Thursday, March 31, 2011

Inconvenience or Opportunity?

  Is it an inconvenience or an opportunity?  Some would choose the first, but I choose the latter.  I would say that with every inconvenience is an opportunity, an opportunity to teach and to learn. God has given us free will this means we have to make the choice or decision ourselves. He is not going to make us do the right or wrong thing. We have to base our decisions on principles we learn form His Word.  What about children?  It is our responsibility as parents to teach our children these same principles that we have learned and are still learning, this would be the opportunity to teach.  The other opportunities would be for us to learn or to put what we have learned into action, making it our way of life because we all know that knowledge is useless if not applied.
  How do we apply what we have learned through the 'opportunity'?  It is not always easy, even though it may sound easy.  'Just do what is right', but sometimes what sounds so easy is hard.  It is hard sometimes for me as a mother to do what is right and best for my children.  You may think this sounds horrible, but wait a minute stop and think.  I want my children to be happy, stay young and innocent.  I want to give them the world and more, but is this what is right and best for them.  If they always get what they want they will become spoiled brats.  If they stay forever young and innocent they will have know wisdom for the world, how evil it is and how it works against God and the things of God.
  Here was our opportunity.  Princess loved the new Disney movie Tangled.  She loves just about everything Tangled right now.  Princess had been working and saving all of her pennies so that she could buy the movie when it came out.  She was so excited.  She was learning patients as we didn't go get the movie on Tuesday because we would be going out on Wednesday and are trying to conserve gas.  If that wasn't hard enough for a 6 year old when we finally got to Target they didn't have any Tangled combo packs left.  We were told that the next nearest Target had several, but here comes the opportunity.  The next nearest Target was about 25 minutes away and church would be starting in 15 minutes.  So we have a movie that is in high demand, church starting shortly and a 6 year old's dream hanging in the balance.  Now you know that the purchase of a movie is not really a big deal, but to a 6 year old this would be like an adult getting their dream sewing machine or dream car so to speak and the chance of it not being there if they wait, it is a huge thing.  The choices we have are skip church and make sure Princess can get her movie after all she has worked so hard and waited so long already, or take the this inconvenience for the opportunity that it is to teach and to learn.  Sometimes teaching these lessons as parents' to our children is learning for ourselves.  We had been teaching the kids the meanings of 'love' (honoring God first in your life) and 'loyalty' (choosing God over pleasure).  This gave us a perfect opportunity to teach this in action, not just in words.  Was is hard?  You bet.  We first gave her the options. "We can go to the other store and get your movie now, but we would miss church or we can go to church and then go to the store after church.  Which one do you think we should do?"  Of course her first choice was to go now.  We then reminded her of the words we have been learning and their meanings.  We also helped  her to apply them to the situation and then asked the same question again.  This time she chose church and then getting her movie.  This was a hard choice for her.  She knew that there was a chance that the other store would be sold out by the time we got there.  This was hard for us as parents because we can't always give them everything they want even if we want to.  Sometimes what they need is more important than what they want.  We want our kids to grow up loving Christ and to put him first in their lives.  We have to teach them and develop this love of Christ now so that it will go with them through their lives.  With a prayer telling God we wanted to honor him first in our lives and asking him if he could save a movie for Princess.  We were off to church.  No more tears and with happy hearts.  Did we rush out the door as soon as service was over? No. Even Princess was happy to chat and play with the other kids for a few minutes.  Was there a movie left? Yes, and did Princess ever get a deal.  She is one smart shopper in training.  Target had the 4-disc combo pack on sale for $24.99, Princess used her Disney rewards coupon of $5 and her Target coupon of $5 along with bringing her own bag which will save you another $.05 (every penny counts) to get her movie  for a grand total of $16.44 including tax.  But the more important deal was the lesson in love and loyalty to God, priceless. Now how is that for a happy ending.
  If it weren't for this 'inconvenience' or 'opportunity' Princess would still have her movie, but she would not have experienced that loving and honoring God in her life is not always easy.  Something that if one does not know and understand can cause them to run away at the first sign of tough times.  I am thankful for the opportunity for us to teach and to learn to love and honor God when it really matters, when it really counts, when its hard.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The Beauty of a Rainy Day

Yep. Today is a rainy day and a perfect one at that.  Honestly I do love a quiet rainy day when I can stay home.  I don't know of anyone who enjoys a rainy day out.  I love the smell of the fresh rain air, the crisp breeze (it is not muggy, humid yet) and the calm that comes with it.  So this morning I am thanking God for this beautiful day that he has made and that I can stay home and enjoy it.

Happy Wednesday!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Crepes Yummm!!

I have come up with the perfect crepe recipe.  At least it is perfect for me.  We had crepes for dinner.  Sometimes you just have to change things up.

Here is my basic crepe recipe:

4 eggs
4 Tbsp of coconut oil (melted)
3-4 Tbsp real maple syrup
1/4 tsp almond extract
1/4 tsp salt
2 Tbsp coconut flour
1/4 cup regular flour (I used a mixture of sorghum, soft wheat and teft; you could also use 2 additional Tbsp of coconut flour instead)
2 shakes of nutmeg
2 shakes of cinnamon
2/3 cup of milk

Whisk together eggs, coconut oil, maple syrup, almond extract and salt.  Make sure to mix the oil quickly because the cold eggs will make it firm up again.

Stir in flours, spices and then milk.  The batter will be thin and ready to pour.

Heat a small frying pan.  When hot melt butter or coconut oil in the pan. Pour a scant 1/4 cup of batter into the pan and tilt the pan to form a thin layer of batter over the bottom of the pan.  You will want to start tilting quickly after or while pouring the batter to get it thin before it cooks.  Cook for about 1 minute and flip.  You want it to be slightly browned.

Makes about 10 crepes.

Now for the filling.  Today we did a simple triple berry filling.  I simply used frozen berries and added a little sugar, warmed them up, filled and rolled.  Topped it off with powdered sugar.  The filling is only limited by your imagination.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Weekend Bargains!

One of my favorite things is getting a good deal, especially if it is something I need.  This weekend was a good one for getting some deals.  I was good about it I only purchased the ones that were needed and no extra just for fun budget busters.  My first finds were at Target.  I just happened to be at Target at just the right time.  They were changing out some of their aisles and marking things down quite a bit.  I scored a $40 blender for only $9.98.  My next deal was on birthday supplies for Roochie.  His birthday is coming up next month and he finally told me what theme he wanted.  Not even an hour after finding out we happened upon his Iron Man plates marked down to .43 for the large ones and .37 for the small ones.  I also found some stickers to make cupcake toppers marked down to .38.  You just can't beat that.  This is where planning ahead can make things fun and cheap.  My last deal was at the Skechers outlet store.  We were simply out enjoying the warm day, window shopping and playing at the park.  I had been looking for some dress shoes for Princess for a while.  It seems that all the stores only carry shoes that have 1 1/2 to 2" heels on them.  This is not suitable for a girl who runs and plays with the boys after church.  Anyway, while browsing at Skechers I found a cute dress shoe with a nice athletic sole.  They normally sell for $37, but were marked down to $14.95, but that is not all.  There was only one pair in Princess' size and they had obviously been bought, worn, and returned with a small scuff, dirt and chocolate on them.  After the clerk tried to get the scuff off and couldn't the manager offered another 10% discount.  This brought the shoes down to $13.45. Yay!  I sure enjoyed getting every deal and not forgetting to thank God for even the small blessings; needed, but unexpected bargains.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Family Sewing

Even though we are far apart we still get together on projects.  My sister cut this out, mom mailed it to me and I sewed it together.  This is an over dress and apron that is part of a dress outfit for my youngest sister to wear for Old Fashioned Sunday coming up.  I know she will like it.  We used Simplicity 3725.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

A Glimps into One of My Passions

I love to sew.  I learned early on that if a girl is going to get what she wants she has to nag like crazy.(jk)  I did however beg my mom to teach me to sew and she did.  If you were to hear my mom tell the story it would go something like this.  'She was begging to learn how to sew.  It was driving me crazy, so I thought I would teach her a lesson and she would give up and leave me alone until she got older. I told her how to follow the instructions, use the pattern pieces, cut them out and how to use the sewing machine, but she had to do it herself. I was not going to do it for her. To my surprise she made her very first project a gown for her little sister.' Now it might help you to know that I was somewhere around 5 or 6 years old at the time. This could explain why she wasn't too excited to teach me.  I loved it and it wasn't too long before I took over all the sewing projects.  I loved being with my mom and watching everything she was doing and I wanted to be a part of it.  We have enjoyed many sewing projects together, most of them being clothes for family, friends or as baby gifts.

Now I get to share this same love for sewing with Princess.  She started helping me when she was very young.  I don't even think she was 2 yet when she first started handing me pins and trying to pin fabric down.  Princess made her first project when she was 5, a skirt for herself.
I do want to learn more about sewing crafts and quilting as I don't have much experience in this area of sewing.

Here are some of my favorite past outfits.

Wow! How time flies.  It seems like just yesterday I was creating these special outfits for my babies.  I blink and they are growing up from babies, to toddlers, to children. It really brings home the meaning of James 4:14 "Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away." I am off to enjoy my vapour!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

A Tangled Birthday!

Princess turned 6 today.  I can hardly believe it.  Time has flown by so fast and it is not slowing down.  As parent's we want to give the world to our kids, but for most of us it is not in our power.  It is probably a good thing too, many times in our 'giving' to our kids we are 'taking' what really matters from them.  With a little planning, creativity and prayer you can still make them feel special.  I was able to keep everything below budget and here is how.

I made/crafted what I could.
Here is how I made my own cupcake tower for only $.76 out of pocket.
Here is how I made cupcake picks for $1.50
I used this recipe for homemade strawberry cupcakes.  It is definitely the best I have ever made.  They are moist, but not too heavy. 
I used this recipe with an added 1tsp of vanilla for the frosting.  It was perfect not too tart, not too sweet.
I was able to make her Tangled Rapunzel dress for $17.46 and it is much better quality than the $20 one that Wal-Mart carries. 
To get her the Disney Tangled Rapunzel Tower Play Set I used amazon money that I had earned from swagbucks to cover most of it.

Honestly, I didn't think I was going to be able to pull it off with the budget we had.  God gave me the desires of my heart for Princess' birthday.  I look at how it all pulled together and I know he was behind it helping to give our princess, his princess a very special birthday.  This may be a small blessing in the big picture of life, but it is still a blessing and I am thankful for it.

Cupcake Picks

Okay, these are so easy to make I can't figure out why anyone would by them.  I have seen set of 12 go for as little as $3 and as much as $15 and honestly there wasn't much different to warrant that kind of price change.
I made my own with construction paper, squiggly scissors, toothpicks and stickers.  It was pretty simple really.  Cut the desired shape and size from the construction paper, place the sticker and slide in the tooth pick between them.  I used stickers because I don't have color ink at the moment, but you could just as easily print off any picture that you like and glue the two side together.  
My total out of pocket expense $1.50 for 24 stickers, everything else I had already.

How I made my Cupcake Tower.....

Princess wanted a cupcake tower with cupcakes for her birthday.  Now to get a use and toss type it will cost you at least $8 or you can do what I did and make one.

I started with my supplies, a cardboard box, gift wrap, tape, ribbon, salt containers, razor blade, scissors, hot glue gun and a platter.
First I used the platter as my pattern for the largest (bottom) disc.  After cutting the first disc I made two more each one one inch smaller than the previous.  I used gift wrap that I already had on hand to make the discs look pretty. I also hot glued ribbon around the edge of each disc.  I then emptied the salt from the containers and cut them the size I wanted to hold up the discs.  Once the salt containers were cut I hot glued ribbon I already had all the war around.  Now it is time to put it all together.  Using hot glue and eyeballing the positioning I glued the containers and discs together to get the final product; a cupcake tower.  I was originally only going to make it a two tier tower, but Princess informed me it was supposed to have three.  This explains the difference between the instructions and the photo.
 In order to keep my costs down I was using what I had on hand.  Your options are unlimited and I am sure that with more spending I could have made this even nicer.  Princess loved it just as it was.  Total out of pocket expense $ .76 for the two salt container.