Archive | December, 2007

Tuesday Menu Plan & Recipes

Well, I thought I would share my menu for the week today and offer up a few recipes from it for your enjoyment. Maybe next week I’ll actually post it on Monday for Menu Planning Monday. I actually plan my menu and go grocery shopping every two weeks, which has saved me a lot of time and energy. It does take a longer time to plan a two-week menu, but for me it is worth it. It has worked beautifully for me. I do get my produce through another local source, which comes fresh to me on a bi-weekly basis as well. I try to plan around a theme for each night (i.e. Monday is stir fry, Tuesday is soup, Wednesday is chicken dish or Mexican, Thursday is Main Dish Salad, Friday is Italian or casserole, Sat is leftovers). This helps me greatly as I organize my menu, I can work around the theme.

If you are interested in any of my recipes beyond what are provided, please let me know. I would love to share them with you!

Week of December 10

Monday – we spent the evening with my brother and his wife

Tuesday – Curry Split Pea Soup, spelt biscouts (I love using different kinds of grains in my baking, and spelt is an excellent one!), fresh green salad

Wednesday – Chicken Enchiladas, refried beans, corn (I like to buy whole chickens from a local farmer and make several meals with it – this will be the first for the next two weeks!)

Thursday – Chicken Ceasar Salad (marinate the chicken breasts throughout the day and then BBQ them before throwing it all together! Yum!)

Friday – Shepherd’s Pie (a great simple and healthy casserole)

Saturday – leftovers

Shepherd’s Pie (thanks to Sue Gregg!) -this is a very healthy and low fat version!

8 medium potatoes, peeled or unpeeled (I prefer unpeeled, as there are alot of nutrients in the peels)
8 medium carrots
2 Tbls butter
1/4 cup milk
1/4 tsp salt
1 lb ground turkey
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cups water
6 oz. tomato paste
2 tsp. basil
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp paprika
1 bay leaf
1 cup fresh mushrooms, sliced
2 cups (10 oz) frozen green beans, green peas, or corn (I like to do a combo of all!)
1/2-1 1/2 cups grated cheddar cheese, optional

Boil potatoes and carrots until soft and tender. Using a mixer, blend together to make mashed potatoes and season as desired with milk, butter, salt and pepper. Brown the turkey and onion in a separate pan. Add the rest of the ingredients (except the cheese), bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes (add mushrooms and beans the last 5 minutes). Remove bay leaf from sauce and pour into 9 x 13 baking pan. Top with the mashed potatoes and carrots. Bake uncovered at 350 for 30 minutes. Top with grated cheese and bake for 10 minutes longer. Makes 6-8 servings.


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Making Our Home a Haven – Day 6


Greatly enjoying participating in the Making Our Home a Haven Challenge. We had a full weekend, while celebrating my husband’s birthday. I had my student Christmas recital at my home (I teach piano part-time from my home), followed by my hubby’s family coming over for homemade pizza. It was a little crazy, but he was blessed, so I am happy! I am glad the focus today is upon the kitchen, because my is overflowing with dishes gallore from the weekend (as seen above).

Here is my list:

I completed by 8 steps to begin my day, which include:

1. Devotions
2. Make myself presentable (for my hubby’s sake primarily!)
3. Breakfast
4. Dinner preparation (going to my brother’s for dinner, so I will be assembling a salad later on)
5. House pick-up (I started at the door and went straight through, especially those stairs!)
6. Put a load of laundry in
7. 5 minute planning time for the day
8. Fill up my water bottle (opps…I actually haven’t done this yet…be right back!)

TO -DO’s for the day:

1. Kitchen
-do dishes and put them all away – DONE!
- wipe down counters thoroughly – DONE!
- clean the stove top – DONE!
- sweep and mop the floor – DONE!
2. Bathrooms – since I wasn’t able to participate last week when this was the focus, I am hoping to attack them today (well, I probably won’t be that rough!) – UPDATE: Well, I cleaned two of the three bathrooms in my house today, the other will have to wait till tomorrow. Tell me who needs 3 bathrooms in a two bedroom condo? I don’t understand…just more bathrooms to clean.
3. Errands (I try to limit my errands to twice a week, Monday and Fridays, so I have to go to the bank, return a movie, buy a few clothing items for the babe) – DONE!
4. Take out all the trash and recycling (these seem to accumulate in our garage) – DONE!

My sweet baby plays while mommy cleans the kitchen


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Housecleaning on a Budget – Part 1

Welcome to my first post in the series on Natural Living on A Budget. I am learning so much in the process of thinking of creative frugality ideas in the home. Since this week, I have been pursuing making my home a haven and doing lots of cleaning around the house, I thought it might be fun to address housecleaning ideas on a budget. The cost of commercial, chemical-based cleaning products can be very high. Plus they promote a separate cleaning product for every project you have. One product to solve your floor stains, another to wash your windows with, and of course another than really does the disinfecting job well. In addition to this, these toxic cleaners can affect the long term health of you family and the environment is being polluted in the process of manufacturing these items.

The average American uses about 40 pounds of toxic household cleaning products each year. These cleaning products contain dangerous ingredients, including neurotoxins, carcinogens, allergens, central nervous system depressants, heavy metals, and other agents that cause or contribute to cancer, respiratory problems, reproductive abnormalities, allergic reactions, and behavioral problems, among other issues.

How can we solve these problems?

Make your own cleaning solutions!

Save on your housecleaning projects by making your own solutions and also protect your health and be a good steward of our environment at the same time!


A few spray bottles - these are available anywhere! I bought mine at Wal-Mart.Old t-shirts – no need for buying special cleaning rags. Grab an old t-shirt and cut it into separate rags. These work the best for deep cleaning, washing windows, and anything else. The thin fabric of t-shirts allows you to clean deep and in the crevasses really well.

Baking Soda
Lemon Juice
Old toothbrush –
so useful for getting in the groves around your sink or toilet


All-Purpose Cleaner: Mix 1/2 cup vinegar and 1/4 cup baking soda into 1/2 gallon (2 liters) water. Store and keep. Use for removal of water deposit stains on shower stall panels, bathroom chrome fixtures, windows, bathroom mirrors, etc. Can we used to clean stovetop, countertops, appliances, and the floor.

Carpet stains: Mix equal parts white vinegar and water in a spray bottle. Spray directly on stain, let sit for several minutes, and clean with a brush or sponge using warm soapy water.For a heavy duty carpet cleaner, mix 1/4 cup each of salt, borax and vinegar. Rub paste into carpet and leave for a few hours. Vacuum.

Disinfectant: Mix 4 tablespoons vinegar and 3 cups hot water. For stronger cleaning power add 1/4 teaspoon liquid castile soap.

Window Cleaner: Mix 2 teaspoons of white vinegar with 1 liter (qt) warm water. Use crumpled newspaper or cotton cloth to clean. Don’t clean windows if the sun is on them, or if they are warm, or streaks will show on drying. The All-Purpose Cleaner (above) also works well on windows.

Hardwood furniture: Mix 1 cup of olive oil with 1/2 cup lemon juice and you have a polish for your hardwood furniture.

A few final tips for the harder jobs

Use pure vinegar in the toilet bowl to get rid of rings. Flush the toilet to allow the water level to go down. Pour the undiluted vinegar around the inside of the rim. Scrub down the bowl.

Vinegar can be used as a natural fabric softener. This can be especially helpful for families with sensitive skin. Add 1/2 cup of vinegar to the rinse cycle in place of store bought fabric softener.Baking soda is great as a deodorizer. Place a box in the refrigerator and freezer to absorb odors. Put it anywhere you need deodorizing action.Lemon juice can be used to dissolve soap scum and hard water deposits.Put a whole lemon peel through the garbage disposal. It freshens the drain and the kitchen. Orange peels can be used for the same results.

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Making Our Home a Haven – Day 5

Well, yesterday was a bit of a frenzy, so I was not able to participate in the Making our Home a Haven Challenge day 4, but I did get my list accomplished, and I am thankful for that. The focus for today is to find some way to bless our families this weekend. How can you spend this Friday evening in a family focused activity to strengthen the home? Being that my hubby’s birthday is tomorrow, it has definitely been on my mind how I might bless him in a unique way this weekend. I am planning to take the evening and relax with my husband. We love reading, so we will probably continue to our advent reading and enjoy one another’s company (maybe throw in a movie there, if the hubby likes!).

I have been trying to think up some new idea, but it really hasn’t come to me yet. I will just aim to be the wife he deserves! I am planning on spoiling him with three of his favorite meals throughout the day. And since he subscribes to my feed, I can’t share any more specifics. (I love you honey!). But I will say, that it is such a joy to serve such a wonderful husband as I have! This is my highest and most joy filled role in this life. I love it! He is a wonderful father, leader and protector of his girls. I am so thankful for him today!

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Oh Woman, Fret Not!

“Do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?” – Matt. 6:25

“Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” – Matt. 6:34

In light of my series on Homemaking on a Budget, I thought I would add a little to my stance on frugality. If you haven’t read my previous post, feel free to read it here. Aaron & I have been reading through What Jesus Demands from the World by John Piper in our morning devotion time, and there are a few points that he shares that are so powerful to our understanding of money and possessions and the struggle of anxiety that is so common an area of weakness for us as women especially. These truths impacted me greatly, I had to share them with you. I hope you are encouraged by these thoughts.

  1. Why do I worry about food and clothing? Why does Jesus specifically address these two area of our lives? If we did not possess these two things, we would lose out on some pleasure in this life. The pleasure of tasteful food. The pleasure of admiring glances from people because of our dress. We could lose our very existence if we had no nourishment or clothing for our bodies. Jesus’ reminder is that life was not give to serve our physical pleasures or attract the attention of mankind on us, but rather for something greater – the enjoyment of God and the approval of God!
  2. Anxiety doesn’t get us anywhere! “And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life?” (Matt. 6:27). It is useless! It profits nothing.
  3. The birds of the air continue to go about their work, not hoarding the provision of the day, nor fretting over the provision of tomorrow. They don’t hoard things as if God will not provide tomorrow. Likewise we, should continue the work that we are called to, knowing that when the sun rises tomorrow – God will still be God!
  4. He promises to meet all our needs (Matt. 6:28-30). “His promise to meet all our needs does not mean He will make us rich, nor does it mean he will even keep us alive. It means he will give us all that we need to do the will of God.” (Piper)
  5. Anxiety puts us at the same level as unbelievers. “Do not worry…for the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.” (Matt. 6:31,32). When we worry it shows that we are really very much like the world.

“Anxiety shows that we are too close to the world and too far from God.” (Piper)

Finally, in conclusion, don’t worry oh woman for your God knows all your needs from now and forever. He will supply all that you need to accomplish His will and purpose for your life. Anything else that he does not supply is not necessary. All else will not help you walk in his will!

“But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” (Matt. 6:33)

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Embrace Your Sacred Calling

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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Growing in My Role as a Mother – Surrender

Karis turned 7 months old yesterday and definitely has such a sweet personality! She loves people! Yesterday, while I was nursing her upstairs, the door bell rings. As soon as she heard other voices downstairs, she sprang off and started looking curiously around. She knew someone was here other than her mommy and daddy. From then on she was so distracted. You can just assume we didn’t get a good feeding in that time. It was hopeless! I put my nursing cover on and everything, but to no avail!

She also began sitting up on her own this week. It is so precious to see her learn how to balance herself. We have had a few minor accidents with her falling over, but she seems to be brave enough to handle the pain at this stage of the game.

She joined us at the table as well. Her high chair attaches to one of the table chairs, so she is at the same level as Daddy and I. Boy does she enjoy it! Bananas have been her first food and she is very petite and modest in her eating habits. No wide open mouth here, but she still daintily enjoys it. I tried adding squash, but she wasn’t too interested in that. Alas! We’ll stick to the banana for now.

God really has done a good work in me as of late. I am so thankful for this long process, 6 months in fact, of pruning me in regards to my overly passionate desire to have my baby on a perfect schedule. Being inclined to be more organized in my giftings, this has been a significant struggle for me. I have been frustrated, stressed, tearful and overwhelmed by my little one because she wouldn’t adjust to fitting into my schedule and when I wished for her to take a nap and for how long she would rest. I wasn’t too strick about it, but I wanted consistency!!!!! I wanted it too much. The perfect schedule for eating and naps was non-existent or only lasting a few days before it was thrown through a loop again.

I have come to realize that this approach was not strengthening my relationship with my girl, nor was I loving and meeting her needs the way I should. Thank God for His sustaining grace!

Flexibility is not my forte. God has been teaching me to let it go, lay down my desires at His feet, don’t worry about her naps, giving it up! She’ll take a nap when she needs it. If she wakes up earlier than I hoped, than she’ll probably take a longer nap later. Maybe I struggled with the belief that if I carried her in the front pack for her nap, she would get spoiled and never take a nap in her bed. I was believing a lie.

She is my daughter and my priority! She needs my nurturing love and affection. I may not have my hands in as many things as before, but at least I am not missing out on putting my baby before myself. It’s all a part of serving the Master by serving my child!

So I have come from being consumed with the scheduling approach to being more flexible and allowing the Lord to reign in our home. Some of those scheduling books put way to much pressure on the mommy that it has to be done a certain way or else. Praise God for freedom in Christ! I am so much more at peace and joyful now. It’s funny too…as soon as I started letting go, things started going more smoothly. It is amazing how much better we are both doing now than this whole last month. It allows my home to be more of a haven for my husband too since I am removing that gloomy and depressed attitude! Praise God!

There is so much more peace where God reigns and not me!

Is there an area of your life that you need to surrender to the Lord today?

Isn’t she a cutie? I guess I am a little biased. I think she is getting my curly hair! ;)

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Making Our Home a Haven – Day 3

So I am off and rolling today on Day 3 of the Making our Home a Haven Challenge. It is so refreshing to think how I might make our home more of a haven for my husband and our family. I definitely believe it starts with my heart and attitude. If I am gloomy and depressed, my home is no longer a haven. I have had this wrong attitude as of late, as I have struggled with some baby challenges, but the Lord is doing a good work in my heart. I want my husband to delight to be around me, because I am a joyful wife! Once the joy leaves my face, he will loose desire to be around me, although he strives his best to be sensitive and meet my needs. I want him to be refreshed after a long day at work, so it is important to set my heart in the right place from the off set of the day. I am so thankful for this good work! Read about this change in my heart in the next post.

So today I began again on my 5 turning to 8 steps to begin my day. I refreshed my soul in the Word while nursing the babe, then I proceeded to make myself look presentable, picked up those areas that needed attention, looked at the dinner menu and am preparing stir fry for dinner tonight, and now I am proceeding to eat my breakfast and make my list of to-do’s for the day.

I am so glad Day 3 is focused on the laundry room. I was thinking yesterday that it needed my attention. Although it is rather small, it definitely can accumulate piles of things! So here is my list for the day:

1. Laundry room
-Organize shelves – DONE!
-Finish laundry – DONE!
-wipe down washer and dryer – DONE!
-Sweep & mop floor – DONE!
-Wash sheets – DONE!
-Iron clothing – DONE!
2. Assemble the mission insert for the church bulletin this week (Aaron & I lead the mission group in our church and issue a monthly insert with updates and info, so I must assemble and complete that today).
3. Write out one thank you and one encouragement note
4. Give Karis bath – DONE! (She happened to go potty while I was getting her dressed for the day, so that was easy enough to just throw her in the bathtub)

Here’s my pictures: My laundry room is kind of small, so it is hard to see, but hey it is cleaner than before! I put away all the laundry, folded, and ironed the clothes, wiped down the appliances and cleaned the floor (something that hasn’t been done since we moving in!).



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Tuesday Recipes: Waffles/Pancakes

If you haven’t tried Sue Gregg’s waffle/pancake recipe, you need to asap! This is an awesome healthy and nutritious recipe that can be nicely catered to meet your needs (if you have allergies that is). We have this any Sunday when we have guests over and it is always a hit! I had another request for the recipe recently, so that is why I decided to post it today. These can be easily frozen (2 weeks max). I have written some alternative variations at the end. This recipe uses the benefits of soaking the grains to receive all the nutrient value, but you can also substitute the grain for flour (1 cup grain =approximately 1 1/2 cups flour). If we are having it on Sunday, I simply soak them on Saturday night, and throw the remaining ingredients together before they arrive. Easy company dinner and oh so much fun. My husband loves this recipe as pancakes on Saturday mornings. We top with peanut butter and maple syrup. They are very flavorful! Enjoy!

Blender Waffles/Pancakes

Amount: 2 (2 1/2-3 waffles) or 4 (4-5 waffles) or 20-24 pancakes

1. Place in blender; blend at highest speed for 3 minutes.
(3/4) 1 1/2 – 1 3/4 cups buttermilk or kefir (or non-dairy alternative)
(1) 2 Tbls olive oil
(1/2) 1 tsp vanilla extract

(2/3) 1 1/2 cups brown rice or uncooked rolled oats
(or other grain variations, see below) 2/3 cup grain = 1 cup flour or 1 1/2 cups grain =2 cups flour

The batter should always swirl about a vortex in the blender. If it doesn’t, slowly add more liquid until the hole reappears. This is the secret to light and tender waffles. Batter for pancakes may be thicker, but keep batter relatively thin and keep it churning.

2. Cover blender; let stand at room temperature overnight or 12-24 hours.

3. Preheat waffle iron at highest temperature, or griddle on medium high.

4. Just before baking, add and reblend on highest speed for 1 minute:
1 egg, optional additional liquid (if batter needs thinning for vortex or churning)

5. Blend in thoroughly, but briefly (assisted with rubber spatula, if needed):
(1) 2 tsp baking powder
(1/4) 1/2 tsp. baking soda

(1/2) 1 tsp salt, to taste
6. Pour batter onto hot waffle iron, sprayed with olive oil. Bake about 3 1/2 to 4 minutes in waffle iron until crispy.


brown rice or millet – equal parts of each grain
kamut, spelt, wheat - kamut is a favorite! Combining with kamut and oats is our favorite!
buckwheat – reduce to 1 cup (4 servings). It expands.
barley -hulled, not pearled. Reduce to 1 cup (for 4 servings). It expands
Quinoa - Thoroughly rinse quinoa in strainer the night before 1-2 minutes; let stand in bowl of water overnight; drain and rinse about 1 more minute. This removes bitter flavor. Batter will be very thin. Fill waffle iron almost completely to the edges.
Oats - uncooked rolled oats or oat groats
I use oats in combination with other grains. I use 1/2 cup (in recipe for 4) oats, and 1 cup kamut, or half and half in serving 2.
Other additions - throw in some flax seeds!

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Making Our Home a Haven – Day 2

Today is day 2 of the challenge of making our home a haven! (Read more about the challenge here) Today we focus on fulfilling our 5 steps to begin the day (which I wrote out yesterday and posted on my frig!) followed by refreshing up the living room of your home. My 5 steps were completed, but only between changing a diaper, putting in a load of laundry, changing activities for a crying baby, etc. I was wanting to open my computer before completing these tasks, but then I was reminded…no, no, Lindsay. Get your 5 steps done! Computers can be very distracting to me, unfortunately. But it is amazing what you can get done when you put your mind to it and you have others out there keeping you accountable and inspired! I finally got to cleaning that crock pot that has been sitting on my counter the last 2 days calling my name (Don’t you hate that!).

My 5 steps grew a little today as I thought of a few others things that I need to just get done at the beginning of each day before other things distract me. So here is my refreshed and updated list:

1. Devotions
2. Prepare myself for the day
(do my hair, put a little make-up on, hopefully!)
3. Prepare breakfast
4. Quick house pick-up (this included cleaning up the entry like I was talking about yesterday. For even last night after returning home from a meeting, we piled up some more coats, shoes, books, etc. Time to get the entry way looking clean! Maintenance is the key!)
5. Make dinner preparations (making hamburgers for dinner, so I pulled out some hamburger meat from the freezer)
6. Put in a load of laundry (if needed) - (I try to do all my laundry on one day, but sometimes it doesn’t always work that well)
7. Fill up my water bottle! (I need to be drinking more water, but if I don’t have it near, I don’t drink it. So I am trying to be more purposeful in filling it up in the morning and having it with me)
8. Take 5 min and plan (I keep several small notepads around the house for this purpose. I just write down a few things I need to get done for the day. I keep it to no more than 3-4 things. I have a master list for the week that I aim to write out on Sunday night and then each day I try to check 3-4 items off that list. Not to0 consistent with this yet, but I am working on it ;) )


Sweep & mop entryway – DONE!
Vacuum stairs (after setting up our tree and decor on Saturday, there are pine needles everywhere! These are things I did not get to yesterday when we were focusing on the entryway.) – DONE!
Clean living room windows (since today was to focus on the living room, I looked around to see what needed to be done. The sun was shining through the windows and I could see a lot of dirt and smudges everywhere! SO that is what I am doing today! One little thing!) -DONE!
Bake bread – DONE!
Empty trashcans – DONE!

I better get to it before Karis destroys my list by eating it as she is now!

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