Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Portable Placemat Game

Proverbs 31:13 -She selects wool and flax and works with eager hands.

With Spring like weather outside this is the perfect activity to take on a picnic, a road trip, camping or to the beach!

I found this idea in one of Martha Stewart's magazines. (But added the compartment for the game pieces)

Find a placemat (mine was 50cents at Big Lots) and use a ruler to draw the checker board on the placemat.
    *Be sure to fold the placemat over so there is enough room to store the game pieces inside.

 Then use paint to color the checkerboard in.

Sew the two ends of the folded part so that the pieces will not fall out. Add velcro on the open side.

The game pieces are cut from foam sheets.

Then you're ready to play! :)

You can also add a tic-tac-toe board to the other side.

Roll it up and take it on a picnic, car ride, camping or to the beach! Have fun!! 

Monday, February 27, 2012


As newlyweds, we are definitely on a budget. Derrick works full time and right now I am subbing which makes it hard to know exactly how much of my income to budget. Here is what has worked for us so far:

1. Decided who will take care of paying your bills and taking care of other financial tasks.

2. TITHE!  We personally have found that if  we trust God to take care of us, he will. I've heard several people say that they are scared to tithe because they just don't have the money to do so in their budget. I challenge you start faithfully tithing 10% of what you make and trust God to take care of everything else..He promises he will! --(Malachi 3:10)

3.  Credit cards--don't use them if you can't control your spending or know you can pay it off right away! Although it can help your credit score, it also can be very dangerous for people who use it just because they have it and rack up crazy bills with high interests rates. Right now we only use ours in emergencies!

4. We live on Derrick's income and only use mine to pay off my loans and put money back into our savings. It can be hard sometimes to not want to spend mine on other things, but it will be worth it in the long!  (I want to be a stay at home mom when we do have kids!)

5. Know your stores! I made a post before about how much money we saved going to Aldi instead of Wal-Mart! Check it out HERE.

6. Make homemade meals instead of going out to eat. We use to go out to eat all of the time! However, it's so expensive! We rarely go out anymore and try new homemade recipes instead. Check this out :)

7. Stay at home date nights! We have gotten to be experts at this! Again, a fun thing to do is try new recipes together! We then watch TV shows or rent a cheap movie. (If you have an account at family video and don't use it for a long time, they will call with a free rental and a month of half price rentals!)  We also like to play board games, go on walks or roast marshmallows in our fire pit.

8. We personally have not gone through the Dave Ramsey classes, but have heard they are awesome!! We did make a budget on Mint.com! It's a great site that allows you to put in all of your accounts, credit cards, loans, etc and plan out a budget!

What are some things that work for you or mistakes that you may have made as newlyweds concerning your finances? 

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Menu Planning (Recipes and Free Download)

 Proverbs 31:14--She is like merchant ships, bringing her food from afar.

Derrick and I decided we need to start eating healthier and making more things that consist of general kitchen staples. (ex: rice, flour, sugar, pasta, diced tomatoes, bread crumbs, canned broth, olive oil, salt, pepper, spices) Here is a good site with a list of staples and recipes.

I decided to make a menu planner so we can plan out exactly what we will eat each night for dinner and then make a grocery list accordingly. This will hopefully save time and money at the grocery store! Click the link below to download a free PDF version of the menu planner!

Here is our menu for next week: (We like leftovers or easy meals on the weekends)

Monday: Dinner at Home Team

WednesdayHomemade Cheesy Beef Taco Hamburger Helper (Also has several other homemade hamburger helper recipes)

Friday: Homemade Pizza (I don't have a recipe-just use store bought pizza crust and sauce)

Saturday: Leftovers or Out to Eat

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Thrifty Decor-Living Room

Proverbs 14:1--"The wise woman builds her home.."

One of my favorite things to do is go to thrift and antique stores! Almost everything that I have decorated my house with I have found at these type of stores or at yard-sales. I love looking for things that I can turn into something exciting and new and I LOVE a bargain!

Here is an eight pane window found at an antique store! I used Elmer's photo corners, found in the scrapbook section at Wal-Mart, to stick the pictures to the back of the glass.

Books I found at a thrift store-wrapped in twine with a frame on top.

Old desk and chair we bought at a school auction-I painted them white and spray painted the hardware silver.

Love this telephone bench I got at a resale shop! Painted it and changed the cushion covering to burlap.
Found the shelves at Goodwill and the aqua mason jars at a yard sale!

Love our bay window..and that little puppy!! :)

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Mardi Gras King Cake

Did you do anything fun for Mardi Gras?  I'm a  little late posting, but here is what we had for our Mardi Gras/ New Orleans themed dinner a few nights ago. For dinner we had dirty rice with smoked sausage and corn muffins. For dessert, I had to look up some yummy recipes online. Several sites said that they make King Cake for Mardi Gras. I found a recipe that makes individual cakes instead of one big one. They were delicious! 

King Cake Knots:
Recipe from: Easily Creative

1 loaf refrigerated french bread dough
3 tablespoons butter, softened
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 cup powdered sugar
4 teaspoons milk
yellow, green and purple sanding sugar or sprinkles

1. Preheat oven to 350. Spray a baking sheet with butter-flavored cooking spray.
2. Find the seam in the french bread dough and unroll into a rectangle. Shape until it is about 16 by 12 inches. Brush the dough with softened butter. Mix together the cinnamon and sugar and sprinkle liberally over butter.

3. Cut the dough in half lengthwise, then crosswise into strips.

4. Stack two strips together, cinnamon sides facing each other. Twist the strips together. Tie them loosely in a knot, stretching gently if necessary. Place on baking sheet about 2 inches apart.

5. Bake for 25-28 minutes, until golden brown. Allow to cool completely.
6. Meanwhile, mix together powdered sugar and milk. Dip the top of each knot in the icing, then sprinkle each with yellow, green and purple sanding sugar or sprinkles.

* I didn't have all those colors of sprinkles so used purple food coloring in the icing and used green sugar sprinkles. It didn't turn out quite as pretty as I had imagined, but it still tasted yummy! 

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Getting Organized

Proverbs 31:17--She looks well to the ways of her household...

I LOVE to organize! Being organized makes my life run smoother, helps me relax better and gives me more quality time with my family. I really like everything about our house, except that there really isn't much storage space. Therefore, I have to get creative and look to Pinterest for inspiration!

One thing that really bothered me was always having to go to the hallway closet to get/put away my hairdryer and straightener. I just wanted it in the bathroom with me, but there wasn't a good place to keep it. Then I found an awesome idea on pinterest...hang it on the inside of the cabinet door! Genius!

Awhile back I bought a stand for 25 cents at goodwill that holds plates/dishes. I decided it would be perfect however in my linen closet. I put washcloths on top so it left extra storage space underneath for things like Kleenex and q-tips. 

While at a resale shop I found three jewelry/key holders for $1.00! (normally at Wal-Mart 1 for $4.00) I decided it would be perfect for holding my necklaces that were too long to hang in my jewelry case. I haven't decided what to do with the other two yet! Maybe more necklaces or bracelets?

How do you stay organized?

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Fighting Well

With marriage comes disagreements and with disagreements come fights. Every marriage has their fights, even mine. But what does it mean to fight well?  

Many times when I would get upset with Derrick for something I would start assuming and making accusations about why he did what he did. This obviously is NOT a good idea..so I am learning :)  All this does is make the other person get defensive and not really hear what you are wanting them to hear..the real reason you are upset. 

Fighting Well:

1. Lay out how you are feeling and why you feel that way. "It really hurts my feelings when I have spent time cleaning the house and you leave your clothes laying in the floor."  

2. Stick to the topic and don't overgeneralize. So many times during fights we say things like "you always.."  or "you never.."  It's unfair to say that and there's no point in bringing up the past. 

3. Be sure and give your spouse time to explain himself. Maybe he doesn't leave his clothes on the floor just because, but he really did mean to pick them up and just got sidetracked and forgot. 

4. Finally, be willing to forgive:  Ephesians 4:32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. 

Are you fighting well with your husband?  If not, what can you do to start making your fights more meaningful for both of you?


Friday, February 17, 2012


Proverbs 31:16--She considers a field and buys it; with the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard.

Derrick and I were trying to think of a way to have something fun to do together outside and save a little money. What better way than to plant a garden! Neither of us have much if any experience gardening, but we decided it would be a fun learning experience for both of us.

We went to Wal-Mart and bought starting kits for tomatoes and green peppers. (It's best to start these inside and then transplant outside) We took them home and put them together. It was super easy! Then we placed them in front of a window and will wait for them to sprout and for it to get warm enough to transplant them into our backyard.  We also bought some green bean seeds, but will have to wait and plant those outside after the last frost. Hopefully we will see some sprouts soon!

 Sweet Peppers


Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Valentine's Dinner Menu

 Proverbs 31:15--She rises while it is still night and provides food for her family.

Derrick and I had a wonderful 1st married Valentine's together! We made dinner and spent the night watching some of our favorite TV shows! He also took the day off today so we could sleep in, go get breakfast, watch movies and just spend some quality time together!

Here was our dinner menu for last night (see recipes below):

1. Honey Lime Tilapia
From: OneLovelyLife
For the fish and marinade:
4 (4-5oz) tilapia fillets (thawed if frozen)
Juice and zest of 1 lime
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 Tbsp honey
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp garlic powder

For dredging and cooking:
1/2c flour
 1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1-2 Tbsp olive oil

Assemble marinade by combining lime zest, lime juice, olive oil, honey, salt, pepper, and garlic powder in a gallon-sized zip-top bag or shallow container with a lid. Add fish and marinate in the refrigerator anywhere from 1 hour up to 24 hours*.
When ready to cook, combine flour with salt and pepper on a plate. Remove each fish fillet from the marinade and dredge lightly with the flour on both sides (just a light, light coating).
Heat 1-2 Tbsp olive oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Cook fillets 2 at a time for 3-4 minutes per side or until opaque and browned (this works best if you don’t disturb the fish much while letting it cook).

*If you want to plan this meal in advance, you can prepare the fish and marinade in a large freezer bag and keep it in the freezer. Move frozen fish and marinade to the refrigerator the morning you plan to serve the fish and allow it to thaw in the refrigerator. It will marinate while it thaws!

2. Seasoned Fresh Green Beans:
Heat up some canola oil in a pan.
Toss in the green beans and season with seasoning salt and a little lemon pepper
Cook until done

3. Bread and Dipping Sauce:
Made a loaf of frozen bread dough.
Bought bread dip seasoning at the Country Porch in Marion Mall. Follow directions on back to make the dip. (Mix 1tsp. seasoning with 2 Tbs olive oil)

4. Brown Sugar M&M Blondies:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup butter
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 egg
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 cup to 1 1/3 cup M&M's

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C).

Mix together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt and set aside. Melt 1/3 cup butter. Add 1 cup firmly packed brown sugar and mix well. Cool slightly. Add egg (beaten) and vanilla and blend well. Add flour mixture, a little at a time, mixing well. Mix in 2/3 cup M&M's. Spread in 9 x 9 x 2 inch pan. Sprinkle 1/3 to 2/3 cup M&M's on top. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes. Store in airtight container at room temperature.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Valentine's Day: A Real Love Story

Happy Valentine's Day!! I'm so excited to be celebrating our first married Valentine's Day together! We are making Honey-Lime Tilapia for dinner and I made Brown Sugar Blondie's with M&Ms (valentine colors of course!)  for dessert! YUM!

It's nice to know that I have a husband who loves me unconditionally, all year around. While I was thinking about that, I started thinking about someone else who loves me unconditionally, and who loves me even more than Derrick does--JESUS.

1 John 4:19--"We love because He FIRST loved us."

If it weren't for Jesus first loving us, we wouldn't know what true love is. Jesus loved us SO much that he died on the cross for ALL of our sins so we can have the chance to live forever with Him in Heaven. Wow..that's a real love story!! 

John 3:16--"For God so LOVED the world, that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life."

I hope everyone has a wonderful Valentine's Day! 

Monday, February 13, 2012

Busy at Home

Titus 2:5--"...to be busy at home.."

 I usually have at least one day a week that I don't get called to sub. This is usually my "busy at home" day.

What exactly does the Bible mean by being busy at home?  It means taking care of the domestic duties of the home (laundry, cleaning, cooking, etc).  It also means taking care of those who live inside of your home. Make a nice dinner for your husband, make your home open to guests and invest time and energy into your children's lives. 

Being busy in your home doesn't have to be all about chores or work. Find joy in making your home a  relaxing place for your family and for guests. I find joy in organizing, decorating my home, finding the best deals at the store and baking for me and my husband. I also love to turn on a Christian radio station while cleaning and doing laundry. It helps me remember this verse:  1 Corinthians 10:31--"..whatever you do, do all to the glory of God"

Where do you find joy in being busy at home?

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Searching for the Best Deals

Proverbs 31:14 She is like the merchant ships, bringing her food from afar. 

Derrick and I have started doing most of our shopping at Aldi's. We go there to buy most things and then to Wal-Mart to get everything else Aldi's doesn't have. One day after shopping at Aldi's we decided to go to Wal-Mart and actually check if and how much we were saving. We took in our Aldi's receipt and priced checked every single item.

After checking each item, there was only one thing that was less expensive at Wal-Mart and it was only by a penny!! We calculated our total savings and it turned out to be $18! It may not seem like a TON of money saved, but when you are on a budget, it's totally worth it.

Here are some examples (off brands at both places):

                                      ALDI'S          WAL-MART

Cranberry Juice            $1.69                  $2.28

Frosted Flakes              $1.79                 $2.48

80/20 Ground Beef       $2.69/lb.             $3.28/lb.

What are some ways you like to improve your family's quality without devastating your budget?

Thursday, February 9, 2012

She Extends Her Hands to the Needy

Proverbs 31:13--She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy. 

Each month our home team at church does a service project. This month we volunteered at Gum Drops. Gum Drops is an organization here in Carterville that provides a weekend backpack of child-friendly food for at-risk children throughout Southern Illinois. We were only there for an hour but were able to pack SO many bags! It was a great feeling working with everyone there and knowing that we would be making a difference in several children's lives this weekend! 

So many times we get so wrapped up in our own lives and what we think we need, that we forget about the people in our communities that have much bigger needs than we do.

If Jesus had time to care for the poor, what does that mean for us? We need to make more time to pray for others, advocate for others and give back to others! 

What's something you could do to help out in your community?

If you would like to volunteer at Gum Drops or learn more about the organization, check out their website Here.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012


Ephesians 5:33-- However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband. 

Many times when wives give negative criticism, husbands interpret that as contempt for who they are as men.  In the book Love and Respect by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs, the author asked several men if they would rather their wives show them love or show them respect. Surprisingly, most said respect. This shows just how important it is for us as women to again be encouragers, not criticizers of our husbands. 

So, how can we show respect to our husbands? Listen to this sermon by Mark Driscoll

1. Don't NAG! I am definitely guilty of this, but it is disrespectful. Pray for your husband instead and encourage him!

2. By the way we feel and talk about him. 
Matthew 12:34--Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. 
-Don't gossip about him to your friends, instead pray for him with your friends. Be careful how you talk about him and to him around others and especially your children. 

3.  By the things you do for him. 
Proverbs 31:13--A wife works with willing hands.
- Hands that pray for him, touch him, feed him, and do things that he enjoys doing (hunting, fishing, etc.)  

If you are not showing your husband the respect he deserves, he likely is not showing you the love you need. If you are not getting the love you need, then you likely are not respecting him. This is called the "Crazy Cycle".  Ladies, let's stop this crazy cycle and start respecting our husbands better!

Are you showing your husband the respect he deserves so he can show you the love you desperately need?

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Yummy Dessert

Proverbs 31:15--She gets up while it is still night; she provides food for her family.

I admit I was not much of a cook or baker when we got married. However, I am slowly starting to get better at it and enjoy it! 

Here is some yummy Monkey Bread I made us for dessert one night!

1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
3 (7.5oz) cans buttermilk biscuits
1 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup butter, melted

1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 12 cup fluted tube pan.
2. Mix sugar and cinnamon in plastic storage bag.
3. Separate dough and cut each into quarters. Then place in bag a few at a time and coat with cinnamon sugar.

4. Arrange the dough in pan. Mix butter and brown sugar. Pour over biscuit pieces.
5. Bake 28-32 minutes  or until golden brown and no longer doughy in the middle.
6. Cool in pan 10 minutes. Turn upside down on plate and serve warm. YUM!!

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Friendship in Marriage

Who is your best friend? Your spouse?

                           Hanging out and eating dinner at Walker's Bluff General Store

Here is a sermon on friendship in marriage. It is part of a series this pastor is preaching on Real Marriage. It is based on a book he and his wife just wrote.

Here is an outline of some of the things I got out of the sermon.

1. Adam and Eve were the first friends.

2. Song of Solomon 5:16: "This is my lover, this is my friend."

3. Friendship with Jesus first, then with one another

4. Women hear "love" as "friendship" in marriage

5. Spouse should be your first friend. Then have a couple more close friends your spouse agrees are holy and helpful for you

6. If you don't feel your spouse is friendly, ask yourself what YOU can do to be a better friend

7. Men and women build friendships differently 

8. You should want to see your spouse grow closer to Jesus

F: Fruitful—multiply (have kids, adopt); open home to others; glorify God with your life

R: Reciprocal –Both devoted to working on friendship

I: Intimate ­­– Really get to know each other

E: Enjoyable – Go out and have fun with your spouse

N: Needed—You need one another; communicate how and why you need each other

D: Devoted—A friend loves at all times; at good and bad times

S: Sanctify—Marriage shows us our sin. If we repent and bring Jesus into it, we become more like Jesus together

How is your friendship with Jesus? With your spouse? Women lets be BEST friends with our husbands! How can you start doing that this week?

Friday, February 3, 2012

God's Desire For Men

Yesterday I made a post about God's desire for women: HERE. Here is one on what God desires men to be. 

Whether you are married, engaged, or still looking for that special someone, here is a great sermon on what God calls men to be. Even if you are still looking, let it be known that you want to marry a Godly man and be praying for that husband that you will someday have. If you have already found him, then encourage him to be these things so he can best lead you and your family.


Some things I learned about God's standard for a biblical man:

Titus 1: 5-13

1. Men are called to be pastors to their wives and children and leaders in the church
2. Show their young boys what it looks like to be a Godly leader at home
3. Family Man
    A. Husband of one wife--faithful.
    B. Honor fatherhood--raise kids to know and love Jesus
4. Good Man
    A. hospitable, kind, generous, humble
5. Disciplined Man
   A. emotionally balanced, careful in speech and actions, not quick tempered, not drunkard
6. Godly Man
    A.  Holy, worships God
    B. Submissive to God (if your wife isn't following you, it's probably because you aren't following Jesus)
7. Man of Scripture
    A. Able to instruct others; reads bible and teaches it
    B.  Talks scripture to wife and teaches to children
    C. Can share faith with friends, family, and co-workers

Is your husband/future husband all of these things? If not, encourage him to be!  We need more Godly men in our society, churches, homes and teaching our young men to grow up to love Jesus and be Godly leaders in their own homes someday.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

God's Desire for Women

Here is an awesome sermon on what God wants woman to be like in Proverbs 31 and how they should function in Titus 2:3-5. It is about an hour long, but definitely worth your time!!

Here are a few things I learned about the standard God created for biblical women:

Proverbs 31

1. God saved the greatest creation for last--women. We are the pinnacle of beauty.
2. Godly woman should be: hard working, organized, strong, intelligent, creative, generous, wise, have a good reputation and fear the Lord! (Understand who God is and who she is) 

Titus 2: 3-5

1. Teach and train other women to be women of God
2. Be a worshiper and obedient to God
3.  Desire to be a wife and mother
     A. Love her husband: encourager, teammate in ministry with family at home, lover
     B.  Submissive to husband: respect him so he can be a leader, encourage leadership
     C. Love her children: give self to raising children--no greater calling than to raise kids to love Jesus
     D. Work at home: primary context for discipleship, a career and assignment from God
4. Self-controlled: desires, sexually, and with mouth

I will post God's desire for MEN soon!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Wives as Helpers

Genesis 18: Then the Lord God said, "It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper suitable for him….Genesis 21-22: So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and he slept; then He took one of his ribs and closed up the flesh at that place. The Lord God fashioned into a woman the rib which He had taken from the man, and brought her to the man.

This is what we were studying in our small group this week. As stated in Genesis, God saw the need for Adam to have a helper-thus he created woman. Genesis also states that he took a rib from Adam to make woman. As we know, the rib comes from your side. God wanted woman to work BESIDE her husband as an equal. Today our society is constantly portraying the idea that woman can do anything men can do. While that may be true, is that really the way God intended it to be? I don’t think it is. Although I believe God created us equal, I also believe he created unique roles for men and women. Just like with the trinity: God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit. Yes, they are all equal and all one, but each has unique roles. That is how I believe God created husbands and wives to be; united as one but each having special roles he designed specifically for us. God created woman to be man's partner and to help in areas he lacks.

In what areas can you better help your husband? Are you being the helper God intended you to be or trying to live up to society's view of what a woman should be?