Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Do You Have a Sanctuary for Yourself?


This is my sanctuary… my bedroom.  I absolutely love it.  My bedroom is warm and cozy.  It is separate and quiet.  It is my designated place where I retreat when I am feeling overwhelmed or if I need a moment to myself.

My sanctuary is where I pray, regroup and recharge, read, think, and rest.

I am privileged to have a place that is so inviting. 

Do you have a sanctuary for yourself?

Everyone needs a place where she can break away from the hustle and bustle and chaos of life.

I encourage you to make a sanctuary for yourself somewhere in your home.  Your bedroom is usually a great place, because bedrooms are meant to be restful after all!

Some good qualities for a sanctuary: 
pleasing to the eye

Create a sanctuary for yourself
that brings refreshment to your soul.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Chores for Children: Assigning Zones

I am revamping my chore system.  My system has been for us to tackle a morning chore, for me to tackle certain chores on certain days, and for the rest to be tackled here and there by whomever.

We are still doing our morning chores, but I made the children’s chores more focused. I assigned them certain zones in the house to maintain


Each morning and night, my children are encouraged to keep their areas in order. Less frequently throughout the week, they are to target deeper cleaning.


Assigning my children zones has kept the home a bit more orderly and has simplified my morning chores. 

I am hoping this system will help my children learn more responsibility as they learn to be in charge of an area in our home.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Some good weekend deals at Meijer

“Bargains to Bounty” is an excellent coupon blog.  I check in with her each week before I do my grocery shopping, so I can try to get the best deals I can.

The Meijer coupon deals that end today are found here.  Next week’s preview is found here

In addition to these great deals, I found some deals at Meijer that continue throughout this weekend.

Eggland's Best eggs are on sale for $1.99/dozen.  There is a coupon - $0.35/1 Eggland's Best Eggs, exp. 12/31/12 (SS 09/30/12 R).  Meijer doubles, so it is really 70 cents off extra per dozen. 

Meijer sandwich bags, 100 count are on sale for 2 for $4, normally 2 for $5.

Swanson chicken broth cartons - on sale for $1.99 each.  Then you are supposed to receive a Catalina coupon for $1 off your next Meijer trip for each two broths you buy.  I bought four broths and received a $1.50 Catalina coupon.

Bertolli olive oil is nearly half off!

Happy saving!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Peanut Butter-Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies and Homemade Chocolate Syrup!


I admit… I usually like just plain ol’ chocolate chip cookies, without extras like peanut butter.  However, if you are looking for a recipe with peanut butter, this is a great one! 

My family loved these cookies, and so did the others who received them as gifts.

The recipe is found here at “Brown Eyed Baker”.  If you like to bake, you will definitely love this site!

Do you notice the crags on top of the cookie?  Well, I did a fancy shaping method to make them look that way.  “Brown Eyed Baker” explains it here in another recipe for chocolate chip cookies.


Homemade Chocolate Syrup

If you want a chocolate syrup WITHOUT high fructose corn syrup, this is it!

This recipe is simple, economical, and tasty!


I bought the squeeze bottle at Bed, Bath and Beyond.  Perfect!

Happy Sweetest Day!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups

With Sweetest Day around the corner, it seems fitting to pass along some of the  sweet-treat recipes I have tried recently.

Move over Reese’s… Here comes Susie Homemaker!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups


I kid you not, these taste better than Reese’s peanut butter cups and are homemade!  What more could you ask for?  Recipe found here.

To make these, you fill a lined mini muffin pan with melted chocolate.  Harden the chocolate in the freezer.  Then fill the cups with a scrumptious peanut butter mixture.  Top them with more melted chocolate and freeze until hardened.

It was a little tricky to fill the muffin liners with chocolate, but it’s worth it!


More chocolate recipes to come!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Homemade Coffee Drinks


For better or for worse, people drink coffee!

Nowadays we don’t just drink coffee with cream and sugar.  We drink all sorts of yummy concoctions with various layers of flavors and textures.

Oftentimes when we want to meet with a friend, whether we drink coffee or not, we’ll say, “Let’s meet for coffee”.

Yes, coffee is definitely woven into the fibers of our culture.

My husband and I started drinking coffee a couple years ago.  I guess we hit mid-life crisis and just felt something was missing… or maybe it was because we started raising a teenager… or maybe we just felt a bit left out while our friends sipped on their mugs of delight.

You will discover the smell of coffee in our home from time to time, and we will even stop to pick up a special treat here and there when we are out.  When our niece lived with us over the past four years, sometimes we would just drive somewhere to get a coffee when the kids went to bed – just to be together, sans children.  Now she is away at college.

I wanted to find a way to make delectable coffee treats at home, so we could save a bit of change and also create special moments at home for the two of us.

Enter homemade café mochas and lattes… With the cold weather upon us, you’ll find these to be a comfort to the taste buds and to the soul.

Café Mocha
serves 2
printable version

Heat in pot on stove:

2 cups hot, brewed coffee
1 cup milk
1/4 cup dark or semisweet chocolate chips
1 t vanilla

Stir regularly.  Mocha is ready when the chocolate chips are thoroughly melted, and the mocha is hot throughout.

No Machine Latte Recipe for Two
These servings are fairly small so you may want to consider increasing the amounts if you are serving two people.

1 1/2 cups Milk: whole or 2%
1/4 t Vanilla
4 teaspoons Honey or Sugar
1/2 cup Extra Strong Hot Coffee
Optional Whipped Cream
Desired syrups or toppings

Heat your milk until its really hot, but don’t let it scald.  Stir continually as you heat it.
Put all your ingredients except the coffee in your blender. Blend for a couple minutes, until the milk is frothy.
Pour half of the whipped mixture into each of the coffee mugs.
Then add the hot, freshly brewed coffee to both.

Add syrups and toppings if desired.

*If you want to make a mocha latte, just add chocolate syrup instead of the sugar.

*You can skip using the blender if you continually whisk your milk as it is heating, until it is hot and frothy.  I use a small whisk, and it works really well!



Thursday, October 11, 2012

Mom’s Day Off


The other day I was feeling very overwhelmed.  The pressure in my head and heart were tremendous.  Finally, I broke out in tears.  Yep, the emotion just came spilling out, a necessary process that God created.

I decided to take the day off. I needed to take a break… be by myself a bit, not fight so many battles, and recharge. 

At first I felt like a failure.  After all, I had changed the entire course for my day, basically because I couldn’t measure up – or so I felt.

After a while though, I began to realize how much I really needed this break.  If I had continued with the same agenda for the day, things would have just gotten worse.  Instead I was able to regroup and give my children some much-needed regrouping as well.

When life’s pressures are just too much, think about changing course.  Take the day off or even part of the day off.

Regroup and recharge.

Have some leisure time.

Do something on your “To Do” list.

Enjoy your family.

Smell the roses!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

The Gift of Time

Gift of time clock

Tonight I am going out with some friends of mine for a belated birthday dinner.  I have been thinking about it for a few days now and feel very blessed.  Out of all of the presents these friends could give me, they have chosen to give me their gift of time.  We will go out for a good, Mexican dinner, share pleasant conversation and good laughs, and maybe even shed some tears.  All in all, we will feel refreshed, and our hearts will be built up in love.

Everyone’s lives are busy these days.  It can be very hard to S-Q-U-E-E-Z-E in yet another event on the calendar.  When someone chooses to fit us into their lives… better yet, not “fit us in” but make us a priority, truly we feel blessed.  We feel like people care about us. 

Is there someone in your life
who could use your gift of time?

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

What Are Your Dreams?


Tonight I am filling in for one of the girls’ classes at church.  Being the coordinator of our girls’ groups on Wednesday nights, I find myself subbing last minute oftentimes.  Tonight is one of those nights.  I am always thankful when the Lord gives me a nugget to share with the girls, as it is my heart to provide an atmosphere of true discipleship, where girls are learning about God and are encouraged to love Him more.

After praying, I flipped through my daughter’s devotional book and found a devotion on dreams.  Many of us are familiar with this verse:

Jeremiah 29:11
”’For I know the thoughts that I think toward you’, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope’”.

That is God’s heart towards us… to give us peace, a good future, and hope!

Truly, eternity with Him will be amazing, but I believe it is God’s desire to give us a vibrant life here on earth… til He returns.

Oftentimes we get caught up in the imminent, especially as adults with a lot of responsibility, and we forget about our dreams.  God has dreams for us!

I ask you today, “What are your dreams?”

Have you thought about them lately?

What are your personal dreams?
What dreams do you have for your household or family?
What dreams do you have for those outside of your own household?
What dreams do you have for the world?

Write down your dreams.  Pray about them.  Pursue them, even bit by bit.

Don’t let the pressure of today keep you from dreaming and creating a better life for yourself and for others!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Mom and Me Journal

This is a great idea to build relationship with any of your children, especially one who may be struggling personally or where closeness is lacking between the two of you.

Create a pretty journal where you and your child can write letters back and forth to each other.


I got the inspiration for this letter journal from Traci at “Ordinary Inspirations” a while ago.  After some tense moments with my daughter last week, I knew I had to do something to create more of a bond between us.  I remembered this journal, grabbed some basic supplies, and went to work.


Traci used decorative duct tape.  I had seen it in the stores, and it seemed a bit pricey to me to be honest… part of the reason it took me a while to get to this project.  I decided to use some pretty gift wrap I had on hand.  It worked out just fine, with the exception of a little bit of an air pocket on the cover.  I think I just needed to cut some more slits at the corners where I folded the gift wrap over the book cover.


Whatever supplies you use, this journal is worth the investment!

You can create special moments and pleasant memories for you and your child for days, weeks, and years to come!