Spaghetti in a New Direction

Please pass the pasta!

Spaghetti the food staple of Italy is one versatile dish that can be paired with anything to add zing to your lame meal plan.

This week try a bowl of hot (cooked) spaghetti dressed with traditional basil pesto, cut grape tomatoes, and crumbled feta.



Get Free!

Can you imagine how much freer we could be if we could walk around without the heaviness of regret and the baggage of bitterness? I'm not talking about a temporary release either, but a full-fledged deliverance. Another words, get out of that mess you’re in for good—no more repeat conversations in your head and no more revisiting that horrible dysfunction when you daydream.

How about doing yourself a favor and be committed to getting free and working on that, rather than rehashing the past.

Curious. Have you told the enemy lately that he's a liar? Have you declared audibly that Jesus is Lord!

Remember always forgiveness is a gift for both the receiver and the giver. What have you done for yourself lately? Forgive and move on, it's essential for your spiritual, physical, and mental health.

"Love prospers when a fault is forgiven, but dwelling on it separates close friends." Proverbs 17:9 NLT

"At that point Peter got up the nerve to ask, 'Master, how many times do I forgive a brother or sister who hurts me? Seven?' Jesus replied, 'Seven! Hardly. Try seventy times seven.'" Matthew 18:21-22 The Message


John 14:27

Be brave Believer, and ask in faith. Remember always, that God is our source!

John 14:27 "Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid."

Study the Book of John Chapter 14


Savory Beef Stew

Still on a roll cooking from recipes I've collected over the many years. A classic beef stew I'm no fan of, but this Savory Beef Stew recipe is a gourmet dish with the unexpected ingredients of turnips and orange juice. Yummo! The recipe is a photocopy from the 80s. I remember making it for the first time for family and it was a hit!

Last night coming home from a hard days work my husband barked for leftover Savory Beef Stew like a hungry dog.

Honey, thanks for the compliment!

Interestingly, I found the exact recipe on the web here.

Change up that boring meal menu for the family and get back to basics, because restaurant markups are ridiculous!


Broke is Broke!

I'm sure most Americans know what broke is, even those with jobs and high paying salaries are experiencing broke in a whole new way these days. Trust me! I'm certainly not at the top, but even a firm place in the middle has a mighty grip on household budgets.

August proved to be a tough month even with all my forecasting of how challenging it would be financially, there were still unexpected expenses and spending more than I care to admit at the grocery store.

Well it's almost the end of the month and I'm done getting creative with freezer finds, chicken, rice, pasta, and egg salad. Last night I reached a low point with a concoction of Ramen noodles, Trader Joe's chicken broth, a quick squeeze of lemon, olive oil, and garlic. For something sweet afterward I opted for a half toasted PB&J sandwich. Both choices left me feeling blah.

I know broke, but when I have to eat broke that brings reality to a whole 'nother level!

This morning I woke up with a mission to peruse through my oldest recipe book stuffed with good eats that I've collected over many years, which by the way have been tested and tasted with thumbs up ratings.

I was surprised reading a few handwritten recipes that brought me right back to yesteryear. Who knew a recipe could hold such sentimental value.

I found an oddball orange typed index card with a recipe for Chicken Artichoke Casserole, but opted using the stove top and counter top grill instead. It was delish, just like I remembered it! Seriously, a restaurant couldn't have done a better job at making my senses celebrate after just one bite.

My version:
I grilled my thin sliced chicken breast on a counter top grill. In a skillet I browned mushrooms and onions then removed them. I followed the recipe with flour and butter, then added broth and cooked until thickened. I changed it up adding at the end marinated artichokes that I pulsed in my mini food-processor.


Yes, chicken was on the menu again, but definitely wearing a new ensemble!

Chage It Up: DIY Homemade Laundry Detergent

Change It Up is a series of posts where I share changes I've made after obliterating a few false beliefs like:

- Only that cleaner can do the job
- Foam is better
- Anti-bacterial is a must
- I can't do without disinfecting wipes
- Who has time for Homemade
- Expensive is the best choice

I admire moms who do homemade without much effort, especially those who garden, cook delicious food, sew their child's costume, and are thrifty. Though I'm a great cook, gardening and sewing would need a lot more practice. On the positive side, thrifty has become an adventure, and I'm enjoying the hunt.

"Money is 80% behavior, 20% head knowledge. It's what you do, not what you know." - Dave Ramsey

Since May I have made Homemade Laundry Detergent where each batch lasts an entire month, and costs pennies per load. I wonder if I'll ever go back to buying store bought. Interestingly, my husband who was reluctant at first now reminds me when we're near the bottom of the bucket.

What you need:
Hot Tap Water
Fels-Naptha Soap
Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda

Below is my concentrated version of the above linked recipe using less water. It yields 2 1/2 gallons of laundry detergent. I typically use 1/4 cup for small loads and up to 1/2 cup for large loads for dirty work clothes or towels. Remember that it takes getting used to with no smells and low-sudsing action. Nevertheless, your clothes will be fresh and clean. Promise!

Grate 1/2 bar of Fels-Naptha "100 Years of Quality" Heavy Duty Laundry Bar Soap.

Add 2 cups of hot tap water to saucepan with grated soap. Stir continually over medium-low heat until soap dissolves (melted).

Fill bucket with 2 1/2 gallons (320 oz.) of hot tap water.

Add melted soap, 1/2 cup of Washing Soda and 1/4 cup of Borax. Stir well until all powder is dissolved.

Cover and let sit overnight to thicken.

Important! Before scooping your homemade laundry detergent each time don't forget to give it a quick stir. 

Find at the local hardware store:
Fels-Naptha laundry bar soap for approximately $1.59. Grate only 1/2 bar per batch.
Washing Soda 55 oz. box for under $5.00. Use 1/2 cup per batch.
Borax Laundry Natural Laundry Booster 76 oz. for under $6.00. Use 1/4 cup per batch.

Think thrifty!


I Love The Way You Hold Me!

Some days are tougher then others, but I can't imagine going through life's stuff without God's Word to comfort and guide. How thankful am I for other resources as well to uplift and encourage me.

"Lord, I love the way you hold me."

If you're having a less than perfect day I challenge you to let go of the struggle(s) and give Him an opportunity to hold you.

Numbers 6:22-24 "The Lord bless you and keep you; The Lord make His face shine upon you, And be gracious to you; The Lord lift up His countenance upon you, And give you peace."


New Beginnings

"Write your plans in pencil but give God the eraser." - Anonymous

All signs this summer pointed to change and more change regarding my daughter's school for 2011-2012 that at first I resisted with great passion. I said my peace, sought out advice, try to compromise, justified, but in the end surrendered.

A season of new beginnings for our family with lots of "don't knows" about opportunities, challenges, failures, and success stories. Still, as a faithful follower of Christ I walk boldly toward destiny and surrender to God's plan.

Now that I know about using pencil when planning I need to ditch the ink, and if I ever write in permanent marker be prepared to take what's written or in a vision and recreate it.

Artists have that gift -- to take what may seem like an "Oops!" to most, and reinvent. They are always in motion with the creative flow!


Real Men Love Jesus

Terry Bradshaw: Jesus Changed His Life - CBN.com

A Jesus for Real Men What the new masculinity movement gets right and wrong. 2008

"conversion does not sanctify our instincts; rather, it demands that we submit all our instincts to the lordship of Christ and crucify the sinful ones, what Paul calls 'the flesh' (Eph. 2)."

"The only times Jesus appears in Scripture as a warrior are in his pre-incarnate debuts in the Old Testament and post-resurrection glory. Our model of behavior, then, is the suffering Son, not the glorified one. Humanity in the image of Christ is not aggressive and combative; it is humble and poor (Phil. 2:5). We are most like Christ not when we win a fight, but when we suffer for righteousness' sake (Eph. 5:1-2; 1 Thess. 1:6; 2:14)."


Because He Said So!

I heard a pastor give a riveting sermon this morning that's like fire within. It's an on-time message for those without direction and in desperate circumstances. God's message was a resounding prescription on the importance and benefits of listening and obeying Him this morning through several teachings.

Can you remember your parent(s) telling you, "Because I said so! I can. I never really liked it, but what if that was a set up (as I learned today) to follow Our Heavenly Father without debriefing or answers to our whys. That's a heavy revy!

"Whoever listens to me will live in safety and be at ease, without fear of harm." Proverbs 1:33

Read and meditate on Proverbs 1:20-33 Warning Against Rejecting Wisdom

Life Application Study Bible: Many Proverbs point out that the "fruit of their own way" will be the consequences people will experience in this life. Faced with either choosing God's wisdom or persisting in rebellious independence many decide to go it alone. The problems such people create for themselves will destroy them. Don't ignore God's advice even if its painful for the present. It will keep you from grater pain in the future.


Change It Up: Buy Used

Change It Up is a series of posts where I share changes I've made after obliterating a few false beliefs like:

- Only that cleaner can do the job
- Foam is better
- Anti-bacterial is a must
- I can't do without disinfecting wipes
- Who has time for Homemade
- Expensive is the best choice

I was always a giver and never a pack rat, so giving away everything and anything I no longer needed or used came naturally as an adult. However, while in an intimate mommy's group of thrifty Christian women in 2007 I learned about resale stores, and a whole lot more.

Shopping at resale stores have been a blessing to me and my daughter. Those moms shared the best picks to find value and quality in my area. One in particular lets you bring your items in for cash or credit. I've always chosen credit (trade is usually slightly higher value than cash) knowing that I'll always find good stuff for an upcoming season or special occasion.

In the beginning of this summer season my daughter was ready to give up her bookcase/dollhouse and a huge lot of Loving Family accessories, which I sold. All was well until recently she mentioned that she needed another home for her Calico Critters Hopscotch Rabbit Family that Santa brought last year.

I tried my best to avoid the need to bring another toy in our already blessed abode, but sometimes you can't fight fate. On an errand to the resale store to bring her car seat/booster in for credit, my daughter spotted in their window a small dollhouse. Reluctantly I followed her in the store so she could reveal her found treasure.

Well, it was everything we both had wished for, compact and with walls that have murals of rooms and accessories.

Price Paid $2.49 for Doll House Only

Think thrifty, it can be an adventure for the whole family!


Change It Up: Baking Soda

Change It Up is a series of posts where I share changes I've made after obliterating a few false beliefs like:

- Only that cleaner can do the job
- Foam is better
- Anti-bacterial is a must
- I can't do without disinfecting wipes
- Who has time for Homemade
- Expensive is the best choice

Once upon a time toothpaste was enough for me. Rewind to 2010 when after taking prescription medicine, I developed severe dry mouth. Then searching online and in stores I stumbled upon an expensive solution -- a professional over-the-counter mouthwash -- that worked so well, I didn't want to stop using it. Fast forward returning to work, and what I found is that to fight morning coffee breath a reinforcement was needed. However, with the dilemma of finding ways to save and be smarter in 2011 I looked for a homemade remedy.

Arm & Hammer Pure Baking Soda is now a staple in my home! The box top claims "Purity for Over 155 years...Arm & Hammer Baking Soda is committed to making sure that what you put into your body and use in your home is as pure as it can be."

I'm not a scientist, but I know that baking soda works and is an inexpensive fix for everyday needs.

Mouth Rinse - Mixture of baking soda and water to rinse and gargle with neutralizing bad odors in the mouth.

Foot Care - Mixture of baking soda and water in a paste to neutralize and refresh tired stinky feet or using more water for a relaxing foot soak.

Cleaning Paste - Mixture of baking soda and vinegar, especially for the underside of toilet seats and under the lip of the toilet bowl.

Cleaning Paste - Mixture of baking soda and Clorox for stubborn stains on whites using an old toothbrush.

Think thrifty, it can be an adventure!


More Month Than Money: Change It Up

Some months seem to be more challenging than others are where you find you have more month than money. In months like those, I adjust and adapt, but what I have found most helpful is making one right decision after another, and sticking to it. In addition, I broke out of a few stubborn beliefs like:

- Only that cleaner can do the job
- Foam is better
- Anti-bacterial is a must
- I can't do without disinfecting wipes
- Who has time for Homemade
- Expensive is the best choice

It's been awhile since I took my first step towards the frugal lifestyle, and every year has proved a different challenge. Nevertheless, I have also stepped it up with making changes that make sense for my family and the budget.

Look for upcoming series on Changing It Up where I share some changes I've made.


The End Isn't The Answer

Life situations can sometimes send us spinning and feeling emptier than before. Yet, we somehow muster up the strength for balance to move on. Nevertheless, as our lives continue we are marked and changed a little each time until one ordinary day when what may seem a minor offense could be a trigger to bring you down so low that you can't look up, and you're considering death as an option to end your pain.

Spotlight on The Terry Wise Story: A Suicide Attempt Survivor (15 Min Full Version Video)

Suicide doesn’t stand alone. It doesn’t just happen as the result of nothing out of nowhere; it’s the result of something. If you’ve gone through life and you’ve had traumas or you’ve had difficulties, or you have things that you think you’ve buried, and then you have a significant loss or significant trauma occur later in your life—all the things that had been on simmer in your life, come to a full boil. I learned in therapy that death wasn’t the only way to end my pain. There were other ways to end my pain.

"I urge you, I beg you to make that call." Dr. Phil's message

Lifeline Gallery: Stories of Hope and Recovery

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: With Help Comes Hope

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline Public Service Announcements


More Month Than Money: Just Say No!

Some months seem to be more challenging than others are where you find you have more month than money. In months like those, I tend to plan my errands before or after meals. The rule is no eating out of any kind. Even that refreshing iced tea or favorite cookie is off-limits.

Americans, including myself, were out of control for a long time. Whatever we wanted, we got, and we'd think about the cost later.

It's not easy forming new habits I confess, but when things get radical I adjust and adapt.

Getting free from the lender takes one right decision at a time.

Proverbs 22:7 "The rich rules over the poor, And the borrower is servant to the lender."


More Month Than Money: Skip Grocery Shopping

Some months seem to be more challenging than others are where you find you have more month than money. In months like those, I tend to plan my meals around my limited pantry stash and goodies in the freezer, and of course also eating those surprise leftovers hidden in the fridge.

Recipe websites or search engines are helpful sources when you want to limit your trips to the grocery store. They let you add the ingredients you want and don't want in a recipe.


* Eat breakfast for dinner
* Eggs are cheaper than the chicken

Doing my part in saving cents, which I know add up!
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