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Thursday, September 30, 2010

Homemade Bread Baking / Good Health & Nutrition

Last night I attended an excellent bread baking class taught by my friend Gabriele.  She is a wife and mother of six and makes just about everything from scratch.  Last fall she taught another friend and me how to bake homemade bread and even found us bread machines at an incredible price.  I also purchase local honey and Prairie Gold wheat berries from her which I use regularly.

The recipe below is her own creation and makes a delicious loaf every time.  After many years of baking bread, Gabriele  has modified the recipe which was originally published in the book Recipes by God, 2004.  I can't remember seeing this book in a bookstore. A friend who was moving last year  gave me the copy that I own.    Although her name is not on the front cover of this book, Gabriele actually wrote all of the recipes in it.  She and her family are pictured in the front of  the book where she is mentioned as being the co-author.


If you'd like to purchase this book  from Amazon.com just click on the book title above.  A companion book to this titled Body by God is also available at Amazon as well as at Paperback Swap.  [5 p.m.  Looks like someone got the last copy at PB Swap so check your local library.]




Here is the recipe:

HOMEMADE BREAD
(modified slightly from p. 13 in the book)

INGREDIENTS

  • 5/8 cup soy or rice milk (any milk will do)
  • 3/4 cup water  (You can also use just water instead of milk + water)
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 3 tbsp. honey
  • 4 cups whole wheat flour (or combination of flours--My family prefers that I use 2 cups fresh ground whole wheat flour and 2 cups regular flour)
  • 1 1/2 tsp. sea salt
  • 2 1/2 tsp. INSTANT yeast
DIRECTIONS
  1. Put all of the wet ingredients into the bread machine
  2. SIFT the flour with the salt using a fine sifter
  3. Add flour and salt to the bread machine
  4. Make a small crater in the top of the flour
  5. Put the yeast in this little "dip" in the flour
  6. Turn bread machine on for a loaf of bread for  2 hrs. 50 min. or on the dough cycle for 1 hr. 30 min.

I have used this recipe many times myself and always get a perfect loaf.  I have posted other blogs about how to make  stromboli and pizza using this same recipe as well as making bread for gifts especially during the holidays.  My neighbors were sure happy last year with their gifts of homemade bread.   Thank you, Gabriele, for teaching us how to prepare nutritious bread which is a staple in just about every household.


Proverbs 31:27 
She looks well to the ways of her household, 
And does not eat the bread of idleness. 

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Sorting Coupons / Couponizer

I recently saw a Couponizer for the first time.  A friend had it in her purse.  After seeing it "in person"    I knew it would be the perfect gift for someone who loves organization (like me).    I like the size, the colorful-ness of it and all of its features.


I heard about the Couponizer initially on Crown Ministries' Money Matters  radio broadcast which I listen to regularly.   They're quite handy in taking your coupons to the store.  Not just grocery coupons. There are sections for customer cards, and other types of coupons like Bed, Bath & Beyond, restaurants, etc.

I'm a clipper of coupons rather than one who uses the binder method.  Here is my 3" x 5" index card file which separates coupons into about 30 categories.  I usually take this to the grocery store along with an envelope into which I've pulled out the coupons I expect to use.   It snaps closed and fits neatly into the front part of the shopping cart.


I heard that the Couponizer comes with a sorting mat and I thought that was a GREAT idea so I made my own.


After clipping coupons, I sort them in the various categories which match my index card file.  After I sort them, it makes filing them a breeze and a real timesaver.


If you're serious about couponing, you have to be organized in whatever way works best for you.  For me, files, grids, charts and lots of COLOR help me to stay organized and enjoy it.  I'd still love to have a Couponizer but for now, I'll make do with this method.  What's your favorite way of staying organized?

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

FREE Dozen Eggs Coupon / Good Egg Project


My friend, Esther, whom I wrote about on a previous blog,  posted this on her blog this morning as well as on her Facebook site, and it was too good to not share with more people. Everyone (well, most everyone) eats eggs, so here you go.




Make your pledge to eat good, do good everyday then download your BOGO (buy one dozen eggs, get one dozen free up to $1.50) coupon at THIS LINK .

Join America’s egg farmers in a commitment to living more healthfully and giving back to the community. For every pledge made, we will donate one egg to Feeding America – up to one million eggs! That’s in addition to the 12 million eggs donated annually. Pledging is easy. Simply provide your name, email and zip code, and “sign” the pledge by checking the box. That’s it!

Coupons expire November 30, 2010.

Pros and cons about eating eggs are at THIS LINK.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Stocking Up ... Not Just for the Winter / Sharing Giving to The Poor

All of us who shop food sales (and other sales), use coupons and savings websites do so to save money and provide for our families in the most economical way.  There are, of course, other reasons to stock up.  Here in Florida, since 2004, we have had hurricanes come our way and one of the necessary preparations is to have plenty of non-perishable food on hand.  We have always stocked up during this season “just in case” but only during 2004 have we ever had to use food for that purpose.  We have donated food at times for other areas of the country or world that have had other natural disasters...Haiti last year, for example.




This is my kitchen pantry ...


...kept behind closed doors.


Another reason and I think, one of the best, is to stock up to share with others.  I have mentioned in  previous blogs about donating to needy families.   Two weeks ago United Way was calling for donations at my husband’s office.  A few weeks before that they had a large school supply collection at his office as well.   Last week was our first food donation of the season.   A neighbor informed the rest of us that there were 40 homeless families (up from 8 last year) with children attending our nearby elementary school and took up food and hygiene collections for them.   Although people are in need year-round, the fall / Thanksgiving time of year seems to be especially taken note of by various organizations who gather and provide food in bulk for our community and elsewhere. 

This year, as you are saving $$ on groceries for your family, take the challenge and purchase a little extra for someone else who most definitely will be in need at some time this fall.  Set a little more aside to give and to share.    Sometimes the "needy" are right in front of you --your neighborhood, your extended family, your church...





Psalm 72:13 
He will have acompassion on the poor and needy, 
And the lives of the needy he will save. 

Mark 14:7 
For you always have the poor with you, 
and whenever you wish you can do good to them...

Sunday, September 26, 2010

The Gospel In Life Grace Changes Everything / Tim Keller

Our church began a new 16-week class during  the Sunday School hour last week titled The Gospel in Life / Grace Changes Everything The way this class is structured, we first meet in our shepherd groups (each elder meets with their flock for prayer), then we view a brief video presentation by  Dr. Tim Keller, Senior Pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian  Church in New York City.  

SESSION 2 : HEART THREE WAYS TO LIVE 
 (SEPT. 19 AND 26)  
In Session 2 we look at the parable of the two lost sons in Luke 15. We conclude that there are three ways to relate to God—irreligion, religion, and the gospel. The irreligious don’t repent at all. The religious only repent of sins. But Christians repent of both their sins and the reasons for their righteousness. The gospel is  something entirely different from religion and irreligion. Only the gospel has the power to transform our hearts.

Then we regroup in our small groups again and discuss the video.  We are taking two weeks for each session in case folks have to miss one or the other.     Check it out or come join us on Sunday morning, 9:30 - 10:30 a.m.


Additional Reading:Additional Reading:
Ferguson, Sinclair. Children of the Living God.Horton, Michael. Putting the Amazing Back into Grace.Keller, Timothy. The Prodigal God: Recovering the Heart of the Christian Faith
Lewis, C. S. Three Kinds of Men.
Lovelace, Richard F. Renewal as a Way of Life: A Guidebook for Spiritual Growth.
Stevenson, Leslie. Seven Theories of Human Nature.

Sermons:
Keller, Timothy. Sermon: 
Sin as Self-Righteousness
Keller, Timothy. Sermon Series: The Fellowship Of Grace. (sermons below)
Keller, Timothy. Sermon: 
He Welcomes Sinners
Keller, Timothy. Sermon: 
Give Me Mine
Keller, Timothy. Sermon: 
He Came to Himself
Keller, Timothy. Sermon: 
To Be Called Your Son
Keller, Timothy. Sermon: 
And Kissed Him
Keller, Timothy. Sermon: 
We Had to Celebrate
Keller, Timothy. Sermon: 
The True Older Brother

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Shine On, Shine On Harvest Moon Up in the Sky ...

I've heard this song for many, many years but I don't think I had ever seen what is referred to as a Harvest Moon.  The other night, September 22, there was one and I took photos of it outside our home.     





I picked up my son from his youth group game night at another family's home around 10 p.m. and the dad was out taking photos, too.  He had a zoom lens and got some wonderful photos. Thanks, Steve.




What an amazing sight!

Genesis  8:22
“While the earth remains, 
Seedtime and harvest, 
And cold and heat, 
And summer and winter, 
And day and night 
Shall not cease.” 

Friday, September 24, 2010

93 Days Until Christmas! Setting Aside $$ for Holiday Shopping




UPDATE July 1, 2011
After July 1 at our home, we always say "it's almost Christmas" because there is only one more month of summer break, school begins, holidays resume, a few family birthdays...    Time really flies!  Start saving a little bit each week starting NOW and you won't have to stress out about your January credit card bill for the holidays.  Perhaps this year you can be more generous to others by just planning ahead a bit.
  • $5 for   26 weeks =  $ 130
  • $10 for 26 weeks =  $260
  • $15 for 26 weeks =  $390
  • $20 for 26 weeks =  $520
  • $25 for 26 weeks =  $650
  • $50 for 26 weeks =  $1,300

===================================================
Original Post:

93 Days until Christmas!

Although we just celebrated the first day of Fall on Wednesday, Christmas is just around the corner!

Prior to Christmas, we have three family birthdays, then two more right after Christmas.  If you haven't already started, it's not too early to begin shopping for Christmas or at least setting aside $$ each week for holiday spending.  Most people do not include GIFTS as one of their budget items even though it is almost always a large expense during the year, but it really helps avoid the credit card shock in January to have done so.  It's good for the national economy to spend a lot during this time, but more importantly, your/my personal economy needs to stay in order.

I have been budgeting for holiday spending for quite a few years and although I can't control my husband's gift spending, I can at least control my own and estimate what his might be (he's sometimes more generous than I am at Christmas time, but has learned to shop the sales).  :)  :)  Stress from over-spending can be  a nightmare.

Let me show you how the money adds up little by little.  

Although most spending is done before Christmas, if you set aside money each week  from now until December 25, you'll have saved:
  • $5 for   13 weeks =  $  65
  • $10 for 13 weeks =  $130
  • $15 for 13 weeks =  $195
  • $20 for 13 weeks =  $260
  • $25 for 13 weeks =  $325
  • $50 for 13 weeks =  $650

Even if you spend more than this, this $$ stash will still put a healthy dent in any holiday spending that you do.  Keep track of how much you set aside each week on an index card like the one on the right.  Deduct it right away from your checkbook (so you won't spend it on something else) and/or put the cash in an envelope (best idea) or in a separate savings account.  Use the money solely for your Christmas shopping.  Last year, I just cashed a few checks for the whole amount I had set aside and then deposited it when the credit card bill arrived. 


BOTTOM LINE:  When it's gone, that's all you spend.  It takes discipline meaning often giving up something else to set a little more aside but so worth it later.

Other ways to gather funds or to  save some extra holiday $$:
  • Sell items on Ebay, Amazon or a yard sale
  • Part-time job for a few weeks
  • Sell books at BrightLight Books (a local store here that takes them)
  • Talk with relatives and agree to limit spending to a certain amount per family OR to just buy gifts for the kids in each family [We typically buy a small family gift for the adults--Christmas ornament, candles, holiday decor, gift card-- and then gifts for the children.]
  • Draw names in your family or group that usually exchanges gifts AND set a $$ limit
  • Have a family outing or special dinner together instead of buying gifts for each other
  • Give service coupons to each other to be used over the next few months 
  • Shop at thrift stores and yard sales, looking for new, unopened items
  • READ the sales flyers in the newspaper and/or shop online for the best bargains
  • Use your coupons when selecting gifts
  • Give gift cards and set a low limit for each, i.e. no more than $10-$20
  • Decide as a family to give a specific amount to a charity and then give each other ONE gift each
  • Give one gift on Christmas Day plus a set amount of $$.  Go shopping together with the family the morning AFTER Christmas and then have lunch out together. [Some friends of ours did this last year and really enjoyed it.]
  • Keep a list of whom you intend to buy for, with your $$ limits and keep track of your spending
  • Make your gifts to keep the costs down--food items are great (I baked a loaf a day last year and gave it to all our neighbors and local relatives), sewing, artwork, greeting cards...be resourceful and creative.
  • Give at least one gift to someone that you know will be totally unreciprocated just for the act of giving.  Sometimes you have to do this on Christmas Day so you don't get "pay backs".   

I've already begun setting aside money for Christmas and always feel so free when shopping by doing this.  Don't delay.  Start this week.  You'll be glad you did.




    Thursday, September 23, 2010

    FREE Date Day / Smithsonian Museum Day September 25, 2010


    Again, thumbing through our newspaper I found this also.  

    Saturday, September 25, is Smithsonian magazine's 6th annual Museum Day.   One ticket admits two for FREE at 1000+ museums around the country.   More information at THIS LINK.  Fill in the needed info and your ticket will be emailed to you.   Please note that for some museums, the ticket is valid on Sunday, September 26, instead of on Saturday.  

    The list of museums in Florida is at THIS LINK.  There are quite a few including the more expensive ones that you might not otherwise visit.



    Wednesday, September 22, 2010

    Michael's 40% Off Coupon / Expires September 25, 2010 / February 2, 2011

    It goes against the grain for me to pay for something and then not use it.  We subscribe to the local newspaper and receive it 7 days a week.  I was skimming through Monday and Tuesday's papers  last night and saw this coupon for Michael's Arts &  Crafts store.

    You can also print a 2nd one online at THIS LINK.




    The online coupon expires September 25, 2010.  

    The one in the paper expires February 2, 2011.

    By the way, a newspaper subscription is one of the best places to find coupons, sales, etc.  It more than pays for the cost of subscribing and the newspaper in our city runs specials all the time.  Call them up (yes, on the phone) rather than subscribe online.  You just have to ask a customer service rep what the specials are.

    Being Resourceful / One of a Mom's Best Qualities / Asking for Help and Wisdom

    I just have to post this "resourceful" item today. Earlier this week my husband was leaving for work around 7 a.m.  I was up and in the kitchen when he came back in the house to tell me that there was a stream of water coming from our laundry room, through the wall and the floor and running into our garage.  He had to leave right then for work so I hastily ran out there to find the source of the water and see if it was backing up into either our family room or guest room which are separated from the laundry room by a wall.  At first I thought it might be the drain pan from the A/C but I regularly put Clorox in once a month to prevent that which had not occurred in many years.  What else could it be?

    Our laundry room is a separate room on the far side of our garage.  It is air conditioned and has an upright freezer plus a shelving unit on which I store extra items that won't fit into my pantry after a stocking-up shopping trip.   I keep also shipping boxes in there for my Ebay store.  After checking that these things were not wet I moved everything out and found the leak at the bottom of a small copper pipe that connects to our water heater.  It was only about 3 inches from the floor. Ugh!  Finding something to fit under the pipe to catch the water was the problem.


    In case you're wondering what all these pipes are--they connect the air conditioning unit to the water heater and save energy by heating the water when the A/C is on.  A plumber friend of ours rigged this up for us several years ago. Unfortunately, because it is an addition to the original water heater the piping is not covered under our home warranty which we would normally use for a plumbing issue.

    I put one towel down after another (up to about 8) and they were saturated within an hour.  I put the only plastic container that would fit under the pipe but it didn't hold very much and filled within 10 minutes. 


    Then I tried a small Ziplock bag, then a 5-gallon Big Bag Ziplock.  That held the water for awhile but I got to worrying about what would happen when we went to bed that night.  [I had already called our handyman who could not come until the next morning.  He and my husband had told me to wrap it with duct tape which did not stop the leaking.]

    I started rummaging around the house looking for something to drain the water out of the laundry room and into our garage which has a concrete floor.  It is inclined slightly so the water would run out of the garage if I could just get it INTO the garage.  Voila!!  I gathered heavy-duty aluminum foil, a 2-foot section of garden hose (which I did not know we even had) and a small kitchen funnel and fitted them together precariously  making a drain for the water.  It held all through the night with minimal leaking onto the laundry room floor and the water draining onto the concrete garage floor instead.   I was SO excited that I Girl-Scouted this dilemma that I took these photos and couldn't wait to show my son and husband what I had done.




    Our handyman came the next morning and repaired the leak which was actually several inches above where it looked like the leak originated.  He was impressed with my jury-rigged drain line.  :)    Thank you, Lord, that this did  not occur over a weekend and that it was less than $100 to repair AND that You gave me the wisdom to figure out how to prevent any water damage inside our home and helped me see which resources I had available to use to fix the problem before help could arrive.

    There are often other circumstances which occur in any given day that put us moms into a tizzy.  Don't panic, slow down, pray and think.  The resources you already have n hand may also help in that situation, too.  We may need to call upon someone to help but don't forget to call upon the One Who is always available no matter the time of day.


    James 1:5
    But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, 
    Who gives to all generously and without reproach, 
    and it will be given to him. 

    Tuesday, September 21, 2010

    Community or Individualism in Today's Culture

    Our pastor had this quote by Tullian Tchividjian as part of his sermon notes from Romans 12: 1-3 on Sunday.  



    Very thoughtful comments, about individualism, which our culture promotes so highly:






    Individualism is a fundamentally worldly way of understanding what it means to be human. Stamped into the fabric of our modern society is the idea that the individual is the primary center of reality, the ultimate standard of value. We live in a culture where there are no longer any obligations to others. The locus of all authority is squarely fixed on the individual self. This approach devalues the role of "the many" in favor of "the one." Togetherness and community are radically diminished. It's all about "me," not "we."
    In the Bible, however, we discover that while we're called by God as individuals, we're called into his new community, the church. One of my all-time favorite quotes about the church comes from an excellent little book entitled Total Christianity by Frank Colquhoun. He writes, "The fellowship of the church is part of God's good news to men. It imparts to the gospel one of its most thrilling notes - that when Christ saves a man he not only saves him from his sin, he saves him from his solitude."
    This means there's no such thing as Christian individualism; it's an oxymoron. The church is meant to be a God-formed community of people who have abandoned the notion that life can and should be lived in isolation. Christians are connected people - -connected to each other by God the Father, through God the Son, in God the Spirit.   (Tullian Tchividjian, grandson of Billy Graham)





    Whether you are an introvert (refreshed by being alone) or an extrovert (refreshed by  being with others), the Lord wants us to be connected with other people.  No, not constantly, but periodically throughout your week for the spreading of salt and light.   How are you living this out today? in your family? your neighborhood? your city? your church?

    Moms at home, especially those with small children, often become isolated and depressed.  Do I have to say irritable, too?  A crying child, spilled food, toys all over the house and a broken washing machine can seem 10x worse when you're at home alone with someone who can't communicate well just yet.  [A broken washer would make me a little crazy, too.]

    Call up a friend and go to the park for some fresh air or have lunch  together (sometimes doing this while your child(ren) are napping is great for uninterrupted adult conversation).  Do things as families with other couples who have small children once a month or more frequently.   Take your little one(s) to library storytime and meet other moms who probably live in your neighborhood.  Trade babysitting so you and your husband can re-connect every week or so.  Invite singles and other couples over for dinner with you.  Join a MOPS or Titus 2 Moms group.  A little effort and planning will sparkle up your day, lift your spirits and get you out of the daily routine just enough to come back home with a fresh perspective.  

    Monday, September 20, 2010

    Sweet Tomatoes Coupons Expire September 23, 2010








    If you feel like a salad or a buffet breakfast this week, check out the Sweet Tomatoes coupons at THIS LINK.  There are four coupons, two of which are  BOGO (buy one, get one) for you.  


    Expiration date:  September 23, 2010

    Sunday, September 19, 2010

    Gospel In Life Grace Changes Everything / Tim Keller

    Our church began a new 16-week class during  the Sunday School hour last week titled The Gospel in Life / Grace Changes Everything.  The way this class is structured, we first meet in our shepherd groups (each elder meets with their flock for prayer), then we view a brief video presentation by  Dr. Tim Keller, Senior Pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian  Church in New York City.  

    SESSION 2 : HEART THREE WAYS TO LIVE 
     (SEPT. 19 AND 26)  
    In Session 2 we look at the parable of the two lost sons in Luke 15. We conclude that there are three ways to relate to God—irreligion, religion, and the gospel. The irreligious don’t repent at all. The religious only repent of sins. But Christians repent of both their sins and the reasons for their righteousness. The gospel is  something entirely different from religion and irreligion. Only the gospel has the power to transform our hearts.

    Then we regroup in our small groups again and discuss the video.  We are taking two weeks for each session in case folks have to miss one or the other.     Check it out or come join us on Sunday morning, 9:30 - 10:30 a.m.


    Additional Reading:Additional Reading:
    Ferguson, Sinclair. Children of the Living God.

    Horton, Michael. Putting the Amazing Back into Grace.
    Keller, Timothy. The Prodigal God: Recovering the Heart of the Christian Faith
    Lewis, C. S. Three Kinds of Men.
    Lovelace, Richard F. Renewal as a Way of Life: A Guidebook for Spiritual Growth.
    Stevenson, Leslie. Seven Theories of Human Nature.

    Sermons:
    Keller, Timothy. Sermon: 
    Sin as Self-Righteousness
    Keller, Timothy. Sermon Series: The Fellowship Of Grace. (sermons below)
    Keller, Timothy. Sermon: 
    He Welcomes Sinners
    Keller, Timothy. Sermon: 
    Give Me Mine
    Keller, Timothy. Sermon: 
    He Came to Himself
    Keller, Timothy. Sermon: 
    To Be Called Your Son
    Keller, Timothy. Sermon: 
    And Kissed Him
    Keller, Timothy. Sermon: 
    We Had to Celebrate
    Keller, Timothy. Sermon: 
    The True Older Brother
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