Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The Day Each Year I Dread

Yes, that's my hubby up there!!!
I'm sure many women beg their husbands to get on the ladder and hang the Christmas lights.  Every year I tell Mike we can just decorate the lower half of  the house.  Mike says we aren't in the Christmas spirit if we don't decorate.  I only say not to hang the lights once (each year) after that I bite my tongue because this is important to him. 

I love you honey and I appreciate all you do for the family!

Now you are all probably wondering why I'm not holding the ladder for him!  I snapped a quick picture and got right back to bracing the ladder.

How do you decorate for the holidays?  Do you put up lots of lights?  Do you hang them from the top of a two story house?


Monday, November 28, 2011

Finish What I Start

I have decided to make my mantra for 2012 "Finish What I Start."  I have so many unfinished projects.  Not finishing projects is not making me a happy camper and it does NOT glorify God.

I'm so good about getting big ideas and being excited about them, then I lose my enthusiasm and it never gets to completion.

This leads to clutter, unnecessary spending, guilt over having spent time and money to get things started, which in turn leads to feelings of low self-esteem because I feel poorly about myself.  I also feel overwhelmed. 

I see so many unfinished projects I don't know where to start.  I feel like people in the TV shows "Clean House" and "Hoarders" who have so much stuff they can't even start cleaning their homes.  They are too overwhelmed to even know where to begin.  I feel like that because I'm being pulled in so many different directions to this project or that project.  Then a great idea hits and I want to start yet another project.  "Oh this new project will be different," I tell myself.  When I finish this latest project it will bring me happiness and fulfillment.  This project needs to be started and it will make me better in some way.  (I'm going to say right now that in no way does my home look like a home of a hoarder, but I have the same feelings of overwhelm that they feel.)  You know, right now I'm looking at my Christmas tree.  It is beautifully decorated except it is missing one thing, the star at the top.  We decorated the tree before we left for Thanksgiving.  I wanted the house to be done when we returned.  I just ran out of time and the star was in another box and I just haven't made the time to dig it out and put it on.  It's just lots of little stuff like that.  Sometimes though it is big things like huge craft projects.  It's just too many things that just aren't done.  Ugh!

Why do I stop working on the project?  Good question.  Sometimes I get bored.  Sometimes the project seems too big and daunting.  Sometimes other commitments pull me away from it and then I lose interest.  Sometimes the prep work is overwhelming like the area is cluttered.  It is easier to walk away.  Sometimes I lose something necessary to complete the project. 

You know, many projects could probably be finished in a day or less if I put my mind to it.

You know what else?  God loves me anyway, just who I am.  It is me who doesn't love myself so much when I think about these failed attempts.

So I focus on NOW, not even waiting for 2012 to concentrate on my motto of finish what I start.  I will look at each project I come across.  If I need to finish it, I will take steps necessary to do so.  If its not necessary and I have no desire, I will get rid of it.  My goal is to finish two projects for every one I start.  To say I won't start any new projects until I finish what I already have would be unrealistic.

I'm also going to try and record my accomplishments.  I'll try to finish my daily tasks before doing other things like the computer.

Thank you God for helping me do this. 

Dear God, through your divine grace and mercy, help me be highly successful in my projects and that throughout doing them and upon their completion you are glorified.  ~Amen~

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving

Dear Friends,
I am thankful for YOU!  As I bowed my head today in thanks, I am so grateful to our God for you and I treasure you with my heart.  You are loved both by Him and by me.
Happy Thanksgiving,

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Get Ready for Christmas - Part 4 - Peanut Butter Filled Chocolate Covered Pretzels

Dear Friends,
Are you ready for total delicious oh so yummy in your tummy goodness? 

Have you seen these?

Melt some of this...

It will look like this...

And then you get THIS!!!

Just look what my Timothy and I made together.  It was a fun hour spent.  These are going on the Thanksgiving table for nibbling.  I actually bought two of the containers of pretzels and what we made here was about 3/4 of one container and about a fourth of the chocolate.  We have enough for doing this again closer to Christmas.  Tim is very handy at helping me out in the kitchen and he enjoys cooking! (He'll make a great husband some day.)
Happy Homemaking and Blessings to all of you!
ps.  I bought both the peanut butter filled pretzels and the Ghirardelli chocolate at Sam's Club.  The Ghirardelli chocolate is some of the best tasting candy making chocolate I've found.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Get Ready for Christmas Part 3 - How To Create a Gift Wrap Center

Photo Courtesy of Country Living

Hi Friends,
When I was a little girl, I LOVED to wrap presents.  I would even wrap things using the colorful Sunday funnies from the newspaper.  As an adult and when my children were little I came to really dislike the chore of gift wrapping.  Seemed like a lot of work that was shredded and destroyed in minutes.  Work it was.  I would have to clear the kitchen table, find the tape, scissors and then clean everything up so we could eat and use our table again.  Then, and it would never fail, I would think I finished wrapping the last of the gifts and my children or husband would come up with a gift they needed wrapped for a friend or I thought of something else I needed to wrap.  Wrapping would take place many days between mid November and Christmas.  Every day the process of cleaning the table, getting out the wrap, ribbons and bows, finding the tape and scissors would all start again. 

Over the years I've seen beautiful gift wrap centers in magazines.  What an idea, but I didn't have the space.  Then, three years ago, I figured out how to create my own gift wrap center and I've just finished setting it up again for the holidays this year.

My gift wrap center is in my bedroom!  This way it is out of sight for the unexpected guest who might stop in for a visit.  I'm not having to clear off the kitchen table to wrap.  It's not that I have excess space in my bedroom.  I set up a card table.  The card table is taller than a round reading table/night stand that is in my room, so the reading table is now UNDER the card table along with some other things in order to make space for it.  It squeezes in my bedroom and it fits for the next 6 to 7 weeks.

Here is a list of things that I have in my gift wrap center:
  • Rolls of wrapping paper
  • Gift bags
  • Ribbon
  • Bows
  • Tags
  • Scissors
  • Tape
  • Pens
  • Twine
  • Trash can - IMPORTANT to have this!
  • Thank you cards/envelopes/stamps (we can write thank you notes right away and everything is all together)
  • CD player with Christmas music (nothing gets us in the holiday spirit more than music!)
My children know they can come into my bedroom and wrap away.  Everything stays all together and no more hunting for those lost items.  No more time spent clearing a space and then cleaning up afterwards.  I still don't like that my work is torn, crumpled and thrown away in a matter of minutes, but wrapping is more pleasurable having it all available with easy access.

Do you set up a gift wrap center?  I'd love to hear about it.

Happy Homemaking,
ps.  A shameless plea here.  I'm really trying to reach a new goal with my Scentsy business.  If you are considering Scentsy as a gift for yourself or someone else, would you please visit my Scentsy website  www.nancyjacobs.scentsy.us  to order.  It is truly a blessing to me and my family and we thank you for it. 
If any of you are interested in your very own full-time, part-time or fun-time business, consider joining my Scentsy team.  It's only $99 to join and Scentsy's benefits are the best in the industry.  And its FUN!!!  Believe me, I'm here to help you every step of the way to reach your goals and answer your questions.  I'm not someone who will make you figure it out on your own.  I'm here for you. If you have any questions, just e-mail me basketmaster_nancy@yahoo.com .  I am happy to speak with you.
Thank you and blessings!!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Luck, Coincidence or Answered Prayers

Hi Friends,
In my video today, which I actually recorded on Sunday, I discuss what I feel to be the difference between luck, coincidence and answered prayers.  This video is made due to an e-mail that I received from a non-believer who feels what happens is only luck or coincidence.  Nothing to them is an answered prayer, only luck or coincidence.  Sad...
Enjoy the video and may you have a blessed day.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Free Thanksgiving E-book

Hi Friends,
Janelle, over at Comfy in the Kitchen, has a free e-book, "Comfy in the Kitchen on Thanksgiving".  I know I'm adding her Cinnamon chip bread pudding recipe to my Thanksgiving menu this year.  Yum!  Double Yum!  I haven't made that recipe yet, but I'm giving it a try this weekend.  I've made some of her other recipes from her site and have had great success with them and they have received two thumbs up from the family.  It looks like such a good recipe to share with my extended family along with our traditional pumpkin and pecan pie.

Janelle is a sweet Christian lady who comes up with these wonderful and creative recipes.  Her blog is a rest for the eyes with all the good food.  (Actually, it has been known to make me quite hungry!)

Anyway, friends, if you are looking for recipes for this Thanksgiving, pop over to Comfy in the Kitchen and browse around a bit.  The link to the free e-book is on her right hand side bar.

Blessings and Happy Homemaking,

Saturday, October 29, 2011

What Did My Garden Grow? Help Please!

Hi Friends,
I was out picking tomatoes, the last of the red ones, and cleaning up the garden.  I had planted an eggplant, a plant I purchased at Lowes in the spring.  It obviously wasn't an eggplant.  I thought it was quite odd that it never produced any blooms and I figured that even though it still looked quite green it was too late in the season.  I might as well pull it and get rid of it.  What a shock!

Not an eggplant at all, but a root of some sort.  I really don't know what it is!  I'm 99% sure it is edible yet I don't want to eat something unless I'm 100%.  Anyone know what grew here in my garden?  The top of it is a purplish color.

Thanks for the help!
Seriously, anyone want to come over for some tomatoes.  I have double what is in the picture and tons of green ones.  Come have a cup of coffee or tea with me and I'll send you home with a bag of them!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Step on Your Tomato Plants! and Green Tomato Relish

If you haven't done this yet, give your tomato plants a kick and step on the stem where it comes out of the ground.  Don't completely break off the stem and by stepping on it you won't.  It will just split and kind of crush.  You need to do this 2 weeks before your first freeze, so for most of you, do it now!  Why you ask?  By stepping on the stem, it forces the tomatoes to turn red within the next couple of weeks.

I did this about a week ago and I have red tomatoes coming out of my ears.  Can I give some to you?!!

There will still be some green tomatoes left, but not as many as if I didn't do this.  I have been told that THIS Green Tomato Relish recipe is the BEST for green tomatoes.  I must confess I haven't made it yet, but it is on my to-do list for this weekend.

Recipe comes from Allrecipes.com and it's a 5 star recipe with almost 100 reviews!  That's good enough for me.
Happy Homemaking,

Green Tomato Relish
  • 24 large green tomatoes
  • 3 red bell peppers, halved and seeded
  • 3 green bell peppers, halved and seeded
  • 12 large onions
  • 3 tablespoons celery seed
  • 3 tablespoons mustard seed
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 5 cups white sugar
  • 2 cups cider vinegar


  1. In a grinder or food processor, coarsely grind tomatoes, red bell peppers, green bell peppers, and onions. (You may need to do this in batches.) Line a large colander with cheesecloth, place in sink or in a large bowl, and pour in tomato mixture to drain for 1 hour.
  2. In a large, non-aluminum stockpot, combine tomato mixture, celery seed, mustard seed, salt, sugar, and vinegar. Bring to a boil and simmer over low heat 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
  3. Sterilize enough jars and lids to hold relish (12 one-pint jars, or 6 one-quart jars). Pack relish into sterilized jars, making sure there are no spaces or air pockets. Fill jars all the way to top. Screw on lids.
  4. Place a rack in the bottom of a large stockpot and fill halfway with boiling water. Carefully lower jars into pot using a holder. Leave a 2 inch space between jars. Pour in more boiling water if necessary, until tops of jars are covered by 2 inches of water. Bring water to a full boil, then cover and process for 30 minutes.
  5. Remove jars from pot and place on cloth-covered or wood surface, several inches apart, until cool. Once cool, press top of each lid with finger, ensuring that seal is tight (lid does not move up or down at all). Relish can be stored for up to a year.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Emily Update

Dear Friends,
This picture was taken 6 weeks ago.  Emily was so happy to be selected for the high school dance team.  The tryouts were back last May.  In this picture she was in pain.  Over the last two weeks she has spent much time in bed and there are few days she can make it to school.  She has constant pain throughout her body and sleeps most of the day.  For those of you new to my blog Emily, our 16 year old daughter, has been suffering from Lyme's disease. 

It has been over 27 months since we have been dealing with this and things just seem to continue to get slowly worse.  (Maybe things are actually getting better, but it sure feels worse right now.)  It was last May when she started getting treatment for her Lymes.  For such a long time we didn't even know what it her mysterious illness was.  We've had good days and bad days throughout, but the bad days have become really bad days and are the norm.  I was hesitant about her trying out for the dance team, but I said nothing as I wanted her to be like the other kids and have the opportunity to do the fun things that girls her age get to do.  The doctors all say that it is important for her to keep exercising as well.

We were back to see her Lyme disease doctor a few weeks ago.  We see a specialist out of state for this and it was our second visit to him.  Lyme just seems to be like a game, some sort of a sick game where the bugs play hide and seek in a person's body trying to do their best to evade antibiotics.  Emily's medication changes monthly and I know it's hard on her body.  They, the doctors, say that because she is feeling so poorly that is actually a good sign as it means the Lyme bugs are dying off.  As those bugs dye they release a toxin in her body that causes the increased pain and fatigue.  Still, it has me second guessing myself every move I make with her.  She's got a box of prescriptions for this or that regarding her Lyme and pain pills don't seem to touch it.  Emily is so over all this pain, we all are.  It has been extremely discouraging lately.  Even though the increase in pain is supposedly a good sign, to be in such all over constant pain has led to some incredible depression and frustration.  There are many days Emily doesn't want to continue this life.  Still, as hard as this is, I give God thanks as I have to put my total faith that He is working behind the scenes and we will see evidence of this soon.  What else can I do?

We've gotten Emily on a plan at school that allows kids to miss days due to medical conditions.  In the past two weeks she has only been in school two days each week and since school started this fall she has never made it all five days each week.  I don't know how she can keep up.  That gives me stress, but I guess I just need to forget about that right now.  Education can always come later or with summer school, or whatever if needed.

So please, I sound like a broken record here, but continued prayers for Emily.  Pray that the pain leaves her body.  Pray for ultimate and complete healing.  Pray that she can fight the depression she is feeling and not take matters into her own hands and do something stupid.  Pray that each medication choice is the right one for her and pray for her doctor and his staff.  Also, pray for our other kids, Katie 18 and Timothy 14.  We do our best to spend quality time with them but they often get the shaft because of Emily's needs.  They understand, but it's hard on them too.  I think that's all.  Thanks friends.  I love you.


ps.  Sometimes in the back of my mind I think that God is preparing Emily for something really great.  I picture her at an older age speaking to other children in pain with empathy in that she knows what they are going through.  I even picture Emily finally understanding why she had to go through what she is dealing with now and thanking God for it so that she was able to gain the knowledge and understanding to help others.  I guess this image helps me deal with it all.  I can't wait for the day that I can write you all a praise report.

What's Your Goliath?

Hi Friends,
We probably know the story about David and Goliath in the Bible.  Do you know how that story can relate to each of us today?  What is your Goliath?  You can face it, just like David did!
God Bless,

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Getting Ready for Christmas Part 2

Photo Courtesy of SouthernLiving.com

Did you know we are down to 61 days before Christmas?  Did you shudder at that thought or did you think, no problem? 

Well, I'm thinking of Christmas.  In fact, I celebrate Christmas with my side of the family at Thanksgiving and Mike's side at Christmas.  This means, I have to have half of my Christmas planning done in something like 30 days!  (I'll have to go and count but it is something like that).  Then in between Thanksgiving and Christmas we host a big employee Christmas party in our home for Mike's work and I also give small gifts to neighbors, friends, and some in my church family.  In preparation, my sewing machine has been whirring and creating a couple of hours each day.  (I can't wait to show you what I've been working on!)

I wrote about my frozen cookie dough gift plans HERE.  This is quick, easy and fits in my budget.  These will be gifts to neighbors and friends.  My plan is that my girls will help me with this and we will make enough for them to give to their friends as well.  There's going to be a lot of cookie dough baking going on around here.  Another reason I'm doing the dough is because people get so many sweets at Christmas time, they can save the dough in their freezer and get it out when they've eaten all their other goodies.

Several of you asked what recipe I was going to use.  There are certain types of cookies that work well for frozen cookie dough.  They include:  short breads, chocolate chip, oatmeal, peanut butter, refrigerator and sugar cookie recipes.  After thinking about it, most of my neighbors and friends have children and kids seem to go for chocolate chip so that is what I decided to make.  My intent is that the dough can remain in their freezer and their kids can simply slice off a bit of dough and make a few cookies as they want them.  (Since my own children are older, most of my friends have older children as well who can cook and run the oven without supervision.) 

You could probably use your favorite chocolate chip recipe in making the freezer dough, but in case you are looking, here is the recipe I'm going to use, it is my favorite tried and true recipe that I've made a hundred times.  Nestle even says in their recipe that the dough can be stored in the freezer up to 8 weeks.  My plan is to make all the dough December 9th and 10th and then start delivering it on the 11th.

If you are doing freezer cookie dough for gifts this year, I'd love to hear what type you are making.
Happy Homemaking and Blessings,

ps.  To get you going, here is a link to a coupon for Nestle's Chocolate Chips!

Photo and Recipe courtesy of Nestle's Very Best Baking

Nestle Toll House Cookies

  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 cups (12-oz. pkg.) Nestle Toll House Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
  • 1 cup chopped nuts


PREHEAT oven to 375° F.

COMBINE flour, baking soda and salt in small bowl. Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract in large mixer bowl until creamy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in morsels and nuts. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto ungreased baking sheets.

BAKE for 9 to 11 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.

PAN COOKIE VARIATION: Grease 15 x 10-inch jelly-roll pan. Prepare dough as above. Spread into prepared pan. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown. Cool in pan on wire rack. Makes 4 dozen bars.

dough as above. Divide in half; wrap in waxed paper. Refrigerate for 1 hour or until firm. Shape each half into 15-inch log; wrap in wax paper. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.* Preheat oven to 375° F. Cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices; place on ungreased baking sheets. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely. Makes about 5 dozen cookies.

* May be stored in refrigerator for up to 1 week or in freezer for up to 8 weeks.

FOR HIGH ALTITUDE BAKING (5,200 feet): Increase flour to 2 1/2 cups. Add 2 teaspoons water with flour and reduce both granulated sugar and brown sugar to 2/3 cup each. Bake drop cookies for 8 to 10 minutes and pan cookie for 17 to 19 minutes

Monday, October 24, 2011

A Work of Art

We might feel as meaningless as this blank canvas.  We might feel like we are a mess as with this painter.  But God is continually shaping, molding and creating us.  The video is only 2 minutes.  I hope you will take a moment to watch and remember that we are a work of art in God's hands.
I love this!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Smores in a Jar

Hi Friends,

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!
Halloween Smores In A Jar
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

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.

This post links to:

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Hi Friends,
I'm starting a Bible study of 1John.  I'm finding it to be very inspirational and touching my heart.  It's so good to really meditate and study God's word.  You can join in on the study over at Good Morning Girls.  Over at the Kernels of Wheat podcast they are also going through 1 John.

Are you in a Bible study right now?  I'd love to hear what you are studying.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

$35,000 List

Mary Kay from Mary Kay Cosmetics used a list that is nicknamed the $35,000 list and it is something she attributes to her success.  It is a great way to improve your productivity.  In the video I tell you how to make your own $35,000 list.
Enjoy and Blessings,

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Start Your Day Off Right

Hi Friends,
Today I share a short story about my time with God first thing this morning and the importance of doing this.
When do you get your God time in?
This Post Links To:

Good Morning Girls

Women Living Well

Monday, October 3, 2011

Free Online Quilt Magazine

Hi Friends,
I wanted to let you know of a FREE online quilt magazine you can subscribe to.  OnlineQuiltMagazine.com
It is scheduled to arrive online every month.  When you subscribe, as a thank you, they are sending a free quilt pattern plus 67 quick tips for quilters.
Looks like fun!

Home Blessing AKA To-Do List

Hi Friends,
Today I share with you my homemaking schedule I call my Home Blessings list.  Home Blessing came from my days with Flylady. 

Proverbs 14:1 A wise woman builds her house but a foolish woman tears it down with her own hands."

By doing my home blessing each day I am making my home a place of peace and comfort and I'm building it up.

Blessings and Happy Homemaking,

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Getting Ready for Christmas Now Part 1 - Frozen Cookie Dough

Photo Courtesy of SouthernLiving.com
Hi Friends,

I ran across the idea for this yummy treat on other blogs last year and I thought how perfect to make frozen cookie dough for Christmas gifts for the neighbors and my children's friends.

My children love cookies and are always asking for me to buy ready-made cookie dough just for the convenience.  Schools sell ready-made cookie dough for fundraisers and it is so tempting for the kids.
I know my three kiddos would be thrilled to received a package of cookie dough so they could bake just the quantity they want at their convenience.

There are several reasons I like this idea so much.  First is because between Thanksgiving and Christmas our home is laden with sweets from kind gift givers.  How nice it would be to receive something we could put into the freezer and enjoy later when the holidays are over.  Second, this is a budget friendly gift that doesn't add clutter.  How nice is that!  Third, this is gift preparation I can do well in advance and it will free my busy holiday time up for other fun activities. Fourth and finally, this is a gift my children can make for others.  My children are all teenagers and require only minimal supervision in the kitchen so they can do this all themselves for their friends.  And they can clean up my kitchen too when they are finished!!

When giving frozen cookie dough as a gift, be sure to double wrap the dough.  Write the name of the cookie and the baking instructions on a gift tag included with the dough.

It's time to start thinking about Christmas now.

Happy Homemaking and Blessings,

This post links to:

Homestead Revival

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Garden Blessings

Hi Friends,
Come along and take a walk through my garden.  I want to show you what is growing!
Happy Homemaking (and gardening),

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Holiday Catalog

Hi Friends,
I know I'm showing a lot of Scentsy stuff lately.   I never want to be pushy about this (or anything) but when I am excited about something, I love to share it! People have been telling me to share Scentsy products and opportunity with you all more, so I'm really trying to NOT come across as being too forward.  I would like to show you the great new things Scentsy has come out with for the holidays.  If you are considering some Scentsy items, warmers with wonderful holiday fragrances and the sweet buddies for children, for the holidays, would you please consider getting them from my Scentsy site.  It is truly a blessing to me and my family and I can't begin to tell you how much I appreciate YOU. 
Could I ask one more favor please...If you know of someone who is looking for Scentsy, could you direct them to me as well.
Thank you so very much.
Love and Blessings,

Thursday, September 15, 2011

The Root Word of Discipline

Hi Friends,
Did you know the root word of discipline is disciple.  Lets talk about that.

This post links to:

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

An Hour a Day Puts You in the Elite Group

You will be surprised at how just an hour a day for a year can really set you apart in any area of your life.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

How To - Save Money at the Gas Pump

Hi Friends,
I don't know about you, but I'm finding myself driving more since the kids have gotten out of school.  They want to go here and there.  Because of this I thought it would be timely to share a few tips on how to save money at the gas pump.

Anticipate that the light will be turning red and ease off the gas rather than gunning it to fly across on the yellow.  Easing off on the gas is much better than having to brake hard.

Turn off your air conditioner.  Um... I guess I could do that in the morning and evening hours.

Use your cruise control when traffic is light.  It keeps your speed constant eliminating the need to accelerate.

Reduce weight.  Hahaha. I'm laughing at this if you read yesterdays post about me exercising and trying to lose weight!  No seriously, get things out of the car and trunk that don't need to be in your vehicle.  That will save gas.

Pick a better route.  Pick a route with fewer stoplights.  Sometimes the shortest route is not always the best on fuel.  Sometimes the stoplights in my area are a two full minutes.  There are areas where I can actually drive around the block or take a slight jog in my route to avoid these long lights.  I'm not exactly sure if doing these maneuvers saves on gas, but it does keep my blood pressure down.

Speaking of pressure, keep your tires at their recommended inflation pressure.

Reduce drag.  Remove any luggage roof rack or bicycle rack if you are not using them.

Use the correct grade motor oil.  Consult your handbook for what is best for your vehicle at this time of year.  If you use a wrong grade that can cause more friction of the engine, causing it to run hotter and causing it to use more gas.

Drive less.  Combine your trips.  Ok, this one goes with out saying.  It is just hard for me when the kids are bored in the afternoon and want to do something.  One thing I try to do is to talk to the kids about the plans for tomorrow and see if we can't combine some of our activities.  I like going shopping in the morning, but lately, I have to put my preferences aside and adjust my shopping time to coordinate with the kids going to the pool. 

Friday, August 26, 2011

One Nation Under God by Jon McNaughton

Dear Friends,
God speaks to each of us in his own quiet voice and calls upon each of us to do his works in different ways.  Just like when I did the YouTube video on how "Some of us are like an ashtray".  God has used this man in his own way to share His word with the world through a beautiful painting.

Is God speaking to you?  Are you listening as Jon has?

I hope you enjoy this as much as I did.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Success Through Completion

99% of your success is achieved just through completion!  Lets see that we get things finished rather than having a bunch of unfinished projects.
Happy Homemaking,

Monday, August 22, 2011

We Are a Work In Progress

Hi Friends,
Today I share what I have been teaching my focusing on with my children on how God creates us all differently and we are continually a work in progress.  God creates us all beautifully and perfectly in his eyes.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

The Case of the Missing Blueberries

Hi Friends,
A personal friend of mine sent me this link (thanks Barb) about how there are no blueberries in products you think really contain them.  You think you are getting some good anti-oxidants, but that may not be the case.  It is very interesting to watch this.


Please let me state here, I have nothing against the companies listed in this video, I only think it shows us that we as consumers should be aware of what we are buying and to be sure and read the labels and fine print.  As moms and wives, we should be aware of not only what we put in our own bodies, but what we are giving our families as well.

Blessings and Happy Homemaking,

Thursday, August 18, 2011

I hope to keep our home decluttered

Hi Friends,
Today I'm confessing how I feel I've been a poor steward of our money as I've been decluttering and taking things to Goodwill.  I faithfully resolve to use discretion with spending and not bring into my home items that do not get used or that do not make us happy.
Happy Homemaking and I hope you are getting some decluttering done with me.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

My Scentsy Business

Hi Friends,
A reminder that things are 10% off in the Spring and Summer catalog until August 31st.  Scentsy is also changing their policy for those of you who would like to join.  There is no longer the $150 every three month minimum!!!  This is great for those of you who would like the product but do not want to do this as a business!
Should you choose to do this, I am here to help you every step of the way.  Just send me an e-mail and I'll be more than happy to answer any of your questions.  Should you choose to do Scentsy as a part-time or full-time business, I'm here for you too with business support.  You can take Scentsy from as little to as much as you want and what works for you and your family!
Thank you all for your support in ordering Scentsy product from my website or joining my team.
Hugs and Blessings,
PS.  Scentsy is available for those of you in the US, Canada, Puerto Rico, Guam, United Kingdom and Germany!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Update on the Loft - It's Snowballing into an Avalanche

Hi Friends,
My little loft project has now turned into a HUGE loft project that includes our bedroom as well as the hallway.  We are not only cleaning and organizing the loft, we are stretching the carpet while everything is out as well as getting the carpet cleaned.  Oh I am getting tired fast!
Hugs and Blessings and pray for strength for me because I'm gonna need it!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

My Creative Space is a Train Wreck

Hi Friends,
I let you into my home and show you my loft which is where I like to craft and create.  It is totally uninspiring right now and has been for some time.  It collects junk and things don't have a home.  Not a very creative space indeed.  That is about to change......!!!
Happy Homemaking,

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Back To School Money Saving Tip

My children start back to school this week.  Right now the stores are running sales on all the necessary items, paper, pencils, dry erase markers, colored pencils and so forth.  It seems like every year the teachers ask for these items to be replaced in the classroom come January.  Keep this in mind and buy a few extra items now while they are on sale.  Then when the teachers have post their "wish lists" later in the year, you will already have these items on hand and you will have bought them when they were deeply discounted.  Other items to stock up on and get when on sale for the classroom are Clorox wipes, Kleenex and hand sanitizer.
Happy Homemaking,

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Nancy Shares - First Day of School and Jesus Loves You!

Hi Friends,
In today's video I share that my kids are going back to school today.  Katie is off to Madrid, Spain for World Youth Day.  I can contact her so e-mail me if you have any prayer requests.  I'll get them right to her.  I also talk about how Jesus loves YOU.  He loves you and me so much.  He loves every one of us.  Don't forget that and believe it with all your heart!!!!

I'm so looking forward to getting back into a routine now.
Blessings and not only does Jesus love you, I love you too!

Monday, August 8, 2011

My Favorite Family Calendar

(Ephesians 5:16 -- Make good use of every opportunity you have)
I am so happy with this calendar, its size, it has a place for each person in the family and it even has a place where to write what I have planned for dinner!
Happy Homemaking,

This post links to:

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Wretched - Kirk Cameron

"Instead of giving us justice like we deserve, He's paid our fine. Jesus spilled His blood for us and adopted us into His family..." ~ Kirk Cameron

You are loved by an almighty God.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Time Management and Using Our Time Wisely

Our time is a gift from God. We must be sure to use it wisely.
Dear Friends,
This is a combination of two posts that I published a year ago back in July 2010.  I've put them both together as I feel the importance of having a household notebook is worth repeating. 
I have a three ring binder in my kitchen that I keep important paperwork that I want close at hand. I'll show you pictures in another post. Everyone needs a household notebook to keep themselves organized. Your task, should you choose to accept it, is to buy a three ring notebook and a 3 hole punch if you don't already own one.

I learned today, yesterday for all of you reading, that I NEED a new section in my household notebook. I spent a little more than three hours of my life today at the Motor Vehicle Division (MVD). My oldest daughter is now at the age where she gets a regular driver's license, no restrictions. I had to take her to the MVD to get this taken care of and a parent needed to be present. There were already about 20 people sitting in chairs, not bad for my local MVD, and I knew I needed to settle in for about an hour to hour and a half wait. Thankfully I had my iPod to listen to some great podcasts, like the one I produce Making Our Home a Haven. (shameless plug)

What should have been an orderly event became total chaos, you don't need all the details but lets just say the number system they had in place was NOT effective and frustration and chaos ensued among the masses. I swore, and I don't swear, that NEVER again would I go there unless I am one of the first in line. I took note of their hours. They open at 8 am. I WILL be there at 7:30 am camping out like I'm waiting for a concert to be one of the first the next time I have to go.

Here is where the household notebook comes into play. I now have a new page that lists special hours and days for different places. I've included in it the hours of urgent care, hours when I can first call the doctor in the morning, hours and days when my hair dresser works, the vets special hours and more. I've always had a page with phone numbers, but I've never listed the hours. Some of these places you forget when they open because you don't go there often. With two more children in line to get driver's licenses, I will be going back to the MVD and I never want to forget that they open at 8:00 and that I must get there by 7:30. It is also a good idea to write down what type of documentation is necessary to bring. I always have to show proof of residency by presenting a utility bill with our address. I wrote that in the notes section of this as well.

Ok, I am a little more relaxed now after typing this and I think my risk of stroke has passed. Be sure to get yourself a pretty notebook and we will be covering more of this soon. I hope you all have a wonderful day that goes smooth with minimal frustrations. And if you do get frustrated today, can you learn something from it to prevent those same frustrations from occurring again?

Here is the second and final part on how to make a household notebook.

In the first picture above you get a glimpse into my kitchen.  I have a small section of counter between the refrigerator and pantry.  It's only good for making coffee and storing a cookbook and my household notebook, the white binder on the right.

Inside the binder I have folders that I punched with a three hole punch.  These are the folders that open up and have a pocket on each side.  This week they are on sale at Walgreen's for .09 each!  The white folder above says "menus" and it holds take out menus from restaurants in the area.  The other folders hold items for different activities such as Boy Scouts and other things we're involved in.

This calendar is one that was printed that shows Boy Scout activities.  Keep that three hole punch handy and it is easy to punch your holes and pop papers in the binder.

Here is a card holder.  This holds cards that I want from time to time, but they don't need to be in my purse.

In the above picture, it shows the divider tabs.  I have one for each member of the family.

I use my household notebook to hold things I want close at hand. This book originally came about because I would get piles of papers in my kitchen. These pieces of paper were things I wanted to keep for short term, less than a year, or that I wanted in my kitchen. You know when you sign your child up for an activity you get some important papers. I didn't necessarily want to file those papers in my file cabinet, what I consider long term filing. I wanted them more at my fingertips so they go in my household notebook.  I keep important school papers for the kids in the notebook as well, such as science fair information.  I used to use it to hold my cleaning schedule but I have that on the computer now.  I know some people use it for their bills.  I don't hold bills in it, but I have my budget in there.  There are various notes to myself that I keep in the household notebook that I want close at hand.  If you remember I wrote a page out of days and hours that various places were in operation.  My household notebook has changed over the years and has evolved into what works best for our home.  Basically though, if there is a piece of paper lying around the kitchen and it isn't trash or doesn't have a home elsewhere, chances are it will go into the household notebook. 

I also have heard of people putting their address book and phone numbers in their household book.  I keep my phone numbers in a Rolodex by the phone, but you might want your phone numbers in the book.  Something to think about.  Another thing to think about is using it to hold receipts for the month until you balance you bank statements.

One other section I have in the household notebook is notes for my menu planning.  Actually this is all in one of the pocket folders in the household notebook. 

Because of using this notebook, things are kept tidier in the kitchen and necessary items are at my fingertips.  I consider it to be a catch all of important mom information.  By the way, this is MY notebook.  I'm the one who adds and subtracts from it.  The family might use it to look up something, but they don't change anything in it.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Nancy Shares

Dear Friends,
In this short video below I am talking about how I am going to take How To Homemaker in a new direction. 
God Bless,

How To - Lets Prepare for Christmas, Starting Now!

I know it is July and Christmas is still 5 months away, but I wanted to give you a little to think about because the holidays will be here before we know it.

Make a list of people you know you will have to buy gifts for and keep your eyes open for things they would like that are on sale now.  I wouldn't recommend doing this for children as their wants change weekly as Christmas approaches.  Gifts for adults, teachers and so forth are who you can and should be thinking about now.

A second thing, because the holidays can be expensive, consider this tip.  Each time you go to the grocery store, buy yourself a $10 gift card to use during the holidays.  You might not notice an extra $10 each week now, but it will add up and will cover the cost of your holiday meals.  If you shop at a super store like I do, that extra gift card money can be used for gifts and toys for the kids as well.
One thing that is really important to note here though.  Some gift cards need to be used within the first 30 days.  If you don't use them in 30 days then there is a percentage of them deducted.  I despise those cards and will never buy them.  Ask though at the customer service.  There are plenty of places where you can get a gift card now and it never ever loses its value.

The third thing to work on is to get the craft projects started.  Are you making gifts, decorations, cards etc?  Get busy with them now.  While the weather is HOT, too hot to be outside, spend those afternoon hours crafting and creating to prepare for the holidays.  Host a crafting Christmas in July party for your family and friends where you all work on your projects.  All the fabric stores have holiday fabric on the shelves and many are having Christmas in July sales.  Craft stores also have holiday items in stock.  So get busy!

Finally, take some time now to develop a budget, or spending plan, for the holidays and stick to it.  Think creatively for ways to save money.  By planning now, you are ahead of the game.  If you start watching the sales now or making your own gifts and decorations, you may even come in under budget.  What a good thing that would be! 

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Dear 16 Year Old Me - Be Aware

Dear Friends.
Please take 5 minutes to watch this important video and share it with your children and those you love. My girls love to spend time in the sun. They and their friends and their brother and everyone...We all need to be aware.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

How To - Make a Kitchen Fire Extinguisher

Hi Friends,
Having a fire extinguisher in your kitchen is a must!  You can't beat a commercial fire extinguisher for doing its job, but for small fat and grease fires that flare up on the kitchen range or under the oven broiler, baking soda will put out the flames effectively.  Then, after a quick rinse, your food might still be edible.

Fill a clean, 1 pound coffee can nearly full with baking soda.  Cover the can snugly with its plastic lid so that the soda will not lump.  Wrap the can in a bright red piece of paper.  Write on the paper FOR FIRE ONLY.  Place the can near your stove but not on it.  If a grease fire occurs, quickly rip the lid off and toss the soda on the flames. 

If you don't have baking soda, you can use salt in the same manner.  While salt is cheaper, it merely smothers the fire with its weight while baking soda both smothers and produces fire-stopping carbon dioxide.

Remember, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.  ALWAYS HAVE A FIRE EXTINGUISHER ON HAND.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

How To - Make a Map of Your Grocery Store

Here is a tip that can save you hours over the course of a year. 

Make a map of your grocery store.  I do 99% of my shopping at one store.  It accepts coupons and matches prices and it is close to home!  There is no need for me to spend time or gas running from store to store to catch the sales at other places. 

The next time you are in your grocery store, take a notebook and pen.  Write down, Aisle 1 and what is in it.  For me it is produce, deli, and bakery.  Aisle 2 for me is bread, coffee, and tea.  Continue for each aisle. 

Next, on your computer, make a shopping map page according to the aisles.  Have the aisles typed along with what is in each aisle then leave a space between for writing your list.  As you make your weekly shopping list, write each item in the space of the appropriate aisle. 

I like to shop from the back of the store moving to the front.  On my paper, I have the first aisle listed as the aisle to the back of the store.  Then as I move down my shopping list I am working my way to the front of the store.  Doing this helps eliminate going down the same aisle multiple times and criss-crossing back and forth through the store needlessly.  I promise you that a little bit of time spent up front saves hours later.  For those of you with small impatient children, this will help you get in and out quickly

When you finish writing up your grocery map, make several copies to keep handy in the kitchen.  Teach your children how to use this shopping map too.  When they use the last of the ketchup, teach them to write it in under condiments (aisle 4 for me).  One more thing.  Some grocery stores provide a shopping map at their customer service desk.  This will save you time upfront from having to take the notes in your notebook. 

Here's to quick and efficient shopping!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Remember these 7 P's in an Evacuation Emergency

Dear Friends,
The fires in Arizona and New Mexico are really heavy this year.  One has started north of us that we can see the heavy plume of smoke and if we go up higher we can see an entire mountain top range in flames.  For us, thankfully, it is not going in our direction, but it is moving VERY close to other towns and people are being evacuated.  It saddens my heart that there are people losing everything they own.  What saddens my heart even more is to know that some of these fires have been man made.  If nature created them that is one thing, but when it is careless human caused that makes me oh so sad and angry.

We can't control nature and its tragic effects of nature can happen to all of us anywhere.  Mike and I were born and raised in Kansas, tornado alley.  We lived in Florida the year hurricane Katrina came through.  We weren't affected by Katrina, but that year 4 hurricanes came into the gulf and we were hit by hurricane Charley and we watched the water rise into our living room and saw pieces of our home blow down the street.  (We should have evacuated but didn't)  I think it is good to be prepared for at home emergencies such as when we experience a layoff.  We need to be prepared with our finances and have some money in reserve.  It is also good to have extra food in our pantry and meals in our freezer.  When we lived in Florida we purchased a small generator.  This way, should we lose electricity for extended periods of time we could keep the refrigerator and freezer running as well as have minimal lighting in the home. 

Then there are times when evacuation is necessary.  I hope and pray it never happens to anyone of us  If it should, just keep these 7 P's in the back of your mind so that you can recall them and grab the true necessities before leaving home.
  1. People
  2. Pets
  3. Personal Computer
  4. Prescriptions
  5. Paperwork
  6. Pictures
  7. Phone (cell phone)
With regards to your personal computer.  One thing you should consider having on it is an inventory of your home's contents.  Pictures are beneficial  to an insurance company.  As a side note, should you ever lose all the food in your refrigerator and freezer due to losing electricity for a long time, take a picture of the inside and it's contents before cleaning it up.  Then you can prove that you had expensive rib eye steak and delicious mahi-mahi  in the freezer that spoiled.  In our home I have all our photo albums in one area.  If necessary, I could grab them quickly and wouldn't be running all around the house to gather them.  Our important paper work is in a small fire safe.  I could just grab it and know that I have things like birth certificates, car and house titles, baptism certificates, social security cards and more.  Prescriptions should also be kept in one place.  I keep all of mine in a basket in our pantry.  If needed, I could just grab the basket and go.

So as you can see, organization is a key in emergency preparedness.  I hope you never need to evacuate, but if you should, I pray you and your family and pets would be safe and that you could quickly grab these 7P's and get out.

Blessings and may God's grace keep us and our loved ones safe,

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Parchment Paper Trend

Here is a trend I'm seeing lately.  Instead of lining your muffin tins with cupcake liners, cut squares of parchment paper and place in the muffin tins.  Then add your muffin or cupcake batter and bake as usual.  If your parchment paper wants to pop out of the tins, just give a very quick spritz with cooking spray. 

The parchment paper gives an elegant fresh look to muffins and cupcakes.
Happy Homemaking,


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