Greetings, Dear Friends!
Spring has sprung in all it's glory here in southwest Missouri! As I type this issue of HEARTH AND HOME I can see the brightly-colored hummingbirds flitting around the hummingbird feeder outside our front door, as well as my beautiful lilac-colored irises blooming in their ring around the walnut tree in our front yard. Two squirrels play in the neighbor's red bud tree across the way. What a lovely site to behold! The sun is shining, the birds are singing, and the peace of God comes flooding over my soul like sunshine spilling over the eastern horizon causing the darkness in its path to flee and retreat quickly away as the dawning of a new day bursts forth. But, sad to say, that was not the case earlier today.
As problems plague us on all sides it's easy to lose site of what's what and where we're going...and that's where I've been much of the past few days...lost in a world of troubles and trials, not seeing what's what, shaken in spirit, fearful, dark. Thanks to some good, godly council, a timely sermon on-line, and the grace of God, I have once again, with God's help, fought my way back up to the top and see the Lord's hand in, and over, all! Praise the name of the Lord!
Won't you come join me for a cup of tea as we sit and visit a spell at my HEARTH AND HOME? Here we go...
1) Things here have been pretty hectic since our last visit. I've been wanting to get to spring cleaning, but it seems I can never get enough hours in a day together to do anymore than I have to, so, thus far it hasn't happened, but I am still hoping for a uninterrupted day or two to come along at some point and make it possible. In looking through old issues of HEARTH AND HOME, I found this piece that was originally published on April 26, 2002. I thought I'd share it again...
SPEEDY SPRING CLEANING: 5-Minute Sprints
- Shake out and hose down a winter's worth of mud and salt from a doormat. A clean mat will catch the muck, but a dirty one brings it into your home.
- Remove the grill from the condenser at the bottom of your refrigerator, and sweep or vacuum out the annual deposit of dust. Dusty coils will make unit's motor labor.
- Empty the refrigerator drip pan. A full pan can become the local watering hole for parched pests.
- Clean the refrigerator door seals with a mix of baking soda and water. Then apply a thin layer of petroleum jelly to the seal to prevent it from sticking and bending out of shape.
- Toss the cook-top filter into the dishwasher. The heavier meals of winter can leave a filter caked with grease. If you don't have a dishwasher, let the filter soak in water with soap and baking soda, then rinse away the buildup.
- Clean the microwave in a blast. Nuke a few tablespoons of baking soda in a cup of water and wipe up the fallout with a paper towel. Then use the damp towel to wipe the surrounding area.
- Remove the garbage disposal's splash guard and scrub off the gunk. Replace. Then sweeten things up by sprinkling about a quarter cup of baking soda over the grind chamber, followed by a little distilled white vinegar.
- Scatter a few bay or mint leaves on pantry shelves as a natural defense against warm-weather pests.
- Change the furnace filter to avoid spewing a season of dust and odors through your home next fall.
- Add fresh cedar shavings to a just-washed pet pillow to keep pets, and your house, flea free.
- Pare down bed coverings for warmer nights. Once fluffy comforter and a set of wrinkle-resistant sheets make bed-making a snap.
- Hose out and wipe down a few wastebaskets. Keep a supply of plastic liners in at the bottom of baskets for lickety-split changes.
- Open windows on the first warm and sunny day. Fresh air and sunshine make rooms smell and feel clean.
(I got tickled when I read over these just now. A cook-top filter? A dishwasher? A garbage disposal? And a furnace? I don't even have any of these things! At the time I was thinking of folks who do have them, I suppose. Now...a refrigerator? A microwave? A vacuum? And windows? Those I do have! LOL!)
2) Our son got a hankering for sourdough pancakes the other day and came up with this recipe...
3/4 cup sourdough starter
1 egg, beaten
2 tablespoons water
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
1/4 cup flour
1/3 cup nonfat dry milk powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 tablespoons white sugar
In a large bowl, combine the sourdough starter, egg, water, and oil. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, nonfat dry milk, salt, baking soda, and sugar. Stir to blend dry ingredients. Add to sourdough starter and mix until batter is smooth. Bake in a cast-iron skillet that has been sprayed with pan spray until golden brown on the bottom. Flip and bake on opposite side.
3) Since I'm sharing that recipe, I thought I might as well go ahead and share these, too!
1 package active dry yeast
1/4 cup lukewarm water (potato water is good)
2 cups warm water
1 1/2 cups flour
1 tablespoon sugar
Using a quart size fruit jar or crock, dissolve yeast with 1/4 cup water. Allow to stand several minutes then stir in water, flour, and sugar. Cover with a cloth. Leave overnight at room temperature. Stir down several times as mixture rises to top. The longer the mixture stands at room temperature, the stronger the sour taste. Replace cover and refrigerate until ready to use. To maintain an ample supply of starter, each time you use it, replenish it with equal amounts of warm water and flour. Makes about 2 cups.
(This is the sourdough recipe that we usually use.)
Mix the night before using:
2 cups flour
2 cups milk
1 cup starter
Let stand overnight at room temperature.
Whey ready to bake, add:
2 eggs, beaten
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
Stir batter until well mixed. Grease griddle if necessary. Pour or spoon pancake batter onto hot griddle. When bubbly and puffed, turn and brown other side. Serve with your favorite syrup. Makes 16 pancakes.
For future use, add to starter:
1 cup water to original jar
1 cup flour
1 tablespoon sugar
SOUR DOUGH BISCUITS
Mix the night before using:
1 cup sourdough starter, at room temperature
1/2 cup warm water
1 cup flour
Let stand overnight at room temperature.
1 1/2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon sugar
Bacon drippings or butter or olive oil
About 1 hour before serving, turn dough out on 1 cup of the flour on a bread board. Combine remaining 1/2 cup flour with baking powder, soda, salt, and sugar. Knead flour lightly into batter. Make a well in the dough and mix dry ingredients into the batter, kneading lightly to get correct consistency for rolling dough without sticking. Roll to 1/2 inch thickness. Cut biscuits with a cutter or into 2" x 3" rectangles. Brush tops with warm bacon drippings or warm butter or olive oil. Place biscuits 1/2 inch apart on baking sheet, or close together in a 9-inch square pan, and set in a warm place to rise about 1/2 hour. Bake at 400 degrees about 20 minutes. Makes 14 biscuits.
(My husband particularly likes this recipe as it contains no hydrogenated anything in it.)
4) Okay...who's heard of 'dryer balls'? I never had until I got in on a giveaway for them online. I didn't win the giveaway, but I was so fascinated with the idea of the product that I ordered a set of three of them and, boy, am I ever glad I did! I love them!
Since ordering a set of three natural-colored dryer balls from The Willow Store, I have not used a single dryer sheet...not a single drop of fabric softener...not a single drop of white vinegar! There's no need for any of them AND our clothes dry in a shorter amount of time! To find out more visit The Willow Store by clicking HERE.
5) How many of you are putting a garden in this year? My husband has been trying to get our garden planted, but the cool temperatures and rain have made it difficult. We have been eating lots of fresh salad material (spinach, several kinds of lettuces, green onions, etc.) and the potatoes are in, but we're so looking forward to getting our tomatoes and peppers in the ground. Hopefully next week!
6) In fighting the debt battle we have paid off another credit card and we are so thankful! Beginning in May we plan on tackling next one! Here are some other money saving ideas and budget basics...
SAVING MONEY: Budget Basics
- Track your spending for a month. Then give it a good hard look and figure out where to cut back.
- Take a look at your attitude toward money. Paul warns that the love of money is the root of all evil (1 Timothy 6:10). Jesus urges us to lay up treasures in heaven rather than on earth and to seek His kingdom and His righteousness first (Matthew 6:33). He called the rich man a fool for storing up treasures for himself and forgetting about God (Luke 12:20-21). God instructed the Israelites to remember that He was the One who enabled them to get wealth (Deut. 8:18). David said, "Both riches and honor come of thee, and thou reignest over all; and in thine hand is power and might." (1 Chronicles 29:12). To whom does our money belong? The worldly man insists it is his. Many Christians believe 10% belongs to God and 90% belongs to them. Other Christians realize rightly that all of their money and other treasures belong to God; they are merely stewards of it. This is the attitude we should have as Christians. If we believe that all of our resources are a gift from God and should be used for His glory, we will not quibble about giving a tenth of our income to God; rather, we will give more than a tenth. God promised His blessing on those who give back to Him of what He has given them. "Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it." (Mal. 3:10).
- After tithe, then take care of everything else putting as much money as possible into savings or debt reduction.
- If you want a new bedroom set, winter coat, or vacation, try saving for it the old-fashioned way. Put away at least a dollar a day on payday, if possible.
- Deposit spare change directly into your savings account weekly or monthly. All that change adds up and so does the interest! Or try rolling your change and saving it for something special like a weekend away, a new piece of furniture, or to go toward Christmas gifts.
- Pay off your high-interest-rate credit cards first, even before you start saving money. You'll be saving money in the long run!
- Save whatever you can, when you can...whether it be $1, $5, $50, or $100. Eventually, it will add up.
- For a month, pay for everything in cash: meals, groceries, trips to the mall. As you shell out $20 after $20, you'll become much more conscious of your spending.
- To find out if you're paying too much in property taxes, go to your local records office, appraisal district office or tax assessor's office and ask for your public assessment information. Look for obvious errors, like being charged for five bedrooms when you only have four. Then compare your assessment and property tax to that of other houses in your neighborhood with similar square footage and lot sizes.
7) It's been a long time since I've asked a 'HEARTH AND HOME Question' and I think it's high time I did so...
Proverbs 19:14 tells us that "...a prudent wife is from the Lord."
Based on the scripture above...what exactly is a "prudent" wife? What does she look like? What does she do? How is it that she is "from the Lord?" In what ways are you "prudent?"
If you don't mind me sharing your answers to these questions in a future issue of HEARTH AND HOME, please e-mail them to me at: firstname.lastname@example.org. Be sure and put 'PRUDENT WIFE' on the subject line, so I won't overlook it. Thank you!
8) On May 15, 2011 we will celebrate 15 years of living in Liberal and being in ministry.
The ministry began in 1996 when we packed up our six children and all our belongings and left our life-long home in the Kansas City metropolitan area to answer the call of God. For the first two years we held services in our tiny rental home in the country (you can read more about that HERE)...while passing out tracts, Bibles, and literature door-to-door...praying with folks along the way. We also conducted services at the community center, hosted a weekly Christian movie night, held a Friday night prayer meeting, and did whatever we could to reach out to the people of the community and surrounding area.
In 1998 the Lord graciously provided facilities in which to house the ministry within the city limits. During the next four years we continued to serve the people of Liberal and beyond in a variety of ways...through Bible-based preaching and teaching of the Word...children's classes...free Bible courses by mail...an audio tape ministry...a free annual Thanksgiving dinner to all area residents who had no one with whom to spend the holiday...a food pantry, a free newsletter and teaching sheet which was received by hundreds of people around the world each month.
In October of 2001 we went back to our original format of in-home meetings and in October of 2002 the Lord, again, saw fit to house us in a building. We continued on there for a couple of years or so. At the present time, however, we are back to holding in-home meetings and, despite the fact that our focus has changed, and that we're in a different season of our lives now, we continue to press forward with the message that the Lord has given us, and we will proceed however and wherever He directs.
9) Here's a recipe that my husband has been asking me to make for quite some time, and I finally found the recipe again!
RUSTIC OATS AND WHEAT BREAD
1 cup rolled wheat
1/4 firmly packed brown sugar
2 teaspoons salt
2 cups boiling water
1/4 cup molasses
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 packages active dry yeast
2/3 cup water heated to 105 to 115 degrees F.
4 3/4 to 5 3/4 cups unbleached flour
1 cup regular old-fashioned oats
1 egg, beaten
1 tablespoon old-fashioned oats
Spray two cookie sheets with cooking spray. In a large bowl, combine rolled wheat, brown sugar, salt, 2 cups boiling water molasses and oil; mix well. Cool to 105 to 115 degrees F. In small bowl, dissolve yeast in 2/3 cup water. Add to cooled rolled wheat mixture. Lightly spoon flour into measuring cup; level off. Add 2 cups flour to rolled wheat mixture. Blend at low speed until moistened; beat 2 minutes at medium speed. By hand, stir in 1 cup regular oats and 2 1/4 to 2 3/4 cups flour until dough pulls cleanly away from sides of bowl.
On floured surface, knead in 1/2 to 1 cup flour until dough is smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes. Place dough in greased bowl; cover loosely with greased plastic wrap and cloth towel. Let rise in warm place (80 to 85 degrees F.) until light and doubled in size, about 45 to 60 minutes.
Punch dough down several times to remove all air bubbles. Divide dough in half; shape into balls. Place on sprayed cookie sheets. With sharp knife, slash a 1/4 inch deep lattice design in top of each loaf. Cover; let rise in warm place until light and doubled in size, about 45 to 60 minutes.
Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Brush loaves with beaten egg; sprinkle with 1 tablespoon regular oats. Bake at 350 degrees for 35 to 45 minutes or until deep golden brown and loaves sound hollow when lightly tapped. Remove from cookie sheets; cool on wire racks. Makes 2 (16 slice) loaves.
10) Here's another family favorite dessert...
1/3 cup granulated tapioca
1/3 cup sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 egg beaten
2 3/4 cup skim milk
Mix all ingredients together. Bring to a full boil, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Add 3/4 teaspoon vanilla. Cool and serve.
Well, Ladies, I think that's it for this time. It's getting late and it's time to start supper. You all have a wonderful evening and a blessed Sunday!
Until Next Time...