Sunday, January 31, 2010

Happy 5th Birthday Clayton!


Happy Birthday to my Lightning McQueen, Superman, Fireman, Policeman all rolled into one!

Friday, January 29, 2010

Whew! I Feel Better Now

All day I've been thinking about the snow coming and trying to work in getting some groceries before conditions got worse.  So we made a mad rush out this evening after work to pick up groceries for the week.  I'll have to save my trip to the farmer's market for another weekend.  But we're plenty stocked up on milk and cocoa powder for some homemade hot chocolate goodness!  Time to sit back and relax, watch a movie and enjoy the snow falling (a simple pleasure of mine).

Wednesday, January 27, 2010



"Stop waiting for life to become perfect and start working with what we've got to make it as satisfying as we can.  We can accept, bless, give thanks, and get going.  Today, we can begin to call forth the riches from our everyday life.  Today we can move from lack to abundance."

-Sarah Ban Breathnach
Simple Abundance:  A Daybook of Comfort and Joy

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Simple Touches for Valentine's Day




I didn't have to look any further than my kitchen pantry to find items for this apothecary jar.  Dried Great Northern and adzuki beans add a touch of red and white for Valentine's Day.  To the top, I added my
10-cent after Christmas clearance ribbon from Big Lots.   



Speaking of after Christmas, the red vase with white branches and candle with natural elements have been going strong since before Christmas.  I replaced the red berries from around the candle with a wooden Love I picked up last week from Michaels - 15-cents after Christmas clearance find!



Linked at:



Monday, January 25, 2010

Menu Plan Monday - January 25th



Welcome to another week of meals at

The Working Home Keeper!

A note about ingredients - Last year, our family made a switch to whole and nourishing foods. Most ingredients used in the making of these recipes are organic, organically-grown and/or natural (free from HFCS or preservatives). Most of our meats come from local farms where the animals are raised humanely and fed a diet that is natural to them. For cooking, I use traditional oils - olive oil, butter and organic, cold-pressed, extra virgin coconut oil. Local honey or organic sucanat is used in place of refined sugar.

This Week's Meals:

Weekend Meal Prep:

Shred blocks of mozzarella and cheddar cheese
Cook organic, brown rice
Make pizza sauce and pizza dough

Breakfast:

Scrambled, pastured eggs (local)
Soaked oatmeal (The Nourishing Gourmet)
Sprouted cereal
Sprouted toast with organic peanut butter

Lunches:

Usually sandwiches or dinner leftovers

Dinner:

Baked Salmon with Mango Ginger Salsa, Yellow Split Pea Dahl (Easy Indian in Minutes cookbook), organic Brown Rice & Naan

Golden Veggie Fried Rice (Tammy's Recipes)

Country Creole Peas & Corn (Sue Gregg)

Shepherd's Pie made with local, grass-fed & finished beef (Daily Diner)

Homemade Whole Wheat Veggie Pizza

Kale & Brown Rice Casserole (Tammy's Recipes)

For more meal plan ideas, visit Laura at I'm An Organizing Junkie.

Thanks for stopping by!


Sunday, January 24, 2010

Market Day - The Cost of Convenience

A trip to Costco for diapers and laundry supplies put a real crunch on the grocery budget this week.  In addition, my last four-week savings coupon for Whole Foods required a 1lb purchase of salmon (got free lemon pepper rub, frozen haricots and two free bags of frozen veggies since they were out of the frozen brown rice listed on the coupon!).  To stay on budget with our cash envelopes, I had to make some changes to the grocery list.  One simple change, was choosing blocks of cheese over pre-shredded bags.  For giving up the convenience of having cheese already shredded, I saved $8.60 at Whole Foods.  Plus cheese blocks seem to last longer at our house because no one wants to shred their own cheese - except for me! 

Another week of using cash envelopes, another week with money leftover!

I'd love to hear from you!  What convenience items have you given up in order to save at the grocery store?

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Praising the God of the Breakthrough!



Before this year began, I felt God challenging me to believe in Him for the big things.  To stop limiting Him based on my own doubts.  Not long after, I caught a program by Joel Osteen where he talked about living "breakthrough-minded".  Taking the limits off of God and believing He would show up not with a trickle or a stream, but like a flood.

I wrote a list in my journal of the big things I was going to dare myself to believe God for.  Top on the list was a job for my husband that paid well and gave him more time to be with our family.  Well today I'm praising God for the goodness He has just flooded us with!  After 6 months of being unemployed, my husband was offered (and accepted) a job with our State Controllers Office!  A Monday through Friday, 40 hour work-week, with State holidays, weekends off and great benefits.  After spending 10 years at his former job in a highly stressful environment, working 50 hour plus weeks and missing out on Saturdays with the family, this job is literally an answer to our prayers!

God is good!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Accepting the Now



"Over the years I have discovered that much of my struggle to be content despite outside circumstances has arisen when I stubbornly resisted what was actually happening in my life at the present moment.  But I have also learned that when I surrender to the reality of a particular situation - when I don't continue to resist, but accept - a softening in my soul occurs.  Suddenly I am able to open up to receive all the goodness and abundance available to me because acceptance brings with it so much relief and release.

Whatever situation exists in your life right now, accept it."

- Sarah Ban Breathnach
Simple Abundance:  A Daybook of Comfort and Joy

Monday, January 18, 2010



I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

- Martin Luther King, Jr.

Menu Plan Monday - January 18th



Welcome to another week of meals at
The Working Home Keeper!

A note about ingredients - Last year, our family made a switch to whole and nourishing foods. Most ingredients used in the making of these recipes are organic, organically-grown and/or natural (free from HFCS or preservatives). Most of our meats come from local farms where the animals are raised humanely and fed a diet that is natural to them. For cooking, I use traditional oils - olive oil, butter and organic, cold-pressed, extra virgin coconut oil. Local honey or organic sucanat is used in place of refined sugar.


This Week's Meals:

Weekend Meal Prep:

Soaked and cooked dried, organic black beans and dried, organic black-eyed peas

Breakfast:

Scrambled, pastured eggs (local) & pastured pork sausage (local)
Soaked oatmeal (The Nourishing Gourmet)
Sprouted cereal

Lunches:

Usually sandwiches or dinner leftovers

Dinner:

Ashleigh's 7th Birthday - Dinner Out

Red Beans & Rice with local, pastured pork sausage (Girls To Grow)

Creamy Macaroni and Cheese (Tammy's Recipes) & steamed organic broccoli

Mixed Bean Chili with Sweet Potato (Meatless Monday)

Black-Eyed Pea Chili with Cornbread (Edible Aria)

Taco Style Organic Lentils & Organic Brown Rice (Hillbilly Housewife)

For more meal plan ideas, please visit Laura at I'm An Organizing Junkie.

Thanks for stopping by!


Sunday, January 17, 2010

Friday, January 15, 2010

A Big Step



Our 4yo made perhaps the biggest step in his young life yesterday - he started school!  It's not a traditional preschool but sort of a 6-week kindergarten readiness course.  It's a small group of kids ages 4yo to 5yo who meet one day a week, working with teachers to help them further develop the social skills necessary for starting kindergarten.  Unlike the other kids in the group, this is Clayton's first exposure to a classroom setting.  He's been at home with me, my Mom or my husband since birth.  Scary step for him and for us!  Given Clay's tendency to be anxious in new situations, I wasn't sure how the first day would go.  So all week I've been sending prayer and praise ahead of us.

The teachers were fantastic and worked hard to make Clay feel comfortable from the minute he arrived.  To our delight, Clay did very well!  He participated in circle time, played with the other kids and talked with the teachers.  While the kids were participating in school activities, we parents got to observe the class from another room.  We were able to observe the positive discipline techniques the teachers used in the classroom.  Techniques we can then use at home.  One thing I took away from yesterday's classroom observation, was how the teachers approached misbehavior.  They did not go with the assumption the child was simply being bad.  But rather it was a matter of missing skills.  An opportunity to teach rather than offer harsh correction. 

I think this is going to be a wonderful learning experience not only for Clayton but for us as well.


Wednesday, January 13, 2010

The Need for Discipline

As in years past, I resolved to become more disciplined in certain areas of my life this year.  Exercise, prayer, homecaring routines, being timelier to appointments and work.  It was something God had been whispering needed to be addressed in my life.  My normal inclination is to avoid discipline and routine like a child resisting a big spoonful of medicine.  God, does it really matter if I get to work at 8:32 instead of 8:30? 

These words from Joel Osteen's book Starting Your Best Life Now leapt off the page and grabbed my attention:

"Every time you compromise, every time you are less than honest, you are causing a slight crack in the foundation.  If you continue compromising, that foundation will never be able to hold what God wants to build.  You'll never have lasting prosperity if you don't first have integrity"

So God wants me to develop discipline in these areas of my life, so there will be a strong foundation for His blessings and abundance!  Knowing this makes it easier to get up earlier in the mornings when I would rather just pull the covers up over my head.    

I'd love to hear from you!  Are there any areas in your life you're working on improving?




Monday, January 11, 2010

Menu Plan Monday - January 11th




Welcome to another week of meals at The Working Home Keeper! 

A note about ingredients - Last year, our family made a switch to whole and nourishing foods. Most ingredients used in the making of these recipes are organic, organically-grown and/or natural (free from HFCS or preservatives).  Most of our meats come from local farms where the animals are raised humanely and fed a diet that is natural to them.  For cooking, I use traditional oils - olive oil, butter and organic, cold-pressed, extra virgin coconut oil. Local honey or organic sucanat is used in place of refined sugar.

This Week's Meals:

Breakfast:
Scrambled pastured eggs (local), pastured pork sausage (local) & sprouted, whole wheat toast
Soaked oatmeal (The Nourishing Gourmet)
Sprouted cereal
Homemade crockpot yogurt (with fruit, dried fruit and/or local honey)

Lunches:
Usually sandwiches or dinner leftovers

Dinner:
Minestrone Soup (The Prudent Homemaker) & sourdough bread

Lentil Chili & homemade cornbread (Tammy's Recipes)

The Man of the House cooks - Homemade Egg Rolls

Shepherd's Pie made with local, grass-fed & finished beef (Daily Diner)

Yellow Split Pea Dhal & Naan (Easy Indian in Minutes cookbook)


Salmon Patties with organic brown rice & steamed organic green peas

For more meal plan ideas, please visit Laura at I'm An Organizing Junkie.



Saturday, January 9, 2010

Market Day - Back to Cash Envelopes

As we sat down earlier in the week to make our financial goals for 2010, my husband expressed a desire to return to using the cash envelope system for our groceries.  We first started cash envelopes a few years ago as we began Dave Ramsey's Total Money Makeover.  But over time, we fell out of the habit.  We didn't go crazy with our grocery spending, but we haven't been as disciplined with our money in this area as we should be.  After all we want to be the ones telling our money where it should go!

With cash in hand, we made our usual grocery stops today.  Between Trader Joe's, Whole Foods and the State Farmer's Market, we picked up the following:

3 loaves sprouted bread
sourdough bread boule
organic bananas
2pks probiotic cheddar cheese snacks
2 gallons organic whole milk (FREE with coupon at Whole Foods)
1 can Wild Alaskan salmon
ginger root
garlic
1 organic, vegetable broth
1 jar organic peanut butter
1 container organic plain yogurt (starter for homemade yogurt)
1 organic tomato paste
3 cans organic tomato sauce
3 organic green bell peppers
1 bag shredded mozzarella
5lb bag of organic russet potatoes
1/2lb organic Thompson raisins (bulk)
1lb organic popcorn (bulk)
1lb organic yellow split peas (bulk)
1lb organic rolled oats (bulk)
1lb organic long grain, brown rice (bulk)
5lbs organic green lentils (bulk - I'm building a stockpile of dried goods) 
2 dozen pastured eggs (local)
2lbs pastured pork sausage (local)

For the first time in a long while, we actually had money leftover!  Eighteen dollars which we will carry over into next week.

Cash IS King! 

I'd love to hear from you!  Do cash envelopes work for you?

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Award!



A big thank you to Geri at Heart N Soul Cooking for passing The Fabulous Sugar Doll Award onto me!

10 Things I Want to Share About Myself:

1.  I love bluegrass music and what Ralph Stanley refers to as "Old Mountain music".  My third date with my husband was a IIIrd Tyme Out concert on campus.

2.  I like NASCAR - my favorite driver is Kyle Busch.

3.  I've got Chipotle's chicken burrito on my mind.

4.  I love blue cheese just like I love chocolate.

5.  My favorite chocolate is white.

6.  I'm currently re-reading Sarah Ban Breathnach's Simple Abundance.   

7.  I graduated from college debt-free.

8.  I grew up in the country - way, way in the country!

9.  I dream about having backyard chickens one day.

10.  Wrightsville Beach is my absolute favorite place.  I could spend the rest of my days there!

Instead of just passing this award onto 10 fabulous bloggers, I'm passing this award onto all my readers!  Enjoy and thanks for reading :)

     

Monday, January 4, 2010

Menu Plan Monday - January 4th



Welcome to my first Menu Plan Monday post on The Working Home Keeper blog!  I used to participate in MPM on my other blog, but stopped much to my husband's displeasure.  Turns out he enjoyed having a reminder of our weekly meal plan available to him on-line LOL!  So I'm starting up again.  I'm hoping this will keep me from slacking when it comes to menu planning.

A note about ingredients - Last year, our family made a switch to whole and nourishing foods.  Most ingredients used in the making of these recipes are organic, organically-grown and/or natural (free from HFCS or preservatives).  Locally-grown items are also noted.  For cooking, I use traditional oils - olive oil, butter and organic, cold-pressed, extra virgin coconut oil.  Local honey or organic sucanat is used in place of refined sugar.

This Week's Meals:

Meal Prep:
On the weekends, I prep for the coming week's meals.  It helps with saving time in the evenings when I get in from work.  I forgot about soaking and cooking the dried Great Northern beans for the Minestrone soup.  But I did dice onions and green peppers, sliced mushrooms, made pizza dough and pizza sauce.

Breakfast:
Soaked oatmeal (The Nourishing Gourmet)
Sprouted English muffins
Sprouted toast w/organic peanut butter
Sprouted cereal
Scrambled pastured eggs

Lunch:
Usually sandwiches or dinner leftovers

Dinner:
Dinner Out - Reed's Birthday

Crockpot Chili made with local, grass-fed & finished beef & homemade cornbread (Tammy's Recipes)

Salmon Patties with organic brown rice & steamed local broccoli



Minestrone Soup (The Prudent Homemaker)

Spanish Rice (The Prudent Homemaker)

For more meal plan ideas, please visit Laura at I'm An Organizing Junkie.

Thanks for stopping by!


Friday, January 1, 2010

New Year's Day Traditions



HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Was the first person to cross your threshold this morning a dark-haired man?  That is what my Momma & Deddy always insisted on when I was growing up.  I later learned it's a Scottish tradition called the "First Footer".  The funny thing is aside from our last name, we were the farthest thing from Scottish LOL!  But I imagine the sharing of cultural practices was commonplace in the South, even generations ago.  On New Year's Day we were also reminded of the words of my Grandma Ellen, "Whatever you do today, you'll do the whole year".  Implying you should make good use of your time today.

Today, I'll be cooking up some good fortune in the kitchen!  The Southern tradition of black-eye peas and greens (usually collards) as a New Year's meal.  I'm not a big fan of black-eye peas plain, so I usually cook them with other ingredients.  This year I'm making Hoppin' John with local, pastured pork sausage and using locally grown kale for the greens.

Does your family have any special New Year's Day traditions?