Thursday, July 28, 2011

Attention Homeschoolers - Input Needed With Mediterranean Diet Unit Study


My husband has been working on a scripturally-based Mediterranean diet unit study for a long time (in addition to cuisine, subjects covered in the unit study include Bible, history, geography, foreign language, and more). He is just about ready to send out sample packets to anyone who would be willing to look over the curriculum, read the material, try the recipes, etc. and, upon completion, answer a short questionnaire. If you and your family would be interested in helping us out with this project, please, e-mail me at proverbs31heart@yahoo.com with your name and snail mail address no later than Friday, August 5, 2011 (please put MEDITERRANEAN DIET UNIT STUDY on the subject line). Our goal is to have the sample packets out in the mail to you no later than August 15, 2011. Thanks so much!



Saturday, July 23, 2011

Recipe: Plum Cobbler


We were blessed with a batch of fresh plums this week. I saved a few to eat fresh, but turned most of them into plum cobblers. I made four of them...one to eat and three to give away.

PLUM COBBLER

3/4 cup sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
4 cups sliced plums (about 14 large)
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon lemon juice
3 tablespoons shortening (I use olive oil)
1 cup flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup milk

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Mix 3/4 cup sugar, the cornstarch and the cinnamon in a 2-quart saucepan. Stir in plums and lemon juice. Cook, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens and boils. Boil and stir 1 minute. Pour into ungreased 2-quart casserole; keep plum mixture hot in oven.

Cut shortening (or oil) into flour, 1 tablespoon sugar, the baking powder and salt until mixture resembles fine crumbs. Stir in milk. Drop dough by spoonfuls onto hot plum mixture.

Bake until topping is golden brown, 25 to 30 minutes. Serve warm.





Friday, July 22, 2011

Save Money On Paper Towels - How To Cut Up Rags by Jill Cooper

Save Money On Paper Towels - How To Cut Up Rags
by Jill Cooper
http://www.LivingOnADime.com

One great way to save money on paper towels is to use rags more frequently. In this article, I'll briefly describe how to cut rags to get the most efficient use out of them.
When cutting a rag, you want to consider what you are going to use it for. For example, if I am going to use a rag as a dust rag I will cut it big enough so I can fold it in fourths and still have a 5-6 inch square (about). This way I can keep refolding as I dust which give me 8 sides to clean with instead of just 2. This is a good professional cleaner's tip on using any of your cleaning rags. Fold in fourths and keep refolding as you clean.
Cutting rags is great "watching TV" work and you can get the kids to do it too.

Here are some examples of how to do it:
T shirts
  1. I cut off the sleeves. If it is a long sleeve, I'll cut each sleeve in half. For dusting, I'd leave them as-is. If you are going to use them for small jobs, you might want to cut them in half again.
    • When using a sleeve, be sure to use each side and turn inside out. Use each side like you do when cleaning with a sock rag.
  2. Next I cut the sides and shoulder seams open and then cut the neck band off.
  3. Last, I cut them into the size of squares or rectangles I want. This isn't rocket science. I just eyeball it. It's only a rag. If you ruin it you can toss it, so relax.
Towels
Don't cut towels. Terry cloth frays very badly so it is best to just leave these and use wash rags for small jobs and the towels for big ones.
Note from Tawra: I keep a stack of old towels in my car and in my emergency shelter. Then if we are in an accident or tornado, someone gets hurt and there is a lot of blood we can clean it up easier. 

Cloth diapers and tea towels
Even though you can cut these, I usually don't. For example when I am washing windows, I use a corner to dry or shine and then move to another dry corner or the middle. By moving from one dry spot on the rag to the next, I can get a whole job done with one rag.

Pajamas
  1. Like the T shirts, I cut the sleeves first, long sleeves in half.
  2. Then cut side and shoulder seams.
  3. Cut off buttons to save.
  4. Cut the front band and collar off. Often the collar is big enough to save and use for a small wipe up job.
  5. Cut into squares or rectangles.
If I am going to use these for something like my Swiffer, I will measure and cut one for a pattern and use it as a guideline to cut more. Even these don't have to be perfect. It is just to give you a general idea.
Relax, you're just working with rags. If I have a drawer full of rags that are too big for the job at hand, I grab a pair of scissors and cut one down to the size I need. It is not big deal and it doesn't have to be perfect.
Don't feel guilty about throwing away rags.  I do it all the time and I do it guilt free. :) No wonder so many people are so stressed and uptight all the time. We can't even throw out a paper cup or use a piece of aluminum without being badgered or made to feel guilty. Rags are one thing you can throw out guilt free because, if you are like me, you have used it well in the form of clothing or linens and re-used it as a rag until it's pretty much worn out. Not only that, since I bought most of the things I wear used, my things have really been used by the time they hit the trash.

Jill Cooper and Tawra Kellam are frugal living experts and the authors of the Dining On A Dime Cookbook. Dining On A Dime will help you save money on groceries and get out of debt by cooking quick and simple homemade meals. For free tips & recipes visit http://www.LivingOnADime.com

Betrayal and Your Friend Judas

Betrayal! The very word cuts to the heart! That's because most of us have felt the sting, and struggled through the aftermath, of being betrayed by someone close to us...and it hurts! Oftentimes these 'betrayers' are referred to as 'a Judas."


According to the dictionary a 'Judas' is described as "someone who betrays under the guise of friendship; a double-crosser, double-dealer, traitor, or two-timer; a person who says one thing and does another."


Over the course of a lifetime, most everyone will have to deal with at least one Judas in their life.

David had one...


"Yea, mine own familiar friend, in whom I trusted, which did eat of my bread, hath lift up his heel against me" (Psalm 41:9). 

"For it was not an enemy that reproached me; then I could have borne it: neither was it he that hated me that did magnify himself against me; then I would have hid myself from him: But it was thou, a man mine equal, my guide, and mine acquaintance. We took sweet counsel together, and walked unto the house of God in company" (Psalm 55:12-14).

Jesus had one (in fact, He had the one that made the name famous!)...

"Then one of the twelve, called Judas Iscariot, went unto the chief priests, And said unto them, What will ye give me, and I will deliver him [Jesus] unto you? And they covenanted with him for thirty pieces of silver. And from that time he sought opportunity to betray him" (Matthew 26:14-16).

"And while he [Jesus] yet spake, behold a multitude, and he that was called Judas, one of the twelve, went before them, and drew near unto Jesus to kiss him. And Jesus said unto him, Judas, betrayest thou the Son of man with a kiss?" (Luke 22:47-48).


And we have them...friends, acquaintances, maybe even family members...who greet us with a kiss, but secretly work behind our backs to tear us down and destroy us.

How do we deal with them?

In my 'Woman Thou Art Loosed' Bible, Pastor T. D. Jakes says that we need those Judas's in our lives! Need them??? Is he kidding???

In one of his 'Gospel Pearls' T. D. Jakes says, "Every child of God desperately needs a "Judas" to carry out certain aspects of divine providence in her life. Sometimes your friends can cause you the most pain, but through their betrayal, God's will can be executed."

He further expounds on the subject in the following article...

YOUR FRIEND JUDAS

(Luke 22:47)


Judas was no mistake. He was handpicked and set aside. His role was crucial to the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. No one helped Jesus reach his goal like Judas. Considering the part he played, though, you'd probably rather have a friend like John, whose character and personality traits won Jesus' heart. Or you might prefer a Peter, bold and brassy and ready to fight anyone and everyone who threatened his beloved Master. Peter even challenged Jesus Himself, rebuking Him for His determination to die for mankind. The truth of the matter is, Jesus could have accomplished His purpose without either Peter or John; but without Judas, He would never have reached the hope of His calling. 


God can bless you through the worst of relationships. Learn to accept even the painful or negative ones. The time, effort, and tears invested will not be wasted, because God knows how to turn adversity into opportunity. In short, the bleeding trail of broken hearts and wounded relationships will lead you to the richness of God's purpose.


Periodically, you may hear a knock at the door. It is the knock of your old friend Judas, whose cold kiss and calloused heart will usher you into the will of God. To be sure, these betrayals will call forth bloody tears and nail you to a cruel cross. Nevertheless, the kiss of betrayal can never abort the precious promises of God. The challenge is to sit at the table with Judas on one side and John on the other and being distinctly aware of each one's identity and agenda, treat one no differently from the other!


If you have been betrayed or wounded by someone you brought too close, please forgive him or her. That person was really a blessing -- a friend in disguise. Persecution strengthens you. Trials and trauma build perseverance. You will only be better when you cease to be bitter.


So leave my Judas alone. I need him in my life. He is my mysterious friend, the one who helps without even knowing it. His assaults send me to my knees and cause me to lean on Jesus -- my ultimate Friend.


Wow! That's something to think about...isn't it? Have you ever thought of the Judas in your life as a blessing? Well...she is! Perhaps it's time to take a new look at your old friend, Judas, and just see what kind of opportunity Jesus is bringing to you through her!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

HEARTH AND HOME Mini Issue - July 21, 2011



Greetings, Dear Friends!

And welcome to the July 2011 issue of HEARTH AND HOME! What a blessing it is to be with you again!
I can't believe that another month has flown by and that summer is in full swing! I pray that you and your family are healthy, happy, and serving the Lord with gladness, and that your summer is off to a great start with tons of wonderful summertime memories in store and awaiting you!

Here in southwest Missouri it has been very hot with actual temperatures hovering around the 100 degree mark and beyond for weeks, but compared to other parts of the country, where flooding and fires are taking place, we have nothing to complain about. Our thoughts and prayers go out to all those in the effected areas and, in the midst of your trials, we pray peace, safety and God's hand of protection over you, your families, and your homes.

I must confess, I've tried for days now to work on this newsletter, but there's just too much going on and I'm, not making any progress with it at all. I finally decided to just relax, make it a mini issue, share what little bit I've got, and let it be enough. I pray that, in some small way, it is a blessing to you.

Are you ready? Here we go...

1) As most of you already know, our 10th grandchild, Isaiah Andrew Pennington, came into the world on July 5, 2011. He weighed in at 7 lbs. 14 oz. and was 20 3/4 inches long. He and his mother, our daughter, Amber, are both doing well. In fact, Isaiah's two-week check up revealed that he had already gained 2 lbs in 13 days! I'd say he's doing very well!

2) With the heat and high temperatures our garden isn't producing nearly as well as we would like for it to be, but we are getting a few things along...mostly tomatoes, onions, green peppers, and banana peppers. I've managed to can a few tomatoes, but most of them we are eating fresh-sliced by themselves as a side dish or snack, or as ingredients in other recipes such as taco salad or fresh pasta sauce. We are also eating a lot of fresh garden pizzas. They're simple to make, low calorie, and very healthy. They consist of a thin, homemade, whole-wheat crust topped with a little olive oil, fresh-sliced tomatoes, sliced fresh onion, fresh green peppers, fresh chopped basil, whatever kind of cheese we might have on hand...crumbled Feta, Parmesan, Provolone, or mozzarella...sprinkled with a little garlic powder and dried oregano and baked at 450 degrees until the crust is browned and the cheese is bubbly. Very easy and so delicious! 

3) In an effort to save money and be a good steward over what the Lord has given us, I have been on a 'use it up' campaign. My goal is to use up things that are on hand in the refrigerator, freezer, pantry, or cabinets before they go bad, and use up household and personal care products that have been around for a long time and are just hanging around, taking up space, and collecting dust. Here are some of the things that I have 'used up' this month...

* 2 cans of chicken broth (chicken and homemade noodles)
* 2 cans of tomato sauce (pizza sauce)
* a can of crushed pineapple (pineapple cream pie)
* sugar-free vanilla pudding (pineapple cream pie)
* 4 bananas (made into banana oat bran muffins)
* a bag of outdated tortilla chips (I found that by placing a few at a time on a paper towel and microwaving for just a few seconds you can return stale tortilla chips to their original fresh and crispy state. Awesome!)

* an almost empty bottle of Mary Kay skin freshener
* an almost empty bottle of shampoo
* an almost empty bottle of conditioner
* an almost empty bottle of Bath and Body Moonlight Path lotion
* a tube of toothpaste


4) A man in our church recently blessed us with a bag of jalapeno peppers. By experimenting a little, I turned them into the best jalapeno poppers ever! My family loved them!

JALAPENO POPPERS

12 ounces jalapeno peppers
12 ounces fat-free or Neufchatel cream cheese, softened
1 (8 oz.) package fat-free shredded Cheddar cheese
2 slices of turkey bacon, cooked and crumbled
1 cup milk
1 cup flour
olive or canola oil for frying

Beat together the cream cheese, Cheddar, and bacon. Stuff each pepper half with a small amount of the mixture, dip in milk, then roll in flour, and deep fry in oil. Do just a few at a time and drain well on paper towels.

5) I have been looking for this recipe forever and I finally found it. It's a recipe for homemade tortillas that was given to me by a friend several years ago. I remembered the tortillas being really good and they are! I made up a big batch of them recently and froze them. Now whenever we need tortillas, we just go to the freezer and take out what we need!

WHOLE-WHEAT FLOUR TORTILLAS

1 cup unbleached flour
4 cups Prairie Gold whole-wheat flour
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 cup oil 
1 1/2 cups boiling water

In a large bowl, stir together unbleached flour, whole wheat flour, and salt. Mix in the oil until you have an oatmeal texture. Make a well in the center, and pour in the boiling water. Mix with a fork until all of the water is evenly incorporated. Sprinkle with a bit of additional flour, and knead until the dough does not stick to your fingers. The dough should be smooth.

Make balls the size of golf balls, about 2 ounces each. Place them on a tray, and cover with a cloth. Let stand for at least 1 hour, or up to 8 hours.

Heat a griddle or large frying pan over high heat. On a lightly floured surface, roll out a tortilla to your preferred thinness. Fry one at a time. Pace on the griddle for 10 seconds, as soon as you see a bubble on the top, flip the tortilla over. Let it cook for about 30 seconds, then flip and cook the other side for another 30 seconds. Roll out the next tortilla while you wait for the one to cook. Repeat until all of the balls have been cooked. Tortillas can be refrigerated or frozen.

6) In a previous post I shared that I had wallpapered our bedroom and was now looking for white sheets. Well, I found some! This morning a friend and I had gone to Lamar to pick up food boxes to deliver to the elderly here in town, and the place where we picked them up, which is also a thrift store, just happened to have exactly what I was looking for. I got several sets of white sheets and a couple of extra sheets to use as summer bedspreads for a total of $6.00! I  extremely happy with today's bargains!


Well, dear friends, that's it for now. You all have a great day and, hopefully, I'll be with you again very soon. God bless all here!


All My Love,
~Rebecca

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Reprint - HEARTH AND HOME - 7/17/03



(This is a reprint of an issue of HEARTH AND HOME that I put out in July of 2003. As I read through it, I got tickled. I was amazed at how much our diet has changed, and improved, over the past 8 years...most of the recipes I wouldn't even make now, but at the time they were a huge improvement! And it was nice seeing a little something from my mother in here. I hope that you enjoy it! ~Rebecca)

Greetings Dear Sisters,

Hello! How are you? I feel so blessed to be able to sit down and share another afternoon with you! Grab a cup of tea and let's get started!

How has your summer been? Ours has been very busy here, but the Lord has been so good to us! He has provided us with many opportunities to share His love with others and has graciously allowed us plenty of days to spend making precious memories with family and friends both near and far. How we cherish those
memories!

The weather here has been very hot...upper 90's with the heat index registering in the 110's. Despite the hot weather our garden continues to produce. We're eating all the tomatoes, cucumbers, squash, and potatoes we could ever want! (In fact, as I'm writing this to you I'm also in the process of putting up the two bushels of tomatoes that sit on my kitchen table at this very moment!)

Between the bounty of summer and my own efforts to improve my health through diet and exercise...this issue of HEARTH AND HOME features the many wonderful, flavorful, low-fat recipes that I have been dishing up in my own home over the past few weeks. I pray that you enjoy it!

Here we go!

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HOUSEHOLD TIPS
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*Place plastic lids from coffee cans under the bottles of cooking oil to keep cabinets clean. When the lids get dirty, just throw them away.

*Make garlic cloves easier to peel by mashing them slightly with the edge of a knife.

*To keep bugs out of your flour canister, put a stick of spearmint gum in the flour. It will stay bug-free!

*Mark plastic bowls and their covers with the same number, using a permanent marker. Then you won't always be looking for a matching cover for the bowl when you're putting away leftovers. All you have to do is match the numbers.

*To speed up baking potatoes, simply put a clean nail through the potato. It will cook in half the time.

*Adding about 1 1/2 teaspoonfuls of lemon juice to a cup of rice while cooking will keep the kernels separated.

*To eliminate spattering and sticking when pan-frying or sauteing, heat your pan before adding butter or oil. Not even eggs stick with this method.

This tip was sent in by Rosalie Wood. She says:

"...here is something I do when I make potato salad. Just sprinkle apple cider vinegar over the hot potato chunks and stir in. What a flavor it adds! And it protects you from food poisining. Vinegar is good for killing bacteria."

(Thank you for sharing, Aunt Rosalie! God bless you!)

And this tip was sent in by Marge Brown. She says:

<Rebecca, you know all those plastic cards that come in the mail that we cut up and throw away? Well, I have a couple of uses for them. The first is for the kitchen....just cut them in half, cross wise, and then use them as scratchers to clean stuck up pans, bowls, etc. when you do dishes. They don't scratch your items, but do a great job of removing stuck on goo.

The other suggestion is for those of you who may have a guitar picker in the house. Each card can be cut into three or four guitar picks, depending on the size pick preferred.........and if the card has the proper name on it, you can even cut it so the pick has the name of the owner on it.>

(Thanks for sharing, Mom!)

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"A woman is like a tea bag...only in hot water do you realize how strong she is." ~Nancy Reagan

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DOLLARS AND SENSE
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In many areas keeping cool in summer can cost more than keeping warm in the winter. Here are some things that you can to to hold down the cost:

#1. Watch your degree of comfort. Set your thermostat at 78 degrees or above. A setting of 78 instead of 73 saves 20 to 25% of your AC operating costs.

#2. Keep the cool air inside. Close doors and windows. Check the weather-stripping. Seal up cracks. Insulate. These measures will help cut heating costs in the winter as well.

#3. Don't block vents. Move furniture away from vents and window units. Trim shrubbery outside, too.

#4. Close drapes or blinds. This helps keep the sun's heat out. Solar screens and shades can also effectively block a large amount of the sun's heat before it enters your home. (We go so far as to cover our windows with foil in the summer...at least the top half...and shiney side against the glass. It completely blocks the sun.)

#5. Check your filters. Do this once a month during cooling season. Vacuum or replace them as necessary.

#6. Grow deciduous trees. Plant them where they will shade your house from the sun's hottest rays in the summer and let warming sun through in the winter.

#7. Check the EER before you buy. Some systems use less energy than others...sometimes only half as much. Find the Energy Efficiency Rating (EER) on the yellow energy-guide label. The higher the EER, the more efficient the unit. An EER of 10 will consume half the energy of a similar unit rated at 5.

(These tips were taken from Emilie Barnes' 15 Minute Home and Family Organizer.)

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"If you're unhappy with your lot in life, build a service station on it." ~Corrie Ten Boom

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IN THE GARDEN
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*Be sure and "burp" your hummingbird feeders occassionally by tilting them sideways a few times to release the air bubbles. Sometimes air bubbles build up, thus preventing the birds from being able to sip nectar from them.

*After sizing up old mini blinds, don't throw away the lefover slats! They make wonderful plant markers to help keep track of perennials and bulbs in the fall.

TO KEEP CUT FLOWERS LOOKING FRESH AND BEAUTIFUL FOR AS LONG AS POSSIBLE:

*Recut the stems of the flowers you're arranging before placing in water.

*Remove leaves that are below the water level to minimize bacteria.

*Add flower preservative or a clear soda (such as regular 7-Up or Sprite) to the water. Add each time you change the water.

*Keep arrangements in a cool area, away from direct sunlight and drafts.

*Even if flowers are arranged in floral foam, be sure to add water to the container daily.

*If a rose wilts prematurely, remove it fromthe arrangement, re-cut the stem underwater with a sharp knife and submerge the entire flower in warm water until it revives. This may take as long as two hours.

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"...whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. ~Philippians 4:8

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FROM A HEARTH AND HOME READER
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Dear Rebecca,

Thanks for the Hearth and Home issues you work so hard to put out. Many times it has ministered to me in a simple way.

I have a tip for the canning issue, which I'm sure you may have already received or thought of. But here it is anyway. Last fall a friend of mine had her pressure canner explode. It blasted right through the ceiling and threw shards of glass and tomatoes into the next room. This gal has 7 children and it is a miracle that none of them were hurt or in the 2 rooms that the glass blew around in. Although they had to replace cupboards, carpeting, and all of their living room furniture (not to mention a new roof), they praised the Lord for taking
care of them. My friend did not have her pressure guage tested in years. So, my tip is to have your pressure guage tested now and again to make sure it is accurate in order to prevent too much pressure in the canner. The Presto canner company will test the guages for free, as will many county extension offices.

Thanks!
Rita

(Thanks so much for sharing this with us, Rita! Praise God for His protection over your friend and her family! The tip that you have offered us is probably the most important tip that any home-canner could ever receive! Thank you! And God bless!)

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THE CHILDREN'S CORNER
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Devoloping family traditions in your family is important. It may be something as simple as a certain sign, a kiss on the nose, a pinch on the cheek, or one of countless other things and it is something that sets you apart as belonging to a very special and unique family. Here are some ideas for starting some new family traditions in YOUR family...

*Try inventing a special handshake that only your family and your closest friends know.

*Invent a silent symbol of your family's camaraderie. For example, a thumbs up, a wink, or a tug on the earlobe.

*Tell your children that you love them at least once every 24 hours.

*Once a month, surprise your family by announcing double-dessert night.

*Encourage your child to try new things...taste unusual foods, enter contests, write for information on subjects that interest him or her.

*Make up a jar of 150 questions that are great for the family to answer in a constructive way during mealtime. This is fun when company comes to visit!

*As the children get older, don't drop those pet names, but use them privately to avoid emarrassing your children.

*Participate in regular family worship.

*Designate one night a week as family night. Rotate among the family members who will choose the activity for that evening. It might be ice-skating, bowling, roller-skating, frying hamburgers, got to the beach to swim, going out to  dinner, etc. These can be very special times when people in a family get to know each other better.

*To get the children or grandchildren to help wash the evening dishes...try dropping some pennies in the bottom of the sudsy water. The children will be thrilled to find those copper treasures.

*Somewhere near the diningroom table have a fun box that contains slips of paper listing activities for the family. The box can be plain or decorated however you like. Make sure that the box has a lid, but make an opening that allows room for a hand to reach inside. On slips of paper, the family can write down various activities:

-renting a video
-going bowling
-going to the movies
-reading a book together
-going for a walk
-singing favorite songs
-making cookies
-popping popcorn

When things drag around the home and you need to pump a little life into the day...have a family member reach into the box and draw out a slip of paper. Enjoy whatever activity is drawn together as a family!

*Create special occassions for your family. Plan them...organize them...make them memorable!

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RECIPES
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DIJON GRILLED PORK CHOPS
6 tablespoons Dijon mustard
6 tablespoons brown sugar
3 tabelspoons unsweetened apple juice
3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
4 bone-in pork loin chops (8 oz. each)

In a bowl, combine the first four ingredients; mix well. Pour 2/3 cup marinade into a large resealable plastic bag; add the pork chops. Seal bag and turn to coat. Refrigerate for 8 hours or overnight. Cover and refrigerate remaining marinade for basting.

Coat grill rack with nonstick cooking spray before starting the grill. Drain marinade from pork. Grill, covered, over medium heat for 6 to 10 minutes on each side or until a meat thermometer reads 160 degrees, basting occasionally with reserved marinade.

Yield: 4 servings.
252 calories per serving.

MEXICAN-STYLE STUFFED PEPPERS

6 medium green peppers
1 pound lean ground beef
1/3 cup chopped onion
1/3 cup chopped celery
3 cups cooked rice
1-1/4 cup salsa, divided
1 Tablespoon chopped green chilies
2 teaspoons chili powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup (4 oz.) shredded reduced-fat Mexican blend cheese

Cut tops off peppers and discard; remove seeds. In a Dutch oven or large kettle, cook peppers in boiling water for 3 to 5 minutes. Drain and rinse in cold water; set aside. In a nonstick skillet, cook the beef, onion and celery over medium heat until meat is no longer pink; drain. Stir in the rice, 1 cup salsa, chilies, chili powder, and salt. Spoon into peppers.

Place in a 13-in. x 9-in x 2-in. baking dish coated with nonstick cooking spray. Add 1/4 cup water to dish. Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 45 to 50 minutes or until heated through. Uncover; sprinkle with cheese and top with remaining salsa. Bake 2 to 3 minutes longer or until cheese is melted.

Yield: 6 servings.
334 calories per serving.

NEW ENGLAND FISH BAKE

4 medium potatoes, peeled
1 teaspoon all-purpose flour
1 small onion, sliced into rings
3/4 cup skim milk, divided
1 1/2 pounds whitefish or cod fillets
1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese
2 teaspoons dried parsley flakes
1/4 teaspoon paprika

Place potatoes in saucepan and cover with water; bring to boil. Cook until almost tender; drain. Slice 1/8 in. thick; place in a shallow 2-qt. baking dish coated with nonstick coooking spray. Sprinkle with flour. Top with onion; sprinkle with pepper. Pour half of the milk over potatoes. Place fish on top; pour remaining milk over fish. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Cover and bake at 375 degrees for 20 to 30 minutes or until fish flakes easily with a fork. Sprinkle with parsley and paprika.

Yield: 4 servings.
277 calories per serving.

DEVILED BAKED STEAK

2 pounds round steak (1 inch thick), trimmed
3/4 cup flour
1 teaspoon ground mustard
1/2 teaspoon pepper
4 teaspoons olive oil
1 medium onion, sliced
1 can (14-1/2 oz.) diced tomatoes, undrained
1 carrot, grated
1 teaspoon brown sugar
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

Cut steak into serving-size pieces. Combine flour, mustard, and pepper; pound into steak. In a skillet, brown steak, half at a time, in oil. Place meat in a large baking dish; top with onion. Combine tomatoes, carrot, brown sugar and Worcestershire sauce; pour over meat. Cover and bake at 325 degrees for 1-1/2 to 2 hours or until meat is tender. Remove meat to a serving platter and keep warm. Simmer tomato-onion mixture until it is reduced to a thick gravy; pour over meat.

Yield: 8 servings.
282 calories per serving.

GARDEN VEGETABLE SALAD

6 medium tomatoes, quartered
1 medium green pepper, julienned
1 medium onion, sliced and separated into rings
1/3 cup cider vinegar
1/4 cup sugar
1-1/2 teaspoons celery seed
1-1/2 teaspoons prepared mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 large cucumber, peeled and sliced

In a bowl, combine the tomatoes, green pepper and onion. In a small saucepan, combine the vinegar, sugar, celery seed, mustard and salt; bring to a boil. Boil for 1 minute. Pour over vegetables. Let stand until mixture comes to room temperature. Stir in cucumber. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours or until chilled.

Yield: 6 servings.
153 calories per 3/4 cup serving.

SCALLOPED BASIL TOMATOES

16 plum tomatoes
2 cups cubed crustless French bread (1/2 inch cubes)
1 tablespoon olive or canola oil
1 tablespoon sugar
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup thinly sliced fresh basil leaves
3 tablespoons shredded Parmesan cheese

Peel tomatoes and cut into 1/2-in. cubes; drain. In a large nonstick skillet, cook bread in oil over medium heat for 5 to 7 minutes or until lightly browned. Add the tomatoes, sugar and garlic; cook and stir for 5 minutes. Stir in the salt, pepper and basil. Pour into a 1-1/2 qt. baking dish. Sprinkle with cheese. Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees for 35 to 40 minutes or until bubbly.

Yield: 6 servings.
103 calories per 2/3 cup serving.

OVEN-ROASTED POTATOES
2 pounds small unpeeled red potatoes, cut into wedges
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed
1/4 teaspoon pepper

Place potatoes in a 13-in. x 9-in. baking pan coated iwth nonstick cooking spray. Mist potatoes with nonstick cooking spray. Sprinkle with garlic, rosemary and pepper; toss gently to coat. Bake, uncovered, at 450 degrees for 20 to 30 minuts or until potatoes are golden brown and tender when pierced with a fork.

Yield: 8 servings.
91 calories per serving.

YELLOW SQUASH CASSEROLE
3 yellow summer squash, sliced
1 medium onion, chopped
1 can (4 oz.) chopped green chilies
8 fat-free saltines, crushed
Pepper to taste
1-1/2 cups (6 oz.) shredded reduced-fat cheddar cheese

In a skillet coated with nonstick cooking spray, saute squash and onion over medium-high heat until crisp-tender. Remove from the heat; stir in chilies, crackers and pepper. Spoon into a 1-1/2 qt. casserole coated with nonstick cooking spray. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Sprinkle with cheese; let stand 5 minutes before serving.

Yield: 6 servings.
145 calories per serving.

APPLE TORTE

3 tablespoons margarine, softened
1 cup sugar
Egg substitute equivalent to 1 egg
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 cups diced peeled apples
3 tablespoons chopped walnuts
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Light whipped topping and apple wedges, optional

In a mixing bowl, cream margarine, sugar and egg substitute. Stir together dry ingredients; add to creamed mixture (batter will be very thick). Stir in the apples, nuts and vanilla. Spread into an 8-in. square baking pan coated with nonstick cooking spray. Bake at 350 degrees for 35 to 40 minutes or until cake tests done. Serve warm or cold. Garnish with whipped topping and apple wedges if desired.

Yield: 9 servings.
216 calories per serving.

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PLEASE SEND IN YOUR…
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...favorite weightloss tips and success stories! If you don't mind me sharing your tip or story in a future issue of HEARTH AND HOME just send it to me at: proverbs31heart@yahoo.com. Please put "WEIGHT-LOSS" on the subject line. Thank you!

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AMISH FRIENDSHIP BREAD
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Friendship bread is the name of a starter that must be fed or stirred daily. After several days you will have a starter to use for bread or cinnamon rolls and one to share with a friend.

STARTER

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups warm water
1 package active dry yeast

FEEDERS

2 cups milk, divided
2 cups all-purpose flour, divided
2 cups sugar, divided

Initial starter: Place 2 cups flour, 2 cups warm water, and 1 package of yeast
in a one-gallon resealable plastic food bag. Seal bag and squeeze to mix. Leave
bag on counter. (DO NOT REFRIGERATE!) Note that this is Day 1 and begin
counting days.

On Days 2, 3, and 4: Squeeze the bag to mix ingredients.

On Day 5: Add 1 cup milk, 1 cup flour and 1 cup sugar. Seal bag and squeeze the
bag to blend.

On Days 6, 7, and 8: Squeeze bag to mix ingredients.

On Day 9: Add 1 cup milk, 1 cup flour, and 1 cup sugar. Seal bag and squeeze the
bag to blend well.

On Days 10 and 11: Squeeze bag to mix ingredients.

On Day 12: Measure out 1 cup portions of batter. Place each portion in a
one-gallon resealable plastic food bag to keep as your starter or to give to a
friend. Use a one-cup portion in the bread or 2 cups in the cinnamon roll
recipes that follow. For the portion you use as a starter, begin again on Day 2
squeezing bag then follow sequence of squeezing bag and feeding as directed.

AMISH FRIENDSHIP BREAD

Makes 2 (9x5-inch) loaves

1 cup starter
3 eggs
2/3 cup oil
3 t. vanilla
2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
2 t. baking powder
1 1/2 t. cinnamon
1 t. soda
1 t. salt
1 cup chopped nuts
2 medium apples, peeled and finely chopped

Lightly grease 2 9x5-inch loaf pans. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place starter, eggs, oil, and vanilla in a large bowl. Beat well. Add dry ingredients and blend well. Fold in nuts and apples. Pour batter into loaf pans. Bake 50 minutes or until golden. Allow bread to cool 10 minutes before removing from pans.

For muffins: prepare batter as directed. Spoon into 24 greased muffin cups. Bake 25 to 30 minutes.


HERMAN CINNAMON ROLLS
(Makes 15 to 20 rolls)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Combine:
2 cups starter
3 cups flour
1/2 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
3 t. baking powder
2 eggs, beaten

Stir until well blended. Leaving dough in bowl, knead with floured hands for a couple of minutes or until mixture is smooth. Let rise in a warm place until doubled. Punch down and place dough on a floured surface. Pressinto a 10x20-inch rectangle.

Combine:

1/2 cup melted butter
1 cup sugar
3 t. cinnamon

Sprinkle over dough. Sprinkle with raisins or chopped nuts if desired. Starting on long side, roll up dough, jelly roll fashion. Cut 1-inch slices and place on a 14-inch pan. Let rolls rise until doubled in size. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until lightly browned.

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Well, dear friends, that's it for this month. I pray that you're having a wonderful summer. God bless you, your family, and your home. Until next time…

Love and Hugs,
~Rebecca
(wife, homeschooling mom, and homemaker)
Proverbs 31:10-31

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Weekend Inspiration - 7/16/11



I have run into a several good things this week that I would like to share and pass along to my readers. If you have time, check out these beautiful women of God and all that they've got to share. Have a blessed weekend!

All My Love,
~Rebecca


MARRIAGE -

- When A Man Loves A Woman - an beautiful article by Ann Voskamp over at A Holy Experience

- Reverent Whispers Of The Heart - a good by Darlene over at Time-Warp Wife

LIVING LIFE -

- Time Takes Time by Pam Spurling over at The Welcome Home Blog

RECIPES -

I mentioned making this recipe for Pineapple Cream Pie from my friend, Laura, over at Harvest Lane Cottage, in a post earlier this week. I didn't have a graham cracker crust, so I just made it into a crust-less pie. It was a huge hit and, by making it crust-less and using sugar-free vanilla pudding and my own homemade fat-free Greek yogurt, I figured the calories to be less than 100 per 1/6th of a pie. This is a cool, summertime treat that I will definitely make over and over again!


CRAFT IDEAS -

This week I learned how to make a T-Shirt necklace by watching this video over at Simply Rebekah. I really like the way it turned out and plan on making more.

Friday, July 15, 2011

A Woman Of Passion


Back in 1999 my children put their money together and bought me a special Bible for Christmas. The Bible has been packed away for years and I had forgotten about it. Yesterday, as I was looking for something else, I found it! And it is just as beautiful as always!

The Bible is a special 'Woman Thou Art Loosed!' edition. Inside, every page is embellished with light pink...pink lace corners, pink pages, pink roses, or pink 'Gospel Pearls'; the outside is enveloped in a thick, black cover with a magnetic closure, and it even has a shoulder strap that makes it look more like a purse than a Bible. On the flap there is a small embellishment...a beautiful, long-stemmed, golden, rose. So pretty! And very feminine!

Anyway, before going to bed last night (I'm keeping the Bible on the head of our bed from now on), I flipped it open and found the following article by T. D. Jakes. I thought it offered good advice and I wanted to share it here with you...

A Woman Of Passion
by T. D. Jakes

(Song of Solomon 7:10-12)

     Married women, Satan will try to rob you and your husband of the passion God created for you to enjoy. The enemy will try to callous your soft, supple flesh with stress and unforgiveness and leave you with a hard shell that imprisons a broken heart. He is afraid for you to love and give. There is a level of romance and chivalry in marriage that the Father meant for you to enjoy-not just sex, but sensitivity. More than obligation or performance,  I am talking to you about the return of passion.
     If you are not careful, life will cause you to leak. Your marriage will be dreained by the leaking passion and wilted excitement produced by hard times and struggle. Your mommyhood will try to rob you of your womanhood. Satan wants to leave you drab and aloff, hiding behind religious excuses rather than fighting your way out and being the wife and woman you were created to be.
     Perhaps you do not need to know this now. But someday when you feel a heavy depression about to descend upon what was once a vibrant love, you will need to turn to God as your Friend. When that day comes, you may suddenly realize that your husband is longing for the woman you used to be. Somewhere beneath your problems there is another woman screaming. “Let me out! I want to love and live.” This is the woman who has been trampled by low self-esteem and fear of rejection. She is the woman you were before. Remember her?
     She is soft and sensitive, fanciful and frilly. She is bright-eyed and full of mischief, creative and sensual. Your husband has been on a fast, waiting for her to step out of the freezer. If  ever there were a time you needed to stop suppressing her and let her loose, it is now.
     I can’t leave you lying in the bed of despair with your emotions dead, your passion subdued, your attitude cynical, your disposition critical. God says, “Arise.” You are about to have a resurrection. It will be so strong that your husband should feel it. Your children should feel it. From the prayer room to the bedroom, a loosed woman is free!

Good FRIDAY Afternoon! 7/15/11


Good Afternoon, Dear Friends!

How are you? And how has your day been? Do you and your family have anything special planned for the weekend? And how's the weather where you are? Here in southwest Missouri it's another extremely hot day with temperatures hovering in the upper 90's.

Despite the heat I'm managing to get a few things done that have needed doing for a long time, while, due to finances and other restraints, other things have to remain on hold indefinitely. I have to keep reminding myself to just slow down and take it easy. God is in control and everything will come together in His timing. It just feels so good to get things done and get them marked off my list. I love that feeling of accomplishment!

The past couple of days have been fairly productive. Yesterday I got my lower kitchen cabinets cleaned out and organized, and last night we got some mowing and weed-eating done. I made up another batch of Greek yogurt overnight and first thing this morning I separated the whey from the yogurt. The yogurt came out perfect and the whey will be added to smoothies and other items to gain the full nutritional benefit.

As part of my 'use it up' campaign, I am menu planning around the older items that I have moved forward in my cabinets, freezer, and pantry. Two of the 'older items' that I found in my cabinet last night was a can of crushed pineapple and a package of sugar-free vanilla pudding. It just so happened that, my friend, Laura, over at Harvest Lane Cottage,  had just posted some of her favorite summertime recipes yesterday and one of them was her Pineapple Cream Pie. It called for those two ingredients, along with a pint of yogurt and a graham cracker crust. I didn't have the crust, but I did have the fresh-made yogurt, so, I mixed those three ingredients together and put them together into a crust-less pie (which is what I normally do anyway because my husband prefers them that way and I sure don't miss the extra calories). We haven't tasted the pie yet, but am sure looking forward to serving this cool, low-cal, summer treat as a dessert this evening.

Other things that I've accomplished today have included cleaning house (straightening, dusting, shining the mirrors, spritzing the bathroom, scrubbing the toilet, doing the dishes, and vacuuming), washing and hanging out three loads of laundry, and putting up today's garden produce (green beans, potatoes, tomatoes, green peppers, and banana peppers). Supper is in cooking in the crockpot and bread machine (fresh green beans, potatoes, onions, ham, salt, and pepper with plenty of broth and French bread) and the last load of laundry is ready to be put away. I'll be glad when the after supper hours arrive and I can spend the evening relaxing with my family.

Well, I better be going for now. You all have a great evening and a nice weekend! God bless all here!

All My Love,
~Rebecca

Thursday, July 14, 2011

RECIPE: Margarita Pizza With Mozzarella-Stuffed Crush

Margarita Pizza With Mozzarella-Stuffed Crust

Summer really hasn't started for us until we've had the first slice of Margarita pizza (named after Queen Margarita of Spain). This year I tried something new by making it with a mozzarella-stuffed crust. A Margarita pizza is really easy to make. Simply make your crust (see recipe below) and top with fresh sliced or cubed tomatoes, fresh basil (I cut mine into thin strips with scissors), and slices of provolone cheese. To make the mozzarella-stuffed crust, just take two cheese sticks and tear into quarters and roll up in the edges of the crust. Enjoy!

Pizza Crust
 
2 1/2 teaspoons or 1 package yeast
1 cup warm water
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 1/2 cups unbleached or whole wheat flour
 
Mix well. Then flatten out in pizza pan that has been drizzled with olive oil. Brush top of crust with olive oil.

Good THURSDAY Morning! - 7/14/11



Good Morning, Dear Friends!

What a beautiful morning it is! Hot, yes! But beautiful nonetheless!

I've got so many things...have had so many things...to share over the past few weeks and have gotten around to next to none of them...including the latest edition of HEARTH AND HOME. I keep hoping that opportunity will arise and I will do so soon, but, thus far, it hasn't happened. So, I just decided to pop in here and share what I can in the few minutes that I have while I drink my morning cup of hot tea and enjoy an English muffin spread peanut butter. Yum!

So...how are you? Are you enjoying your summer?

Here we're in the midst of a six-week break before the new school year begins and there's a lot that I hope to accomplish within it. Of course, things don't normally go as planned and, for that, we must make allowances, but, thus far, things are going well. So far, I have managed to start my deep cleaning (something that rarely happens) and I've managed to make lists of what I want to do, what I hope to do, things we need, things I hope to look for at yard sales and thrift stores, etc. I've even managed to mark a few things off of some of those lists! YEAH! 

I've had several people write and ask me how our holiday (Independence Day) weekend was. It was good! We were waiting on the baby, so we didn't actually buy our fireworks until the morning of the 4th, because we didn't know for sure that we'd even be able to shoot them off. Our daughter technically started into labor on Saturday the 2nd, but the baby didn't arrive until Tuesday the 5th. We spent Sunday afternoon and evening in Springfield with them, but by the time the baby was born, our daughter and our son-in-law had spent most of the weekend at the hospital in Springfield (although she wasn't admitted and given any relief at all until...like...three hours before he was born!!!), but Grandpa and I just ended up just keeping the children up here with us over the 4th.


Anyway, we didn't buy our fireworks and holiday foods until the morning of the 4th. I cooked a small holiday meal for us here, then we went over to our son and daughter-in-law's that evening. They had invited us and the children over to their house to shoot off fireworks and share ice cream and cake with them. Audrey and Silas had a great time, but they were exhausted by the time we got them home and in bed. The next morning we took them down to be with their mom and dad and meet their new little brother (we were actually on the road headed to Springfield when we got the call that he had arrived). We spent the night with them in Springfield.

Over this past weekend the family gathered at our daughter and son-in-law's house to celebrate our granddaughter's birthday and, as much as anything, to see the baby, I think. It was wonderful to have all of our grandchildren together under one roof. I don't think that that's happened since our family Christmas get-together back in December.

The garden is producing, but not like it should be. The weather has been extremely hot and most days lately have been hovering around the 100 degree mark or above and it's wreaking havoc for plants and animals alike. Our chickens have slowed their egg production, the cucumbers and green beans have about played out, and the onions and potatoes are rotting in the ground. We've been getting a few tomatoes along and a couple of zucchini here and there, but for the most part, things aren't going as well as my husband would have liked. He is hoping for a better garden in the fall.

Well, I've rambled on long enough for one sitting and I need to get to work. You all have a great day and I'll talk to you all again soon. God bless all here!

All My Love,
~Rebecca

Monday, July 11, 2011

Using It Up - Wallpapering

You've heard the old saying, "Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without." Well, that's kind of 
where I'm at. Our resources are exhausted and I can't afford to do anything new to our home, but I am in a renewed state of mind and am determined to use what I've got on hand to fix things up a bit. 

A few years ago (yes, years ago), one of my daughters-in-law gave me this lovely wallpaper. It was some that she had leftover from one of her projects and there were only a couple of rolls of it, but we have a small house and I knew I could use it somewhere. Most of one of the rolls I used a  long time ago to paper the wall next to the bathroom (which adjoins our bedroom, so it kind of tied it all together), and the other I saved to paper our north bedroom wall with. Well, over the weekend I finally got around to it!

Pretty White Wallpaper With Pink Roses
I started by deep-cleaning the bedroom. I took down the ceiling fan, took out all the furniture, 
and cleaned everything from ceiling to floor. Then I wallpapered the north wall. It may have only 
been one wall, but, my! What a difference it made! It sure brightened things up!

Our North Bedroom Wall
The next thing I hope to do, is to keep my eyes open at garage sales and thrift stores for bedding. I'm
acquiring a real taste for sweet, simple and old-fashioned. My goal is to eventually have all white 
sheets, white pillowcases, and a white comforter. (Isn't that funny? When I was a child white sheets was all we
had. When I was a teenager and started working and making my own money I vowed that I 
would never again sleep on white sheets. I wanted 'color' and 'boldness' in my life. Well, now that I've 
had a lot of 'color' and 'boldness' in my life, now all I desire is tranquility and simplicity.)

For When I Am Weak, Then Am I Strong


"And he [Jesus] said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong." (2 Corinthians 12:9-10)
So many people are struggling right now with physical health, finances, family problems, depression, addictions, and attacks of all kinds. The number of prayer requests that come in in a week's time anymore is almost staggering, and the depth at which people's hearts and spirits are hurting is almost unbearable at times. What a comfort it is to know that, as His children, we can freely take all things before God's throne of grace because He cares for us (1 Peter 5:7)...even about our most seemingly insignificant trouble, and He has the answer to every problem that we will ever encounter. The greater our weakness is, the greater God's grace will be to accomplish His will in our lives. What He gives us is always sufficient for us to live our daily lives, to work for Him, endure our suffering, and carry out His will for our lives. As long as we draw near to Jesus, Jesus will give us His heavenly strength and comfort, for when we are weak, He is strong.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Guest Post: Air Drying Clothes Without A Clothesline by Jill Cooper


Air Drying Clothes Without A Clothesline
by Jill Cooper
http://www.LivingOnADime.com

We all know that if we don't dry our clothes in the dryer we save on electricity, but many of us don't think about how the dryer reduces the life of our clothes. For a long time I couldn't understand why so many people were buying scads of socks and underwear for their families every few months. When my children were growing up, they almost never wore out their underwear and socks and we owned only about a quarter as many pair as most people do now. I didn't even buy expensive things. I bought the least expensive clothes I could find. So what was happening?

Fast forward a couple decades. One day after folding my grandson's new underwear, I noticed that the waistband was terribly rippled. After doing some research, I discovered the answer: The dryer was destroying the rubber elastic in the socks and underwear. I rarely dried my family's clothes in the dryer, so the elastic never broke down. It doesn't just happen with underwear - Have you ever noticed pilling (those little fabric balls) on your clothes and linens and the resulting lint in the dryer? That is the result of the fibers being rubbed thin. The dryer also shrinks clothes and sets in stains.

The two reasons I think most people don't line dry their clothes are that they think it is inconvenient or they're just not sure how to do it. Here are some of the best tips I have found to air dry clothes without a clothes line.

Though I don't use the dryer to dry my clothes, I do use it for about five minutes or so-- just long enough to fluff the clothes. I put one load in the dryer and only leave them there as long as it takes me to load the washer with the next load.

If you don't have a clothesline, you live in an apartment or your homeowners association won't allow clotheslines, here are a few ways to air dry clothes without a clothesline.

You need at least one drying rack and some type of clothes rod. You can buy drying racks at most discount stores or hardware stores. You might hang a clothes rod in your laundry room above the dryer, use a sturdy shower curtain rod in the bathroom or get a metal clothes racks that hooks over the back of a door. You don't need much. I can hang two loads of laundry on one drying rack and 2 feet of clothes rod.

Hanging on a Clothes Rod

Hang as many items as you can on clothes hangers, beginning with the obvious things like dresses, dress shirts and blouses and hang the hangers on a clothes rod to dry. Be sure not to put the hangers too close together so the air can circulate. You can also hang things like pajama tops, t-shirts, small kids shirts and one piece outfits. Lightweight pants, pajama bottoms, skirts and sweats can be pinned on clothes hangers and even sheets can be folded and hung on them. If you are really short of drying rack space, you can hang socks, underwear, wash rags, hand towels and towels on hangers and add them to your clothes rod, too. You are using the bottom part of the hanger as a rod.

Hanging Clothes on a Clothes Rack

When hanging clothes on a drying rack, I start at the bottom with socks and underwear, wash rags and baby clothes. Young children's clothes and hand towels go on the middle layer and the top rack is for towels, jeans, pillow cases, sweaters, sweats, pajama bottoms and t-shirts. I try to use every inch of space, so if I put a pillow case on the rack and there are a couple of inches left next to it I put a sock there. I even hook bras on the corners of the rack.

Drying racks are handy because they can be moved to speed up the drying process. Place them outside on a sunny (but not windy) day. Inside the house, try putting them over a vent and the heat or air conditioner will dry them faster. If you don't have central heat or air then you can place them in front of your heater or a fan. Don't place clothes close enough to heaters to be a fire hazard.

If you are short on space and don't want to look at a drying rack in the middle of the room, do the laundry before bed, hang it and in most cases it will be dry by morning (especially if you set it above an air vent).

Try hanging large king sized sheets or blankets over your shower rod, over the rail of your deck, between two lawn chairs or folded in half or quarters over your clothes rack. When you fold large items, you must flip and turn them every 5-10 hours so that each side gets dry.

Sometimes it is useful to hang a clothesline in the basement or attic. Be sure to check out your department stores and hardware stores for other ideas. They have many clever items like retractable clotheslines, things to hang over doors and some not so new ideas like extra large drying racks that can hold two loads of laundry each.

Even though this may sound complicated at first, once you do it a few times it becomes second nature to you. Pretty quickly, you will discover the most efficient way to hang your clothes on the rack. I know automatically that three wash rags fit across the bottom bar of my rack and the two socks will fit next the that particular t-shirt. It's like putting a puzzle together- the first time takes you longer than the times after that because you know where the pieces fit.

Jill Cooper and Tawra Kellam are frugal living experts and the authors of the Dining On A Dime Cookbook. Dining On A Dime will help you save money on groceries and get out of debt by cooking quick and simple homemade meals. For free tips & recipes visit http://www.LivingOnADime.com

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Our Newest Grandson

Isaiah Andrew Pennington
Introducing our newest grandson, Isaiah Andrew Pennington. He was born this morning (July 5, 2011) at 10:30 a.m., weighed 7 lbs. 14 oz., and was 20 3/4 inches long. He sure is a cutie! <3

Monday, July 4, 2011

HAPPY INDEPENDENCE DAY!

Happy Independence Day 2011
"...proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof..." (Leviticus 25:10)
Happy Independence Day, Everyone!!! And Happy Birthday, America! ♥