Wednesday, February 27, 2008

I remember once I was in a Bible study class and the teacher was giving a lesson on women keeping the home and the importance thereof. At one point he was talking about how so many young wives lament about being bored at home and that they have nothing to do. At that point he gave a thoughtful pause and then sweeping his gaze across the room simply said, "Have you SEEN your house?" Of course that got a chuckle from everyone but he made his point.

I do know that boredom can be something that we as stay at home wives and mothers may deal with from time to time. But it should not be something that we cannot overcome...or something that we give in to. Ladies, the possibilities are limitless for us! We do not have to get up to leave our home to go to a job and do the same thing, every day, for hours upon end every week. There are so many things that we have the opportunity to put our attention toward.

I know that other blogs have, at times, put forth lists and suggestions of things to give the woman at home ideas of how to use her time. (When she is not taking care of the daily necessities of course!) So, here is my contribution to such lists.

1. Take up some type of sewing or needlepoint. It is important for the younger ladies to learn these skills to ensure that these do not become dying arts. If you don't have someone who can teach you, there is a myriad of books on subjects from quilting to knitting to crocheting to tatting. These types of books are not hard to find and generally are priced quite reasonably. There is also the library.

2. Try a new recipe or cook something that is a different type of food from the usual. If you usually cook more down home fare, try something gourmet. If Italian food is you specialty, try making a Greek dish. I have noticed that a lot of women own numerous cook books and cooking magazines. So many that they could almost try something new every day of the year? Why then, are home cooked meals not a regular occurrence?

3. Plant a garden. Study and research different plants and flowers. Pour over seed catalogs and make your choices. Research different planting methods and try them out.

4. Look around your home and find those things needing to be done that do not easily fall into a category or regular cleaning. We all have things that need attention but get overlooked. Take a day to devote just to these tasks. See how much more put together your house looks afterward.

5. Find a novel or book by an unfamiliar author and read their works. Expand your home library.

6. Learn the words to songs. Whenever I get a new cd, I try to find the words to my favorite songs on it online. If I can't find them I'll listen to the songs with headphones and type out the words. I then put these song sheets in my binder. I love music and love knowing all the words to my favorite songs.

These are just a few ideas and I'm sure that everyone who reads could add more. Living a home centered life actually puts the world at our fingertips, not the other way around. It's wonderful that we have some time available to expand our horizons. What are your favorite /most creative ways to spend your downtime?

Friday, February 15, 2008

Valentine Sweets Recipes

These are what we made in our home yesterday. I wanted something sweet for Valentine's Day but something at least a bit healthy. With oats being a main ingredient, I think these fit the bill nicely.

*~*~*Oatmeal Brownies*~*~*
1/2 C. butter or margarine, melted
1/2 C. sugar
1/3 C. firmly packed brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 eggs, slightly beaten
2/3 C. all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 C. cocoa
1/3 C. chopped pecans
3 Tbls. quick cooking oats, uncooked

Grease an 8x8 in. square pan, and line with wax paper; set aside. Combine butter, sugars, and vanilla; stir well. Add eggs; stir well. Combine flour, baking powder and cocoa in a small bowl; add to creamed mixture, stirring well. Stir in pecans and oats. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake at 350 for 18 minutes. Center will be soft. Cool in pan 10 minutes; remove from pan, and remove wax paper. Cut into squares. Yield: 2 dozen. **Note: I had to bake mine longer than the given time.

*~*~*Loaded-With-Chips Cookies*~*~*
1/2 C. butter or margarine, softened
1/2 C. shortening
1 C. firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 C. sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 1/2 C. regular oats, uncooked
1 3/4 C. all purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 (12 oz.) pkg. semi-sweet chocolate chips
3/4 C. chopped pecans

Cream butter and shortening; gradually add sugars, beating at medium speed of an electric mixer until mixture is light and fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla, beating well. Combine oats, flour, baking soda, and salt; add to creamed mixture, mixing well. Stir in chocolate chips and pecans. Drop by heaping teaspoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake at 350 for 12-14 minutes or until brown. Remove to wire racks to cool. Yield: 6 dozen
I always try to make our snacks from scratch. As a matter of fact, I have stopped buying any pre-mixed items. If you look at the contents of these items you will notice two things: 1. they contain ingredients that you should not want to put in your family's mouths and 2. they can be re-created at home without said ingredients.

There are a mariad of brownie and cookie mixes on the market. I have yet to find a type of brownie or cookie that cannot be re-created in a homemade form. Same goes for boxed casseroles, pasta dishes, etc.

When grocery shopping, make sure you are stocked with a good variety of baking ingredients and spices. If you have these two areas taken care of, it is quite easy to make homemade snacks, desserts and meals that do not get monotonous.

Cooking homemade meals and snacks for you family is something that can take up a good portion of your time. I won't deny it. But quite honestly, it is worth it. I have heard comments from adults whose maothers never took the time to put any decent food on their table growing and it really, truly had a long term effect on them. By contrast, others whose mothers did cook good meals for them are praised and blessed by the memories their grown children have.

Fix a delicious meal, set a simple yet pretty table and bless your family! It is truly a quite pleasure of home.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

A world which cannot blush

Jeremiah 6:15

15Were they ashamed when they had committed abomination? nay, they were not at all ashamed, neither could they blush: therefore they shall fall among them that fall: at the time that I visit them they shall be cast down, saith the LORD.

This verse can so aptly describes our day and time. There does not seem to be any place left in our society where that which was once considered an abomination is now not even seen as anything unusual, but is considered a “normal” thing. Of course we can all think of things that justifiably should cause righteous indignation, adultery, murder, thievery, etc. but I am not even speaking of those types things. I am speaking of things that in all Biblical reality should cause us to blush, but because they are so mainstream, do not.

What about commercials on t.v. that would have set the generation before us on their ear? What about the way people dress in public, not leaving anything to the imagination? The music our children are exposed to? I could go on and on but you get my drift.

I cannot help but feel that our country is now at a crossroads and I truly feel that it will turn down the wrong path. We do live in a world that is so hardened, so immune to the wickedness that abounds that it truly does not blush. Yet most have a feeling of security that this country could never fall. The Lord makes very plain the end of those that commit abomination and are not ashamed for it nor are able to blush because of it.

“therefore they shall fall among them that fall: at the time that I visit them they shall be cast down, saith the LORD.”

It really doesn't get any plainer than that.

Just because we live in this country known as the superpower of the world does not mean that we cannot be brought to our knees.