily wash feet, but He would have me do it.  On my own, I probably wouldn't do anything that required me to humble myself, but He would have me do it.  Let's not seek to serve in comfort but in sacrifice, not for public recognition but in anonymity, not in boastfulness, but in humility.

How are you as a servant?  Do you complain where the Lord has called you to serve or do you thank Him that He would have you (remember, we're dust) do anything?  He is the King of Kings and He has chosen you out of many to pick up crying babies during the service, pick up garbage from the floor, pick up phone calls in the amazing that His eyes our upon us!  So next time the flesh wants to act up and complain about serving, remind it that it is dust, that it is a privilege to serve Him who gave you salvation, healed you, set you free, filled you with His Holy Spirit!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Happy Anniversary!

Today my in-laws celebrate 30 years of marriage!  I know that only the Lord has sustained them and continues to do so.  We got them Fireproof and the girls made them marriage certificates instead of cards.  Since they don't serve the Lord (yet) our desire is that He uses the movie to touch them.

This is a new era in their marriage since all their children have left the nest.  So now it's a reconnecting time with each other, but most importantly with the Lord.

Count Your Blessings

Many, O LORD my God, 
       are the wonders you have done. 
       The things you planned for us 
       no one can recount to you; 
       were I to speak and tell of them, 
       they would be too many to declare.
Psalm 40:5

Every Friday, I like to write a list of about 10 specific things in which I have seen God's love in during the week. There's no set limit of things to be thankful for, no specific order, nothing too insignificant.  God is good and worthy to be praised!

Join us by grabbing the "Count you Blessings" button on the side and posting your blessings on your blog and link back over here.  Be sure to sign up in MckLinky's.  If you want, you can also leave it as a comment.  

Picture 19

Freebie: BJ's 60-Day Pass

Find out the details over at Money Saving Mom!

Clean Up that Attitude

" 'You must keep the Israelites separate from things that make them unclean, so they will not die in their uncleanness for defiling my dwelling place, which is among them.' "
Leviticus 15:31

Today, we began on our "spring" cleaning.  Instead of doing the entire house in one day (as I usually would do), we decided it was wiser to tackle one room at a time.  Although this may take more time, it will be done more thoroughly.  I didn't want to clean the house just to say I did; I wanted a clean house.  Towards the end, I started to get tired and so as to avoid an "intense fellowship" moment with my husband, I didn't try to push it as I regularly would.  This made all the difference.  

Our eldest came in and asked, "Mami, who do you think worked more, you or Daddy?"  I answered, "Daddy."  Then she proceeded to ask her father the same question and added, "Common really, who do you think did the most work?"  He answered, "Mami, she did the whole refrigerator."  I must admit, a small hesitation on his part, made me question as to whether he really thought I was pulling my weight with the job at hand.  But, when he specifically added the example of what I had been doing, I knew he wasn't just answering to sound cute.  He was serious.  He had valued my help and I his.

The Bible tells us to separate ourselves from that which will make us unclean.  What makes us unclean?  Well, there are a lot of things that can potentially make us unclean, but I want to focus on our attitude. A negative attitude make us dirty.  It muddies our thinking and overpowers our emotions.  We cease to be led by the Spirit and are now guided by the flesh.  A negative attitude is just that-everything is wrong, bad, not enough, too late, hopeless, senseless, pointless...lots of drama!  You can feel the negativity permeate the airs and fill it with a horrible stench of despair.  It can become suffocating!

So as the children of Israel had to keep separate from that which would defile them, let us too do the same. It's time to clean up our attitude!  We need to ask the Holy Spirit, "What am I negative about?  What is causing me to see that person or situation negatively?  Why don't I think Your powerful enough to act in this area?"Once we have those answers, the Holy Spirit will guide us to all Truth of the Father and we will be rid of those negative attitudes.  

A word of caution though.  Just as I can not clean my kitchen once, you can't do the same with your attitude.  This is a day to day thing.  As my husband puts it, "Maintenance is key."

 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
Romans 8:28

7It (Love) always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 
1 Corinthians 13:7

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Sifting through Curriculums

I think I have definitely narrowed my choices in curriculum for the girls for the 2009-2010.  My only real debate right now is whether or not to get a full curriculum for the little one. Honestly, I am leaning more towards no because I figure that whatever she is going to learn will be more hands-on than book based, but we will see.  I was looking at the Horizons Preschool which looks very full, which is good and it's on sale at CBD for under $90 until the end of April.  

World Magazine also sent me an offer, so I started looking into it.  It's called God's World News, gotta love the title.  They have some samples online you can look at.  Once again, it looks pretty full, which I, of course, like.  They have different age groups but with the same content throughout the age groups, which is great for teaching siblings all together.  They have some topics that I would probably end up skipping, but overall it looks very well done.  They also have a discount for multiple subscriptions.

In the end, I trust the Lord will tell us specifically what to get because He is their teacher!!!!!!!!!!