Archive | August, 2012

Special Tea Time Moments with Your Girls

Guest post by Katie Stanley

It is important to create special moments with our daughters. I like to have tea times where we prepare yummy treats, dress up and have a few friends over.  This past tea was no exception. Princesses and fine ladies sat around a beautifully set table, nibbled on delicious treats and sipped fragrant tea.

Teas are a perfect time to remind our girls that they are daughters of the True King, our Heavenly Papa. We dawn on our best or most fun clothes and take time enjoy one others company while learning why we are important to God. We pull out the pretty dress, scarves and floppy hats. Part way through the tea I like to read a book that is just for girls. Some of my favorites are:

With You All the Way

The Princess Kiss

A Parable About The King

Gigi, God’s Little Princess Treasury

Teas are also an important time to teach manners in a fun environment. While I try to teach my daughters to have good manners and be polite all the time, teas are a fun time to put those manners into practice. Saying please and thank you, not slurping, having our elbows off the table, even putting our pinkie fingers up in the air while we drink our tea.

 Additionally teas are a perfect time to invite girls and their mothers from the neighborhood. It can be a wonderful way to reach out to our unsaved neighbors in a friendly non-confrontational manner. Simply invite some mamas and their daughters and enjoy one another’s company for a time of fun and fellowship.

I want to serve special treats for my girls to enjoy but at the same time I don’t want to sacrifice nutrition. I have found that it is easy to make treats that are nourishing without sacrificing flavor. This past time they nibbled on chocolate cherry coconut flour cupcakes, soaked lemony scones, lemon curd and sourdough blueberry muffins. We drank Rosy Black Tea sweetened with raw honey and a touch of farm fresh raw milk. None of our guests noticed the difference yet it was important to me to not sacrifice our nutrition by compromising and using refined sugar and flour. With exception to the coconut flour, none of the treats cost anymore to make than it would have to use refined products. I grind my own wheat, buy coconut oil in bulk, use lemons from my own trees and purchase my milk and eggs from a farm down the road.

Here is our favorite special tea to serve at Tea Time. The roses impart a delicious, light flavor.

Rosy Black Tea

6 cups water

¼ cup lose leaf organic black tea

½ cup organic rose petals

Raw honey to taste

Raw milk or cream to taste

Bring the water to a boil. For convince sake place the Rosy Black Tea in a large mesh tea ball or a small linen bag. Place the tea in your teapot and pour in the hot water. Let steep for five minutes, remove the tea leaves and then you are ready to serve.  Add a little honey and milk/cream for a delicious tea.

Katie Stanley is a dorm “mama” to 12 amazing girls ages 8 to 18 at a home and school for the Deaf in Baja California, Mexico. She and her “hijas” can be frequently found in the kitchen, the garden or making friends with their new chickens. She loves to read, hike the hills near her home and spend time with her girls. In her spare time Katie blogs at Mexican Wildflower about nourishing foods, herbal remedies, simple living, the Deaf, raising her girls and encouraging other women in their walk with Christ.

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Pink Coleslaw: A Refreshing Salad for A Warm Day

Delicious fresh in-season produce is widely available at the market right now and I have been exploring making a variety of new salads and dishes to consume them all. Coleslaw has been one of those long detested side dishes until I started making it at home. Homemade slaw can come in a variety of different flavors and ingredients, and this fun new experiment made a delicious salad that we enjoyed over several days time (since it is a large batch!). It is pleasantly sweet and full of rich nutrients and vitamins from the wide variety of vegetables combined in this slaw. And it’s a fun color, thanks to the inclusion of beets. If you prefer to avoid the pink color, eliminate the beets and you will still have a colorful slaw with orange, red, and green colors. If you have a food processor, it would help in whipping this up in a flash. This is a refreshing salad for a warm summer day!

5 cups green cabbage, shredded or grated
2 large carrots, shredded or grated
2 apples, chopped
1/2 cup red onion or 3 green onions, chopped
2 celery sticks, chopped
2 beets, shredded or grated
1 cup mayonnaise (we used our homemade mayo and it is delish and so much more healthy and frugal than store bought varieties)
1/4 – 1/3 cup raw honey (to your taste)
2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar (preferably raw with the mother)
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper


1. Combine all the shredded and chopped vegetables and fruit in a large bowl. 
2. Whisk together the mayonnaise, honey, vinegar, salt and pepper. Toss over the vegetables and fruit and combine till well mixed.

Yield: 8-10 servings. 

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True Woman 101: Week 4 & 5

Welcome back for further discussion on our Bible study through True Woman 101: Divine Design by Nancy Leigh Demoss & Mary Kassian. I apologize for the delay in getting Week 4 up, but I decided to combine these two lessons into one post this week, due to time limitations. The focus of these two chapters in the book center around the fall, what took place in the temptation and fall of Adam and Eve and how this affects our roles and relationships.

WEEK 4: Snake in My Garden
Did you watch the video? These 20 minute panel discussions on each chapter are just a fabulous addition to the materials:

Download our audio discussion on Week 4 here.

WEEK 5: Battle of the Sexes

Watch the video panel discussion:

Download our audio discussion of week 5 here.

Satan took a stab at damaging our relationships in the temptation of Eve and sin entered the world. Eve lost fellowship and harmony with Adam and instead of working together they started to turn against each other and blaming the other. Satan planted doubt in the woman’s mind and the seed of independence began to grow. She no longer trusted the God who had given her everything in the garden, but she took matters into her own hand and craved the one thing she lacked. She declared, “I will do it my way!” She abandons the protection of a loving Savior and believes the lie that she is missing out on something. As a result, we as her daughters bear the consequences of sin. We suffer through pain in childbearing, not just in the birthing process, but the difficulties of raising, discipling children, conflict and separation with our husbands, and challenges in all our relationships. Man endures difficult push back in all his work – finding pain his efforts to provide and protect.

The good news is that God offered amazing grace. Adam and Eve tried to hide their sin and make inadequate coverings for themselves, which could never cover their sin, but God gave us a glimpse into his powerful redemptive love by taking the skin of an animal and covering them Himself. Through the shedding of blood brings salvation. He began the story of redemption from the beginning. He promised that through the very seed of Eve, eternal life would spring through the second Adam, Jesus, who would crush the serpent for all eternity. As Adam names Eve as the mother of all living, we see hope that they could be redeemed and still be fruitful and life-giving.

What do you think Eve found compelling about Satan’s sales pitch?

What are some subtle lies about womanhood that Satan pitches in our culture and in your own heart?

What are your thoughts?

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A Pretty Basket Full of Napkins

Guest post by Joanna Rodriguez at Plus Other Good Stuff

When we got married in 2006, we received twelve lovely green cloth napkins. We were living in married student housing and had a tiny table that only fit the two of us. I thought, when am I ever going to use these? We are certainly not having 10 people over for a fancy dinner anytime soon.

I was just starting to embrace healthy living and trying to waste less, so at some point it dawned on me that we could actually use them everyday. I also realized that this would save us money, which we had very little of. And so we began using cloth napkins every day. And we haven’t looked back!

Excuses for Not Using Cloth Napkins

Are you resistant to the idea of using cloth napkins? Maybe some of these thoughts are running through your mind…

Excuse #1: “Cloth napkins are expensive.”

Maybe some are, but there are plenty to be found in thrift stores for mere pennies, and if you’re crafty you can repurpose some fabric that you already have. And it will, of course, save you money in the long run since you won’t be buying disposable napkins anymore!

Excuse #2: “I don’t have time for any more laundry.”

I know, neither do I. Read on to find out how to make this work without adding to your mountain of laundry.

Excuse #3: “Won’t they get stained?”

Yes, they will. And that’s ok. Save special ones for company if you want, and don’t worry about stains on your everyday napkins.

Making it Practical

Over time I’ve streamlined our system so that using cloth napkins doesn’t take any more effort than buying and using paper ones. Here’s what I do:

At every meal, we each get a cloth napkin. If it’s dirty at the end of the meal, we throw it in this bag I have hanging on the doorknob to the basement stairs. (That’s also the home for dirty kitchen towels, dish rags, and washcloths used to wipe down the toddler after meals. We make sure to only put dry rags and towels in there, so they don’t get mildewy.)

If a napkin is not dirty enough to wash, it stays on the table to be used again at the next meal. (Since only my husband and I are using them, it’s easy to keep track of whose is whose. But if you have a larger family, try keeping not-so-dirty napkins on the chair of the person who used it.)

When we are running low on clean napkins, I take the contents of the bag down to the basement and throw it in the washer.The napkins are washed with dish rags and kitchen towels, so I’m not doing an extra load just for napkins. We have many more than 12 now (all gathered from thrift stores), so we can go about a week between washings.

Once they are clean and dry, I separate the load into napkins, dish rags, and kitchen towels. My two-year-old loves to help sort them! I have a plastic bin or basket for each that goes in a designated spot in the kitchen. Here’s my secret:

I don’t fold them.

I just shove them in. I used to fold them, and then I had a baby. Since we mostly use them for our own family, there is no point to keeping wrinkles out. And even when people come over, we are casual enough that I just fold the wrinkled napkins when I set the table. So now you know my other secret:

I don’t iron them. 

Hospitality and Cloth Napkins

When we invite people into our home, one thing I want them to know is that our family is not perfect. I want to invite them into a peaceful, tidy home, but I also want them to see that we are real people, with real wrinkles in our napkins. I hope that if they see that we are real people, they won’t be afraid to share their real selves with us. So be encouraged, you can use cloth napkins, even for company!

Another tip: if you use napkin rings, the wrinkles are a lot less offensive. ;)

Not convinced yet? 

Besides being frugal and sustainable, here are a few more fun reasons to use cloth napkins:

1. They are beautiful.

2. They are soft.

3. You get to pick your favorite colors!

4. They work a lot better than flimsy paper ones.

5. They make every meal special.

Just one step I take to keep our home green, simple, and frugal.

Do you use cloth napkins? Why or why not?

Joanna Rodriguez is the wife of a future pastor and the mother of two adorable kids, Caedmon and Esther.  She is passionate about Jesus, real food, natural childbirth, breastfeeding, non-toxic living, and the art of dance. As a mostly stay-at-home-mom, she currently spends her days covered in spit-up and surrounded by Tinkertoys. She writes about real food in a positive and welcoming way at Plus Other Good Stuff.

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Blessing Others: The Importance of A Simple Note

How often do I take a moment to write a thank you note to one who has blessed me recently? This practice is such a edifying habit to get into. Why should we write thank-you notes? It is to acknowledge our appreciation for the love of others! It tells others we are blessed by their fellowship, the way they served us or others, their giftings, etc. It encourages them to continue in the calling that God has placed on their lives. It is so easy to become discouraged and overwhelmed, this is true especially for those who are in places of authority in your life (church, parents, leadership). They need a little note now and then just letting them know you are praying for them or that you are blessed by their service.

Writing Notes of Thanks

Who has ministered to you lately? Take a moment to jot down a thank you note. Have a box of thank-you’s always on hand for these occasions. You can find great deals on boxes of notecards at the Dollar Store. If a sermon ministered to you, write a note of appreciation. If someone extended hospitality to you, don’t forget to let them know that you enjoyed their fellowship and the invitation. If someone served you in someway, acknowledge it! Make it personal and specific. It doesn’t have to be long and detailed. Short and sweet will do the trick! Just write it from your heart. Ask the Lord for the words to write that would bless them.

Write thank you’s with your kids from a young age. Even if they are too young to write words, have them draw a special picture and have them dictate words for you to write. Cultivating a heart of thankfulness is so important.

Writing Notes of Encouragement

For a long time I have sought to cultivate the habit of writing one note of encouragement each week to someone in need of prayer, support, or simple encouragement. I think and pray about someone I know who might be going through a hard time, sickness, etc. and ask the Lord for the words to speak and/or Scripture passage to include in a short note. I have been so blessed over and over by the response I received from these simple notes. One time a suffering sister called me after receiving my note and said it came at just the right time when she needed it the most. How was I to know her trial if it weren’t for the Lord’s prompting! There is just something about getting a personal and thoughtful note in the mail from someone that was thinking of you that ministers powerfully. Pray that the Lord would give you the words to write that would minister to them right there and now. God can use this ministry in amazing ways. Offer up a little prayer as you send it on its way that it would be able to bless its recipient.

Happy Birthday Wishes

I have recently been compiling a list of the birthdays of all my friends and family as a gentle reminder for me to send them a little note of blessing on their special day. Sometimes I forget, or the birthday wishes come in the form of an email, and that’s perfectly okay. There is grace for every season. Take the opportunity to wish them a happy birthday and include a note of encouragement, if appropriate, and list out a few ways that you see God working in their life.

This is one simple way that you can minister and impact the lives of others without even leaving your home. Encouraging words have power to strengthen the weary soul. In an age of technology, let’s not forget the power of a handwritten note. It doesn’t have to be forgotten.

Originally published November 16, 2007.

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Exodus Books Giveaway!

We are excited to bring to you a fun giveaway today from one of my favorite homeschool and Christian resource supply stores, Exodus Books, which is family owned small business located here Portland, Oregon. Exodus Books offers thousands of hand-picked literature and fiction titles and hundreds of life-enriching, God-centered resources. You will find family oriented games and art supplies in their wide selection.

Exodus Books offers a huge assortment of over 15,000 used curriculum and books, making it truly affordable for you to find the resources you need at a great price. I personally have used their large selection to buy the majority of books I have needed to companion our choice of the Sonlight curriculum, which has made it so much more doable for our family. All their new and used resources are also available for purchase online and they  offer a flat rate shipping of just $4.99.

I love browsing Exodus Books, online or in person, and greatly appreciate the helpful staff and the thorough online personal reviews offered on every resource in their store, helping me make informed decisions. Their website is new and improved making it easily navigable and user friendly. It’s back to school season, so may I encourage you to find your homeschool resources here! Save 15% today! See below for details.

Today, Exodus Books would like to offer a bundle prize of 5 great resources that feature different aspects of their store to 3 special winners! This bundle is valued at $92!

Cathy Duffy 100 Top PicksCathy Duffy has been reviewing home school curriculum for more than 20 years and her 100 Top Picks consolidates many of her favorites into one place. It provides a great starting point for those investigating educational philosophy and learning styles, helping you choose curriculum that is right for each child.

Honey for a Child’s HeartA helpful companion for finding the best quality literature for your family. This book discusses the importance of reading, various genres (science fiction, poetry, animal stories, etc.), and also includes extended book lists—over 1000 recommended titles! Many of these titles can be found through Exodus Books here.

Timechart History of the World
- Are you looking for a good timeline of world history? This book, with a nearly 16 foot fold out timeline is the best answer. On one side, the timeline offers 6,000 years of world history at a glance—thousands of dates, facts, and quotes in chronological sequence. On the other side, you can find charts of explorers, inventions, wars, and significant events of the 20th and early 21st centuries. Exodus offer it to accent their history resource section, where you can search for a given period (say, Ancient Rome) and then filter it by grade level and type of book: historical fiction, biographies, activity books and more.

Dutch BlitzThe first game Exodus started carrying remains their best seller. It’s an inexpensive and super fun card game from the Pennsylvania Amish–sort of a combination of Speed and Solitaire (but for up to four players). Not the only game they carry; there are nearly 300 board and card games in-stock!

Long Story ShortThis is a fabulous resource to help facilitate your own family worship and devotional time for children of all ages. It has a simple layout with specific passages of Scripture and discussion questions, making it adaptable for how much or how little time you have. It traces the story of God throughout the whole Old Testament, linking every story back to Christ. We love this guide!


1. Visit Exodus Books and check out their wide selection of resources. Find your favorite resource or feature on the site and share with us in the comments below. 

2. For a second optional entry, subscribe to the Exodus Books newsletter and let us know in a second comment below.

Exodus Books is offering our readers a special discount code towards your purchase. Enter coupon code: Passion2012 for 15% off a single order before August 15th, 2012. No minimum. The coupon cannot be applied to already discounted items or books that are non-discountable. The shopping cart with coupon code will display final prices and no adjustments can be made.

Like” Exodus Books on facebook and stay informed on the latest information and sales!

Giveaway Closed.

And the winners are…

1. Katie T (katrinafaust@….): “Wow, so many great resources. I am planning on reading the 100 Top Picks book and was also excited about the Doorposts character training materials on the site. Would LOVE to win all this as we prepare to homeschool in a year.”

2. Laura (laurachristinerodr…@): “I like the wide selection of Bible materials for the nursery school age!”

3. Heather H ( heatherehamm…@): “I love the wide range of homeschooling resources they offer – and the used book section (though I wish I could GO to the store…kind of far from Michigan :) . Love to hear about more homeschooling resources out there. Thanks for the giveaway!”

The gift bundle prize is open to US participants only. If a Canadian or other international participant wins, they will offer a $90 gift certificate equivalent. 

Winner will be randomly selected and contacted on the Wednesday following the completion of the giveaway. The end of this post will be updated to announce the winners. 
Email subscribers: You must click through to the original post on Passionate Homemaking to be entered into this giveaway.
No purchase necessary.

Passionate Homemaking was compensated for this review. There are affilate links in this post which means we will receive a small percentage of any sale made through our links. We only recommend products we use and love and want to pass on to you! Thank you!

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Motherhood: A Career?

Have you ever been asked the question, “So, what do you do?” I have found myself dreading the question and repeatedly responding, “Oh, I’m just a mom.” “I’m just a homemaker.” Why do I speak of myself in a negative fashion? How easily we forget all that really goes into being a wife, mother, and homemaker. It’s not for wimps. It’s a challenging task and the most rewarding career you can pursue. We are loving and nurturing children day in and day out. This work can change nations…through the simply loving and guiding the heart of a child. How many different skills does a mother and homemaker have to possess? Next time someone asks you, “what do you do?”

Here’s your answer:

Driving Instructor
Interior decorator
Landscape designer
Seamstress (whether I like it or not, there are buttons to sew back on and holes to patch up!)
Spiritual advisor
Waitress AND wife

The list goes on….You don’t need to be ashamed to say you are a wife and mother any more…Let’s declare it to the world with pride and delight!

What you do in your house is worth as much as if you did it up in heaven for our Lord God. We should accustom ourselves to think of our position and work as sacred and well-pleasing to God, not on account of the position and work, but on account of the word and faith from which the obedience and the work flow.
-Martin Luther
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