Wednesday, November 16, 2011


Apparently, by default readers can not post comments. I have changed a few settings and hopefully the comments will work now. Thanks for letting me know!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Master Storage Reorganization

It has been three months since I last posted and during that time my house has been taken over with a renovation that is reminiscent of the classic children’s story, “If You Give a Moose a Muffin”. Or in my case I have renamed it, “If You Give a Mom a Project”. Since I have been encouraged by several people to continue to blog while I am going through the transformation, I thought I would bring you up to speed.
After replacing our 22+ year old kitchen appliances, we really needed to replace the peeling laminate, which meant we needed to renew the cabinets, which means, of course, now we need a new backsplash. All the makeover work is easy compared to the real project that has consumed me for the last several weeks – master reorganization of all of our storage items. Since the cabinets were emptied for the refinishing, I realized I had many items taking up valuable kitchen space that could be stored elsewhere. The process of making our kitchen more efficient has the contents of my cabinets spread throughout the house, everywhere but the kitchen. Until I plan our new storage strategy, it doesn't make sense to move all the serving pieces and small appliances to a temporary storage location. However, with Thanksgiving only a week away and expecting a full house, I have no choice but stow my lesser used kitchen items for the time being, in of all places – my bedroom.
As I pause for Thanksgiving preparations, I can ponder how and where to store the items we use infrequently. What are your thoughts? Where do you store specialty appliances? Special serving or heirloom pieces? Picnic supplies? And since it is effecting my other storage locations, what about travel accessories? Heavy coats that are only used twice a season? Games and puzzles? Formalwear?  What are you storing?

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

The Purpose of a Well-Stocked Pantry

After four beds in ten days and 1200 miles of traveling, I am so glad to be home. Pulling into the garage mid-afternoon, I started running through the list of tasks that had to be done to settle our family back into the house. Grocery shopping was not top on my agenda; I needed to rely on my well-stocked pantry. Without hesitation, I was able to offer several meal choices to my family. We settled on spaghetti with homemade sauce and green beans.
A well-stocked pantry saved a trip to the grocery store when I was just wanted to stay home. As I have thought about the contents of a well-stocked pantry, I realized I must define the purpose of preparing the pantry. At the very basic level, a prepared pantry will contain enough items to pull together a few meals without needing a quick run to the market. Our pantry is one that not only offers meal choices but supports creative cooking, with a supply of spices, sauces, and other ingredients. When I have time to cook, I will go to my pantry to determine what flavor profile I want to use for the meal.
              Lately, I have been hearing a bit about a survival or emergency pantry. At first I thought it was an alarmist or doomsday approach to stocking our home. However after hearing about people who have utilized their emergency pantry when there was a job loss or illness, a survival pantry makes more sense. Also it a charity pantry, providing food for others when there is a need. Preparing an emergency pantry has more appeal for me when there is a real and practical application for it.
There are many lists available with suggestions for your food store. Here are links to a few I like and a few meal ideas that can be pulled together from the pantry. Note: I am not endorsing any website, merely pointing to a list that may be helpful to you.
Well-stocked Pantry Links
Pantry Meals – all from my pantry (Does not include cold items from the freezer)
Spaghetti with marinara or alfredo sauce
Parmesan Polenta with lentil gravy
Tuna/salmon/ chicken coquettes
Pancakes with spiced peaches
Crepes with creamy chicken or veggie filling
Black beans soup with cornbread
Chickpea patties sandwiches
Risotto with peas and parmesan
Vegetarian chili

Friday, July 8, 2011

Beginning Blogging

I have a vision for this blog, a very specific vision. I see the tabs across the top as libraries holding information and articles specific to the category - a file cabinet of sorts. However, tonight is the first time I have tried to post a second file to a tab- basically the summary to the Genesis questions I posted last week. Blogger creates one long post instead of individual posts. Not quite what I had in mind, but I have posted a new devotional post and I will have to work on my concept of the "library".

Several people have asked for the ability to receive an email after I posted a new blog. So I configured the page to provide this option. Simply type in your email address and click the submit button. There is so many "functions" I could add to the blog, but I think simple is best for now.

While I am learning the ins and outs of blogging, I thought I would share a few of the ideas that I plan on writing about. Feel free to suggest other topics that you would like to read.

Blog topics
The well-stocked pantry
Food storage
Dehydrating - beyond dried fruit
Menu plans for different occasions
Is there more than one way to fold a towel?
Closet re-organization
Taming the calendar
Creative gift giving
Entertaining on a shoe-string
Traveling on a shoe-string
I have something up my sleeve - surprises for loved ones
Ready, set, action - accomplishing what needs to get done

Monday, July 4, 2011

Independence Day Thoughts

Picnics and fireworks are being enjoyed all around our nation today. It is a time to not only celebrate but to remember the reason for Independence Day. Declaring an end to lack of representation and oppression from British rule, our forefathers acknowledged they were just beginning the fight for freedom. As we reflect on the reliance the founding fathers had upon God, the contrast in our nation today is astounding. It seems as if every week there is a court case arguing values contrary to our beliefs or an activist group trying to prevent the use of God's name. Perhaps the time is coming to declare independence again, this time from the suppression and intolerance of our great God in our nation.

"See, I have set before you today life and good, death and evil. If you obey the commandments of the LORD your God that I command you today, by loving the LORD your God, by walking in his ways, and by keeping his commandments and his statutes and his rules, then you shall live and multiply, and the LORD your God will bless you in the land that you are entering to take possession of it. But if your heart turns away, and you will not hear, but are drawn away to worship other gods and serve them, I declare to you today, that you shall surely perish. You shall not live long in the land that you are going over the Jordan to enter and possess. I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Therefore choose life, that you and your offspring may live, loving the LORD your God, obeying his voice and holding fast to him, for he is your life and length of days, that you may dwell in the land that the LORD swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them." - Deuteronomy 30:15-20

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Menu Planning Introduction

“What’s for Dinner?” A simple question that provokes frustration if asked at 5:00 and the answer is unknown. There are some days, I would be content to have a bowl of cereal and call it a meal. However, one of the blessings of having a family is gathering together for a nutritious and delicious meal after the workday is completed. However, most afternoons, I am working on a project or running errands, and my work is not finished when it is time to start preparing dinner. So it really helps me to have a plan, to know in advance what I am going to make. Though I like flexibility to change the plan based on what we feel like eating, the available prep time, and even the weather (rain almost always calls for soup in our home).
My menu plans loosely cover a month with about twenty dinner ideas. I do not pre-assign specific dates for each meal, nor do I plan the entire month. This gives us flexibility to include other meal choices and leftovers as part of family dinners. To make this work, I keep a well-stocked pantry and I decide in the morning what we will be having for dinner. Choosing dinner in the morning allows time for thawing frozen foods, picking up perishables from the market, or prepping food in advance such as marinating or chopping.
There are several different methods of menu planning with pros and cons to each. Under the Kitchen Tab in the navigation bar, I describe the different methods of menu planning focusing primarily on dinner, though the principle applies to all the meals. Personally, I use a hybrid method of several planning techniques. Feel free to leave comments to share your menu planning ideas. Bon appetite!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Devotion Introduction

“But the seed falling on good soil refers to someone who hears the word and understands it. This is the one who produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.”  
~Matthew 13:24

Reading God’s word is fruitless unless we think about it and ponder it until we understand what is being said, what it means, and how it applies to our life. When I study the word, I start with reading the passage and jotting down questions or thoughts that come to mind as I go through the scriptures. After finishing the day’s reading, I meditate on the word, think about the questions that arose, and then gather my thoughts into a summary or two based on the length of the passage. Finally, I pull out the lessons that I like to remember from the reading, followed by prayer based on how the Lord is guiding me with the lessons. I am by no means an expert on scripture analysis, I am just sharing what questions come to my mind, what thoughts form, and the lessons I have learned.
Because of the amount of time I put into a passage, it could take me several days to work my way through the entire process. Lord willing, my plan is to spread my devotionals over several posts as I go through the text. Devotions will be posted under the link on the top navigation bar. Please feel free to go through the material and comment as desired.
May the seed of God’s word blossom fully in your heart.