Wednesday, March 4, 2015

{Mastering Your Menus} Breakfasts


Merchandise Research: Breakfasts 
Any merchant worth his salt will put some thought into what cargo should be carried aboard his ships, make some lists and do some research.  So, of course, we can’t jump into making our menus without doing a little research as well. Over the next weeks we are going to start compiling a list of possible meal and snack choices, and we'll start today by thinking about breakfasts. I’m not going to get into the nutrition debate. I think we all know that making things from scratch is usually more nutritious and economical than processed foods, but each family has different needs, different time constraints and different financial abilities. First let’s just give ourselves some options, we’ll make our final choices later.

So here’s your CHALLENGE for today: I’d like you to get a notebook, your planner, or some looseleaf paper. Be sure you don’t do this on the back of an envelope, because you’re going to need it later!!!

Without thinking too hard, write every breakfast idea that you can think of on your piece of paper. They can be simple or fancy, processed or homemade. Here’s a few ideas to get you started…

poptarts
bagels & butter
eggs & bacon
omelettes
pancakes
waffles
apple pancake
cold cereal
oatmeal
breakfast bars
toaster strudel
sausage & biscuits
fruit
sweet rolls
donuts
biscuits and gravy
Yogurt
Smoothies

See what I mean?  From PopTarts to Omelettes and everything in between.  Now, file that paper away in your planner where you'll be able to find it later to add to it as you remember more options. We'll be adding more lists as we go along!! : )  

I'll be back with another menu post on Wednesday, the 18th, but I'll be back before that with some Home Bless-A-Thon and Happy Monday posts.  See you soon!

Tricia





Monday, March 2, 2015

{The A-B-C's of Gratitude} Giving

Good morning, friends!  Happy Monday!

Today in my ABC's of gratitude I am thankful for giving.  For God giving me His Son.  For my husband and children giving me their love.  For daily provisions like food and clothing.  For a warm house and an oven and a refrigerator.  For indoor plumbing.  For sloppy puppy dog kisses.  For restful cross stitch projects.  And the list goes on and on and on and on.

But all of that is GETTING.  And it isn't just enough for me to feel gratitude.  I need to show my gratitude also.  I'm really praying the the Lord will give me a loving heart that overflows into giving to others.  Doing the dishes with a song in my heart.  Saying a little prayer for my husband and children while folding and putting away their clothes.  Being kind when someone has hurt me.  Not adding to another's burden by complaining about my little hurts and ailments.  Being a peacemaker.  Looking for little ways to ease another's burden without being conspicuous or wishing for them to thank me.  Oh dear.  I fail so often in these areas!  But then I can be grateful again, that God has given us the Spirit of His Son to enable us as we keep following Him.  PRAISE THE LORD!

May each of us live a grateful life this week!

--ooOoo--

Here's your Happy Monday prompt...

Today, the sun is...

--ooOoo--

See you Wednesday!!

Saturday, February 28, 2015

{Home Bless-A-Thon} Week Nine



Hello everyone!  

Here are our challenges for this week, drawn from the Weekly Home Journal and Monthly Home Blessing pages in our Classic Home Journal line. We're going to make the Kitchen our focus for the month of March.  Ready?

WEEKLY REVIEW

First, let's do our weekly review.  I'm going to:

1.  Read through the goals I've set for the month/quarter/year and then make some notes of things I would like to be reminded of this coming week. 

2. Transfer any appointments or special reminders on my monthly calendar to my weekly pages. 

3.  Bring forward any unfinished to do's to a new "To Do This Week" list.

4. Look through my menus for the upcoming week and jot down when to take out meat, make things ahead, etc.

5.  Remind myself of my saving and spending goals. 

5. Schedule time to work on this week's Monthly Home Blessings.

MONTHLY HOME BLESSINGS
Week Nine

This month we are going to "spring clean" our kitchens.  Let's start with these tasks...

Check high and low corners for cobwebs and sweep them down.
Be sure to check the walls, too... I've found them hanging in odd places!!

 Clean the light fixtures and replace bulbs if necessary.

Wash the walls. Kitchen walls can gather a lot of dust and grease!

Clean and organize under the sink.  Tackle a cupboard or two as well!!


I'll be back Wednesday with another Meal Planning post!

Blessings!
Tricia

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

{Planning Forward} March




Good morning, friends!  It has been frigid here this week and everyday my husband and I tell each other that it is only for a few more weeks...  Spring must be on its way soon!! : )

Ready to look ahead to March?  Here are a special dates to remember...

March 8th - Daylight Savings Begins!  Don't forget to set your clock ahead one hour!

March 20th - First Day of Spring!!  Think about celebrating the day with a special meal or family game night, complete with a favorite dessert. :)

March 29th - Holy Week Begins  This solemn week ends in glorious hope, and often special services and family gatherings.  Are you having family for Easter dinner?  Plan ahead!

Now let's look at our calendars.  Mark March's paydays as well as any scheduled appointments or deadlines and special days.  Are there any birthdays this month?  Do you need any cards or presents?  Have you scheduled a special date with your husband?  Mark that down now!!  Be sure to schedule a day on your calendar early in the month to write all of your anniversary or birthday cards and/or wrap presents.  Remember not to wait until the week of, if you can help it!  Write a little "M" on the calendar a week or so before the special day, then make a note of the date and the card to mail on your Reminder Sheet.  If you get them out on that day you may be early, but if you happen to forget or miss the mail, you'll still have a day or two before you'll be late!! : )

Now look ahead to April.  Are there any special days that you will need to buy or make cards and/or presents?  Make a note of them on your Monthly Reminder sheet so you can pick them up this month.  You'll have everything all ready when Planning Day rolls around again!  Don't forget that Easter falls on the first Sunday in April!

Now look ahead again, this time for the next three months, which will be the second quarter of the year..  Are there any appointments that you could make right now?  Haircuts, Pet Grooming, Car Maintenance, Dental visits... even Date Night!  Get them on the calendar now!  Also mark down a time to have a QUARTERLY REVIEW & PLANNING SESSION sometime this month.  I'll be reviewing my goals and plans and making new ones for the next three months.  Watch for a post on this Mid-March! 

Next we'll check our spending and savings goals.  This is something I'm going to be studying and working on this month!!  Make your goals and then track your spending through the month to see how you did!

Finally there are practical Purpose Statement goals...

1.  What is your quiet time plan this month?  What passages will you read?  When?  How often?  Will you memorize any Scripture?  Read a devotional book?

2.  Which aspect of your character will you work on this month? Gratefulness?  Trust?  Replacing anger or irritation with patience and love?  What verse could help you?

3.  Which relationships will you focus in on this month?  Will you make time to have coffee with a friend?  Have a date with your husband or a special Mom and I time with a child?  How about making a meal for someone or writing a letter to a relative or missionary?

4.  How would you like to improve your home this month?  Do you need to wash the bathroom walls?  Or repaint them?  Maybe you need a new throw rug, or to clean out a closet.  Or even to remember to take out the recycling on the right day!

5.  What projects head your list for the next month?  Making a quilt?  Trying a new recipe? Researching honeybees?  What is the next step in each of those projects?

I'm always amazed at how much more I get done if I write it down.  Often I don't complete it all in one day, but if I look over the list regularly I really want to complete them so I can check off the little boxes!! :)

PART II of the post today is a preview of the Monthly Home Blessings for March.  We will be working in the kitchen this month.  Here are some things we might need...

Oven Cleaner
Dishwasher Cleaner
Microfiber Cloth(s)
Cleaning Supplies
Spring Decorations


I'll see you back here Saturday with Week Nine of our Home Bless-A-Thon!

Blessings!

Tricia

Monday, February 23, 2015

{The A-B-C's of Gratitude} Friendship

Image:  Little Birdie Blessings

"Spur one another on toward love and good deeds..."

I've been thinking a lot about my words and actions this last few weeks and how they affect others. Am I spurring others on to be more Christlike?  To be patient under suffering?  To sacrifice for others?  I'm afraid that too often I detect instead a tinge of sarcasm, an impatient whine, or an undercurrent of "It's all about me"-ism instead.  Isn't it wonderful when you have a friend that doesn't just accept you as you are, but also, by their words and example, spurs you on in your Christian walk?  If you have a friend like that, maybe you should drop them a note today to say "thank you".  And, even if you don't HAVE that sort of friend,  all of us can strive to BE one!

Have a Happy Monday!

Tricia

Your Happy Monday prompt for today...

(Insert Name Here) encouraged me to....



Saturday, February 21, 2015

{Home Bless-A-Thon} Week Eight



Hello everyone!  Happy Valentine's Day!
Here are our challenges for this week, drawn from the Weekly Home Journal and Monthly Home Blessing pages in our Classic Home Journal line. Ready?

WEEKLY REVIEW

First, let's do our weekly review.  I'm going to:

1.  Read through the goals I've set for the month/quarter/year and then make some notes of things I would like to be reminded of this coming week. 

2. Transfer any appointments or special reminders on my monthly calendar to my weekly pages. 

** Remember to set aside time this week to fill out the Monthly Reminder sheet on the front of your calendar for March!  I'll have a reminder  post up on Wednesday! **

3.  Bring forward any unfinished to do's to a new "To Do This Week" list.

4. Look through my menus for the upcoming week and jot down when to take out meat, make things ahead, etc.

5.  Remind myself of my saving and spending goals. 

5. Schedule time to work on this week's Monthly Home Blessings.

MONTHLY HOME BLESSINGS
Week Eight

This week we'll continue working in our bathrooms.  Let's ...

Straighten the drawers, cupboards and linen closet.  
Do you need to replace any straggly towels or sheets?  If so, put them on your shopping list... or Christmas list!

 Wash the floor... even the corners and baseboards and especially around the base of the toilet!

Dust and Decorate! Don't forget to dust any artificial plants! 
 A spray bottle and a microfiber cloth work wonders!


See you Wednesday to look ahead to March!

Blessings!
Tricia

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

{Mastering Your Menus} Pirates 101: Food Allergies and Restrictions


Pirates 101: Dealing with Food Allergies & Restrictions 

Hello everyone!  Before we get started on the menu challenge in earnest, I thought I'd give you a little "behind the scenes look" in case you don’t know our story.   A number of years ago my oldest daughter was diagnosed with Celiac disease, and we began to navigate the interesting and somewhat overwhelming world of food allergies and intolerances.  Between myself and my two girls we need to avoid wheat, barley, tapioca, eggs, potatoes, oats, butter, soy, canola, olive oil, corn… and the list goes on.  I’m thankful that we don’t all have problems with the same ingredients, some struggle with certain things, and others with others, but as we have pinpointed more of these problem foods, my previous Captain’s Log, with its menu plans and shopping lists, has become obsolete.  I’m excited to take this challenge with you!!

Here are a couple of things I've learned when working with food allergies or intolerances. First, find as many things to eat as you can that are not “specialized” food (i.e. specially packaged gluten free, peanut free, dairy free foods). By that, I mean to try to find food that is naturally free of your allergen such as fresh vegetables, meats and fruits. If you can base your main meals on “real foods”, you can fill in with the more expensive specialty foods, and still keep your budget in check. 

Next, learn to stretch your dollars. You can make your own flour mix to save a few pennies, and make chicken nuggets by coating chicken breasts with crushed Lay’s potato chips, rather than buying the GF (gluten free) frozen chicken nuggets that are outrageously expensive. Try using a store brand spaghetti sauce with your gluten free spaghetti, or eating name brand GF cereal such as Rice Chex and Kix, rather than buying special GF cereal.   Do I ever splurge? Of course! Just tonight I picked up some wonderful GF wafer cookies and a box of chocolate covered GF shortbread cookies, but at $4-$5 a box we try to make them last for awhile!

Food allergies and intolerances can seem overwhelming at times. It seems that sometimes feeling better doesn’t outweigh the sense of loss we feel for some of our comfort foods. The girls and I have found that having some chocolate, coffee or ice cream around the house helps us deal with the “poor me” feeling we sometimes get when the guys bring home a deep dish pizza...  : )   It helps us to realize how much we *can* still eat, rather than focusing on what we can no longer enjoy.

CHALLENGE: Your challenge as you work on Mastering our Menus over the next few months is to have a good attitude. We all have dietary restrictions to work with, although they aren’t all food allergy related. Perhaps for you it will be budget restrictions, time issues or a special diet that needs to be followed for weight or health reasons. If you strive to look at this as an adventure, rather than a chore, I know the Lord will bless you as you work willingly to plan ahead for your family.

I'll see you back here Wednesday, March 4th.  Be sure you have your notebook handy because we are going to start making some lists!! : )

Blessings!

Tricia