Saturday, July 30, 2011

Reflections on the Proverbs 31 Woman



I read and re-read Proverbs 31 quite often. I prefer the way it is stated in the Amplified bible. However I do occasionally read it from The Message which has a more contemporary translation. There are 31 verses in Proverbs 31, and the last 22 verses speak to a woman’s character. I wanted to touch on the first three of these verses today.


What is she?
Proverbs 31:10 says “A capable, intelligent, and virtuous woman – who is he who can find her? She is far more precious than jewels and her value is far above rubies or pearls.”

Who is she?
Proverbs 31:11 states “The heart of her husband trusts in her confidently and relies on and believes in her securely, so that he has no lack of [honest] gain or need of [dishonest] spoil.”

What does she do?
Finally, Proverbs 31:12 says “She comforts, encourages, and does him only good as long as there is life within her.”


What is she? - To me, she is a helpmate to her husband. She is a great asset to him and of great value and worth in his eyes. Proverbs 18:22 says “He who finds a [true] wife finds a good thing and obtains favor from the Lord.” I feel that a wife should strive to be a compliment to her husband at all times and seek to avoid ever being a liability to him.

Who is she? – I feel that she is a woman of integrity. She is a positive reflection on her husband. Proverbs 12:4 tells us “A virtuous and worthy wife [earnest and strong in character] is a crowning joy to her husband, but she who makes him ashamed is as rottenness in his bones.” We all fall short in the sight of God, but we should still strive to be virtuous. In doing that, we are doing something that is pleasing to God as well as our husbands.

What does she do? – I think she is organized and runs her household smoothly. Her husband has complete confidence in her ability as a wife and mother. She nurtures her family and makes her home a haven for all who enter it. Proverbs 19:14 says “House and riches are the inheritance from fathers, but a wise, understanding, prudent wife is from the Lord.” A husband and wife should work together as partners and not against each other as enemies. A wife that not only makes her home a joy for herself and her husband but also works at being a wise, understanding, and prudent wife is serving the Lord as well as being a good wife to her husband. This helps to create a strong marriage full of joy.


I will be the first to admit I have some serious self-doubt at times. Am I really being the best wife and mother I can be? Of course not, we all stumble. But we keep trying. I am so amazed that my husband is always confident in me, much more so than I am in myself. My husband recently bought this bracelet for me as a daily reminder since he knows how much Proverbs 31 means to me.


*These are some questions I have asked myself lately:

Do I spend time daily with God?
Do I try and keep strife out of our daily lives as much as possible?
Do I encourage my family? (Not nag) This is a biggie!


Thank you for letting me share my reflections on the Proverbs 31 woman with you. I welcome any comments or thoughts you may have or would like to share.

Until next time, may God bless you in your daily walk with Him.

All my love,
Anna

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Buying in Bulk - Part 2

Brisket




As you already know, one thing I like to do is buy in bulk. The other thing we LOVE to do is eat! (I am sure you have already guessed that) -
We sacrifice in other areas like not taking expensive vacations but boy do we eat well! Everything is a trade-off, and we would rather eat well all year! So this is just our life-style. We don't miss taking expensive trips probably because we never have! :)

Any-hoo, I'm digressing. I especially like to buy meats when they are on clearance. I will buy many pounds of ground beef at a time. The briskets I buy usually vary between 13 to 18 pounds. The most recent brisket I purchased was $1.48 a lb! I like to prepare my meats ahead of time if I can. I brown the ground beef and then package it up in one lb. packages and freeze it. That way when I prepare dinner, the meat is already cooked and that is time saved, plus – less clean-up!


The packages you see above are brisket that has been cut and frozen where I can cook it in my crock pot. I prefer making a mess all at once and then the rest of the week, at least for me, meal time just runs more smoothly.

I cook my briskets one of two ways. The first way is by cooking it in the crock pot on low. I add this marinade to it, and just let it go!


The second way is a little bit more involved. I buy a large, disposable roasting pan. I add a mixture of beef broth, soy sauce, lemon juice and minced garlic. Place the brisket fat side up. (Don't worry, we will cut the fat off later). I let it marinate 12 -24 hours and then cook @ 300 degrees for 40 minutes per pound. The last brisket I made cooked for 10 hours. (I trimmed the excess fat off this brisket and started cutting it before I realized I hadn't snapped a picture!)



This summer I haven’t followed through in planning my meals as far ahead of time like I do during the school year. This fall I am making meal planning a higher priority. Do you have any meal planning tips that you use?

On a side note, my garden is flourishing. I will update you soon. I will be making zucchini bread in the very near future!

Also, don't forget to leave a comment on my "Just For Fun & Because I Love You" post to be entered in my give-away of a sweet print!

All my love,

Anna

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Just For Fun & Because I Love You!

Thrifting, Junkin’, Shopping…Whatever you want to call it…its all good!

This post is really just a fun add-on to last week’s post about buying in bulk. My husband needed a matte and frame that we couldn’t get locally. So before we went to Sam’s Club to do our grocery shopping, we stopped by a hobby store to find one. He was successful in finding a matte and frame he liked.

I intended to just browse but I was also fortunate and found several bargains that day. I found everything pictured below and the grand total was under $20.

Everything except the baking cups which were priced at $1.99 was 50% off. Yeah!



Talk about a fun day. When I find bargains like these and at such a low cost, it makes me smile! :)


I just love these prints I found. And I thought it would be fun to pass along my savings and give one of these prints away to you! I will ship it to you unframed that way you can put it in a frame of your choosing. I thought these prints would be so cute framed and hung in my kitchen. One says "Live Well, Laugh Often, Cook Much." Another says "Now Serving, Love & Laughter. The third one says "Home Baked, Heartfelt."

All you need to do to be entered in this giveaway is just leave a comment below. Your comment doesn’t need to be about anything specific, just let me hear from you! I will announce the winner in one week – (next Sunday).

I hope I can brighten your day just as much as you brighten mine!

Thank you sweet friends! You mean the world to me.

Much love,

Anna

Friday, July 22, 2011

Buying in Bulk - Part 1



I prefer to buy in bulk if at all possible, especially my meats. This particular shopping trip we went to Sam's Club which is about an hour away. There are many items that are cheaper in bulk quantities. But then there are items that if you bought in bulk might take you years and years to use up. And I know I would rather have the cash than have it tied up in things that will take me for-e-ver to use. On this trip, we didn't purchase anything perishable. This was just for other items. I buy all my meat locally and in bulk, but that is next weeks post. :)

I remember when a local grocery store chain went out of business here. They first slashed the prices in half, which was a good deal in that you were now paying what the merchandiser paid for the product. But I waited until several weeks later and then shopped. I got SO many grocery items marked 75-80% off, buying those in bulk was still a steal! Boy, that was the BEST year. (As far as our stock pile of things at home were concerned.) ;)

Below is a table of what we purchased and the savings related to it. You really have to be a savy shopper and be careful of the BOGO offers. (Buy one get one free). I always check the regular price first and then compare whether or not I am really saving money. If the price is raised to lure you into buying the item, or if you don't need say 5 or 10 of them, it really isn't a bargain after all.




Any-hoo, that's all for today class. When you're married to an economist, you have to have a sense of humor! ;)

I will post the second part of this series next week, along with some tips for cooking brisket.

Until next time.

Hugs,
Anna :)

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Operation Organization



Keepin' it real!


Let me introduce you to my elephant in the room. :)


This post isn’t very long because...well...the photos unfortunately are pretty self explanatory. I feel like I should put a disclaimer on this post. What you are about to see may be disturbing to some viewers. Discretion is advised! :)










My pantry is just one of those areas I can’t seem to get to. When I reach for something I am reminded that it has been neglected, but then I shut the door and I’m on to the next thing. I am determined to get it organized. My pantry and lazy Susan have needed addressing for some time now. I am confident I could create so much more usable space in both places. I am also guilty of not keeping up with what I already have and need to rotate my stock and use it up. So I am determined this is my next goal.
















I’ll keep you updated on my progress. I need to be held accountable!


Wish me luck. Ready, set, go!


Hugs to each of you,


Anna

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

"Use it up, wear it out, make do, or do without."


Use it up,
Wear it out,
Make do,
Or do without.


I have always liked this quote. It goes all the way back to the days of the great depression.

I believe in re-using anything that can serve another purpose. These are just a few of the many glass jars I have and use. I love glass jars with lids. You know the ones, the mason jars that are becoming so scarce. I always buy more than I need when it comes time for my canning because I use them in so many ways. I keep them on my counters for easy access and often tie grosgrain ribbons around the lid for a pretty touch. The two large jars you see in this picture were ones that I found at an estate sale. I wish you could still buy your mayonnaise in glass jars instead of the plastic ones. They are fabulous for just about anything! I use them for so many things, such as pinto beans, peppermint sticks for my coffee station, old-fashioned candy sticks (remember those?), and of course I used them for my homemade apple syrup that I made this last fall. I like to store my homemade salad dressings in them, as well as keeping my supply of clothespins and other essentials.

And speaking of salads, I just recently purchased a salad spinner. Am I the only one left who just now discovered this? I had heard rave reviews about them but had never broken down and purchased one. It is the neatest invention! I can’t believe I went so long without one. It has cut in half the time it takes me to wash my lettuce, and I’m not nearly going through as many paper towels! And did you know that if you will use a plastic knife on lettuce, the lettuce won’t turn brown like when you use a metal knife. I use a large, plastic serrated bread knife to cut my lettuce.


I also use my glass jars in different seasons. I fill the jar with either valentine candy hearts at Valentine’s Day, or popcorn kernels in the fall. I then place a glass votive on the mouth of the jar. Then I put a votive candle in the glass votive holder. It makes a pretty centerpiece on your table, or I like to place it on my windowsill.



As I mentioned earlier I use the small mason jars to mix my vinaigrette in for my salads. I also have a great recipe I want share with you.

Basic Vinaigrette Dressing:

Ingredients:
2 tablespoons vinegar
½ tsp. salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
½ cup olive oil

Preparation:
In a small bowl mix the vinegar and salt and let stand a few minutes. Add the pepper and slowly whisk in the oil. Taste for acid and salt and add more if too bland. Stir to blend before using, or if you’re like me you can store your dressing in a jar with a tight lid and shake well before using.

*Courtesy of Epicurious

And by the way, they're great for storing radishes too! Just put your cut radishes in the jar with cold water.



Blessings!

Anna

Friday, July 8, 2011

Bull Dog Days


Recently I accompanied my husband to his work at Clarendon College in Clarendon Texas. It was “Bull Dog Days” at the campus and he was helping register students for the fall semester. I confess I had never really been on Clarendon’s campus before and it was the neatest experience. We are so fortunate to have a college here since the population has continued to decrease.

It was such a pleasure to meet his fellow faculty members and get to see all the young people signing up for classes and figuring out schedules. After finishing up at the college, Rob treated me to lunch at a quaint little steak house, and then we toured the town. Clarendon has such a rich history. Beautiful historic buildings line the red brick streets. I am looking forward to attending “Bull Dog Days” again in August!

Here are some pictures I took. Hope you enjoy!


*The courthouse


*The county jail


*The entrance to the park


*Downtown


*Click the picture to enlarge and see the drive-in premiering Cars 2.


Have a great week-end everyone!


All My Love,


Anna

Friday, July 1, 2011

Frugal Fridays


Frugal Fridays came about years ago when our girls were little. My husband has always been supportive in my decision to be a stay-at-home wife and mom. And at that time he was in graduate school working toward his Masters degree, and then subsequently his PhD. So needless to say, we have been living very frugally for as long as I can remember.

I have always tried to make Friday evenings fun for our family. And since we were living on such a strict budget, I would try to come up with all kinds of different ideas to make Friday nights special.

One of our favorite Friday night things was to watch a movie. If we had gone to the movies, we were looking at a significant amount just to get in the door. And with refreshments, we could have easily dropped $40. So instead we either rented a movie, or found one at the local library (for free).

I have an antique popcorn popper that I use regularly. (I don’t know what I will do when it quits working). I tried to make the movie time special by having tickets for the girls to use when it was time. I found a roll of these pink tickets at an office supply store. I also came across these popcorn boxes at a discount store. We would buy candy once a week for the girls so it would be a treat.

Now that our girls are ages 17 and 16, they have their own plans on Friday nights. But hopefully we have given them good memories over the years.

Blessings,

Anna