Friday, December 5, 2014

Our Tongue and the Family

I recently read a question that captured my attention.

Are you growing in how you love your spouse?

Right on the heels of that question I began reading a book called, The Hardest Peace: Expecting Grace in the Midst of Life's Hard which shared how their marriage was blessed by   speaking the 'law of kindness' to one another. 

I thought of what the opposite of kindness might look like. A cold shoulder? Distancing ourselves? A sharp, biting reply? Sarcasm? Standing up for ourselves with a cascade of unedifying, prideful words? Oh my! How many of us have given in to these temptations? I surely have at one time or another.

She opens her mouth with wisdom; and on her tongue is the law of kindness. Proverbs 31:26 KJV

Playing a new 'thrift' store game.
I've noticed how different seasons of life can tempt us to respond unkindly. I remember when my children were young and following a sleepless night there was the temptation to snap out a command instead of asking kindly. Sickness, retirement and growing older (the last 2 are my current season) can prove a temptation, too. We surely need the power of the Holy Spirit to respond kindly when we are in a weakened state.  

Jesus is the best reason to entice my heart to return a kindness for an unkindness. He showed the ultimate kindness by dying on the cross to pay for my sins... a death I deserved! While I was STILL a sinner.. undeserving of His enemy...He died for my sins. The ultimate act of kindness!

Returning good for evil...a  kind word in response to an unkindness... is a beautiful opportunity to daily live out the gospel message to my family and others.  

Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. Ephesians 4:32

It also shows my Savior how much I love Him by obeying His command.  

 “If you love me, you will keep my commandments. John 14:15

      The grands and I playing Apples to Apples. (Can you see my cat on the back of the couch watching the neighborhood?)

"God, please help me to live by the 'law of kindness' towards others. I have often returned an unkindness for an unkindness. Help me by the power of your Holy Spirit that lives in me to deny myself and follow you.  In Jesus Name, Amen."

 He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love KINDNESS, and to walk humbly with your God? Micah 6:8 ESV

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience,KINDNESS, goodness, faithfulness, Galatians 5:22  Galatians 5:22  ESV

Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, KINDNESS, humility, meekness, and patience.. Col. 3:12 ESV



1. Our ladies group at church is starting a new bible study in January. I found a used workbook through Amazon for half the price. 

  2. I've been off of wheat (except for an occasional indulgence) for over 3 years now. I normally don't miss it but lately I've been having problems with insomnia and find myself dipping into my husband's crackers in the middle of the night. I'm not sure why carbs are appealing to me at 2am in the morning... but they are! :-) So, I decided to be proactive and make some low carb crackers. I put them in the freezer for those 'I can't sleep' nights.

Sunflower Crackers
3/4-1 cup sunflower seed flour (or almond flour)
4 tsp. Erythritol
1 egg white
less than 1/2 tsp. sea salt
1/8 tsp. garlic powder
1/8 tsp. onion powder

Mix together and then divide into 20-24 small balls. Place on a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Put a piece of Seran wrap over a small can to flatten the balls and then peel off the Seran wrap and place on the cookie sheet. Bake at 325 for 15-20 minutes. Watch closely the last 5 minutes. Edges should be brown, center will be light colored.

3. I had an old kitchen cabinet in bad shape that we hoped to use in our garage but we just didn't have room for it. I hated to have my son take it to the dump since he is so busy so I kept thinking how I could repurpose it. I finally came up with the idea to make it into a compost bin. The doors and the back were taken off leaving just the frame. It works PERFECT! 

4. I found a new game at the thrift store. The grands loved it! 

5. I was inspired by Crystal's post over at Homemaking on the Homestead on canning Chicken Noodle-less soup.  I didn't have 2 whole chickens but used a very large package of chicken thighs and breasts. I canned 5 quarts of soup. My husband said it was very good. I hope to can a lot of soup this winter. 

6.We had a big crop of hot peppers this year. I froze some but there was still a lot left. I decided to dry a batch. I'll use an old coffee grinder and pulse it into red pepper flakes. 

7. I made Pioneer Woman's Spaghetti Sauce. It's a keeper and I think the best recipe I've made so far. We put it over the spaghetti squash we grew in our garden. 

Pioneer Woman's Spaghetti Sauce


  • 5 pounds Ground Beef (I used 3 pounds)
  • 3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 2 whole Large Yellow Onions, Diced (I used 1 onion)
  • 2 whole Green Bell Pepper, Seeded And Diced (Omitted)
  • 6 cloves Garlic, Minced
  • 1 cup White Wine (or Low Sodium Beef Broth If You Prefer)
  • 2 cans 28 Ounce Crushed Tomatoes
  • 1 can (14 Oz. Size) Crushed Tomatoes
  • 1 can (small, 4-ounce) Tomato Paste
  • 1 jar Good Storebought Marinara Sauce (can Use Another Jar If You Like The Sauce To Be More Saucy Than Meaty)
  • 1 teaspoon Ground Oregano
  • 1 teaspoon Ground Thyme
  • 4 whole Bay Leaves (omitted)
  • 2 Tablespoons Sugar (I used Erythritol)
  • 2 teaspoons Kosher Salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon Crushed Red Pepper (optional)
  • 1/4 cup Finely Minced Fresh Parsley (or 3 Tablespoons Parsley Flakes), More To Taste
  • 1 whole Rind From One Wedge Parmesan (optional, I'm dairy free so I omitted)
  • 1/2 cup Grated Parmesan Cheese (optional, I omitted)
  • 2 pounds Spaghetti, Cooked Al Dente And Tossed With Olive Oil
  • Extra Minced Parsley, For Serving
  • Extra Parmesan Cheese, For Serving

Preparation Instructions

IMPORTANT: This recipe can easily be halved! I just like to make a ton so I can freeze it.
In a large pot over medium-high heat, brown the ground beef until totally browned. Remove meat from pot with a slotted spoon and put into a bowl. Set aside.
Discard any grease in pot, but do not clean the pot. Drizzle in olive oil. When it is heated, throw in the diced onion and diced bell pepper. Stir it around for 1 1/2 minutes, then add the garlic. Stir and cook for an additional minute.
Pour in the wine and allow it to bubble up and reduce for about 1 1/2 minutes. Add crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, and marinara sauce. Stir to combine, then add oregano, thyme, sugar, salt, bay leaves, and crushed red pepper (if using). Stir, then add cooked ground beef and stir to combine. Place the lid on the pot and allow to simmer for 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Add a little water or some low-sodium broth if it needs more liquid
After an hour, add the minced parsley and the rind from a wedge of Parmesan (or grated Parmesan if you prefer--or both!) Stir to combine, then put the lid back on and allow it to simmer for another 30 minutes or so. Discard bay leaves before serving.
Serve a big bowl of oiled noodles and spaghetti sauce so guests can serve themselves. Top each serving with minced parsley and grated Parmesan (or Parmesan shavings) and serve with a big piece of garlic-cheese bread.

My grandson's are getting so big!

8. I don't like to run out of an item and I especially don't like to spend extra money on a trip to the store because I ran out of something. So I try to keep a backup of most essential items. For instance, I save about a 1/4 of my hairspray and put it in an older bottle. It doesn't take long before I have a full extra bottle which then will become the next bottle I use. I also take out a roll of TP from the package and store it away. I keep an extra tube of toothpaste, shampoo and deodorant on hand, too. This also helps to not pay the highest price for these items so I can wait until they go on sale. 

9. I'm picking broccoli and Swiss Chard from my winter city garden. The cabbage is almost ready along with the collards. Just planted a kale plant but it won't be ready to pick for quite a few months. We're still getting some raspberries and the oranges should be ready within the month. Now if I can just keep that rascal of a gopher out of my garden! Ugh!

10. It seems I'm always wanting a bag of cranberries to enjoy with that last turkey in the freezer but after the holidays they are hard to find. This year I've purchased 3 bags and hope to purchase a few more. I keep the bags in the freezer. I dried one bag in my dehydrator and used the other bag to make sugar free cranberry sauce for Thanksgiving. I hope to make some low carb Orange Cranberry Muffins soon. 

Drying Cranberries

Praise Report:

~ A friend called and said she had some free turkeys and food to share.

Saved, Re-used and Make-Do

- I saved the cotton from my vitamin jar to take off fingernail polish.
- I'm raking and saving leaves to put in the compost pile.
- I saved tea bags (3 make one cup of tea)
- Repurposed a cabinet for a compost bin.
- I saved chicken bones and a ham bone to make broth.
- Broccoli stalk and grated it for a salad. 
- I saved/washed the rubber band from the veggies I bought at the   
  store to to reuse. 
- Newspapers to use under the cat box. 
- Grocery garbage bags to line my garbage cans. 

I hope you all have a wonderful, Christ-filled Christmas! 

Blessed to be home!