Sunday, October 11, 2009

Weekly Menu

I will not be doing this any longer as I have now added a "today's menu" on the side of my blog (to the left).

Verse for the Day: 2 Samuel 22:4

2 Samuel 22:4

I will call on the LORD, who is worthy to be praised: so shall I be saved from mine enemies.

(emphasis is mine)

No matter what happens or what we do, it's all about Him and He never changes, is always worthy of our praise and adoration as the everlasting Father!

Apologies and drawing coming soon!


Please accept my deepest apologies. Earlier in the week I had connection issues between blogger and then my own provider. After that I simply got caught up in every day life here and did not get back on this blog to post pictures or make the drawing for the Fall Carnival Giveaway.

I am only on for a second (dealing with migraine after effects right now) but wanted to tell you that tomorrow afternoon my darling boys will help me draw names for the giveaway.

I also want to give away some bonuses, but it might take a little longer, to help make up for the delay in the giveaway.

God bless you all.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Today, I am grateful for good friends and loving friendship. First and foremost is the friend who will never leave us, our awesome God. And not last or least, those girlfriends He put in our lives.

Right now I have a dear friend who understands the condition of my heart and always has the encouragement I need to keep pushing through my messes and growing--as well as giving me that figurative kick in the tushi when I need it.

So, I lift my tea glass in gentle salute to friends past, present and those to come!

Moderating Comments

I've not been ignoring you, apparently blogger is acting wonky. I keep getting a "known issue" message when I try to moderate comments.

Please bear with me if you want to enter the giveaway and pray that blogger fixes it soon.

Thanks for your patience.

Monday, October 5, 2009

First Canning Bounty!

Last week, we picked a bounty of apples and it was the perfect time to learn how to can!

So some fits and starts, I managed to get going and canned 12 8oz. jars of apple butter and 9 pints of applesauce (would have been 10 but my children wanted some right away, lol).

Here's a picture of my first canning adventure...

Out of it all, only one jar of apple butter didn't seal. Not too shabby for my first time! :) And the kids were glad because they wanted some right away.

The recipes I used came from

For those of you who think you can't do it, let me just say that it's a lot easier than you think! If this city girl can do it you certainly can (pardon the pun). :)

Good, Beautiful Days

The goodness of God endureth continually. ~ Psalm 52:1b

Anyone who follows this blog knows that God has really laid it on my heart to purge and prepare and to simply get back to the basics in every aspect of life. That's my overwhelming goal in life right now--Him and family first. Lately, though, I've also felt in my heart how much we all need to hold on to the fact that God is good. It's been repeated over and over in word and song and thought lately.

Yes, we all know He's good.

But have you considered about His goodness when the days are gloomy and gray outside? What about when a loved one is ill or in trouble that you can't help? What about when money is tight and jobs are lost or cut back? What about when a friend you trusted hurts you? What about when you feel hurt or alone?

All these things and more do not change the goodness of God. He is still good.

And because He's good and He's our God, we need to praise Him and cling to his promises. We need to hold tight to this through all of life's storms and as we go about our days. We need to remember this to be able to show His goodness in our lives and be those lights for the world to draw them to Him!

Easier said than done, but with prayer and thanksgiving, we can remember that any day which God is a part of cannot be anything but good and beautiful!

Fall Giveaway Carnival - Are you ready?

Good morning to everyone out in cyberland! I hope you are enjoying the lovely fall weather (if you're here in the States).

I've decided to take the leap and join in the Fall Giveaway Carnival.

For your chance at one of these goodies, be sure to leave a message. :)

Some things to note:
~ I will giving away a total of five (5) items (in one drawing--at close of Giveaway Carnival)
~ Only one item per household, please
~ I will ship to the United States or Canada only (sorry to my international friends, but just can't right now)
~ Items will be listed today, but photos will go up as I have time (remember, God & Family first). There will be at least one photo listed per day, if not more. All photos will be up by Friday, the last day of Carnival.

I will also be holding a surprise giveaway for anyone who follows this blog. :)

Here are the goodies!

The big giveaway will be 1 set of ten Christmas Cards, handcrafted by me! (Envelopes included)

Other items to giveaway will be:
~ A set of 5 Christian-themed handmade cards (envelopes included)
~ A set of 5 Christian-themed handmade cards (envelopes included)
~ A handmade altered composition notebook journal
~ A stamped ceramic ornament for your Christmas tree

Here is your first photo, ceramic ornaments:

Please note, for this giveaway you will be receive only one ornament and your ornament will be heart-shaped, though due to the fact that each ornament is hand-stamped it may or may not look exactly as the one pictured above.

Can't wait to hear from you and hope you can get over to to check out the other fabulous giveaways this week!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Fall Giveaway Carnival next week!

Get ready for the goodies!

If time allows I will be participating as well (will know by Sunday), but no matter what be sure to check it out. You might find some interesting blogs and win some great goodies while you're at it.


Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Late Gratituesday!

For me it's still Tuesday as I haven't made it to bed yet (going as soon as I finish) but I wanted to make sure that I posted today's gratefulness.

I am grateful first and foremost that God is God and He is so good to us.

But today I am particularly grateful for the wonderful bounty of apples we were able to pick on Monday. The boys and I went with some friends from our homeschool co-op and spent the beautiful morning outdoors enjoying the sunshine and cooler temps. At various points my heart was bursting with thanks to the Lord for it all. With sweet apple juice running down my chin, I held an apple in one hand to munch on while I picked some large delicious apples for our family. Healthy and gorgeous. Some as large as baseballs and softballs.

I am also thankful for the knowledge of friends and Godly women who share. On a site I belong to, one loop for homesteading had a yummy recipe for apple butter (mmmmm). I am going to try my hand at not only making apple butter but also canning it. The recipe calls for cooking the apples overnight in the crockpot, so the apples and spices are all in there now, simmering away while we dream. The house will smell so delicious in the morning, I can't wait!

If you're interested, here's the recipe link:

So, with much love and happiness, I wish you all a blessed week and pray that you can find gratefulness to our Lord for even the small things.

Like a sweet apple.

Friday, September 25, 2009

A little Friday fun!

Good afternoon, I hope you all are doing well. Today is a bit of a lazy day around here. My darling groom decided to take a vacation day. While I enjoy his company (and his strong arms to carry the laundry for me), have got to say that it's a bit more difficult to get things done when he's home.

So, today have a big list, but we are not going to let self-condemnation over not accomplishing something rob our joy of God and togetherness. We'll simply do what we can. So, I have broken my list into MUST do and WANT to do today.

Daddy helped with homeschool today so I could take that off my plate (he's a big blessing in this area). Right now he's downstairs working out. Taters is in school at the boys are enjoying the extra free time today. They discovered an older video game and are playing it now. Need to shoo them outside for some fresh air in a bit.

I've managed to get some laundry in the washer and have swished/swiped the bathrooms. Now I need to go clean a duster and do the dishes. Then one more load of laundry. If can do that, all will be well today. Mostly though, cleaning will wait.

Tonight our church youth group is holding a fundraiser (Parents' night out) so we are going to dinner with some friends. Looking forward to some good food and fellowship!

Then tomorrow is the ladies' prayer breakfast at church for me and a Tae Kwon Do tourney for my husband and the boys. Which reminds me, need to call my mother and let her know both Roughy and Toughy are competing. And, need to set the pot roast out for dinner tomorrow (love the crock pot on days like this).

For the ladies' breakfast am doing a card/stamping display table to show how you can use crafts to bless others. Please pray that I can finish a scrapbook for my friend's table as well as get one or two other little projects I wanted to get done finished.

Then Sunday, my husband is getting baptized.

It will be a big weekend all around, so might need to wait until Monday to post again. Wanted to touch base with you all and make sure that you know while we are to be good stewards we are not to make ourselves crazy (unsound mind) while we do it. Some days, we just need to have fun!

God loves you!

Blessings for you and your beautiful families,

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Verse for the Day: Proverbs 18:24

Thank you, Lord for being You and for all the friends you've given me.

"A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly:
and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother."

Gratituesday! hosts Gratituesday every Tuesday and asked bloggers to join in the fun and share what we are grateful for. I think this is a great idea, so will try to do so every Tuesday and encourage you to do the same.

Today I am grateful that the Lord remains the same today, tomorrow and forever. No matter how I'm feeling or what the day brings, He's constant and He's there--all I have to do is reach out to Him. He's so wonderful.

I'm also grateful for homemade bread! Just adore the smell and taste of fresh, warm bread. My MIL gifted me with her bread machine so I'm anxious to try it out. Hoping today is the day (depends on how homeschool and homemaking go first).

What are you grateful for today?

Update: I want to say that I am grateful for the people the Lord brings into my life. Even if they are not always there or must leave early, they have some of His love to share. Lori and Jen, I pray God has our paths cross again soon. Tammy, I am grateful every day for a friend like you!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Menu for week of 9/20

Sun - B - Donuts
L - Sandwiches
D - Chili, cornmuffins

B - Hot Cereal
L - Leftover chili and cornmuffins
D - Spaghetti, bread, salad

B - Cold Cereal, Fruit
L - Tuna Salad, fresh fruit/veggies
D - Breakfast for Dinner

B - Hot cereal
L - BLTs
D - Pot Roast, veggies

B - Cold Cereal, Fruit
L - gone (sack lunches)
D - Make Your Own/Leftovers

B - Muffins
L - Grilled Cheese and apples
D - Parents' night out - Bonfire

B - Your choice (cereal hot or cold, or muffins if any left)
L - Chicken nuggets, veggies
D - Turkey breast, mashed potatoes, veggies

Verse for the Day

I pray this verse gives you comfort and strength for whatever you are going through...

Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the LORD your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you. - Deut. 31:61

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Home Management Binder - Starting Out

A little later than promised, but here are some promised photos of the Home Management Binder I'm in midst of creating.

The graphics on here come from She has some awesome freebies that you can use for personal use and I really enjoy them. The fonts are from my own font library.

Here's a pic of the front of the binder:

Here's the spine:

Here's the back cover:

On the back are more images from as well as some of my favorite quotes and verses, as well as inspirational ones.

Verses: Ezra 10:4; Proverbs 16:3; I Corinthians 13:13; Ecclesiastes 3:13; Psalm 30:5; and Psalm 28:7.

Phrases/Quotes: "F.R.O.G. - Fully Rely On God"; "God, the best maker of all marriages, combine your hearts into one. William Shakespeare"; "What is right to be done cannot be done too soon. Jane Austen"' Treat Your children as if you won't have them next year. But, train them as if they won't have you. Renee Ellison"

Here's the inside of my binder with my supplies pouch. In the pouch are pencils, pens, eraser,stamps, small calculator and post-its, small pair of scissors and a perm marker. For the pockets, I used some stickers from my crafting stash (that match the colors of my images).

And that's the outside and basics so far. I'll post more as I get more pics up. How are you doing on Home Management?

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Recipe! - Angel Lush with Pineapple

A friend of mine turned me onto this recipe. It's very simple to make and any time I've made it people have raved over it. it will look like you spent hours making it and in reality there is little fuss and muss. I'm not exactly sure how many it serves, but we have plenty for seconds at home, and I know we had leftovers when I made it for a dinner party of 8 adults.


Angel Food Cake (can buy or make; if make your own, let cool completely)
1 pkg (3.4 oz) of instant vanilla pudding mix (do not make pudding, only need the powder)
1 cup (or more, to preference) of whipped topping like cool whip
1 can crushed pineapple in juice (unsweetened)
8 fresh medium-sized strawberries (washed, but not stemmed)

Pour crushed pineapple (make sure you add juice) into mixing bowl. Next, add instant pudding powder and stir with spoon until the juice thickens. Next gently add in/fold in whipped topping. Set aside. Cut angel food cake into three layers. Put bottom layer on the cake stand or plate and top the layer with some of the mixture. Add second layer on top, more mixture. Add top layer and cover with remaining mixture. Add berries in a ring around the top. Refrigerate at least one hour before serving.

NOTE: To make a more diabetic-friendly version you can use sugar-free instant pudding mix and sugar-free whipped topping.


Saturday, August 8, 2009

Updates on Projects

It's been a while since I mentioned projects, so thought I'd see how you were doing on yours and let you know what's going on in our world.

As you know, we began working in the half-bath. It's been painted. I still need to clean up a few droplets here and there that splattered. I also need to finish hanging the shelf and decorations that are for the room. And once more deep clean the floor. I'm hoping to get to all that Tuesday.

I've also been working in my daughter's room. We've purchased almost everything (there is still a huge poster-sized frame for a bunch of photos that she'd like and we need to find a new stool for her vanity or see if there is any way to repair the old one). Instead of trying to find beads to hang in front of her closet (for door), we purchased a flat sheet in the same shade of chocolate brown as the one we got for her futon cover (at Walmart). We wanted some cute trim to dress it up a bit but were having some problems finding the right colors/styles/etc. Last night the Lord directed me to the perfect trim to match not only the colors, but the dangles on her lamp. :) So, I have that project going this week. My mom also found a great wrought iron planter shelf (3 shelves) that needs some work so we have to sand it down and prime then paint it. Daughter has been going through her clothes so we can turn them into the consignment shop and clear out the clutter of her closet. We found a great ribbon (basket-weave style) bin on clearance at Target to hold her pajamas in. I hope to finish up in the next two week so we can take pics and I can move on to the livingroom.

Other than that, still decluttering. Not as faithfully as I'd like, but have been praying for more motivation. I joined a great group of gals on a loop and we are working together to make our homes shine by working on one area each day of the week. It's nice to have a focus to not get overwhelmed. :)

This week and next week I will be taking any extra time (what's that, haha) to work on the homeschool corner, declutter it and clean everything and get ready for the new school year!

So, what have you been up to? How are your projects going? How is the decluttering going? Have you been maintaining? Let me know!

So, that's been life in a nutshell.

Monday, July 20, 2009

What about your home?

We are often taught to live the word, talk the word, take the gospel to the world. It should so be a part of us that people "just know" in their spirits that we are of God.

But what do our homes say?

What if you had to leave everything as-is, walk away and never come back...

And what if a non-believer had to take refuge in your home..

What testimony would your home (and the things in it) teach them about God?

I've mentioned how God is leading me to purge, clean, and prepare. One area is my home. And in that effort, I've prayed often, asking God to show me what things would not glorify Him. It's amazing how much we own that needs to go. God laid the questions above on my heart. If I believe it, why do I not surround myself with those things that are pleasing to Him? Why have we allowed excess to show our distrust? Why have we not prepared to occupy until He comes? How come I have not been a good steward and prepared for emergencies?

A lot to think about, and a lot of conviction laid on my heart.

Today has been a day of acknowledging those convictions and renewing the strength in Him and refocus once more on the tasks He has set before me.

So, thought I'd share with you and see what you think.

There are so many areas of our home that could be used to witness at a glance, the calming peace of organized homes, graceful and uplifting and praiseful decor.

But we could do deeper. What about our music choices? The books we read? The movies we own? The types of things we display AND hide all give a glimpse into our lives. What is of most importance to us?

I'd like you think about this as you go about your week...take a few moments to pray and ask God to show you what areas of your home could use His blessing and what things can be done for His glory. How can your very home be a testimony to the fact that you love and serve the Almighty God?


Monday, July 13, 2009

Needing Prayers


I need your prayers today. I'm not sure what's going on, but I've really been feeling attacked today and have struggled all day with anxiety. I know that fear is not of God, so have been praying as well, but could use some reinforcement.

Today I've worked on homeschool with my youngest, and took a nap with him (he had a headache, so we rested a bit before lessons). I've got to do some housework, but just am having trouble functioning a bit.

I guess it's one of "those" days we talked about before.

Thanks for listening.


Tuesday, July 7, 2009

How to Love Your Husbands

Today I was wondering what we could talk about as I went about my internet business. I came across a great blog posted by a friend and thinks it works perfectly here!

While she talks about homeschooling moms, all of us wives are keepers of our husbands' hearts and it's our Godly duty to lift them up before Him and while we are here, to love them above all others God has placed in our lives. We chose them! :)

So, without much ado, I will simply share the link and hope that you find some great ideas for loving your husband.

How To Love Our Husbands

Enjoy and pray as you think of ways to bless your husband.

And don't forget to come back if you have some fabulous ideas! We can all learn some things from each other. :)


Monday, July 6, 2009

Be Still...

To-Do List:
1) Take suit to dry cleaners
2) Help Billy with his math problems
3) Create lesson plans for the upcoming week
4) Take the cat to vet for vaccination
5) So on, and so on, and so on

Does this look familiar to you?

If you're like me then you are the ultimate list maker. There have been times I've had lists of lists! I kid you not. Lately, there have been more lists than I can think of because I've worried about forgetting something with so much on my plate.

However, the Lord opened my eyes to something missing from each of these to-do lists.

Time with Him.

I'm not talking about spending hours and hours each morning (or even a half hour if you're a mom of young children). I'm talking about just taking a breath and opening your heart and mind to Him and His love throughout the whole day.

It has taken some time, but I've finally learned that when I stop and ask Him what He wants me to do, somehow it all gets accomplished and I feel more peace as I do it.

That small voice will gently nudge me and tell me what is a distraction, what is not going to help me fulfill His purpose in my life that day. He is so good and He does care about us so much if we will but sit and listen.

Having a good block of time to pray and seek God is desirable--for us moms it's just not always possible. We hit the floor running and we don't stop until we fall into bed exhausted because we are playing catch up from our procrastination and distractions. We then realize another day went by without that block of time and we feel bad (self-condemnation) and determine to do it the next day only to repeat the cycle. If you're like me, then you feel like you aren't a "good Christian" if you can't get that solid block of time in your prayer closet.

Last year I was crying out to God, asking Him to show me how to find that block of time in midst of everyday life. I'd like to share a verse laid on my heart that really changed my life and my relationship with God during these precious years...

I Thessalonians 5:17 (KJV) - Pray without ceasing.

While we moms have a hard time being "still", I think a lot of this is to be still in our thoughts and hearts. We can pray while we do the dishes, or even scrub the toilets. A moment of prayer when we toss a load of laundry into the washer. Thank Him when you wipe that little nose or when you have to vacuum up the mess left behind from the art project your child worked on.

There are so many opportunities during the day to seek Him, to praise Him if we but open our eyes. And we will be following Scripture by praying throughout the day, not just once then going on our way.

When we can do this, it strengthens us throughout the day too. We feel that connection no matter what we are doing and have opened the door to allow God into every aspect of our lives, not just the prayer closet. He can show us times to stop and play, times to stop and rest. When we lean on His understanding and not our own there are so many good things we can do that will glorify Him.

We just need to remember, it's not about us--it's about Him.

When we focus on what we did or didn't do--beat ourselves up mentally--then our focus is not on Him. We are thinking about our flesh, instead of sacrificing it to His will. We should all remember that whenever the enemy (or your own mind) falls into the trap of self-condemnation. Stop yourself and let God know that He is more important!

Our prayer life is meant to draw us near to Him. We need to stop beating ourselves up and praise our precious Lord for the opportunity to talk to Him throughout the day and use those moments we can to worship Him for all that He is, was and will ever be!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Welcome, Sisters...

Please come in and make yourself comfortable.

Welcome to this new blog, Home & Heart Keepers.

We'll get to more in a moment--need to switch the laundry over first...okay, shall we continue?

Why have you started this blog?

First and foremost we hope to glorify God and share the Word of God and insights we have gleaned from the Word and from our personal walk.

Secondly, it is because we feel that women have been called to care for their homes (and any blessings along with it) but often feel alone or misunderstood.

Thirdly, because we are learning, right along with you, what it means to truly fulfill our God-given roles.

What qualifies you to do this?

We are not experts--as mentioned above, we are learning with you--nor do we pretend to know it all. We also struggle with problems like perfectionism, procrastination, fear, anxiety and yes, even the age old question, "What's for dinner?"

We daily strive to die in the flesh. And it's a good thing we need to because it is our weaknesses which delight the Lord. When we rely on Him in all things then He is glorified and strengthens us in Him.

Believe us, there are days we cringe to think someone could stop by (like today--eek!). Why? Because we have not always fulfilled our duty to the fullest. We are now striving to do so and hope to one day soon have our home become a beacon of hospitality for any who arrive on our doorstep. We tell you this so that you understand we truly need God and encouragement as much as you.

We feel the joyful burden to reach out to those struggling and encourage them as often as possible, and exhort them when needed. We hope you will do the same with your comments and prayers, and by sharing your journeys.

Is this blog for me?

While this blog primarily relates to Christian women who are keepers at home, we invite all and it is our prayer that women everywhere can find encouragement as they fulfill their God-given task in keeping their homes and the hearts of those close to them.

All the Rest

I say "we" because while this blog will be written mostly in my hand this is a joint effort with my darling groom and most importantly, the Lord. The good Lord gifted me with an incredible and intelligent husband and I rely on his wisdom and insight almost as much as I do the Lord's.

We will try to post as often as we can, but my first duty is to my husband and keeping our home as his is to cherish and provide for me and our children. Between work, worship, building blocks and breakfast cereal we hope to find moments of Holy-Spirit calm to share our journey with you.

So, please, take a walk with us as we learn to treasure what the world might think is "mundane" or "for someone else". Just remember what I Corinthians 3:19 (NIV) teaches us, "For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God's sight..."

And now off to toss the dead plants in the window (did I mention I have a black thumb?).

God Bless You,
Ken & Tamara