Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas from the Miller's!


I hope you are enjoying your Christmas as much as we are!  This has already been one of the best ever.  Having children at Christmas is AWE to the SOME!  Love it!

Now that I have Emery, I keep thinking about Mary and what she must have gone through knowing she was giving birth to a son that really wasn't her's.  Wow.  Bless her.  I'm so thankful for the birth of Jesus; what a precious gift a loving God gave me.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

This Point

I thank God that He's brought me to this point.  I can't thank Him enough.

I was praying the other night while rocking Emery (it's one of our favorite things to do).  She loves to chime in with her "Amen!"  As we were thanking God, I just could not thank Him enough for bringing me to this point in my life.  Thank you, God!

At this point in my life I know that:

I am loved.  I am seriously, unconditionally, and passionately loved by my Father.  And, I know nothing can separate me from that love.

My sin is not an issue to God.  It's over and done with to Him.  And, because of this I have the power to overcome it because I know it's not 'who I am.'

I have an awesome little and big family.  My husband is a really good man.  He gives up going to hockey games just so he can help me put Emery to bed.  He loves to cook supper.  And, he's really thoughtful.  I couldn't have asked for a better match for me.  Emery is such a big blessing in a little package.  God obviously knew what He was doing when he made me that little girl's momma.  I also love my 'bigger' family.  They love me and we stick by each other.  I don't care who doesn't like them (well, maybe a little because I don't understand how anyone cannot like them).  I don't care what other people think about them.  My family is called of God and we are fulfilling that calling the way we believe He wants us to.  I don't know anyone else who loves people more.

Jeremiah and I have great jobs.  We both get to help people all day, everyday.

My understanding of God's love and grace keeps growing and growing.  I know I'll never fully grasp it on this earth, but I'm glad He continues to give me more and more glimpses of it.

I have a beautiful home and more "things" than I could ever possibly need.  God cares about the little stuff I care about.

Even though this year has been probably the toughest of my adult life, I know God's always there for me.  And even when people choose to not have integrity, are really two-faced, and blatantly hurt others, I know God will take care of me.  My identity is in Him.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Grace vs. Law

Wow, God is so good and has been showing me so many things lately about His grace and the law.  There's a weird doctrine about law and grace that basically says, "If you feel like you "have to do" something, then don't do it, because that's not grace working in your life, it's legalism and dead works."  I really couldn't disagree more.  I almost let myself feel condemned for doing stuff I didn't want to always do.  I thought..."There's no way I could ever measure up to that!"  Then, my Father spoke to my heart.


My Father has been showing me that He gives grace for grace....that tells me we need a lot of it sometimes.  I don't feel like getting up out of bed every. single. morning. at 6:00 a.m., changing a poopy diaper, and doing all the things that the morning time requires to get ready.  I just don't want to do it sometimes.  Does that mean that if I go ahead and do it I'm under law?  Heavens no!  That's what His grace is for!  He encourages me to get up out of bed and do what needs to be done to get ready.  Why?  Well, I'd hate to have a baby with diaper rash, screaming, hungry, and crying in her crib while I lay in bed with bed head, not getting up and going to a job that God's provided for me so that we can have money, food on the table, a home, and electricity.  


Because I'm hidden in Christ, my identity is in Him, my righteousness is found in Him alone, none of the above actions can affect those truths.  If I get up every morning, get ready, take care of my house and family, go to work, etc., etc., it does not make me more righteous than I already am.  It also, does not mean I'm "under law" for doing those things.  I can rest in knowing that God's grace, HIS ABILITY, can work through me to do what needs to be done even when I don't want to.  That's restful living.  There would be no need for grace if we only did stuff we wanted to do.  Personal motivation would be enough in those situations.  His grace is there to get us through the stuff we don't want to do, face, deal with, and experience.  He'll never leave us nor forsake us.  


I sure would hate to see what kind of life I would have to live if Jesus decided that because He didn't want to die on the cross that He wasn't going to.  But, Jesus even said, "Not my will, but Yours."  GASP.  Jesus did something He didn't want to do!  I bet He even had to rely on God's grace to get Him through.  Grace for Grace (Grace IS Jesus personified). Thank GOD for his GRACE.  And, thank God He made it where our identity is based on Him and not our ability to have the right attitude, actions, and thoughts.  I'm so relieved that I can rest in knowing He'll freely give me His grace.  This scripture embodies what God's been teaching me...

Matthew 11:28-30

"Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you'll recover your life. I'll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won't lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you'll learn to live freely and lightly."

He'll show us how to walk with Him and work with Him.  There is walking and working involved, but as we let Him transform our hearts and thinking and give us grace to do the work (or live life), that's where we will find true rest. As we keep company with Him, living will become more free and light.  Getting up in the morning and doing won't be a big deal.  It's a process, life-long.  Sitting at His feet and walking and working with Him are not contradictory things.  They really can all happen at the same time.  Grace is really the differing factor.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Living the Sweet Life! Really!

Life really is sweet.  God designed it to be that way.  When my heart is broken by people, when issues come up,  when life gets overwhelming, when people have vain imaginations about what they think I think, say, or believe, when people assume they know, when I have vain imaginations I have to say, "I trust you, Lord."  I trust you, Lord.  It's not my place to worry about other people.  It's my place to love people.  It's my place to rest.  It's my place to be obedient to who He's made me.

It takes time and heart-change to get to a place of trust and rest.  It takes time and heart-change to really be obedient with only love being the motivation.  The journey of it all is life.  And, really, it is sweet.


Tuesday, November 8, 2011

A Warning in the Form of a Dream

I believe God speaks to us in our dreams.  He's spoken to me countless times in those late night hours; trying to get things across to me and messages for others.

Jeremiah and I have never had similar dreams, but recently we both had dreams with a common thread.  I know God's speaking to us.

I dreamed last week that a poisonous baby snake was trying to wrap itself around Emery's neck and bite her.  With all of my might I got the snake in my possession before it could wrap completely around her and held it's head in a tight pinch between my pointer finger and thumb so I could kill it.  It was so strong, stronger than me.  I was having to squeeze so tightly.  I knew something greater than me was having to give me the strength, because there was no way that I was able to do it alone.  


Jeremiah dreamed recently that he was in Africa and climbing up a tree.  On his way up he passed by a snake, but knew it wasn't poisonous so he wasn't worried.  Then he came across another snake.  He knew it was poisonous.  He grabbed the snack close to it's head, but he was too far back that the snake had leverage to still bite him, so he had to throw the snake away.

In both of our dreams the snakes represent evil and deceit.  God wants to protect us from that as it tried to make its way to us.  He's letting us know He will be the one to take care of the issues.  We may be His hands in doing so, but He provides His ability...grace, so it's seemingly effortless on our part.  We are to be aware of our surroundings.  We are to not be afraid.  Not all of the snakes we see are for us to take part in.  God will let us know what He wants us to do. Being diligent to listen to the Holy Spirit and resting in God's love and grace will show us what direction to go in to keep our family safe.

These dreams are special.  I love that God cares so much about us that He wants to protect us and wants to let us know that He's the one doing the protecting.  We have nothing to fear.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

352 Days + of Breastfeeding



By no means am I an expert on breastfeeding, but I sure feel like a pro after nursing my daughter for a year now.  Breastfeeding has been a labor of love.  I wanted to write a post about breastfeeding for all of you soon-to-be mommas out there and those mommas who can relate.

Right after Emery was born, the nurses placed that sweet bundle on top of me.  As soon as I could, we went for it.  That skin-to-skin first nursing experience.  It was by the book.  I thought, "Oh man!  This is going to be so easy!"  She latched on and nursed on both sides for 20 minutes each.   Then, before her next feeding, the pediatrician came into my room and broke the news that Emery had broken her collar bone during delivery.  I was devastated!  When her next nursing session came, she started with a bad latch, and I was too afraid to move her to fix it.  Big mistake!  From that point on, we had some major issues!  Emery Rose was born with this super suction ability.....and I felt it!  I tried the nipple shield and still felt the pain, but we got through it.

Then, Emery refused to nurse at all.  There were nights where I was crying, she was crying, and Jeremiah was crying.  We headed to the local La Leche League meeting when she was 3 days old for some support and help.  Thank God for them!  But, she still refused to latch.  And, I was in pain.  We finally got to see a lactation consultant a couple days later.  We found out she had nipple confusion and was just too weak to get a good latch going.  So I started pumping and feeding her.  She gained weight and energy within a couple of days; enough to where she would latch on to me with the shield.  Then 2 weeks later she decided to latch on to me.  It was a special moment.  Unfortunately, somewhere in that 2 weeks she and I both got thrush.  It was HORRIBLE!  So painful for both of us.  But we were determined and made it through after going through 3 treatments to fix it.  Since then, nursing has been a breeze and I'm SO THANKFUL we stuck it out!  We're still going with 2 sessions a day.  Emery has been weaning herself which has been so bittersweet.

So...here's what I've learned:

1.  If you think you'll just "try it", you probably won't last.  You really have to be determined to nurse.  Having 'no other option' in your mind going into it will help keep you going in the hard times.  (Of course there are times where other options are needed -- no shame in that at all -- but if you're going into it as nursing being an option, it will become just that).

2.  You're not only sharing your body for 9 months of carrying your little one, you're sharing it for however long you decide to nurse after that.  During that Christmas dinner where you family is all sitting at the dinner table eating, you may have to nurse your little one while your plate gets cold.  Having to really schedule your time away so you won't miss a feeding will just become a part of your life.

3.  A support group of other nursing moms is a MUST.  How women do it alone, I have no idea!  I remember when our lactation consultant told us she was moving, I cried on the car ride home.  Jeremiah thought I was crazy.  But, there's just something about those women who help you learn how to feed your children.  They always have a place in your heart.

4.  It WILL get better and easier.  Other mom's told me...wait 6 weeks and you'll see a big difference.  Since we dealt with thrush it was a little longer than that, but I definitely agree that it gets easier.

5.  Make sure your husband knows he HAS to be supportive and help you out.  It took me 2 weeks to even learn how to figure out the logistics of nursing without help.  My sister Amanda is already a pro and got it so fast!  I'm super impressed.

6.  Make sure your baby has a good latch from the get-go.  Duck lips without the cracks of the lips touching is what the lactation consultant taught me.  Thank you Lord for a good latch.

7.  Nursing really shouldn't be painful.  Those first few days you may experience intense tenderness.  But nursing really shouldn't hurt.  If it does, something is wrong...bad latch, thrush, or whatever.  Get help SOON if it hurts.

8.  Nursing is the MOST PRECIOUS TIME you will spend with your sweet baby.  Only you can care for your child that way and what a special bond it is.  Once Emery and I got past the issues, we have both really enjoyed it.  I feel honored to have been able to care for Emery that way.

I hope you mommas who decided not to nurse don't feel any judgement...that's not where I'm coming from at all.  Nursing does not make you a good momma.  Making sure your child's needs are met (however that way may be) makes you a good momma. :)  Nursing is just the way I decided to go.  I'm so thankful for the experience.  I also don't want to scare any mommas...from what I hear, my experience was not so normal.  I just want to give support and encouragement to you if you decide to nurse.  It really is a labor of love and determination.  I'm looking forward to when Jeremiah and I have more children to see what my experience will be like when I know more of what I'm doing.  And, I can't give enough thanks to all of the women who've helped me along the way.  I don't know where we'd be without them!

Monday, October 31, 2011

31 Days of Homemaking - Day 31 - Hallelujah!

As much as I've enjoyed 31 Days (especially reading everyone else's), I'm glad it's finally come to an end.  I did miss a few days, but put forth a good effort.  While reading Edie's blog, Life in Grace, (one of my very favorites EVER), I saw a sweet video Nester made for her and I fell in love with the song on the video.  So I bought the song and made a video using some of my sweet baby's weekly photos.  She'll be 1 year old on Saturday, and I've been reminiscing.

Happy first birthday sweet Emery Rose!
You're one of the main reasons I want our house to be a home.
I love you!


video

Sunday, October 30, 2011

31 Days of Homemaking - Day 30 - Memo Board

Oops!  I didn't post yesterday.  I do have a good reason, though! :)  I was helping my sister, Amanda, take newborn photos of her sweet Jozie.  Loved it!

So today I have a quick post about something I made because I saw it on Pinterest.  And, really it's been helpful!

http://www.makeandtakes.com

Here's my version:



I hung it on the back of our front door because we walk by it every time we're coming and going.  It was so easy to make!  I bought a $5 frame from Dollar Store, a $0.20 piece of 'burlap' scrapbook paper, a roll of ribbon, and a wreath hanger.  I plan on changing out the paper for different times of the year.  The glass of the picture frame writes and erases very easily.


Friday, October 28, 2011

31 Days Homemaking - Day 28 - Crock Pot Roast

Jeremiah has been in Atlanta all week and just came home late this afternoon.  It was so nice to see him after only speaking to him on the phone for less than 5 minutes each day.  I wanted to welcome him home with a good meal, so I made Crock Pot Roast.  It's one of my favorite meals ever and he loves it, too.

This is all you need:

1 Roast (I used a deer roast Jeremiah got from hunting last season)
Carrots
Potatoes (chunked)
2 pks. Onion Soup Mix
2 Cans Cream of Onion (or chicken, mushroom, celery..etc)

Spray your crock pot with cooking oil.  Put the roast on the bottom.  Cover it with 1 of the soup mix packets, then with one of the Cream of Onion.  Dump the carrots and potatoes on top of that.  Then put the other soup mix packets and Cream of Onion on top of them.  Pour about 1 1/2 cups water over it all.  Cook on Low for 8 hours or High for 6.  It makes a delicious gravy.

It's so simple!  And, it was perfect for this cold wet day.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

31 Days of Homemaking - Day 27 - Pumpkin Fun for the Little One

Emery got a pumpkin at Mom's Day Out.  She loves it!  She thinks it's a ball. :)  I've been looking for some fun things that Emery can do to help us decorate for fall.  These were some fun ideas on Pinterest for the little ones that can't carve a pumpkin yet...

http://www.sbcss.k12.ca.us/stuServe/ec_thematic/hlwn_fineMotor.php



Young House Love

Young House Love

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

31 Days of Homemaking - Day 26 - Home

As I rocked my baby to sleep tonight, I thought, "This is what homemaking is all about."  It doesn't get any sweeter than that.  And the days are numbered of when I'll be able to rock my sweet baby to sleep.  She's almost 1 and it's hitting me like a ton of bricks.

This is home....


This is the day we brought her home from the hospital.  We were exhausted!  Jeremiah was so gentle with her and really wanted to rock her.  I went it to check on them a few minutes later and that is what I came across.  I always wanted a picture of my sleeping husband holding my sleeping baby.  Precious.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

31 Days of Homemaking - Day 25 - Meal Planning

I am terrible at meal planning.  I usually wait until I'm grocery shopping to meal plan, and it doesn't work very well because I don't know what I already have at home and what I need to buy.

Meal time is the most stressful time at our home.  We're all coming in hungry from work (or mom's day out).  Not knowing what to make for dinner just adds to the stress.  I know that weekly planning will be the best option for me, and probably doing it on Saturday or Sunday night.  I can determine which nights in the upcoming week I need to cook a quick meal, a fancy dinner, or have leftovers.  I can check my pantry to see what I need and do the grocery shopping as the meals are planned.  I know that after I've done this a few weeks, meal planning will get easier because I can recycle plans.  Also, this will keep my grocery bill down because I will know exactly what I need to buy instead of buying something I might use that would end up spoiling.  And, I can plan healthier meals!

I've found a few cute menu planning printables online...click on the image to go to the source for your free printable:
http://projectsforyournest.blogspot.com


http://www.lovelyliving.com.au/


http://www.theprojectgirl.com


Do you meal plan?  Any tips?

Monday, October 24, 2011

31 Days of Homemaking - Day 24 - The Rule of 3

My momma has taught me so much including the rule of 3 (or odds).  Put very simply, it's more pleasing to the eye to decorate in 3s or odds.

For example:  when picking colors for a room, you can paint the room one main color, use a secondary main color in big pieces of furniture or rugs, and a third color for accent pops.

http://knightmovesblog.blogspot.com



http://danielleoakeyinteriors.blogspot.com/

Or, when grouping decorations (Besides mirrors, lamps, and candlesticks), it feels better to have them grouped in 3s or odds...

via Pinterest (original source unknown)



From newlyweddiaries.blogspot.com


From knightmovesblog.blogspot.com

Happy decorating!



Sunday, October 23, 2011

31 Days of Homemaking - Day 23 - C. S. Lewis

I thought this was a precious quote from C.S.Lewis.  As homemakers we really do have one of the most important jobs in the whole world.


I think I can understand that feeling about a housewife’s work being like that of Sisyphus (who was the stone rolling gentleman). But it is surely, in reality, the most important work in the world. What do ships, railways, mines, cars, government etc exist for except that people may be fed, warmed, and safe in their own homes? As Dr Johnson said, ‘To be happy at home is the end of all human endeavour’. (1st to be happy, to prepare for being happy in our own real Home hereafter: 2nd, in the meantime, to be happy in our houses.) We wage war in order to have peace, we work in order to have leisure, we produce food in order to eat it. So your job is the one for which all others exist.

“Letter to Mrs Johnson, 16 March 1955,” in The Collected Letters of C. S. Lewis, Vol. III, ed. Walter Hooper (New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 2004), 580.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

31 Days of Homemaking - Day 22 - Fly Lady

Have you heard of the Fly Lady?  A few years ago we had a Proverbs 31 conference for the ladies at my church.  Mrs. Willene shared about the Fly Lady.  Basically, she gives you daily reminders to keep your house managed.

via FlyLady.net


She starts Day 1 with shining your sink.  I don't follow all of her steps, but I've always remembered this tip over the years.  I hate waking up to a dirty kitchen.  It doesn't happen all the time, but I try to make sure the dishes are clean before I go to bed.  One reason it's nice having your kitchen sink shining before you go to bed is so that when you wake up, you have nothing holding you back from meal preparations for the day.  It just makes life a little easier.

Friday, October 21, 2011

31 Days of Homemaking - Days 17-21 - Life

For the last 5 days, life has been a whirlwind.  My twin sister had her 1st baby, sweet Jozie Mae.  She's the spitting image of her daddy, Chris.  I got to be there for most of the birth experience and it's just a precious miracle!  I'm so proud of Amanda.  She's already such a good momma.



Unfortunately, her husband's father passed away this week.  Luckily, Jozie Mae got to meet her grandpa before he passed on.  My goal the last 5 days has been to be there for my sister whenever I can without neglecting my own little family so her husband can focus on being there for his family.  Jeremiah has been super helpful, taking care of Emery.  And crazy enough, Emery has been weaning herself (so bittersweet for me).  She's basically down to 2 or 3 nursing sessions a day....it's so weird from going from every 4 hours to this.  I feel like I'm getting my body back for myself, but my sweet baby isn't a baby anymore.  This is so blatant since Jozie came along.

I'm learning this week that homemaking does not stop at your own home.  It should continue wherever it is needed...Making people feel at home wherever you are.  What's more comforting than that?  My mom is the queen of homemaking, and I know Amanda is so appreciative of what she's doing for her.

Seeing the miracle of life and the passing of life all within 1 week really makes you appreciate the moments you get with your loved ones.  I'm thankful for God's evident grace and love on my sister and her husband.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

31 Days of Homemaking - Day 16 - Yummy Fall Goodness

We had our Hope Group tonight (small group meeting for church).  We really have such a good time!  Our leaders really know how to make everyone feel at home.  And, we take turns bringing snacks for everyone.  This week my friend, Heather, brought the yummiest fruit dip.  She found it on Pinterest (of course).  I'm definitely gonna have to try this!  It's such a yummy fall recipe, but could really go for any time of year.

Half-bakedbaker.blogspot.com

What are your favorite recipes for hosting? 

Saturday, October 15, 2011

31 Days of Homemaking - Day 15 - Welcome Fall

I know it's been fall for a little while now, but I'm just now getting to decorate my front porch.  I love all things fall!  I decided to go with some mums and pumpkins.

I had a nice little brunch today and wanted to welcome my guests with fall...



Next year I hope to try a different look.  It's always fun to change things up.  

Friday, October 14, 2011

31 Days of Homemaking - Day 14 - Chocolate Chip Cookies

One of my goals in life is to find the best chocolate chip cookie recipe ever!  I've been working on it.  I love baking cookies...there's just something about doing it that makes me feel at home.  So far I have 2 recipes that are in the lead, but since this is basically a life-long mission, I'm sure things will change.

One of my favorites was shared with me by a friend who found it on the little red house blog.

the little red house: chocolate chip coconut cookies

I LOVE THEM!  I do omit the coconut so it's just a regular chocolate chip cookie.  But this turns out chewy with a little crispy on the outside.  Perfect. 



My second favorite was found via Pinterest from Sunday Baker. This recipe includes a couple of packs of instant vanilla pudding.  It really keeps the cookies chewy and moist. 

SundayBaker.net - Snack That'll Last You All Week - Pudding Cookies

 Do you have a favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe you want to share?

Thursday, October 13, 2011

31 Days of Homemaking - Day 13 - Puttering

Never in my life have I heard the term puttering.  But, crazy enough, I do it all the time.  As I've been researching homemaking, I've learned that puttering is to occupy oneself in a desultory but pleasant manner, doing a number of small tasks.  In relation to homemaking, it's really the act of making your house a home.  Doing things like putting out candles and pictures, rearranging furniture, tablescaping, light gardening, and decorating in a non-pressure way.  Puttering is not to be confused with piddling (ha!) :)  Puttering really has a purpose.

If planning 'puttering' projects is allowed these are some I'd like to attempt:

Arranging candles in glass jars with coffee beans (or something similar):
via Pinterest vis HGTV


Arranging mums and pumpkins on the front porch for a nice fall welcome:
via Pinterest via scissorsandspatulas.com

I'd love to hang plates in my entry way like this...
via Pinterest via mmmcrafts.blogspot.com


What's your favorite puttering activity?



Wednesday, October 12, 2011

31 Days of Homemaking - Day 12 - Children

Psalm 127:3 tells us that children are a gift from the Lord.



I believe it!  I love my sweet Emery Rose.  Since she's been born, my homemaking has changed drastically.  Now I have to think about laundry, food, baths, sleep, etc. for another person.  It can get overwhelming, but I've found a couple of tips that have helped so much.

1.  Have a routine!  Emery (and most children) work best on a schedule.  She wakes up right around the same time everyday which starts with a clean diaper, lots of love, a nursing session, and Mickey Mouse Club House (while I take a shower).  She always eats breakfast, lunch, and dinner right around the same time.  And she usually naps around the same time.  We also have a bedtime routine.  This makes life so much easier.  Unless we have a church activity, Emery is in bed between 6:30-7:30.  She thrives on structure.  That gives me 3-5 hours to myself or with Jeremiah before we go to bed.

2.  Get everything ready the night before.  Pick out your outfit, get homework finished, pack your lunch, pack the diaper bag, etc. the night before.  Then you don't have to scramble in the morning trying to get everything put together.

These are just 2 basic steps that have made all the difference for me.  In our home, we all know what's coming next (well, most of the time) :).  We have crazy busy schedules, so every little bit of organization helps!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

31 Days of Homemaking - Day 11 - A Good Husband

Today is my 3rd anniversary!  So, I have to write a tribute to the best husband in the world!  Nothing makes homemaking more worth it than knowing my husband appreciates what I do for/at our home.  When I'm lacking motivation, I think of him.  I know he values the work I put into cleaning, cooking, and taking care of our daughter and home.  He's such a good husband!  One of the things that makes him so awesome is that he doesn't expect me to bare the 'burden' of homemaking alone.  He helps with cooking dinner, doing laundry, taking care of Emery.  He does the yard work and little fix-it jobs in our home.  PLUS, he's a full time graduate student and works full time as a financial planner.  And in the in-between time, he helps me with ministry and really carries a burden for our church members...wanting to see them living happy, loving, fruitful, grace-filled lives.  He's a good man and even better husband.

Monday, October 10, 2011

31 Days of Homemaking - Day 10 - A Little Pick-Me-Up

If you walk into my living room on most days this is what you'll find...


As you can see, we really needed a storage box.  I saw a super cute box at Sam's that was perfect for our living room.


It's amazing what a little box can do for a room!  


As I studied a few self-help :) cleaning books/websites, one of the things I learned was to time how long it takes to do certain cleaning activities.  In my mind it took something like 15 minutes to empty and fill the dishwasher and 30 minutes to do laundry.  After timing myself, I found out it actually only takes a couple of minutes for me to do my dishwasher and a few more to start laundry.  This helped me realize that I really do have time to do little things that make a big difference in the appearance of my home and make me feel better.



Sunday, October 9, 2011

31 Days of Homemaking - Day 9 - Rest


Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you'll recover your life. I'll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won't lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you'll learn to live freely and lightly. – Matthew 11:28

What a week!  I'm worn out!  So, I'm taking a rest from homemaking today.  I'm not even going to empty the dishwasher.  :)  I'm sure it'll wait for me.

AMEN!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

31 Days of Homemaking - Day 8 - 2 Tips on How to Clean Your House

I'm no expert on how to clean your house.  If you came to mine on any given day without me knowing company is coming, you'd see why I'm not expert.  But, I have learned a couple of little tricks a long the way that help keep my house manageable (sometimes).

I read the book The House that Cleans Itself by Mindy Starns Clark.  It's excellent!  I actually need to read it again...it's been 3 years ago!


Tip 1:  Look at all of the places where your clutter/messes seem to always be.  For example:  Do you throw your keys down on the table right next to the front door?  Do you throw your mail on the kitchen island?  Your shoes in the living room?  Etc, Etc.  Notice all of those clutter spots that you know have become routine spots for you, and put an organizational element there to keep it nice and neat.  So, put a little basket for keys on the table by the front door, or a mail bin in the kitchen.....so on and so forth.  Make your house fit you, not the other way around.

Tip 2:  Keep all of the cleaning supplies you need for a particular space in that particular space.  For example:  have Clorox wipes in the kitchen and in every bathroom.  Have trash bags in every room with a trash can.  Paper towels, toilet paper, Windex....whatever you need there...keep in there.  You're more likely to clean a space when everything you need is right there at your finger tips.  I even have a vacuum cleaner for upstairs and one for downstairs.  I just know I'm more likely to use it that way.

Happy Homemaking! :)   

Friday, October 7, 2011

31 Days of Homemaking - Day 7 - A Little Encouragement





In the Word there's a few scriptures specifically about homemaking.  It's encouraging to know that God gives us grace (His ability) to make our house a home when our schedules are super busy, we have children and spouses who need our time and whose time we need, and jobs that may keep us from being at our home.  


In my own experience, I always feel better walking into a clean house with dinner plans made and ready to go.  But, we don't need to feel inadequate when that doesn't happen and we feel we don't measure up to our (or other's) standard of homemaking.  When I look at the 'homemaking' scriptures, it would be so easy to say..."Yeah right!  That never happens and probably never will."  I just need to remember that God's mercies are new everyday...and that that's not just a nice saying, it's the truth.  We need to enjoy our life and rest in God's love for us.  That'll make the "have to" mentality turn into the "get to!" mentality.


Proverbs 14:1
The wisest of women builds her house,
   but folly with her own hands tears it down.



Proverbs 31:27
She keeps an eye on everyone in her household,
   and keeps them all busy and productive.



1 Timothy 5:13-14
Besides that, they learn to be idlers, going about from house to house, and not only idlers, but alsogossips and busybodies, saying what they should not. So I would have younger widows marry, bear children, manage their households, and give the adversary no occasion for slander.


Titus 2:5
By looking at them (older women), the younger women will know how to love their husbands and children, be virtuous and pure, keep a good house, be good wives. 







Thursday, October 6, 2011

31 Days of Homemaking - Day 6 - Hot Pepper Jelly

Have you ever had Hot Pepper Jelly?  There's nothing like it!  It's the perfect quick-fix appetizer for when company (expected or unexpected) comes.  My favorite way to serve it is poured over cream cheese then spread it all over a Ritz Cracker.



A couple of years ago I made hot pepper jelly using the green peppers Jeremiah and I grew in the garden and jalapenos Jeremiah's mom and step-dad grew in their garden.  It was delicious, and I actually won Best of Show in the fair with it! :)  It makes perfect and inexpensive Christmas gifts.  I still have a few jars left, and it's just as good as when I first made it.

I used Paula Deen's Recipe :)


Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup chopped green bell pepper
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh hot green pepper, such as jalapeno or serrano
  • 1 1/2 cups apple cider vinegar
  • 6 cups sugar
  • 4 ounces pectin (recommended: Certo)
  • 4 drops green food coloring
  • Special Equipment: 6 (1/2-pint) canning jars with lids

Directions

Process bell pepper and hot pepper in a food processor until finely minced. Combine pepper mixture, vinegar, and sugar in a saucepan and bring to a rolling boil. Remove from heat and add pectin and food coloring. Pour into sterilized jars and seal*.


*Cook's Note: Follow USDA guidelines for proper sterilization and canning procedures.

* Sterilizing Jars




Properly handled sterilized equipment will keep canned foods in good condition for years. Sterilizing jars is the first step of preserving foods.
Sterilizing Tips:
Jars should be made from glass and free of any chips or cracks. Preserving or canning jars are topped with a glass, plastic or metal lid, which has a rubber seal. Two piece lids are best for canning, as they vacuum seal when processed.
Before filling with jams, pickles or preserves, wash jars and lids with hot, soapy water. Rinse well and arrange jars and lids open sides up, without touching, on a tray. Leave in a preheated 175 degree F oven for 25 minutes. Or boil the jars and lids in a large saucepan, covered with water, for 15 minutes.
Use tongs when handling hot sterilized jars, to move them from either boiling water or the oven. Be sure tongs are sterilized too, by dipping the ends in boiling water for a few minutes.
As a rule, hot preserves go into hot jars and cold preserves go into cold jars. All items used in the process of making jams, jellies and preserves must be clean. This includes any towels used, and especially your hands.
After the jars are sterilized, you can preserve the food. It is important to follow any canning and processing instructions included in the recipe and refer to USDA guidelines about the sterilization of canned products.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

31 Days of Homemaking - Day 5 - Finding Inspiration

It's so important to have a vision of what you want in your life.

Habakuk 2:2-3 tells us:

 2And the LORD answered me and said: "Write the vision and make it plain upon tablets, that he may run that readeth it.

3For the vision is yet for an appointed time, but at the end it shall speak and not lie. Though it tarry, wait for it, because it will surely come; it will not tarry.

   
I have dream books, journals, lists, and pictures of many of the visions of my heart.  One of the area's I have the most fun with this is in regard to dream homes.  I've had this picture of the 2004 HGTV Dream Home Giveaway house for years...



I also fell in love with the home on The Notebook the moment I saw it...




And now, with Pinterest, I feel inspired to make my house homey every time I log on.

Here's some of my favorite homey place and spaces from Pinterest...


Pinned Image

Pinned Image

Pinned Image

Pinned Image

I just want to encourage you to dream big when it comes to your dream home and home projects. You don't have to spend tons of money to make your house homey.  Start small changes and you'll see a big difference. 

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

31 Days of Homemaking - Day 4 - How to Hang Wall Art

Have you ever walked into a room and the first thing you notice is how high the art is hung on the wall?

http://www.squidoo.com/ten-biggest-decorating-mistakes-and-how-to-avoid-them

I have.  It's probably my mother coming out in me, but it's something I definitely notice and it usually ends up bothering me a little (OCD, much?) ha!  There are a couple of fail-proof tips that can help you hang that piece of beauty in the most perfect spot.

1.  The top of the frame should never be higher than the door frame.  There are always exceptions to this rule, especially with big art pieces, but as a rule of thumb, if you have a 'regular' size piece of art or smaller, make sure it's not sticking up higher than your door frame.



2. The rule my momma always taught me was to hang your picture at eye level.  This can be tricky since we're not all the same height.  So, we will go off of the average eye-level height of a person at 57".  The center of your wall art should be at 57".  This is probably not where your nail/hook/wire/whatever is. So...

1. Measure and lightly mark 57" on the wall
2. Measure top of your picture to the middle (or take height and divide by 2)

3. Measure top of your picture to the tightened wire (a small amount)
4. Subtract this last amount to tell you how far above 57" your hook should go
5. Measure up from 57" with this last amount and lightly mark on the wall

This also works for hanging groups of pictures.  Just always remember the CENTER of your picture (or group of pictures) should always fall at 57 inches from the floor.

Some picture hanging tips that I've seen on Pinterest:


http://theindustrialcottage.blogspot.com/




http://www.apartmenttherapy.com



http://mmscrapshoppe.blogspot.com


Hope this helps!