Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Homemaking 101 DVD Review and Giveaway!


      I have mentioned before that when I entered the realm of homemaking I quickly became confused and overwhelmed. I began to explore the question, "what is homemaking?" I needed the practical, hands on and daily living kinds of answers. Equally as vital is the counsel of wise women who have a heart for the importance for matters of faith, family, and home. From the contact I've had with many who have joined me at Reviving Homemaking, I'm assured that I'm not alone in this exploration. 

       Better than reading of homemaking is seeing it, and that is why I was thrilled to be offered the Homemaking 101 dvd by Family Vision Films. In the film, Jennifer opens the door to her home and offers the viewer in inside look at homemaking in action. She demonstrates and speaks on many subjects relating to homemaking such as: budgeting, cleaning, child care, meal preparation, time management, homeschooling and others. The content is presented with simplicity, so as to give the audience a true "101" or introductory look into homemaking. The film also offers a bonus section, part of which includes Jennifer conducting an insightful question and answer session and demonstration of cooking terms. 

         The film is well done in teaching and narration. I must say that the gentle and feminine manner in which Jennifer conducts herself is truly inspiring and refreshing. The lessons on homemaking also pose as great encouragement. I have been so motivated to be a greater blessing to my husband and manager of my home ever since viewing the film!

          Intrigued? Well, Family Vision Films has generous given me a copy of the dvd to share with you in a giveaway!!! I really enjoyed it and know you will too. :)

Friday, February 24, 2012

The Need for Constant Entertainment

      Means of entertainment affect us in some regard. We've come to a time in which it has been so ingrained in our lives that we hardly, if at all, realize the influence,. Yet, we certainly reflect it's impact. For some reason we seem to possess a need to be entertained at all times. Consequently, play isn't necessarily the reward for work, but, rather, a companion- an ineffective one at that. 
     Twelve hours had past since I woke and as I considered the day I was stunned to realize the lack of productivity. In fact, it could likely been a counter-productive day. The dishes were attempting their great escape from the sink. The laundry challenged the washing machine and dryer to a height contest. The To Do list grew even longer as I moved today's tasks to tomorrow. I took a deep breath to reconcile myself to the fact that tomorrow will begin even earlier to make up for the lack of work today. Where did my time go? I count the hours again. Yep, twelve. So, what happened between then and now? 
      Time passes even more quickly in the presence of entertainment. I justify having a movie, television season, or music playing as fulfilling a need for background noise in my environment. Afterall, this time of the day I am alone and in need of something beyond the silence to take my mind from that fact. However, this background quickly becomes foreground as I pause and glance for moments. These mere minutes throughout the day are the moments slipping away. 
      I shut down the screens and distracting noise and begin to work with sole focus on the tasks at hand. Surprisingly, though it ought not strike me as such, I find myself with more energy and accomplishing twice as much as before. A lovely song comes to mind and I sing it softly as I load the washer full. There is peace and productivity because in the stillness I'm drawn more aware of this space and my tasks as my own gifts. From my lips fall the words, "thank you" to a heavenly Father who has blessed me richly here in this space. I simply needed to shut out the distractions and reap the sweet benefits of placing work before play. 
         The tasks are quickly erased from the board, and I am filled with a satisfaction of a job well done. Now I can truly enjoy those sources of entertainment. They were never bad to be begin, but there is a time and place for all things and partaking of them while there is work to be done is cause for it to be inappropriate. The practice of homemaking can be an amusement and joy by working "heartily, as to the Lord" (Colossians 3:23). The need for entertainment transforms into the need for Him alone. 

Linked up at: Homemaker By Choice, Time Warp Wife


Friday, February 17, 2012

Five Question Friday

1. What do you do when you are really upset to calm yourself down?
      Clean! Scrubbing and high productivity really helps to get out some steam. If the tubs, toilets and oven are all squeaky clean...I might be mighty upset. haha

2. Do you go all out for V-day or is it just another day?
     Hubby and I treat it as just another day. We try to place an emphasis on treating each day together as a Valentine's Day. Dating was the occasional special moments (aka dates), but marriage meant daily sharing life and love together. To each his/her own. This is just what works for us. (It also makes life much simpler, which we're always a fan of. hehe)

3. Are you more or less productive when Hubs is away?
I'm so much more productive when he's here with me. He can be snoozing away the morning, but his mere presence still reminds me to be more focused on us than me. When it's just me, I tend to selfishly lag in productivity. 

4. What is your favorite time of day and why?
  I love mornings! I'm not necessarily a morning person though. I'll confess that I'm super grouchy when tired, which is something I'm continuously working on. I have a little rule to give me at least 15-20 minutes alone to wake and gather my thoughts before others may approach me. I honestly just need a moment to wake up, greet the day, and sit at the feet of the Lord before jumping into the commotion of the day. Sitting outside with some coffee/cocoa/tea in the early morning hour is my favorite!

5. What is your go to karaoke song?
    I've never done karaoke, so I'm not sure what it would be if I ever did (which is unlikely). I often quietly sing bits of songs heard in church throughout each day.  


Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Celebrating Birthdays

 Happy Birthday! 

     One celebration and gifting occasion hubby and I love is birthdays. A birthday is special because it is a celebration for just that one person. It's a recognition of the great qualities God has created in him/her. Does celebrating this special day have to be extravagant? We'd like to think not! We much prefer something simple- friends, family, and praise for the birthday guy/gal. This is a wonderful opportunity to really share with the person the good qualities you see, encouragement you glean, or appreication for something he/she has done or is about. 

Celebrating Birthdays 
1) Write a sincere message. 
Booklet of cards each with one quality
or memory that I love about my hubby.
       Take a moment to write more than "Happy Birthday" in a card. The message doesn't have to be elaborate or even eloquent. In fact, it would likely be best for the message to be short to guard against flattery or flowery words. Just a single heartfelt sentiment, memory, or thought will suffice. We all enjoy hearing words of appreciation or affirmation on occasion, and a birthday is a perfect occasion for such. Even a small amount of encouragement and recognition goes a long way!
      I found an idea creating a booklet using playing cards and binder rings on Pinterest. The image served well as a basis for a gift "tag" that I'll continue to use for years to come. I counted out the number of cards equal to hubby's birthday and on each one wrote something about him that I love. The final card is a little statement we've said to each other since we first uttered those magical three words. 

2) Maintain gifting boundaries.

card says: "I admire your entrepreneurial spirit"
and is taped to a book on the subject
       We uphold the same guidelines we've established for gifting for our birthdays as well. We chose an amount that we felt could purchase a nice gift without being too much. In this way we stay within our budget and have no worries for one person ever "topping" the other (*sigh of relief!*). Gifts are usually something simple such as rings for nicely plating a dish, glass water bottle, fabric, book etc. We try to come up with items that the person may have been wanting but wouldn't buy for him/herself or something that will aid in his/her interests. This kind of gifting takes intimately knowing a person, and that's precisely how I feel gifting ought to be done. It's just nice to know that the gift wasn't appropriate for just anyone, but was carefully considered and selected for me in such a personal manner. 
           In continuing the card idea mentioned previously, each year's gift includes another card. People change and so does love over the years, and as such I feel it important to always be watching for discovering ways in which love/the person grows and deepens. 

Graham Cracker Cake with
Lime Cream Cheese Frosting
3) Bake a homemade cake.
        Each year we bake a different cake for each other. Yes, even the hubby gets in the kitchen and whips up  some fantastic homemade cakes! It's a challenge each year to take what we know the other person prefers and create something accordingly. I'm pretty easy since my favorite sweets are cookie dough, ice cream, and chocolate. The hubby, however, isn't as crazy about the rich sweets but instead prefers fruit-based desserts. His cakes always take some work, but I'm so pleased to serve him something so special. The last few years have seen: carrot cake, orange cake, and this year a graham cracker cake with lime cream cheese frosting. It's just fun getting to experience the two different takes on cake. I can't imagine trying to get these types of cakes from a store. Plus, the extra effort put into homemade makes it just that much more special. 

        It's all about making the person feel special. It's about digging deep to get to know the person and investing in his/her life. Perhaps next time there is a birthday card or message to send, include the end of this statement: "I love/admire you because..." I promise it will make an wonderful impact. :)

Linked up at: Women Living Well, Our Simple Country Life, Raising Mighty Arrows, A Wise Woman Builds Her Home, Growing Home Blog

Friday, February 10, 2012

Five Question Friday

1. How often do you shave your legs in the winter?
     I'll confess I usually only shave my legs every other day during the winter. ;)

2. Valentine's Day cards for your spouse: funny or romantic?
     Hubby and I actually don't "do" Valentine's Day. We never have in our relationship, and honestly we're both very content to keep not celebrating the holiday. Instead of fussing over displays of love on the one day, we'd much rather strive to do that each day. To each his own on that though. 

3. What are you most looking forward to about spring?
     I love getting to enjoy our balcony during the warmer weather. After two years of having no outlet for being outside, I spend as much time as I can out on our balcony. We lined the perimeter with potted plants last year, and have even more to plant this year. It really is refreshing to sit among greenery and read book, even while living in an apartment!

4. What's your favorite way to pamper yourself?
    Bubble bath, candles, reading etc.

5. Does your tax return go into savings or do you spend it instantly?
    This answer is going to reveal my annoying financial nerdiness. I'm much much more of a saver than a spender, so no wild shopping trip with the return. Instead, I like to split all income four ways- savings, living, debt, giving. 

Linked to: Five Crooked Halos


Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Lentil Soup

     I love soups. As soon as the weather turns the slightest bit chilly I'm ready to bring back the inclusion of a soup into our weekly menu. One of my favorite soups is lentil soup. It's hardy, wholesome, and economical. It's also mighty tasty! This recipe freezes well, so it's a great one to save some or make extra to freeze for a quick meal in the future. 

Lentil Soup
              Serves: 6-8                                                   Time: approx. 1 hr. 15 min
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 c. onion, chopped
1/2 c. carrot, chopped
1/2 c. celery, chopped
2 tsp. salt
1 lb. lentils, rinsed and picked (watch for rocks with any dry beans)
1 c. tomatoes, peeled and chopped
2 qts. chicken broth/stock
1/2 tsp. coriander
1/2 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. all-spice
1/4 tsp. ginger

1. Heat olive oil in a large pot. Add the onions, carrots, celery and salt until the onions are translucent. 
2. Add remaining ingredients and stir to combine. 
3. Bring soup to a boil and then reduce temperature to low. Cover and simmer until lentils are soft. 

Meal suggestion: serve with bread and fruit. 


Friday, February 3, 2012

Five Question Friday

1. What have you done recently that you are proud of?
      I must say that I'm proud to finally be better managing my home. It's a surprising amount of work to be thinking ahead when you need homemade bread, dry beans to soak or any other form of prep needed to make homemade meals. It's also a challenge to really get into a routine of tidying, cleaning, and laundering in small bits each day instead of having a mass weekend clean. It is much simpler and manageable to maintain the home when there is a scheduling or routine aspect to homemaking. It's nice to be heading into the weekend with the hubby with everything caught up so that we can spend more time together. 

2. What is your favorite way to work out? Or if you don't workout, what are you wanting to try?
    Perhaps after this big birthday month, my exercise should be any activity that isn't shoving sugary cake into my mouth daily. haha. 
    Actually, in an ideal time my exercise would still be tennis. I love it now that life is more settled than when I played on teams. However, I no longer have the skills to match. I still have my rackets and court shoes for "one day." haha.
    I've always admired runners, and last spring and summer I attempted to do a "Couch to 5K" training. I spent weeks just getting through the first week and still felt like I was going to pass out! I'm also the most awkward runner. My nickname as a kid was "stick that walks," and it still applies now. A stick running = not a pretty sight. haha. Again, in an ideal time I'll come to call running my exercise. Currently, not so much.
    Finally, I have some pilates dvds that I have done and like pretty well. It's more comforting when you're not athletic to exercise in the privacy of your own home. Stretching is definitely more of my speed, and well I feel more beneficial for my form. hah.

3. If you knew your best friend was cheating on his/her spouse would you tell?
      Well, isn't this a nasty question. I'm going to pass in answering this question simply because I prefer to not acknowledge this matter in general. I choose to focus my energy on marriage being of unity and oneness, and nothing else. Yes, it's out there. However, I refuse to permit any notion of marriage beyond that which was intended by God. In a nutshell...next question..

4. If you could afford a live-in maid or nanny, would you have one?
     I can't imagine myself hiring a maid or nanny regardless of live-in or affordability. I take pride in assuming those roles as a homemaker. It is a joy to care for my home (and perhaps one day my children). 

5. Do you stress out about birthdays (specifically the age) or do you enjoy them?
      I had never approached a birthday with any negative feelings...until this year. Confession- this year hit me as being one year older and yet not any closer to the place I had thought I'd be at this age. I'm still aware of my youth, but for some reason I'm also more aware of time ticking (or at least the clock). It's all in God's hands ultimately, but this additional year tests that trust. (My life verse this year has quickly become Rom. 8:28) 

What about you? How would you answer these five questions?


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