Saturday, December 31, 2011

Homemade Cleaner Site

I've just found this site/blog. I'm very into homemade cleaners right now, so I'm very excited! I love anything that includes vinegar and baking soda! The two are just about amazing...especially combined!
I thought I would share this site with you all! :D
Cleaning Recipes

Friday, December 30, 2011

Quick Cleaning

I've been following this cleaning plan outlined in a Yahoo Shine article every day or every other day at least. I've noticed the need to do full on scrubbing/cleaning disappearing! I'd like to be one of those super clean/organize one room each day, but I'm not, that system just doesn't work for me. But, I can do a quick clean almost everyday. Especially, when it's a smart efficient system.
A month ago if I was half as busy as I have been these last few weeks my house would have looked like a tornado hit. (Which is really not good when you have relatives streaming in and out for the Holdiays.) But, I've managed to keep my home almost always clean by following this article. I had already started to develop a similar system before I read this, but it's helped a lot!
If you're not a single room each day type of person maybe this article can help you too!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Peace in God's Word!

I simply love this verse:

"Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them." - Psalm 119:165

In December I'm reminded of just how much the modern American rushes through the day. Cramming in as much activity as possible. I, myself, am certainly a guilty party, especially while celebrating the holidays. However, I often wonder if this buzz is a substitution for something that is absolutely necessary! Peace
Peace is so illusive to most, but exceptionally easy to be found.
What great peace can be found in God's Word! Every question has an answer and it is found in between the covers of this ancient book.
As we look to this coming year, we're looking at twelve months of opportunity and possibility, but also sorrow, hardships, and despair. I can guarantee that there will be times in the year 2012 in which you will feel discouraged. I can guarantee you that you will cry. While we're guaranteed hardship in this world we can also be guaranteed peace!
Peace even in times of difficulty!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Cotton Candy Storage

We have two half-eaten bags of cotton candy in our home, currently.
I, personally, greatly enjoy it, but I don't think anyone can eat a whole bag in one sitting! (By the way, did you know that a 1 oz bag of cotton candy is only 105 calories? That's one of those big bags too!)
We bought said bags on two separate occasions five days apart. Each bag we've eaten what we could and nibbled a little here and there. It's still nearly as fresh as the day it was made, and do you know how we stored the cotton candy to achieve this amazing feat? We twisted the bag closed with a twist tie and stored it in our cool microwave. If during these last few weeks I need the microwave, I take them out, and give the microwave a few minutes to cool before returning them.
This is how my family has accidentally discovered the best form of storage when it comes to one of my favorite treats! I'm so glad we did, because, frankly, I can't get enough of it!!!

Monday, December 26, 2011

An Incredible Birth Story

I've had two little girls, and since the birth of the first in September of 2008 I've noticed that we moms love to share our birth stories! We love to tell when and how labor began, all the highs and especially the lows of the hours it took to prepare for the birth, and to share how our little ones finally made their appearance!
Personally, I find the fact that I've endured two labors without an epidural as a badge of honor, and at some point, if I can find a graceful way to tell them, I may blog my birth stories. Today, is not that day.
Today, I want to share a birth story that is quite ancient in age. A much anticipated birth:
When I was six months pregnant with my first daughter (in June) my husband and I decided to visit my brother who lives approximately twelve hours away from us. I'll admit that the visit was wonderful and so much fun! I got to see the Liberty Bell for the first time ever! However, the trip itself was terrible! I hated every second of the drive!
I don't enjoy pregnancy. There's just something about nausea, gaining thirty pounds, losing my center of balance, inability to sleep, complete exhaustion, and all-around discomfort that just rubs me the wrong way. Sitting in a vehicle for twelve hours while enduring all of these pleasures was almost unbearable. It was so difficult and I was so uncomfortable. However, I'm sure that poor Mary would have gladly traded places with me and exchanged her donkey for the front seat of our sunfire. After that trip I vowed never to travel that pregnant again, and when I tell other moms about that trip they're always quick to give their sympathy and relate to the discomfort. Can you imagine being a full term mother-to-be and having to make a sixty mile journey by donkey? On my trip to my borther's we stopped approximately every two hours. (A necessary side-effect of pregnancy.) Can you imagine how slow the journey from Nazareth to Bethlehem with the frequent stops that were obviously inevitable? Can you imagine Mary's discomfort and down-right pain at traveling on that donkeys back. When I was full term I couldn't get comfortable on a leather sofa, let alone on a barn animal!

Jolly Days at the Children's Museum

If you've been to Indy, I hope you took a day to visit the World's Largest Children's Museum, The Children's Museum of Indianapolis! Like the zoo we have a membership here! Totally worth EVERY penny!!! We give each other this membership as a Mothers/Fathers Day gift.
Every year at The Children's Museum they have such a fun Holiday exhibit called, Jolly Days. (My friend, Rachel, has a great post about Jolly Days here.)
This is SO much fun!! An "ice" castle, a super fun kitchen area with a giant stove, reindeer to groom, ice fishing, and sock skating, and a special baby area. I haven't mentioned everything that they do or how awesomely amazingly fun it is!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

To Santa or Not?

"To Santa or Not to Santa?" that is the question!
Growing up I believed in Santa. I think if you're doing Santa Claus my parents were great models. We watched Santa movies, read Santa stories, went to see him at the mall, and received gifts from him, but they were never large gifts. We knew that Santa wasn't the whole of Christmas, he was a small fraction of our December fun! (In fact, I think that I loved Rudolph much more than the big guy himself! I blame Rankin/Bass for this!)
As a grown woman, though, I made the decision, even before I met my husband, that I would not teach my children to believe in Santa Claus. I felt that if I told them that there was a jolly, chubby man that broke and entered our home once a year and deposited gifts that, in fact, I had purchased...for some reason it would be dishonest!
I don't think it's necessarily evil to believe in Santa, but I just feel that in order to have "Santa visit our house" each year I would have to tell my children some falsehood at some point, and that's a risk I wasn't willing to run!

Twas the Night Before Christmas!

Every year growing up my dad would read all five of us, "Twas the Night Before Christmas" by Clement C. Moore on Christmas Eve.
Dad reading to my little girl and 2 of her cousins!
This had to be my favorite tradition...EVER!!!!! I love books, well, we all did, and my dad always reads things a little silly. If you were looking for a story to be well read with the words well articulated and every syllable to be correctly stated and emphasized just as the author intended, you asked my mom to read. She read like a valedictorian...oh wait she was! (Sorry, at some time had to throw that brag in about my mom.) If you were looking for every voice to be completely exaggerated and poetic license to be taken (and a little abused) you would have Dad read to you! He does the best, "HO HO HO!"
As we grew we became too old for a lot of things, but I've never gotten too old for this tradition! Now, whenever possible my dad will read to the grandkids he has around on Christmas Eve. It's fun to watch my kiddos enjoy this as much as I did!
What Christmas Tradition did you enjoy so much that you had to pass it on to your little one??

Oh, and

"Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night!"

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Why Christianity? Why Tebow?

Why does the media think it's ok to mock Christianity when other religions are taboo?
Poor Tim Tebow has been the catalyst of many a debate and, to the best of my knowledge, all he's tried to do is live his faith while performing his career. Is it that Tim Tebow himself has in some way made a mockery of Christianity? No, in fact, he's done the opposite. He's shown the nation a sincere Christian, unfortunately, they're unaccustomed to such a sight.
Christians as a whole have presented a face to our nation of half-heartedness. We're willing to follow our Lord, but only on Sunday morning. When we leave the walls of our church buildings and enter into the World we find ourselves falling into the common sins in which our unsaved counterparts indulge. We are careful never to offend anyone, and “push” our beliefs in their face. Therefore, we refrain from acknowledging that there is only one standard of right and living, that standard found in God's Word. We refrain from acknowledging that you can only have a personal relationship with God, and see Eternal Glory through Jesus Christ, and Him alone! We do not want to make others uncomfortable by living a holy life in front of them, so we, generously (note the sarcasm), refrain from living a life that is separate, set apart solely for the glory of our Lord. We instead indulge in all Worldly pleasures and our church is much like that of the church in Corinth.
"I wrote unto you in an epistle not to company with fornicators: Yet not altogether with the fornicators of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or with idolaters; for then must ye needs go out of the world. But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolator, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat. For what have I to do to judge them also that are without? do not ye judge them that are within? But them that are without God judgeth. Therefore put away from among yourselves that wicked person." - I Corinthians 5:9-13

We have accepted sin into our fold, we have not cast out the sin, and now, perhaps irreversibly, our lump has become leavened altogether.
The side effect of this leavening has been that those outside of our religion do not see it as an authentic belief system, they don't see it as truth, they see it as a wishy washy club full of hypocrites, and, sadly, they're more often than not, correct.
Let us boldly live a holy, separate life. Let us not proclaim Christ's name, yet reject his statutes, presenting sincere examples to those unbelievers who see Christianity as merely a joke.
Let's give Tim Tebow some company!

A Christmas in His Presence

Your present is still untouched,
On your plate there is no food.
The Season that you cherished
Is cheering every mood.
And though, I wrap and carol,
And am truly filled with cheer.
All parts of me are wishing,
That you were still so near.

I used to be too busy to pause,
And indulge you with a hug.
Now, all those embraces,
Don't seem to have been enough.
And though I feel a little sad,
and just a tiny bit alone.
I know that you are celebrating,
with the Master on His throne.

What an envy I am feeling,
Whenever I imagine.
The joy of having Christmas,
with Savior in Heaven.
Though I miss our celebration,
at this time of year,
The grief is always softened,
because I know you're there.
I can not wait to carol with you,
One not-far Christmas Day.
When I come to join you,
At His feet to stay.

How joyful it must be,
Face to face to sing to Him.
Who came to give Goodwill,
To earth and peace to men.
I can not wait to join you,
For a family Holiday.
My Grandparents,
Cal & Leota in WWII
Once again with you to worship,
Some glorious Christmas Day!

Dedicated to the Memory of Leota Mary "Ellis" Eastwood. Who went to be with her Savior the day after Christmas, the holiday she loved, in the year 2002.

The Humility of Christ!

I've always been taken aback by the humility of my Lord. The Omnipotent God of the universe who hung the stars and fashioned the seas would care enough for me that he would lower himself by coming here! To this flawed and filthy world!
However, since becoming a mother I've been even more impressed by the sacrifice my Lord has made! Have you ever noticed how completely helpless newborns are? They have no freedom, no power, no privacy!
When my daughters were born they literally relied on me for everything, if they were uncomfortable, they couldn't get up and stretch their legs, they had to wait for <i>me</i> to move them. If their dinner didn't agree with them, they spewed it out and sat covered with their own stomach contents until <i>I</i> cleaned it! When they removed waste from their body they would have to sit in it until <i>I</i> removed it for them!
Now, for a moment, imagine yourself as a grown until being made to submit to such a lifestyle! It's a degrading, upsetting thought isn't it?
We typically don't mind that others had to care for us when we were newborns because we can't remember it, and we didn't know what we were missing at the time. But, can you imagine that the Almighty willingly submitted himself to such a life?  To me just that he would be willing to subject himself to the first two months of a human life cycle is unimaginable! He was so humble and <b>loved</b> us so much! Praise the Lord for the Christmas season when we can reflect on His amazing love and incomparable mercy!!!!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Christmas at the Zoo!

I've already written about our trips to the Indianapolis Zoo. You can check that out here!
The Indy Zoo has an awesome light display each Christmas Season! I love to see Christmas lights! (Honestly, I think being a mommy is my perfect career, because I've never grown up!)
We have the opportunity to enjoy this with our girls because we have a membership. My husband has admitted that he wouldn't have gone if we didn't have one. To come for just a few hours is not worth the cost.
This year we had so much fun watching the tiger. He came right up to the glass almost nose to nose with Tabby & her friend! I've never seen two three-year-olds jump so fast!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Cleaning a DVD

Why do I never think to take before & after pics!!!!???
Maybe because I don't think about posting a blog until after I've completed my amazing feat!
This morning I decided to let my girls watch Frosty the Snowman. We haven't gotten to it this year, and I make a point of watching as many Rankin/Bass Christmas specials as possible. We put the dvd in the tray, and waited for it to load...and waited...and waited...but, instead of the delightful sounds of Jimmy Durante, we were greeted by the dreaded words, "INSERT DISC" on our screen. NOOOOOOO!!! Don't you hate it when you put in a beloved dvd and the player can't read it? It always makes me sad. I tried turning on and off the player and taking the disc out and in again. Finally, I turned the disc over and discovered the problem. It looked as if it had been candy coated.
Sticky hands are just a part of a three-year-old world, and, I suppose, there will be victims of said stickiness. One of those victims was my Frosty movie. This is unacceptable!
I searched a few quick dvd cleaning articles and only found the toothpaste method (which is for scratches) and using purified water and a microfiber cloth. I had the microfiber cloth, but no purified water.
I grabbed my glasses cleaning cloths (my microfiber cloth) and thought, "Glasses cleaning cloth, perhaps, glasses cleaner?" So, I did it! I washed the dvd with glasses cleaner! It worked perfectly...
In fact, I just heard, "I hate red thermometers."
I love corny, classic, children's, Christmas movies! Don't you? Which was/is your favorite?

Thursday, December 8, 2011

How Can I be "Sanctified"

If you've read anything I've posted before you've probably realized that I'm rather found of the twelfth chapter of the book of Romans. I've frequently quoted the first two verses on this blog.
"I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.
And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God."

These verses are a constant reminder to me not to let myself become entangled in this world, and, I don't know about you but, I need reminded.
I think, though, that Christians are fond of just quoting the first two verses and we often ignore the treasure trove that is the rest of the chapter. The Lord isn't in the habit of leaving us hanging, and, so, when he gave us the command to not be conformed to this world, he also gave us the methods to use to avoid such a circumstance.

"Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith; Or ministry, let us wait on our ministering: or he that teacheth, on teaching; Or he that exhorteth, on exhortation: he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness." - Verses 6 - 8

Serve!!! We need to be serving in the ministry. You don't have to be a pastor or evangelist or even have a Bible College degree, you have been commanded to serve!

"Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good."

I love the phrasing used in this verse! When I think of the word "cleave" I picture someone hanging from a precipice tightly gripping a rope. Basically, "holding on for dear life."

"Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another;

If our close friends aren't Christians, we're probably not filling our lives with proper influences to assist our sanctification.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Power of Baking Soda

I am so excited about baking soda!
Seriously, it costs less than $0.50 & yet, it's uses are endless:
Baking Soda sprinkled on a sink or tub and drizzled with just a little dish soap makes an awesome scrubber.
I've also found that it's great for scrubbing tough baked on "gunk" on pots and pans. (Use it alone or with dish soap.)
I have a stainless steel topped kitchen cart! I love it as a prep surface. However, I sometimes find that I've left something wet on top and...Uh-Oh I have little rust spots. Not a problem! Just sprinkle a little baking soda on top of the stain, and gently rub with your fingertip (or soft-bristled toothbrush) with the grain. Voila, the stain is gone!
Baking soda isn't limited to cleaning your kitchen, you can also use it for a beauty treatment.
Wet your face and gently rub baking soda on it for ten minutes. Do this once weekly for ten weeks and you have a cheap, but effective microderm abrasion treatment.
Heavy product build up in your hair? Mix a tablespoon of baking soda with one cup warm water, and gently pour over your hair. Shampoo (no-sulfates remember!) as usual, when you get out of the shower, you'll immediately notice the difference!
Here's a treatment I haven't been brave enough to try:
Teeth whitening- Instead of your traditional mouthwash, use hydrogen peroxide, rinse your mouth. Next, brush your teeth with a baking soda/toothpaste mixture. You'll want to do this once a week until you reach the whitening level you desire.
- I must say that I'm not crazy about tasting hydrogen peroxide, but I may muster the courage to try it.
These are just a few of the uses of baking soda.
Hey, did you know you can use it to cook too...

Friday, December 2, 2011

The Debt We Owe

My husband and I have always been very intentional when it came to creating, maintaining & using credit. We've wanted the freedom of a good credit score, but not the bondage of being in debt. Believe it or not, but no matter how hard anyone tries, everyone is deeply indebted.
I don't mean a financial debt. You see, we've all run up a sin debt. And, even if you don't believe in a God, you've still been charging away like it's Black Friday at the Sin Emporium.
I can't even imagine how much debt I could have accrued over the years of my life. I can almost hear the dial tone of those slightly outdated credit card machines every time I think of all the "little white lies" or unkind words. In fact, I think I could put the U.S. government to shame when I think of just the debt I've accumulated with my unkind words.
My husband and I try never to spend more than we have, but we've been known to do it... i.e. our mortgage. We didn't have that kind of money lying around, but we did feel sure we had the money to pay it back. We, as sinners, are not even that smart. We sin and sin, and sin, and, yet, we have absolutely nothing with which to pay for the sin.
Here are the facts:
You are a sinner, and have accumulated a debt.
The payment for that sin will come due.
"For the wages of sin is death;..." -Romans 6:23a

However, imagine if you will that a benevolent benefactor decided to pay off my mortgage?! That's exactly what Christ did, he paid what we owed with His death!
"Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed." -1 Peter 2:24

Even if you don't believe, you owe. I prayerfully encourage to accept the merciful gift of payment in full that Christ is offering you!
"...but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." -Romans 6:23b