It Cost Me Nothing - Printable Labels - Free!

Obviously, the promised posts on party decorating ideas for our "It Cost Me Nothing" series have yet to materialize. That is because my camera batteries went kaput. They are finito. In the meantime, we still have some decorating freebies to share. Several websites, including Better Homes & Gardens and Martha Stewart, offer a variety of free printables. These printables can be adapted for a number of uses. Party decorations and/or invitations are among the potential uses for these helpful resources. Gift tags, tags for use at the food table, wrapping, favors, cards, can be put together by printing out labels of various colors, shapes, and sizes. The use of each printout can be varied by changing the type of paper used when printing. Regular notebook paper makes for a darling invitation or announcement when used in place of common printer paper, especially with an old typewriter style font.

Not only can these free printables be used when planning celebrations, they are wonderful when used as originally purposed, labels. Very few kitchens and pantries wouldn't benefit from the mini-facelift fresh, new labels would provide. Which reminds me of a few quick tips: (1)  When the desire for a redo fails to coincide with the necessary budget, do something new, even if it's a small thing. The smallest bit of new has the potential of transforming an entire room. (2) If there isn't anything remaining in the budget for even the smallest bit of newness, give your attention to keeping what you already have as neat and clean as possible. The humblest surroundings can impart a larger than reality feeling when kept neat and clean. (3) Go shopping - at home. Walk through each room and look at each one with a new eye. Consider each item, every picture, plant, accessory, then move them around among the rooms. A mismatched saucer could provide a brand new soap dish for the bathroom. Photographs in the kitchen are lovely. The tab top from cans, attached securely with hot glue to the back of a pretty plate, makes beautiful art when hung on the wall. (4) Place common items in uncommon places; use them for uncommon uses.  Unused sugar and creamer containers add elegance to the bedroom and/or bath and can be filled with cotton swabs, cotton balls, bath salts, or any number of items. Seldom used items can often be repurposed and contribute freshness to familiar decor. Don't forget to include the garage or utility shed in your at home shopping trip. (5) Make your home work for your family's lifestyle. Too often we trick ourselves into thinking our home must look like those of our peers. Thinking we have to be like everyone else in our peer group is a hangover from our school days that can sabotage the sweetest of homemakers. No, white trim is NOT a fashion essential for the modern home. Especially if you don't really like white trim. However, if you do enjoy the crisp clean edge of white trim, go ahead and paint yours, even if all of your friends are embracing the newer trend towards dark wood. (6) Take everything out of the room, clean, only bring back what you and your family absolutely need and love. Nothing left to bring back? Make something new from items you already have. Coffee filters make a beautiful wreath. Really, it isn't the least bit tacky. Pieces of newspapers used instead of coffee filters would hum a quietly vintage melody. Find a forgotten package of birthday balloons? These make an unbelievably fun wreath for special occasions.*Last but not least, (7) Give of yourself to others. Invite a lonely neighbor over for tea or coffee. Rake the soon coming fall leaves of an elderly shut in. Offer to sweep the sidewalk for a new mother adjusting to caring for her blessing. Each of us have something to give, and there is no better cure for the no money blues than giving of ourselves, richly.

* There will be a future how-to post, with pictures, for the above wreath ideas. Hopefully, before Christmas.


Bliss in Blogdom

Hey There! I've found it! The website that is as close to what I would do if I could. It is French Country Cottage at http://frenchcountrycottage.blogspot.com/ . All I can say is...you've GOT to see this blog. Really, you do. Well, ok, if you are into french country cottage design and decorating you've definitely got to see this blog. Beautiful.

Right now, there is a giveaway going on. It is for a book called Patina Style. Yes, I am publishing this post for the express purpose of being able to enter the giveaway. Shamelessly doing so, I might add. You would too, if you were liking it as much as I am. While you are out and about at French Country Cottage, visit Velvet & Linen a blog written by Brooke Gianetti. Brooke and Steve Gianetti are the authors of the giveaway, Patina Style.

Enjoy these two blogs. As soon as my eyes hit the first picture I knew that this is my style, no matter what my home says. Have fun!


Go and Learn What This Means

  Posts from the Past

"Go and learn what this means: I desire mercy [that is, readiness to help those in trouble] and not sacrifice and sacrificial victims. For I came not to call and invite [to repentance] the righteous (those who are upright and in right standing with God), but sinners (the erring ones and all those not free from sin)." Matthew 9:13

"For I desire and delight in dutiful steadfast love and goodness, not sacrifice, and the knowledge of and acquaintance with God more than burnt offerings." Hosea 6:6
"And if you had only known what this saying means, I desire mercy [readiness to help, to spare, to forgive] rather than sacrifice and sacrificial victims, you would not have condemned the guiltless." Matthew 12:7

"And if you had only known what this saying means,..." Jesus was speaking to the Pharisees in this portion of Matthew. They were so bound to obeying the letter of the law that they were completely missing the message. How about me? Am I so caught up in daily life that I miss Jesus' message?
Too often I allow daily busyness to distract me from what is necessary. Is this because I don't know what my Lord desires? No, it's because I lose my eternal focus. Precious moments that could be spent with my Heavenly Father are fretted away as piles of diapers and mountains of laundry fill the hours. Being about my Father's business is completely forgotten as I scramble to care for little ones.

How do I find the time to learn the heart of my Lord? Meals have to be prepared. Laundry must be washed. Children must be cared for. All of the daily tasks are necessary. Yet, as important as these things are, none of them are as essential as time spent with my Lord. As a matter of fact, if I fail to walk with God throughout my day, then often the "necessary" tasks don't get done either.

Moments with my master rarely come in long segments of time. Usually they show up as little snippets of conversation throughout the day. Chores of cleaning and scrubbing become times of repentance as I "scrub" away all of the ungodly filth out of my heart. While folding laundry or doing dishes, thanksgiving for God's abundant provision flows. Soothing a fussy baby reminds me of the comforting peace of the Holy Spirit. I can meditate on the blessings He gives His beloved in sleep (Psalm 127:2) as I make the bed.

Every task and chore becomes a "moment with my Master" when my focus is on eternal rather than temporal issues. Maintaining an eternal focus as I travel through each day allows an intimate relationship with the Lord to develop and over time flourish. How I long to obey the words of my Savior and "Go and learn what this means..." Matthew 9:13.

Heavenly Father, in the name of Jesus I pray that my focus will remain fixed on You and Your desires. May your desires become mine own. As I walk in the way You have prepared for me may I be ever mindful of spending moments with You, my Master. Thank you for every opportunity you have given to spend learning and developing an eternal focus on You. In Jesus' name, Amen.


New Post - just couldn't resist

I know, I know, August isn't over yet, and it was to be a month of remembering the past two years. However...while reading through the newsletter from www.econobusters.com, (hint, hint) I ended up at another website filled to overflowing with really cute party ideas. Here is a link to an easy peasy wreath: http://pluffmuddstudio.blogspot.com/2010/07/tissue-paper-wreath.html. Gotta love tissue paper. It might be a good plan to allow a few minutes browsing time while you're there. Some of the paper projects featured are available from Pluff Mudd Studio. Links and information for obtaining products are available on the Pluff Mudd Studio blog for interested readers.
While visiting www.econobusters.com, (another shameless hint) don't forget to sign up for the weekly newsletter. Not only is it free, it is also filled to overflowing with link after link of ideas pertaining to each newsletter's theme. This week's birthday party theme has inspired me for the birthdays coming up in September here at A Mother's Rewards.  By the time I finished visiting I was wondering if maybe I shouldn't just have a party because, without a birthday.
Who doesn't love a party? Better yet, who doesn't love a party that is free, or practically so? Abundance House, our sister blog, will be sharing some more "It Cost Me Nothing" ideas over at http://abundancehouse.blogspot.com/ later this week. The free decorating tips would work really well for the upcoming fall season. All visitors are welcome. After posting, a quick note containing the link will be slipped into the inboxes of A Mother's Rewards subscribers. Subscription is free of charge. Those not wishing to subscribe can visit at http://abundancehouse.blogspot.com/. Looking forward to seeing you then.



PEACE - Purpose to Enter

Posts From the Past
Reposted from 2009

"And He said to her, Daughter, your faith (your confidence and trust in Me has made you well! Go (enter) into peace (untroubled, undisturbed well-being). Luke 8:48

"4Rejoice in the Lord always [delight, gladden yourselves in Him]; again I say, Rejoice! 5Let all men know and perceive and recognize your unselfishness (your considerateness, your forbearing spirit). The Lord is near [He is coming soon]. 6Do not fret or have any anxiety about anything, but in every circumstance and in everything, by prayer and petition (definite requests), with thanksgiving, continue to make your wants known to God. 7And God's peace [shall be yours, that tranquil state of a soul assured of its salvation through Christ, and so fearing nothing from God and being content with its earthly lot of whatever sort that is, that peace] which transcends all understanding shall garrison and mount guard over your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. 8For the rest, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is worthy of reverence and is honorable and seemly, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely and lovable, whatever is kind and winsome and gracious, if there is any virtue and excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think on and weigh and take account of these things [fix your minds on them]. 9Practice what you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, and model your way of living on it, and the God of peace (of untroubled, undisturbed well-being) will be with you." Philippians 4:4-9

Of untroubled, undisturbed well-being, what a wondrous way to live! Is it possible? Honestly, with so much hectic busyness and the economy so bad, is this a realistic expectation? Absolutely! As a matter of fact, if we are a believer in Jesus, it is disobedience to God's command for us to live any other way. Those aren't my words. They are God's. Verse six of Philippians chapter 4 says "Do not fret or have any anxiety about anything..." That is a command, not an option or suggestion. God doesn't say that it will be easy, He just says do not fret or have any anxiety about anything. Notice He told us not to have any anxiety about anything. Not much room for questioning there. Our Heavenly Father has made Himself extremely clear on this matter.

However, as He often does, our Loving Father has not only instructed us what not to do. He has also taught us what we are to do. Verse six continues with "in every circumstance and in everything, by prayer and petition (definite requests), with thanksgiving, continue to make your wants known to God." Verse four instructs us to rejoice in the Lord always. We are told to rejoice twice in the same verse. God placed the instruction to rejoice BEFORE He tells us not to fret or have anxiety. I can't help but think that He knew how difficult it is to fret when we are rejoicing in our Lord, especially if we obey completely and rejoice in Him always.

Another thing I noticed was that nowhere in these verses does it say that we won't have troubles. Neither does it tell us to pretend they aren't there. We are told to rejoice in the Lord always. Not fret or have anxiety. Make our definite requests and wants known to God. When we obey our Father's commands completely, the peace of God will garrison and mount guard over our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Hallelujah! Does it get any better than that?

"You will guard him and keep him in perfect and constant peace whose mind [both its inclination and its character] is stayed on You, because he commits himself to You, leans on You, and hopes confidently in You." Isaiah 26:3

So much promise is contained in this verse, as well as the ones above. How I need to meditate (utter, mutter, and ponder) on these verses until my obedience of them is absolutely complete! We all do I imagine. Such a depth would be added to our relationship with Christ. Luke 8:48 says "Go (enter) into peace..." According to this verse and the others we are studying today, peace (untroubled, undisturbed well-being) doesn't just happen. It requires us to purposefully obey the command of God.

In the midst of a troubled world filled with tension and unrest the words of Phil. 4:8 are essential to the believer--not to mention that they too are a command of God. "...whatever is true, whatever is worthy of reverence and is honorable and seemly, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely and lovable, whatever is kind and winsome and gracious, if there is any virtue and excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think on and weigh and take account of these things [fix your minds on them]. What is my mind fixed on? What I see and hear around me? What the neighbors are saying? What the media is blaring? The ideas and opinions of sinners? OR...Is my mind fixed on the Word of God? Am I thinking on, weighing, and taking account of true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, lovable, kind, winsome, gracious, virtuous, excellent, worthy of praise things? Is what the media says honorable and true? Is is kind, winsome, or gracious? Do I hear the noise of the world screaming virtuous things or desiring excellence? Not if I'm honest about what I'm hearing.

So often I find myself in the tormenting pit of worry and unrest while all along my loving Heavenly Father has shown me exactly how to experience His Peace. What about now? Will I walk in sinful ways of worry and fret or will I obey the Lord's command? This is something I have been striving to walk in for several years. It has not been an easy change, but the peace of God that garrisons and mounts guard over my heart in Christ Jesus is definitely worth the cost of obedience. I pray that as we travel through this new Christmas season, one we've never been through before, that we will all purpose anew to enter His peace. God Bless You!


God is Good

Posts From the Past
A repost from 2009

"Lord You are good and Your mercy endureth forever" Psalm

Have you ever had a day when that is all you could say? Lord, You are SO good? Has it been a while? God hasn't changed. He is just as good today as He was on the mountaintop. This is our challenge for the day, no matter how we feel, how things seem, or what we see and hear, we are going to tell God how good He is and that we are thankful for His mercy that endures forever. Let's just see what happens as we do this today. We may find ourselves developing a practice of praise every day. Imagine the transformation our lives will see when we do that! God is good!

Lord, You are good and Your mercy endures forever. Thank you for Your loving kindness to us. Thank you just for being You. We love You Lord. You are God and You are good---all the time.

Keep It Brief...I'm Trying

Many helpful blogwriting articles I have read recommend keeping posts brief and to the point. Lengthy posts cause readers to lose interest. I understand this, honest I do. Understanding and doing are two different actions though. I try, really I do. Every post I tell myself to be brief, and every post isn't. What's a person to do? While I try to figure out how to say what is inside me using less words, hopefully you are all enjoying our August "Posts from the Past". 

The following tips are not organized into specific categories. They are a hodge-podge of ways to cut costs and reduce spending for school supplies while learning at home. Not all but some of them have been tried and tested in our own home school. We hope they are a blessing to your family and school. For money-saving curriculum and resources, visit yesterday’s post on Homeschooling for free.

20 Money-Saving Tips for Homeschooling:

Place blank transparency sheet over workbook pages and have student complete work on transparency using wet erase markers.

Place worksheets inside of page protectors and have student complete using wet erase markers.

Instead of filling out workbooks, have students write answers into empty notebook or on loose notebook paper. Student will need to be diligent about numbering each answer to avoid confusion while work is corrected. Make sure student labels their paper with the workbook title and page number.

For daily work, consider using dry erase or chalkboard instead of paper.

If needing/wanting to eliminate the expense of printer’s ink used when printing out free resources online, pull work up on computer screen and have student write answers onto blank notebook paper. As with above tip, make sure each answer is labeled and/or numbered and page is labeled. This eliminates confusion during record keeping. As above, dry erase or chalkboard can be substituted for paper on daily work.

If loose-leaf notebook paper is a better bargain than spiral notebooks, consider creating individual notebooks by fastening paper together with brads. Uniquely fun covers can be fashioned from a variety of free sources. Colorful cardboard boxes can be cut to size(think cereal boxes) and cardboard from the inside of shirts can also be cut to size and covered with brown craft paper or brown paper bags cut to size.

Before purchasing new supplies such as pencils, erasers, pens, colored pencils, have everyone in the house gather items they already own. This allows stock to be taken so that unnecessary repeat purchases are avoided. Also, consider sharing supplies between all students.

Treat supplies with respect taking care to keep them as nice as possible. This practice provides a two-fold benefit. School supplies last longer and students learn more about becoming wise stewards of the things that have been entrusted to them.

Another ink and paper saving tip for computer use: have students save completed work such as papers and reports to disk or zip drive instead of printing out each completed assignment. Disks and zip drives can be turned in to the monitor/instructor for grading.

Students at our school have also successfully emailed assignments to their instructor. Corrected assignments were then forwarded back to the student.

Teachers too can utilize the computer in order to save paper and ink. Records and assignments can all be created and kept on the computer. If needed, items can be printed out. However, they can also be sent via email to the student. Another option is to save each student’s lesson plans and downloaded resources/books to a disk or zip drive. Each student will then have everything he/she needs to complete his or her work in one, convenient place. Space is saved and paper use is kept to a minimum. Anyone needing/desiring to save the schoolwork of more than one child will appreciate this tip. Remember: everything saved to a disk or other drive can be printed out as needed and/or desired.

No extra disks or drives? No problem. Set up individual folders for each student in the documents section of the computer. Items can then be saved to the desired folder.

Dry erase board can be made using old picture frame. Place plain paper or fabric in frame. The glass/Plexiglas can now function as dry erase board. Great use for unused picture frames. Using patterned paper or fabric instead of plain, makes a dry erase- style memo board to use in the home.

Chalkboards can also be fashioned from just about any flat surface by applying chalkboard paint. Chalkboard paint is available in both spray and brush on.

Gather all of those little nubbins from the bottom of the crayon container. Sort like colors together. Melt each color individually in double boiler fashioned from a metal can sitting in pot of water. Pour each color in separate sections of old ice cube tray. Allow to harden thoroughly. Pop out and Viola! A new crayon is formed.

Put empty laundry detergent and cereal boxes to good use. Cut diagonal cut to replicate shape of magazine storage box. Boxes can then be spray painted, covered in paper or fabric or left as is. Great for magazine/catalog/thin book storage. Makes excellent file folder storage too.

Empty cereal boxes can be glued together to form vertical storage for papers. Close top end back up. Cut out long end of box. Laying boxes flat on sides, glue boxes together and cover with paper or fabric. Sides can be reinforced with cardboard cut to size before covering. Have not personally tried this idea. Having tried the following idea, this one ought to work well. Placing flat pieces of cardboard in between boxes before covering might add some stability to “shelves”.

Cracker boxes can be cut on the diagonal to provide inexpensive storage for Cds, larger index/recipe cards, or DVDs. These too can be painted or covered to suite personal taste. It does not look as tacky as it sounds when painted. Honest, I tried it before posting. I would, however, recommend giving the boxes a light sanding before spray painting. The glossy coating does affect the paint’s ability to adhere. Also, due to having several sides, inside and out, this is a project requiring patience waiting for the paint to dry on one side before painting the other. Yes, mine smudged. How did you know?

When possible, use literature that is available in the public domain. These books may be freely downloaded and printed because of their early copyright date. Even small portions of books may be copied and pasted into lessons. Not only are these works freely available without concern over copyrights, they are usually of a much higher quality literature than more modern works.

Paper leftover at the end of rolls of newsprint used in the printing of newspapers are often easily obtained free or very inexpensively. Visit your local newspaper office and see if there are any rolls available. Newsprint can be put to use in any number of ways. It makes great wrapping paper and can even be rolled out to use as a covering for tables. Wanting to make a life-sized drawing of your students? Newsprint is perfect for that very thing.


Free! Preschool Printables and Other Curriculum

It's just about school time. Mothers everywhere, both homeschool and other, have begun the late summer/early fall ritual of preparing their households to get back into the yearly routine. Blessed Mama is no exception. Remember how we were going to publish a series of posts featuring ideas that cost nothing? Well folks, here we go! We're already deviating from the original theme of celebrating for nothing. Our first post in the series is going to be about schooling! The following blogs and websites offer completely free resources, printables, and even curriculum. There is something available for all ages, even nursery school.  .

While looking around the world wide web for free resources to enhance Giggle's kindergarten year, I came across a blog with extremely helpful information and/or printables. Not only did this site contain quality information and products; everything was available FREE OF CHARGE. That's right. Quality lapbooks, activity printables, pocket charts, and more at no cost are available at http://1plus1plus1equals1.blogspot.com/. Granted, there will be the cost of ink at the time of printing. Considering the quality of these printables however, I would have to say it would be well worth the price of ink.  I honestly considered printing out and laminating some of these, adding the featured book, and putting it all together as a birthday present for my niece. (If I hadn't run out of black ink that is) The printables are truly that high of quality.

Another website, Brightly Beaming Resources at http://letteroftheweek.com/ , offers complete lesson plans and ideas for nursery school through approx. 8 years of age. There are lots of hidden gems scattered throughout for the mother/teacher desiring to add something new this year. Complete curriculum is offered for ages 0-7 or 8 in phonics and reading. These resources also are COMPLETELY FREE OF CHARGE.

Not wanting to leave without mentioning http://guesthollow.com/ . Guest Hollow is a website filled with free resources including, but not limited to, American History and Science. Both History and Science include complete curriculum for various age levels along with weekly schedules and resource lists. A number of printables are also available for other subjects. Yes, these resources are also FREE.

And I simply cannot end our visit without mentioning two other websites that along with Guest Hollow allowed us to continue the privilege of homeschooling our children last year with a practically nonexistent schooling budget. Ambleside Online found at www.amblesideonline.org and An Old Fashioned Education at http://oldfashionededucation.com both provide complete curriculum for every level along with free resources and books available for reading either online or from the library. Once more, everything is FREE at these sites too. Both curriculums utilize living books (high quality literature) and are high in quality. The author of Old Fashioned Education makes a statement about Ambleside Online not being structured enough for some of her children so she created her own. I must confess that I disagree with this assessment. Personally, I found both curriculums very similar with each containing information and resources to benefit our family.

There's even better news! These sites are NOT the only ones featuring free resources for learning! The internet abounds with free lesson plans, forms, printables, tutorials, video classes, textbooks, entire classes, even at college level. Don't forget blogland. Blogs discussing every aspect of homeschooling and family life are a free source of information, tips, ideas, and encouragement during each season. If your family doesn't have a computer, most libraries have them available for use, also free of charge.

Speaking of libraries, what a treasure trove of free resources! Books, educational videos (usually available for check out at no cost), internet access, and often educational games to play on the computer can be used by all. Larger areas may have even more services available. When living in a larger town, the library there offered free speech classes to area homeschoolers, along with other programs. Is homeschooling for free possible? Absolutely! Come back for Monday's post where we talk about various ways to use these free resources in a way that takes even less money out of the schooling budget. Homeschooling, last year "it cost me nothing."


Making Your Own Banana Split a.k.a. I am my Beloved's and He is Mine

  Posts from the Past

Once upon a time, way back when, several children ago, my husband and I attended a special meeting just for couples. This meeting was led by a well known evangelist and was to deal with the specific topic of marriage. It was a very nice evening. There were many couples, good food, and wise thoughts and truths shared in regards to marriage. However, out of all the wisdom presented I only remember one thing the minister said "You have to make your own banana split." He went on to explain that each marriage is different because the individuals in the marriage are different, and that we all must create a union that works for each one of us as a couple. Because each of us come from varying backgrounds and possess unique personalities and traits, no one prescription for marital bliss will work for all unions.

How freeing this was to me. Being somewhat of a perfectionist, I had been doing everything I knew to "get it right" yet seldom were my efforts successful. Once I embraced the wisdom of the minister's statement, I was set free to enjoy the "banana split" that my husband and I were creating. The fact that our marriage is completely outside the box and nothing like the "norm" (whatever that is), was no longer viewed as proof that I was messing up as a wife, but simply confirmation that we were adding a sweet sauce to our own personal dessert. This unique, non-conforming view of marriage has resulted in a relationship that is far beyond anything I dared to hope for. The union that God has led my husband and I into is truly a marvelous thing that only God could create. I am living out the dreams of my girlhood, this I know.

Knowing that God has done marvelous things in my life and blessed me beyond my wildest dreams, I still know that this marital bliss of blessings did not just happen. My husband and I did NOT attend a meeting and "POOF!" when we awoke in the morning everything was magically a fairytale. This particular gift from our loving Heavenly Father's hand has developed bit by bit, step by slow, painful step through the years as we each died to more and more of our fleshly selves so that we might live through Christ. Many hard and difficult battles have been fought and just as many long and rugged mountains of struggle have been climbed to reach the place we're at. What's more, there are still some to face. Both my husband and I are very much human. Each of us is more than a little individualistic with decided opinions on many issues. (Those who know us are probably laughing and thinking I've just made the understatement of the century.) Yet in spite of us, God has worked a miraculous work, one neither my husband nor I take for granted.

I am a blessed woman. Of that there is no doubt. I am truly loved as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her. (Eph. 5:25) My husband has literally read and meditated on 1Corinthians 13 every day, many times during the day for several months in a row in the midst of various seasons in our lives. I have stood on the Word for him during other seasons of adversity. However if we are to be an accurate example of Christ and the church to those around us, we must commit to complete obedience of God's Word in this area as well as others. It is not easy or even pleasant for my husband to listen to me rattle on about topics which interest him not at all. Neither is it enjoyable for him to endure times of hormonal thunder and lightning regularly. During these times my husband doesn't just endure, he draws me even closer and showers me with the sweetest loving care. He seeks ways to bless me and make my days easier. Yes, you might even say he spoils me. He is extravagant in his love for me, just like my Heavenly Father. Like Jesus, my beloved sacrifices for me, and as the Holy Spirit comforts, so does the high priest of my home. That's what husbands are to be, high priests of the home. I am so very, very blessed to be loved as God loves.

Making our own banana split can be applied to any area of our lives. It's really just a visual way of saying that we each need to seek the guidance of the Holy Spirit for ourselves and obey Him. We can't continue to forcefully manipulate circumstances and the people in our lives to fit the same old pattern everyone else is trying to fit in and expect to end up with a result that is beyond our wildest dreams. If we continue doing and saying the same old things, we will continue to receive the same old results. Different results require our actions, words, and thoughts to be changed. I pray that we all continue to change into our Savior's image more and more. Philippians 4:13 AMP tells us that "I have strength for all things in Christ Who empowers me [I am ready for anything and equal to anything through Him Who infuses inner strength into me; I am self-sufficient in Christ's sufficiency]. May we walk in this strength in our marriages today and every day.

What a witness of Christ this would be to everyone around us. The victory is worth the cost of the fight. The eternal peace is worth the temporal conflict. The life of love is definitely worth the sacrifice of self. As intense and difficult as crucifying our own opinions, wishes, and desires can be, the immensity of the freedom is literally indescribable. It is truly something that you must discover for yourself. So, go on, dive right in to God's river of Love, and "make your own banana split".


It Cost Me Nothing Series

Disclaimer: Every once in a while, instead of posting a tip, idea, or recipe, a bit wordier article comes along. Plans are NOT for this article to be one of those wordier epistles. However, no guarantees are being made.

One doesn’t have to stroll very far to hear or witness tales of reduced financial resources. Natural disasters and economic downturns have affected almost every segment of society. Few remain uninfluenced by the current economic condition of our nation. Abundance blog was begun as Living Large on Less for the purpose of sharing our collective experience of living well while using less, sometimes much less, financial currency aka money. We’re going to be taking this purpose in the upcoming weeks and running with it by sharing a variety of suggestions for living well, not on less, but on almost nothing. Some of the ideas we share will honestly, truly cost nothing, absolutely nothing. Other ideas will cost a bit, but all will fall well within the boundaries of frugal.

Don’t click out of the page yet! Please! Stay a little while longer. Abundance has no desire to take you on a tour of how to merely survive. Read the blog title and accompanying scripture again; we’re all about Abundance through Christ here. Believing with all of our hearts that Christ has come to give us life and that more abundantly, (John 10:10) these ideas are for celebrations. Realizing that terms such as “for a reasonable amount” and “without much money” are relative terms that will have different meanings for each reader, every idea will likely contain a variety of options. This will allow each reader to grab hold of an idea and optimize it for their personal situation. The staff at Abundance hopes and prays you enjoy our upcoming series of “It Cost Me Nothing” posts. (Photos will be provided by As I See It photography.)



Exposse is a post that was scheduled to be published at an earlier date. Due to crazy schedules and lack of time, however, it wasn't edited until now.

Enough is enough. The gently firm words were lovingly spoken to me by my Heavenly Father. Enough! No more of that. You know exactly what I have said, and it's time for you to rise up and just do it! I told you in My Word that there would be hard times. I have explained everything very well. There are going to be nasty people. Followers of Me will be persecuted. There will be earthquakes, famine, and fear will abound all around, but it (fear) ought not to be found in the hearts and homes of those who believe in and trust in Me for My perfect love has driven out ALL fear. (1John 4:18)

When an author pens an exposse, they expose the truth regarding a certain person or event. I'm beginning to wonder if God is preparing to write an exposse on me. He is faithfully exposing sin after sin. This is necessary if I am to be a pure and spotless for Jesus when He comes for me. "So, beloved, since you are expecting these things, be eager to be found by Him [at His coming] without spot or blemish and at peace [in serene confidence, free from fears and agitating passions and moral conflicts]." 2Peter 3:14

Am I irritated, snappy, keeping track of wrongs committed against me? Then I'm not in God for according to 1John 4:7,8, God is love. When those around me are frightened, gossipy, or whiny, am I moved by compassion to lift them up in prayer, or do I get disgusted by it all? If irritation comes calling, I have a job to do. Being easily irritated is not what God's love in me does,(1Corinthians 13) therefore, I must accept the escape God promises to provide with every temptation(1Corinthians 10:13) and give that sin no place to root itself. The light of God's Word shines its light exposing every sin so that restoration can be complete.

How can I teach my children to live a life I have not first lived before them? How can I expect them to obey the Father's loving instructions if I, their mother, am not obeying them? Ouchy, ouch, ouch. This mama has a lot of growing up to do. Praise the Lord for His grace, His never failing Love, and His new mercy every morning.


Fast Food - From Scratch

More and more families are choosing healthier eating options.  While there is an abundance of life found in fueling our bodies with healthy, living food, sometimes...a little deep-fried goodness doesn't hurt.  Those who are living with limited financial resources or have large families with many mouths to feed may not be able to treat themselves to even an occasional fast food type treat.  Whether feeding a hungering horde or tightening the belt a bit, the following recipe can make fast food treats possible at home.  Enjoy!

  • Fresh or thawed chicken - Choose the cut of meat that best suits your personal circumstances.  We made the recipe using chicken breasts, but any will do.
  • Self-rising flour
  • garlic powder
  • onion powder
  • salt
  • pepper
  • milk
  • eggs
  • hot sauce - we used Louisiana Hot Sauce
Heat cooking oil of choice to at least 350 degrees. Any less and the chicken will absorb the oil instead of sealing the chicken juices inside. Not tasty. - Season chicken with garlic pwd., onion pwd., salt, and pepper to taste.  Place in refrigerator in plastic wrap covered dish several hours. - Place flour and salt to taste in plastic kitchen storage bag. - Beat eggs, stir in milk, add hot sauce to taste (Don't be concerned with spiciness.  The heat cooks out leaving only the flavor.  Honest!  We tried it.) - Cut chicken into pieces of the desired size, strips will be longer and thinner than nuggets. - Place chicken pieces in milk & egg mixture. - Remove chicken from milk & egg mixture and dredge in flour mixture. - Fry in heated oil. - remove from oil when cooked through and drain on cooling rack placed over top of baking sheet or brown paper bags. - Serve and enjoy!

Recipe amounts serve 4 to 6

We're Still Here

Hi There! It's a lovely summer afternoon here at Abundance.  A number of posts have been written for the blog. However, none of them would publish. That being said, this post is being written with a couple of purposes in mind. One, to let everyone know that we are still here; no one has been forgotten. Second, to see whether or not this post will publish. This is a test. I repeat, this is only a test. Thank you for your abundant patience and kindess. Many prayers that each and every reader is actively savoring every moment of every day, in Christ. OK, the publish button is going to be clicked on now. See you soon? Hope so.

Nope, didn't publish. This issue has been reoccuring for well over a month now. We may be looking at a move. I heard lots of people enjoy blogging with Wordpress. As much as I don't enjoy moving, I hope this is a temporary glitch that irons itself out.

Hey, ironing, that brings to mind a quick and simple tip for eliminating wrinkles from clothing. Please bear in mind that this works best for those times when the wrinkle free clothing didn't get removed from the dryer in a timely fashion or horror of horrors, the clean laundry sat in a basket waiting to be folded or hung up too long. (Don't ask how I know about those things, please.) Enough gabbing, here's the tip: toss the wrinkled garment into the dryer with a damp towel. Run it for the shortest time or until wrinkles relax. Either wear garment or hang up immediately after removal from dryer.

Those readers who have known about this tip FOREVER, please don't be offended. While visiting with a group of new acquaintances recently, it was brought to my attention that most young homemakers don't know about this quick fix. Which brings me to another point. What about adding some learning posts for beginning and/or future homemakers featuring basic skills and tips like the one from today's post? Is information of this sort needed as much as the conversation with other women suggested? What do you, our readers think? Leave a comment sharing your thoughts or, if you prefer, send them via email to amothersrewards@gmail.com.

Let's try that publish button again.