Tip Tuesdays…Oops, I Forgot to Thaw the Chicken

tiptuesdays

This week at Redeeming the Home, I’m beginning a couple of different series that I’m hoping will be helpful to us all. Today starts Tip Tuesdays.

As homemakers, we all have those little tricks and shortcuts that make our lives easier, or bail us out of a jam. So I thought–let’s share! My tricks are probably different than yours and I, for one, would like to learn a few things from the rest of you.

So be sure to leave your tip of the day in the comments, or if you’re a blogger, link up your helpful blog post!

Oops, I forgot to thaw the chicken!

Has this ever happened to you? In order to save some cash, you purchase whole chickens which you plan to cook, debone and use in a couple of different meals. You even made a meal plan, and you know what day you’ll need said chicken meat. Look at you–rockin’ the homemaking thing!

BUT…your best intentions are derailed when you realize that you need that cooked chicken meat for tomorrow’s dinner and currently your bird resides in your deep freeze, resembling an arctic bowling ball. DANG. Forgot to thaw it. Maybe tomorrow’s dinner will be vegetarian,¬†you say to yourself.

I did this a couple of days ago. Sure, I could have changed around the meal plan and pushed the chicken and rice casserole a few days down the schedule and had time to thaw my chicken in the frig. But I wanted casserole tonight. It’s a gloomy day. Perfect casserole weather. (Cause we’re weather dependent eaters, I guess.)

So, I’ll get to the tip, already.

Put your chicken, packaging and all, in a crockpot full of room temperature water for as long as it takes to loosen all the wrapping from the store. Drain the crockpot and rinse. Take the bird out of it’s bag, rinse and place back in the crockpot. Add a couple inches of water to the crockpot, cover and cook on low.

See, my chicken is still nicely frozen into an aero-dynamic projectile :)

See, my chicken is still nicely frozen into an aero-dynamic projectile ūüôā

This is gonna take a lot longer, obviously. I remembered late Sunday afternoon that I needed the meat for Monday’s dinner. So I let the chicken sit in the water a couple of hours to thaw just enough to get the plastic packaging loose. I put it on low to cook overnight and was rewarded with a perfectly cooked chicken when I woke up this morning.

You could do this first thing in the morning too, but that might be cutting it close. It’s still a huge time saver over the 3 or 4 days it takes to thaw a larger chicken in the refrigerator.

So there’s my Tuesday Tip. What do you do when your best laid dinner plans go awry?

*Bloggers, click on Mister Linky and copy the URL for your helpful tips! And be sure to put a link to this series at the bottom of your post.


Ultimate Homemaking eBook Sale Has Begun!

Today’s the day!

A few days ago, I announced the coming Ultimate Homemaking eBook Bundle Sale. Well, starting today, you have the chance to buy an entire LIBRARY of homemaking help from some of the top bloggers out there! This is a comprehensive homemaking collection featuring books on mothering, organization and cleaning, recipes and kitchen helps, home education, spiritual growth for both moms and kids, home décor and DIY, pregnancy and baby care, frugal living, health and fitness, and even work-from-home and financial tools.

97 eBooks for only $29.97!

Seriously–97 books! What on earth would I do with 97 books, you ask? Well, at this price, you can either keep only what you’re really interested in and delete the others, or¬†gift some to a friend for Mother’s Day.¬†(Just as long as you delete them from your computer after you gift them :)) If you purchased theses books separately, you’d spend over $600, so you’ve definitely got the freedom to customize!

Or, keep them all and enjoy them as you have the time. Erin at the Humbled Homemaker had some great tips for organizing such a large e-library.

Don’t worry if you don’t have a tablet.¬†I don’t either. These books can be read on your computer, tablet, or even print them out if you like. (There’s a link at the bottom of this post to a FAQ page that can help you out with the download process.)

To sweeten the pot, we’ve also teamed up with 10 companies to bring you over $140 in bonus offers, giving you an affordable opportunity to get products you’ll use and love for only the cost of shipping, or in some cases, entirely for free!

What’s Included in the Sale?

When you purchase The Ultimate Homemaking eBook collection, you will get instant access to any of the 97 eBooks and eCourses listed below.

PLUS over $140 of FREE Bonuses

Each The Ultimate Homemaking eBook collection comes with more than $140 of FREE Bonuses from 10 companies that we know you’ll love.¬†More on these bonuses below.

Please note: This collection is only available from 9 a.m. EST on April 29th to 11:59 p.m. EST on May 4th. There will be no late sales offered.

Home & Property {Cleaning, Organizing, Decor}

31 Days to Clean by Sarah Mae @ SarahMae.com ($4.99)
Getting it Together: Your Guide to Setting Up a Home Management System that Works by Kayse @ kayse pratt ($3.99)
Pulling Yourself Together: Implementing a Cleaning Routine that Sticks by Becky @ Clean Mama ($10.00)
Simple Living by Lorilee @ Loving Simple Living ($2.99)
NOT a DIY Diva by Melissa @ The Inspired Room ($3.99)
One Bite at a Time: 52 Projects for Making Life Simpler by Tsh @ Simple Mom ($5.00)
28 Days to Hope for your Home by Dana @ A Slob Comes Clean ($5.00)
Organizing Life as Mom by Jessica @ Life as Mom ($9.00)
Clean Enough: Simple Solutions for the Overwhelmed by Jenni @ Live Called ($4.99)
10 Steps to Organized Paper by Lisa @ Lisa Woodruff.net($5.00)
Handmade Walls by Jamin and Ashley @ the handmade home ($9.95)
Easy Peasy Chores: An Easy-to-Use Chore System That Brings JOY Back Into Family Chores by Alina Joy @ The Good Old Days Farm ($17.99)

Educational Children’s Resources

Princess Training by Richele @ Under the Golden Apple Tree ($3.99)
The Armor of God by Richele @ Under the Golden Apple Tree ($2.50)
My Bedtime Learning Book by Richele @ Under the Golden Apple Tree ($1.00)
Think Outside the Classroom by Kelly @ Generation Cedar ($6.97)
Raising Rock Stars ‚ÄĒ Kindergarten Bundle¬†by Carissa @¬†1plus1plus1equals1¬†($10.00)
The ABC’s For Godly Boys Curriculum¬†by Lindsey @¬†Road to 31¬†($8.00)
The ABC’s For Godly Girls Curriculum¬†by Lindsey @¬†Road to 31¬†($8.00)
K4 Curriculum by Erica @ Confessions of a Homeschooler ($15.00)
Write Through the Bible (print) by Trisha @ Intoxicated on Life ($5.00)
Write Through the Bible (cursive) by Trisha @ Intoxicated on Life ($5.00)
Balcony Girls (books 1 & 2) by Sandy @ Reluctant Entertainer ($19.90)
The Dig for Kids: Luke (Volumes 1 and 2) by Patrick, husband of Ruth @ The Better Mom ($5.98)
Music: An Essential Ingredient for Life by Ryan @ Resound School of Music ($6.99)

Budgeting {Finance & Time}

From Debtor to Better by Barry @ From Debtor to Better ($10.00)
Tell Your Time by Amy @ Blogging with Amy ($2.99)
The Homemakers Guide to Creating the Perfect Schedule by Amy @ Raising Arrows ($4.99)
Your Grocery Budget Toolbox by Anne @ Authentic Simplicity ($7.99)
Finding Financial Freedom by Kelly @ Generation Cedar ($5.97)
Become a Frugalista in 30 Days by Susan @ The Confident Mom ($3.99)

In the Kitchen {Recipes and Cooking}

Crock On by Stacy @ Stacy Makes Cents ($5.00)
Real Food, Real Easy by various bloggers @ The Humbled Homemaker ($9.95)
Wholesome Mixes by Kristy @ Little Natural Cottage ($4.00)
20-Minute Meals by Leigh Ann @ Intentional by Grace ($4.99)
Restocking the Pantry by Kresha @ Nourishing Joy ($9.99)
Money Saving Mom’s Guide to Freezer Cooking¬†by Crystal @¬†Money Saving Mom¬†($3.99)
Simply Summer by Kate @ Modern Alternative Mama ($7.95)
Do the Funky Kitchen by Laura @ Heavenly Homemakers ($4.95)
Real Food Kids: In the Kitchen plus 1 month access to select Real Food Kids eCourse videos by Wardeh @ GNOWFGLINS and Jami @ Eat Nourishing ($20.00)
Seasonal Menu Plans on a Budget: A Month of Meals from My Humble Kitchen to Yours by Diana @ My Humble Kitchen ($4.99)
Just Making Ice Cream by Marillyn @ Just Making Noise ($12.00)
The Curative Kitchen by Susan @ Handy Pantry ($20.00)

Pregnancy & Baby Care

First Bites by Hilary @ Accidentally Green ($9.99)
Confessions of a Cloth Diaper Convert by Erin @ The Humbled Homemaker ($9.95)
Stress-Free Baby Shower by Sara @ Your Thriving Family ($4.00)
Unbound Birth by Jenny @ The Southern Institute ($2.99)
My Pregnancy Journey by Mindy @ Simply Designs ($9.99)
My Buttered Life Baby Edition by Renee @ Made On Hard Lotion ($5.00)
The Minimalist Mom’s Guide to Baby’s First Year by Rachel @ The Minimalist Mom ($5.00)
Redeeming Childbirth: Growth & Study Guide by Angie @ Redeeming Childbirth ($3.99)

Holidays & Special Events

Festive Traditions by Jill @ Modern Alternative Kitchen ($7.95)
Holiday Mixes: Gifts in a Jar by Kristy @ Little Natural Cottage ($4.00)
Flourishing Spring by Michele @ Frugal Granola ($5.95)
Family Camping Handbook by Katie @ Kitchen Stewardship ($6.95)
Truth in the Tinsel by Amanda @ Oh, Amanda! ($7.99)
Plan a Fabulous Party by Mary @ Giving Up on Perfect ($4.99)
iPhone Photography: The Visual Guide by Alli @ Alli Worthington($9.97)

Spiritual Growth

Pursuit of the Proverbs 31 by Amy @ Amy Bayliss ($3.99)
The Best of Visionary Womanhood by Natalie @ Visionary Womanhood ($5.00)
God’s Word in my Heart: A Scripture Memory Learning Guide with Verses {all 4 versions} by Jenn @ The Purposeful Mom ($3.99)
Kept: a 13-Week Inductive Study on 1 Peter by Lara and Katie @ Quench Bible ($4.99)
Love Like Him: an 8 week Inductive Bible study on 1 Corinthians 13 by Lara and Katie @ Quench Bible ($2.99)

Marriage & Romance

Rekindling Romance by Jason & Jami @ A Biblical Marriage ($4.99)
Good Wife’s Guide by Darlene @ Time-Warp Wife ($2.99)
31 Days to Build a Better Spouse by Ashley @ Ashley Pichea ($4.99)
31 Days to Great Sex by Sheila @ To Love, Honor and Vacuum ($4.99)
Entangled: Recognize Your Emotional Affair by Amy @ Amy J. Bennett ($4.99)

Motherhood

The Heart of Simplicity by various authors @ The Heart of Simplicity ($9.99)
True Christian Motherhood by June @ A Wise Woman Builds Her Home ($7.00)
Hula Hoop Girl by September @ One September Day ($4.99)
When Motherhood Feels Too Hard by Kelly @ Generation Cedar ($4.97)
Mindset for Moms by Jamie @ Steady Days ($4.99)
From Cube to Farm by Heather @ From Cube to Farm ($2.99)
4 Moms of 35+ Kids Answer Your Parenting Questions by various authors @ 4 Moms, 35+ Kids Parenting E-book ($7.99)
That Works for Me! by Kristen @ We are THAT Family ($8.00)

Health & Fitness

100-pound Loser by Jessica @ Muthering Heights ($4.99)
Honoring the Rhythm of Rest by Danielle @ Domestic Serenity ($2.99)
42 Days to Fit by Brandy @ The Marathon Mom, Emma @ Real Fit Moms and Stacy @ A Delightful Home ($4.99)
Healthy Homemaking by Stephanie @ Keeper of the Home ($12.95)
Personal ePlanner by Jennifer @ ListPlanIt ($5.00)

Beauty

Frumps to Pumps by Sarah Mae @ SaraMae.com ($4.99)
The Cottage Mama’s DIY Guide by Kristy @ Little Natural Cottage ($4.00)
Simple Scrubs to Make and Give by Stacy @ A Delightful Home ($3.99)
The No Brainer Wardrobe by Hayley @ The No Brainer Wardrobe ($7.99)
Embracing Beauty by Trina @ Trina Holden ($9.00)
Reuse, Refresh, Repurpose by Kristen @ The Frugal Girl ($3.99)

Working from Home & Blogging

Your Blogging Business: Tax, Talk and Tips by Nikki @ Christian Mommy Blogger ($4.99)
The Bootstrap VA by Lisa @ The Home Life {and Me} ($12.99)
How to Grow Your Blog and Manage Your Home by Jacinda @ Growing Home ($4.99)
How to Have Your Cake and Eat It, Too by Mandi @ Life Your Way ($12.00)
Simple Blogging: Less Computer Time, Better Blogging by Rachel @ Small Notebook ($8.00)

Ecourses

Learning in Love: The Preschool Years by Renee @ FIMBY ($7.99)
Homeschooling from the Heart by Renee @ FIMBY ($7.99)
Grocery University by Carrie @ Colorado Bargains ($24.95)
Vibrant Living Strategies for Moms by Lisa @ Well-Grounded Life ($59)
You Can Do This! The First Five Steps to a Real Food Kitchen by Laura @ Heavenly Homemakers ($5.00)

PLUS, You will receive FREE Bonuses from these companies…

A FREE Two-Month Membership to Fit2B Studio, where their wholesome workouts for the whole family are tummy safe and particularly target Diastasis Recti (split abs). ($19.98 value. No shipping restrictions.)

A $15 store credit to TruKid. With products like their aware-winning sun care, they are dedicated to providing all natural skin and hair care for kids, babies, and now pets. ($15.00 value. Standard shipping applies. International shipping available.)

Your choice of incredible natural products like sea salt and clay for FREE. Choose from the Redmond Trading Earthpaste Bundle ($24.90 value) or the Facial Mud Bundle ($26.90 value). (Standard shipping applies. Continental US only.)

Your choice of a FREE heirloom sourdough starter or FREE yogurt starter from Cultures for Health, the leading supplier of starter cultures and supplies for making cultured and fermented foods ($12.95 value. US & CAN addresses only. Standard shipping applies.)

Your choice of: a FREE 3-Month Subscription (for new accounts) or 30% off a One Year Subscription. Plan to Eat is an online menu planner that uses your recipes, scheduled for the days you want them. ($15.00 value. No shipping restrictions.)

A FREE Culinary Herbs Assorted Seed Pack Check just in time for spring planting from www.wheatgrasskits.com, a living whole foods company. ($11.95 value. Standard shipping applies to all US states and territories- no international shipping for seeds.)

Get $10 off¬†Union28’s¬†original “my husband rocks” tee. Their marriage apparel lets you celebrate your spouse in style. ($10.00 value.¬†Standard shipping rates apply. International shipping available, but free shipping only available within USA.)

A $10 store credit plus 1 FREE lip balm from Bee All Natural. Their whole body products nourish and heal, and are made using only the highest quality, food grade, organic ingredients. ($13.49 value. Standard shipping applies. International shipping available.)

A FREE 2 oz. bottle of your choice of liquid herbal formula from TriLight Health. They specialize in fast acting, great tasting natural herbal remedies. ($12.95 value or more. Standard shipping applies, within the USA only.)

Your choice of 3 FREE ePlanners OR a 3-Month FREE Membership to ListPlanIt, whose mobile lists will help to organize your life. ($15.00 value. No shipping restrictions.)

The fine print:

Bonus Offers

  • Each bonus offer can be redeemed once only per eBook Bundle purchase.
  • For each bonus offer, transaction numbers or proof of purchase may be required at the time of redemption.
  • All bonus offers are free gifts from the bonus sponsors, are their sole responsibility to provide, and are subject to availability.
  • All bonus offers expire at midnight on May 19th, 2013 (2 weeks from the last day of this sale).

General

  • It is your responsibility to download and back-up your purchase within the 1-month download time-frame. With proof of purchase, we can renew download links up until August 1st, 2013. After this date we will no longer have access to the books and will not be able to provide any new links to download.
  • Due to the nature of this sale,¬†there will be no refunds available.¬†However,¬†we would invite you to read¬†our Frequently Asked Questions page¬†to learn more about the file types, the download process, how the bonus offers work, etc.

Please note: This collection is only available from 9 a.m. EST on April 29th to 11:59 p.m. EST on May 4th. There will be no late sales offered, so make sure that you get your bundle right away!

Particularly for those wanting to read these ebooks on their mobile devices (iPhones or iPads, Android, Kindle, etc.) you will want to learn more about the file types, how to download them correctly, and how to transfer them to your device.

Happy reading and thanks for supporting these great bloggers and Redeeming the Home!

This post includes affiliate links, and I make a portion of the sale of each ebook bundle. Thanks for your support of this site!

Natural Remedies for Allergy Season

The trees are in bloom, the pollen’s flying. I have been¬†so ready for spring. But I’ve been a little wary, as well.

Last spring was pretty bad around here for those with allergies. And it didn’t let up much all summer long. These otherwise glorious months have been notoriously bad for me, a life long allergy sufferer.

In the mornings, you would usually find me connected to a tissue box, completely unable to breath through my nose. My eyes might be all swollen and crusty from rubbing them all night long in my sleep. That’s if I didn’t get up to take a benadryl sometime during the night. In which case I’d also be in a groggy haze until about 10:00 am. ¬†By afternoon the itchy eyes would start up again and I’m not sure if my nose ever did get completely unplugged during the day.

It wasn’t pretty.

What I was doing wasn’t really working. It was just sort of making the symptoms livable, but not without side effects. Then I started researching some natural, herbal remedies for seasonal allergies. I have not been disappointed.

*I am not a doctor or medical profession or blah, blah, blah…Just sharing what’s worked for me :).

Eyebright, Mullein, and Stinging Nettle.

stinging nettle

stinging nettle

The trifecta of herbal allergy relief. They take care of the dreaded “m” word, people. Mucous. If you’ve got allergies, you’ve got it in abundance. Now I know that all those handy dandy OTC antihistamines dry it up too. But I had two problems with those. First, they dried up¬†everything else too. My throat felt like the desert. My eyes were just as bad. And second, after a while, they seemed to lose their effectiveness, and I’d have to switch to another brand. Some make me sleepy (like Zyrtec and Benadryl) and some just don’t work for me at all.

Most of the time, eyebright once or twice a day does the trick. My husband especially likes mullein for his respiratory symptoms that creep up during an illness or during allergy season. (He used to struggle with bronchitis several times a year, but ever since he started taking mullein at the first sign of problems, he’s been bronchitis free!) This year, I plan on adding stinging nettle to the lineup.

If you’re looking for a supplement that has all three, as well as other vitamins and bioflavonoids that support your bodies proper response to allergies, we’ve had good results with this one.

 

One of my kids was having a severely stuffy nose every morning and one tablespoon of this nixed it within an hour.

Cayenne Pepper. As in cayenne pepper up the nose. Seriously. If you can stand the initial burn, nothing opens up the nose like it. Now, I don’t snort the stuff straight from the spice cabinet. What I’ve been using is an OTC nasal spray like this one¬†that has capsaicin as well as the stinging nettle. It definitely wakes you up in the morning. But it also works.¬†

Neti Pots and Saline Sprays. My kids won’t get near the cayenne spray (wimps). So for them, I use a simple saline nasal spray. It’s one we keep on hand for colds too. My youngest’s nose gets incredibly itchy and red inside this time of year and a spray of saline in each nostril does the trick!

The neti pot achieves the same thing as the saline spray, but with more thorough results. All day long, we breath allergens in through our nose.  Many of those particles get trapped in there and cause irritation, sneezing, and runny noses. Rinsing with a neti pot at the end of the day clears out all those offenders.

And as a side note, this whole idea of rinsing away the allergens works for other parts of the body as well. If I remember to flush my eyes at night with simple tap water, they don’t itch as much. Some recommend showering at night this time of year to get the pollen out of your hair and off your body before bed.

Diet.¬†Last year, I came across a free webinar from Wardeh at GNOWFGLINS on treating seasonal allergies through a gut healing diet. She shares her story in this post.¬†Now, if you’ve heard of the GAPS diet before, and it terrifies or overwhelms you, just know this. When I sat in on the webinar, I asked Wardeh during the chat time if she thought an allergy sufferer could benefit from eating mostly grain free and refined sugar free without going into the complete GAPS intro, or even the full GAPS diet. And she did think it could help. She had done something similar–cut out most grains and refined sweets–during a previous allergy season and she noticed a difference right away in her allergy symptoms.

I’m here to tell you it’s not a bunch of baloney. Last summer, my youngest and I were grain and refined sugar free for the majority of the summer. I went from intensely itchy, swollen shut eyes, chronic congestion, and constant post nasal drip–which required lots of meds just to function–to just a few barely noticeable symptoms within the first week or so. And it was BAD here last summer.

A diet change like this isn’t meant to be permanent. I learned that my daughter doesn’t do well on that kind of diet, long term. BUT, there is merit in cleaning out your system, starving the bad pathogens that have taken up residence and giving your body the time it needs to heal.

Personally, now that allergy season has started up again, and I’m seeing a return of some symptoms, I probably need to plan on a month of grain and sugar free eating, coupled with good probiotic foods and supplements, to keep those allergies at bay. It’s worth it to me to avoid the brain fog, headaches, interrupted sleep and other problems that allergies bring about. At the moment, I’m trying to avoid wheat (cause I have a wheat sensitivity anyway) processed stuff, and refined sugar and I’m already seeing an improvement. That’s¬†with all the trees in full bloom.

BE ENCOURAGED! If you’ve suffered from serious seasonal allergies, you don’t have to hide in the air conditioning for the next 5 months. Natural, herbal remedies, diet changes, and common sense really do go a long way to provide relief and bring balance to the body.

We order most of our herbal supplements from Vitacost.com. ¬†(I am an affiliate, so if you order through this site, I’ll receive a small commission. Thanks!)

Save up to 50% Everyday at Vitacost.com! Click Here!

 

How do you survive allergy season?


What Homeschooling Teaches the Teacher

books

When I decided to homeschool my kids, my head flooded with all the things I wanted to teach them. All the things I should teach them. I got a couple of those What Your Kindergartener (or fill in the blank) Needs to Know books.

I never once considered what homeschooling would teach me.

I don’t think anything teaches you more about yourself than homeschooling. You learn rather quickly how self disciplined you are. You learn how organized you are (or aren’t in my case). You learn how much algebra you remember. YIKES!

Homeschooling can be the great mirror that shows all the cracks. Like when I lose my patience. Or when I sleep too late. It reveals selfishness and pride and lack of preparation.

But before you hit the back button on your browser and dismiss this post as thoroughly discouraging, I’m hear to say that this is all GOOD. Of all the things that God asks of me, there is one I tend to fight the most.¬†Leaning on Him. Because when we choose the hard things, whether it’s homeschooling, missionary work, loving the unlovely, living on one income, forgiving someone that hurt you, or–you fill in the blanks–we quickly find ourselves¬†at the end of ourselves.

When faced with all the limitations I’ve either ignored or covered over I have an opportunity–and a choice. Will I just plow through, leaving a mess in my wake? Or will I lean on my heavenly Father for strength and grace and wisdom?

It can be hard to admit you need help. It can be hard to apologize to your kids for losing your temper. And it’s tough to live with the consequences of your own disorganization or lack of self discipline. But it’s in our messes and failings that our God shows just how big, and strong and merciful He is.¬†His mercies are new every morning. His grace is sufficient in our weaknesses.

On those (frequent) days when homeschooling teaches me who I am apart from the grace of God, I am reminded that if I will only lean on Him, I will find all the help I need to fulfill this great task He’s called me to.

“Let us then approach God‚Äôs¬†throne¬†of¬†grace¬†with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find¬†grace¬†to help us in our time¬†of¬†need.” ¬†Hebrews 4:16

 

This post is part of April’s Homeschool Blog Hop.

Lorrie @ Life and Lessons Learned,
Selena  @ Campbell Clan,
Kathleen @ Positive Adoption,
Audrey @ Everything Beautiful,
Charli @ WV Urban Hippies,
Tracey @ Building My House, and
Maria @ The Joyfully Frugal Home


Every Homemaker’s Must Read List–Sale Starts Monday!

I’m so EXCITED to share this great deal with you! Starting Monday, April 29th,¬†you’ll be able to buy¬†97 homemaking ebooks for only $29.97!

This bundle is full of incredible tools for home organization, motherhood, marriage, money management, homeschooling, real food and SO MUCH MORE. Plus, free bonuses from 10 companies like Redmond Trading and Cultures for Health.

I’ve already seen quite a few books I’m adding to my summer reading list.

And there’s so many more to inspire your homemaking ūüôā

I’ll have a full list of the books and special offers in a few days, plus your opportunity to buy the bundle starting on Monday.


Slaying the Dragon of Comparison

Recently, some friends of mine blogged about fighting comparison when it comes to homeschooling. And it got me thinking. Comparison might be one of the most crippling, burdensome things that we do as women.

We compare EVERYTHING. Our kids, our kitchens. Husbands, homes. Bodies, bank accounts, wardrobes, wrinkles, to do lists, and shopping lists. I can’t think of one area where either I or someone I know hasn’t had a conversation of comparison.

And I can’t think of a time where it ever did any good.

Comparison tends to lead me down one of two paths. Inadequacy. So I retreat into my own little cave where I can reduce the chance of finding myself in a situation that makes me feel like a failure. Here, I can judge myself, by myself, with no one else to live up to. But that’s a lonely place. And it’s ruled by fear.

But if the pendulum swings the other way, I land on criticism. I’ve compared, judged and weighed someone else and whether it’s true or not, I’ve found them wanting in some area. And I don’t hesitate to point it out. Maybe not to them or even someone else, but it festers in my mind. Criticism is nothing more than an attempt to make ourselves feel superior at the expense of someone else.

“For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think¬†of yourself¬†more¬†highly¬†than you ought…” Romans 12:3.

I really believe that this trap of comparison is one way that the enemy is tearing us down. It keeps us from offering grace and forgiveness to others. It makes us forget who we are in Christ. We become performance and results driven, always trying to stay ahead of someone else.

But that says nothing of our hearts. The Pharisees looked great on paper. They could compare themselves to anyone come out ahead. But Jesus called them whitewashed tombs. Beautiful on the outside, rotting within.

I don’t know if men struggle with this as much as women do. I’ll have to run that by my husband. But ladies, we’ve got to get to the root of the problem. Yes, there’s gossip and low self esteem and judging and manipulation–but the foundation of all of them is comparison. And at the core it’s a selfish, self-centered practice. Because it’s all about me.

But if I take my eyes off of me, and off of those around me, and put them where they are supposed to be–on Jesus–then I see clearly. I see truth. Because the truth is, my story isn’t your story. And our families and homes and day to day stuff is going to be different. Sometimes it’s good. Sometimes it’s rotten. Sometimes I might get it right. And lots of times I blow it.

What God calls me to do is walk as faithfully as I can on whatever road He has me on. I’ve got to keep my eyes on the road, and not on everyone else.

Can we give each other grace for the journey? Can we stop comparing ourselves to others and pray for them instead?

I NEED to get better at all this. This week, I’m spending every night at rehearsals for my daughters’ dance concert on Friday. Lots of moms and kids. A perfect breeding ground for comparison. Praying I can do this:

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith…”¬†Hebrews 12:1-2

A good song about where our eyes should be…


Apple Berry Breakfast Skillet

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This might be my new favorite breakfast. Some mornings, I feed the kids their oatmeal, eggs or whatever and they run off to squeeze in some play time before school. Those few moments are MINE. And sometimes, I just want a¬†me¬†breakfast. Like my own personal little cafe seat by the window. ¬†So that’s what I did today.

This is a grain free, gluten free, egg free, dairy free (did I miss anything?) breakfast. So unless you’re allergic to almonds or coconut, you’re home free. (And I guess you could leave those out if you really wanted to.) If you’d like, though, granola would probably be a great topping as well. What it does have is fiber, vitamin C, plus some protein, fat and minerals from the nuts. Always a good way to start the day.

This dish eats like an apple or berry crisp, but with a lot less work and sugar.

Serves 1 (easily doubles or quadruples)
TB coconut oil or butter
1 or 2 apples (depending on the size), peeled and sliced or chopped
1/2 cup blueberries, rasberries, blackberries (whatever combo you have, fresh or frozen)
1/4 tsp cinnamon (I just sprinkle it in)
small pinch salt
1-2 TB honey (more or less depending on how tart your apples are)
2 TB chopped, sliced or slivered almonds (toasted or roasted are best)
2 TB shredded coconut
 
In a small pan, melt the coconut oil over medium heat. Add apples, cinnamon and salt and saute until they begin to brown just a bit. I usually add a quick glug of water from the teapot on the stove and cover for 2 or 3 minutes to get the apples to soften up faster. Next, uncover and add the honey and allow to bubble away for a minute to thicken up the honey and juices. I don’t add the berries to the skillet until last, so they don’t turn to complete mush. If they are frozen, you’ll have to heat them a bit longer. ¬†(No one wants to bite into a frosty berry in their hot apple breakfast :))
 
Remove from the heat into your serving dish (make it a pretty one!) and sprinkle with almonds and coconut. Grab a cup of coffee and find your own window cafe seat.
 

Please share your own favorite breakfast treats!