Friday, April 21, 2017

Easter 2017

  It doesn't seem like it now, but the weekend leading up to Easter was packed full! Finalizing the end of the work week, participating in a church children's activity, Easter Sunrise Service and finally and Easter lunch gave many opportunities to try new recipes, thoughtfully purchase some gifts and open our home for a family gathering.

Our children are grown and no longer interested in Easter Egg Hunts, but it is so much fun watching the small children laugh and love to find the eggs.  There is something sweet about ministering with others during Easter!

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For our church's Sunrise Service, we follow with a breakfast.  I tried some Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins, which turned out great!  HERE is the recipe.

Easter is a great time to practice some creativity.  Although I"m not crafty, a few easy projects turned into sweet Easter gifts.

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Easter Sunday arrived and we were blessed to celebrate and worship the Lord with our family.  One of our sons's birthday comes a few days later, so his favorite chocolate cake was one of our desserts!

This week all the Easter decorations came down, tax season came to a close and 'normal' life will continue. Spring is all around and there are flowers blooming and projects in the making.  It is a wonderful time of the year!  

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Homemade Window Cleaner

When I was a child, my mother was able to stay at home during the day. I was able to be right beside her as she went about her household routines.  Weekly her housecleaning items came out for 'cleaning day'.  She loved to use the same items - for years(!) and the smells of some of these products to this day bring up memories of 'cleaning with mama'.  Pledge furniture polish, Joy dish soap, Scrubbing Bubbles bathroom cleaner and Windex for the glass. 

Although I still love those products, I'm not a lifelong faithful user!  Variety is more my speed, new scents, improved versions, different brands and on occasion a do it yourself cleaning product are what keeps my home clean and happy.

Here is a nice do it yourself glass cleaner where I can incorporate my love for essential oils!

2 cups water
2 tablespoon white vinegar
2 tablespoon rubbing alcohol
5 drops peppermint essential oil

Add ingredients to a spray bottle and shake well. Spray windows or mirrors and wipe dry with a cloth. Store in a cool place for 1-2 months.

or one with a lemon twist
16-ounce spray bottle
1 1/2 cup white vinegar
1/2 cup distilled water
8 drops of any citrus oil of your choice (could use Lemon, Lime, Grapefruit, Wild Orange, or a combination)
Add vinegar, water, and essential oil(s) to spray bottle and shake. You are ready to clean!

A good cleaner that smells fabulous!  Works for me...until next time!  

Monday, April 17, 2017

A Happy Heart Makes a Happy Home

On a recent trip to Sam's Club with sweet hubby, my eyes gravitated towards this charming chalkboard/message center.  It was one of those moments when I just knew this thing belonged in my home and before it made it into the shopping buggy, I knew which wall it would add beauty to.

Sweet hubby is a dedicated provider for our family and works a strenuous job. Home decorating is pretty close to the bottom of his to do list so once this little treasure made it home, I knew it would take some patience and no nagging from me until it got done.  Especially when the first attempt to hang it onto the wall would result in a trip to Lowe's for different hardware!

Last Saturday, I had to work and guess what I found when I came home?  The message center was up! Not only put up, but with a special touch only sweet hubby could do - a cute drawing of 'me' and 'happy homemaker' written underneath.  Apparently the apple doesn't fall too far from the tree because once our teenage son saw it (and of course snickered), he added to the photo...a picture of 'dad' and changed the word to 'happy homemakers'!!

For many years I was blessed to stay at home with our young children. But as the children grew older, I returned to the work force.  Although 'work' was added outside the home, my heart as 'homemaker' or one who works to create a home, didn't change. Work has to be done in the home, but the 'making of a home' is where our attitude comes into play. Making a home encompasses more than cooking and cleaning.  It is a place where love and life pour forth. 

Homemaking resources are abundant and easily found.  Home magazines, Pinterest, Cooking and organizing websites are wonderful tools to help us get things done.  But more than simply doing chores is needed. There is the motivation to create an atmosphere of home that must begin in the heart.  I love resources that encourage my purpose and whet my appetite to make home a beautiful place that blesses. Listen to how these quotes cultivate the desire to make home a better place. 

 "We yearn for a place of belonging and becoming. A lifegiving haven of warmth, rest, and joy that will bless everyone who enters it. A welcoming respite in an isolated culture. We long for a Lifegiving Home." The Life Giving Home

"Home is the place where the whispers of God’s love are heard regularly, the touch of His hands is given intentionally throughout the day, the words of His encouragement and affirmation pointed to lay the foundation of loving relationships where the mother conducts the beauty of this life within its walls. I believe that mothers are those who shape generations, build a godly legacies and inspire their children's hearts, souls and minds so that they will go to go back into the world to live the reality  of Christ in all areas of life. Coming alongside moms to encourage them has been a commitment of my ministry.  I hope you will find inspiration to cultivate such a life within the pages of this blog. I welcome you here!  Sally Clarkson

These are the resources that motivate me to make, keep and pour into my home. This is what enables me to be a 'Happy Homemaker'!

Not every house is a home, but yours can be. Size and ownership don’t matter. What does matter is the presence of God in your heart and in the heart of your home.  

Proverbs 14:1 "The wise woman builds her house, But the foolish pulls it down with her hands."

Friday, April 14, 2017

Mini Fruit Pockets

Breakfast at our home has to be quick!  Some of the favorites with my son are Toaster Strudels, Pop Tarts and things like that.  Not the healthiest options around!  Recently Mr. Food posted a recipe for homemade fruit pockets.  Similar to what my boys like, but EASY!  You use a pie crust and some fruit or jelly or the filling.  I used some pear butter and they turned out delicious!  You can add a glaze or leave them plain. 

Here's the recipe!
1 (14.1-ounce) box rolled refrigerated pie crust
1/4 cup strawberry preserves or your favorite flavor
1 cup confectioners' sugar
1 tablespoon milk
Decorative sugar for garnish (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Coat a baking sheet with cooking spray.
2. Unroll one pie crust and using a knife, square the edges. Cut into 12 rectangles 2 inches wide by 3 inches long. Place a teaspoon of preserves in center of 6 rectangles and top with remaining rectangles. Using a fork, crimp edges and place on baking sheet. Unroll second pie crust and repeat process.
3. Bake 7 to 9 minutes, or until lightly browned. Let cool 5 minutes, then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.
4. In a small bowl, stir together confectioners' sugar and milk, until consistency is like thick syrup. Spoon glaze slowly over fruit pockets and sprinkle with decorative sugar, if desired. Let harden, then serve.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Glorifying God in the Workplace

Work, work, women most of us are very familiar with work whether at a job or at home (or both), there is always work to do.  Many years ago while working a full time job, raising 2 sons, walking with sweet hubby through some employment challenges the Lord spoke to my heart about making my family my career.  I've highlighted some of the strory in the blog series Visionary Womanhood. 

Since that time many years ago it has been a blessing to work part time around the schedule of our sons. That enabled time to put their needs first and still be employed outside the home.  Now, two of our sons are grown and the youngest is in high school. With a bit more freedom as they are much more independent, my part time job has evolved into 3 part time jobs.  Since I am a true lover of variety, this works out great!  But the common thread as a Christian is to do the work as unto the Lord.  I found some wonderful reminders from a Christian standpoint that give guidance to glorify God in the workplace. 

Dependence. Go to work utterly dependent on God (Proverbs 3:5-6; John 15:5). Without him you can’t breathe, move, think, feel or talk. Not to mention be spiritually influential. Get up in the morning and let God know your desperation for him. Pray for help.

Integrity. Be absolutely and meticulously honest and trustworthy on the job. Be on time. Give a full day’s work. “Thou shalt not steal.” More people rob their employers by being slackers than by filching the petty cash.

Skill. Get good at what you do. God has given you not only the grace of integrity but the gift of skills. Treasure that gift and be a good steward of those skills. This growth in skill is built on dependence and integrity.

Corporate shaping. As you have influence and opportunity, shape the ethos of the workplace so that the structures and policies and expectations and aims move toward accordance with Christ.

Impact. Aim to help your company have an impact that is life-enhancing without being soul-destroying. Some industries have an impact that is destructive (e.g., porn, gambling, abortion, marketing scams, etc). But many can be helped to turn toward impact that is life-giving without being soul-ruining. As you have opportunity, work toward that.

Communication. Work places are webs of relationships. Relationships are possible through communication. Weave your Christian worldview into the normal communications of life. Don’t hide your light under a basket. Put it on the stand. Winsomely. Naturally. Joyfully. Let those who love their salvation say continually, Great is the Lord! (Psalm 40:16)

Love. Serve others. Be the one who volunteers first to go get the pizza. To drive the van. To organize the picnic. Take an interest in others at work. Be known as the one who cares not just about the light-hearted weekend tales, but the burdens of heavy and painful Monday mornings. Love your workmates, and point them to the great Burden Bearer.

Money. Work is where you make (and spend) money. It is all God’s, not yours. You are a trustee. Turn your earning into the overflow of generosity in how you steward God’s money. Don’t work to earn to have. Work to earn to have to give and to invest in Christ-exalting ventures. Make your money speak of Christ as your supreme Treasure.

Thanks. Always give thanks to God for life and health and work and Jesus. Be a thankful person at work. Don’t be among the complainers. Let your thankfulness to God overflow in a humble spirit of gratitude to others. Be known as the hope-filled, humble, thankful one at work.

Whatever the occupation, wherever we are, we can glorify God.