I started this project last year. I had the best of intentions to completely declutter my house. Why? Because I wanted to spend quality and a quantity of time with my children that I haven’t been able to give them before. I started out really well. Decluttered about 20 bags of clothes. Then….found out I was expecting.

Fast forward one year.

Sweet baby #6 had a safe arrival. I was anxious to get back to work and get the house to where I wanted it. I claim to be a minimalist but with a half dozen kids that can be hard. For Lent this year my eldest daughter asked me to give up Facebook. When I told her I would she was elated. And just like that I had loads of extra time on my hands. We took one room a day and wore ourselves out pitching and donating.

I. Was. Brutal.

And you know who was more brutal than I was? My kids! They were anxious to get rid of everything so they wouldn’t have to clean every day! I tried hard to keep the things that would be sentimental and get rid of all the excess. However, I’m sure I got rid of things that would make others cringe. Heck, I went to put the spare sheets on our bed only to find out I had donated them. It wasn’t fun paying for new bed sheets but I don’t regret being so hard core against the clutter. It was something that needed to be done.

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Renewing My Mind

February 26, 2013

I want to start off by apologizing for my absence. This past December we added a new member to our family so with the pregnancy and getting to know our new son it’s been quite hectic around here these days. But I’m happy to say that I’m back. And after lots of soul searching these past four months I’ve decided that this year is the year of new beginnings.

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. {Romans 12:2}

Don’t we all need a chance to start over? When we feel incredibly run down and ready to be brushed off and start again? I’m so ready for that. I’m ready for grace. I’m ready to stand tall on the rock and to quit seeking the approval of faulty men. Christ. It’s all Christ. If it’s not, it’s a waste. I don’t want to waste it all. May He be made bigger and me smaller. To Yahweh be all the glory forever.

So here, my dear brothers and sisters in Christ, here is to new beginnings. Let’s not look back.

{I can’t help but share with you a glimpse at my newest little love. A new beginning.}

Blessings!

As you know may I’m doing Invisalign this year. I’m currently on my fifth aligner. I wear each aligner for two weeks and then trade out for a new one. Half way through!

One thing I learned at my last visit is that Invisalign is especially good for people to help prevent future problems! And I believe that’s where I was heading. My teeth didn’t look so bad but as time goes on they were going to get worse if I didn’t take action now.

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Our First World Problems

September 10, 2012

August 1st my husband and I drastically changed our grocery shopping habits. We went from shopping at health food stores to shopping at Aldi’s. Now, not to dog Aldi’s, but it’s not known as a ‘clean’ store. Maybe it was the area I grew up in, but it just wasn’t a place where you’d want to buy food. However, desperate times called for desperate measures and we needed to cut back in every area we could. So our first trip to Aldi’s was a HUGE success! The food may not have been what we were used to but the prices were unbeatable. Where I was spending $4.99 on a loaf of bread I was now spending $.85. For a family our size that’s an incredible savings.

A few days went by and I was standing at the kitchen counter cooking. Nervous about what my husband thought about this new food I asked his thoughts.

“I think the bread is too yeasty,” he said.

And thus was born The First World Jar.

It was then that we realized just how spoiled we are. Instead of being thankful for what God has provided for us we were constantly thinking of things to complain about. Don’t think my husband is the only one who’s complained, I’ve been called out multiple times! So what exactly is a First World Jar?

For every time we complain about a first world problem we have to put a dollar into the First World Jar. We keep this set out for all to see and to remind us to be grateful. Otherwise we’re going to fall back into being Israelites and demanding our manna and quail and water {Exodus 14-32}.

My nine year old heard my one year old tantruming and told him to be a dollar in! Guess it’s best to learn young, huh?

I bet you’re wondering what happens to all the money. Do we save it up and go to Disney? Do we use it for car repairs? Absolutely not. This money will be going to the true third world countries that are being served by Food for the Hungry.

Over the past year I have been blessed to learn so much about this wonderful organization that works amazingly hard to end world hunger. And I have never met people who are so filled with joy to be able to serve in these countries.

And isn’t that the joy that we all seek? Even if we don’t realize it? Here, I’ll put a dollar in the jar to illustrate my point. I was sitting outside watching my children play and writing up this blog post. Wanna know what I wanted to complain about? That my keyboard was too hot and I needed to go inside. Yeah, must be nice to have the choice to sit inside a large air conditioned house while communicating with the entire world at my finger tips. Listen, I know some people are going to say they’re not motivated by guilt. But if it’s the truth…

Is this an area of your life that you need to work on as well? Won’t you join us? Leave ignorance behind and as you work on your own heart and your own thoughts you’ll be able to serve these families that are desperate for ‘yeasty’ bread.

Please, take a moment and check out Food for the Hungry. Sponsor a child! You know you will be putting at least $32/month into the jar anyhow. Or you can choose a cause to serve. Use this as an opportunity to teach your children about gratefulness and serving others. No matter how much we fail God can use us in His story. To serve “the least of these”. Especially if you have young children, this is a great learning opportunity. They need to know that none of us are perfect, but that God can make something beautiful out of our filth. He gives us abundant grace and gently teaches us. We should model the same to our children. Help them have the hearts to serve. The hearts to be thankful for all that we have. The roses and the thorns.

Blessings!

: Day 8 :

I know the days of summer squash are near gone but if you can find some zucchini at your farmers market or grocery store this recipe will knock your socks off! I was thrilled when my kids began begging for more. So zucchini, if you search Pinterest, has countless recipes. Apparently once you grow a plant of them you’ll have so much stock to give away. Most search results I’ve found are titles like, “How to Use Up All Your Zucchini Harvest.”

Our favorite so far has been the zucchini fries!

Here is a link to the recipe: Baked Zucchini Fries

The best advice I can offer is to use two hands. Use one hand for only dipping the zucchini slices in the egg wash and the other hand for covering the zucchini in bread crumbs. Otherwise you’re going to have mushy fingers and that’s just not fun.

The only thing we did differently was use regular parmesan cheese. After making a large batch we had NO leftovers. And the best part? It’s healthy and inexpensive. Easily a main dish for lunch.

Enjoy!

Blessings!

: Day 7 :

Todays post isn’t so much a recipe as it as an encouragement and some links. My sweet mother in law sent us a yogurt maker a while ago and I’ve just recently began using it on a consistent basis. We never fully realized how easy it was to make yogurt! And with how my kids down this stuff we definitely needed a way of saving money. One dollar a serving is a bit too much for us.

Pictured here is our yogurt maker. A Euro Cuisine Yogurt Maker. I love it! However, I’ve had lots of people inform me that you don’t need a yogurt maker. You can easily make it in a crock-pot! Now, I haven’t tried this yet, we’ll be trying it this weekend, but I’ve heard nothing but positive results. So here is a link for all those interested: Crock-pot Yogurt

Each yogurt maker is different so I’m just going to give you the gist of how we make ours. We pour 42 ounces of milk into a pot. It is then heated until it begins climbing the sides of the pot. At that point we remove it from the heat and allow it to cool to 95 degrees. Then it is poured into a pitcher through a sieve and 6 ounces of plain store bought yogurt is mixed in. Once fully mixed the milk/yogurt mixture is dispersed evenly between the glass cups. It then ‘cooks’ for around eight to nine hours {I never time this right and always have to wake myself in the middle of the night to turn it off}. I take the glasses out, screw on a lid and pop them in the fridge. That’s it, all done! The kids then have fresh yogurt for the next morning.

And just for kicks we add in berry flavoring. We normally use the following recipe for pancakes and french toast but it went perfectly in the plain yogurt: Berry Sauce

Hope you at least venture out and try to make your own. The kids had a fun time watching the milk boil and telling me when the thermometer had cooled down to 95 degrees. Whatever makes them happy!

Enjoy!

Blessings!