Friday, October 28, 2011

How To Hem Pants

    Hemming pants that are too long. To someone who knows how to do this, it's relatively easy. But for someone who feels inept in the area of sewing, this can be nauseating. So here, let me help you avoid the nausea ;-)

   Note: On the first picture I accidentally pinned it on the wrong side. You actually want to put the pins in through the "right-side-out" - THEN turn it inside-out for the rest.

   Also note: Sorry you can't see the pins very good in the third picture where you fold it up to the pins. Click on the picture for a larger version and you should be able to see them.

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Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Tips-n-Tricks Tuesday: Mixing Ingredients

    If you follow the directions when baking and mix the wet and dry ingredients in separate bowls - you're being too hard on yourself. At our house we mix the wet, then pour in the flour. We make a little indention in the flour and sprinkle the spices, baking powder/baking soda, salt, etc. in it. Then we stir in just the top layer to partially mix in the spices. Then blend it together with the wet.

   I've also heard of a somewhat similar way where a lady mixes the dry ingredients in a bowl, then makes a "well" for the wet ingredients to be poured into and mixed before combining the wet and dry ingredients.

   So just use one bowl next time and save yourself some work.

NOTE: I must mention that this doesn't work on EVERY recipe. Some recipes require it. But basic bread, cake, and cookie recipes (etc) can follow this method.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Don't Assume The Worst...

    The man/woman who doesn't make it a habit to assume the worst of others is a great person. When you comment about something a kid does, he doesn't point to your own daughter next to you and say "you mean her"? And when you don't show up on Sunday he doesn't say "sleep in this week?", instead he asks if you were with a fellow church that week.
   And indeed, your daughter wasn't the one you were talking about....and indeed, you hadn't slept it - you were helping out at another church.
    What if he HAD made the negative comments toward you? If he did, he must think you're a slob - that you can't handle your own kids and can't set the alarm clock. Some friend HE is.... and to think those comments seem so innocent. The one commenting may think they're right, but let's not chance it. Think about it. What cruel things to say. Your poor daughter is torn by the comment. And in your mind you're being called a slob. You may not realize it going on....but it's writing it's thoughts on your sub-conscious mind - telling you a bad message about your daughter and about yourself.
    I have witnessed the first happen today - someone asked if "it was your kid". I also witnessed the second one, though for this one I'm joyed to say that it was the better question of "you must have been at a fellow church this week?"
    So think twice my friends. Let's try to not assume the worst of others. This can be the difference between caring for fellow Christians as God commands...or tearing them down.

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Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The Clean Way To Butter A Pan {Tips-n-Tricks Tuesday}

   Many healthy-bound bakers have long given up Pam for real butter to keep their bread from sticking in the pan. No, no no, not your neighbor Pam...the non-stick spray! (I know...bad pun...sorry. Tee hee!)

   Well, I was buttering a loaf pan recently when I came upon this interesting trick. For me it worked well because I didn't want my fingers to get all greasy from the VERY soft butter. We didn't have any hard sticks of butter (refrigerated or frozen) to rub on the pan - all we had was the soft butter in the butter dish that sits on the counter. I would have literally had to gob it onto my hand and smear it on the pan. Yeah...I could have just told myself to deal with it, but hey, I thought of a better way!

   So instead, I swiped some onto the back of a spoon and smeared it onto the pan with that. And my fingers didn't get greasy at all! I bet it would also be good for the moms out there. That way when you have to chase Tommy halfway through the job your hands will be butter-free!

   This method really only applies if your butter option is mushy, (though now that I discovered it, I think I'd actually prefer it to peeling back the wrapper of a hard stick and rubbing it on).

What's your favorite way to smeeeear on the butter? :P 

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Monday, October 17, 2011

That's Supportive

     It's possible to support people, without REALLY supporting people. Maybe we think we're being supportive by saying "good job" and "do what you know is right". But I'm starting to realize that that is like water through a sieve. It does last for a while, and does keep the sieve wet after the water falls through, but most of that water (that support) drains out after only a short time.

     So what IS real support? Well, what have you noticed are the most supportive things done towards you in YOUR life?

     What comes to my mind is people who take the time to be inquisitive and ask about what I'm doing and thinking - then taking the time to listen...who are also genuinely interested and encouraging me beside me in my endeavors. That's supportive. People who join me in my efforts. That is supportive. Also those who know more than me in the area I may be struggling with, who come alongside me as helpful and encouraging role models in that area - that is also very supportive.

     But then there is the flip side. Have you ever met people who drain your confidence and make you feel incapable? Sadly, sometimes they are even fellow Christians. I will admit that I have avoided people before, or given half-hearted replies to their inquiries, just because I am tired of the drain of the expectations they place on me in the place of the support they should be giving me as a fellow child of God. Instead of helping me, they say what THEY think I should do. Sometimes they are expectations that I can't bring myself to believe and I can grow weary of defending myself, feeling alone in my efforts. Ever been there? They may even say "good job" or "do what you know is right", but I can tell by their tone of voice and follow-up comments that they aren't really genuinely supporting me or helping me.

      Sometimes it is indeed good to listen to what others have to say. There can often be wisdom in what others say - especially those older than us both in age and in spiritual growth. Always do the Berean check: see if what your friend says matches up with what the Bible says.


     So my challenge to you for the next few days is two-fold. First of all, be that encourager! Especially for us young single ladies, you've probably heard it said before that we have more time now that we'll ever have again. If that statement is true, we should take the time now to practice being supportive of others. Mingle with people that have similar interests - both young AND old - and TRULY support them. Come alongside them. There is a good chance they are starving inside for your help and support. And remember that sometimes, it even simply means doing what you know is right, even if YOU don't have that support. Be a role model to the person you don't know is watching you. Encourage them - even if it's only you going at this with God by your side. One day the most unlikely person may approach you and thank you for the supportive example you didn't know you were being.

     And secondly, look for encouragement like this! I have found over the past few months that God knew what He was talking about when He said to hang out with the people you want to be like. Yes, yes, I know you should help people who are in need of God, but PLEASE, don't forget those encouragers in your life too. The people you hang out with and spend your time around really DO rub off on you. Try it and see.

"Oil and perfume make the heart glad, So a man’s counsel is sweet to his friend." ~ Proverbs 27:9

"But actually, I wrote to you not to associate with any so-called brother if he is an immoral person, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or a swindler—not even to eat with such a one" ~ 1 Corinthians 5:11

"He who walks with wise men will be wise, But the companion of fools will suffer harm." ~ Proverbs 13:20

     And, of course, remember that our top encourager and supporter is our God, the Creator of the world.  Though the support of physical beings around us is very important - don't forget that God is the One who is Lord over it all. He's the One who created all these physical supporters and placed them in your life. Since He put these great people in our lives, how much more can He Himself be your top supporter?

"May He grant you your heart’s desire And fulfill all your counsel!" Psalm 20:4

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Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Tips-n-Tricks Tuesday: Using Yeast For Baking

   There are some things we come in contact with during our journey in the art of womanhood that are more scary than others. They are usually really basic and easy things to do or make, but they can sound scary if we've never done them before.

   Lately I have been pondering these things in the food category. So I'm here to tell you: baking with yeast is SO EASY!!!! Thanks to my mom who taught me how to work with it, using yeast has always seemed "normal" and "easy" to me. It might sound hard and scary, but it's not. Trust me. After only a few times you should be able to do it just fine. The steps are really super easy, but it may look like alot because I wanted to describe the process (along with some tips) very thoroughly. If you want the quick description, follow any recipe in your favorite cookbook that includes yeast.

 Note: I never use "quick-yeast" - we simply use the plain "active dry yeast".
This yeast is ready for us to add the next ingredients.

Disolving the Yeast:

Step1: Place your bowl on a hot-pad (this is to help hold the heat while the yeast is doing it's stuff) and dump in some hot water. Give it a good swish around the bowl so you get the chill off it. Pour out the water.

Step2: Measure the amount of warm water into the bowl that your recipe calls for (click her to see last week's pretzel recipe if you need something to make). Make sure the water is plenty warm, but NOT HOT. My mom always tells us kids to make it the warmth that we would want bath water to be :) Not hot....just...toasty!

Step3: Sprinkle on the amount of yeast the recipe calls for over the warm water. Sprinkle over the sugar or other sweetener in your recipe (the yeast likes the sweet stuff). Give the mixture a VERY gentle stir only 2-3 times around the bowl.

Step4: Let the yeast set for about 5 minutes, but really just until it's done "doing it's thing." First the yeast will drop to the bottom of the bowl - then it will start bubbling up. Wait until it's not bubbling anymore and there is a frothy layer on top.

Step5: Continue with your recipe. If it doesn't work, try again! The water could have been too hot, too cold, or your yeast might be too old.

Kneading The Dough:

Step1: Sprinkle a layer of flour on the counter to keep the dough from sticking and plop your gob of dough onto it.

Step2: Take one side of the dough and fold it over top to fold the dough in half. Press down.

Step:3: Your dough will probably be oblong now. Give it a "hamburger bun fold" (not a hot-dog fold) and push. Repeat until the dough is soft and well mixed. Here's what you can tell yourself as you're kneading: fold, push, turn 90 degrees, fold, push, turn 90 degrees, etc.

   Note: For the picture below I only used a small piece of dough to better illustrate the process. When you knead your dough, it would be advantageous to do it all at once (unless of course you have a few little kids or siblings who wants to help - in which case you'd have to pull off a hunk for each of them).

 See? Now how stinkin' easy was that? SO easy! Do it. Try it!


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Friday, October 7, 2011

Homemade Soft Pretzels

   I will warn you now: this recipe uses yeast. But wait! Don't be afraid! Yeast is easy to use - especially once you get the hang of it. Come on....just try!!!!

   Alright. Time for the recipe for these yummy pretzels! These are best eaten warm and are yummy with mustard on them.

-1 pkg yeast (2 tsp)
-1 teaspoon salt
-4 cups flour
-1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
-1 1/2 cups warm water
-1 egg
-coarse kosher salt

    Pour warm water into a mixing bowl and sprinkle the yeast over top to dissolve. Sprinkle in the salt and sugar. Preheat oven to 400* and cover a cookie sheet with foil. When the yeast is ready, mix in the flour and knead to make soft dough. Divide and roll into desired shapes. Place on cookie sheet and brush with the beaten egg. Sprinkle on kosher salt. Bake about 20 minutes until lightly browned.

   Now how easy was that? SO easy!

   (It's also a fun food for kiddos to help make the shapes. They can even shape them into letters. Double-whammy! School and baking in one!)

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Join us for Gratituesday at Heavenly Homemakers!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Tips-n-Tricks Tuesday: Coconut-Oil Tanning Lotion

   Ready for me to try to get you to buy my favorite tanning product? Well, I actually don't have one. All it is is coconut oil. Apply sparingly and rub it in. You don't want too much or you'll be all greasy :P It's a great idea for people who are trying to stay away from the chemicals in many modern tanning lotions and also great for people who are allergic to tanning lotions.

   Yeah, I know, it's the end of the sunny season for most people. But if you've got a little more sun, try it for your last tan of the year. Either way, I wanted to put the bee in your bonnet so at least it'll be in the back of your mind next year when you head outdoors. Give it a try and see how it works for you! Have you ever used it before?

Saturday, October 1, 2011

"Courageous"....the movie.


   Last night I was able to go see the new movie "Courageous" in the theater with a friend. I'm not one to go to movies often but it was special that we got to go together....and to such a great movie! If you haven't seen it yet, you really should! Yes, it IS rated PG-13 - so make your own choice when bringing kids. It contains violence and drug content (since they are cops). I've heard there is also a book to work through as well as the full-length novel of the movie, and a resolution poster for men to do the same with as the men in the movie. I found a link here for the set.

   I'm starting to doubt Sherwood Films will ever "jump the shark". But how can they when they let God lead it? God doesn't go shark-jumping ;-)
    I laughed until my side hurt....I cried....I sat inspired. It is hilarious and moving all at the same time. But I will go no further. I'm not going to spill the beans!!!

   Grab a friend or family member and go see it! Or if you are among those who are waiting patiently for the DVD, just know that you should get it as soon as it's available. It is great stuff.
   And now a thought for us single ladies.... The "men of courage", as the movie Courageous calls them, can seem few and far between at times. My friend and I discussed it after the movie...they're rare. We're here wondering where those men are - but we concluded that they are also out there...wondering where the ladies are.
    Married ladies, all I can say is this: support your man. Support him in being a real man. Support him in becoming a strong and godly man of integrity. Support him. Support him. Support him. It is so beautiful and inspiring to see a woman come alongside her man to support and encourage him as he grows to be the godly man he is striving to be.
    And finally, ask God to mold your heart to Him, so you will grow more and more as a lady of true beauty. Encourage the ladies around you to do the same. As men can be guilty of taking their role lightly, undoubtedly us women are each often guilty of the same when it comes to our role as ladies.
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