Saturday, February 27, 2010

By Faith

Last weekend I picked up Keith and Kristyn Getty's newest cd titled Awaken the Dawn. It has to be one of the best cd's I have ever heard. The songs are powerful, with lyrics proclaiming the truth of God's Word and beautiful musical arrangements with an Irish flavour. I really like nearly all of the songs on the cd. There are only 1 or 2 that I don't care for quite as much, just because I'm not exactly sure where the song lyrics are coming from.

One of my current favourites is definitely "By Faith" (#5 on the cd). It is a deeply encouraging song, centered around one of the main themes of the entire Bible - Faith. I LOVE the chorus. "When Trials Come" (#10) is also one of my favourites.

This past week one of our friends from the church we attended while my husband was in university passed away. She fought a long battle with cancer, and she went to be with the Lord a few days ago. Her funeral was yesterday, but we did not attend because it is a few hours away from where we live now. One of the things I remember most about her was that she desperately wanted her family, who are mostly unbelievers, to be saved. She also had a servant heart, faithfully serving coffee before the morning meeting even when she was quite ill. I know that the gospel message will have been clearly preached at her funeral. I would think that many of her unsaved family members would have been there. How I pray that through our friend's funeral that the Lord would be glorified and that the gospel would fall on fertile soil.

As I was listening to the song By Faith, the last verse really spoke to me. I have several extended family members who do not know Christ. Sometimes I find myself temporarily forgetting just how powerful the gospel is. I need to remember that God is mighty to save.
For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. Romans 1:16
I need to have faith that God is still working in the hearts of people and He is still saving people. That song is a reminder to pray fervently for the salvation on those family members who do not know Christ. We need to have faith! God hears the prayers of his people. The reality is that if my unsaved family members die without Christ, they will spend an eternity in hell. Think about that for a minute. Really think about that. I know I need to be constantly reminded of that. Sometimes I find I get so caught up in the "daily grind" that I lose sight of what really matters. The Great Commission is not an option for Christians. We are all called to share the gospel and be a missionary wherever God has placed us. To our children, to our family, to our neighbours, to all those who God places in our path. Sometimes it is hard to have faith when we do not "see" the fruits of our labour. But basing our faith on things that we see is not really faith at all. It really bothers me when I hear pastors talk about statistics of so-called "decisions for Christ" and then use those numbers to measure how "successful" or "unsuccessful" we are. Aren't we just called to be faithful? I don't see why we should even concern ourselves with statistics and numbers. After all, isn't God the only one who truly knows who belongs to Him? We just need to be faithful to God. Let Him take care of the "numbers". I don't think the Bible promises us that we will always see the fruits of our labour. Be faithful and obedient. That's it. Why must we always complicate things so much with "man's methods"?

Here are just a couple Bible verses to consider that relate to faith. All emphasis mine.

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. Hebrews 11:1

For in hope we have been saved, but hope that is seen is not hope; for who hopes for what he already sees? Romans 8:24

For we walk by faith, not by sight. 2 Corinthians 5:7

Here are the words to that song. Click here to hear the song.

By Faith

Words and Music by Keith & Kristyn Getty & Stuart Townend

By faith we see the hand of God
In the light of creation's grand design
In the lives of those who prove His faithfulness
Who walk by faith and not by sight

By faith our fathers roamed the earth
With the power of His promise in their hearts
Of a holy city built by God's own hand
A place where peace and justice reign

We will stand as children of the promise
We will fix our eyes on Him our soul's reward
Till the race is finished and the work is done
We'll walk by faith and not by sight

By faith the prophets saw a day
When the longed-for Messiah would appear
With the power to break the chains of sin and death
And rise triumphant from the grave

By faith the church was called to go
In the power of the Spirit to the lost
To deliver captives and to preach good news
In every corner of the earth

We will stand...

By faith this mountain shall be moved
And the power of the gospel shall prevail
For we know in Christ all things are possible
For all who call upon His name

We will stand...

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Monkey Fruit Free Smoothie

When I was pregnant with our daughter, one of the only things I could tolerate was cold, thick drinks like iced cappuccinos, strawberry milkshakes, and peach slushies. Maybe that’s when my love for cold, thick drinks first was kindled. I don’t know. But, for the past year or so, I have been on a mission to discover the perfect smoothie blend. My only stipulation – the perfect smoothie cannot contain any bananas. As I mentioned in a previous post, I am *ahem* "allergic" to “monkey fruit”, as I like to call them. Well, I am happy to inform you all that I think I have finally found the perfect smoothie combination, and best of all, it is monkey fruit free. Most of my failed attempts at the perfect smoothie blend have involved crushed ice, which just did not cut it. But I think I have now discovered the perfect smoothie, and it is seriously good. I call it....drum roll please...The Monkey Fruit Free Honey Yogurt Berry Smoothie. Don't you just love the long name. LOL. Since I first discovered it, I have been having one for lunch nearly every day for the past 2 weeks. I truly believe the key ingredients to be the honey and vanilla flavoured yogurt. So, here is the blend (with a bit of guestimation on the measurements).

Monkey Fruit Free Honey Yogurt Berry Smoothie (yes, a long name, I know!)
  • 1/2 cup frozen mixed berries (raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, and blackberries)
  • 1/2 cup Tropicana orange juice (or 100% freshly squeezed)
  • 1/2 – 2/3 cup vanilla yogurt
  • Honey, to taste (about 1-2 tsp)

Directions: Blend together and you will have, in my opinion, one of the healthiest, tastiest monkey fruit free smoothies around! If you want it to be “extra-healthy” you can add a bit of ground flax seed or whey powder.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Couch to 5K Update

Last week I only got the first 2 workouts done for Week 6 of the Couch to 5K Running Program since we went on a short family holiday to visit my sister. I wasn't sure if I should march right through to Week 7 or repeat Week 6, so yesterday I decided to just start running and "see how it goes." I felt really good after 10 minutes of running, so I decided to try for the first workout of Week 7, which is running 2 1/2 miles in 25 minutes with no walking. I was able to do it yesterday, so I guess that means I will do Week 7 this week (3 workouts of running 2 1/2 miles in 25 minutes with no walking). I am truly amazed at the body's ability to gain endurance through training. When I first started on the treadmill just over 2 months ago, I literally could barely run for 2 minutes straight without being completely winded.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Menu Plan Monday (February 22)

Last week we ended up going on a short holiday, so I only had to cook 2 times! The only things I "made" were the Chicken Pasta Bake from the Freezer and Lemon Chicken Rice Soup from the freezer. Here's the plan for this week with repeats from last week that didn't get made.

Whatever we found in the fridge/pantry since we arrived home in the evening exhausted

Au Gratin Sausage Skillet (new recipe, using leftover sausage in the freezer), tossed salad

Sweet and Sour Meatballs, Rice, cooked mixed veggies


Lemon Dill Salmon Fillets, Potato Wedges, carrot sticks

Pizza (not sure what kinds yet), caesar salad

Leftovers, Lemon Chicken Rice Soup

*For more menu plan ideas, visit Menu Plan Monday hosted by*

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The Excellent Wife by Martha Peace

I just finished reading The Excellent Wife: A Biblical Perspective by Martha Peace. Overall, I thought it was, true to its subtitle, a biblical perspective on what it means to be a wife. We live in a very feminist world where the word "submission" has a stigma attached to it, but the truth is that the Bible does talk about submission - and when done biblically, it's a good thing, not a bad thing! This book addresses several topics; love, submission, home, a wife's responsibilities, honouring Christ, communication, conflict, anger, and fear are just some of the topics she covers. Martha teaches that a wife is supposed to be submissive to her husband in all things except when her husband asks her to sin. She then thoroughly explains how to biblically respond to a request to sin.

What I liked most about this book is that the author includes LOTS of scripture in every single topic she covers. This will no doubt leave the reader feeling convicted about certain sins in her own life. The book is very systematically laid out, which makes it easy to read and focus on biblical issues topic by topic. I also like how she has charts using Bible passages to contrast a "lazy person" from a "self-disciplined person", for example. I especially liked the chapters that address the wife's anger and the wife's fear.

At times I found the book a bit hard to get through. I'm not exactly sure why, though. On the other hand, I found Created to Be His Helpmeet by Debi Pearl impossible to put down - probably because Debi Pearl's writing style is very matter-of-fact (although maybe a bit harsh at times). I like how Pearl's book is mainly composed of letters she's received with real-life problems/questions and her responses to them. I also like how her book is broken down into sections addressing each description of the woman described in Titus 2. I would not necessarily say, however, that Debi Pearl's book is more doctrinally sound than Peace's book. I think Martha Peace's book contains a lot less inflammatory language than Debi Pearl's book (if my memory serves me right - it's been a long time since I read Pearl's book). In rare instances, though, Martha Peace's book seemed a bit too "psychological" for me, I think. That may be why it was harder to get through.

Overall, however, I do think The Excellent Wife gives a biblical perspective on being a godly wife, which is much needed in today's humanistic, self-centred, feminist society. I would recommend this book to Christian wives today.

Has anyone else out there read Martha Peace's book? What did you think of it?

Monday, February 15, 2010

Menu Plan Monday (February 15)

This week we're eating really simple meals. I'm not going grocery shopping this week, either. We are also going out to eat several times this week due to many family get-togethers, so I don't have meals scheduled for specific days this week, but I do have a few meals planned for when we are home.

Recipe Review
Last week's Jo Mama's Spaghetti Sauce (a new recipe) was a hit with my husband. I have tried a few different meat sauce recipes, but he said this one is his favourite spaghetti sauce so far! I followed the recipe pretty closely. The only changes I made were using 1 cup of beef broth instead of water and I omitted the red wine because I didn't have any. We had lots of leftovers, so I froze the rest to use with spaghetti or lasagna some other time.

lemon chicken rice soup (from freezer), egg salad sandwiches on whole wheat
leftover chicken macaroni pasta bake, tossed salad
tuna salad sandwiches on whole wheat
Homemade pizza pockets

Chicken Macaroni Pasta Bake (from freezer), tossed salad
Cream of Tomato Soup (click and scroll down for recipe), grilled cheese sandwiches
Sweet and sour meatballs (family favourite), rice, cooked mixed veggies
Au Gratin Sausage Skillet (new recipe, using leftover sausage in freezer), salad

*For more great meal ideas, visit Menu Plan Monday hosted by*

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Homemade Pizza Pockets

About a week ago I decided to try making some homemade pizza pockets. I have always liked the idea of pizza pops, but I absolutely hate the store kind. (I feel queasy just thinking about them). But these homemade ones are sooo good and are handy to have since you just pop them from the freezer into the oven. I got the recipe here.

The dough is super simple to make (only flour, salt, butter, yogurt), which I love! I used a mix of whole wheat and white flour. I made 3 kinds - bbq chicken, spinach & feta, and pepperoni & mushroom ones (all with cheese, of course!). After I made them, I froze them on baking sheets for a few hours and then transferred them into bags and back into the freezer. Yesterday we had a chance to try them, and they were really good! I baked them from frozen on a cookie sheet at 400 F for about 30 minutes or until slightly browned.

Here's an example of a spinach & feta one before I made the pizza into a pocket.

Here's what they looked like when they were ready for the freezer

I am definitely going to made these again sometime!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Lemon Chicken Rice Soup & Cheese Biscuits

Last week I made some soup with chicken stock and leftover chicken from a roasted chicken. I made a huge pot and froze the leftovers to have another day when we need a quick but healthy lunch.

Here's a "rough" recipe for the Lemon Chicken Rice Soup I made.

  • 10-12 cups chicken stock (or enough to fill a large soup pot)
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1-2 stalks of celery, chopped
  • 1-2 large carrots, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • Juice of 2 lemons (approx 6 Tbsp)
  • 2 cups or so of chopped cooked chicken
  • 3/4 cups raw rice
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 Tbsp parsley
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 raw egg (or 2 if you want thicker soup)

In a large pot, saute onion and celery in butter. Add carrots. Add chicken stock, chicken, rice, bay leaves, parsley, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat and simmer until veggies are soft and rice is cooked. Add lemon juice. Remove from heat and cool slightly. Remove about a cup of broth and set aside to cool slightly. In separate dish, beat egg well with a fork. Continue to beat the egg while slowly adding the cup of broth to the egg. Pour egg mixture back into the pot of soup (make sure soup is not boiling when you do this). Stir and serve.

I really like to serve cheese biscuits with soup. So here is one of my favourite biscuit recipes.

Cheese Biscuits

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup cold butter (or margarine, but I prefer butter)
  • Approx 1 cup of milk
  • 1 cup grated cheddar cheese

Mix dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Mix in grated cheese. Cut butter with a pastry blender until mixture is small pea-sized. Add half the milk. Mix with a metal spoon and keep adding milk just until you form a soft dough. Put onto a lightly floured surface. Gently fold a few times to knead. Roll or pat out in the shape of a rectangle until about 3/4 inches thick. Cut out squares with a butter knife or cookie cutter. Bake on ungreased baking sheet at 350 F for about 12 minutes or lightly browned.

Friday, February 12, 2010

A "Plumb-Good" Time

A couple weeks ago, I had to use the following "ingredients" in my kitchen...can you guess what for?? Here's a clue - They were used for something you definitely would not want to eat. A different kind of "plum(b)" you might say!

As I was washing my dishes I noticed something stuck in the drain. I thought it was a piece of macaroni at first. (Yes, I know it looks nothing like a piece of macaroni, but that's what I thought it was nonetheless) I decided that I must get this mysterious object out of the drain.

My first thought was to use skewers to fish it out.

Well, that didn't work.

Then I thought tweezers might do the trick.

Well, that didn't work.

Then I thought baking soda and vinegar might bubble it up (I still thought it was a piece of macaroni at this point)

Well that was just a plain silly idea and of course did not work.

I tried grabbing it and pulling it out with scissors.

Nope. That didn't work either.

At this point I was getting extremely frustrated with myself. I knew there just had to be a way to get that silly piece of something-or-other out of the drain. I tried with the skewers again and finally gave up. I left it for about an hour and went and did something else. Then, I came back to tackle the problem once more, and it was as if a lightbulb went off...

Krazy Glue! I'll use Krazy Glue!

So, I put a dab of krazy glue onto the tip of a pencil. I held the piece of something-or-other steady with the skewer and then stuck the pencil tip to the piece-of-something-or-other and pulled it out. I got it almost out when I realized that it was not going to fit through the side holes; it HAD to come through the center hole or it would not fit. So, I tried one more time...and...

Voila! Piece of something-or-other (I think it's an orange peeler, actually) is free! (and so is my drain!)

Just another not-so-ordinary day in the life of this homemaker.

Couch to 5K Update

I just finished Week 5 of the Couch to 5K plan that will hopefully have me running 5 km (3 miles) in half an hour. This week I completed my first 2 mile run (in 20 minutes) with no walking. I did my first 2 mile run on Wednesday, and then I did another 2 mile run this evening. On to Week 6 next week! I am a bit confused as to why the first two workouts for Week 6 are actually easier than the 2 mile run...but the last workout is a 2 1/4 mile run with no walking. I am starting to actually enjoy exercising - I am beginning to notice some of its benefits. I feel like I have more energy overall and I am just feeling better in general.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Blog Formatting

Please bear with me as I try out a few different formats and backgrounds for my blog to see which one I like the best. I am trying to figure out how to get my blog from 2 columns to 3 columns. As I research it and find codes (is that the right computer lingo term??) I am amazed that people can figure these things out... I never have been good with technology "stuff". I have a hard time figuring out how to tape something on the VCR, not to mention reformatting and customizing a blog!

Gospel for Asia Sponsorship

When most people think of sponsoring a child in another country, they think of well-known organizations such as World Vision or Compassion International. Today I want to put a plug in for a ministry that I really like. It is Gospel for Asia and they have a sponsorship program too, but you may not have heard of them before. The reason why I like sponsoring a child through Gospel for Asia is because their main goal, unlike some other organizations, is to spread the Gospel! It says so right on their home page, and if you take the time to look around their website, you will find that the spreading of the Gospel is what Gospel for Asia is all about.

Do we need to clothe the poor, help the destitute, and feed the hungry? Absolutely. But let me ask you this. What does clothing the poor, helping the destitute, and feeding the hungry help if those people die without coming to a saving faith in Christ? Those people will still perish forever if they die without Christ. We need to meet their physical needs AND spread the truth of Jesus Christ. We need to provide them clean drinking water AND explain how they can receive the Living Water. These need to go hand-in-hand.

Through Gospel for Asia's Bridge of Hope program, you can sponsor a child. This child will get to go to a Bridge of Hope school where they will receive meals, an education, medical care, etc. and ALSO hear the gospel. These children are usually from the Dalit caste (also known as the "untouchables") and, sadly, are often considered less than human.

What else do I love about this ministry?

100 % of the sponsorship money goes to the field! NONE of it goes to administration costs!


You can sponsor a missionary, too!

The other day I received a newsletter in the mail that highlighted testimonies of people coming to Christ through the ministry of Gospel for Asia. I was so encouraged to hear how missionaries are passing out gospel tracts, witnessing, and how children sponsored through the Bridge of Hope program are learning about Christ and sharing with their families! I also receive letters from our sponsor child and can write back to her.

If you are interested in sponsoring a child, please consider the ministry of Gospel for Asia. Gospel for Asia cares about the physical and spiritual needs of people, with spreading the Good News of Jesus Christ being their highest goal.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Couch to 5K Update

Last week I completed Week 4 of the Couch to 5K Plan. I found it to be quite a bit tougher than the previous week. During the last 5 minutes of jogging, I really had to push myself! I am very nervous for this week(Week 5). It looks much more challenging than last week, which I found somewhat tough. The last workout for this week on Friday will have me (maybe) running 2 miles in 20 minutes with no walking. I am very skeptical that I will be able to do it, but I plan on giving it my best shot. I plan on doing the program Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday for this week.

Menu Plan Monday

I followed last week's menu plan pretty closely. The only things that didn't get made were the pasta and pasta sauce because we went out for supper with family and the lemon chicken rice soup because we were away visiting family (and had delicious roast beef supper instead!). Both those recipes got bumped up to this week. Here's this week's plan.

Sunday, February 7
At family's house for supper

Monday, February 8
Whole wheat penne with tomato sauce

Tuesday, February 9
Lemon Chicken Rice Soup (using chicken stock and leftover chicken in freezer), cheese biscuits

Wednesday, February 10
Jo Mama's World Famous Spaghetti Sauce, spaghetti, caesar salad

Thursday, February 11
Sausage, perogies, cooked veggies

Friday, February 12
Leftover spaghetti

Saturday, February 13
Chicken Macaroni Bake (from freezer), tossed salad or cooked veggies

*For more great meal ideas, visit Menu Plan Monday, hosted by*

Friday, February 5, 2010

Yesterday's Kitchen Extravaganza

Yesterday I spent most of the day in the kitchen, which is one of my most favourite places to be! In the morning I baked some whole wheat bread, then in the afternoon I baked a batch of banana chip muffins (for my hubby) and mixed up a batch of cottage cheese perogies ("Glums Wareneki" in German). I have been experimenting with different Wareneki recipes, and I was a bit disappointed with the one I tried yesterday. The dough was not that easy to work with, and the perogies tended to come apart when I boiled a few for lunch today. It may have been the cook's problem, not the recipe's problem, but I think I will try a different recipe next time. Here are a few pictures from yesterday.

Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins (I'll have to ask my husband how they turned out because I won't be trying them any time soon. I have an *ahem* allergy to them - at least my taste buds do. Ha!

6 Loaves of Whole Wheat Bread (I did use a couple cups of white flour in these this time. Sometimes I make them with all whole wheat flour, sometimes I add a couple cups of white.)

Here are my not-so-purdy Wareneki. Not the healthiest things in the world, but probably one of the tastiest! (at least to me. My hubby won't touch 'em).

Today is Pizza night, so I am thinking about making up some homemade pizza pockets today since I have to get the pizza stuff out anyway. I've never made them before, so I will post about them sometime if I get the chance to make them. to do my fourth workout for Week 4 of the couch to 5K plan!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Chicken Macaroni Bake

When I was pregnant with my daughter, I got busy in the kitchen cooking up doubles of nearly everything (casseroles, pizza crust, taco meat, spaghetti sauce, meatballs, chili, muffins, pies etc.). I kept busy cooking and baking to help the days go by during the long last 2 months of my pregnancy (And, let me tell ya, those were long days!). Anytime I cooked something for supper, I would double it and freeze half. I stockpiled our freezer so that right after our daughter was born, I wouldn't have to cook hardly anything if I didn't want to. My stockpile lasted us for almost 6 weeks after she was born! My general philosophy is that if you are going to go to all the work to make something in the first place, you might as well at least double the recipe and freeze half of it. During my crazy pregnant cooking frenzies, I found some really tasty casserole recipes that freeze very well.

As I was going through my fridge yesterday, I found some broccoli and mushrooms that needed to be used up, so in the evening I decided to use them and cook up one of my favourite freezer-friendly casseroles, Chicken Macaroni Bake.

Here's a picture I took of the casseroles before I wrapped them and put them into the freezer.

Here is the recipe:

Chicken Macaroni Bake (This recipe yields 1 casserole that will feed 4-6 people. I double it)

  • 1/2 cup chopped onions
  • 1/2 cup fresh mushrooms
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 10.5 oz can cream of mushroom or cream of chicken soup (do not dilute)
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken, cooked and cubed
  • 1 cup grated cheddar cheese
  • 1 1/4 cups dry macaroni (or any pasta variety)
  • 1/4 cup buttered bread crumbs
  • 1 cup broccoli florets, fresh or frozen
Directions: Cook pasta in boiling water according to package directions. Drain pasta and set aside. In a large skillet, brown onion and mushrooms in butter. Stir in soup, chicken, milk, 3/4 cups cheese, and broccoli. Heat until cheese melts. Blend sauce with cooked noodles. Pour into a buttered casserole dish. Mix remaining 1/4 cup cheese with bread crumbs and sprinkle on top. (At this point, BEFORE BAKING, you can wrap it tightly with plastic wrap or foil and then freeze it). Or, if fresh, you can bake it at 350 F for 30 minutes or until hot. If cooking frozen casserole, remove foil or plastic wrap, and bake at 350 F for about 1 hour or until hot.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Gratituesday: Christian Friends

Rewind 2 days ago to this past Sunday.

It had been a long night and I was tired. Our baby is teething and had been up several times during the night. Then in the morning we went to church, came home for lunch, then went back to church for a meeting, and then had our friends over for supper, and then were planning on going to a Bible study after that. The Bible study ended up being canceled, so instead, my husband, myself, and 2 of our friends had an unplanned "informal" Bible Study at our house. We watched Ken Ham's dvd called State of the Nation and discussed it. Then, we prayed for each other. It was wonderful, refreshing, and encouraging Christian fellowship. It had been a busy day, but I felt SO uplifted and encouraged after talking about Christ, fellowshipping with friends, and praying for each other that it was WAY BETTER than a full night's sleep (which I haven't had in a LONG time!). Today, I am very thankful for Christian fellowship and Christian friends.

*This post is linked to Gratituesday hosted by Heavenly Homemakers*

Make a JOYful Noise Unto the Lord

I have often been told that a wife and mother sets the tone in her home. I have found this to be very true. For example, if a wife greets her husband with a scowl when he comes home from work and she immediately begins complaining about what a terrible day she has had, her husband is NOT likely to respond with a "Hi Honey, I'm so happy to be home!" On the other hand, if the wife decides to greet her husband with a smile and a kiss and takes the focus off of herself and her problems and instead puts her focus on her husband and asks him about HIS day, the husband is much more likely to enjoy coming home after a hard day's work. Those first few minutes when your husband walks in the door can often set the tone for the rest of the evening. I know this from personal experience.

In the same way, the mother sets the tone at home with her children. For example, if the mother goes about her household tasks with grumbling and complaining, she can expect her children to do their chores with grumbling and complaining. But, if the mother is whistling and singing while she does household chores, her children will more than likely whistle and sing when they do theirs. My daughter is still a baby, but I see how my attitude already sets the tone in the home. If I am excited and cheerful, my daughter will usually start smiling and get excited. If I am grumpy, she tends to get upset more easily.

Although I fail at times, I try my best to set a joyful and pleasant tone in my home. I try to greet my husband with a kiss and smile when he gets home from work, no matter how hard my day was. When I go about my daily household tasks, I like to put on some Christian music and sing out the words with a spring in my step. Not only does this keep my spirits lifted, but it also keeps my heart and mind focused on Christ and what He has done for me. It cultivates thankfulness in my heart when I sing melodies about what Christ has done for me. It helps me take the focus off of myself and my problems. Now, I am an alto and struggle to hit the "high notes" sometimes, but when I sing in my home with my family, I often belt out the words like there's no tomorrow! Sometimes I hit the high notes, sometimes I don't! But you know what? I don't care! I am making a joyful noise unto the Lord. Sometimes in the evening, my husband and I will sit at the piano together and just sing hymns unto the Lord. We do not always sing on key, but we are making a joyful noise unto the Lord.

Living out the Christian faith daily in the so-called "mundane" things of life is so important in raising our children to follow the Lord. Christ has paid the price for our sin! Our Saviour lives! He is good! He is faithful! He is mighty to save! This is where our JOY comes from. It is the joy of our salvation! Let this joy be evident in your home. Let's follow Jesus' instruction in Matthew 5:16 to "Let your light shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father, which is in heaven." As a homemaker, the only people you might encounter today may be your husband and children. Don't forget to let your light shine before them, too!

Choose to make a JOYful noise unto the Lord today.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Menu Plan Monday

It's my 2nd week participating in Menu Plan Monday hosted by This week is a busy week for us, so the meals are super quick and simple. Last week's crockpot teriyaki steak and rice was SO good. Definitely a great way to use steak in the winter when you can't bbq. I ended up serving it with stir-fry veggies (onions, mushrooms, carrots, celery, broccoli, and snap peas - all were on hand in the fridge already) instead of the tossed salad. We also had a quick change of plans, which happens pretty often around here :-) and had company over on short notice for Sunday supper, so I pulled a casserole out of the freezer to use instead of making the scheduled whole wheat pasta penne. I am really looking forward to Friday Night Pizza Night this week! Here are my supper plans for the week.

Monday - Lemon Dill Salmon Fillets, Potato Wedges, Carrot Sticks (this was on the menu last week Monday but didn't get made because we were invited over for supper :-) )

Tuesday - Taco Salad (using leftover taco meat from freezer)

Wednesday - Easy Homemade Cream-of-Tomato Soup (recipe below), grilled cheese

Thursday - Whole wheat penne pasta, tomato sauce (just sauteed mushrooms and onions mixed with a jar of pasta sauce), caesar salad (on the menu last week, but didn't get made)

Friday - Pizza Night! I'm making a Tuscan Pizza (see below) and BBQ Ranch Chicken Pizza

Saturday - Leftover pizza

Sunday - Lemon Chicken Rice Soup (using homemade chicken stock and leftover chicken from last week's roasted chicken) and Cheese Biscuits


Easy Homemade Cream-of-Tomato Soup
Ingredients 2 Tbsp butter 1 small onion, chopped 1 large 28 oz can diced tomatoes
1 cup of chicken stock (I usually use 1 cup water and 1 tsp chicken-in-a-mug)
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp sugar
1/2 cup half-and-half cream

Instructions: Melt butter in a medium-large soup pot. Add onion and saute until soft and clear. Add can of tomatoes, chicken stock, baking soda, and sugar. Bring to a boil and then simmer for about 10 - 15 minutes. Remove from heat. Heat cream in the microwave just until hot (not boiling). Add hot cream to soup. Blend with hand-held blender until almost smooth. Serves 4.

Tuscan Pizza

Use your favourite pizza crust recipe and then add the following:
Mix a little mayonnaise (about 2 tsp) and 1 tsp garlic powder or minced garlic with your favourite pizza sauce for one pizza. Top with crumbled or cubed feta cheese, sundried tomatoes, red onions, sliced black olives, and lots of spinach. Top with a mix of cheddar, mozzarella, and feta cheese.

* For more great meal ideas, visit Menu Plan Monday hosted by Laura at *

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