Monday, September 26, 2011

Fall Giveaway!

       I love the fall season! The cool weather gently gracing the skin. Hayrides to find the perfect pumpkin to bring home to sit at the doorstep. Apple and pumpkin pies permeating the air with their delicious aromas. Quiet walks along trees so beautifully clothed in vibrant colors. In a nutshell, fall ushers in a season of warmth. I like to imagine it to be the kind of warmth in sentiment or activity that draws people closer together.
      To celebrate the official beginning of fall, I'm offering a GIVEAWAY! A fun apron will certainly add some pizaaz to your cooking or baking! This one features the main skirt of pumpkin print fabric with the waistband, ties, and pockets of a worded fabric ("Thanksgiving," "Autumn," etc). It is a medium size and measures: 28 1/2" in length, and 82 1/2" from the tip of left tie to right (waistband itself is 23 1/2"). Being an apron, it can be tied to fit most sizes.

     I've been working on this for a bit, and am so excited to be able to offer it to you now! There are three ways to enter and a total of six entries permitted per person. If an entry option already applies then simply let me know (ex, you already follow via GFC, then simply comment that you do). Please spread the word about this giveaway on your own blog or Facebook! I'm looking forward to sharing this cutie patootie apron from my kitchen to yours! :)

1) For one entry, join RevivingHomemaking's Facebook page and leave a comment here.
2) For two entries, follow RevivingHomemaking via GFC and leave a comment here.
3) For three entries, add RevivingHomemaking to your favorites on Etsy and leave a comment here.
Be sure to leave me your email address in one of the comments so I am able to get in touch with you when you win!

Giveaway ends: October 10th!
*Must be 18 years or older to enter and reside within the continental U.S.

Monday, September 19, 2011

In God's Heart I Am...

     On a small notecard attached to a simple necklace is the message:

"In God's heart I am...
Created. 'I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made.' -Psalm 119:14
Chosen. 'The Lord has chosen you to be His treasured possession.' -Deuteronomy 14:2
Celebrated. 'He will take great delight in you ... He will rejoice over you with singing.' -Zephaniah 3:17
Cherished. 'I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving kindness.' -Jeremiah 31:13"

     How often do we struggle with who we are in light of who He is? For me, it is often. The familiar prayer flows so frequently off my tongue that it seems more like it simply lingers. My heart cries out, "Lord, help me to see what you see."

       Whole. Redeemed. Secure. Strong. Forgiven. Called. Known. Treasured. Desired. Beautiful. Chosen. Created. Accepted. Unique. Creative. Heard. Saved. His. etc etc. Where are these words when I think upon myself? I come up bankrupt time and time again. I know these terms in my head but they are strangers in my heart.
      In the video, the daughter is clothed in these words, and thus in their meanings. With them, she runs free. I imagine myself doing such for any child I may (Lord willing) ever come to mother. However, this is a foolish hope if I have yet to believe them within myself. Likewise, it is a foolish hope to aspire to present my husband a beautiful wife inside and out if I have yet to believe in those qualities within myself as well.
      Scripture contains many descriptors of who we are in God's heart. Can I trust God that he created me to be chosen, celebrated and cherished among other things? It is certainly a journey. And so, here is my answer to that final question and my greatest personal struggle..
       "In God's heart I am.... wanted."

What about you? "In God's heart you are {your turn}."
Additional Reading:

Necklace message from God's Heart for You Collection also available at Dayspring



Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Simplifying the Packed Lunch Process

        Most jobs will interrupt a meal. Often times it becomes too much of a hassle to pack a lunch, and so we may give in to the temptation to stop somewhere to pick something up. Not only is buying lunch out expensive, but also isn't always the healthiest of options. The key to calmly keep a packed lunch going out the door daily for the hubby (or if you have children) is to stay organized.
          I'm a big fan of organization and working ahead. In the kitchen, that means portioning things out in advance so that when the time comes I can just grab and go to the lunchbox, stove, or where ever else. We typically do our grocery shopping each Sunday, and my goal is to have everything that gets packed for a weekday meal to be portioned out and set aside. Portioning out also ensures that each member of the home gets a share. (I'll admit to be a junk food junkie of sweets and certain snacks- ah hem, the Cheez-Its in the picture above!).
        The greatest cost savings comes in the form of skipping all the packaging. Yogurt can be purchased in the larger 32oz tubs and then divided into seperate containers. We've recently made the switch from processed meats (can we say- ew!) to purchasing a whole ham or turkey breast to cook, cut and freeze. One morning spent cooking the meat is well worth the 5-6+ weeks of sandwich meat availability (and no mystery of the "meat"). Although the baby carrots and precut celery sticks on the store shelf look nice, they cost so much more than the unprepped versions. The few minutes spent chopping will be worth the effort! (You can keep these items in water in the refrigerator to keep them crisp and fresh). I'm still working on getting to the point of having homemade sandwich bread each week. I'm having trouble with it drying out and crumbling before the end of the week. Any suggestions/recipes with or without a bread machine? Eventually, if I can master the bread making then I'd like to have a loaf for the current week and a spare in the freezer for a backup in case I don't get to baking a fresh loaf one week. I have made homemade Ritz-style and Nilla wafer-style crackers before, and if I have extra time I'd like to keep with that endeavor. However, if need or hubby's tastebuds call for something else from a box, then I'll certainly oblige. My goal is always for balance. If we can cut some packaging out through utilizing homemade then -yay!
            I typically just replace the baggies back into their original containers. However, Real Simple Magazine and IHeart Organizing has some great ideas for staying organized!
iHeart Organizing
Real Simple
                A few lunch box food ideas: apple (cut then tie back together with a rubberband to perserve freshness), orange, grape, grapefruit, bananas, peaches, honeydew/watermelon/cantaloupe in small dishes, cheese, crackers, cookies or other sweet, yogurt, celery, broccoli, carrots, pretzels, trailmix, breads etc etc. At least, these are the ones I've thrown in so far! (I also throw in a note written on one of the baggies with a sharpie. I'm sure hubby loves opening a lunchbox to find baggies of goofy drawings and "I love you's!" haha)

Monday, September 5, 2011

Java Chip Cookies

     If you're wanting a simple sweets fix, then here it is. I promise one will not be enough In my case I went ahead and made a GIANT one!). The coffee tasted really strong in the batter (of course, I sampled!), but once baked it actually was pretty mild. It's like a visit to the coffee shop and bakery at once! Enjoy! :)
1 c. (2 sticks) butter or margarine, softened
2/3 c. granulated sugar
2/3 c. firmly packed light brown sugar
1 egg
2-3 tbsp instant coffee granules, dissolved in 1 tbsp. water
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/4 c. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 c. carob powder (or cocoa powder)
1 3/4 c. chocolate chips

     Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a bowl cream butter and sugars until well combined; add egg, dissolved coffee granules and vanilla. In a seperate bowl combine flour, baking soda, salt and carob powder. Blend flour mixture into first bowl.  Mix in chocolate chips. Drop by tablespoons onto cookie sheet. Bake 10-11 minutes. Allow to rest for 1 minute on wire rack until fully set.


Friday, September 2, 2011

"I'm ... but" Generation

"I hated doing something I loved outside of work, feeling alive and engaged, only to have it all disappear the moment I walked through the door of my day job. I didn't hate the work per se. I liked my boss and the people I worked with. It wasn't that. I just hated that forty hours of my week didn't feel anything like the few hours of my weekend when life made sense.
I hated that my dreams had to go into hibernation every Monday morning." -Jon Acuff, Quitter

"I'm a ____________, but I want to be a _____________." This statement seems to constantly linger on the tip of the tongue. When asked what you do your answer seems to instinctively sounds similar to this: "Well, for right now I ..." Though this is a correct reflection of your current situation, but by not voicing a permanence to it you are sunbconciously allowing yourself to continue to hold onto the "but I want to be ____" portion.
     Have you ever met someone who had given up and reconciled themselves solely to the former portion of the statement and thereby giving up on the latter? They're miserable. It's evident that their joyless state in their job has stretch to extend into a joyless state in life. This is the gap between what God created in us for us to do and what we are choosing to do.
     Contrary to Aldous Huxley's Brave New World standard of machine stamped babies, we are carefully crafted. Think of something handcrafted and you will inevitably dwell on the deliberateness and detail that went into the work. We are God's work. He designed and created our beings- physical self, personality, interests and abilities (gifts)! Psalm 139:14 says, "I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful. I know that full well." It gives me goosebumps to think of the elements of my being being so carefully and loveingly instilled within me to create me the unique person that I am.
      And yet, in regard to work there is little guidance to discover those special qualities and in turn use those in your life's work. Your life's work, after all, ought to not be to glorify God? If we must deny who we are or what we're good (or interested in) for the sake of employment, then perhaps we should take note that this simply cannot be what God had intended as our purpose. We shouldn't try to fit ourselves into someone else's mold. So often we're tempted to accept a course because the outcome is well paying, respectable, or stable despite the misalignment of our personality or abilities to that position. Let the square fit in the square hole, and the circle in the circle. Each piece in it's proper home completes the puzzle. 1 Corinthians 12:18 states, "But in fact God has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be." The hand works wonderfully attached to the arm, but attached to the foot it brings difficulty. The hand possesses unique qualities that allow it to be the best that it is just as it is. Similarly, we are endowed with gifts to allow us to be the best that we can just as we are. Romans 12:6a says, "We have different gifts, according to the grace given to us." Furthermore, 1 Peter 4:10 states, "Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God's grace in it's various forms."
        Why do we even attempt to ignore our gifts and attempt to assume another's? Fear. Fear of bucking convention and the imposed linear progression of life. We can have assurance that God's plan for us is solid. Proverbs 3:5-6 says, "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understaning; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight."
        With that said, there may be times when you must complete the statement as follows: "I'm a wage worker, but I want to be a homemaker." You look at where you've been and you look at where you are now, and must admit that the "but I want..." simply isn't the case yet. For example, the mass and generic ushering into college can leave the aspiring homemaker or mother with the above statement. Is all lost? Only if we allow it to be. We can use our wage working now to be a way of life and disregard the latter statement. Or, we can use our wage working now to build to a time where we can confidently say "I quit" and move into our dream role. Use everything you can now to build to the point of one day saying, "I am ____" with excitement and genuine joy because you know that is exactly what you are the way you are.
      What makes your heart sing? What causes you to bubble over with joy in life? That is your clue to your direction. Guard your steps to move in that direction.
       My heart is exclusively for home and family, and despite my circumstances now or to come that will always be its resting state. In the meanwhile of completing my "I'm ... but" statement, I consider this time to be that of building, not just financially but also personally. I've always been the crafty kid. It's my joy. Is there anything so satisfying as pouring yourself into the work you create with your own hands? My spirit soars to new heights as I embrace fully the beauty of the Creator and His creations (us).With each project and with each bit of time working in my heart I rest in knowing that I am one step closer to saying "I quit" and now "I am." To share this delight as well as encourage the greater growth of our travel towards home and family, I am overjoyed to present:


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