Monday, September 1, 2008

De-cluttering

I have such a problem trying to decide whether or not to keep a particular item. I am one of those people that thinks, "I might use it someday, even though it's been 11 years since I last touched it." and searching through some help on the internet, I found this good tip:

Ask yourself these questions over the item:

1. Would you want to frame and display it?

* Yes = Keep.
* No = See step 2.

2. Would you want to take a picture of it?

* Yes = Take picture, get rid of item.
* No = Get rid of item.

If you can take a picture of something that you want to remember, but can't use - do so. Put it in an album with a label. But let it go if it's taking up too much space.

I love that idea!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

the wall of jericho

I heard a message the other day about Paul and Silas in prison. The main focus was about how they praised God in the tough times and that is where God delivers us, when we praise him. It was a good message. The walls of Jericho were mentioned in the sermon as a side note and not much was spoken about it, but something did catch my attention. The guy mentioned that the walls of Jericho did not crumble down, but that they seemed to have fallen straight down. I always pictured the walls crumbling down all around the city and then the people going in, which doesn't make sense. How could they get past all that rubble? Actually, the verse in the bible says the walls fell down flat. I did some searching on google and found this:

Excavations show these walls of Jericho today to be fallen; yet largely intact. Neither the Outer or inner walls show much signs of transverse fracture. Some brick damage, particularly on the inner walls, is noticeable, but no more than would be expected from normal subsidence, & wear through the years. In the few places where the inner face of the walls has been uncovered, the greatest damage is between the walls & on the slopes outside the walls. The archaeological evidence indicates the walls to have sunken downward & outward without breaking up. This movement would have dumped the houses off the walls, destroying them in the process, with the houses on the inner 12 ft. wall lodging as debris between the walls. The debris is there today.

I thought it was pretty cool.

Friday, August 8, 2008

A cat, a dog and one less mouse!

I had quite the experience yesterday involving a cat, a dog and a mouse! I was going to wash some dishes in the utility room where I wash my dishes. I heard a noise and thought I saw something move in the sink. It's one of those plastic white utility sinks. I had some suspicions that we had mice, but dismissed the idea because we do have an indoor cat and thought she was doing her job. WRONG!

A few weeks ago, I had some tomatoes on the counter and counted them before I went to bed. I had 16 of them. When I woke up the next day I counted 15 and saw one lone tomato sitting on the other side of the counter. At first I thought that Luna had rolled it over there. But, when I picked it up, I noticed it had two bites taken out of it. And another time I heard a noise in the kitchen and saw something scurry really fast to this hole. Well, I took some fur from Luna and stuck it into the hole (reading once that the smell of a cat will make mice flee) and hadn't heard or seen a mouse since.

Back to the sink story. I saw and heard something move in the sink. I grabbed the hose, (that is the faucet) and started spraying and sure enough a mouse starts running around. I never knew that mice could jump so high. It was jumping a foot high trying to get out of the sink! I grabbed the cat and tried to show her the mouse. She got scared and scratched me all up! So, I grabbed the next best thing, Milo! He is really good about if you yell "BUG!" he comes running and either grabs the bug or paws it to death. So, when he heard me scream (when I first saw the mouse!) he was ready to attack. I picked him up and showed him the mouse. He saw it right away and wanted down, only because he thought he could reach it from the ground.

It, the mouse, kept jumping trying to get out. I didn't know what to do. So I sprayed and sprayed it until it was almost drowned, a soggy mouse. Then, I grabbed a pot we use to heat up bath water, and it jumped right in. I filled it with more water and walked around trying to figure out what to do with it. I showed it to Luna three more times and each time she ran in terror! She is a cat!! She is supposed to want to chase mice! Not luna! she loves fish and fish only. If it doesn't smell like fish, she's not interested. I should have sprinkled it with fish sauce and she would have probably pounced on it. Do you think it was because she had just eaten?

Well, I took the jumping mouse and pot outside and Milo followed. I was afraid it would run away, but it was so wet and soggy the poor mouse didn't know what to think! I showed Milo the mouse and I immediately had his attention. I was going to dump the mouse out but Milo reached in the pot, and this pot is cone shaped by the way. It's an old steamer pot we don't use anymore. Anyways, Milo sticks his head in the pot and grabs the mouse. I don't think he realized that it was still alive or what it was, because after he had a hold of it, (And picture this, I'm leaning over watching him) he flips the mouse and it goes flying and hits me on the FOREHEAD! So, of course, I start screaming again and the mouse runs into the grass. I look around to find Luna and she is running as fast as she can to the shop. I am looking into the grass hoping the mouse doesn't get away because I really wanted to teach Luna about mice. So, there I was peering down digging around trying to find it and milo is all over the place trying to find it too. He finds it and picks it up. It must have moved and into the air it goes again, hitting me for the second time on the FOREHEAD! Gross!!!! I finally see luna hiding in the shop so I called milo to come with me, so he doesn't eat it! And I go to get luna. She is hiding from me, (I'm sure it's because I was screaming. Then I notice milo is sneaking back to the mouse, which is half dead. I shout at milo to stay still which makes luna hide further in the shop and finally get her to come out and I put her near the mouse, half alive and she turns and runs again!

By this time, Milo has for sure killed the thing and is now growling at it and trying to figure out what in the world it is. You could tell he liked it and wanted to make it his new best friend, which he does by rolling on things. I swept it up and presented it one last time to luna. She looked at it and ran away, further this time. I don't know what's wrong with her. I thought all cats liked mice!

Milo found it again and I finally had to dispose of it, so that Milo would just leave it alone. i don't know if he wanted to eat it or what, but he looked all day for it and whined at the door convinced it was still out there somewhere.

I was so proud of Milo that I went and bought him a stuffed toy last night at Walgreens. It was a stuffed bunny that squeaked. I say "was" because he pulled all the stuffing out of it and the squeaker and now totes it all over the house using it for a pillow and chew toy.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

You don't make it from scratch?

So, I've got a friend who used to make fun of me for not making my own spaghetti sauce. He was always surprised and asked me each time I saw him, "You don't make it from scratch?" I think he asked me over and over again because of his age not because he was trying to be annoying.

When we were married, I started buying Delmonte Traditional spaghetti sauce and grew to like it! It was all I ever used and could think of nothing else to try. That is until we started giving up high fructose corn syrup. I think Delmonte's brand only has corn syrup, but still trying to avoid syrups altogether. I even looked into buying the dry mix that you get in the seasoning aisle and just add tomato sauce to it. I'm pretty sure though they still contained high fructose corn syrup solids and a whole bunch of other chemicals we don't want.

This friend of mine, used to tell me, I make mine from scratch. Only I found out that he was talking about buying the spaghetti mix and adding the tomato sauce to it. I don't consider making it that way from scratch, myself!

So, this got me wondering how hard is it to make my own spaghetti sauce. I searched online and found tons of recipes! And decided to be brave and try this one:

I just can't remember which link I found it on.

1 can crushed tomatoes
4 Tablespoons oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 cups water
1- 6 ounce can tomato paste
3 leaves fresh basil
2 crushed garlic cloves
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper

Saute onions until golden brown. Add rest of ingredients and boil. Lower heat and simmer until desired thickness. Skim off oil. It will rise to top when sauce is done.

Now, I like my sauce a bit sweet, but instead of adding sugar to it, I found I can just add a pinch of baking soda. It starts to bubble up as it reacts to the acid in the tomatoes. I taste it and keep adding it until it tastes like I want it to. The baking soda addition makes it taste sweet without having to add any sugar. Don't ask me how this works, I don't know.

The first time I made this I was in a hurry. You can't be in a hurry when you make this sauce. It turned out good but it was very watery. The other day when I made this, I was in a hurry (I know, I know), but still wanted it thick, so I kept it at a higher heat and stirred constantly. Which made the sauce sputter and spray me occasionally (ouch!), but overall it turned out great!

It makes a lot of sauce. I halved the recipe yesterday and Nick and I both had two plates (the second helpings were smaller than the first) and there was enough leftover for both of us to have leftovers for lunch today.

I also forgot to buy crushed tomatoes so I substituted a can of stewed tomatoes seasoned with bell peppers, celery and onions. I also substituted a pinch or two of basil leaves for the fresh basil. I was mad because I had some fresh basil that I got from my CSA basket and was excited to try it but it spoiled before I could use it.

So, that's the new recipe I use all the time now. I suppose if I could find another recipe to try, I might consider it, but happy with what I've got.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Join a co-op today!

Why you should join a local co-op:

Yesterday while my friend was making pickles she was putting in the appropriate amount of dill seed that the recipe called for. She had bought a small container of dill and who knew that it wouldn't be enough. It was about 5 tablespoons worth and she needed 6. So I ran home and got some dill I had bought at the mennonite bulk food store. Comparing the two containers. She probably paid at least a dollar for her container (though the next time I'm at Walmart, I'm going to check to see exactly how much it was) and my container was .67 cents! for three times the amount! I've heard that the mennonite store has since closed, and that is too bad since they had such good spice prices. However, the co-op I am a member of carries a pound for $6! And they are organic too! That is a lot of dill seed! I think I'll see if Jill wants to split a pound with me.

Getting your spices that cheap is one good way.
Saving on gas (or for some, time) by getting it all in one place is another.
Want more reasons?

The great meat sale!

So, I've talked before about the meat sale that our local grocery store has everyday. You buy five packages of meat for $25 and I always wondered if it really was a good deal or not. Thinking along the lines of "if it's too good to be true..." I thought they might just put a high price on the label and then write over it "Only $5!" But they don't. You can walk down a bit further and see the exact same meat for the regular price. And no, the food is not outdated or about to go bad. There is nothing wrong with the meat. I asked the guy how they can have these great sales and what he told me made sense, but I just can't remember what he said. I'll ask him again and post his answer.

So, anyways last week, I created a menu of what foods I wanted to have for the next two weeks which I will post up later. I wrote down everything I would need to buy to make the meals and went to Marvin's with list in hand. The $25 meat sale includes chicken, pork, beef. I bought 2 packages of ground beef, 1 roaast, and 2 packages of steak. When we got home, I cut up the meat accordingly to what I needed in the recipes and wrapped it all up in freezer paper. I had 6 packages of steak and 2 packages of ground beef leftover that did not go with a meal, which will be used in next week's planning.

If I do this a couple of times, it shouldn't be too long before I'll have a months worth set aside.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Strawberries, kittens, and spending time with friends.

This time three years ago I was busy picking strawberries with my friend Ginny at the local pick your own patch. I had forgotten how much fun it was until we were invited to pick some at a friend's house.

Backing up a bit, we rode our bikes to the local farmer's market on Thursday and bought two pints of fresh picked strawberries. They were sweet and good! Then, on Saturday we went and met the grands for lunch at Sirloin Stockade. Good food buffet style. Off we went to tour the inside of a locomotive at Katy Days. Then we headed over to visit my friend Sarah who is moving soon to Texas. :-(
I'm going to miss her!

Off we went to visit another family. We barely had enough time to visit, but long enough to introduce her to plantain, my favorite weed.

Arrived at our almost final destination where we helped another family pick strawberries and enjoyed a wonderful meal of grilled hamburgers and fresh strawberries and ice cream. Yummy! I love the way her garden looks.

Their cat had kittens and they were a joy to pick up and hold. They were so cute! I was wishing I had brought my camera along to take a picture especially when I looked up from picking peas and saw that Nick was covered in kittens. They were climbing all over him!

Something I observed while I was there that I will never forget is watching how the mother included her children in the duties of the kitchen. Especially noting that the youngest one was able to help with the washing of the strawberries. Too many times I see how the little ones are expected to run off and entertain themselves so that the adults can work more efficiently and get the job done faster. It was nice to see the family working together as a team.

When we left there, we headed over to Cherryvale to pick up our CSA basket and chickens. I got home with just enough time to put everything away before heading off to sleep.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

First diaper sewn


first diaper done
This is the first diaper I made. It took me so long to get the courage to cut into the material even though it was from an old skirt I no longer wore.
Originally uploaded by tesswright.
This diaper is currently being worn by my friend's daughter. I am in the process of sewing her some more soon. It is sized for 20-35 lbs.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Time Management

I have known for quite some time that I need to manage my time more efficiently. When I get up in the morning and see Nick off to work-I try to get busy with my usual daily checklists. I even had to make myself a "Morning Routine" and an "Evening Routine" to help myself along so I don't get too distracted. And even then this does not always help.

I'll start to make the bed and remember that I've got to go get water boiled for dishes, so then I'll leave the bed half made and boil water and I'll see that I didn't clear the table from the night before so I'll start to clear it off and then Milo will be sitting at the door wanting to go out and when I come back in I'll find that I forgot to plug in the burner that heats our water and the bed is not made and it's lunch time... get the picture? This pretty much happens in some way or another to me every day.

I find it a day worth accomplished when I get the following things done: dressed to the shoes, bed made, dishes washed and put away, meals prepared. And yet day after day I have lists of other things I want to get done but don't.

Somehow I feel there is hope for me yet. I am reminded of a time in high school when we learned how to manage our time. This simple exercise was so beneficial to me back then that I can't wait to apply it today. I can't believe that I even forgot about it until a few days ago. We were given a sheet of graph paper and told to plot out our week by 30 minute increments, I believe. At least that is how I did it back then.

Seeing your life in little blocks of time really makes you realize how much time you are given and makes you wonder what you are doing with the time you are given.

And so my search for graph paper started. I looked all over Walmart but none could be found. Don't people buy graph paper anymore? Sure you don't need graph paper to do the exercise, but it's so much nicer when the blocks are done for you. You can take the time to filling the spaces out instead of making the squares. However, Nick did find graph paper for me this morning at Walgreens! Yay! So, this Friday I will buy the graph paper and start plotting.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

The Impossible Dream

From time to time, I will post notes I took at church.

Date: April 6, 2008
Title: The Impossible Dream
Passage: Jeremiah 32:17,20; 33:2-3

-God delights...
in doing impossible things through improbable people.
-God must be the source...
of your dreams.
-God invites...
you to dream impossible dreams that only He can fulfill.

Sanctified Dreaming

-Ordinary people allowing God to do the extraordinary...
-Explore the possibilities.
Great dreams are birthed when we believe that...
-God is able.
There is nothing too difficult for God.
-God is desirous
1 Corinthians 2:9
-God has promised
Psalm 37:4
-God invites us
John 14:12-14

What are the conditions?
-Abide in Him
John 15
-Hearts in His
-Minds on His kingdom

We dream little dreams. Why?

Fellowship with Him must be genuine.
Ask in His name and for his glory.

Begin to dream BIG dreams.

to be continued...

Monday, January 14, 2008

Dirty dishes

The weather has been in the 50's, considerably warmer than it has been lately. Although it wasn't quite as windy as it usually it.

For out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks... Been thinking of my speech lately and about keeping my tongue under control- I think I will start memorizing some verses in Proverbs about the tongue. It will help me, I know. I also plan on memorizing some songs so I can sing them anytime without reading the lyrics.

The menu for today was: Spaghetti with butter dips. Spent the evening reading past issues of Family Life, while my dirty dishes sat. I read an article  about washing dishes and the P.S. said, "Are there dirty dishes waiting to be washed?" I got under conviction about it and got up quickly and washed the whole sink. I thought that as I went to bed how hard it is for me to keep my kitchen clean and then the verse in Philippians came to my mind. I can do ALL things through Christ who gives me strength!

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Butter dips recipe

Butter dips with soup for dinner was on the menu today. It's my favorite recipe from Betty Crocker

Melt 1/4 cup butter in square pan at 450 degrees. Remove pan from oven.

measure 1 1/4 cup of flour (can substitute soft wheat flour-but might need to add a tad more) with 2 teaspoons baking powder, 1 teaspoon salt. Mix together. Add 2/3 cup milk. Add enough flour to form a soft dough. Knead 10 times.

Roll out into an 8 inch square. Cut into strips, and then half of that. Dip each strip in butter, coating both sides. Arrange in pan. Sprinkle garlic powder, salt and paprika and pepper on top and parmesan cheese. Bake 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.

Mmmm! delicious!!


Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Job 5:19

We're planning a trip this weekend to see the grandparents and the Klepels. I'm so excited! Normally, when we head that way, we are so rushed to visit with everyone that we hardly have time to really visit. So, we decided to just visit family. Only 4 more months to go!

We're needing to go chop some more firewood as our supply is getting low. So glad that we have a place to to chop free wood. What a blessing!

Been working on my scripture memory again. Sure would like to get it all memorized soon. Between this and learning lyrics to hymns- I'm sure to have things to do while cleaning and to keep my mind from wandering.

This scripture was given to me 7 years ago in my personal devotions. I'll close with it.

"He shall deliver thee in six troubles, yea in seven there shall no evil touch thee." Job 5:19

Blessing bags completed.

The first batch of blessing bags have been completed. Here are the last of them. Next challenge is to make 25 more in a Christmas...