Appreciation is a Gift that Keeps on Giving

Appreciation is a Gift that Keeps on Giving

No matter who you are, no matter what you do, everyone longs to be appreciated. Servant hearts want to know they are making a difference. There are servants all around us: the military, community service and emergency workers, homeschool parents, public school teachers, Sunday school teachers, fine arts teachers, coaches, babysitters, ministers, helpful neighbors, volunteers, the list goes on and on.

To read more, stop by Raising Homemakers.

 

Take a Moment to UNPLUG!

Unplug.No more excuses. Just do it!Take time during summer vacations to unplug. Go somewhere without wifi or even phone service. We camp frequently and some of my favorite camping spots are those where we can be completely

unplugged.

Vacations are meant for uninterrupted time with family, for making memories, and opportunities for God to bless you beyond measure.

Families need to get back to the basics of reading books,

playing board games, staying up late laughing, going on long walks,

enjoying God’s creation,

discovering and learning together.Time passes so very quickly, and moments spent staring at a screen can never be retrieved. Once they are gone, they are either wasted or embraced.

We want God to bless us with miracles and abundant blessings. He does this every day, yet at the end of the day we feel empty but full of regret for the moments we let slip by us. No electronic device can give you what you long for.Think ahead to the future and what types of devices your future generations will hold in their hands. Do you want your children and grandchildren to rely on the power that drains their family, or do you want them to thrive on the power of God and leading their families, making memories, and seizing the day? You set the example. They aren’t going to do what you say. They are going to do what you do. You have to make a choice to intentionally unplug the lifeless electronics and plug your heart into your family and all of the precious treasures God has in store for you and your family. They are only young once. Before you know it, you’ll be like me: wondering where the time is going as my second child graduates high school…

Please, UNPLUG! It’s one of the most powerful, rewarding, fulfilling decisions you will ever make.

All Natural Granola Bar Recipe

Granola bars are a staple in our home.  My children think they are the perfect snack, and I do too. They are a combination of savory and sweet, are convenient for on-the-go snacking, and the can be healthy when they contain the right ingredients. Today, I’m sharing my recipe for all natural granola bars over on the Raising Homemakers blog. Visit here for the recipe.

granola bars

Shielding Your Family from This Season’s Germs

As a family of six, whenever we are exposed to viruses we try to take as many precautions as we can to prevent the spread of germs. We have our routine preventative measures, but we also employ extra methods to prevent the spread of germs. Otherwise, it is going to run its course through our entire home and can take a month or more to leave us.

One thing we do on a regular basis is keep our toothbrushes covered with those plastic covers. I use natural toothpaste that is white and my toothbrush cover is also white so when I see it looking a little dirty, it disgusts me. I disinfect and clean it often, but I always worry about germs that may be lurking on it and jumping onto my toothbrush. I mean, that kinda defeats the who purpose.
toothbrushes

Recently, I was introduced to IntelliDent Toothbrush Shields. They are made of breathable material that allows your toothbrush to dry. These sleeves simply slide down right over the head of your toothbrush. They are actually disposable, so you don’t have to take the time to disinfect them.

My children really appreciated not having to try to turn they plastic covers a certain way to lock them into place. There is no wrong side of the toothbrush shields, so they are able to just slip them over the toothbrush and go.

They are tested and proven to be effective for up to seven days, so you don’t have to use a new one each day. They are compact which makes them easy to store in our already crowded bathrooms, and they work well for travel.

I don’t know about you, but I really enjoy it when I am able to let go of some tasks and worries. It’s been nice to not have to clean my old plastic toothbrush cover. It’s been even nicer not to worry about germs that might be trapped or growing on the plastic holders and as a result all of our toothbrushes and into our bodies.

They also have mouthpiece shields that work well for retainers. My oldest wears a retainer every night. She attends college and works in the food industry. She brings home lots of germs, so having a mouthpiece shield gives peace of mind as well. Plastic retainer keepers containers can be disgusting.

I highly recommend IntelliDent Shields. If you’d like more information about them, you can contact them directly at info@toothbrushshield.com or on their website.

To prevent the spread of germs, we use preventives and immunity boosters through essential oils and other natural sources. We always keep a safe distance from anyone in our home who is sick. We make sure we keep our children home when they are sick and don’t share germs with others.  We don’t eat or drink after each other. We don’t eat off of the ground or floor. I know everyone says a little dirt never hurt anyone, but that is just disgusting. Do you realize how much animal feces and bacteria we step on outside and then bring inside our home from our shoes onto our floors. You can get hook worms and other parasites from these nasty practices and many times not know it until you become very sick. These can also be spread to your family members. Ultimately, we try to provide a clean environment for our family to prevent as much sickness as possible.

I pray you and your family practice good hygiene, take measures to prevent the spread of bacteria and germs, and that you have a healthy season!

*I have not received compensation for this post, but I did receive IntelliDent Toothbrush Shields to review.

Ham and Spinach Breakfast Casserole – THM S

Quick, easy, one-dish meals are such a blessing! Wednesdays are pretty busy for our family. They usually consist of school, archery club, piano lessons and visit from my awesome uncle, and church. There is only a small window of time to cook dinner, so I’m always looking for meals that take very little prep and cook time and clean up. Because they are easy, scrambled eggs and bacon are a regular on Wednesday nights for us. Although my family could eat bacon every single day of the week, scrambled eggs can get old quickly.

This week, I had some delicious leftover ham, and I got the bright idea to make a breakfast casserole. My sweet husband, children, and I devoured the whole thing.

ham and spinach breakfast casserole watermarked

Ham and Spinach Breakfast Casserole

Serves 6-8 THM S

12 eggs

½ cup nonfat Greek yogurt

2 tsp salt

Pepper to taste

1 tsp Onion powder

½ cup shredded cheddar cheese

¼ cup feta cheese

1 cup chopped spinach

1lb diced ham

In a large bowl, whisk eggs, yogurt, salt, pepper, and onion powder. Add cheeses, chopped spinach, and ham. Stir until mixed well. Pour into a greased 11×9 casserole dish. Bake in preheated 350 degree oven for approximately 40 minutes. For the Trim Healthy Mama plan, serve with ½ cup of berries and/or sautéed veggies.

It only dirties a dish or two, and the prep time is quick as well. On a busy evening, you can just shove it in the oven and let it cook while you get ready for church, or take care of some other mom duties. You can serve it up on paper plates to make the cleanup even easier. That’s my kind of meal!

ham and spinach breakfast casserole.2 watermarked

Peanut Butter Cookies – Low Carb, Sugar Free, Gluten Free, THM S

A sweet aroma is in the air… Well, love is in the air too since it is Valentine’s Week. Today, I’m sharing a new cookie recipe I’ve been making for my sweet valentines lately. It’s a delicious peanut butter cookie recipe that is healthy, sugar free, gluten free, and low carb. For Trim Healthy Mamas, these cookies are a satisfying S that shows how much you love yourself and your family.

pb cookies 1

Peanut Butter Cookies, low carb, sugar free, THM S

½ cup butter

2 large eggs

1 tsp vanilla extract

¾ cup Gentle Sweet and 1-2 tsp for garnish

1-2 doonks pure stevia extract

1½ cups Trim Healthy Mama Baking Blend

½ tsp mineral salt

¾ cup sugar free peanut butter

2 tsp aluminum free baking powder

*optional ½ cup Lily’s Sugar Free Chocolate Chips

Using mixer, cream butter, gentle sweet, and stevia. Add eggs and vanilla and mix well. Mix in peanut butter. Add baking blend, baking powder and salt. Stir in optional chocolate chips. Scoop tablespoon-sized amounts of dough and roll into a ball and place on prepared cookie sheet or stoneware. Gently smash down with fork and sprinkle each one with gentle sweet. Bake at 350 degrees for 12-15 minutes. Allow to cool slightly before removing from pan.

Enjoy!

Encouragement for “One of Those Days”

One of Those DaysEver have “one of those days”? Lately, I’ve been having them often. Attempting to balance homeschooling, taking care of my family, and now a business, is taking its toll on me some days. Running a business is a full time job in and of itself, but it’s not my primary calling. Some days I feel like a stretched out piece of elastic that has lost it’s elasticity. I can’t bounce back enough to benefit anyone.

How do you possibly do everything on your list when you have more tasks than there are hours in a day? Other than starting your day with The Lord, giving Him control of your day, and prioritizing, I really don’t have the answer. That’s okay…sometimes there isn’t an immediate and tangible answer. Sometimes we just need hope and encouragement to help us persevere.Keep your quiet moment appointments with The Lord. Read and pray on the scriptures below, and rest in their wisdom and promises. Remember God always keeps His promises.

  • I lift up my eyes to the mountains—where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. Psalm 121:1-2
  • The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles. Psalm 34:17
  • God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Psalm 46:1
  • Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. 2 Corinthians 4:16-18
  • Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken. Psalm 55:22
  • I can do all this through him who gives me strength. Philippians 4:13
  • So we say with confidence, ‘The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me? Hebrews 13:6
  • For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11
  • Be still, and know that I am God. Psalm 46:10
  • In my anguish I cried to the Lord, and he answered by setting me free. Psalm 118:5
  • For I am the Lord, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, “Do not fear.  I will help you.” Isaiah 41:14
  • He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Isaiah 40:29
  • I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace.  In this world you will have trouble.  But take heart!  I have overcome the world. John 16:33

Hang in there, my friends! Remember, God is faithful!

You Are Valued

sparrow

Overwhelmed, underappreciated, worn out, and lonely–that’s how I’ve been feeling lately. My list of daily responsibilities has grown to an all-time high, and I’ve been feeling buried in the avalanche. Through prayer, The Lord has told me to let go of several responsibilities. The smaller ones have been easy to drop, but I have a few that are rather large obligations that can’t be let go of overnight. I need to find someone to step into the role, and I’ve been having a hard time finding the right person or remedy for the jobs.

I know God’s timing is everything, so I am trying to wait patiently. However, there are days when the responsibilities get the best of me and the tears flow like a fountain. The Father has been gently nudging me and reminding me that He is walking with me through this season.

Stop by Raising Homemakers to read more: here.

Transitioning from Christmas Decor to Winter

I am probably the only person who will say this, but I miss my farmhouse Christmas decorations that I shared with you here. As January rolls around and we wind down from Christmas and New Years, our home looks so bare after we pack away the Christmas decor. This year I decided I wanted to keep some semblance of winter and the outdoors.

I tried to repurpose things for the sake of my budget, but I did add something new to our winter decor. Neutrals accessories are a great way to celebrate winter. Personalized pillows are great because you can use them year round. I decided to make this personalized pillow to celebrate my sweet marriage. We will be married exactly 23 1/2 years on Valentine’s Day! You can make one easily with materials for a pillow, a vinyl cutter like a Silhouette Cameo. You can also order one like this or request a custom design here.

pillow couple date watermarked

There’s nothing wrong with repurposing, so that’s what i did with my garlands, pinecones, and snowflakes from my Christmas decor.

Moving snowflakes from the tree to our china cabinet was easy. I simply tied them from some twine. I used a couple of the grapevine wreaths but removed the holly, berries and ribbon.

winter china cabinet decor

Making a snowflake garland took me less than ten minutes by simply stringing plastic snowflakes and crocheted snowflakes onto some jute twine.

winter snowflake garland mantle

Filling boxes and vases with the doorway and archway garlands was just as simple as moving them from one spot to the next. I added pinecones or dead branches to the centerpieces.

winter tablescape

winter entry foyer decor 2

winter centerpiece

I reluctantly put away my porch Christmas trees and filled our galvanized buckets with pinecones and kindling from the yard. I added some cute personalized decals. I decided I wanted to welcome my guests as well as honor our family with each of the decals.

winter buckets and decals

Investing in a grapevine wreath is one way to make decorating easier on you. I have a neutral bow at the top with a wooden initial hanging on mine. I add different seasonal items to it by winding them through the vine or attaching with floral wire, and then I change them out with the seasons. For winter, I added some dried boxwood and snowflake ornaments.

winter porch decor

I utilized the other side of the “Our Savior’s Birth” sign and created a “Let it Snow” design. I made this with my vinyl cutter as well. I’ve really enjoyed having my Silhouette Cameo, but more importantly I have been truly blessed by the way God is using our family’s small business. He has allowed me to help people gift so many custom and personalized gifts to their loved ones for all sorts of reasons and occasions. Their stories are so touching! He’s also developed our talents and gifts in ways that enable us to take clients’ ideas and create all sorts of custom treasures for them and their loved ones! This sign is definitely one of my favorites, but I sure would like to see some of God’s real snowflakes, too!

winter let it snow sign

It may not be snowing here, but we do get our share of cold weather. Curling up on the couch with my blanket and a cup of coffee or cocoa is one of my favorite winter pastimes. I didn’t have to think twice about leaving our cocoa and coffee bar out. It’s been a huge hit for our family and our guests this year.

winter cocoa bar decor

I added little touches of snowflake ornaments and confetti on our bar accessories, too.

winter utensil holder

I actually left the lighted garland on our screened back porch and also left the tabletop Christmas tree, but removed the bow and ornaments leaving it looking more like a simple plant on our table.

I know Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, but I think I’ll leave my snowflake and nature decor out and simply add some hearts and love scriptures throughout our home. These snowflake decorations may be the only snowflakes we see this year in SC. I think I’ll keep them up until spring!