April 30, 2007
Menu Plan Monday

My husband is off this week so I have "meals" in mind but may change some of the days to make them. I usually plan on the weekend, but didn't do a very good job of that this weekend.
Going with food I have in my pantry/fridge.
Tuesday: Tupperware Recipe for Chicken Parmesan called Chicken Mozzarella.
Wednesday: Tuna Sandwiches with Veggies - Bible Study Night
Thursday: Crock Pot Veggie Kielbasa Soup (Slow Cooker Thursday!)
Friday: Homemade Pizza
Saturday: Grilled Chicken Kabobs!
(we marinade chicken breast chunks in a teriyaki marinade, and use canned small potatoes, red onions, whole mushrooms, peppers and pineapple.
Visit The Organized Junkie for more great menu plans and recipes.

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April 28, 2007
Semi Annual Post Wide Yard Sale Blessings!

It was a beautiful day here today! This morning I was awake and out of bed a little after 4 am ... again! ... but this time by my choice. The military installation had its post wide yard sale today.

You really have to be there by 5am -- to find any furniture or big items. We were there before 6am. Its great fun to walk for miles and go to sale after sale! So much better than getting in and out of your car all day. {especially with the price of gas!}

I am officially wore out right now, but did find a few things I needed and a couple of things I wanted.

I had been looking for a Bread Machine -- I've been making all my dough by hand -- which has been a good learning experience for me -- especially since I am new to using yeast so much and making my own from scratch breads. I actually found 2. Yup, two.

You never know if you will find another and my main purpose was for kneading the dough and that it had a manual dough cycle and the first one did. A WestBend for a price tag of $5.00. Not too shabby, considering our Goodwill has raised their prices drastically and never have anything and a new machine could be anywhere in the ball park of $100-200 for a good one. I had been looking at the Zo - but now I am happy I didn't purchase it.


Other finds were:


  • A teddy bear and bumble bee dress for Squirt. I'll post a photo of her wearing it. Its really cute. I guess a lady at that same sale said something to effect "Do you want to fight over that?" I didn't hear her, but my friend did. LOL! Needless to say, its ours and we did not fight.

  • A Tupperware Bagel Keeper. I didn't know Tupperware sold this, and I sell Tupperware. Interested in having a party?

  • a Tupperware Modular Mate to store Bread Flour. I've filled all mine. $1.00

  • 4 Creative Memories purses that you alter -- 25 cents each.

  • 6 Creative Memories punch holders -- 10 cents ea. 3 for me, 3 for Melinda.
  • new package of Business Cards for printing $1.00

  • new package of Sticker Paper $1.00

  • new package of labels $1.00

  • Photo Paper -- 8.5x11 size. $1.00
  • a huge basket with a cloth liner $1.00 (I'll post a photo of this. I had set it down after paying for it and someone picked it up and was going to buy it! Uh, excuse me, I'm sorry I just paid for that. Whew!)
  • a toy dog crate with 2 cute puppy dogs for the Squirt. {wink} Couldn't resist. She will probably attempt to put her real puppy inside it.
I think that was the extent of my finds, until near the end -- and sitting in a box was another Bread Machine. Which looked like it had been used once at the most!! Melinda is good at getting things for less, so I picked up a Breadman Plus for $6.00. Yup -- this was a deal! Its a pretty new machine. We decided that I could sell the other one at the yard sale we'll be having since its a good machine too.

I came home and took a short nap -- and cleaned both machines and tried out both of them!
The Breadman even has a Bagel Dough cycle. Perfect! So, I made another batch of bagels and a batch of Cinnamon Rolls. I have not baked in them yet, so that is for tomorrow or Monday. I'm happy with both of them.

Melinda found all kinds of interesting bargains. Last year I found a water cooler that heats and gives ice cold water. The kind where you put the big huge blue water bottle on top? Its works great and we still use it. My little friends that come to visit call it the water machine.

I am in the market for donut pans and a hamburger pan. I'd like to try making baked low fat donuts. Anyone make these?

All in all -- a good day filled with small blessings given by the Lord! Have a great evening!

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April 27, 2007
Mother's Day Giveaway Contest

Lots of great contests going around the blog world right now. I am going to share a few that I found today --

Deadline: 30 April -- so hurry for this one! Her blog is filled with wonderful ideas and she showed photos of a swap she was just in. I wish I was the recipient of it, all the items are gorgeous!
Go take a peek. You do have to have a blog to join this one.
Good incentive to get one going!! If you need help, you know how to contact me.






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Madison's Room Contest

Hosted by 5 Minutes for Moms


Today’s contest is sponsored by Madison’s Room, a mom-owned boutique that features beautiful, unique hair clips, hair bands and caps.
Weary of the same, typical hair clips with tulle bows or poofy flowers, Cynthia, the mom behind Madison’s Room, began making her daughters their own hair clips. After repeatedly being stopped and asked where she got her unique bows, Cynthia opened Madison’s Room, an online boutique full of her wonderful hand made designs.

Click on the above link to enter. Closes: May 1st.

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April 26, 2007
Thankful Thursday!

First and foremost, I am always thankful for the Lord Jesus Christ -- His mercy and grace He bestowed on me, an undeserving soul!
I am thankful that I can still post today -- even though its late and my job kept me busy today. {grin} And thankful for said job!
I am thankful for the little blessings the Lord sees fit to bless us with.
Since its so cold again -- I am thankful for our wood stove. I am thankful that my daughter is helping me with transportation issues this week!
Also, that my husband's acting manager let him go early today since he is so sick. (This could be confirmed as a miracle for the US Postal Service!)
I'm thankful my husband has some knowledge about how a car works so he can fix his truck which has been acting up!!
I'm thankful that the Lord has a sense of humor. I am thankful that sometimes when I don't see something I need to change in myself -- He put blatant signs so that I don't have a choice but to see! (More to come on that!)
I am thankful for the joy of the Lord! He's an awesome God, worthy of all our praise.
For more Thankful Thursday posts visit Sting My Heart!

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Slow Cooker Thursday - Rice Pudding

I already posted my Chicken Fajita recipe for my menu plan this week, so thought I would try a dessert. We all enjoy rice pudding!

5 cups milk (I will use skim -- or the fat free plus that Kroger has)
1 cup uncooked Arborio rice
2/3 cup sugar
1 T. vanilla
3/4 t. cinnamon
2 heavy dashes nutmeg
Pinch salt

Lightly butter sides (I would use Pam) of slow cooker. Place all ingredients into slow cooker, and stir to blend.
Cover and cook on low setting for 4 hours, or until thick and creamy, stirring occasionally. Serve warm or cold.
Visit Sandra for more great slow cooker recipes!

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April 25, 2007
Bagels!
After reading about Tammy's guest chef Bethany and her recipe for bagels, and then anther post about bagels. I thought "Surely I can make these?"

We all love bagels -- our current all time favorite is the Cinnamon Crunch from Panera Bread. But alas that is a treat. My daughter had given me a gift card for Valentine's Day from Panera -- and I bought bagels twice! Yum! I grew up in New York (city) and every Sunday we would have fresh bagels. No store bought bagels come close.

So -- here is my journey with bagels! I am not experienced using yeast, but I am learning.

All those photos at Tammy's Recipes tempt me that I just have to TRY. And I have. And am proud to say I've succeeded with most of the recipes from her site.

This is after the first rise, and when you form them into a ball -- prior to my making a whole in the middle. I did not make Bagel Balls like Tammy. {grin} Although they look yummy!

This was the boiling (or simmering) part. Do you think the heat was too high?

They don't look very yummy here. I placed them on the rack to drain and I did brush them with the egg white and sprinkled poppy seed on them while they were on the rack. I didn't have a problem with them sticking to my pan after baking.

Woila! Here are the finished products! Don't they look delicious? My son and I ate one right out of the oven with cream cheese. Yum!!

I am going to try Honey Wheat and Cinnamon Raisin flavored next. I've been tempted to try the Spinach Tortillas that Tammy is posting about lately too! So many good, healthy recipes, so little time. {grin}

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Works for Me Wednesday -- Library
It is 6:04am -- and I have been at work for 20 minutes. Due to schedules today -- it was either come 1.5 hours early or use 8 hours leave. Uh, not!

We live in a small town, and while it does have a decent library (actually better than the one in the next larger town over!) -- We actually pay a yearly fee for a card to access the library in the next state over. We live west of the Missouri river and its about a 15 minute drive to the closest branch. It was about 10 minutes from my work, but they moved into a huge, brand new building.
I used to buy books all the time because libraries would not carry "good" books. Good as in Christian/Inspirational ones that my kids and I could read.
When we moved to this state and were told about this library -- I knew I had to go. The fee is $20. each year. It's well worth it.

We can check out pretty much how ever many books we want. I've had 76 out at one point. It is a 30 day loan cycle. (and you can renew once, if no one is waiting!) Since gas prices are so high -- I don't need to make as many trips since I am stocked up. They also have an easy to use online catalog and you can put books on hold and choose which branch you would like to pick them up at.

We go to this library -- Mid Continent Public Library Take a peek, its a great library.

If you do not use your library, you are wasting a valuable resource. If you don't have a great library -- you might check around to see if there are better ones. Even ones you might have to pay a fee for. Plus you can save a bunch of money on book purchases. One thing we do, is if we are thinking about buying a book -- mainly resource type -- we check it out first, and then decide if it is worth purchasing or not.

Our library also borrows from other libraries, so we have access to 100s of libraries. They have a great assortment of music cds too -- even Christian! Gotta love that.

I went yesterday afternoon -- and check out some of my gold mine:





And this was not all of them -- just 2 stacks. It you notice most of them are new. One great thing about ours is that you can put a "forthcoming book" on hold -- so for my favorite authors that have books coming out in May, June, July etc == once it shows up in the catalog, I put a hold on it. Sometimes I have to wait for a few people, but many times I am the first to read a brand new release. Love that!

I have been on a quest lately concerning the foods we consume -- and have done a 360. We have not been purchasing any more processed or packaged foods -- and attempting to eat more healthier foods. We are a work in progress -- so that is why so many of the books above are on food and fitness.

I have seriously been waiting for Nourishing Traditions -- and I did have to wait about 60 days for that one. Also, the brand new book by James Scott Bell came in. I enjoy reading mysteries -- especially involving lawyers and medical stuff. I really just love to read!!

So, using our library to its fullest, works for us!!

Visit Rocks in My Dryer for more great WFMW tips.

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April 24, 2007
Ice Cream for your Birthday! (and Perfume)
I love ice cream! And in all honesty in the last 14 years, I have eaten either: fat-free, sugar free and/or low fat varieties. Its been rare that I have had 'real' ice cream. But you know what, it's still yummy! I don't miss it.

And yes, I am one of those that LOVE skim milk. It doesn't taste watery to me -- its just plain good! And the good news is, if you become a Blue Bell member, they will give you a coupon for a free 1/2 gallon of ice cream during your birthday month!! How cool is that? Blue Bell used to carry a fat free/sugar free variety of Banana Split - and it was so good! Too bad, my birthday is in December!


A free sample of Sara Jessica Parker "Lovely" perfume. You do have to complete a 10 question survey. Took less than a minute.

Smell good while you enjoy your ice cream! Hugs!

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Tuesday -- Soul Searching
Matthew 6:25-34
25 Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?

26 Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?

27 Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature?

28 And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin:

29 And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.

30 Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?

31 Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?

32 (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.

33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

34 Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.



I've been doing quite a bit of soul searching, and praying lately.

I think the events at Virginia Tech, may have brought it on, but I was thinking about life before that.

A family friend's daughter, who has stomach cancer. They say, stage 3. She's only 24. She is also a mommy.

A call from an old co-worker. Who is not a believer. Her cancer is back. 1 year, and its back. My heart was heavy, it still is. (I'm not being her judge, its just fact.)

It brought eternity so much closer to reality.

Thinking about things I should have done, and things I'd still like to do.


Memories to share with my children.

The thought of living today, for today, as if there were no tomorrow.


I know we have no guarantee of it ... and sometimes it makes me sad. Yet other times -- I yearn to be so much closer to the Lord, without so many worries. Which in the grand scheme of life -- they really aren't important.

I think the "Mamma Bear" mindset kicks in -- worries about my kids and what would happen to them, even though I believe the Lord will not allow us to remember those things in Heaven.

I've even reviewed my will! And yes, it needs to be updated -- but it covers the main things.

I'm glad in many ways, that I don't have little ones at this point in my life, and my oldest is an adult and well capable of being a responsible guardian. (She knows I'll come back to haunt her, if she isn't!) LOL! kidding (kinda!)


So ...

Make a memory today for someone else.



Tell someone you love them, that you don't tell often enough.



Smile and laugh a little more.


Rejoice in the Lord ...


Be glad in the LORD, and rejoice,

ye righteous: and shout for joy,

all ye that are upright in heart.

Psalms 32:11 KJV


On that joyful word from the Lord,
my prayer is that the Lord bless you, and keep you ... and give you grace.

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April 22, 2007
Easter Skit Slideshow
Please click on View all Images to see the photos in a larger format. This was a very powerful skit. Take a look at the faces of the people ... God moved in a huge way.

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Menu Plan Monday -- April 22nd
Monday
Enchiladas (Lower fat recipe)
Tuesday
Crockpot Roast w/potatoes & Carrots
Wednesday
Bible Study Night
Toasted Ham & Cheese Sandwiches w/Veggies
Thursday
Slow Cooker Day!
Friday
Homemade Pizza
(my family looks for this now. I make the dough before Prayer Meeting and then we come home and make the pizzas and bake. Easy.)
Saturday
Yard Sale Day at the Fort
Sub Sandwiches w/Veggies & Dip & Chips
Fajitas --I am going to use a package of frozen 3 Pepper Blend and Onions in place of fresh.
And use the following homemade fajita mix instead of the seasonings in the above recipe. Also -- while I do have a package of tortillas in the refrigerator, depending on how tired I am, I will probably make homemade whole wheat tortillas, since my husband likes them so much.
Homemade Fajita Seasoning Mix
1 1/2 t ground cumin
1/2 t dried oregano, crushed
1/4 t salt
1/4 t ground red pepper
1/4 t. ground black pepper
1/8 t. garlic powder
1/8 t. onion powder
Combine all ingredients, place meat in plastic bag or covered dish. Sprinkle over meat. Shake to cover all.
Visit Laura for more great Menu Plans.

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April 21, 2007
100 Things About Me
1. I was born on December 25.

2. Yup, I was a Christmas baby.

3. And yes, I probably did mess up my mom’s holiday.

4. My dad had to borrow money from my Poppy to pay the bill so they could take me home.

5. I was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York

6. My mom had 7 brothers and sisters so holidays were always fun.I miss that. Only one is still with us.

7. My mom was 44 when she had me, and I always wanted my children young.

8. And I succeeded with that plan. Not much else, but that one happened according to my plan.

9. I had long, long hair when I entered kindergarten, but then my mom got it all cut off. I think my Nanny about croaked.

10. I had short hair from that point on until I started growing it long in 1990 in obedience to the Lord. It’s now longer than my thighs.

11 I only have one older brother.

12. Both of my parents are deceased.

13. I completed all graduation requirements a semester early and just hung around taking electives so I could graduate with my class in high school.

14. My first pet was a dachshund. His name was Oscar Meyer Weiner.

15. I am seriously allergic to dogs and cats – any animal with hair.

16. I went to work on Wall Street after graduation. I loved it!

17. I have been in the Twin Towers on numerous occasions. It was huge.

18. I haven’t been back to New York in about 18 years.

19. New York pizza is the best. Period.

20. Their hot dogs are awesome too, especially the ones off the hot dog carts. Yum!

21. I have even paid an outrageous amount to get them shipped to me. Well worth it.

22. I joined the Army on a dare.

23. I was told I would never make it through basic training. Shrug. So there I went.

24. I spent the next 5 years in the military as a Military Police Officer, and then a Corrections Officer.

25. I have no regrets about giving those years of service to my country, the only regret I have is that we should have stayed 20 to retire.


26. I met my husband in Virginia.


27. Our first meeting was right after my arrival at my first duty station, he was the sergeant who woke me up at 1130 pm to wax the hallway floor. {eyeroll}

28. We retrained and asked that we NOT be sent to Kansas.

29. Yup, they sent us to Kansas.

30. That was the first tangible thing I could see God did for us. We both came to know the Lord in Kansas – where we met a brother in Christ who witnessed to us. God knew what He was doing and what was best for our lives.

31. My husband, kids and I were all born in a different state. *

32. Although both boys were born in the same city. *

33. I have worked at many jobs. After being full time military I had quite a few part time from home jobs until 2003. That is when I went back to work full time.

34. I wish I didn’t have to, but right now that is where I have to be.

35. I’ve never worked in a fast food restaurant.

36. Although I worked as a cook in an Italian restaurant when I was 30 years old.

37. I have operated a day care in our home.

38. Read water meters in a rural district. Also, the highest amount I was ever paid for less than an hour of work.

39. Owned and operated an online scrapbooking store.

40. Owned and operated a UHaul dealership.

41. Worked as a bookkeeper.

42. Packed groceries at the commissary.

43. Worked in a Hallmark plant.

44. Served retired and active duty military Soldiers.

45. Currently work for International Students.

46. I have been a Sunday School teacher many times.

47. I am not a good cook.

48. I usually burn the rolls or biscuits.

49. Really, just ask my kids.

50. I didn’t get my drivers license until I was 18.

51. Hey, no need! I just took the subway.

52. I learned how to drive a stick on a Mash look alike green Army jeep.

53. I am afraid of heights. Big time!

54. But, I do get on airplanes; I’m just not crazy about it.

55. I didn’t get on the internet until about the year 2000.

56. I have never broken a bone.

57. I love to read.

58. I’m not big on music, where I have to have it playing 24/7. Even 2/7.

59. Although I like listening to live bands and concerts. I also love to listen to people singing in church.

60. I can play the piano a tad.

61. I wish I could really play it.

62. We have 2 horses.

63. 2 goats

64. Too many cats.

65. Did you know cats multiply quicker than rabbits? Ugh.

66. 1 faithful, obedient dog. (most of the time!)

67. Oh, and one fish. A Beta.

68. We heat our house by wood.

69. And YES, IT GETS COLD!

70. Do you know how expensive propane is?

71. My favorite comic strip is For Better or For Worse

72. I have read the Bible through about 6 or 7 times. Possibly more.

73. I need to exercise more,

74. And eat less.

75. My favorite candy is Jujubes.

76. I also am a coffee drinker.

77. But it must have French Vanilla SF creamer in it.

78. I am not too shabby when it comes to organizing.

79. It’s just hard for me to part with things I “think” I might need.

80. I do not have a middle name.

81. I did not know this until I actually-- really looked at my birth certificate in 2007.

82. My middle name was apparently given to me when my parents baptized me as an infant in the Catholic church.

83. I have since changed religions or beliefs.

84. If you are interested in a Bible study, or would like to know what we believe. Email.

85. I had always named my baby dolls, Stephen and Stephanie.

86. I have a real Stephen today.

87. I’ve worked in a prison, but have never been arrested.

88. Whew!

89. I’ve been miraculously healed by God.

90. I have been the recipient of many, many answered prayers.

91. I tend to be a loner.

92. But at the same time wish I had a best friend to hang with.

93. We go to church twice on Sundays.

94. I would love to work overseas with missionaries.

95. But I have never even been outside of the United States.

96. Must be due to the long airplane ride?

97. LOL. Just kidding. They just need to drug me and I’m game.

98. I went on an upside down, double circle roller coaster when I was 7 months pregnant.

99. Yes, the doctor said it was fine.

100. Probably why my daughter has to sit in the front of every ride, and I don't ride anymore.

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Weekend Meanderings
I took the day off yesterday due to our transportation issues -- because it is just impossible to be in 2 or 3 different places at one time. It is a different time in our lives having teenagers and older children, than little ones at home. Our two older children have jobs. Sarai has her own car and Josh was using an extra -- that is currently out of commission. My husband and I both have our own cars but it is just juggling the two younger guys' activities and work schedule.
It's been fun. NOT!

Then my husband's truck start sputtering and dying yesterday ... which we are praying is just bad gas. It does fine on the highway once it is going -- although not so well on his way to work this morning. Please drop a reminder to the Lord, that we really need his truck operable!!

Said husband, also works every Saturday -- again not by choice -- so his only day is off is Sunday. Don't get me wrong, I am very thankful for his job and his willingness to take care of his family. We're praying the Lord will open up a position with weekends off, but until that time ....
I don't count Sunday as a day off (meaning; goof off) -- and since that is his only day off, sometimes we do have to get things done. ie: Work. I know many people don't believe in working on Sunday at all -- but didn't the Lord heal on the Sabbath? Sometimes things just have to be done. I think the Lord understands. We do normally get a short nap in the afternoon. Which is a blessing!! We have 2 church services on Sunday. Morning and evening, so his day off pretty much equals: hours off.

I ran all my errands yesterday, this morning we have Outreach at church. The house is clean (we do this on Friday afternoon, after work and prior to Prayer Meeting) So, I have cookies to bake for a fundraiser on Monday and our Sunday School class. I also plan on trying the bagels on Tammy's Recipes. I told my husband I was going to make them -- he looked pretty skeptical. No faith in me at all!! Gasp! Due to transportation again, I will probably be vehicle-less this afternoon so hope to accomplish some other things on my to do list.

The weather is finally springish so our Square Foot Garden will be in the ground this week. Yeah! I would really love to can tomatoes -- we use a ton of them every year in recipes.

And hope to get a walk in this evening on my journey towards less weight!

Edited: I re-thought about my post -- and decided I was being a whiner! I did accomplish quite a few things this afternoon -- with no children in the house and no vehicle. When in reality, I didn't really need to go anywhere!!

  1. Made the bagels. Easy.
  2. Made all the cookies. Whew! And I didn't eat one of them.
  3. I did make some extra sugar ones from a package that I found at Wal-Mart for 25 cents. I did eat some of those! Ugh! I told the kids to take them and hide them. LOL!
  4. Made out the menu plan for next week.
  5. Folded the last load of laundry. Everything else is clean.
  6. Planted flowers in the flower box and pot on the porch.
  7. Did some Sunday School things.

And its only 4:23pm. We are having hamburgers tonight -- and I have no buns. So, I am going to try my hand at making some, and while they are rising I will go for a walk. I am going to try Twenty Minute Buns. The reason I chose this recipe is because out of all the ones I searched for, these had the least amount of fat. Not too shabby of an afternoon.

P.S. If you know me, as my husband would say, I can't sit still an relax, I have to be doing something and always feel like if I didn't accomplish anything, I wasted my day. Please -- relax and don't be like me in that regard! Its a hard thing to change! I have too much of a Martha spirit, when I really need a Mary spirit! And it's a beautiful day outside.

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Philips Digital Photo Frame Contest

5 Minutes for Mom has another contest! My theory is that it can't hurt to try. If you remember, I have already won one of their contests -- at the Blog Party. But I would really like this. Wouldn't you? And you do not have to be a blogger to enter.

Get ready - they are giving away a 9″ Philips Digital Photo Frame courtesy of Philips. Contest ends April 25th.




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April 19, 2007
Thankful Thursday
Due to the recent tragedy at Virginia Tech -- when I was praying this morning -- I thought how could I not be thankful? How could we not be?

Only by the grace of God are any of us spared from a similar tragedy. I know that the Lord knows the time and place when He will take us home and the circumstances surrounding it ... but ...

I am a creature of habit and sometimes I wonder if the Lord tires of me praying for the safety and hand of protection on my family every morning? I don't believe so. Do you? I know it only takes one prayer and God can answer it -- I know that sometimes we have to wait but ... the Lord truly knows the perfect will for our lives.

On one of our Sunday School boards in our classroom ... we have it decorated with the following:

God Always Answers Prayer

Sometimes He says "Yes"

Sometimes He says "No"

Sometimes He says "Wait"

And sometimes He says " I have something better in mind ..."

This is so very true, I think it is easier to take a Yes or even a No, then a Wait or Let's do it My (God's) way!

Regardless I am very thankful today!

  • For His grace and mercy
  • For His hand of protection and safety
  • For giving Himself so that we might spend eternity with Him.
  • For all answered prayers (Yes, No, Waits, and His way)
  • For making a way in situations where I thought there could not be one ...
  • For seeking me out ... that gentle nudge that brought me to Him. I don't believe that we accept Him, I believe that He accepts us! He gives that nudge to everyone, its whether or not they decide to kneel at His feet and live for Him.
  • For a specific prayer I prayed yesterday, that was answered 2 hours later through a blogger that visited my blog ... she knows. I've told her how God used her to answer my prayer request. Awesome.

And I am thankful for this community of bloggers ... you are truly an inspiration and encouragement to me. May the Lord bless you and keep you ... and give you grace.

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Meet Joanna a.k.a. Squirt

My youngest son loves this little girl -- funny that she has decided to change her affections to my oldest son now. But Stephen keeps trying to win her back over! He decided to put his glasses on her -- she looked so cute with her pigtails and cheesy grin, I had to share the photo.

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Slow Cooker Thursday -- Savory Bean Spinach Soup


I originally received this recipe through one of my Yahoo groups and passed it on to a friend ... thinking it was more HER thing.

Well, she made it quite a few times and had me try it. It's really good! We have made some modifications -- but I will include a link at the bottom to the "original" and put a star next to the ingredient that she changed and is preferred.


Ingredients
3 14-ounce cans vegetable broth (chicken is good too)
1 15-ounce can diced tomatoes *
1 15-ounce can white or Great Northern beans, rinsed and drained (use 2 cans)
1/2 cup converted rice **
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon dried basil, crushed
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 bag frozen chopped spinach *
Finely shredded Parmesan cheese
Directions
1. In a 3-1/2- or 4-quart slow cooker combine broth, tomato puree, beans, rice, onion, garlic, basil, salt, and pepper.
2. Cover; cook on low-heat setting for 5 to 7 hours or on high-heat setting for 2-1/2 to 3-1/2 hours.
3. Stir spinach into soup. Serve with Parmesan cheese. Makes 6 main-dish servings.

Not too many changes, but use frozen spinach instead of fresh. And use converted or brown -- rice -- regular makes it too mushy. Yummy!

Original recipe.

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April 18, 2007
For Heather

As many of you already know, BooMama is hosting a day of love for Heather on April 18th. Heather was diagnosed with a brain tumor last week, she is scheduled to see a neurologist at the end of April at the Mayo Clinic, the number one neurosurgery hospital in the country. The goal is to help Heather and her family with as much of the expenses as possible.
Please take a moment to pray for Heather and her family; another to read her story, and another to donate to the love offering on April 18th.
Updated: As of about 2:00pm CST -- the total donations raised thus far were $5150.00. I am totally amazed and in awe of the goodness and generosity of so many people...I think God should get all the glory for this. He's an amazing God.

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April 17, 2007
Prayer
I am deeply saddened about yesterday ... my heart breaks for the victim's families.
Please remember these families in the days and weeks to come.
So very many young lives ... and moms and dads, brother, sisters, sons and daughters ...

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Tackle it Tuesday -- Google Reader
Tackle It Tuesday Meme



Amazingly enough I never knew about Google Reader, and I had seen Bloglines, but really didn't know what that was ... sigh ... I know, BLOND!

I read this post by Marcia and the light came on. My computer times is pretty limited and I really enjoy reading blogs. I've learned quite a few things; received support from fellow believers; great new recipes and organizing tips to name a few.

So, now I have organized about 45 blogs and websites that I read often in my subscriptions at Google Reader and it saves a bunch of time. Plus I don't feel so guilty about sitting on the computer for so long. As Marcia stated, the hardest part was copying and pasting the urls!

You can also organize the different blogs by creating specific folders for their "theme"

It took a bit of time, but I have my faves subscribed now. I'm sad that some I read, do not have their RSS feed activated. Hint! Hint!!

But for me it was a great thing to tackle!

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April 15, 2007
Menu Plan Monday -- April 16th
If you do not plan your menus for the week ... you have to try it. There are so many benefits to it ... 1. less last minute panic; 2. if you have a plan you are least likely to eat out and therefore save money; 3. If you plan ahead you can use ingredients you have on hand and it will save you money and 4. eating what you make at home is by far healthier than the fast food drive through.
Are those not reason enough? And Laura even has over 100 participants who share their plans so you can get ideas and recipes for over 500 meals. How about that? LOL! Try it.

Here's the plan, and even if we change it around or don't have the meal that night because something comes up, I can just use it next week.

Monday
soft beef tacos with Spanish rice, veggies
Tuesday
chicken tenders, mac & cheese, broccoli
Wednesday
tuna sandwiches on wheat or grilled ham and lowfat cheese
Thursday
Savory Bean Spinach Soup (Crockpot, Meatless) (recipe Thursday!)
Friday
Pasta with homemade marinara sauce, italian cheese bread, salad
Saturday

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Happy Birthday Stephen!
Our youngest is the big 15 today!
The years have literally flown by.
Cherish every moment.

Happy Birthday!!!
We love you!



P.S. We don't know the results of the solo competition -- the bus had to leave early because there were seniors who had prom last night. His Band teacher and the pianist both think he did great! If he gets a 1 -- he will go to state competition! I told him on the way -- because he was very nervous -- just pray before you perform and let God use you for His glory. We have to wait till Monday to find out. But even if he did not make a 1 -- he backed out numerous times because he was nervous about doing it; it is still okay.

I figured I would post a photo of him with his trumpet/band. His trumpet is a "Blessing" -- and it was a huge blessing the way we got it. I'll have to share that story.

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April 13, 2007
Modge Podge of Things
I guess I have been in a "funk" the last few days ... week? {sigh} So many things up in the air for our family and lots of decisions to make. Its been very stressful.

And then I read about Heather and think, I have absolutely no reason to complain, be grumpy, stress or worry. None. Please pray for her and 18 April is designated to be Love on Heather Day

Above all, pray for her and her family as they walk this valley.

On to the good ... God is a Healer. I believe that with everything I have, I have experienced it in my own life and seen it in many, many people. And He is with us every step of the way.
Just typing that has lifted my spirits.

It supposed to snow here tonight ... uh ... its like April? Although while living in Colorado -- we had snow one year the last week of May! Fun stuff.

My youngest has a regional solo competition tomorrow and he turns the big 15 on Sunday. The time has literally flown by.

My daughter has to make cookies this weekend, and she is going to make these. They are not the best in regards to health but ... that is the agenda.

I am also going to make a pot of Savory Bean Spinach Soup. I'll let you know how that goes and post the recipe for my menu plan on Monday.

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April 12, 2007
Slow Cooker Thursday -- Tortellini Soup
Tortellini Soup

4 cans or 7 cups beef broth

1 can Rotel diced tomatoes with green chilies

1 can diced tomatoes

1 cup shredded carrots

2 cans or 1 bag frozen cut green beans

1 lb. ground beef or turkey

1/2 cup chopped red onions

1 t. minced garlic

1 T. Italian seasoning

1 t. salt (or to taste)

1 lb. bag frozen cheese tortellini

Brown and drain ground meat. Place all ingredients except tortellini in crock pot. Cook on low 4-5 hours. During last 30 minutes, switch to high and place frozen tortellini in crockpot. It smells wonderful!

Serve with hot crusty french bread or garlic bread. Yum!

This recipe is beyond easy, and it was a little kick to it because of the Rotel tomatoes. If you have young children, you may want to use the mild Rotel. One thing we have done is cook the pasta separately, put a large spoonful into the bowl and then add the broth/soup. Then if there is left over broth (there is never left over tortellini!) then we cook elbow macaroni and put that in bowls and add leftover soup. I have this made today, but don't have any tortellini in the freezer, so yes, I will serve it with elbow macaroni. I have 2 boxes of that in my pantry. I have also made the broth from beef bouilion cubes and it tastes just as good -- I could not tell a difference, plus that is another savings in making this soup.

Visit Diary of a Stay at Home Mom for more slow cooker recipes.

Edited: I wonder if spinach would be good instead of green beans? A thought!

Unusual Cake Recipe Website

Unusual Cake Recipes

Visit the above link for unusual cake recipes like: 7Up Cake; Amazin' Raisin Cake; Dr. Pepper Cake; Earthquake Cake; Cow Pie Cake ...

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April 11, 2007
Works for Me Wednesday -- Labelling
Welcome to another Works for Me Wednesday -- this is not anything new, but I was very skeptical at first - thinking so what if it has a label, that doesn't mean it will end up where it belongs! Well, I have been converted. I love my Brother P-Touch label machine. I've labelled quite a few areas and I am still working on the rest. Even my husband and kids are better about putting things back in their "spots". You do not have to purchase a label maker to do this -- I used my circle punch and created some cool tags (see below). Our local library has a die cut machine and I'm sure you can find a circle die to use, or even another shape. Use what work for you! You can also use your printer and a sheet of labels, or just paper and scissor and tape! Even masking tape and a marker. No need to spend extra money to organize.

Here are some examples: (click on the photos to view larger)

This is a shelf that has bathroom supplies on it. The top baskets hold cleaning rags and vitamins. The bottom basket holds over the counter medication, nasal sprays and such.

(we have older children -- so do not have to lock up medication, or put it in high cabinets. If you have young children -- this will NOT work for you!)

Yes, I have labelled my refrigerator! Crazy? not at all. I've had this labelled for about 3 months and it still is neat. Well - except for the misc tray! On the door from top to bottom, I have "condiments", "cheese", "sauces", "misc"; "butter" and then on the bottom I have "sweet" and "pickles". (for pickles and salsa etc -- I was at a loss for what to label it, because I already had condiments which has the mayo, mustard, ketchup etc. Ideas?) I have the shelves labelled inside the fridge too. WFM!


In the bathroom cabinet (still need to paint the inside of this cabinet! -- wish I would have looked because this could have been completed this past weekend.) But I have 3 baskets. One for my daughter and one each for my sons for their bathroom "stuff" -- each has a cute round tag with their name. Josh's Junk, Sarai's Stuff and Stephen's Stuff. I rarely have bottles and mess on the sink/counter.


This is my "pantry" -- such as it is. Its actually a cabinet in the mudroom since we do not have a pantry in the kitchen. Its critter proof and big and it WFM. Josh and I took everything out of this cabinet in December and we organized it and labelled the shelves. I took this photo over the weekend and its still pretty neat, don't you think? I have a couple of overflow areas for bulk items so the bottom is a tad messy but my husband who usually helps with putting away groceries -- puts them where they go! Sorry for the dark photo -- but it gives you an idea.


This is the top shelf ... the Ramen box holds boxes of Jello. Might as well recycle, no?

I also have Tupperware modular mates in my kitchen cabinets and yes, they ALL have labels. I even have a different label on each side of a few of them, because they do double duty in holding certain foods.

Visit Rock in my Dryer for more great ideas!!

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April 10, 2007
Tackle it Tuesday -- Painting!
Tackle It Tuesday Meme

I have been off from my job since Thursday -- it was a nice break. I did tackle some projects that needed done. {something always needs to be done!}

Completed:

1. I finished painting the master bedroom. I had painted the trim a couple of months ago. {grin} but did not paint the larger walls. Our room has 3 windows, 3 doors, and a closet and dresser built into the wall, so that is a lot of trim. And I was actually hoping my brother would have arrived to finish it by now! LOL. So, I finished that. I do need to touch up a couple of areas on the ceiling, but we are out of ceiling paint.

2. Touched up the shelves in the bathroom. When sliding the baskets out, the paint was scrapped off in quite a few places. Looks much better.

3. Our kitchen cabinets are painted {until our kitchen is remodeled} and there were quite a few nicks, so I touched all of those up and repainted the wall by the trash can. I think this is my 3rd time doing that since we painted the cabinets in early 2006. I am so glad that I have all my paint cans labelled for just small jobs like this.

4. Spot cleaned the carpet with the shampooer. Well, my son did that, can I still count it?

Not completed:

My 100 Things About Me list. Ugh. Doing that next.

Visit 5 Minutes for Mom to view more great tackles!

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April 9, 2007
100th Post, 100 Things About Me & Prizes
I am behind -- I have not had a change to finish my 100 Things, so as soon as that is done, I will change this post to show prizes and all the fun information you might need to be a winner.

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April 8, 2007
Easter Reflections & Menu Plan Monday -- April 9th
I am off from work today -- and only have my home schooled HS Junior here today. We are going to work on putting together the remaining 2 boxes for our Square Foot Garden and I will catch up on a few chores that are needing to be done. I am hoping the weather holds out!
I am also going to give the Hearty Herb Bread a try -- I am going to shape it into Italian type loaves. This will be a first, but I am confident I can do it! {wink} Again, in hopes the weather doesn't damper my yeast effort!!

About midweek last week, the temperatures dropped to 18 degrees and all our flower blooms on our fruit dies shrivelled up and died. So sad. We had not done anything in the garden yet, so sometimes it pays to be late!

Our Easter service was absolutely awesome! Saturday we had a dozen teenage boys at our home that stayed from noon until about 830pm. There is definitely a difference between teenagers and younger children -- it was a pretty quiet day. I only had to feed them. We first went on Outreach -- inviting people to Easter services -- and then came home. We live in the county -- so there is usually nothing going on around here.

One of the boys told me the skit they were going to perform at church was powerful. I thought -- ok -- and honestly didn't think too much about it. We had looked at a portion of the Grace Like Rain video -- but to be honest, I could NOT watch it all. I had to shut it off. Sometimes we think about shutting things out and that they will go away or they don't exist. Which of course is entirely false.

The music (Rise Again, by Ray Boltz) started playing in service. I knew my husband had made a cross and my oldest son was to carry it in. He said he was life and W.D. was death. That was pretty much all I knew.


In my son walked, entirely dressed in white with a cross on his back ... looking so defeated, so utterly destitute. I was shocked. Immediately tears welled up in my eyes and started rolling down my face. I looked at a sister who was taking photos and knew I was not the only one. The teenage girls were kneeling before the cross. They mentioned to me earlier, they didn't know how they were going to be able to shed fake tears. The tears came ... and they were so real.
Death was dressed all in black waiting at the cross. If you click on the photo, it will open larger and look at his wife.

He fell under the weight of the cross (the world) and my youngest son was the one who helped carry it. Stephen said he felt Josh's tears falling on his hands. They nailed him to the cross and death stood there all victorious and smug. Until Jesus came off the cross and carried death away. There were no words spoken .. and there did not need to be any. There was such a powerful move of the Lord -- people -- visitors ... were weeping and deeply touched. God used these young people in a mighty way. Lately they have not failed to show me how special they are.







My heart has been heavy with what the Lord suffered for this world ... for me. So many people still continue to nail Him to the cross. I do not desire to cause my Lord any more grief. He has been nothing but faithful and good to me, and I have only failed Him.



Menu Plan Monday



Monday
Vegetable Lasagna and Bethany's Italian Herb Bread

Tuesday
Leftovers {Jazz Concert at School}

Wednesday
grilled ham and lowfat cheese sandwiches / salad / raw veggies

Thursday
Tortellini Soup {Crockpot}

Friday

Visit I'm an Organized Junkie for more great menu plans and recipes.

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Happy Easter!

Our prayer is that you find the Lord Jesus Christ for yourself as you celebrate Easter --
and the ultimate gift that God gave us.

Himself


Here is a link to the YouTube version of Todd Agnew’s Grace Like Rain featuring clips from Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ.

We do not frequent movies but when I saw this video clip on 5 minutes for Moms -- it definitely takes me from my safe little world and shows me the reality of what Christ endured.
For me.

Even if I had been the only one -- He still would have done this.

Just for me.

Or just for YOU.

Horrific pain and suffering. Be forewarned images are pretty graphic. His crucifixion is portrayed as something little -- compared to what He really endured. I was always under that impression -- but my husband set me straight. This video is in reality pretty close to what He endured, if it isn't less.

May the Lord bless you this Easter, and grant you grace and mercy.

He awaits you.

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April 7, 2007
Happy Birthday Bro!

Today is my only brother's birthday -- and we wanted to wish him a


Happy Birthday !!!


And we are still WAITING on his arrival!!

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April 6, 2007
Favorite Ingredients Friday - Easter Edition
My kids are all teenagers now -- but each one of them still loves these cupcakes! I started making them about 10 years ago, maybe more? I originally made them first for my Sunday School class one Easter. I had a lot of fun! This would be a great recipe for kids to help with as well.

I normally just leave the frosting white and sprinkle the tinted coconut on top and add mini jelly beans or robins eggs. You can also make a handle by adding a red licorice. (the thin kind?)

While not very healthy -- this is a tradition around our house, plus they are easy to share with my little church friends.

Easter Nest Cupcakes with Speckled Easter Eggs

Ingredients:
• 1 or 2 boxes Plain white cake mix
• Ready made vanilla icing
• 1 cup Shredded coconut
• Green food coloring
• Food coloring (pastel colors)
• Easter muffin liners (optional)
• Jelly beans or robins eggs or M&M speckled Easter eggs(optional)
• String licorice (optional)

Directions: 1. Make up a batch (or two!!) of cupcakes; plain white cake mix is fine.
2. Take a tub of ready-made vanilla icing and divide into 4 or 5 parts. Leave one part white, and color the other icing potions in Easter-like pastel colors (pink, yellow, peach, lavender, etc)
3. Ice the cup cakes with various colors.
4. Put about a cup of shredded coconut into a small bowl. Add a few drops of green food coloring until a nice spring grass-like green color is obtained for the coconut. Sprinkle in a little bit of icing sugar and a few drops of water. (This will give the coconut mixture a 'stickiness' to it so it will set well on top of the cupcakes, and hold the mini-eggs).
5. Drop a teaspoonful or so of grass mixture onto each cupcake. Top each 'grass nest' with 2-3 M&M speckled Easter eggs (available in most grocery shops in the lead-up to Easter) or jelly beans.
6. Last of all take some string licorice to make handle of basket (insert into cupcake to form handle) they are colorful, fun and the kids love them!
7. Place in fridge which will allow the eggs to sit firmly into the nests.
8. Arrange on a platter covered in Easter basket 'hay'.

I tried to find an image -- but the closest I could find was this -- at least you can get an idea of the basket! (this cupcake looks kind of fun to make too!)

Hop on over to Overwhelmed with Joy to sign up and see lots more Easter goodies!




Image courtesty of www.familyfun.com



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April 5, 2007
Thankful Thursday #3 - People

There are times when we are down in the valley -- and need encouragement especially when we think that the Lord has forgotten us. He hasn't and won't. In making these posts -- I realize how blessed I am and even in the little things -- I can see the hand of the God, and know that He has not forgotten me.

When I was praying this week -- and funny how this meme comes to mind, I started thinking about some of the people who I am thankful that are in my life.
Now -- this is not all of them, but its a start!
I am thankful first and foremost for the Lord Jesus Christ.
My husband who really is long suffering with me at times. I can tell when I really blow it, just by the look on his face!! LOL!
My Pastor and his wife -- they have definitely invested much prayer and time with our family. I am thankful for that and their guidance over the years.
My children -- Sarai, Josh & Stephen. There are times when they drive me to distraction and I wonder how their thought processes ever got so screwed up!
A good supervisor -- I've been in awful work environments -- and my current one is no stress. We all have issues, but he is pretty easy going for the most part.
My mom -- who is walking the streets of gold -- my work ethic came from her, and I didn't appreciate her enough while she walked the earth, but I do now. That's a hard road to walk -- take my advice and don't walk it. Let your family know you are thankful for them NOW and love them NOW.
I also have to specifically add the young men in our Sunday School class -- "Men of Valor" They came to mind during my prayer time. When we were first asked to take the class -- thoughts like wildfire were going through my mind! I know church family reads this blog at times -- so let's just say it was unexpected to say the least. But I have grown to love and appreciate these boys.
So, I am thankful for the Men of Valor -- Bradley, Stephen, Stephon, Dion, Aspen, Matt, W.D., Jamal and Josh. (in no particular order!)
We have visitors, but these are our core class. Faithful young men. I am thankful to be a part of their lives. Our desire for SS is that they are prepared and have the knowledge they need to be truly men of valor. Strong and mighty in the Lord.
There is much opposition in our lives right now, but you know what?
We're blessed!!
Head on over to Sting My Heart for more Thankful Thursday's.

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Slow Cooker Thursday - Fiesta Chicken with Rice and Beans

Fiesta Chicken with Rice and Beans

Ingredients
1 can (15 ounces) Hunt's® Tomato Sauce
2 cans (14.5 ounce each) Hunt's® Petite Diced Tomatoes with Mild Green Chilies, undrained
1 cup long-grain rice (I used brown)
1 can (14.5 ounce) Butterball® Chicken Broth
1 can (15 ounces) pinto beans, undrained
1 pound boneless skinless chicken thighs or breasts
1 package (1 ounce) chicken taco seasoning mix (I used regular taco seasoning!)

Directions
Combine tomato sauce, tomatoes, rice, broth, beans, chicken and seasoning mix in CROCK-POT(R) slow cooker.
Cook on LOW setting for 8 hours or on HIGH setting for 4 hours. Stir before serving.

Edited: I made this Wednesday night -- it was a tad spicy because we used Aldi Rotel - possibly? I am thinking you should add a bit more chicken or rice. It was still good and will probably make it again. It was 28 degrees this morning!

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April 3, 2007
Tackle it Tuesday -- Spice Drawer Organization
Tackle It Tuesday Meme


I decided to tackle my spice drawer. To be honest, I do not remember WHY we started putting spice bottles in drawers, but in thinking back, they have been pretty much been kept in a kitchen drawer versus a cabinet. (probably a husband idea originally!)

I have a bad habit of just jumping in and starting a project and neglecting to take a before photo.
This time is no exception!

Before photo: Picture in your mind, dozens of bottles laying on top of each other ... white powder residue at the bottom, even various other colors. Get the image? (yuck!)

I picked up 2 packages of small baskets at the dollar store -- and transformed my spice drawer into a work of organization! I keep ones I use more frequently at the front and then other "like" spices grouped together. Then I started really thinking and added some labels to the top of the jars. (I love my label maker!) There are some that are too tall to stand up, so they have to be laid on their sides. I have found that I do better at keeping things in place if there is a label. Now for the rest of the troops to feel the same way ....

What do you think? This could also be a Works for Me Wednesday post too! They actually do not slide around very much and the labels at the top help me find what I am looking for much easier.


Click on the above banner for more Tackle it Tuesday posts hosted by 5 Minutes for Moms.

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April 2, 2007
Dyson Slim Contest

5 Minutes for Mom is giving away a vacuum.
This is for the brand new Dyson Slim. I wouldn't mind at all being blessed with a new vacuum, would you?
Visit 5 Minutes for Mom to enter! Don't forget to let Dyson know we appreciate their sponsoring of this!
The Slim uses the same technology and sucking power as the other Dyson uprights, but weighing in at only 15 pounds, it is a lightweight version perfect for moms who are tired of toting babies and vacuum cleaners up and down stairs. The Dyson Slim also comes with the Quick Draw Telescope Release wand that easily allows you to reach up to 16 feet for stairs and high-reach cleaning -- which I think is perfect!

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April 1, 2007
Menu Plan Monday -- April 2nd

Another week planned equals a lot less stress! Its cold here this morning in Kansas (which is fine by me!) I want to see spring, not summer quite yet. My dh is off this week for a much needed break, so I have a plan but things might change a bit over the course of the week.

It is also close to my 100th post for this blog and I will be giving away some prizes. More details to follow. I am on my 95th post, so it will be this week. I will also be posting my 100 things About Me in blog tradition. Stay tuned!

Visit Laura for more great menu plans.

Monday -- Creamy Chicken, Pasta and Mushroom Skillet **

Tuesday -- Chicken Tortilla Soup courtesy of Ashley & homemade ww tortillas

Wednesday - Leftover soup and Tuna sandwiches on whole wheat

Thursday -- Fiesta Chicken with Rice and Beans --Crockpot

Friday -- Homemade Pizza

Saturday -- Having our Sunday School Class over for BBQ -- A Dozen Teen Boys!!
(burgers, franks, calico beans, chips, fruit and cc cookies and ice cream!)

**I use Healthy Request Soup and to make it go further, I put a small can of tomato sauce in and use 1 lb of pasta. Enough to feed our family, with a bit left over.

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