Sunday, December 30, 2012

Godliness with Contentment

Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.  -Philippians 4:11
But godliness with contentment is great gain. 
-I Timothy 6:6
Hubby and I had a great holiday. 
We've just moved back from over the pond and are still getting settled in and
buying things for our new place. 
Shopping has taken a front seat as we buy paint and curtains,  household fixtures
and return things over and over again. 
It's getting old very quickly and Jeremy in the hardware
department at the WalMart laughs every time he sees us.  
For real!
I constantly tell him that our trips are getting farther and
farther apart which is a very good thing! 
Hubby and I didn't buy each other any gifts this year for Christmas.  
How can I think about gifts when we have the forementioned scenario?  
I didn't expect anything either and I wasn't minding it. 
With all of the curves life has been throwing at us over the past year
 it is much easier to appreciate the here and now and what the Lord has blessed me with. 
The last thing I needed was a case of the 'gimmes'.
We spent Christmas Eve with the hubs family in Cleveland.  It was our first Christmas with them and it was so nice to be able to spend the time together.  We did a group gift exchange and it was so sweet to see the kids open their gifts on Christmas Eve and spend time with family we hadn't seen in years.

Enter December 26th. 
It was a rest and relaxation day.  Yours truly wanted to get out and do some shopping.  I've really wanted some new tennies and I thought maybe I'd find a good deal.  I couldn't find any.  But I did find something that kept nagging at me, 
It was the gimmes and I could feel it all around me.  Everyone was shopping.
Everyone was returning gifts.  Looking for a deal. 
THE best deal.  And it was super contagious and spread like a fire!

Suddenly everything seemed to have so much appeal.  The Kitchen Aid Mixers. 
The red crystal candle holders that would have made a nice centerpiece on the counter between the dining room and kitchen.    The lovely couch with the beautiful tufted back that was 1,000 dollars.
And since I was shopping at the mall everything was expensive. 
I got in the car empty handed and decided to hit a few thrift stores on the way home. 
Even at thrift stores I try to be wise in my choices because I can quickly accumulate junk. 
I found nothing once again and went home empty handed.

The nagging urge was there where I needed something to complete my happiness for the day.  
I was impatient because I had no physical 'thing' to meet that need. 
As the day wore on the gimmes started to go away. 
 I realized that that silly red kitchen aid mixture wouldn't get used today or
tomorrow and it wouldn't bring me any happiness. 
Neither would that centerpiece. 
And that beige tufted couch would have gotten dirty sooner than later no matter
how careful I would have been. 

My husband would honestly give me any of those things I truly wanted them.
 But they still wouldn't bring any soul satisfaction. 

And then I was reminded of the scriptures where Paul told the Philipians church and Timothy to simply be content.  And Paul didn't just stop with contentment. 
Godliness with contentment is great gain.

In whatsoever state. 
With a lack or with excess.
With lovely furnishings or without.   
With the latest fashions or without. 

God's contentment far surpasses all of these trivial things.
What matters are the  matters of the heart and soul.

Every day I wake up with my wonderful husband still by my side and
I give thanks to the Lord every day.  That in itself is a miracle that I appreciate!
Gratitude has replaced the grumbling spirit of being unthankful.

What a wonderful life I have! 
What a wonderful Saviour I have!
I am rich in grace and have true contentment in my life. 


Saturday, December 29, 2012

Cracker Candy (aka Christmas Crack)

Crackers never tasted so good! 
1 cup unsalted butter 
(Do NOT use margarine for this. 
Salted butter is Ok!)
1 cup brown sugar
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
40 saltine crackers (approx 1 sleeve of crackers)
Line cookie sheet with foil or parchment paper.
If you are using foil then it's a good idea to spray with non stick spray.
Lay the saltines on cookie sheet in one layer right next to one another with no gaps~ 
I usually fall short about 3 short of covering the cookie sheet but that's okay. 
Set aside. 
Place butter and brown sugar in saucepan over medium heat. 
When mixture boils turn down heat and simmer 3 minutes. 

Do not stir or whisk while cooking.

Pour the hot caramel mixture over the crackers.

 You might have to do a little bit of spreading to the edges with a spoon

Meanwhile, melt chocolate chips in the microwave or double boiler and
pour into plastic ziploc sandwich bag. 
I like to put my ziploc in a cup to make it easier. 
Snip a tiny corner off of the bag.  
Drizzle chocolate on top hitting the outside of the crackers. 

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Homemade Bread Pudding

We've been so busy still settling in and preparing for our 5 hour trip to visit family this Christmas.  Time is flying! 
I've had a hankering for some down home comfort food and bread pudding certainly fills that desire! 
I've got to say that this recipe is big. 
I mean gargantuan big in a 13 by 9 pan!
It's great for a potluck or Christmas gathering.
Preheat oven to 325 and melt 2 Tbsp of butter in a 13 by 9 glass pan in oven.
Mix together with whisk in bowl and set aside~    
4 eggs
4 Tablespoons melted butter
4 Tablespoons Vanilla Extract
5 cups milk

4 cup sugar

Cube into approximately 1 inch cubes~
7 to 10 cups bread
 My 13 by 9 pan was quite full of bread cubes. 
Pour the liquid mixture over the top of bread and push bread down so it gets covered by the milk mixture. 
Bake for 55 to 70 minutes or till firm and golden. 
In saucepan melt:
1 stick butter and add
1/2 cup sugar
When it starts to simmer add about
1/4 cup of milk. 
Whisk till combined and remove from heat.
The 'real' way of using the sauce is to drizzle it on top of each serving but who am I kidding?  I poured the entire sauce on top of the bread pudding while it was still warm and it was heavenly.


Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Easy Peasy Potato Soup

Easy Peasy Potato Soup

I put this in the crock pot this morning and I was convinced that it wasn't going to be great.
But I was wrong! It was awesome! 
It was convenient and great for a busy day with limited time.  And just 5 ingredients!
If I were to do this again I would have doubled the recipe because it was that yummy! 
One can cream of mushroom or cream of chicken soup
2 cans chicken broth
One bag (approximately 16 oz) hash brown potatoes
1/4- 1/2 cup chopped onion
8 oz cream cheese
Spray crockpot with non stick spray.Put all ingredients in crock pot excluding the cream cheese.  Let cook on hi for 5 hours.  About 30 minutes before serving add cream cheese.   Whisk with wire whisk

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

And God remembered Noah

Genesis chapter 8:1a
And God remembered Noah,

As God remembered Noah God also remembers me. I am on God's mind.
 God didn't forget Noah and He hasn't forgotten me either.
 Noah had been on the ark for 7 months! I rarely hear people bring up the fact that Noah was hard at work because he surely was NOT on vacation.
  Maintaining and repairing the ark, feeding all of the animals, cleaning where the animals live. Scooping poop!
 I'll bet you he wondered when the end would come after scooping
all of that poop for over a half a year.
 Perhaps it was then that Noah thought that God had forgotten him.
 I can imagine the lies the devil was telling Noah.

"The waters will never dry off the land and you will be here for eternity"

"God has forgotten about you for the past 6 months and do you think He thinks of you now?
 There is no hope!
You will die on this smelly ark"

"You work on this boat all day and all night and you think God is sparing your life?
 Your life is ruined as well as the lives of your wife, sons and daughter's in law"

"The only thing you are good for is shoveling mountains of poop!"

In light of everything it is no wonder that the bible reading is relevant to me today.
 God has not forgotten me. God remembers me and God also remembers
you no matter what the situation.
 God does not forget.

Lord, thank you for remembering me.
These words ring in my soul and bring peace to my heart.
Thank you for being a faithful and loving God who has been constant in my life in spite of myself.
I don't have anyone that would care for me like you do.
Thank You for your amazing love.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Homemade Liquid Laundry Detergent

Hubby and I do ALOT of laundry! 
I don't know how TWO people can do so much laundry but we surely do~ about a load a day! 
A good chunk of our weekly budget was going for laundry soap so I
started looking into making my own. 
I've never done anything like this before and, honestly,  never felt the need to either. 
I'd heard people talk about it before so I told my hubby what I'd planned and he was leary and I understand why.  It's just plain ole easy and convenient to buy laundry detergent!    Another factor was cleanliness and we both worried (him much more than myself) that since there wouldn't be heavy perfumes lingering in our clothes that they wouldn't smell clean or be clean. 
I purchased the ingredients at a local Wal~Mart and Jewel and made the detergent on a Saturday morning.  After using the detergent for a week we've decided to continue using our own detergent at a fraction of the cost. 
I use about double the recomended amount of detergent and the hubs  probably is using triple  but counting the cost that we would be paying for purchased detergent we are still saving a good chunk of money.  Maybe part of the reason is that this is a low sudsing soap. 
I've got to remember also that it isn't the suds that do the cleaning but the ingredients in the soap.
Here are the ingredients and here's how I made it~ 
4 cups water
1 bar Fels Naptha Soap
1 cup Arm and Hammer Super Washing Soda
1/2 cup Borax 
Grate the Fels Naptha into a saucepan.
Boil about 4 cups of water and add soap to water.
Stir with whisk over low heat until all of the soap is melted.
Meanwhile, fill up the industrial bucket half full of warm water. 
When all soap is melted pour into bucket with the warm water.
Measure out and mix well~
1 cup Arm and Hammer Super Washing Soda
1/2 cup Borax
Fill with water to 5 gallons~  or nearly to top of bucket.
Cover and let sit overnight.  Soap will gel up. 
Break up soap  with stirring stick or use your hands.  
It is normal for there to be clumps and they will dissolve in the water with the wash.
 Put in containers for storage. 
The consistency is gel~like.  Give it a good shake in container before you add it to your laundry.  
I use 1/2 cup.  
 For all supplies and ingredients it cost me $12.75.  
After I purchased the Borax at Jewel's, Walmart restocked and it was a dollar cheaper. 
The next time I make detergent again I won't have to buy the borax or super washing powder so I will only have to buy the Fels Naptha. 
My next batch will cost about a dollar and ten cents! 

Saturday, December 8, 2012

What's Cookin'? 12/2012

We've been having lots of old favorites here for meal time and more comfort food as the cooler weather sets in.   It's just seems easier to want to be inside cooking than it is in more temperate weather. 

Left to right~

Chorizo and Eggs
Arroz con Pollo (chicken with rice)
Homemade Pork Stew
Homemade Chicken Pot Pie

Have a wonderful week! 

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Arm in Arm

Genesis 5:24a
And Enoch walked with God

I am focusing on the first half of this scripture because it reallly speaks to me.
 Walking with God.
The God of the Universe.
The God who created me.
 The God who has every hair on my head numbered.
Wow! Incredible.
As Enoch walked with God so do I.
I remember walking arm and arm with my mother as a little girl.
It is such a special memory and something that I wish I could do again.

God is walking with me- besides me- am I aware of His loving presence, His care and His love?

Lord, thank you for your precious gift of salvation!
I am so thankful that you choose to walk with me daily and you have such patience with me.
To think that you are the Creator of the universe that you walk with me is so LOFTY and I cannot fathom it!
That you actually care for me is so incredible.
Help me to keep you in the forefront of my memory and to know that
through every situation that you are there.
Arm in Arm.

Psalm 8

1 LORD, our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth! who hast set thy glory above the heavens.

2Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings hast thou ordained strength because of thine enemies, that thou mightest still the enemy and the avenger.

3When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained;

4What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him?

5For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour.

6Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands; thou hast put all things under his feet:

7All sheep and oxen, yea, and the beasts of the field;

8The fowl of the air, and the fish of the sea, and whatsoever passeth through the paths of the seas.

9O LORD our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth