The drive to school lately has been so pretty, due to the frost, fog and low hung sun. I am constantly wishing I could stop and take pictures. But the kids would be late :(
I have been thinking a lot lately on the topic of self improvement. And I have really come to the conclusion that having children and a husband has made me see myself more and more, enabling me to see the changes I need to make. I am a perfectionist, and that I guess can be obvious in how many "self-help" books one has (chuckle). But one thought provoking question I had at the end of all of these self-help thoughts, and ways to change and improve myself was .... who should I really be changing and improving myself for? Myself, so I can be The Best? Or for God, to give him the glory and Honor and be His useful tool. And then... this was what I read this morning during my daily bible reading, Timothy 2:20-21 In a wealthy home some utensils are made of gold and silver, and some are made of wood and clay. The expensive utensils are used for special occasions, and the cheap ones are for everyday use. If you keep yourself pure, you will be a special utensil for honourable use, Your life will be clean, and you will be ready for the Master to use you for every good work. Self improvement (AKA surrendering to the Lord and cleaning up my life), is most useful when done for honouring God and therefore being a blessing to others. So I saw the light in this area of my life. Maybe late? But not too late!
I spent some time this weekend, creating a zippered pouch for someone I've never met, all the way in Brazil. This started by signing up for a Zipper Pouch Swap at this blog, just for fun. I got some tips about favourite colours and patterns. But other wise I had an idea pop into my head as to how it would look, and I went with it. Like most of my sewing projects I used saved fabric scraps, or material from previously used garments. I started off by cutting 2 rectangles about 14 x 8 inches. I used a zipper about 4 1/2 inches long. Fold the 2 rectangles in half and cut the bottom corners so they are rounded. I cut out 4 circles in different sizes. Zig-zagged the edges. Sewed on a button into the middle of each. Pinned them into place and sewed about 1/4 inch from the edge. Stitch the side edges of the pouch and lining but leave a 2 inch space on the bottom corner of the lining for turning right side out later. Baste the top edges of both.
With wrong side out, for the lining and right side out the the pouch, put the outer piece of the pouch into the lining so right sides are facing. Pull the basting threads so they are the width of the zipper, and with zipper un-zipped to make it easier to sew sandwich the zipper pieces between the pouch and lining and pin into place, and stitch.
Turn right side out through the hole in lining, and stitch hole shut in lining.
I used a 12 inch ribbon and sewed it in the middle of the ribbon, to the top corner of the pouch.
It could be used for a purse, for make-up, stationary, whatever. I hope its useful, and enjoyed. :) I can't wait to recieve mine!
Other happenings this weekend: roofing, and cleaning up around our big old place. My son was actively involved in the new roof being put on one of our sheds. He takes after his dad, helpful and handy at a lot of different things.
My Grandfather was a house builder, what a neat idea for my son. God knows, but its cool to see extended family traits sprinkled through out your children.
Tension is who you think you should be. Relaxation is who you are. -Chinese Proverb
Answers to prayer often come in unexpected ways. We pray, for instance, for a certain virtue; but God seldom delivers Christian virtues all wrapped in a package and ready to use. Rather he put us in situations where by his help we can develop those virtues. -C.R. Findley
I love these quotes I just came across. The first one, helps me see how its so much easier on myself if I would just accept who God made me and allow myself mistakes, and to freely let others see them as well. This will truly bring growth. The second one makes me smile with the holiday season approaching, I think wouldn't it be something if you could request, "Lord I'd like some patience, understanding and compassion wrapped up under the tree for some good Christian virtues added to me." No it doesn't work that way. Its more like- "Lord why is this happening to me?" and then later when we look back we can see that He was using these circumstances for enriching and growing us up to be more like Him!
Look at this one...and he was one of many sad lookin apples.
So I decided it was time to make applesauce. I have heard of making applesauce without peeling the apples and so I thought I'd give it a shot. Just had to wash up the apples good and cut out the bad spots.
Then I just used my handy apple slicing tool, to cut them up and get rid of the core. This was so quick compared to the usual process of peeling and cutting.
I added the juice of a lemon for flavour and to keep the sauce a bit lighter in colour.
After I put my big batch of apples, lemon juice, and a half cup of water in a large pot, I put the lid on and let it cook over medium heat until the apples were all soft. I guess some would use a food mill to make it into the sauce, but I just poured the soft apples into my colander and used a wooden spoon to squish through to separate the peels. Very easy and it took much less time then if I had peeled all them apples. I do declare, I like the unpeeled applesauce version. Easy, Healthy, and Thrifty. I like this combination!
Here we are already more than a month has passed since my husband and I had decided to take up the spending fast challenge, that I mentioned back in... the beginning of October. Oh, here is that post. And it really feels life, no - mind altering. My life really doesn't seem all that different besides the fact that I spend a bit less time in stores. Not just because I buy less, but I don't want to spend any extra time gazing upon the things I have no intention to buy, plus then there is less temptation, right? But I feel so aware in my mind of the all the times I want to buy things. I also see how often I can improvise. Honestly I enjoy the challenge. But... not always, like in the moment, when I am trying to justify a good book I've wanted that has gone on sale or a cheap pair of cute little earrings. And this is sad but I was kinda excited with the thought of looking for winter boots for my son. Now what does that say about me? I just love spending money, Or is it the shopping around? I want to strive to always put wisdom into all my spending. And be CONTENT with what I have. Like food, shopping is a necessity of life. Sometimes this feels like an unfortunate thing when it is a struggle to keep it within its healthy boundaries. So how does one find a balance? To enjoy shopping is not a sin but to overindulge, is not healthy. 1Timothy 6:6 Yet true godliness with contentment is itself great wealth...v.8: So if we have enough food and clothing let us be content. Lord I pray you will continue to guide me in your ways with how I need to view and deal with shopping. Thank you.
So here is the low down on how we are doing Our Spending Fast: Got a note book and some paper clips. On the first pages we Wrote down *1 Our debts and their interest rates *2 Why we are doing a spending fast/what we hope to accomplish *3 Our commitment statement and signatures Here is our example: We are committed to fast from spending any money on wants only spending money on needs, with the Lords help... Signature *4 How long we will do the spending fast for *5 Write out the conditions. Our example: *Write down every penny we spend *Save receipts *Improvise to save money *Use up what we have before we buy new (no 3 bottles of shampoo in the shower, or lets buy some chicken when we have pork, beef, or I'm tired of this kinda cereal) *In most cases buy the best deal, or the cheaper version, when it best applies. (we all have a couple things we wont skimp on, i.e. coffee, but do your best to be more frugal) *6 Write out a list of Needs and Wants to really decipher what is important. And so what is most vital in being able to save our money is that there is NO unnecessary spending. All wants like: eating out, drive thru coffees, corner store purchases, snack foods, clothing-unless it is a need. These are not purchased. Because there are so many things we are blessed enough with in spending money on our needs like: mortgage, food, phones, hydro, insurance, gas. We are blessed with just being able to spend money on these things, aren't we?
Then after the foundation was laid out we use the rest of the pages to write out what we buy. Each page divided into 3. Date / Purchase Amount / Store and Purchase Category (i.e. Gas, Groceries). I clip the months receipts to the inside cover and I stashed all last months receipts in an envelope and filed it. It is amazing how aware I am now of the spending that goes on. There is NO--"Where did all the money go?!" I am so thankful that this was pressed upon my husband and my heart.
Cream and Crumb what ?? kinda pie?? Well apparently schnitz just means the way the apple is sliced. But you can just call this Shnazzy Pie or O My what Yummy Cream and Crumb Pie. It doesnt matter, just try it, its so easy and yummy!
You need: 1 cup brown sugar 1/3 cup flour 3 tbsp. soft butter 4-7 apples 2/3 cups sour cream 3/4 tsp. cinnamon 9 inch unbaked pie crust
Directions: Blend the brown sugar, flour, and butter into crumbs. Sprinkle 1/3 of the mixture into the bottom of the pie shell.
Peel and core the apples.
I don't know why but I get personal satisfaction when I peel each apple in one long strip. I know, its weird.
Cut them into 1 inch segments (shnitz). Arrange them into circles over the crumbs.
Mix 1/2 remaining crumbs with the sour cream and spread over the apples.
Mix the rest of the crumbs with the cinnamon and sprinkle it evenly over the top.
Bake at 425 degrees for 10 minutes. Turn temperature down to 350 degrees and bake another 30 min.