Sunday, December 7, 2008

Spiritual Sunday


Our church has been reading through "The Story," which is an abridged version of the Bible in chronological order. I've been so bad about reading through the Old Testament because it's boring and confusing. OR SO I THOUGHT!

Reading through this version (which only includes "the story" parts that are crucial leading up to the story of Christ - but is all Scripture) has made me feel like I'm reading the Bible for the first time! I'm finally GETTING the Old Testament in a really clear and exciting way.

I'm actually UNDERSTANDING all of the ancestry lists. Weird, I know. I'm understanding why God became so frustrated with the Israelites - and how much I, today, am just like them (scary).

I now get how Solomon had all this wisdom from God, the story behind it, and how the Proverbs are so divinely inspired.

Ok, I sound like  a 5 year old writing this, but you get my idea. The Old Testament isn't outdated. It CAN be exciting and new, no matter how long you've followed God. 

Very cool :)



Saturday, December 6, 2008

Scrumptious Saturday

I'm making these awesome cookies for a party today. They have the cheesecake taste without the expense of 8 blocks of cream cheese! It's also simple and most of the ingredients are things you have on hand! I almost never bring any home, and always get lots of comments.

I'm giving you the recipe with my adaptations. The original recipe is from Taste of Home: Grandma's Great Desserts.

CRUNCHY CHEESECAKE BARS

Ingredients:
1 cup flour
1/3 cup packed brown sugar (sometimes I throw a little more in)
6 tablespoons of butter
1 pkg, 8oz cream cheese softened
1/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1/2 tsp vanilla (sometimes I add a bit more since the original recipe also calls for lemon juice)
3/4 chopped nuts (I never have them, so I never use them in the recipe)

In a medium mixing bowl, mix flour and brown sugar. Cut in butter until mixture resembles fine crumbs. (I end up using my hands!) Set aside 1/2 cup for topping; press remaining crumbs into bottom of ungreased 8x8x2 inch baking pan. Bake crust at 350 degrees for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a mixing bowl, beat cream cheese on medium speed for 30 seconds. Add sugar; beat until fluffy. Add egg, milk and vanilla; mix well. Spread over baked crust. Combine nuts  (if you're using them) with reserved crumbs and sprinkle over cream cheese mixture. Bake 20-25 minutes more or until done. Cool in pan on wire rack.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Family Friday

I've been feeling so guilty lately for not spending enough time with my family. I can always tell when I'm not doing enough for my husband and daughter because they get cranky, which only makes the guilt worse.

My mom was so encouraging today and always has such good "mom" advice...I'm thankful for her (even though thankful Thursday was yesterday!).

To make it worse, everything on the radio was about spending time with your kids; how, if you don't they won't want to spend time with you when they grow up...and about how working mom's suck.

So after work, Hannah and I played Wiggles on the computer and we "Elf-ed" ourselves. We laughed and had fun for over an hour. Go here to elf yourself for amusement. She even got me to play Sesame Street figurines with her for a while. 

It felt really good to spend time with my little girl. Don't miss out on your family. I have to remind myself constantly. You won't regret the time you put into that. The time goes by too fast.


Thursday, December 4, 2008

Thankful Thursday

Sorry I'm a little late for the 3 of you who follow :)

For Thankful Thursday I must say I'm thankful for sunny days in the midst of cold, gloomy weather... figuratively and literally. 

Yesterday the weather in Pittsburgh, though cool, was very sunny and much warmer than it has been - a whopping 48 degrees. I had to go to work in the afternoon but Hannah needed some sunshine so I took her to the park. It was so nice to be outside in the fresh air and soaking up some vitamin D!

Someone RUDELY booby trapped the park with fishing line and dish soap, but that didn't stop us! What a great time getting refreshed!

I think I'm ready for spring!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Wellness Wednesday

Exercise - I'll never like it. I've really been enjoying doing workout videos though - as much as you can enjoy them. 

Since I have been on this diuretic, I have no breath or endurance. So I stopped. I was doing really well for a while. I need to get back in the game. I am now reduced to just a small amount of diuretic a day and I'm packing on holiday pounds - so I have no excuse!

Today it's really hard writing about wellness, since my sister had me over yesterday and made all kinds of wonderful AMAZING food, and I sat on my butt all day and scrap booked! High calories and no movement make for a not very "Well Wednesday!"

The way to get started, is to just get up and do it. But, don't push too hard. You need to accomplish small goals to keep you motivated to accomplish more. When you begin by insisting you need to do an hour of cardio - you're setting yourself up for failure and a lot of pulled muscles. That alone will guarantee that you won't want to continue the next day!

Start with 15 minutes. There are 20 minute pilates videos and also 20 minute cardio videos. Or, take your kids for a walk. Heck, run up and down the stairs for a few minutes. Do what you feel comfortable with and only begin pushing a little harder when your body can handle the minimum. Don't beat yourself when you miss a day, just get up and do it the next morning.

My mom will turn 50 in 2009. She, for the first time in her life has begun exercising every day on an elliptical machine and lifting weights. I can't believe how amazing she looks! Her entire body shape has changed. She started with 15 minutes a day and now can do a FULL HOUR on the elliptical. I couldn't do it! I'm so proud of her. She's in the best shape of her life. That's how I want to be!! What an inspiration.

So,  my mom is showing me up. I have some work to do!! Get up and do it - you'll feel SO good when you're done...I'm in too! I'm gonna exercise TODAY!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Tips and Hints Tuesday

Does cleaning with bleach products ever freak you out?

It doesn't really scare me, but I don't like to clean my kitchen counters and dining room table with it. I just feel as if my kids picks up a piece of food from there and eats it, she's eating poison. Maybe a little dramatic, I know. But, nonetheless, I've heard that bleach can seep into the plastic of baby bottles and plastic containers, so sometimes I think about it. Dogs have died from licking a kitchen floor cleaned with Lysol, because it tastes sweet.

Enter - PEROXIDE! It's the cheapest thing on the market and it kills bacteria! Hospitals use it because bleach fumes are so toxic. It's also good for the environment. So I went and bought two HUGE bottles at Sam's Club for $1.38. Cheap as dirt (no pun intended!) 

Do I still use Lysol and Bleach. Yeah. I do. But, I'm much more cautious about where.

Use peroxide where your family will be eating. It's just plain safer.

Oh and also! You know how funky your shower curtain liner gets??? Well spray it with peroxide and wipe. It's bubbles up (for your entertainment) and stays clean MUCH MUCH longer!

So save money, rid yourself of harmful chemicals AND toxic fumes. You can relax knowing that's one less thing you need to worry about!

One word of caution: be careful where you spray...It MAY lighten some fabrics when used in larger quantities.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Money Monday

Uh-oh is all I have to say. My friends and family tease us because we have no cable, no landline, no internet, one 8 year old vehicle, no clothing budget, we don't eat out, have a very small grocery bill, and keep our thermostat set at 60 in the winter. I'm CHEAP!!

We've done pretty stinking well so far. I can't complain...and I haven't - until TODAY.

You've all heard the commercials about how the last 2 people on earth who have rabbit ears on their tv (us being one of them) need those digital boxes so their tv will work. Well we got those a way long time ago - haven't really used them.

Tonight we hooked them up...The sad news? We get one channel on each tv. With our rabbit ears we normally get 5-7 channels on each tv and we've done just fine with that these first 6 years of our marriage.

So, can I just say WAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHH!

We still aren't getting cable. We just paid off Matt's last school loan and I'm more anxious than ever to be debt free. We begin attacking my school loan this month and hope to pay that sucker off by next September.

I refuse to let this recession hold me back...but I will continue to complain about the tv. I'm gonna be so addicted to cable when we get it!!

What have you had to sacrifice, if anything because of these tough economic times?

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