Thursday, June 28, 2012

Scripture Study: Creating an Atmosphere of Worship

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Lately, I have found myself getting easily frustrated and quickly irritated with both Kerry and Julian. I could throw out a bunch of excuses in an effort to justify my behavior, but that is not the appropriate response. My behavior is not the fault of Kerry or Julian. It is the result of my own sinful heart choosing sin rather than grace.

I reflected on my daily routine to see if there was any way that I could carve out more time to spend with the Lord, more time in His Word and, while I realized that I often do have more time that I could spend with Him, sometimes that is just not reality. However, one simple change afforded me the opportunity to spend literally all day with the Lord and not allow my homemaking and child-rearing tasks fall to the wayside. I decided to listen to nothing other than praise and worship music during the day. I did this yesterday for the first time and I noticed a definite difference in my attitude and my response to both my husband and my son.

1 Chronicles 16:23 Sing to the LORD, all the earth; Proclaim good tidings of His salvation from day to day.
Romans 12:1 Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.
Psalm 71:8 My mouth is filled with Your praise and Your glory all day long. 
According to Strong's Exhaustive Concordance, the word worship shows up in scripture 114 times and the word praise 195 times. The word sing appears 99 times, most often in some variation of the phrase "sing to the LORD". It seems to me that worshiping and praising the Lord is an important thing to do. While I know that worship is not limited to singing, having praise and worship music flowing through my home during the day definitely adds to the atmosphere of worship I hope to cultivate in my home.

Another way that I am aiming to create an atmosphere of worship in my home is by committing Scripture to memory. I was blessed to come to know the Lord at a young age and memorized quite a bit of Scripture as a child, which comes back to me easily even many years later. I memorized Scripture in school, all the way through college where I memorized entire books at a time. I have let that go since getting married and having a baby, but that is something that I want to re-ignite in myself so I can be an example for my children.

I am planning on taking this challenge over at Intentional By Grace during the month of July.  
Will you join me? How do you create an atmosphere of worship in your home?

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Recipe Reveal: Salmon Patties

One of my goals for 2012 was to serve fish once a week. I know that eating good fish can do wonders for your health. However, have you seen the price of fish at the meat market? It is hard for me to stomach the $5/lb for grass-fed beef, let alone the $10-$15/lb for good fish. What's a mama to do?

One way that I have been able to meet my goal of serving fish once a week is by serving my family salmon patties. I buy canned seine net caught wild Alaskan pink Salmon from Aldi for about $2.50/can. One can feeds all three of us one meal plus enough for Julian and I to have leftovers the next day for lunch. This is a frugal way to still be able to eat good fish!

Salmon Patties

1 can (14.5 ounces) wild caught salmon
1 egg
1 tsp. onion powder
1 tbs. parsley
scant cayenne pepper
1/4 c. unsweetened shredded coconut (or breadcrumbs)
Butter or coconut oil

Mix all ingredients together in a small bowl. Melt a small amount of butter or coconut oil in a pan on the stovetop. Form the salmon mixture into patties and place in the hot pan. Cook on each side about 2-3 minutes. We like to eat ours with homemade ranch smeared on top!

this post is linked to: real food wednesday and healthy 2day wednesday

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Submitting to Rest

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I am dealing with an unexpected case of mastitis. It came on suddenly yesterday and, as anyone who has been through this before knows, it wiped me out! I don't know about you, but it is not easy for me to accept the fact that my body needs rest. Rest? There is laundry to do, a cleaning schedule to maintain, not to mention an energetic 13 month old to take care of.

So today, instead of tackling my cleaning list, instead of finishing purging the house for a goodwill donation, instead of working on my seemingly never-ending to-do list, I am resting. I am basking in the glory of having my husband home from work and watching him (and cheering him on from my perch on the couch!) cook, clean and take care of Julian for me. It is HARD, though! I want to be up doing, serving, cleaning, preparing etc. Yet, I know, my body will thank me by healing itself much faster if I rest than if I just powered through and continued with life as usual.

This unexpected rest has afforded me the opportunity to catch up on some reading, write a few blog posts, spend lengthy time with the Lord (so refreshing!) and sleep, oh glorious sleep. I am hoping to hit the ground running tomorrow, but, for now, I am thankful for the rest that God gave me, despite the fact that it came via illness.

Join us for Gratituesday at Heavenly Homemakers!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Menu Plan: June 25-July 1

You may notice some repeats from the menu I posted last Monday. We were blessed to spend time unexpected time with our families this past week, which meant getting to go out to eat twice in one day. I, of course, ended up not cooking, so we had some meals to use up from last week. I made a HUGE batch of chicken and potatoes last week as well, so Julian and I will be finishing those up this week. We start our grain free month on Sunday, so I am trying hard to use up the rest of the grains in the house this week. Here is the menu!

  • Monday: Fried mush, cantaloupe
  • Tuesday: Sauteed brussel sprouts, bacon and cantaloupe
  • Wednesday: Eggs w/ sausage, cantaloupe
  • Thursday: Pancakes in a pan, fresh fruit
  • Friday: Eggs w/ salsa, fresh fruit
  • Saturday: Coconut flour pancakes, bacon and fresh fruit
  • Sunday: Eggs w/ salsa, fresh fruit
  • Monday: Chicken and potatoes, cheese cubes
  • Tuesday: Salmon patties, carrots w/ homemade ranch dip
  • Wednesday: Leftovers
  • Thursday: Olive Garden (taking a friend out for her birthday!)
  • Friday: Snacky lunch (veggies w/ dip, fresh fruit, cheese cubes, beans etc.)
  • Saturday: Family picnic (celebrating hubby's maternal grandparents 57th anniversary!)
  • Sunday: Church potluck (celebrating hubby's family friends 50th anniversary!)
  • Monday: Italian stew, smoothies and organic sweet corn
  • Tuesday: Brown rice pasta w/ homemade red sauce, smoothies
  • Wednesday: Taco potatoes, smoothies
  • Thursday: Leftovers, smoothies
  • Friday: Curried brown rice pasta, smoothies
  • Saturday: Leftovers, smoothies
  • Sunday: Grain free pigs in a blanket, smoothies

Friday, June 22, 2012

Around The House: My Cleaning Schedule

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Some people view routine and schedule with disdain. They feel boxed in and enslaved to their schedule. Not me!  I have found that, without routines and a loose schedule in place, scary things happen. Things like the bathroom going uncleaned for weeks at a time. Things like four trips to the grocery store in one week. For me, routines and schedules provide freedom and peace of mind. I know when I wake up on any given day that there are certain things that will be accomplished that day and other things that I know I do not need to worry about because it is not the day for it.

While I have routines and schedules for all areas of home management, one specific area that has relieved stress in my life is my cleaning schedule. Today I am going to share that with you. Please remember that I am not saying that everyone needs to have a schedule, but I just know that this works for me and I want to share it in case someone else might benefit from it.

I like to set Tuesday aside as my cleaning day. I try to not plan any doctor appointments, play dates or errands on Tuesdays, but, of course, sometimes I can't avoid that and I have to readjust. While have routines and schedules has proven helpful to me, I have to remember that they exist to serve me not the other way around.

 I break my cleaning tasks down into weekly, monthly and quarterly jobs. I assign the monthly tasks to the different weeks of the month, so I am not adding several extra tasks to one cleaning day a month, but spreading them out throughout the month.  I accomplish the quarterly tasks as I have time during the month they are assigned. I realize that I have the distinct advantage of living in a small apartment, so I do not have as many cleaning tasks as a homeowner would have. Perhaps when we own a home, I will not be able to get everything done in one day. However, for now, this system works well for me.

Storms Family Cleaning Schedule

  • Mop kitchen floor
  • Scrub kitchen sink
  • Wash stove-top drip pans
  • Vacuum
  • Dust
  • Scrub bathroom sink
  • Scrub tub/shower
  • Clean toilet
  • Clean mirrors
  • Change sheets
  • Clean refrigerator and freezer inside and out (fourth Tuesday of the month)
  • Wipe down pantry shelves (fourth Tuesday of the month)
  • Wipe down outside of cabinets (first Tuesday of the month)
  • Rotate mattresses (second Tuesday of the month)
  • Clean shower head (third Tuesday of the month)
  • Flip couch cushions (August, December, April)
  • Vacuum couch and chair (September, January, May)
  • Wipe down dining room chairs (October, February, June)
  • Change vacuum filter (November, March, July)
  • Clean oven (December, April, August)

Do you use routines and/or schedules to accomplish things around your home? 

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Scripture Study: 1 Corinthians

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"For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal." II Corinthians 4:17-18
These verses have been weighing heavy on my heart over the past few days. There are so many injustices in this world. So many things that cause me to weep. The three year old nephew of an acquaintance who just this morning had his cancer-filled eye permanently removed. The child sex slaves not just in Korea or India, but in Minnesota. The over 3,000 children waiting for a family in the Illinois foster care system alone. My 18 year old sister who faces life with a brain tumor. Stuff like this stinks. It hurts my heart. But, I remember the words of Jesus when He says,
"...In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." John 16:33
 For believers, these troubles are more than what they appear on the outside. They are molding and shaping us for God's purposes. They are refining us. I don't know how people who do not have Christ as the anchor, as the foundation, of their lives process issues like this, but I am so thankful that when my heart is burdened, when my soul is torn to pieces, reading and hearing about the troubles in this world, that I can turn to the One who created and sustains all things for solace. 

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Menu Plan: June 18-24

 It has been almost three months since I last posted a menu. For some reason, my typically well-planned life has been not so well-planned as of late, which resulted in some less than stellar menu planning. I think I am back on track, although in about a month everything will be topsy turvy yet again as we move to Champaign!  As a side note, it has been far too long since I have been able to find organic potatoes around here. I found them this past week and promptly bought six pounds. Yikes! Hence all the potato dishes this week...

  • Monday: Birthday berry crisp, fresh fruit
  • Tuesday: Baby red potatoes with sausage and garlic, fresh fruit
  • Wednesday: Perfect fall muffins, hardboiled eggs
  • Thursday: Eggs with sausage and garlic, fresh fruit
  • Friday: Soaked pumpkin oatmeal with walnuts
  • Saturday: Coconut flour pancakes (recipe below!), bacon and fresh fruit
  • Sunday: Eggs with sausage and garlic, fresh fruit
  • Monday: Rice with chicken, fresh fruit
  • Tuesday: Grain-Free Pigs in a Blanket, carrots with homemade ranch dip
  • Wednesday: Cheesy pan-fried potatoes, fresh fruit
  • Thursday: Smoothies with cheese and veggies
  • Friday: Italian stew, fresh fruit
  • Saturday: Salmon patties, fresh fruit
  • Sunday: Lunch at church

Coconut Flour Pancakes
 Makes about 20 pancakes

9 eggs
2 sticks butter or 1 c. coconut oil, melted
1 c. coconut milk (or whole milk)
4 tsp. honey (maple syrup or sucanat works great, too!)
3 tsp. sea salt
3/4 c. coconut flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder (aluminum free, if possible)

Mix together eggs, butter/coconut oil, milk, sweetener and salt in a larger bowl. Add the baking powder and coconut flour and continue to mix until everything is incorporated. Melt a little more butter/coconut oil in a skillet and scoop about an 1/8 of a cup of batter into the pan. Repeat until you have about 20 pancakes. Server warm with more butter and real maple syrup!

This post is linked to menu plan monday

Friday, June 15, 2012

Birthday Berry Crisp

In honor of my husband's 25th birthday, I created this special berry crisp. He is not a huge fan of cake and I am not that great of a cake baker, so it works out well for me! This dish also got me one step closer to using up the remaining oatmeal in my apartment as we are preparing for a grain free experiment during the month of July.

Birthday Berry Crisp

1 c. organic rolled oats
1/4 c. melted coconut oil
1/3 c. organic sucanat
1/4 c. coconut milk
1/2 c. whole wheat pastry flour
1 tsp. cinnamon
3 c. organic berries (I used strawberries, but raspberries, blueberries etc. would work too!)
1 tbs. lemon juice, freshly squeezed

Mix the first six ingredients together in a small bowl, cover and allow to soak for 12-24 hours. After the soaking period, mix berries and lemon juice together in small baking dish (I used an 8 x 8 in.). Pour/spread the soaked crumb topping over the berries. Bake in a 375 degree oven for 25-30 minutes. Enjoy as is or with homemade ice cream!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Cucumber Infused Lavender Lotion

photo credit: karenandbrademerson

Ever since embarking on our real food journey about a year ago, I have been incredibly interested in the effects of what we eat on our bodies. This quest led to lots of reading, shopping, questioning and habit changing. It also led me to realize that not only does what we eat have a major impact on our bodies, but what we put on our bodies also matters. I wrote a post about that a several months ago. This journey is best approached with baby steps, although I have been known to go crazy when I find out that yet another thing that we use that is less than stellar for us and throw it all away (just ask my husband about infant Tylenol...), and this post is a new baby step for me.

I have known for quite some time now that the lotion from a certain smell good product store that I have used for the past several years is essentially a toxic cocktail. However, I had tons of it stored up. It is expensive. I was given some of it as gifts. The list goes on, but the point is, I finally ran out. I knew that day was coming, so I had been slowly building up my supply of homemade lotion ingredients. Julian took an especially long morning nap today, so, after I did my necessary work (cleaning the bathroom and showering!), I stepped into the kitchen and created this delightful lotion.

Cucumber Infused Lavender Lotion

2/3 c. cucumber pieces
1 c. avocado oil
1/4 c. beeswax
1/2 c. almond oil
1/2 + 1/8 c. water
20-25 drops lavender essential oil

Place the cucumber pieces a small pot and pour the avocado oil over it. Turn the heat to medium and allow the oil to heat until you hear (or feel, if you are standing to close!) it start to pop. Turn it down to simmer and put a lid on the pot. Allow this to sit for an hour and a half. Strain the cucumber infused oil into a large measuring cup and immediately mix in the beeswax. Stir until the beeswax is melted. Pour in the almond oil and allow this mixture to cool for about ten minutes. Pour it into the blender and slowly add the water. Drop in the essential oil. Blend the mixture on medium, stopping to stir every so often. Blend until everything is well incorporated, about ten minutes. Store your lotion in a pint sized jar and enjoy!

Monday, June 4, 2012

May in Our Home

We experienced an unseasonably beautiful and warm May here in central Illinois. May was busy! It brought Julian's first birthday, my college graduation and my little sister's high school graduation three weekends in a row. We finally had a break to breathe Memorial day weekend and celebrated by simply relaxing!

We enjoyed Julian's birthday as a family by taking him on a picnic and playing at the park. A dear friend of our family gifted us a photo shoot for his birthday and we took advantage of the gorgeous weather on his special day by taking the pictures at her home and the nearby park where we picnicked. We have been blessed to cultivate friendship with her and her family over the past two years and are incredibly grateful for them! I am a big believer in practical gifts, especially when the recipient doesn't know any different :), so we gave Julian a floppy sun hat, a new amber teething necklace and a stainless steel sippy water bottle for his birthday. He has worn the necklace 24/7 since we put it on him, we have not had a chance to try out the hat and the sippy cup is a bit of a learning curve for this exclusively-breastfed-never-had-a-bottle child, so we are still working on that one!

We traveled to Chicago for my  graduation from Moody Bible Institute the second weekend in May. Although I officially finished up classes and graduated last May, I was too busy recovering from having a baby the week before to participate in the commencement ceremony last year! To be honest, I was not looking forward to the stress of traveling and staying away from home etc., but I am exceedingly glad that my parents convinced me to go through with walking in the ceremony. Besides having the satisfaction of actually walking across the stage to receive my diploma rather than just getting it in the mail along with bills and other day-to-day things, I was able to see my friends that I lived with for three years all together one last time before we dispersed, quite literally, across the globe to do the work the Lord has prepared for us. I was especially grateful to get to visit with one of my floormates and her husband who will be doing work in India this summer. She shared some special news with me that I would have missed out on had I not gone to commencement. I was able to encourage her and her husband in a special way that I would not have been able to do otherwise. I also spent some time with my roommate of two years and was able to meet her entire family for the first time. It is sobering to think that it is quite possible that I will not see some of these amazing women I lived with for three years again this side of heaven. I praise the Lord for the work He has called each of us to do and sincerely hope that we will all be reunited again on this earth!

With all the major events going on, I was afraid Mother's Day would end up an after thought. We had lunch with my husband's mom and her family, then came home and took a much needed nap. In the evening, my sweet husband gave me a handmade card and took me and Julian on a hike at the nature center near our apartment. We finished the night with frozen yogurt from a local shop.

My one and only sister graduated from high school the weekend after my college graduation. This was also a bittersweet ceremony as it marked for my parents the end of a seventeen year relationship with Peoria Christian School. The ceremony was beautiful and my sister even more so, of course!

We are looking forward to a summer filled with birthdays, our second anniversary, weddings, VBS, a big move and more!