November 17, 2015
Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holiday celebrations. It is a combination of things I love: I get to cook, eat, and host my family and friends. And best of all – tell God and hear others tell Him how grateful we are.
Here is my 2015 Top Ten list of Thanksgiving tips and ideas…
- The week before Thanksgiving is the perfect time to clean out your refrigerator and freezer. You are going to need that space for the feast and leftovers. I typically plan our pre-Thanksgiving week menu to eat whatever is currently in the frig/freezer food. Sometimes there are some creative combinations…
- If you are making a dish for the first time, or one you haven’t made in a long time, make it this week as a practice dry run. That way you will be confident when the big dinner arrives.
- If you are hosting the dinner, layout the serving dishes that you plan to use a few days in advance. That way you will know what you have and what you might want to borrow.
- Take pictures of the preparation and throughout the big day. Don’t worry about posting them anywhere. Just keep them, the good, the bad, the ugly, like the dozen uncooked yeast rolls that my dog pulled from the table before I got a chance to bake them, to savor during future holidays. (And if you must share just do a quick air drop to people in the house.)
- Create a cooking schedule. I always do some cooking the weekend before Thanksgiving. (That’s why I need my freezer to be ready.) I start by making a list of everything we are having. Then I type the person who is making or bringing the item. For the things I will be preparing, I add the day I am planning to cook it. That way I can pace myself.
- If you are a house-guest, ask how you can help. Men folk, maybe you can keep an eye on all the garage cans in the house and be the emptier/bag replacer. My favorite guests help clean the mountain of dishes from dinner. That is one of the best gifts.
- Our dining room table isn’t big enough for all our guests to sit there. So we dress-up the kitchen table and add a cute table in the family room, so the football heads can watch the game while they enjoy the meal after we say grace. Each is decorated and set with plates and utensils that guests can carry through the buffet line.
- Consider setting up the food buffet style. We sit the serving dishes around our kitchen counter-tops so folks can serve and get seconds easily. I try to make it attractive while self-sustaining once the eating begins.
- Make it a priority to enjoy the process of cooking, cleaning, visiting, laughing, etc. Play music or listen to books on tape/CD while you cook and clean or pack if you are traveling. Watch Charlie Brown Thanksgiving. Make popcorn if you dare. Gather up some board games to play when dinner is over.
- Starting today, tell God how grateful you are for His grace and mercy in your life. Be thankful and don’t stop. (Psalm 103:1-5)
July 9, 2015
I love fresh-squeezed lemonade. And I make it very often. It’s actually really easy and hardly anything is better. Here ‘s how I make it.
I start by rinsing and drying three large lemons. To get the maximum amount of juice I microwave them on a plate for 30 seconds at 100% power.
Lemons vary widely in size and juiciness. From a big lemon you will likely get 1/5 to 1/4 cup of juice.
I have a hand juicer, which I what I typically use. I also have an electric juicer for times when I am making lots of batches.
Pour the juice into a pitcher. I prefer glass because it doesn’t hold flavors from one beverage to the next. (My husband loves Kool-Aid and I don’t want his flavored drink affecting my fresh lem-mo-nade.)
Add 5 cups of water, stir, then taste. I know, it’s not sweet yet. But it is often easier to tell whether the juice to water ratio is right before you add sugar. If there the mix is too lemony add another half or full up of water until you get a the right ratio. I prefer more lemony than too watery. If it’s too watery, add more lemon juice.
Next stir in the sugar. I add it 1/4 cup at a time. I like sweet lemonade, but some like it tart which might be at 3/4 cups of sugar.
I usually need a cup and a half. I know… make it to your own liking.
I’ll also use this a moment to make a plug for beet sugar. It dissolves well and some say it is easier to digest than cane sugar. I get my beet sugar at Meijer grocery store. It’s the only place I’ve seen it to date.
Now… that you have the perfect mix, you could add a few lemon wedges or slices to the pitcher for visual beauty. If you do, don’t leave them in over night between the lemonade will get bitter. Serve your delicious fresh squeezed lemonade in a beautiful glass, over ice.
March 29, 2014
When my daughter, Kennedy, died in 2003, I didn’t think I would ever “thrive” again. Like many people who have lived through a great loss, a part of us, dies with the hurt. But God was faithful to me, and in time He shared a model for living that enabled me to go from ashes to a new life where there is hope and joy again.
Occasionally, I host workshops to share the model and how it has worked, not only for me, but for many others. Some of these people were in tough situations like me and others were just going from one good place to another.
I will be hosting the next Thriving… One Day at a Time (half-day) Workshop for Women in greater Cincinnati on April 26, 2014.
Details: Saturday, April 26, 2014, 9am to 12:30pm, At Boost… for Meetings Sake, 5939 Deerfield Blvd. Suite 201B, Mason, OH 45040. Cost: $25
There will be dynamic presenters who will focus on creating a vision (Kim Floyd), how to write to get published (Mary Busha), tips on managing personal finances (S. Yvon Harper) and I will be sharing the Better Day-Better Life model and how to use it to thrive in your life.
We will also feature a few women-owned businesses who will offer trinkets including: Park Lane Jewelry, Thirty-One and hand-made housewares.
If you are in the area, please plan to join us. Tickets are being sold via Eventbrite. Click the link below for details.
Come get refreshed and rejuvenated… “But I am like an olive tree, thriving in the house of God. Psalm 52:8”
January 11, 2014
My friends Veronica, Jeri and Pat have all sold beautiful costume jewelry over the years. They have taught me that a stylish necklace can extend my wardrobe greatly. My collection of necklaces helps me make my fairly neutral wardrobe have some moments of fashionable bling.
I used to keep them on a metal tree, but they got tangled and sometimes I couldn’t find the one I was looking for. Recently, I moved them to an old corkboard that was in my basement. I used regular pushpins to hold the necklaces so they can be viewed.
The board is hanging on the wall next to the door of my closet and I have to say this is a better solution than I had found in the past. Maybe something similar can work for you.
November 25, 2013
I love writing the Home-ista Blog… and I have been working to expand the work by adding a blog called Better Day – Better Life.
I hope you will take a look.
April 10, 2013
The weather is warming up in southern Ohio. Now is a good time to update your home’s decor to welcome the Spring season. Since my budget is tight, I am holding off on the big project I hope to complete in the future.
In the meantime, I am doing some low cost Spring spruce ups by adding a few accessories made of glass. I think the transparency of bottles, jars and other items can add a fresh feel to rooms. The color can be vibrant or subdued.
The sparkle of glass reflects light and brightens all kinds of spaces and it is easy to find. Think stores like TJ Maxx, Home Goods, Pier 1, Hobby Lobby or JoAnns Fabrics. Here are some examples from our home. I hope they give you a few ideas for your home.
March 28, 2013
For many people around the world, the week leading up to Easter is a time of reflection and great meaning. Last year, I felt of bit of conviction that I didn’t have any noticeable displays to herald the season, like I typically do for CHRISTmas.
Hmmm… didn’t the birth that we celebrate at CHRISTmas happen specifically to enable the Resurrection commemorated at Easter?
I almost felt a sense of lament that I did nothing to acknowledge Easter.
And then God gave me a simple idea that gave me peace and joy. A few days before Good Friday, I bought several yards of tulle netting. I arranged it along our staircase like garland the Thursday night before Good Friday. I choose red to symbolize the sacrifice that Jesus had made on cross. It was a reminder of His love and His obedience, even unto death.
It was simple, inexpensive, and easy to do. Yet, it was immensely important to me. My kids asked why I did it and I explained that I just wanted to acknowledge Christ and His meaning our lives. They said they liked it.
So at the risk of sounding like I have it all together, because you and I both know that I DON’T – I am praying to start a revolution of people who do “Holy Week” decorating for their homes and businesses.
“Dear Lord, we praise You because You are gracious and kind and merciful. We are thankful for countless blessings. We are most grateful for the incredible gift of salvation. During this upcoming week, may the hearts of your people be more closely knitted to Yours and may we glorify You in all we do, even in decorating our homes to celebrate this season. In the Name of the Risen Christ we pray. Amen.
May you feel the gravity and joy of this season…
P.S. Bunny rabbits of any kind are NOT what I’m talking about.
P.S.P.S. You could use white tulle, to represent the purity believers have because of Christ’s work on the cross, or purple silk on a door wreath to show allegiance to the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
Reader Becky Keating shared how she adorned her dining area for Passion week. Thanks for sharing.
December 31, 2012
As we say goodbye to 2012 and hello to 2013, I can’t think of a better item to advocate than “The One Year Bible,” by Tyndale.
This Bible version is unique because for each day of the year, there is a selection of Scriptures that allows the reader to go through the entire Bible in a year. The selection includes a portion from The Old Testament, The New Testament, a Psalm and a few verses from Proverbs. Because of this format, I am seeing connections between the Old and New Testaments that I never saw before. And I have all of the books of the Bible.
(I admit that I used to treat some books like bad neighborhoods. They were places that I just didn’t go.)
Another benefit is that you will get to have a real soaking in the word of God every day. It enables me to read enough Scripture at one time to help me live a more grounded life. (Well at least most days I am grounded in Him and there would be far more ugly days if I weren’t reading this Bible.) Today’s reading covered the promises in Malachi 3-4, the last chapter of the Revelation, Psalm 150 and practical role model of the virtuous woman in Proverbs 31.
I was introduced to this incredible resource in 1999 while attending a Women of Faith Conference. My original version was part of a promotional package from Becky Tirabassi (who is a great speaker/Bible teacher.) You can find a copy in your preferred translation, NIV, NLT, ESB, NKJV, at Family Christian Bookstores, Christianbook.com or most booksellers online or the city where you live. This week is a great time to get started. I am convinced that you will be blessed immensely.
Wishing you a Blessed New Year,
P.S. To make a habit of reading your Bible, try to connect it with a habit you already have in place. I read my Bible in the morning when I drink my coffee. I had been doing that since I was 5 years old and adding my Bible reading to that habit in 1999 made it stick within days. If you can attach your Bible reading time, to an existing habit, you have a much greater likelihood of successful adoption.
P.S.P.S. There is a smart phone app called the Daily Audio Bible. You can download and listen to the Scriptures in the same format. My husband uses it and gives it high praise.
December 20, 2012
It’s the last few days to prepare for CHRISTmas 2012. For many of us, the road to this point has been rocky, as communities mourn over numerous tragedies, and particularly the recent events in Newtown, Connecticut.
I was torn whether to Blog – and then I was reminded that the reason for this whole CHRISTmas affair – is the only hope for those who mourn.
So I am writing to remind others and myself that in the midst of senseless tragedy, God is the only One who can ease the fear, who can diminish the pain, who can bring peace – when there is no human reason for peace. The One True God is the Father of Jesus, and He is the reason for this season.
As you continue your preparations – the shopping and cooking, the eating and cleaning, the visiting others and hosting visitors, the crying and laughing… please remember that this huge celebration is a half-birthday* party, for the Son of God. We give gifts to each other to remember His gift to each of us.
Jesus gives people the way to be reconciled to God. His gift helps us to enjoy the knowledge of good and by His grace to ultimately overcome the knowledge of evil. If we receive Him, we will become the sons and daughters of God – and there is no better gift than that.
So practically speaking here are some ideas to try–
Have cake with candles before or after you open your CHRISTmas gifts. (We eat the birthday cake with our breakfast on CHRISTmas morning.)
Open your home to people with the motive to provide a place of emotional “rest” for those who are weary and who carry heavy burdens.
Don’t sweat so many of the detail this year. Eat what you already have. Clean what is really dirty, but ask folks to show grace for the small things. They probably won’t notice.
Play games that create opportunities to talk.
Blow up balloons. Scatter them around the tree or in the dining room. I think birthday parties are better with balloons.
Be mindful that we might be allowing loved ones to partake in violence as they interact with video games, movies, and television, etc. Becoming desensitized to violence is a dangerous thing. Instead let’s make every effort to focus on things that are good, peaceful, kind, funny, thoughtful, and godly.
Eat some healthy foods along with the not so healthy fare.
Wishing you a joyous celebrate of His birth…
* Many Bible scholars believe that Jesus was born in the springtime. The winter CHRISTmas celebration is six months later, and in a sense, a half birthday.