It’s Wednesday! Get Up and Dance!

I was thinking of naming this post “The Rest of the Album” because I often think after I have heard a great song on the radio, “Let me hear another song from the album!”

Well, right now ‘the rest of the album” One Song at a Time by Jamie Grace is rockin’ my morning runs.  I thought I would share one of the songs that is especially dance worthy.  I promise it will brighten your day.  Just turn-it-up!

“Show Jesus

(I can’t wait to come up with some dance steps for my kids…I’ve already got some in mind 🙂  )

DIY Yogurt, Nutella and a Bag of Ice

Crockpot Yogurt

This day has gotten away from me.  My DIY projects are not cooperating with me.

I thought I was going to start the “Homemade Yogurt” DIY last night but realized I didn’t have enough milk.  I saw castor oil ( a main ingredient in the DIY face wash) at Publix yesterday but thought it was too expensive.  “Surely I can find it at Walmart tomorrow for dirt cheap”, I told myself.  I went to Walmart before Bible study and the castor oil was out of stock.  Seriously?  I checked another Publix on the way home from Bible study and it wasn’t there either.

I decided to try the yogurt recipe this afternoon and realized, “Oh, yeah.  This is one of those overnight projects.”  So I won’t be able to tell you about the results today.  In summary, my plans for this post fell apart.  That’s kind of how things have been since Saturday.  I’m still getting back on track.

So here is a picture of the ingredients I am using for my DIY “Homemade Yogurt” .  The recipe is at Mom On A Mission.

The instant vanilla yogurt will be used as a thickener and for flavor.  If I had used whole milk I wouldn’t have needed it but I don’t like the taste of whole milk yogurt and neither do my kids.  I did not include the coffee filter that I will need to strain the whey.  I still have to get one since I forgot that too.  Like I said, things have been a little “off” since Saturday.

Today, I began the first steps:

1) cook the milk in a crock pot on low for 2 1/2 hours

2) unplug the crockpot and let the milk sit for 3 hours   ( this is the step I am on as I type)

3) remove 1/2 cup milk and add 1 cup of store bought yogurt ( this will be the only time store bought is needed as I will need to put 1/2 cup of this yogurt aside as a starter for the next batch of homemade yogurt)  Whisk the milk and yogurt together.

4) add 1 box of instant vanilla pudding

5) pour mixture back into crockpot and whisk together

6) put the lid back on and keep unplugged

7) cover with a heavy towel and wrap it all the way around.  Let it sit overnight.

Start your engine Mr. Crockpot

Tomorrow I will follow the rest of the steps and take pictures.  Isn’t this exciting?

I’m being a bit sarcastic but honestly, I have enjoyed trying these DIY projects.  I’m learning new things and even if a project doesn’t go well, at least I have the satisfaction of having tried something new.

Miscellaneous

I was so excited to see something organic at Aldi on Monday.  I am attempting to recreate one of my favorite foods at Starbucks: greek yogurt with pumpkin flax granola and honey.  This is one of the breakfasts I usually choose at Starbucks during my “Mommy Time Out” before I go grocery shopping.  It is delicious.  When I saw this at Aldi I thought that I may be able to make the same thing at home.  The verdict: it is similar but not quite right.  My version is sufficient as a quick snack though.  And I am glad to have supported Aldi’s attempt at bringing organic food into their stores.  Go Aldi!

On the left is a new family favorite: Nutella.  It is yummy!  I put about a tablespoon in a bowl and dip a couple of pretzels in it.  I  would like to try it on strawberries next.  Michael heard through a guest at the bar that his friend Lance Armstrong eats this regularly for a snack. I don’t blame him.

I got back into shopping at multiple grocery stores in January in an attempt to lower my grocery bill.  My problem was how to keep the cold food purchased at store #1 cold by the time I was done shopping at store #5.  Food spoilage-particularly that of my meat purchases- is not a savings.  More importantly, I didn’t want to give anyone food poisoning.

I decided to bring my cooler and buy a bag of ice to go in with all the cold items I stored there.  When I get home from grocery shopping, I put the bag of ice in our garage freezer to be used again during the next week’s shopping trip.  I have had that bag since January.  That was a well spent $1.50!

And this is a picture of my four year old’s best friend, from her perspective.  Apparently she nabbed my camera when I wasn’t looking and took a series of pictures of our dog Arthur.  I found the photos when I downloaded my pictures today.  She adores that pup.

Just thought I would share.

Tune in tomorrow for what I hope will be the successful results of DIY “Homemade Yogurt”.

 

Garage Sale and Goals Update

Garage Sale

I’m writing this post on Sunday and am still feeling pretty exhausted.  The Heron Bay garage sale was the culmination of three months of cleaning out the house.  It has become preparation for a move.  I am bushed!

A friend of my husband gave him tickets for the Atlanta Braves game on Wednesday.  He took the kids and I was able to focus on our front bedroom  and the hall closet.  These are storage areas for all kinds of stuff, including our homeschool materials.  I also took one last trip up to the attic to weed anything out that wasn’t needed.  On Thursday my friend Jenn graciously took my kids for the afternoon.  I was able to focus on the master bedroom closet.  I had hit a wall by this point and was grateful to be by myself.  I wouldn’t have been as ruthless as I wanted to be if the kids had been around.   Thank you again Jenn. 🙂

By Friday,  I was functioning on fumes.  Let’s just say it took until 9:30pm that night to be finished with the triple batch of cookies, to take what I could out into the garage, and make signs.  I was working pretty slowly the whole day.

At about 5:30am Saturday morning I woke up and Little Man woke up too.  He was very excited.  Thankfully my husband distracted him with a long run in preparation for next month’s 5k.  I drank my coffee and began setting up while little girl slept soundly.

I am one of those annoying people who drive around before a garage sale’s official start time.  I take a Type A approach to garage sales.  I want to have a lay of the land.  “Where are the good sales?, Which house  should I hit first? Which home do I want to hit last when they might be a little more flexible about prices?” is what I’m thinking.    My brothers and sisters in garage saling were scouting out my driveway by 7:30am.   A good sign in my mind.

We had a steady flow throughout the day.  Little Man, Little Girl and our neighbors manned a table selling molasses cookies, lemonade, and pumpkin muffins.  Little Man is a natural entrepeneur.  He was shouting out advertisements like a concessions guy in a baseball stadium and with the same volume.  People complimented him all day long.  His work paid off.  The child made over $50!

Customers were talkative and I met people I didn’t know from other parts of Heron Bay.   I enjoyed watching a couple groups of women oohing and aaahing over the clothes.  I know that feeling, so it made me smile.

At the end of the day I made enough in profit that the work seemed worth it.  As a bonus, the American Kidney Foundation came around with a truck to take the things you didn’t sell if you wanted to donate it.  That was a big blessing!

All I have left now are  two boxes of books for the used book sale at our local homeschool conference, two boxes of clothes for our consignment shop, and two boxes of baby and toddler items for my sister in law’s baby.  Yeahh!

Goals Update

Bible Time: "Esther" with finger puppets

I have not done either of my DIY projects this month nor have I finished my two books.  I am going to try, but I know I need to give myself grace.  A lot of good things have gotten done this month!   On top of that, we even had someone ask about renting the house in the first 24 hours of the sign being out in the yard.  Unfortunately, they wanted to move in on May 1st.  I would have had a heart attack trying to make that happen.  Someone else asked us to send pictures and information about the school system.   This quick response to our signs makes me hopeful.

Here are the goals for this week:

Spiritual:

-attend last Bible study for this book

-keep up my personal quiet time

-keep reading “Heaven” book with Little Man

Financial:

-begin pricing books for used book sale

Household:

-two days of cleaning

-buy groceries since I missed Saturday’s usual trip

Mothering:

-get kids practicing BMV’s again

-see if I can take Little Man to “Mother/Son Night” at Chick Fil A this coming weekend (will depend on husband’s schedule)

Homeschool:

-go on strawberry picking field trip with kids

-begin choosing curriculum for next year and research best prices

Personal:

-complete DIY projects-homemade yogurt and face wash

-try to complete assigned books- ‘Families Where Grace Takes Place” and “Heaven for Kids”

Marriage:

-date in with husband

I hope that is everything.  The decisions regarding homeschooling will be time consuming but fun.  Happy goal setting!

Little Girl makes these glasses look good!

Yard Sale!

The long awaited yard sale has arrived!

I am thankful for the Heron Bay Yard Sale because:

-I had another excuse to clean out my….stuff 🙂

-I now have a mental inventory of everything in our house- something else to keep me up at night

-I know that everything in my house has given me a reason why it should go with us on the moving truck (if we find a renter) rather than being dumped in the trash

And it just feels a bit lighter around here which is an overall good feeling.

I’ll share pics next week!

“For Rent”

After much prayer and discussion, we decided to put this in our front yard today:

I have written a little about our personal financial journey in the past.  We have hopes, dreams and goals we want to fulfill in the coming years.  My husband and I decided we would step out in faith and make the choice to put the “For Rent” sign up and see what God does.  We have some ideas about what we will do next but in my husband’s words, “We have to get someone to rent this place first.”

Now we wait……

Second Chances

I read this during my devotional time yesterday and found it very encouraging.  It comes from Henry Blackaby’s “Experiencing God Day-by-Day”.

Does God give second chances to those who have failed Him?  He certainly did so for Peter.  Peter had proudly announced that he was Jesus’ most reliable disciple (Matt. 26:33).  Yet Peter not only fled with the other disciples in the moment of crisis, but also blatantly denied he even knew Jesus. (Matt. 26:69-75)…..How compassionate the risen Christ was to Peter!  The angel gave the women at the tomb special instructions to let Peter know that He was risen.  “But go, tell His disciples-and Peter- that He is going before you into Galilee; there you will see Him, as He said to you.” (Mark 16:7)……God’s desire is to take you from where you are and bring you to where He wants you to be……Don’t give up if you have failed your Lord.  Remember what happened to Peter.  God has not finished developing you as a disciple. (p. 109)

I love the fact that Jesus singles out Peter in Mark 16:7.  Jesus knew Peter would be smarting from the shame of having turned his back on his friend and his Lord.

It reminds me a bit of kids choosing teams on the playground.  For whatever reason one kid has been ostracized and knows he isn’t going to be first pick, if he gets picked at all.

But lo and behold, one of the team captains not only picks him first to be on the team, but calls him by name.  ” You are valuable, you are worthy, you are wanted.  It’s not too late.”

It could be that today you are very aware that your choices in life haven’t been good ones.  You may feel as though you have worn out your welcome with people and with God because you keep messing up.  It may seem as though you might as well just keep on going in a negative direction because who would give you a chance to start over at this point?

Human beings struggle with forgiveness for others and themselves.  Guilt pushes us into a corner and snowballs us with shame.  However this isn’t how God functions.  Guilt and shame don’t come from Him.  They come from people or the enemy.

With God there is conviction and then an offer for reconciliation.  God says to us, ” This was wrong.  Let’s look at it together.  Do you see it from my viewpoint now?  Good.  Say your sorry and let’s move on.  I have so much in store for you.  I don’t want this sin to get in the way of you experiencing all I have for you.”

Jesus showed us by His example that conviction of sin is not supposed to freeze us up.  It points to the truth that we are not God.   We need to rely on Him to be able to do the right thing.  He wants us to rely on Him.  He created us for relationship with Him.  He wants to reconcile with you.  He wants you to back away from the corner and hold out your hand for Him to grasp.  He is calling you by name.

Romas 3:23-24 says,

23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.

It isn’t too late-ever.  Respond to Jesus calling you out by name.  He isn’t finished with you yet.

 

Grilled Sausage with Fruit Relish-Publix Apron’s Meal

Apron's Simple Meals

About two years ago Michael and I walked into Publix and the scent of grilled sausage greeted us.  Of course we walked right over to the meal demonstration cart and asked for a sample. “Grilled Sausage with Fruit Relish” was on the menu that day.  The fruit relish-a mixture of mango, kiwi, and star fruit with white balsamic vinegar-was the perfect compliment to top the sausage.  Yum!  We took the free recipe card home and adopted it into our favorite meals.

Over the course of time I have tweaked the recipe to suit my family’s food bents.  My kids love rice so it replaced the bun.  We don’t prefer star fruit.  Mango and kiwi mixed with the white balsamic vinegar complete our “fruit relish”.  Chicken or turkey sausage fill the role of  “grilled sausage”, depending on which is in the sales flyer.

And may I just say “thanks” to Aldi for making this recipe possible this week?  When I shopped there on Saturday I bought a bag of five kiwi for $.89, one mango for $.49, and chicken bratwurst for $3.99.  That’s right, baby.  Make those groceries stores work for you.   ( I already had rice, apple juice, and white balsamic vinegar at home.)

Here is the recipe according to the Apron’s section of the Publix website.  And if you go there and click on the picture, they will demonstrate how to prepare this meal.  How cool is that?

2 kiwi fruit

1 mango

1 star fruit

2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar

1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

2 cups water

1 cup apple juice

4 fully cooked chicken or turkey sausage links  (I think the Aldi package had five or six)

4 whole grain hot dog buns

1. Peel fruit, remove seeds, (I don’t do this b/c kiwi seeds don’t bother me)and cut into very small pieces (about two cups); place in medium bowl.  Stir in vinegar and salt; set aside.

2. Preheat grill or grill pan.  Combine in medium saucepan, water, apple juice, and sausage links (wash hands- Publix actually tells you to do this in the recipe.  I agree but do people really need to be told to do this?  I guess there aren’t a lot of people handling food safely.  Sorry just my little observation).  Bring to a boil on high.  Reduce heat to low; cook five minutes or until hot.

3. Place sausage links on grill or grill pan (wash hands 🙂 ). Close lid of grill or loosely cover with foil.  Grill 5-7 minutes until outside of sausage is crisp and brown and internal temperature reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit.  Use a meat thermometer to accurately ensure doneness.  (It is amazing any of us are alive today since so many of our parents just “eyed it” when checking the “doneness” of our food on the grill when we were kids.)

4.  Place one sausage on each bun and add fruit relish on the side.

 

Tweak this recipe as you wish.  Enjoy!

 

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