The Art of Being A Well-Dressed Wife – Part 2

Welcome back for part 2, with highlights from Wife Dressing by Anne Fogarty from my sister, Christa, and a few little ideas of my own! For part 1, visit here.

A General Guide to Wife Dressing

1. Compress your Wardrobe

Be relentless. If it’s out of style-makes you itch or squirm with discomfort, turns your skin sallow- can it! Sentiment may cast a rosy  glow on some special piece or other, but in reality, it’s just taking up space.

With the dross and fool’s gold cleared away, the real nuggets shine. An uncluttered wardrobe gives you a working knowledge of what you have and full control over selections. I regularly (every month) clean out my closet and invariably give-away an item or two. It’s better to have fewer clothes, all wearable and each accessorized in your mind than the confusion of having three times the selection. Remember, weeding is a money saver – sell it or donate it and save on your income tax return!

2. The Jewelry Box

The best jewel box is one that is sparsely filled. Not being able to tell the forest for the trees is the chief woe of the overstuffed box. Simplicity, class. One or two fresh things is enough.

3. Excess Accessories

The Confusion of Profusion is too many scarves, belts, and other oddities. By “too many” I mean relics from the past, that are no longer in current use. If an accessory hasn’t been worn for a year, if it’s shabby, if the color is faded or doesn’t go with anything you have, if you simply cant stand to wear it…ditch it.

Here are some added thoughts and ideas from Lindsay…

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The Art of Being A Well-Dressed Wife – Part 1

While on the topic of simplifying the wardrobe, my sister, Christa, has been reading Wife Dressing: The Fine Art of Being A Well-Dressed Wife by Anne Fogarty. This is a cute little book re-published from the 50′s but has a lot of practical advice for today. She wanted to share some cute little ideas that she has gleaned from the book with my readers! Thanks deary!

Wife dressing is many things:

An art.

A science.

A labor of love.

A means of self-expression.

And, above all, a contributing factor to a happy marriage.

Wife dressing begins with the traditional rings for your third finger, left hand. But the wedding ring is only the beginning. When your husband’s eyes light up as he comes in at night, you’re in sad shape if it’s only because he smells dinner cooking.

Most men claim to be indifferent to fashion, if not down-right afraid. They can contemplate outer space without blinking an eye, sacrifice their very lives in defense of our country, or even explore the dark cellar where you’ve heard noises-yet the mention of a shopping trip turns them pale and trembling.

So how can you serve your husband through your dress?

You will need:

  1. A frank understanding of yourself
  2. A healthy attitude toward your new responsibilities
  3. A willingness to learn and
  4. A buoyant elation about being alive.

All this can be boiled down to one word: Discipline.

Discipline makes you the woman you are. You are you. Not the model in that photo, or the girl beside you in the elevator, or even the gal sitting at the next lunch table. Discipline is the secret to good grooming, no matter your budget. Discipline prevents you from being deluded about the squishing into the wrong size, or buying something just because it’s on sale.

Stay tuned for part 2…

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Simplifying the Wardrobe – Part 1

Now isn’t that a simple wardrobe?

Continuing on in our simplifying series, I have received many requests to talk about clothing! Oh the joy of figuring out how much clothing is sufficient!

Remember again, the reason we are simplifying is so that we might have more freedom to enjoy the important things of life. Having an overstocked closet can definitely consume a lot of time as we stress over the fact and complain to our husbands or family “I have nothing to wear!” Let’s admit…we have all been there! “Nothing” in our book means nothing “new” to wear. Do we really need new items or do we need to develop our creativity in assembling new outfits from what we already have?

Shopping for clothing can consume a lot of time (to find modest clothing especially), in addition to washing and maintaining your wardrobe. Just because we may have the space to store them, shouldn’t give us license to fill it with more clothing. Women especially have more of a natural battle of desiring to look appealing and fashionable and thus a tendency to consume a significant wardrobe.

How can you begin to simplify?

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Soaked Oatmeal Breakfast

Why not our own little tutorial for enjoying the goodness of oatmeal, not only is it nutritious, but it is extremely frugal! I have found the soaking benefits to be very worthwhile and simple. If you are not familiar with the benefits of soaking, please read here. Basically soaking helps to break down phytates in grains which prevent proper digestion of the nutrients. Soaking breaks down the phytates and allows the body to properly absorb all the good content of those whole grains!

Besides the benefits for digesting, soaking also accomplishes a few other helpful things:

- Decreases cooking time – after soaking, you can cook up a batch of oatmeal in less than 5 minutes! Unsoaked oats can take anywhere from 15-25 minutes to cook.

- Provides a porridge texture – we love the porridge consistency of soaked oatmeal. It is not dry like standard oats, but is very smooth and delicious!

- Expands -thus stretching the oatmeal and you get more for your dollar! When you soak oatmeal it absorbs water, thus expanding and becoming more filling at the same time. Whereas unsoaked oatmeal only barely serves two of us (with the following recipe), the soaked version with make 4 significant hearty portions. That’s a frugal way to go with just a little foresight!

Soaked Oatmeal for 4 (multiply as desired)

1 1/2 cups uncooked rolled oats
1 1/2 cups water (to just cover the oats – see picture)
1 Tbsp acid medium (kefir, whey, or yogurt)
1/8  cup ground whole wheat flour (this helps break down the phytates more quickly, according to this article)
1-2 Tbsp ground almonds or other nuts (we use a coffee grinder dedicated to grinding nuts and seeds!), optional
Other toppings: ground flax seed, pumpkin seeds, chopped apples, raisins, shredded coconut flakes

1. I find it easiest to soak my oatmeal in a glass quart size jar. I fill with the oats and just cover slightly with fresh filtered water. But you can use any various container.

2. Add your acid medium, and nuts, as desired. Soaking the nuts help break down their unique phytates as well.

3. Cover with lid and shake to combine. Easy! Takes a matter of 3-4 minutes to get those oats soaking away. Put in a cupboard and allow to soak.

Ideally, it is best to soak oats for 24 hours, because they have the highest level of phytates. Oftentimes that doesn’t happen at our house, but I try to at least get it soaking the night before to get a good 12 hours in.

After soaking, heat up an additional 1 1/4 cups of water. After it boils, add the soaked oats, and any additional toppings you desire. We love chopped apples, raisins and shredded coconut. Turn down temperature to a simmer, and allow to cook for 5 minutes or so. Remove from heat and top with ground flax seeds, if desired.

Serve with butter, honey and fresh milk for a wonderful nutritious breakfast!

The flax seeds and nuts increase fiber and protein! Great for pregnant mommies too!

Visit Tammy’s Recipes for further kitchen tips.
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Mission of Motherhood: You are a life-giver!

Today we continue our book study on The Mission of Motherhood by Sally Clarkson with chapter 2: Beautiful by Design. This book has a wealth of encouragement to grant vision and purpose for your role as a mother! Please join us!

Chapter 2 reaffirms the beauty of God’s purpose and design for us as mothers and the home. In our day and age, there is mass confusion, frustration, conflict over the role of a mother. I personally long to have a Biblical understanding of God’s original design. Much of this conflict is a result of the falleness and depravity of the human race.

In Genesis 1:26-27, we read about the creation of man and woman. We see that both men and women were made in the image and likeness of God.  We were made to display His attributes, to reflect His likeness in our work, our leisure, and the purpose of our lives. Sally shares: “Each of us, man and woman, was given the purpose of partnering with God to rule over the world and to make it productive…Each of us is created with a capacity and purpose to be productive and creative in life – according to our drives, gifts, and strengths – and to glorify God as we rule over the specific dominion he has entrusted to us.”

Part of our original greatest privileges in our creation was the important responsibility to bring other human beings into the world. “These offspring were also to know the design of God. In the context of family, they would learn what it meant to be made in the righteous image of their Creator, to subdue the earth for God’s glory, and to populate the earth with their own children, thus producing a godly heritage.”

While women and men were created equal, and they both were assigned the joint task of bearing children and subduing the earth, they were uniquely created different. Eve by the very meaning of her name is a “life-giver” – she was created to bring life into the world! Her unique physical body was particularly designed for such a purpose -He gave her a womb to bear a child, breasts to feed it, a more padded physique suited for cardling babies, and the emotional makeup, with all the right hormones, to be able to nurture and care for her children…According to recent research, he even structured our brains to make it easier for us to handle several tasks at once - as the tasks of caring for a household and small children demand.”

Wow! That is amazing to me! We all, whether we bear children or not, we are created to be life-givers!

“Not every woman will marry. Not every woman will be able to bear children. And yet all women have the God-given capacity to live in ways that beautifully and purposefully express their life-giving feminine design -their helper or cooperative approach to tasks, their ability to multitask, their nesting instincts and creative spirit. A woman’s body was made, in part, to bring life into the world, and that’s a good thing from God’s point of view. However, the common purpose for all woman is to glorify God in whatever circumstances and boundaries of life we find ourselves, trusting him to show us how we can best use our gifts for him.”

Consider…are we being life-givers in our domain or life-takers? Are we sucking life out of our families and friends by our wrong attitudes, pride, bitterness or frustration at where God has placed us or called us to in this season.

With the fall of mankind, recording in Genesis 3:1-6,  Sally points out: “humans no longer reasoned as God reasoned, and they began to make up their own theories about their purpose in life.” Satan sought to attach the foundation of the family, which was designed by God to be the stable foundation of life. Rather than considering how we are created to serve and love one another, a self-centered approach to life results from sin. Children tend to be seen as burdens rather than blessings (Ps. 127),  a monetary expense rather than a gift to be cherished, parents tend to depend upon their children to fulfill their own emotional needs, and children become self-centered little people as a result. We can so easily loose sight of passing on a legacy of righteousness to the next generation as we get caught up in a culture of personal fulfillment.

What a glorious truth that God is not finished with us yet! Even though we may throw aside his original purpose and design, He is beautifully transforming us through the sacrifice of Christ Jesus, that we might walk in newness of life, and take hold again that purpose of being life-givers in all that we do!

What stood out to you in this chapter? Please feel free to share a quote, a prayer, or anything that the Lord has been challenging you with thus far. How can we seek to fulfill God’s purpose of being life-givers rather than life-takers?

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Menu Plan – September 15-21

Today was the big produce stockpiling day! I was blessed to receive 30 pounds of pears today from a dear friend, in addition to purchasing about 75 pounds of tomatoes for a day of canning diced tomatoes with my cousin, Amy. We are canning tomatoes tomorrow for the very first time. We bought the tomatoes from Thompson’s Farm (my favorite local spray free produce stand) for $0.69 per pound! So this will be a week of more canning fun, learning as well go!

Monday
Prep: make yogurt, make butter, soak oatmeal, soak beans for baked beans

Breakfast: Fruit Salad, yogurt & toast
Lunch: Egg Salad Sandwiches
Dinner: Turkey Meatloaf, fresh corn, mashed potatoes

Tuesday

Breakfast: Oatmeal, apples, raisins, bananas
Lunch: Hot Dogs, Baked Beans (using sorghum instead of molasses and rapadura instead of brown sugar for healthier version)
Dinner: Baked Potato Soup, Spelt Biscuits

Wednesday
Prep: soak oatmeal, soak tortillas

Breakfast: French toast, fruit salad
Lunch:  Leftovers
Dinner: Make two Shepherd’s Pies to have in freezer for giving to someone in need

Thursday
Prep: Make tortillas

Breakfast: Oatmeal, apples, raisins, bananas
Lunch:  Salmon Melts
Dinner: Chicken Fajitas, corn

Friday

Breakfast: Zucchini Egg Bake (using all that fresh zucchini that’s on right now!)
Lunch: Bean Quesadillas
Dinner: Hamburgers

Saturday

Breakfast: Pancakes, oranges
Dinner: Macaroni & Cheese (using brown rice penne, whole wheat flour, raw milk & raw cheddar cheese), fresh veggies

Sunday

Guests for lunch – Baked Ravioli (I use homemade spaghetti sauce and just mozzarella cheese, easy and delicious for company!)

For more menu plans, visit Organizing Junkie.
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Karis’ Favorite Summer Activity

Otherwise known as frugal summer fun in small places! I was indeed tempted this summer to find a small pool for Karis to play in as she loves water, but then I decided to stir up the creative juices and come up with a frugal and fun alternative. It has become Karis’ favorite activity! She will stay out on the back deck for a good hour, frequently multiple times a day, just using her cute little moter skills, pouring water, stirring water in the bowl, and splashing it around!

All you need is a large pan (we used a 15×11 pyrex pan that wasn’t getting much use anyway -too large for our small family), and a number of measuring cups, baby food jar, and plastic spoons and eatery from her collection. Fill up with a little water and have fun!

When winter weather decides to kick in, I may just lay this setup on the kitchen floor and let her have at it. It is a great learning activity as we talk about how to pour, scoop, touch, and develop the senses. I would tell her to fill this cup or stir that water, and she would learn how to do so.

Visit Frugal Fridays for more fun frugal ideas.
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Cambodia Changes My Wardrobe

This is an article written to participate in the Modesty Carnival hosted by my sister, Christa Taylor.

I was 18 years old, freshly graduated from highschool, had just seen my older brother and one of my closest friends get married to another close girlfriend of mine, and I was off. Off to Cambodia to spend two months on my own! I was unprepared for all the Lord took me through that summer as I served alongside Warm Blankets and Children of Promise in reaching out to the significant population of orphans and widows ravaged by wars, landmines, and communism.

I saw thousands of sick and hurting individuals come through medical clinics and hear the truth of the gospel, I witnessed thousands come to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. I observed thousands of orphan children passionately worship the Lord amidst the wonderful families that had been established for them with widows as mothers and the pastors of the church as fathers. They are being raised to change their nation and they are determined!

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Mission Minded Homeschooling

Thanks to my friend, Kristi, I was made aware of a wonderful FREE homeschooling unit study curriculum with a mission minded focus! Teaching with God’s Whole Heart for the World by Ann Dunagan looks like an amazing resource to use in stirring up a heart for missions within your children!

Here is a description from the website:

This is the two-volume world missions curriculum (with over 500 pages) Ann wrote years ago to assist homeschooling families and Christian teachers (in both churches and Christian schools) to impart a fervent heart for world missions in children. The curriculum includes day-by-day teaching plans, missionary highlights, motivational mission stories, crafts, songs, prayer projects, and hundreds of ways to incorporate a passion for the lost into nearly every subject (including Bible Study, Family Devotions, Reading, Writing, Geography, History, Art, Science, and even highlights for Math).

I am excited to store this back in my freezer for upcoming use with my children! Since missions is a great passion of my heart, I definitely want to see this pass on to the next generation!

For more about Ann Dunagan and her outreach to orphans, visit her blog here. She also has additional resources for this course posted on her site.

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Simplifying Entertainment

This week in our simplifying series I wanted to delve into the topic of entertainment. I want to make it clear from the start that this is definitely a liberty issue (2 Cor. 3:17). Each of us is responsible to pray and make wise decisions for our own families, and thus Aaron and I have sought to do in our household. We have freedom in Christ, but let us not use it as an opportunity for the flesh or as an excuse for doing evil, but rather to serve one another (Gal 5:13, 1 Pet. 2:16). Our standards may seem strict to some, but maybe we all should re-evaluate the long term impact that our choices of entertainment can have in the home.

You very well may observe in the modern American home the presence of a television in each room of the house for every family member to have ample opportunity to watch their own shows without the conflict of other opinions. You also may notice a significant absence in family gatherings around the dinner table to share at least one meal a day. Rather, everyone would prefer being in their own corner, entertaining themselves, or else absent from the home all together. I believe the increase in technology and entertainment pieces around our homes has made a significant impact on the degradation of the Biblical family structure…and where there is no family community and fellowship, we see the falling apart of families nationwide.

1 John 2:15-16 “Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world.”

What is the purpose of entertainment?

More often than not, entertainment is an idol in our nation. Just take a look at Hollywood. Millions of dollars a year are poured into making the most entertaining, dramatic, awe-inspiring films. Biblically speaking there is certainly room to relax and take time to rest, as the Word reminds us frequently of the importance of resting (Exodus 35:2). Entertainment should serve the purpose of resting in moderation, as this also can become an idol and lead to poverty (Prov. 6:10). It can also be used effectively in building the family, strengthening communication and relationships, as well as whether or not it is developing skills and knowledge.

But with every entertainment possibility we should prayerfully evaluate the following questions:

1. Is this entertainment choice serving a meaningful purpose? Is it a wise investment of our money, time or resources?

2. Is it building our family in some way (developing relationships, strengthening communication)? Or will this item tear our family down?

3. Is it helping to build skills or strengthen knowledge and learning that can be used for the glory of God?

In an effort to build our family, strengthening family relationships, and simplify the entertainment choices in our lives, in addition to choosing frugal options for entertainment, we have come to a few conclusions…

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