Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Popcorn-one of my favorite snacks!

I love to do what I call "mindless eating." The problem is, it doesn't always love me. Chips are my favorite; but unhealthy-oh yeah! Popcorn to the rescue! It can be made as a sweet OR salty snack so I'm really in love. Now, I'm not talking about the microwave junk here. I'm talking about the real popcorn sold in bags that will make gallons of popcorn. By the way, the stuff is cheap! Here's what I do given that I don't have an air popper: Put 1-2 tablespoons of extra-virgin coconut oil in a heavy, large pot (I promise, it won't taste sweet or like coconuts). Be sure you have a lid. Let warm on medium to medium-high then add about 3 tablespoons popcorn kernels. PUT THE LID ON! After a few minutes the poppin' will begin. Just shake occasionally until most of the kernels are popped. Now, you can dress it up. Sprinkle it with garlic powder, Italian seasoning, and a bit of cheddar cheese powder for pizza flavored. For taco flavor just sprinkle with taco seasoning, store bought or homemade. The possibilities are endless. If you wanna make some to satisfy your sweet tooth just sprinkle with splenda and cinnamon or even some of a pouch of hot chocolate mix.

If you don't mind the unhealthy aspect of it, you can add butter and salt to it but coconut oil is actually good for you. Don't buy into the misconceptions about it. Dr. Oz agrees with me. Just check out his site and see for yourself. And don't be surprised when you find yourself using it as a moisturizer. Trust me. This stuff is like a miracle in a jar!

Anywho...it"s about time for me to make the popcorn! Happy Snackin', y'all!

Friday, May 27, 2011

I'm one of them...

I thought people who loved Jesus were freaky! I admit I did my share of rolling my eyes and steering clear of people that constantly talked about their Jesus. I found myself whispering under my breath, "Enough already" or "Here they go again". I mean total FREAKS! It was okay that I was a freak for fun with friends or my family, but those were things I could see and touch. In my mind, Jesus was a history lesson I had heard about in my occasional childhood visits to church. He was a Sunday kind of thing and not very relevant to my present day. I was the girl that sat in Sunday school praying with a vengeance that the teacher wouldn't call on me to answer any questions. If only I had been praying as hard for my salvation...

I remember going to church with a friend of mine in middle school once during revival. For me, the 'only go to church twice a year' kind of girl, this was quite an experience. Later in life I did my own thing, without giving God even a tiny say so. At the age of 22 I started feeling Jesus wooing me, but it freaked me out!
I stopped listening to the Holy Spirit and continued to seek my security and my worth in other feel-good things. I do remember that the harder I searched, the bigger the void became. Pleasures were short lived and the constant running to fill the hole in my heart became tiring.

Nine years later I found myself in a bigger mess than even I had ever imagined. It was then that I began thinking back on those 'freaks' who had witnessed to me over the years and I knew that He was the only one who I could turn to to give me a sense of stability. I gave my life to Jesus in September of 2007 and things have been a whirlwind ever since. I get it now! I am one of those freaks. There is a good kind of freaky that just gets you talking and changing everything about your life. To be honest, at times it is just as hard as that life I had when I was searching, but now it has purpose and there is a power that comes from the One I am freaky about. A power that can get you through anything. A power that is there beside you through it all and gives you a security that nothing in the world can provide.

So now that I am one of those freaky Jesus lovers, I have a lot of people I care about that I need to be freaky for until they get it. I am sure my words, my actions, and even my blogs wreak of freak. That is okay. I have a responsibility to help plant some seeds and let it "get on you". I wouldn't be where I am today if it wasn't for those unselfish freaks in my life. I love them!!!!! I now know that I mattered to them. More importantly, I know that with all my poor choices and my junk, there is a Jesus who desires to hang out with me. Not to punish me, but to fill the void that only He can fill.

So, for those of you who roll your eyes and cannot wait for freaks like me to hush up and leave you alone I ask you to step out of your comfort zone and hang out with the freaks. This world is full of them but make sure you hang out with the kind of freaks that you want to get on you. It may be uncomfortable at first, but it is just the thing you don't even realize you are looking for! I have been on both sides of the spectrum and, I tell you with reckless abandon, I prefer this side.

Jesus sees you, He hears you, what you say matters to Him...

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Christian Love

It has been a while since my last post. My only excuse is that I have been busy, really I have. The idea for this post came to me Sunday while in church. I have recently began singing in the choir so now I am in the choir loft, which gives me a great view of the congregation. While noticing how beautiful our congregation is, I noticed several people who have shown me some amazing Christian love in the almost 4 years that I have been 'one of them.' My life is so blessed by having these people in my life. God really knows what people to surround us with and the EXACT time to do it. My family and I have received money when we needed it, meals when we needed them, wisdom when we needed it...just LOVE. The caption on this picture says it all, really. None of these people expected love, or anything, in return when they decided to love us. They just loved us like Jesus does. Aside from the 'things' we have gotten, there have been those who have just been there. I have made so many friends who have no requirements for our friendship. I have also learned more than I ever thought possible. I just began my 5th Bible study in four years and I am proud of myself for sticking with studying the Word. The bottom line is this: if I had never put myself out there and gotten out of my comfort zone I would have never met the people I have, learned the things I have learned, or been blessed by God the ways I have been. My very first Bible study I knew NO ONE! I was new, not only at this church, but at being a Christian. So, please, listen to what I am saying...get out there, be uncomfortable, meet new people, do new things! If you stay where you are right now you will only go where you've always been. I want more out of my walk with God and I hope you do, too. So, to those who have helped me along the way and taught me so much THANK YOU! I am sure you know who you are. Thank you for teaching me how to love others and thank you for loving me like Jesus does. I love each and every one of you. It is because of you that I have grown as I have and it is because of you that I have a passion to love people with a true Christian love. I will never stop learning from those older in the Lord than I.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Drama and the way God calms the storm

Yesterday I had a bit of drama in my family. Thankfully it wasn't serious drama but, as with many circumstances, I didn't know that the whole time. It all started when I got a tear-filled phone call from my almost 17 year old daughter saying she had been in an accident. She doesn't drive yet, mainly because the idea of it scares me to death, so she was on her way to a church function with a friend. We were 20 minutes away from her so my husband and I gathered the other children in the car and headed to the scene of the accident. The whole way I was asking God to be with her while I couldn't be and, of course, he was. Just after the accident, which was a minor fender-bender, she and her friend prayed together and later I found out that a fireman had prayed with them. See, God was right there! I had calmed down over the 20 minute ride until I saw the scene: traffic was backed up, cops and firemen everywhere. It looked like something from a movie and I knew my baby was in the middle of it all. I got out of the car before my husband had time to stop good, but I JUST HAD to get to her. The moment she saw me we grabbed each other and hugged like we had never hugged before.Thankfully Emm and her friend were fine, they just are sore today from the seat belt & air bags but they are overall fine. My Emm cried for at least an hour because she was so shook up from the experience.I write this for myself more than for others because I need to see it in black and white to really believe that it happened and that we made it, but only with God. When I didn't fully know if she was badly hurt I had no choice but to trust that He was taking care of it all. As a control freak, that was a mighty hard thing to do. But He did, just as He always has and always will.

It wasn't until this morning when I sat down to read my devotional that I realized that He had prepped me, in a sense, yesterday morning for what would happen in the evening. Sometimes we just have to marvel in His ability to do things like that. He is a God of great detail, for sure. Here is a direct quote from the devotional for March 22 out of the book 'Jesus Calling' by Sarah Young:

"REJOICE AND BE THANKFUL! As you walk with Me through this day, practice trusting and thanking Me all along the way. Trust is the channel through which My Peace flows into you. Thankfulness lifts you up above your circumstances. I do My greatest works through people with grateful, trusting hearts. Rather than planning and evaluating, practice trusting and thanking Me continually. This is a paradigm shift that will revolutionize your life."

~this is a great devotional and I highly recommend it! Buy it here http://www.amazon.com/JESUS-CALLING-Young-Author-Calling/dp/B004NH8FX0/ref=sr_1_5?ie=UTF8&qid=1300911372&sr=8-5

I usually skim over the previous day's devotion to refresh my memory before going into the current day's. I am so thankful that I did it this morning because it allowed me to really notice what He took time to do. I got a second blessing out of it and, honestly, felt a little giddy over the whole thing. While things were chaotic yesterday I felt God telling me to just trust Him, and I did my best to even through all the tears. I felt a quiet peace as I knew we were surrounded by prayers from friends and family. Emm calmed down eventually and things went back to normal. I even let her go with a friend to a youth meeting and birthday gathering for that friend tonight. I cannot make her stop living her life just as I cannot allow myself to live in fear, a fear that is not of God. After all, if the God who created the universe took the time to let little 'ole me know He was handling it all then I can trust that He will forever do just that-handle it ALL. Now, it's your turn to trust Him with whatever is going on in your life. We all have craziness from time to time but NOTHING is too crazy for Him.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Homemade Deodorant

Yes, I use homemade D.O for my B.O, and I don't even stink! The main reasons I make my own are (1) I am too cheap to buy something that I KNOW I can make myself and (2) I don't know what's in that stuff they sale in the stores. I know it's been said that the aluminum in deodorant can cause cancer but these days it seems as if breathing can cause cancer. I'm not a science freak nor do I know anything about science, but I have found out that the ingredient in deodorant that makes you not stink also clogs up your pores...that's how it works. Now, why is that a good thing? Anyway, I have been using homemade deodorant for about 6 months now and it works amazingly well. You normally have to go through an adjustment period of about 2 weeks. In that time your body pushes out years worth of junk from your armpit pores. Be patient...your body will balance out.

There are two ways to make deodorant. One way is in a paste, just like what we are used to buying in the stores. You can even mix it up and smush it into a clean, empty deodorant tube to use like any store bought kind. I just keep mine in an air-tight container in the bathroom and use a spoon to get out the amount I need then rub it on my pits. It only takes a little. The other way is in powder form. For both of these you will need basically the same ingredients: virgin coconut oil, baking soda, cornstarch, tea tree oil (which is an essential oil) and optional lavender and/or ylang-ylang essential oils. Virgin coconut oil has anti-bacterial properties, as do tea tree and lavender essential oils. I will tell you that I seem to have a sensitivity to too much baking soda on my skin. It burns...bad. To offset that I add more cornstarch in my deodorant. If you find that the recipes, as written, burn your pits then maybe you could try adding more cornstarch. It's trial and error. Ok, for the recipes...

5 Tablespoons virgin coconut oil
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/4 cup baking soda
2 drops tea tree oil
3 drops each ylang-ylang & lavender essential oils (optional)
~~~mix up and use small amount on armpits daily

virgin coconut oil
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/4 cup baking soda
2 drops tea tree oil
3 drops each ylang-ylang & lavender essential oils (optional)
~~~~~mix baking soda and cornstarch with essential oils. I store mine in an old powder container but you could use and old make up brush to apply. To use: rub on a small amount of coconut oil on your pits then use powder. That's it!

I tend to use both, because I am afraid I will stink! After my bath I will use the paste then at any point during the day that I feel 'less than fresh' I will use a bit of the powder. I even have a container of the paste in my purse!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011


Here's the thing...I am SICK of a certain comment that I hear lots of people make. One that I have made in the past and one that I will be very mindful of in the future! What's the comment? You may want to sit down for this because this isn't going to be a popular view on the subject. Consider yourself warned!!!!




Let me start off by saying that I fully recognize the fact that God made boys and girls, men and women, VERY differently. I get that boys are rough, curious, quiet...they are different than us females and for that I am very thankful. My problem with the above comments is that I feel like they excuse bad or irresponsible behavior in our boys. The very boys that we should be raising to be the leaders of our future families. The very boys who will be leaders of our country. These comments are heard by our boys, as is the tone in which they are said. We should NOT speak down to our boys in a way that seems like we are saying, "Oh, look how pitiful he is. He can't help it that he can't do better. He's just a boy. What do you expect?"
If we overheard anyone speaking down to a little girl in the same manner we would flip out! In this feminist age of 'girls can do anything' we have told our boys that they can't. The result is weak men who end up in jail. Weak men who get women pregnant and then skip town. Weak men who believe that they are stupid, therefore they stop trying to be the strong leader of the family and do stupid things. I also believe that we should stop teaching our girls that it's ok to say things like "Boys are stupid". Seriously...if I heard a boy say such things about girls I would be appalled~it's no different! Why is it socially acceptable to say that about boys and men? There would be lawsuits if that were a popular comment about women, homosexuals, African-Americans...I think you get the picture. The very comment "Boys are dumb. Throw rocks at them" can be found on a number of t-shirts, posters, etc. That would not be an accepted thing to have on a t-shirt or poster about any other group of people! Our society needs to wake up to the fact that these seemingly silly comments are contributing to the downfall of the family unit.

I realize that this is a very politically incorrect view and I couldn't care less.
Honestly, when are people gonna stop trying to please everyone by being 'politically correct'? The only person I want to please is Jesus, to be truthful. And I really don't think He enjoys seeing the men He created in His image being put down at nearly every turn. Men were put in a place of authority by God whether we like it or not. It is what it is.

So, I hope many others will join me in pledging to stop treating the males of our world as if they are dumb as dirt. The next time one of my boys does something irresponsible or wrong I will NOT say, "It's ok, honey. That's how boys are." The bottom line is this: there are rules for everyone to follow in this life and having a penis and a high level of testosterone does not change that fact! People in general will do what is expected of them. It's passed time that we expect of boys what they are capable of...growing up to be strong, moral, smart, responsible, involved, loving fathers & husbands and men of God. That's what this country needs more of.

"...encourage the young men to be self-controlled"
~Titus 2:6


Well, it's inevitable and it's one thing that unites us all...we all poo. It's no secret that poo leaves an unwanted smell in the bathroom and, occasionally, in other rooms; i.e. pets. Most bathrooms have a bottle of air freshener in them but do you really want to be breathing in all of that stuff, not to mention paying outrageous amounts of money to do so? I don't, which is why I researched the topics of getting rid of "poo" smell as well as homemade air freshener. In that research I found that peppermint naturally neutralizes the smell of "poo". We have been using this homemade bathroom spray for a couple months now and it really works. Another option is to put a drop or two of peppermint essential oil in the toilet before you "poo".

Here is the recipe for the After "POO" Spray:
~Fill either a store-bought spray bottle or a recycled bottle 2/3 full with distilled water.
~Add 2-3 tablespoons of rubbing alcohol or vodka (I used rubbing alcohol). This step isn't necessary, it just helps the ingredients mix, or emulsify. If you don't use it just be sure to shake your spray well before spraying.
~Add about 20 drops of peppermint essential oil. I also add 10 drops of eucalyptus essential oil. You can add more or less oil, depending on how strong you want your spray to be.
****I buy my essential oils through Amazon from a company called Eden's Garden*****

That's it! It's cheap, easy and you know what's in it! I also make a linen spray for my bedroom using lavender and ylang-ylang essential oils. This is a basic homemade air freshener recipe that you can change up by using different essential oils. So go make some for each room in your home, or for your stinky bathroom!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Ok, y'all may be thinking that I am very weird after this post but, oh well. I am...there, I said it. I make homemade toothpaste! My kids aren't onto it just yet but there is still time to convert them. There are many reasons why I plan to be a totally homemade toothpaste family. The first is cost. Yes, I know I can get it cheap, even free, with coupons...which brings me to reason #2:what the heck is even in that stuff? I'm sorry, but I won't use junk, even if I can get it for free! That's the whole reason I have backed away from coupons, but I digress. Back to the point. If you haven't researched the effects of fluoride, please do so. I won't put all of my reasons here but please do your own research. It will be worth your while. Aside from the fluoride debate, just read the ingredients that are listed right there on the package of toothpaste. I bet you can't pronounce most of them. The third reason is waste. When did we, as Americans, begin to think it is ok for us to just throw things away in the dump? Seriously, why is that an acceptable practice? When you make things yourself at home you eliminate much of the waste that your family produces. There are as many excuses for why people don't make their own things as there are things for them to make. We need to stop being lazy and get rid of this 'entitled' mentality that we have and stop depending on corporations to take care of our families. Here's a news flash...if they poison you or a family member with junk they put in their products, you're on your own! They aren't gonna give a rip. With the internet we have no valid excuse not to research and make our own things.

Anyway, sorry about that. I get on my soap box from time to time. On with the recipes...

Here is one that I haven't tried yet, but I plan to very soon! Through my research I have found that cloves are great for a toothache. This recipes uses cloves. This one is more of a powder, while the other is an actual paste.
*1 Tablespoon baking soda
*1/2 Tablespoon salt
*1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
~just mix and use on wet toothbrush! If you like it you could mix up a large batch of it.

This is my favorite one, by far! I keep mine in a lidded container and I use a small spoon to scoop a little bit onto my wet toothbrush. You could even repurpose an old toothpaste tube! It's up to you!
* 3 Tbsp coconut oil
* 3 Tbsp baking soda
* 25 drops peppermint essential oil
* 1 packet stevia
* 2 tsp vegetable glycerin (optional)
~Put the coconut oil and baking soda in a bowl and mash up with a fork until blended. Add the peppermint essential oil, stevia and optional vegetable glycerin and continue to mash and stir until you’ve reached toothpaste consistency. Just be warned that coconut oil is a solid oil, kind of like shortening, and it liquefies when it gets warm. In the same sense, when cold it is solid. It softens quite nicely at 98.6.

I hope someone gets something good out of this info. I also hope for lots of comments. Now, go make something, for cryin' out loud!!!!!!!

Monday, February 14, 2011


What is love? There are as many definitions as there are people in love, I'm sure. Perhaps the true and only way to know what love is, is to know what it is NOT. Love is not controlling, rude, mean, or abusive. It does not tear you down~it builds you up. When God instituted the first marriage in the garden, He did not tell Adam it was acceptable to control or beat his wife, Eve. He gave Eve to Adam as a helpmeet, to be loved and treasured. God made us ladies very emotional, to a point that words are very important to us. Real men get this, weak men do not.


Every 15 seconds a woman is abused in America. This should not be the case. If we, as parents, teach our children what is acceptable within a relationship the future statistics may change for the better. Parents of sons may have an even bigger responsibility to be sure that we do not teach our young men that it is ok to be controlling or abusive to women. Abuse can be in the form of emotional or physical, and the effects are not always visible. Dating abuse is also on the rise in America. 1 in 5 teens in a serious relationship reports having been hit, slapped, or pushed by a partner.*Liz Claiborne Inc., "Study on Teen Dating Abuse," (Teenage Research Unlimited, 2005), http://www.loveisnotabuse.com (available February 1, 2007). There is a good chance that you have been affected by some kind of abuse in your life, either directly or indirectly. It is time that we stand up against this most 'acceptable' form of abuse. We are all guilty of pushing some kind of domestic abuse under the rug. But I ask you, if it were your daughter...what would you do? Our inaction tells these women that it's ok to be abused and it also tells the abusers that they can keep on keepin' on! ENOUGH!!!! If an opportunity to directly help an abused woman doesn't present itself there are still options. You can donate to a local women's shelter or to an organization that helps abused woman get out of their situation.

So, on this Valentine's Day, won't you make a pledge to help an abused woman know what love really is? Because, chances are, if she is in an abusive relationship, she probably has no idea what true love really is. You can go to the DR. Phil website to find out other ways to help. http://drphil.com/shows/page/end_the_silence/

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Vanilla Pudding Cinnamon Rolls

Let me start this post by saying that you will need some self control to keep from eating the entire batch of these awesome cinnamon rolls! I first made them about two years ago and everyone, except for my picky 15 year old daughter, loves them! If you have never tried to make a yeast dough, you absolutely must. Aside from making you feel accomplished, it will make your house smell AAAAAmazing! Ok, here is the recipe and technique.

½ cup warm water
2 tablespoons active dry yeast
2 tablespoons sugar
3 ½ ounce package instant vanilla pudding
½ cup butter, melted
2 eggs
1 teaspoon salt
6+ cups flour

1 cup butter, softened to room temperature
2 cups brown sugar
4 teaspoons cinnamon

8 ounces cream cheese
½ cup butter, softened to room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 cups confectioner’s sugar
2-3 tablespoons milk

In a small bowl combine water, yeast and sugar. Stir until dissolved. Set aside. In large bowl, take pudding mix and prepare according to package directions. Add butter, eggs and salt. Mix well. Then add yeast mixture. Blend. Gradually add flour; knead until smooth. Do not overflour the dough! It should be very soft but not sticky. Place in a greased bowl. Cover and let rise until doubled. Then roll out on floured board to 34 X 21 inches in size. Take 1 cup soft butter and spread over surface. In bowl, mix 2 cups brown sugar and 4 teaspoons cinnamon. Sprinkle over the top. Roll up very tightly. With a knife put a notch every 1 1/2 inches. Cut with thread or serrated knife. Place on lightly greased cookie sheet 1 inch apart. Cover and let rise until double again. Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes. Remove when they start to turn golden (don’t overbake). Frost warm rolls with cream cheese frosting (combine butter and cream cheese and mix well, then add vanilla and sugar and mix again, then add milk for desired consistency). Makes about 24 very large rolls.

~If anyone tries these, let me know what ya think!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011


In light of certain local events I feel compelled by The Holy Spirit to write this post. Here is a bit of background: on Friday 2/4 a newborn baby was found in a restroom toilet in a local arena~the baby was rescued by cleaning staff and is expected to make a full recovery. Yesterday, 2/8, the baby's mother turned herself in and was arrested~she is not a scared teen, as I thought, but a 24 year old married mother of a 4 year old. She has since claimed amnesia~which is preposterous~and that she never knew she was pregnant. As a mother of 6, two of which are step children whose mother has very little contact with them, I was and am appalled at the actions this "mother" took to get rid of her unwanted baby boy. I am also like many others, who think the worst of her. It seems that there are many who are condemning her to hell, as if we have that power. Last night I felt the need to pray for this woman. I was struck with the thought that I should see her as God sees her, and He STILL loves her! Forgiving her of her actions does not make them okay or give her a 'get out of jail free' card. It does, however, show Christ to her and the world. If we call ourselves followers of the most High God, then how can we not forgive her...He will, she need only ask.

"He that cannot forgive others, breaks the bridge over which he himself must pass if he would reach heaven; for everyone has need to be forgiven." ~Lance Morrow

"I have discovered that most people who tell me that they cannot forgive a person who wronged them are handicapped by a mistaken understanding of what forgiving is."
~Lewis B. Smedes

I realize I may get a lot of grief for this, but...oh well. It isn't the first time, and will not be the last, I caused a debate. I just want us to stop and think about what we are doing with our words and thoughts. Satan would have nothing more than for us to hate her, along with anyone who sides with her. The bottom line is that she is still a person, still a child of God, and~hold onto your britches~she is still someone that you may see in Heaven.

So, I'm not saying that we should at all excuse her behavior, which I am confident God hates, rather that we should forgive her. I have been actively working on forgiveness in my life over the last year or so. I see my stepsons hurt by the things they have been forced to go through and that makes me angry, and bitter, which could easily translate to hatred & unforgiveness. It has not been an easy thing for this stubborn, control freak to tackle...but I must, just as we all must. I must be an example to my children of how we should live. I don't want my children living with bitterness, hatred and unforgiveness...do you?

"For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins."~Matthew 6:14-15

Well, I have said my piece. I hope this opens dialogue on this subject but I ask for comments to be kept kind. Remember, it's not WHAT we say but HOW we say it.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

The Throne Room of God

The book of Revelation has always scared me, mainly because in the past I knew, without knowing Him, I was well on my way to hell. Since giving my life to Jesus 3 1/2 years ago I have avoided really studying this one book in the Bible. Call it fear or ignorance. Whichever it was, it was wrong. We cannot pick and choose what we want to learn, or believe & follow, when it comes to the Word of God. True, knowledge is power, but revelation from a relationship with Him is beyond powerful. When we allow satan to put fear of the Word in our minds then we allow him to have the power. I have since learned this firsthand.

During today's study I could barely contain my tears and, upon standing, I realized just how much The Holy Spirit had moved through that lesson. The picture above is an artist's rendition of the Throne Room of God that John described in Revelation 4. The fact that God never leaves His throne is beyond amazing. Just ponder on that...He NEVER leaves. No matter what you or I go through in our lives, He is there. He has always been there...even before you were born. As Beth Moore said in today's video, "We must live a theocentric (God-centered) life. Living a self-centered life will never lead to fulfillment." How true that statement is! I know that from serious personal experience. In order to live the victorious Christian life, we must make Him the center of our lives. There is no other way.

I write this to myself, as well as to you. In the coming weeks my circumstances are sure to be trying. The only way I can get through what is coming is to make Him the center of my life, as well as the lives of my children. This is the revelation God has given me and, as much as I wish I weren't, I am scared of what is to come. The only way I can get over that fear is to give it to Him, for He has not given us the spirit of fear. No matter what happens I know that God has placed me where I am for a reason; to influence those whom He has entrusted me with and to learn from these things, among many others I do not know. In the end He will get all the praise and glory. I know that God will not give me more than I can handle, or rather, more than He can handle through me.

Saturday, January 29, 2011


I don't know about y'all, but I don't have lots of money to burn. And honestly, if I did, I wouldn't. I was brought up to me mindful of what I spend and I try to pass on that same mindset to my children, as well as anyone who is willing to learn. Some of the things we do in our family may seem a bit odd to most but it allows us to be more at ease and less stressed than what I would consider most Americans are in today's society. God has given us blessings to be a blessing, not to be selfish with those blessings. Being consumers and materialistic has gotten this country in a lot of debt, and I presume the same for the majority of American families. Let's stop trying to "keep up with the Joneses" and be better stewards of the money God has seen fit to bless us with, huh?

In this post, and future posts, I will share tips on how to be cheap. Let me start by saying that anyone who wants to start this endeavor must be willing to completely change the way they think, eat, shop, live, etc. Get rid of any and all ideas you may have of 'cheap' people being poor and/or dirty. That is almost never the case. By looking at me and my family on any normal outing you would not think of us as being a 'cheap' family. Any family can do this, if they really want it. I choose to do this so that I can stay home for my children. This is a big deal for my husband and me, as we think that is the best way to raise our family. If I worked we would have more money, yes, but the chaos would far outweigh any money we would have. And what would we do with that money? ~eat out more, shop more, be home even less? No thanks, I will pass. Having said that, here are what I consider to be my top five tips when beginning a 'cheap,' or frugal, lifestyle. Please leave any comments or questions you would like. Just remember, if you don't have something nice to say choose to say nothing at all.:) This way of life has worked for thousands of families in generations past and has worked quite well for my family for three years. It's a choice, and a necessary one for some. Be blessed!

1~MEAL PLAN: In my family of 8 I plan every meal down to the snacks according to what I have on hand and what is on sale at my local grocery store. I rarely use coupons, although I have, because I tend to shop for more fresh items and less prepackaged foods. The kids know that the kitchen is not open 24 hours a day. We have three set meals and occasional snacks. That's it~no sodas, premade cookies or cakes. I make 2-3 desserts a week, sometimes. There are some weeks when I make none. My monthly budget for a family of 8, with no coupons, averages $400-$450. That includes pet food, soap, cleaning items, paper products, etc. I also only shop at the store closest to my home. The prices may seem higher to some but when you calculate the price of gas and wear & tear on the car to get to another store it makes better sense to stay close to home. When shopping ask yourself, "Can I reuse this packaging?" If the answer is "no" you should think twice about buying it. In my opinion we throw too much stuff in the landfill. Buy things in glass jars, or other type reusable packaging. Just put more thought into it, that's all.

2~NO ADDED EXTRAS: We have very little unnecessary things around our home. No cable, no new car, no fancy clothes or expensive video games. We do have video games, but they were very cheaply bought in good working condition. We do subscribe to an online monthly movie rental and we do occasionally go out to eat and even to the movies...but VERY rarely. If both parents are working just so the family can have these things the parents should really reevaluate the situation. Cable or HDTV or a new, fancy car or big, nice house isn't necessary, having parental guidance for the children is. Downsize...your stress level will drop and you will be able to rest.

3~BUY USED 90% OF THE TIME: We buy used as much as possible for most things. Why? Because it's just plain cheaper. There is nothing wrong with Goodwill clothes or dishes. When we can't find what we need at Goodwill or another thrift store or at yard sales, we go to reduced-price stores like Ross or TJ Maxx. I also happen to love any store with "dollar" in the name! Those stores just make me happy! When it comes to shopping unnecessarily follow this rule "If you don't go in a store, you won't buy anything." Simple, huh? Only go shopping when you need something-end of story.

4~LEARN HOW TO MAKE THINGS FROM SCRATCH: I make lots of things myself, food wise and otherwise. I bake bread, but I still buy loaf bread from the store because the kids like it better(you can't win 'em all), laundry detergent, fabric softener, automatic dish detergent, most cleaning supplies, deodorant(although I'm the only one who will use it-lol), my own face cleansing oil, etc. I also make most of our meals from scratch. I do, however, prefer boxed brownie mix. I'm not a complete naturalist! Anyway, what I am getting at here is that you can make anything you can buy in the store. I have just learned how to make soap using lye and oil or fat. Pretty cool, I thought! The sky's the limit. Don't be intimidated. If I can do it, anybody can.

5~REDUCE UTILITIES: Simply, in the summer keep your thermostat up (75) & just tough it out and in the winter keep it down (68) & wear layers in the house. It won't kill you or your kids, trust me. Also, turn the lights off when you're not in a room! I used to get so irritated with my dad for saying that to me at least 100 times a day but I get it now. TURN THEM OFF!!!!!! Did you know that things continue to use electricity while plugged into an outlet, even when they're turned off. Unplug anything that you can when not is use. Obviously, you cannot unplug the refrigerator, but you can unplug the TV, hair dryers, etc. Get in the habit and watch your electric bill go down. Get a clothes line to use when weather permits or indoor drying racks to use when the weather does not. Drying clothes indoors in the winter also helps with the problem of dry air. I sometimes put the rack over the heat vents at night and the clothes are dry by morning. Where water in concerned, just use less. You've all heard it, turn off the water when brushing your teeth, but it's true. Take shorter showers or baths with less water. Only wash full loads of dishes and clothes. Just use your brain. Conserve a little bit here and there at a time and build on it each month. It's doable. My children and I also only take baths every other day. It saves water and it's better for your skin and hair and isn't gross at all. Trust me.

So, there you have it. I have many other tips that will be harder for a newbie to swallow but these are the basics. If anyone wants any of the above recipes just let me know! I am eager to share things I have learned with anyone who wants to learn them.