Tuesday, September 30, 2014

31 Days to Becoming Less Stressed, More Refreshed!

31 days Less Stressed, More Refreshed 500
A while ago I saw the October challenge, a challenge that many bloggers are undertaking. The challenge, hosted by The Nester, is to blog each day for 31 days, throughout the month of October.
I had been mulling over the idea for a while and finally decided to go for it!
I am going to blog about STRESS. Yep, that big word affects all of our lives at one point or another, and it seems that it affects many of us continually these days. We do live in trying times.
This series comes from my own experiences, especially over the past couple years. I saw stress starting to affect me immensely, and this summer, I had a huge wake up call regarding my health (which may be another post some day).
Dealing with stress is a journey for me – a continual process that needs to be refined and performed. I see results, and that is the encouraging part!
It is my hope that over the next 31 days I will be able to help my readers in their daily struggles with stress and also get further along on my own journey!
It is my prayer that all of us will be
less stressed and MORE refreshed!

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Five GOOD Reasons You May Be Spending More on Groceries

5 Good Reasons You May Spend More on Groceries - The Cozy Nook

Have you ever read a post about how little someone spends on groceries and felt like a HUGE loser?

I have.
Many times.

Trust me. I am always trying to refine my spending and figure out how I can do better. However, I also know that I’m not going to match up to some of the grocery gurus out there.

Sometimes there are GOOD reasons why your grocery budget may be higher than someone else’s. I am hoping these reasons will put your heart at ease a little bit.

#1) You buy organic or better quality.

Truth be told, I like my foods to be good quality. I feel very blessed that I am able to buy better quality and can even stretch to buy organic when possible. We have split a 1/4 of an organic, grass-fed cow with my parents twice within the past 9 months, and I appreciate it!

#2) You buy more healthful foods.

I have heard people say that you will spend less if you stay away from processed and packaged foods and make things yourself. I do think that is true. However, if you are trying to eat healthfully, oftentimes you will find yourself spending more money. For instance, buying enough produce for your household to have multiple servings of fruits and vegetables every day can add to your spending.

#3) You are following a specific diet.

If you are eating a certain way to conquer chronic disease, lose weight, or some other noble reason, you may need to spend more money for a while, or maybe for life!

#4) You show hospitality.

If you are going to host parties, have friends over, entertain co-workers and the like, you will be spending more on groceries. No doubt about it! However, it is a noble reason to be spending more on groceries. As Christians, we ought to be a giving people.

#5) You are feeding multiple mouths.

In the same way that you would be feeding multiple mouths if you show hospitality, you may be feeding multiple mouths every day. That is a reason to rejoice! We should be thankful for the people God has put in our homes to share life with every day.

There are some GOOD reasons why you may be spending more money on groceries, and that may be okay!

Don’t frown and frump. Keep your head up. Establish your budget guidelines with your husband and continue to refine as you are able.

I, myself, plod on towards the goal of spending less and maintaining good quality and eating habits.

Now go buy those groceries!

Monday, September 22, 2014

Dark Chocolate Granola Bites

Dark Chocolate Granola Bites - The Cozy Nook

I made these little gems recently, and they are delicious. The entire family loved them!

They are full of healthy and yummy ingredients and are good for snacking, dessert, or even breakfast.

You can get the recipe here at Mel’s Kitchen Café.


Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Treasure Today for You Do Not Know What Tomorrow Will Bring

Treasure Today - The Cozy Nook

Yesterday my husband received some startling news. His co-worker passed away. It wasn’t just the fact that his co-worker passed away, but it was also the circumstances of the man’s life that made it seem all the more surreal.

A few weeks ago my husband traveled to Indiana for work, just for the sole purpose of celebrating this man’s retirement. That’s right… just a few, short weeks ago my husband was celebrating his co-worker’s retirement, and now he is gone.

I’m assuming my husband’s co-worker had plenty of hopes and dreams for his retirement, just as his wife did. Unfortunately, this man’s life was “cut short”, and he is unable to enjoy retirement.

Treasure today for you do not know
what tomorrow will bring!

Don’t wait for tomorrow.
Don’t live today with regret and dismay.
Don’t wait until your kids are grown up.
Don’t wait until you retire.
Don’t wait for something else to happen.

Live your life fully now.

In the midst of difficulty and pain choose to live today with vigor and hope.

Love the people around you.
Do good.
Serve God!

“You do not know what will happen tomorrow, for what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away. Instead you ought to say, ‘If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that.’”   James 4:14-15

“Do not boast about tomorrow, For you do not know what a day may bring forth.”   Proverbs 27:1

Today is a gift that you have,
readily accessible at this moment.

Embrace today and live it the best you are able!

Friday, September 12, 2014

Tell Yourself This: “It’s Okay if Everything Isn’t Perfect”

It's Okay If Everything Isn't Perfect - The Cozy Nook

I have recently talked with a couple of moms. They are trying to “do it all”, but they are getting very discouraged when they are not getting it all done.

Their days are full but sometimes seem empty as they end their days with tasks left on their “To Do” lists.

They juggle ages and grades and needs and demands and feel like they fall short in many ways.

One day they excel at child training and earn extra points in the mom department, but their homes seem neglected, and they barely get dinner on the table.

When moms see another mom “getting it all done”, they ask, “What’s the secret?”

Well, let me tell you the big secret.

The big secret is that there is no secret.

None of us can do it all, perfectly.

There are way too many demands in life for us to get everything done perfectly without leaving ourselves high and dry.

You must give yourself grace, and a lot of it!

Work hard. Train hard. School hard. Play hard, and when the day is done, feel good about you and your family!

Don’t beat yourself up! Don’t strive for perfection!

Tell yourself this:
It is okay if everything is not perfect!

It really is. It is okay if everything is not perfect!

It’s okay if your house isn’t perfect.
It’s okay if your kids aren’t perfect.
It’s okay if your schedule isn’t perfect.
It’s okay if your “To Do” list accomplishments aren’t perfect.
It’s okay if YOU are not perfect.

All that matters is that you do your best, trying to please God as you do it.

Don’t strive for perfect. Strive for order.

Strive for Order, Not Perfection - The Cozy Nook

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Chocolate Chip Coffee Cake

Chocolate Chip Coffee Cake - The Cozy Nook

I was positive I had shared this recipe before. After all I have been making this recipe for years now, hearing the “Oohh’s” and “Aahh’s” with each service.

After searching my blog high and low, it appears I have not shared this gem of a recipe, so it is time!

I make this chocolate chip cake as a treat for my family occasionally, and especially when we have guests. There are rarely any leftovers.

Chocolate Chip Cake
Found here at Mel’s Kitchen Café

Cake Batter:

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/3 cups sour cream
  • 2/3 cup butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

Middle and Top:

  • cinnamon sugar
  • 1 bag chocolate chips, divided

Preheat oven to 350 degrees (325 if using a glass pan).

Grease a 9 X 13 pan with cooking spray.

In a large bowl combine all of the cake batter ingredients. Mix for 1 minute at low speed; mix 3 minutes at medium speed.

Pour 1/2 of batter into greased pan. Generously sprinkle cinnamon and sugar over batter making sure to get the corners and then sprinkle with 1/2 bag of chocolate chips. Pour remaining cake batter on top and spread across bottom layer. Repeat with cinnamon and sugar and chocolate chips.

Bake for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick comes out with only a few crumbs (don’t overbake or cake will be dry!).

Monday, September 8, 2014

What Are You Thinking? Think About These Things…

Think About These Things - The Cozy Nook

What are you thinking today?

Are your thoughts good, pure, and edifying?

Are your thoughts energizing you?

Are your thoughts drawing you near to God?

Our thoughts have a lot of power. They have the potential to weigh us down or build us up.

The Bible reminds us to keep our minds focused on positive things.

Think about what is
True. Noble. Just. Lovely. Pure. Of Good Report. Of Virtue. Praiseworthy.
Philippians 4:8

What are you thinking today?
Renew your mind in the goodness of God!

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Packing Lunches: How a Divided Container Helps!

Packing Lunches - The Cozy Nook

A couple years ago I wrote about my goal to pack a better lunch for my husband. I was packing some pretty lame lunches, and I wanted to improve!

When we started eating differently so we could shed some pounds, I  started to use a divided container to pack my husband’s lunch. It has worked wonders.

Using a divided container helps me purpose to fill each spot provided and pack a more varied lunch.

Rather than just throwing in some leftovers or a quick sandwich with a possible piece of fruit, I am more thoughtful about what I am putting together for him.

Here are some sample lunches I have made:

Lunchbox 1

Deli wrap, Plum, Pickle Spear

Lunchbox 2

Hamburger Patty, Red Pepper with Hummus,
Blueberries, Cottage Cheese

Lunchbox 3

Boiled Eggs, Chips and Salsa,
Blueberries, Mini Red Pepper

Lunchbox 4

Deli Wrap, Cucumbers, Peaches

Lunchbox 5

Middle-Eastern Bean and Potato Salads,
Deli Meat, Pear

If you are packing lunches for someone, try a divided container. I think you’ll like the result!