Monday, August 12, 2013

Why I Love Mondays

As a homemaker, I love Mondays.

Don't get me wrong, I really love weekends too.  There is nothing better than having my entire family together, sharing life.

Weekends mean sharing all of the same meals together.  Sharing every activity together.  Discussions that range from heart issues, world events, desires for the future and fermenting (yep, my hubby's new interest) warm my soul and get my brain firing.  Bonding with my husband while we invest time, love and attention into the lives of our children multiplies the cords that keep our marriage strong.

I love having two days each week where we deviate from our weekday schedule.  We have long, leisurely mornings together over pancakes and coffee.  The four of us nap together.  We tend to rarely leave our home during the weekend unless necessary - preferring to bathe in the attention of each other.

However, unlike most people, I also love Mondays.

I love having the anchor of my holy, incredibly demanding, life-giving career. 

I work with two beautiful lives all day, every day.  The work I do is developing two someday women who will change this world - for either good or bad.  I don't take this responsibility lightly.

I know that the most important work I will probably do while alive on earth is to build the foundation from which my children will grow and learn from.  The foundation that builds their faith, beliefs and character.  The foundation that gives them the ability and courage to leave our home and do the work that God intended them to do.

What are the chances of my children building a foundation of faith that can move mountains in their future family if I do not build it for them as children?

And that is why I love Mondays.

I love returning our home into a place of order -  that helps me clearly identify soul-building steps I will work for in the week to come.  It centers me again to the fact that I am the primary influence in my children's lives for the majority of the day, so I must choose my words, actions and desires of the heart carefully.  It quiets my scattered, weekend-brain to more clearly hear just with the Spirit is teaching me in being a wife and mother and how that will translate into eternity.

I have felt nothing more rewarding and humbling than the realization of God entrusting me as a mother.  A life shaper.  With a job like that, Monday's are awesome.

Friday, August 9, 2013

A Tasty, Cheap Lunch That Takes Only Minutes to Make!

I made some black bean quesadillas last night for dinner and they were okay.  They were adapted from a cook book that I love, and I had a very hungry family so made them very quickly, without thinking of ways to make them more suitable to our taste.

So today for lunch, I was craving something with a lot of flavor, and decided to make them again for Emma and I, knowing that they would only take minutes to make.

I added some ingredients with a little more flavor and boy, were they good!  I've noticed if I have a tasty lunch, full of flavor, I am more content throughout the day and not on the lookout for sweets later in the afternoon. 

Emma loved them as well and they will be something I make often. 

Tasty Black Bean Quesadillas

4 flour tortillas, cut in half
1 can of black beans (drained)
Peppers (last night I used red, today I used orange, both of which I had frozen from last year's garden)
Lime juice
Garlic Powder

In a bowl, mash up the black beans with a fork.  Add handful of chopped peppers, a handful of chopped onions, a bit of cilantro, a tablespoon or so of cumin, a teaspoon or so of garlic powder, and about a tablespoon of lime juice.  Since my onions and peppers were frozen, I then microwaved the stirred ingredients for about 2 minutes and then stirred it once again. 

I threw the tortillas on a sprayed skillet, layered cheese, black bean mixture, more cheese (so the cheese will melt and keep the quesadilla together) and heated them through, until the tortilla was crispy.

Texture of food is of importance to me, and alone this would be too mushy, so I crushed some ranch tortilla chips on top for some crunch, then added some garden tomato and more cilantro. 

These were really good, really easy and really quick to make!

Mexican Cheese

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

A Bit of a Schedule Makes a Happy Homemaker!

Read this small bit from Stepping Heavenward, by Elizabeth Prentiss, which expresses the thoughts of a girl with no desire to ever marry.  Yet her life was touched by a home....and a homemaker.

"Aunty has six children of her own, and has adopted two.  She is full of fun and energy, flying about the house as on wings, with a kind, bright word for everybody.  All her household affairs go on like clockwork; the children are always nicely dressed; nobody ever seems out of humor; nobody is ever sick.  Aunty is the central object around which everybody revolves; you can't forget her for a moment, for she is always doing something for you, and then her unflagging good humor and cheerfulness keep you good-humored and cheerful.  I don't wonder that Uncle Alfred loves her so.

I hope I shall have just such a home.  I mean this is the sort of home I would like if I ever married, which I never intend to do.  I would like to be just such a bright, loving wife as Aunty is, to have my husband lean on me as Uncle leans on her; to have just as many children, and to train them as wisely and kindly as she does hers.  Then, indeed, I would feel that I had not been born in vain, but had a high and sacred mission on earth." 

I absolutely LOVE this excerpt and is one of the ways I would love to be remembered by my children...."flying about the house as on wings...with a kind, bright word for everybody," being the central object around which everyone revolves; my children and husband unable to forget me for a moment, for I am always doing something for them with unflagging good humor and cheerfulness.

The funny thing is that I never desired to have children, much less ever desiring to be a homemaker.  It's absolutely amazing how God can change a heart and place a calling!

It is no less than God Himself who, in Titus 2:5, sounds forth His high calling to you and me as His women "to be...homemakers."  While it's true that we live in this world, we are not to be of this world (John 17:15-16).  We are not to live as worldly women live.  We are not to be conformed to the ways of this world (Romans 12:2).  We are not to focus on what worldly women focus on, or pursue their paths.  No, as God's women and as women who desire to live godly lives, we are to focus on being "homemakers," "home lovers," and "workers at home."

God has given me such a desire and drive to make a home for my family.  And I'm not talking about just a place to eat meals and sleep.  I'm talking about a beautiful place where wonderful memories are made and a place of haven for my family.  A haven is a safe place.  It's a harbor and a port where vessels and wayfarers find shelter.  And shouldn't our homes offer such shelter and safety to our cherished family?

Some aspects of cultivating this type of home come naturally to me, and some do not.

I've always loved to make my home a comfortable place for my family.

When my husband and I were first married, we lived in a tiny, one bedroom apartment - and I went to work to make it "homey."  I took things my mother no longer wanted to decorate with and was sure there was artwork on the walls.   I always had a stocked pantry and a warm meal in the evening - even when I wasn't much older than a child at twenty-two.  I learned to cook because I had a desire to make a home.

As we bought our first house and our family grew, my desire to make a "homey" home only increased.  We painted in bright, cheery colors and made each of our girls their own inviting rooms.  Our kitchen and living room were re-done to reflect our love of color and I continue to add touches here and there, five years later. 

I made a deliberate effort to develop a love for cooking and baking so I can not only nourish my family, but so we can create cherished memories with the girls at my side while cooking and around the dinner table as a family.  I also want my family to feel loved and cared for by taking the time to prepare handsome dishes for them. 

I try to have a homemade sweet treat available for a midday snack or dessert and have begun to always light a candle at the dinner table while having soft music playing in the background during our meal.

I have a vision, with the help from the Holy Spirit, to create an environment of warmth, love and beauty for my family.  That's the part that comes easily and naturally to me.

The part that is not so natural is the mundane, every day that keeps our home organized and picked up.  Since Haddie has been born, our lives have been very out of order and we have struggled to find a daily schedule. 

However, I've been encouraged to find a solution to the madness and create anchors in our daily lives.  One of the things I've adopted is a weekly schedule that covers the necessities in our home to ensure everything is cleaned once a week.  It was a bit of a struggle in the beginning - but I'm beginning to see fruits of my efforts.

My schedule looks like this -

Monday: Market, laundry (wash, dry, fold and put away)
Tuesday: Bedrooms (give everything a permanent home, dust and vacuum)
Wednesday: Family Room (put everything away, dust and vacuum)
Thursday: Dusting (living room & kitchen), bathrooms
Friday:  Floors (sweep and mop kitchen, living room, hallway and stairs)
Everyday:  Kitchen (because this is where the majority of our time is spent and many, many meals are made) and pick-up living room

In addition, each night before bed, Emma picks up her room and we all work together to put toys away in Haddie's room, allowing for a fresh start the next day.  This also ensures that Emma's room doesn't get too out of hand, which seems to happen very easily!

Before adopting this schedule, I felt that each day I needed to work on every room in the house to keep it under control, but obviously time was an enemy, so little actual improvement occurred. 

This simple schedule has allowed our home to be reigned back under control and given me much more free-time throughout the day to play with and enjoy my babies!  I'm happier because some organization has returned and my girls are happier because I'm less stressed and more available.

What are some ways that your family is able to not only bring beauty into the home, but also maintain some type of organization?

"Money can build a house, but it takes love to make it a home."

"Home is a world of strife shut out, a world of love shut in."