Tuesday, December 21, 2010

This Mom Plans a Year's Worth of Meals

Here I am wanting to do a month's worth of meals at one time, take a look at this short video of a mom doing and entire year of meal planning. Amazing. As for my family, we throw in a leftover night once a week to clean out the refrigerator.
Please enjoy this. I did!
Blessings,
Nancy

Monday, December 13, 2010

Meal Planning Tip

Keep a piece of notebook paper taped inside a kitchen cabinet door or someplace very handy.  When you cook a recipe that is a 5 star for your family, write the name of the recipe down on the paper.  Also write the name of the cookbook and page number where the recipe is located.  (It is so frustrating to know you made a great recipe and then forget where which cookbook it was in.)  Then when making your meal plan for the week, be sure to include a couple of those 5 star recipes along with a couple of new ones you've been wanting to try.  This way, if one of the new recipes happen to flop, the family knows that tomorrow night's meal will be a winner.
Blessings,
Nancy

Sunday, December 12, 2010

A Super Easy Christmas Coffee

Here is a simple trick to make your house smell great and add a Christmasy flavor to your coffee.  Add about 1/8 of a teaspoon cinnamon to your coffee grounds as it is brewing.  Mmmmmm
Hope you are all having a Christ filled, Christmas season.
Blessings,
Nancy

Saturday, December 11, 2010

How to Maintain Consistency - Part 2


Good Morning Friends,
I have spent much time over these past few weeks thinking about the word CONSISTENCY and how I want to improve and maintain my consistency in important areas of my life.  Part 1 about consistency can be found HERE.

Ive carried around a little pocket notebook with me to jot down my thoughts regarding consistency with the hopes that it will help me improve in this area.

The first thing I thought about are, "What areas do I want to be consistent in?"  I came up with the following:  Bible reading and study, Homemaking which includes cleaning and organization, Exercise, Business, Menu planning, and finally Blogging.

Then I spent time considering, "Where do I see myself in 5 years with each of these areas?"  I think this is an important step with maintaining consistency.  It let me see my goals.  For instance, in 5 years I hope to be a director with my business.  I would really like to achieve this.  Being consistent with my business can make this happen.  With blogging, I would like to get noticed and get some speaking engagements.  For exercise, I would like to be healthy and full of energy with low cholesterol and low blood pressure.  In the area of Bible reading and study, I'd like to grow in my love of our Lord and to understand the scripture better so that I can share it more with others.  This goal is not as concrete, but I was having trouble putting it into words.  My goal for menu planning is to consistently have menu's planned 5 days a week.  For homemaking I want to always have the downstairs presentable for unexpected guests as well as my bedroom for hubby and I to relax and retreat to.  The rest of the house, well.....  In 5 years my children will be grown.  They will all be 18 and older.  Yikes!  I must consider where I am in my life with them.  These goals in each area may only increase a little for a while but then when they are out of the house I can work on them more.  I must remember these are only 5 year goals, not goals to be completed tomorrow.  I'm human and I will fall short and I understand that.

The next question I asked myself is, "What areas of consistency are most important?"  This came easy.  God is first followed by husband and family.  This means my Bible reading and study should be first thing I really work on.  I truly believe that time with God in prayer can help every area in my life that I want to improve.  The second thing is being there for my family.  This includes homemaking followed by menu planning.  I ALWAYS want my family to feel that home is a refuge where they want to be and I think for the most part they feel this way.  They like to be with their friends and often times their friends are at our home and I'm always usually happy with that.  I want home to be a place where they make great memories.

Now for those of you who think, "But Nancy, you need to make time for yourself."  Believe me I do get Nancy time.  There are times though that MY time does get sacrificed for others but that happens with everyone.  My children and husband give up some of THEIR time to meet the needs of this family as well.  It is called having responsibilities.

Thanks everyone for reading and I'll write in another post some of the steps and actions I have laid out on ways for me to maintain the consistency that I'm striving for.

Have a wonderful weekend and make some holiday memories with your family today.
Blessings,
Nancy

Saturday, November 27, 2010

How To - 5 Ingredient Meal - Leftover Turkey Rice Soup

Dear Friends,
Your How To Homemaker has a yummy and easy recipe to help you use up some of that leftover turkey from Thanksgiving.  Having soup is such a change of pace rather than having a plate of food like we've been having the past few days.  Not only is it delicious, but it is only 5 ingredients and tastes great! 
Serves 4 to 6

Turkey Rice Soup
  • 1 cup cooked turkey, diced or shredded
  • 2 cups rice, cooked
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 can mushroom soup
  • 2 cups milk
Combine all ingredients in a dutch oven or stock pot.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Heat thoroughly and serve.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Help Me Maintain Consistency...Please!!!! (Part 1)

Hi Friends,
My consistency, or lack there of, has been on my mind quite a bit lately.  I struggle with consistency.  I will exercise faithfully and then I fall short.  I menu plan for a while, then it goes by the wayside.  I have a wonderful home organization system set up.  I follow it for months and my home functions like a well oiled machine, then I let it slip.  I scrapbook for a while.  I blog for a while.  I read the Bible daily for a while.  Then it slides.  I pick these things up again......for a while.....and so on....and so on.

Why am I like this?  I know my life changes and so different areas in my life take precedence, like my Emily, or my business.  But why can't I maintain consistency?  All these things: reading the Bible, menu planning, blogging, home organization, exercise, are important to me.

I used to make long lists of New Years Resolutions, things I really wanted to work on.  Of course I fell short.

I tried a couple of years to choose a single word and focus on that word for the year.  That did work better.  One year I choose "Enough" as my word and another year I chose "Simple" as my word.  Like I said, it worked better, but those were words my family did NOT choose so my efforts were somewhat limited.

A couple of years ago my resolution was a phrase, "Keep Ahead of the Game."  I tried.  I struggled. I worked on that.  In hindsight, it did help me stay organized and on top of things, but in my mind I fell short at times.

Last year I chose one resolution, "Menu Plan".  It would work for a while then I'd get away from it, then go back to it, then away from it and so on.

This year, I am choosing, as my resolution, as my 'word', "CONSISTENCY".  Between now and Jan. 1st, I have time to keep it in my mind and think about why I have difficult maintaining consistency.  I want to look for solutions to help make me more consistent.

I've been identifying some steps that I think will help me move towards being consistent and I'll share those steps with you in different posts between now and Jan. 1st.  This way, whatever you choose as your New Year's resolution, hopefully you can consistently stick to it!

If you have any tips or ideas on how to maintain consistency, please leave me a comment.  If I use them, I'll be sure to give you credit.

So here's to Consistency, which if I can achieve it, I think will be a very good thing.

Happy Homemaking,
Nancy

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Best Recipe For Applesauce Ornaments


Dear Friends,

We've been getting ready for Christmas here at the Jacobs' house.  It may seem early, but I want to have the decorating done by Thanksgiving so it is one less thing to think about and just makes the season that much more relaxed.

Anyway,  are any of you getting ready for Christmas?  Last night the kids made chocolate covered pretzels.  Yum!!!  Of course we have to have those as a snack on Thanksgiving day.

Emily has started seeing an endocrinologist for her Hashimoto's and Vitamin D deficiency.  That has meant more lab work for her.  Poor kiddo is a pin cushion these days.  After Thanksgiving she gets in with pediatric infectious disease about the chronic lyme disease.  I really believe God is shining and getting her going in the right direction.

I also started with a company called Rendi.  So now I have two small businesses, Rendi and Scentsy.  Rendi is personalized home decor and is a brand new direct sales company that just launched October 1st of this year.  It's actually a sister company of Danieleson Designs which has been around 20 years.  I feel I'm on the ground floor with it and much can be done on the internet for it so I don't anticipate it taking as much time as Scentsy (which has been keeping me pleasantly hopping).  I'm really pressing forward with getting the mortgage paid off on the house.  Hallelujah when that happens!

Have a blessed Sunday.  Hope you are all healthy, we've been getting over colds here, and hope all is going well in your part of the world.

Love and hugs,
Nancy

Now onto the Applesauce Ornament Recipe!
This post was originally on my blog over at Basketmaster's Weavings last Christmas season.  I hope you enjoy it today!


It's beginning to smell a lot like Christmas! At least it is here in the Jacobs' house!

Every year I have to make a batch of Cinnamon Applesauce Ornaments so when I tell you I'm giving you the best recipe, I'm truly giving you the best recipe I've ever run across for these little Christmastime nuggets.

Now don't limit these to just ornaments. Put a couple of these into a small basket in your bathroom for a great air freshener. Hang one in your closet to get rid of musty smells or shoe odor. Place one under the seat of your car to help get rid of any fast food smells it might have. Please remember not to let the children or anyone eat these. They do smell yummy.

BTW...Did you notice the one on the right shaped like a basket? Too cute!

Enjoy!

Nancy


Cinnamon Applesauce Ornaments

1 cup cinnamon--Get it at Sam's Club or Costco for best prices

2/3 cup applesauce

3 Tablespoons white school glue--Remember to stock up on this during back to school sales

Mix all ingredients well in a large bowl.
Wrap the thick dough in plastic wrap and let it set for about 1 hour.

Take some dough and roll out between two sheets of wax paper. I find it best to work with about 1/2 of the mixture at a time.

Roll the dough to about 1/4" thick.

Cut with cookie cutters
or
Shape into circles and press with your rubber stamps

or

Press dough into ceramic cookie molds
Be sure to create a hole for hanging before dough dries. I used a small straw.
or

Press a straightened paper clip into the back of the shape to act as a hanger.

Let ornaments dry for several days turning them from time to time to keep them from curling.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

How To - 5 Ingredient No Fuss Holiday Salad - Cherry Pineapple Delight

Hi Friends,
Your How To Homemaker has a dessert salad today that tastes so yummy and I promise it can't get any easier.  This is great for your holiday meal.  Except for the Cool Whip, set all the ingredients on the counter the night before.  On Thanksgiving morning, just put it together and refrigerate.  Soooo simple.

Cherry Pineapple Delight
  • 1 (21 oz) can cherry pie filling
  • 1 large can crushed pineapple drained
  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 cup miniature marshmallows
  • 1 (8 oz) container Cool Whip
Mix all ingredients together and refrigerate before serving.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

An Update on Emily - Finally some news

Dear Friends,
Below is a post I wrote last night for my other blog Basketmaster's Weavings.  I write more personal stuff over there.  I've pretty much kept my personal life out of this blog but this is one time I'm asking for prayers for my daughter.  Thanks wariors!

If you've been reading this blog for some time, you know my sweet Emily, age 15 1/2 was struck with fibromyalgia beginning about a year and a half ago.  There are two schools of thought with fibro.  The first is that it is its own disease.  The second is that fibro is a symptom of something else going on in the body.  I choose to believe the second because I want to believe we can "fix" her.

We have been to so many doctors and specialists.  The pediatric rheumatology/fibromyalgia specialist that she sees has tried everything in his bag of tricks.  I've tried everything that has been sent or told to me.  Nothing has worked and all lab results, exams, and testing have come back normal.  Until now...

We had been referred to a medical office that does more alternative therapies of medicine.  We first went a couple of months ago.  Emily first saw a nurse practitioner who spent about an hour and a half going over EVERYTHING regarding Emily's fibro history.  She ordered some blood tests.  I thought to myself, Emily has been tested for everything under the sun already.  The nurse practitioner said I had to go to a specific lab because this is the only lab in the city/state to run some of these specific tests.  While I wait the 6 weeks for the tests, Emily has been back to this clinic for massage, healing touch, she's started yoga, and will soon begin acupuncture.

This morning was our follow-up visit after 6 weeks.  Would you believe there were some lab abnormalities?  I was shocked.  She, the nurse practitioner, spent an hour with us again today and there were three significant findings.  The first thing she said is that Emily has Hashimoto's disease.  This is a disease of the thyroid, the antibodies that the thyroid produces, that is not treatable, but is pain causing.  (Emily's thyroid is functioning properly, just not the antibodies it is producing)  I also question if the other two issues get resolved that possibly the Hashimotos will resolve itself???  Maybe??

Another abnormality that was VERY low was a specialized Vitamin D test.  Not your standard test and Emily has started today on some medication to bring that up.  Low test results here cause pain.

The third abnormality is something that could be carried by ticks.  Not Lyme disease, but related.  It has something to do with her lymph system and according to the nurse, there is only one doctor who treats for this specific issue in the United States and that doctor is in Kansas City.  Again, this was a specialized test and Emily's results were VERY low.  She thinks these three things are all interrelated and all causing her pain.  She also thinks it will take a year once treatment begins for Emily to start feeling better.  Back to the tick thing.  Emily had been bitten by a tick. (I don't remember the nurse asking us about ticks at the first visit and I didn't even think of it at the time.)  She was bitten back when we lived in Florida.  The nurse practitioner thinks that it is possible that Emily has carried something in her body that has remained dormant.  Then when she got very sick 1 1/2 year ago, high fever and so forth at the time all this fibromyalgia started, what was dormant in her body became active starting her pain.

So what happens next...Emily is now on super high doses of Vitamin D that we've started today.  The nurse practitioner asked her to start the Paleo diet, Emily calls it a cave man diet.  I got the book and we are starting it tomorrow.  Tonight I research this doctor in Kansas City and begin the process there.  Emily continues with yoga, massage, healing touch and accupuncture.  Whew....

I have been elated today to hear news that I'm hoping and praying will take us in the right direction with her.  I've been watching the television show "Mystery Diagnosis" faithfully to see if any of their cases are similar to Emily's.  There was a case of Hashimotos on the show.  I remember thinking, well Emily doesn't have anything wrong with her thyroid as it is functioning properly so I didn't pay much attention to that episode.  I'll have to go back and watch it now.  The final thing is that the nurse practitioner wants Emily to have some counseling.  Emily is such a sweet and loving girl, but as you can imagine, being in pain every day takes a toll on her both physically and mentally.  Sometimes it is hard mentally for her mommy here to know that my child is in pain, but we take it day by day.

So with all this said, please Please keep Emily in your prayers that we are doing the right things and finally getting her the help that she needs to remove this pain from her body.  Also please pray that she has the strength to deal with the pain until we get it resolved.

With love and blessings,
Nancy
(Update)  Upon further research regarding Emily's lab tests, it appears that she has Chronic Lyme Disease.  So much was given to me earlier that it is all hard to digest.  The more I read, the more I find people first being diagnosed with fibromyalgia for years only to discover that they have had chronic lyme disease.  Could it be that this has been her problem all along?  Now, what about the Viatmin D and Hashimotos?

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Thanksgiving Preperation free e-book - This is Wonderful!

Dear Friends,
Here is a bit more about Thanksgiving preparation.  I ran across Organizing Your Way and they had seriously the BEST post regarding Thanksgiving preparation with a free e-book and some great printable lists. 
http://organizing.yourway.net/thanksgiving-your-way-recipes-traditions-decorating-more/
For a free e-book this one is tops.  It includes recipes, how to carve a turkey, making memories with your family and more.  On their website they have a comprehensive series of organizing your home for the holidays.
I thought this is one of the best sites I've run across for getting ready for the holidays that I've seen so I just wanted to share it with you.
Have a blessed Sunday and happy homemaking,
Nancy

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Thinking About Thanksgiving - A Prep List to Get you Ready

Hi Friends,

Are you the one hosting the big Thanksgiving dinner at your home?  I understand what you might be feeling if you are because it can seem like a monumental task.  Do you think I'm overwhelmed lately because it seems like I'm sure posting a lot about organization.  I tend to post as the inspiration strikes and organization seems to be on my thoughts a lot.  Guess I'm feeling the need to be more organized with the holidays approaching.

Anyway, here are a few tips to help you get ready for the big dinner coming up in just 2 1/2 weeks from now.

1.  Start eating out of your refrigerator and freezer now to help make room in them.  Make sure your refrigerator is clean and has plenty of space for salads, desserts and sides.
2.  Don't do all the work by yourself.  If anyone offers to bring something, LET THEM!!!  Get the kids involved in helping get the house ready and assign older children a recipe to make.
3.  Make a menu.  Write your menu out from appetizers to desserts and include the drinks.  Having a menu helps when people ask what they can bring.  You can go through your menu and let them choose from your list of choices.  If you know your aunt always makes the best pumpkin pie and she wants to bring a dish, suggest  she makes dessert for you.
4.  Grocery shop early.  I'm already stocking up on baking and candy making supplies for all the holidays.  Go ahead and buy your canned pumpkin or canned cranberry sauce now to have it ready.  Also get your beverages now.
5.  Look at your recipes and cook what you can in advance.  Some stuffing recipes taste better the second day when the flavors have had a chance to mix together.
6.  Get the house in order as early ahead of time as possible.  Then on Thanksgiving day just quickly check the bathrooms and set out clean towels.
7.  Keep your appetizers easy.  Simple cheese and crackers, a fruit plate.  Don't choose complicated recipes for the appetizers.
8.  Have plastic containers ready to hold the leftovers.
9.  Give thanks as you prepare your home for this blessed holiday season.  As you clean and cook ask the good Lord to give your family safe travels, good health and take the time to remember your all the blessings that have been given to you.  Try to set the mood by being cheerful, calm and quiet.  Play some peaceful music and you will be creating memories for your children and family that will last a lifetime.

Blessings and Happy Homemaking,
Nancy

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

How To - When Feeling Overwhelmed with Homemaking

Dear Friends,
Today I want to give some advice on what to do when you feel utterly overwhelmed with caring for your home.  Did you try tackling your 6 most important things I mentioned HERE?  I completely finished four of my six items.  The other two got started and to the point where I had to turn them over to someone for the next step.  I did as much as I could for right now with those two items.  I also made my list of 6 for today and have finished that list!  Now for tomorrow one of the things at the top of my list is to put away the Halloween decorations.

Sometimes there just seems like so much to do in the house I feel like I'm spinning my wheels and I can't focus on anything.  Ugh!  Do you know the feeling?  It's like where do I even start?

The very first piece of advice I have for you is to stop and take a few minutes with God.  This will help you get your priorities straight and will strengthen your spirit which will in turn give you some motivation.

Start with one room or one area of the room and focus only on that area.  Have you ever taken a toilet paper tube and looked through it?  You only see a small piece of the room.  Look through the tube.  Clean and focus only the area you see.  When it is done, move to the next space. 

Let your trash can feel the love by filling it up.  Usually when I'm feeling overwhelmed it is because I need to simplify and get things out of the house.  Look at what is out of place.  Do you need it?  Do you use it?  Do you love it?  Do you have something else that could do the same job?  Grab a box for donations and put it in the car as soon as it's full.

Just force yourself to get up and move.  Just do something!  Force yourself to work for 15 minutes and even set a timer.  This is a Flylady trick.  The other thing she says is what I mentioned in the paragraph above.  Get rid of the clutter!

Affirm you good work and remind yourself that what you are doing is a blessing to your family.

Blessings to you all and Happy Homemaking,
Nancy

Monday, November 1, 2010

What are your 6 Most Important Things?

Good Morning Friends,
I came across a great article.  It is about listing and completing your 6 most important things.
HERE is the link to it.  They are selling some programs at the bottom of the article that I'm NOT affiliated with nor do I know anything about those programs, but I hope you will take the time to at least read the article and how it can help each and every one of us.

There are currently a few items on my To-Do list that have been in place for a while.  Mainly because doing those things takes me out of my comfort zone to accomplish them.  Regardless, they are items that I can't ignore and must be completed, so sooner is better than later, and I know I'll feel such a sense of relief once they are finished.

So today, I'm making my list of 6 and I'm moving forward with it just like in the article.  I know by doing my list of 6 I will feel like I'm accomplishing more and even growing as a person.

It's easy for me to make a list of 25 things that need to be done in one day and do the EASY items on the list, but I'm going to try focusing on only the 6 most important.  Want to join me?  I'll report back tomorrow and let you know how I did.

One of the benefits I'm hopeful for is that by getting some of these heavy items done and off my shoulders, I'll have more time for me and doing things I enjoy like blogging here!

Blessings and Happy Homemaking,
Nancy

Friday, October 15, 2010

Thank You....Drum Roll....Winners!!!!!

Oh Dear Friends,
I am so happy and I've seriously got tears in my eyes as I type this.  The grand total is $226 that we raised for the Susan G. Komen foundation.  Every single penny that was donated is going to this worthy cause.  Mike and I have covered any PayPal fees and shipping.  I'm so happy for all your generosity.  I feel honored to call you all my friends. 

I've got to tell you a quick story that happened to me in Walmart just 2 days ago.  I was shopping and had picked up a flyer with a pink ribbon product and the flyer was sitting in my basket.  A lady near me was telling her adult daughter to get a bunch of celery.  I just commented, "Oh I'm glad you mentioned that because I need celery too and had forgotten to put it on my list.  Thanks for jogging my memory."  The daughter looked over at me and saw the flyer in my basket, mentioned it and a brief conversation ensued.  I told them that every women in my family has suffered or passed on from breast cancer.  The mother said she had just been diagnosed and tears formed in her eyes.  I wanted to say that I'm trying here to help with the fight against it.  All I could say is, "I'm so sorry and my family will keep you in our prayers."  This disease hits every family and it is heart wrenching.  I want to say to all of you, Thank you, thank you thank you all for your generosity.  Thank you to those of you who provided prizes.  Thank you to those of you who donated money and thank you to all of you who have been praying for a cure.   With all my heart I love each of you.

So without further ado....can you hear the drum roll...............................................

The second place winner of the Lia Sophia necklace and Earring set is.....................




Kumon!!!!!



The winner of the grand prize of the basket, Scentsy warmer and fragrance, hand woven scarf, Stampin' Up supplies, Lia Sophia necklace, crochet tote, handmade journal and pink ribbon Bible is....................




Susan Zak!!!!!

I will be contacting both of you and your prizes will be on their way this week!!!!  The check to the Susan G. Komen foundation will also be sent this week.
I'm so happy for both of you!  I'm so happy for our efforts and what we have all accomplished together!!!
The final thing I want to say is PLEASE LADIES do not neglect to do those monthly self breast examinations.  Early detection is the best prevention.
God Bless each and every one of you!
With love,
Nancy

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Final Call for Think Pink Donations

Hi Friends,

Remember over at my other blog Basketmaster's Weavings, I've been having a charity fundraiser to raise money for the fight against breast cancer.  All money will be given to the Susan G. Komen foundation.  Donations can be received through this blog as well.  See the donate button in the sidebar.

Friday is the big day when I draw for the winners of our Think Pink Raffle.  If you've been saying I'll get to donating tomorrow, well, tomorrow is almost here.  Please, please let your friends know that this is it.  Shout it out to your friends.  Let it be known on Facebook, your blog, twitter or any other social network site.  The farther we spread the word, the more money that will be raised.

Be sure to take a moment and look at all the prizes shown below.  Let me tell you, because I can see them in person here, they are all stunningly beautiful! 




One lucky winner is going to get an amazing “THINK PINK” prize package!

The prize package will include:

Pink Pot of Hope basket woven by me

Matching pink set of Stampin' Up supplies from CJ at Tea n' Stitches

Pink Sentsy warmer and fragrance from Naomi at Sentsy

Handwoven scarf from Bety at Deep End of the Loom

Lia Sophia "Pink Flamingo" necklace from Faith
A Beautiful Pink Ribbon Bible, Handmade Pink Journal and Crochet Tote Bag from Julie at A Handwoven Life
---------------------------------------------------------

A second lucky winner will receive this beautiful Lia Sophia necklace and earring set also from my friend Faith. 


Raffle entries are $1.00 per “ticket” and can be purchased through PayPal (see "Donate" button in the sidebar)  

Please be generous. This is a cause very near and dear to my heart as I've lost a grandmother and an aunt to breast cancer and my mother and other women in my family are breast cancer survivors. This disease affects many of us.

For those of you who have already donated, for those of you who have provided the prizes, and for those of you who have advertised this charity raffle, I thank you with all my heart.
God bless.

Nancy

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Halloween Smores In a Jar


Hi Friends,
Thanks Jen for letting me guest post over here on your blog!  I'm Nancy Jacobs and I'm a busy married stay at home mother of three teenagers.  Yes, teenagers keep me hopping!  I blog at several places.  Most of you may be interested in my How To Homemaker blog where I give all kinds of tips and tricks related to cooking, cleaning, organizing and more with a few crafts thrown in as well.  My other blogs are Basketmaster's Weavings where I share my love of basket weaving.  Also, My Fragrant Home is my newest blog which is a documentation of my life as being a new Scentsy independent consultant.  Between those three places I probably have something for everyone.  I guess one of my real hobbies is writing and spending way too much time on the computer!  I hope you will stop over at one of my sites to say "Hello."

Today for you I want to share how to make those adorable Smores In A Jar.  You may have seen some of these at craft fairs.  Let me tell you, they make a GREAT gift.

Look what the kids and I made! I actually saw this the first time at Easter with those little marshmallow bunny peep candies. What a great gift to give. Be sure when you give it to put it in a holiday basket filled with paper raffia or lined with a holiday napkin. Also, have patience and take your time when getting those little ghosts to stand upright in their place. They want to fall over. Enjoy!
Nancy
Halloween Smores In A Jar
Ingredients:
1 quart mason jar
1 sleeve graham crackers
1 package holiday marshmallow peeps
one bag of holiday M&Ms candies
1/3 cup of brown sugar

Directions:
1. Crush 1 sleeve graham crackers to crumbs.
2. Layer 2/3 of the graham cracker crumbs in a 1 qt jar. Pack down the crumbs a bit.
3. Arrange 8 to 12 marshmallow holiday peeps standing up, facing out around the inside of the jar. Press them up against the glass, but don't squash them.
4. Carefully spoon remaining cracker crumbs in the center of the jar to support the peeps, pressing down to keep it snug.
5. On top of this pour 1-1/4 cup M&M's in holiday colors.
7. Spoon 1/3 cup brown sugar into center of M&M's, gently pressing with a spoon. If you have any room left over, fill the jar to the top with M&Ms.

Cooking directions:

1. Empty the jar contents into a bowl.
Snip the peeps into bits with kitchen shears or cut up with a knife.
Return the peep bits to the mixture. Mix well.
2. Melt 1/2 cup butter; add 1 teaspoon vanilla. Pour this over the dry ingredients, mixing well. Pat into a greased 8" or 9" square pan. Bake at 350 degrees F for 15 minutes. Cool and cut into bars.

Monday, October 4, 2010

How To Homemaker Doesn't Pay the Bills

Hi Friends,
I know this blog has been rather stagnant the last couple of weeks.  There are several reasons for this.  First, I told you HERE in my post 30 Days Towards Saving Money that I have joined Scentsy which is a direct selling company, a party plan like Tupperware or Mary Kay but this involves flameless candles.  I'm doing Scentsy to help us get ahead in the area of financial freedom.  There are only so many hours in the day and so some things have to give.  Blogging has been one of those things that has temporarily been put on the back burner.  I say temporarily because I have every intention of resuming it back into full swing when I have had time to catch my breath.  Scentsy is keeping me going at a steady pace and I couldn't be happier about it.  I know I wrote before that this blog would NOT become a Scentsy commercial and I promise you that it won't.  The only thing I would like to say is that if any of you have considered trying Scentsy either in product or with earning extra income, please take a quick moment to pop over to my Scentsy Website.   How to Homemaker just is not moving us forward with our financial plan and so I must be realistic about my time management and where I am spending my time.  I knew though when I started blogging that it was not for monetary gain.  I never wanted a blog full of ads or click through money making links.  Just not cool in my opinion.  I like to help others and that is why I started How To Homemaker.  I still want to help others which is why How To Homemaker is only on pause for the time being. 

One benefit about Scentsy that I just have to share is that it has allowed me to share my Christianity with others.  Not that I go around preaching and this that's not what this company is about, it has just allowed me to develop some friendships and bonds and through those I've had a chance to share my love for Christ.  This has been an unexpected benefit and I just think WoW!

That said, How to Homemaker will resume just as soon as things steady out for me and I regain my hold on both now doing a job that I'm thoroughly enjoying and maintaining our household.  Freezer meals have become something I rely on right now and I've been doubling and tripling recipes every chance I get.

Thanks for your understanding and Happy Homemaking.
Blessings,
Nancy

Friday, September 24, 2010

Jen from Tatertots and Jello

Dear Friends,
Today I'm blogging over at Tatertots & Jello where I will teach you how to make adorable Smores in a Jar.  Jen is over here today showing some of her exciting projects.  Her blog is FULL of inspiration so please stop by to visit her and say hello.
Happy Homemaking.
Nancy

Hi -- I'm Jen from tatertots & jello and I'm so excited to be here at Nancy's wonderful blog!

I'm a mom of four who loves creating and trying out new things. I created tatertots and jello as a place to let out some of my creative energy and meet new friends!



Some of my loves are refashioning my wardrobe...
I Love decorating for the holidays...

And making things out of burlap...

I also love redecorating my home!

Thanks for letting me stop by and say hi Nancy!!!

Drop by sometime - I would love to meet you all!

XOXO

Jen

Thursday, September 23, 2010

How To - What Foods Work Well for Freezer Meals

Good Morning Friends!

First off before I get going with my subject, I want to let you know I've had a couple of questions about making freezer meals.  I'll be answering them all together in a future post.  I figure there may be several of you who have the same questions. 

If any of you have freezer meal questions, either e-mail them to me or post them as a comment and I'll add them to the list.

Ok.......When looking through your recipes and deciding which ones you would like to double, triple etc. and then freeze, here are some things to think about when selecting the recipes.

Meats bread rice and beans all freeze well.

Butter works better than margarine in freezing.

Porous foods absorb flavors of other ingredients which is why sometimes leftovers taste better the second day.

Lettuce, cabbage, radishes, and cucumbers become mushy although they can be used to make a broth.

Mayonnaise and sour cream tend to separate.

Meringues can become tough.

Gelatin can lose water.

Crumb toppings tend to become soggy.  Often they can be added during the reheating of a frozen dish.

The more moist a recipe is, the better it freezes.

Always test a recipe for freezing before you triple or quadruple it.  Make two of your recipe.  Eat one tonight and freeze the other.  Then in a week or so, try your frozen dish.  Some spices can lose their flavor and some can become stronger during freezing.  If it tastes well after reheating, then add it to your menu.  You don't want to make multiple of a recipe if you find it doesn't freeze well or you don't care for the taste after it has been frozen.

Happy Homemaking and I hope you will soon give freezer batch cooking a try!
Nancy

Monday, September 20, 2010

Benefits of Make Ahead Freezer Meals

Dear Friends,
I wrote about HOW I do make ahead meals in this post HERE, but today I would like to speak about the benefits of batch cooking.

Some benefits seem obvious, but when you are up to your eyeballs in cooking multiple meals, using your largest pots and pans, you might need a little boost of encouragement as to why you are doing this.

The first benefit is time.  Consider how calm your life would be if you didn't have to worry about shopping, prepping and mixing ingredients into something your family will enjoy.  By combining "like activities" together, you are literally going to save hundreds of hours.

Money is the next benefit.  By knowing you have food ready to eat in the freezer, you are less likely to dine out.

By cooking your meals from real food with out all the preservatives and fillers, you are getting better nutrition.

Ministry.  With having meals on hand, you can easily help those in need.  Someone who has just had a baby or just had surgery would be overjoyed to have a delicious meal that only needed to be put in the oven for heating.

Did you know that cooking in bulk can be a a good steward of our resources?  You are saving water and energy by doing all your cooking and cleaning at once.  Since you have the oven already heated to bake one cake, to bake several eliminates all the preheating time.

Instead of rushing around frantically trying to get dinner on the table, you now have dinner in the oven and can spend quality family time with your children and spouse.  Also consider doing your batch cooking together as a family so that you can visit while chopping vegetables or other prep work.

Less stress and peace of mind.  You know you will be providing your family with good nutritious meals in a now relaxed environment.

I hope this encourages you to try batch cooking on occasion.  Next time, I'm going to speak about what recipes work well for making in batches.

Happy Homemaking,
Nancy

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Law of the Garbage Truck

Hi Friends,
This has been going around the internet so I'm sorry I don't know the original author.
I hope you enjoy it and have a blessed Sunday.

Law of the Garbage Truck


One day I hopped in a taxi and we took off for the airport. We were driving in the right lane when suddenly a black car jumped out of a parking space right in front of us. My taxi driver slammed on his brakes, skidded, and missed the other car by just inches! The driver of the other car whipped his head around and started yelling at us. My taxi driver just smiled and waved at the guy. He was really friendly.

So I asked, "Why did you just do that? This guy almost ruined your car and sent us to the hospital!" This is when my taxi driver taught me what I now call, "The Law of the Garbage Truck."  He explained that many people are like garbage trucks. They run around full of garbage, full of frustration, full of anger, and full of disappointment. As their garbage piles up, they need a place to dump it and sometimes they'll dump it on you. Don't take it personally. Just smile, wave, wish them well, and move on. Don't take their garbage and spread it to other people at work, at home, or on the streets.

The bottom line is that successful people do not let garbage trucks  take over their day. Life's too short to wake up in the morning with regrets, so...Love the people who treat you right. Pray for the ones who don't.

 Life is ten percent what you make it and ninety percent how you take it!

 Have a blessed, garbage-free day.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Traveling Organization Tip and your Household Notebook

Hi Friends,
First off, I want to tell you I'm entering a busy season of the year so posts will not be every day.  Don't think I'm forgetting you because I'm not.  I'm going to post when I can.

Today's tip is about your household notebook.  I wrote about it in this post HERE and another post HERE.
This time I want to talk about a section of it that you might want to include.  It is about traveling.  (I have my specific page under my son's Boy Scouts tab)

Since my husband and son camp every month with the scouts they have a number of things to gather up for their trips.  I have a generic list in my household notebook that contains the things they need to be sure and bring on their campouts.  Most everything for the campouts kept together in a shed we have and is all in one place.  Still, it behoves them to go over their list and insure that they have everything needed.  There have been times the flashlight has been taken from the shed and used for other things and not found its way back home.

I have another list for traveling that has things I don't want to forget.  I have a cosmetic bag with travel size containers that I can just grab and throw in a suitcase.  Still, since I don't travel often, how awful is it to forget that on the last trip I ran out of deodorant and didn't replace it.  Yuck!  Other important things on the list are contact lens solution for hubby as well as shaving cream.  I also want to be sure to throw in a few vitamins as well as some Tylenol, band aids and other very basic first aid supplies.

Here is my point, when you do things repetitive, like travel, make a generic list and have those lists on hand.  Just a quick glance through the list will let you know if you are forgetting anything and it can save you huge trouble later.  Remember the boy scout motto:  Be prepared!

Happy Homemaking,
Nancy

Monday, September 13, 2010

How To - 30 Days Towards Saving Money - Part 2

Hi Friends,
Remember when I spoke about saving money in this post HERE.
I was going to record where every penny went during the month of August and analyze my findings.  My goal this past month was to see where we were spending money needlessly in order to cut back and save.  My savings goal was/is to put more money on the principle of our home and get it paid off as soon as possible.

The Results

Recording every penny was an eye opener.  I'll share just a few figures with you.  Groceries for 5 (5 adults as we have three teenagers in our home)  was $404.  I'm pretty frugal in watching prices and stocking up when items are on sale as well as matching coupons to sales.  I also don't cook high dollar meals like steaks except on rare occasions.  I stretch meals with beans and pasta and don't throw away leftovers.

Dining out was $488.  Yikes.  We typically eat out two meals a week, once on Friday night and again after church. 

Another category was clothing, but I should rename this category to "there's always something" category.  "There is always something" we need/want to spend extra money on.  The reason it was clothing during the month of August was because of the kids needing school clothes and shoes.  I haven't spent a penny this month on clothes and will hardly spend anything on clothes until spring now.  That said, "there is always something".  Next month Mike and I are going away for 4 days on a much needed vacation.  Then there is Christmas.  It's always something.

The Solution

We have sat down as a family and discussed numerous things.  A person never knows what is going to happen tomorrow so being in a debt free place is where we want to be.  What if Mike lost his job?  Where would we be then?  So...

1.  The one area we are focusing on is dining out.  It frustrates me to spend money eating out when the food at the restaurant is only as good as my cooking.  If we're going to eat out, I want it to be something that I  can't or don't cook and I want great flavor.  Otherwise, I can just make it at home.  We are cutting back our dining out to only one day a week, after church.  I just hate coming home from church and feeling rushed to get a meal on the table to a hungry group, so that is going to be our dining out time of the week.  So far this month of Sept. we are doing good.

2.  I'm going to help contribute to the income. 

You may have seen on the left hand sidebar that I'm an Independent Scentsy Consultant.  I have signed up with them and am having my business launch party, open house, tomorrow night.  (Wish me luck)!
I've done direct sales one other time when we lived in Florida with a new scrapbooking company.  Unfortunately they were very new and didn't make it off the ground so that ended sadly for me as I enjoyed it. 

This time I chose a company with a product that has been in business and is doing well and I am passionate about.  Scentsy is a flameless candle (it uses a small light bulb) to melt the most yummy fragrant wax in a gorgeous ceramic container.  I'm going to take a moment to tell you that I'm not going to make this blog an advertisement for Scentsy.  I might bring it up from time to time and I'll keep the link on my sidebar, but I promise you I won't more than once a month to let you know about their specials.  I don't want this blog to be a big ad.  The only thing I will say, is that if you are thinking about these as Christmas gifts, would you consider clicking on my link in the sidebar to get to my Scentsy website.  Also, if you are wanting to do a fundraiser for anything, I'd be happy to help you out with that as well.  If you want to be connected to me on my new Scentsy facebook page the link is here at: My Fragrant Home.

I've discussed with Mike that my earnings as a consultant are going towards the principle on the house.  I always believe in tithing and so my top 10% are going to Christian organizations that I benefit from.  We give to the church weekly, but I've been wanting to support other ministries that have benefited me.  Each day, I listen to Christian podcasts,  The Daily Audio Bible, Joyce Meyer, and Homemakers By Choice.  I have gained so much from these and it is time for me to give back.  So each month I'm going to give my top 10% to one of these places that has given to me.

Another reason I chose to do Scentsy is because it allows me to be flexible with my days and times and it is a business I can grow.  I'm going to confess, I'm afraid of the empty nest syndrome.  I really am.  Katie is a senior in high school this year.  My sweet babies are growing up and it won't be long before they are out of the house.  Yikes again!  I want something that I can start out slow and build to keep me active and social and honestly, not feel alone as my kids start their own lives.

Okay... Did any of you keep a record of your expenses this past month?  Let me know if you did.  Also, leave me a comment if you have any money saving tips or any tips on how to deal with preparing for the empty nest syndrome.

Happy Homemaking.
Nancy

Friday, September 10, 2010

What Baking Soda Can Do for You

Good Morning Friends,
Baking Soda.  It is inexpensive and very versatile.  I've spoken about it before.  It is a great arsenal to have in your cleaning caddy or cupboard at all times.

Use baking soda to help remove baked-on food and odors in utensils, cookware, chopping boards, coffeepots, garbage disposals, freezers, refrigerators, help remove stains on plastic utensils and dishes, remove bathtub rings, clean sinks, counter tops, chrome fixtures, fiberglass shower stalls and plastic laminate.

You can use it in three ways to do the things listed above.  First you can make a paste.  Do this by mixing 3 parts baking soda to 1 part water.  You can make a solution by mixing 1/4 cup baking soda to 1 quart water.  Finally you can use it dry.  Sprinkle it straight from the box and rub with a damp sponge or cloth.  Then rinse it off and dry. 

Handy, handy, handy.
Happy Homemaking,
Nancy

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

The Perfect Casserole Formula


Good Morning Friends,
From time to time I make casseroles. They are good for me to make when I want to disguise leftovers or clean out the refrigerator. I always have just a simple formula in my head that I follow:
  • A cooked meat such as chicken or ground beef
  • A cooked carbohydrate such as pasta or rice
  • A vegetable
  • Can of creamed soup
  • Few spices such as salt, pepper and garlic powder
  • Cheese
I combine ingredients and bake at 350 for 20 minutes. It is really just a mish-mash but I just make sure I make enough for our family of five.
Recently I got the book below and there is a really good casserole recipe in it. It is called "Spicy Pasta and Sausage Bake." I used a link Polish sausage that you can see above. It was a great hit with my family and it is giving me a new base formula. It uses my formula above plus a couple of different things.
  • The pasta is cooked in chicken broth
  • A can of Ro-Tel tomatoes (get the spicy you like) are used instead of a can of creamed soup
  • 1/2 cup heaving cream is added
My casserole formula has changed! I can now hide leftovers more easily once again!
You may know I'm a test cook for America's Test Kitchen who published this book. Most times when I test recipes for them my kitchen is FULL of dirty dishes and it takes me some time to prepare them. This book is simple recipes that can be made in 30 minutes or less and my kitchen has not been messy when I've finished. I've been cooking from it all week and have had a happy husband and kids. One plug I've got to put in for America's Test Kitchen. They test their recipes over and over and over a ridiculous amount of times to find the very best way to cook something. If we don't care for a recipe it is because we just don't care for the ingredients. The only food I really don't like to eat is sauerkraut. I can cook it the best possible way but no matter what, my taste buds don't like it. What I'm getting at is that 95% of the recipes here are a huge hit with my family.
Anyway, if you are a casserole maker, try my formula above and let me know what you think.
Happy Homemaking,
Nancy

Monday, September 6, 2010

How To - Healthy Living - Week 10 - Having a Healthy Holiday

Hi Friends,
I hope you are enjoying your labor day weekend.  We have company this weekend so this will be a short healthy living post. 

Today I want to give you a few tips about eating healthy.  I know many of you are enjoying family and when we are with family, food is present.  Here are some things to think about to help keep us from putting on a pound or two today or any day really.

Spend time playing with the kids.  Throw a frisbee or football and keep active.
Have a glass of water in hand at all times.  When you want to put something in your mouth, just take a sip of this great calorie free drink.
Use a small plate to dish up your food.  We tend to fill our plates, so just use a smaller dessert plate instead.
Go for the grilled food.  Grilling is a healthy form of cooking as the fat drips off the meat.
Be careful of salads laden with mayonnaise or other oils. 
Reach for the watermelon for dessert rather than the baked items.

What other tips will you be using today to eat healthy?  Leave a comment and let me know.
Also, if you have a post related to healthy living, be sure to link it up.

I almost forgot.  I lost another 1 1/2 pounds this week.  Total lost 9.5 pounds.  20.5 to go.

Enjoy your holiday today.
Nancy

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Making a Menu Board


Good Morning Friends,
Today I would like to show you something I made. It is my menu board that hangs in my kitchen. It's a dry erase board that is magnetic. I can write the menu for a specific meal on it or sometimes I write the meals for the week. What is handy is the magnets that can hold recipe cards so they are in easy reach when I'm ready for them.
Sometimes the kids will write what they WANT to have for dinner even if it is not in my plans!
The butterflies and letters were cut with the Cricut out of vinyl and I used the Storybook cartridge.
I hope you enjoy it!
Blessings,
Nancy

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Using a Blog Calendar

Dear Friends,
Do you use a blog calendar? I wanted to share mine with you as it is something that just helps me keep my thoughts straight when planning future posts.

I begin by downloading a free printable calendar. I got mine HERE. My preference is the one month on one page format. What I like about this one is that there is room for notes on the same page below the calendar.

I insert holidays and important family days on the calendar. Then I fill in the empty spots with blogging ideas as they come up. If I feature a friend that is typically on Fridays so I would write that information in on whatever Friday I want to schedule someone for.

I don't only think of holidays, I try to think ahead about the season or other events. For instance we are in September and fall is fast approaching along with Halloween.  These are things I want to keep in mind when writing posts.
Sometimes I run across information on the internet that I feel worthy of sharing. I can just schedule it for an empty day.

What do you do to help you schedule your posts?
Happy Homemaking,
Nancy

Friday, September 3, 2010

Think Pink Raffle for the Fight Against Breast Cancer

Dear How To Homemaker Friends,
On my basket weaving blog, Basketmaster's Weavings, I've been gathering items for a raffle in which all money will go to the Susan G. Komen foundation for the fight against breast cancer.  This all started when I wove the Pink Pot of Hope basket.

Below you can see all the prizes donated and I've put the post from Basketmaster's Weavings here.  Breast cancer is something that has severely touched my family.  I'm putting the PayPal donate button on this blog as well and all donations will enter you into the raffle.  Every penny donated will go to the Susan G. Komen foundation.  Please read through the post below and consider donating to this worthy cause.  Thank you so very much.
Blessings,
Nancy


Dear Friends,

You've been reading about it for months and I'm excited to say that today is the official start of my “THINK PINK” raffle! As you know, October is Breast Cancer awareness month, so all money donated will go to the Susan G. Komen Foundation for breast cancer research.

One lucky winner is going to get an amazing “THINK PINK” prize package!

The prize package will include:

Pink Pot of Hope basket woven by me

Matching pink set of Stampin' Up supplies from CJ at Tea n' Stitches

Pink Sentsy warmer and fragrance from Naomi at Sentsy

Handwoven scarf from Bety at Deep End of the Loom

Lia Sophia "Pink Flamingo" necklace from Faith
A Beautiful Pink Ribbon Bible, Handmade Pink Journal and Crochet Tote Bag from Julie at A Handwoven Life
---------------------------------------------------------

A second lucky winner will receive this beautiful Lia Sophia necklace and earing set also from my friend Faith.  I just received this beautiful jewelry for the raffle this morning so I want to take a moment to thank my dear personal friend and fellow basket weaving buddy.  Combined the jewelry is over a $95 value.  Thank you so much Faith.  You are truly special to me.



Raffle entries are $1.00 per “ticket” and can be purchased through PayPal (see "Donate" button in the sidebar)

The drawing will take place October 15, 2010.

Please be generous. This is a cause very near and dear to my heart as I've lost a grandmother and an aunt to breast cancer and my mother and other women in my family are breast cancer survivors. This disease affects many of us.

I would also be very appreciative if you would let others know about my “THINK PINK” raffle. Please write a blog post about this charity event and link back here. How about letting your Facebook, Twitter, and other social networking friends know about this so they can share the news with their friends? The farther we can spread the word, the more money we can raise.

With all your help this can be a wonderful success.

Thank you and God bless.

Nancy

Update - I just received Julie's donation of a beautiful Pink Ribbon Bible, Handmade Pink Journal and Crochet Tote Bag.  Julie made the journal and tote bag herself and her work is amazing.  What a beautiful addition to our prize package.  Thank you so much Julie!!!  Julie blogs over at A Handwoven Life and has a basket weaving website Deen Homestead Basketry

Thursday, September 2, 2010

How To - Skin a Chicken

Eating chicken without skin saves a lot of calories because the fat is right under the skin.  Instead of buying skinless chicken as it is more expensive, just remove the skin yourself.  The skin can be quite slippery, but if you grab it with a paper towel, you can get hold of the skin easier and slide it off.  Super easy.  Super quick.  Super healthy.  Saves money.  You can't beat that!
Happy Homemaking,
Nancy

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

How To - A Quick Home Fragrance

Expecting company and want the house to smell great?  Put a pot of water on the stove to boil.  Add some fragrant kitchen items.  Examples include cinnamon sticks, cloves, apple slices, orange or lemon peal, a little vanilla or almond extract.  Let these items simmer in the water until the water is nearly gone.  You can continue to add water as needed.  This is quick and so simple.  When anyone enters your home it will smell delicious.

Happy Homemaking,
Nancy

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

How To - Save Tomato Seeds for Next Year's Crop

Fermentation of Tomato Seeds.  Photo courtesy of About.com

Hi Friends,
We had some really delicious home grown tomatoes this year.  One plant was an Early Girl, another was Big Boy and last Sweet 100.  I had a few plants where the tomatoes were bland, but I really liked the results from the three I mentioned.

When you have great tasting produce, it is nice to save some seed from it to help get the same wonderful quality in a plant next year.

Some plants such as watermelon, pumpkin or peppers you can just save the seeds, dry them and plant next year.  Saving tomato seeds is a bit more complex as to get the best results it requires a process called fermentation.

About.com has the best site I found for taking you step by step through the fermentation process.  It shows great photos for each step.  We are in the fermentation process at our home right now.  It really isn't a difficult process, but it does take several days.  It will be next spring before I can tell you if our saving of tomato seeds was successful, but I'm thinking it will be as I'm being very diligent at following each step exactly.  I want to lead you to About.com for saving tomato seeds because as I said, the photos and explanation were like someone talking me through the process.

I hope you will give it a try.  Come next spring, you will be glad you saved those seeds so you can once again look forward to some delicious tomatoes.

Happy Homemaking,
Nancy

Monday, August 30, 2010

How To - Healthy Living - Week 9 - Benefits of a Buddy

Hi Friends,
We are on Week 9 of our Healthy Living series.  This week I lost 1/2 pound making my total 8 pounds with 22 pounds to go.  It is coming off at less than a pound a week despite my exercising which I'm doing 3 to 5 times a week.

This week I want to talk about the benefits of having a buddy or an accountability partner as you are working on your goal of living healthy.  The journey towards losing weight and living a healthy lifestyle can be a bumpy road and having someone to travel with you on that journey can make the ride much smoother.

Do you have a support system at home?  My husband and I are both on Weight Watchers together and we keep each other in check when it comes to our food choices and amounts we eat.  I go to the gym myself, but I'm thinking of switching gyms.  There is a new one that has opened up near me for only $10 a month and they have unlimited guest privileges.  Gyms are getting very competitive in their pricing and incentives.  My daughter as said she would like to go to the gym with me.  My husband would like to come from time to time and I think my mother-in-law would come with me as well when they visit.  So having unlimited guest privileges is enticing to me and I'm thinking very seriously of making the change.  Having an exercise buddy will help keep me from getting bored with exercise.  I remember when I worked for Physician's Weight Loss Centers.  Our most successful clients were on the program with a friend.

When looking for someone to support you, seeking a diet buddy who has the same qualities you see in your spouse or best friend may not be the ideal solution.  Experts say that sometimes, qualities you would never tolerate in a partner -- like holding you accountable for every bite you take -- could be the very qualities you need in a weight loss buddy.

Web MD says:
"Diet buddies are just two people who share a common goal and know they can count on each other to help them achieve that goal in whatever way it takes to do that," says Shafran.


For some, that may mean working out together or getting together to cook or swap recipes a couple times a week. For others, it can mean taking turns babysitting so that each of you can get to the gym separately.

Another consideration is mutual availability. Both partners should agree up front on how much time and energy they have to devote to the partnership, and discuss what they need from each other during that time.

Also important: The primary mode of contact and support. If you're constantly monitoring your email and need a buddy who's always there when you send out that Instant Message S.O.S., be sure you pick a buddy who is as computer-accessible as you. If what you really need is face-to-face contact, pick a buddy who has a similar need -- and the time to share.

"For some people, the anonymity of having an Internet buddy is the best solution. For others, it has to be someone who they can get together with for a Wednesday night weigh-in," says Shafran. "It doesn't matter, as long as both buddies want the same thing."
If any of you need encouragement, just send me an e-mail or leave a comment and I'll do my best to encourage you in meeting your goals be it weight loss or other healthy lifestyle goals.

As always, link up your post about healthy living and let us know what you are doing to get healthy.

Happy Homemaking,
Nancy

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Prayer Basket

Dear Friends,

You may have noticed I have another blog called Basketmaster's Weavings.  It is my first blog and showcases my love of weaving baskets.  I wove this basket several years ago. It is a peanut basket. You put your peanuts on one side and as you eat them, the shells go on the other. We don't often eat peanuts so I had this basket in my pantry holding some plastic silverware.  BTW...The following is an adapted post from Basketmaster's Weavings that I wrote over a year ago but it applies just as much today as it did the day I wrote it.

Now...I had been thinking about this for quite some time. I am always willing to lift up someone in prayer when needed, but sadly, often times my prayers are short and I go about my day and don't think about other's prayer requests or needs again.

Then...On Sunday, our Priest spoke lovingly about the wonderful healing power of prayer. He spoke about how our prayers help heal physically, mentally and spiritually and that it is our duty as Christians to thoughtfully and whole heartedly pray for others.

I knew when I came home from church on Sunday that I wanted to convert my peanut basket into a prayer basket. I put 3 x 5 cards on one side to write prayer requests on and as I pray for each one, I will move it to the "prayed" side of the basket. The next day, I can move all the cards back to the "pray" side and be reminded to continue and pray for that person's needs again.

I also feel....This will be a wonderful addition to our home for our family and a great example for our children. Anyone in the family can write down any prayer requests. When the family passes by the basket, they will be reminded to pray for those in need, or they may stop for a moment and take a card out of the basket and spend some special time in prayer for that one person. I'm going to keep it on the dining room table so it is highly visible and just another reminder to put God first.
I am always willing and happy to pray for anyone. If you have a special need, I will write it on a card and keep it in my prayer basket. My family and I will pray for you. Just leave a comment or send me an e-mail with your prayer request.

Have a Blessed Sunday and Happy Homemaking,

Nancy
This post links to:
Mom's the Word

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Energizing Bath Recipe

When it's hot and muggy outside and you need a quick pick-me-up, pour this recipe into your bathtub.

1/2 cup lime juice
1/2 cup lemon juice
10 drops lemon extract
1/2 cup baking soda (add baking soda only if you have hard water)

You don't even need to premix these ingredients.  Just measure and pour directly into your running water.  When you get out you will feel fresh and energized.

Happy Homemaking!
Nancy

Friday, August 27, 2010

The Investment In Sewing

Hi Friends,
Today I am posting over at my friend Kayla's blog kdl. blooms.  Kayla has such a pretty blog full of inspiration.  Here is what she has to say:
Hi everyone! My name is Kayla and I am a 21-year-old newlywed, university student. I am from Newfoundland, Canada (don't feel bad if you have no idea where that is, ha!). Being a wife and homemaker is my favorite job in the world! I love trying new recipes, paper crafts, and always have a DIY project in the works. I am pretty new to this whole blogging thing, but I am working hard on improving my own blog. I want to say thanks again to Nancy for helping me with that! I hope you'll drop by and visit soon :)
Over there I am talking about some of the major investments when getting started with sewing and what to look for when purchasing them.  Sewing is fun and is becoming more and more popular these days so if you are a new seamstress or even an experienced one, I think you will get some handy tips.
Please take a moment to pop over to kdl. blooms and see the post and also say hello to Kayla. 
 
Happy Homemaking,
Nancy

Thursday, August 26, 2010

How To - Birthday Tips

Hi Friends,
Today is my birthday so I thought it would be appropriate to give a couple of birthday tips.
First, when you are filling out your new calendar for the year, don't forget to put in all the birthdays and anniversaries you need to remember.  Do this first before adding all the kids activities and work schedule etc.  Write in all the birthdays in a different color ink so your eye is drawn to them.  A week before the birthday or anniversary, put a star or something on the calendar to remind you to send a card.

We often look at resolutions and where we want to be at New Years.  Use your birthday to look at your goals and see what you want to accomplish this year.  Write it down.  This year, I've decided that I'm going to really strive to learn more and deeper about the Bible and understanding God's word.  It is something I've been thinking about for a while now so I've decided to make a real point this year to attend as many Bible teachings that our church as to offer as is possible in my schedule.  I've always gone to church and have read the Bible but have never taken the time to truly study it.

Have a wonderful day everyone and if you have a special birthday tip or birthday activity you like to do with your family, please share it with me in a comment.

Blessings and Happy Homemaking,
Nancy

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

I'm Hosting a Give Away at Along for the Ride

Hi Friends,
Pop over to Along for the Ride where I am hosting a give away of my reed so you can make your own diffuser.  Remember the post HERE that shows them?  Now you can make your own.

Laura is the voice of Along for the Ride.  She is a Christian and has been doing the summer Kindness Challenge.  Laura is very creative and shares many of her craft ideas with her readers.  It is a beautiful blog full of inspiration.

Hope you will enter for a chance to win!
Happy Homemaking,
Nancy

Monday, August 23, 2010

How To - Healthy Living - Week 8 - Sometimes You Need Professional Help

Hi Friends,
I'm continuing on my weight loss journey and I'm glad to report that this week I lost 2 pounds making it 7.5 lost with 22.5 to go.  Yea for this week, but oh it is so slow.

The one thing that I know helped me this week is I got started back up with Weight Watchers.  Mike and I are both lifetime members and I try not to let my weight creep up so much.  It was past time to get back on track.

It's frustrating.  I know what to eat.  I know how to eat.  Heck, I even used to be a nurse for Physicians Weight Loss Centers.  Knowing what to do and actually doing it are two different things.  It makes me very frustrated with myself that I have to pay for a service that I am quite knowledgeable about and could do it if I'd just try.

Sometimes though, we just need to call in the big guns and pay for a little bit of help.  Using a weight loss program has some real benefits even if we feel we can do it on our own.

One of the best benefits is if you do not have knowledge in nutrition, most programs will teach you.  You will gain lots of information about foods regarding healthy eating and healthy dieting.

It makes us more accountable.  Sometimes putting down the almighty dollar helps us stick with a program.

It gets us on track with really looking at what and how much we are eating.

There are many weight loss programs out there and I'm not going to tell you which one is right for you should you decide to take this route.  I will tell you though that when looking into a program, look for one that you can live with.  Does eating only prepackaged food fit your needs so you don't need to weigh and measure?  Is flexibility in a program important to you?  Do you have specific allergies or aversions that would make a program difficult to stick with?  Does the program make sense?  Is it easy to follow?  Do you need medical guidance to help you with your weight loss?  Did a registered dietitian help set up this program so that it is balanced?  Does the hours that the weight loss center is open fit into your schedule?  How about cost?  Perhaps you are on the road and need a program that is in many cities or how about an online program.  There are even programs you can follow by reading books.

These are all questions to consider when looking at using a weight loss program.  Weight loss programs are a multi billion dollar industry.and as I said, there are many of them out there.  On most of them, you will lose weight if you just follow it.  Some though are not a safe form of weight loss.  A good thing to do is take a friend with you when considering a program.  He/She can look at it unbiased and give you some good advice if it doesn't sound like it is on the up and up.  Also, if you are trying to decide between 2 or 3 programs, just ask your doctor which they would recommend as well.  Your doctor certainly has your best interest at heart.

As always, link up your healthy living post below and lets get healthy together!
Nancy

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