Friday, April 29, 2011

The Fairy Tale Wedding

I woke up really early this morning to watch a wedding. After several hours and an insane amount of Coffee, I still can't believe I actually dragged my tail out of bed at 4AM to watch T.V.

I saw how beautiful all the clothes and hats were and I couldn't get enough of the grandeur and majesty of the ornate Westminster Abbey. I kept looking at the carvings in the walls and columns the arches and oh, that organ.

Like most of you I caught my breath when Catherine stepped out of the car and we saw the entire dress for the first time. I giggled a little when Harry turned around for a peak and said something to his brother and the look on Williams face when he saw his princess bride for the first time.

All the while thinking 'Kate is living every little girls dream.' We all want to be a princess don't we? We dream, as little girls, of our Prince Charming riding in on a white horse, rescuing us from danger and carrying us off to a palace and living happily ever after.

It wasn't until the coffee kicked in that I started to realize, ladies, that we ARE princesses. We, Christians, are daughters (and sons) of God. We are JOINT heirs with Jesus.
"And since we are his children, we are his heirs. In fact, together with Christ we are heirs of God's glory." Romans 8:7

We get to have the fairy tale wedding:
"Let us be glad and rejoice, and let us give honor to him. For the time has come for the wedding feast of the Lamb, and his bride has prepared herself. She has been given the finest of pure white linen to wear." For the fine linen represents the good deeds of God's holy people." Revelation 19:7-8

We are that bride, Christians! Ok, we aren't going to literally be married to Jesus. Marriage is the most intimate human relationship we can have. I have a feeling that our relationship with God is going to be even more intimate than the most happily ever after marriage we can imagine. And if you thought Kate Middleton's dress was divine, just wait until you see what you get to wear when Christ takes His bride. Our clothing will be our righteousness, how much we love and believe God. Righteousness is NOT about how hard you work for God--it's about how hard you love God.

"Then I saw heaven opened, and a white horse was standing there. Its rider was named Faithful and True, for he judges fairly and wages a righteous war." Revelation 19:11

Our prince Charming on a white horse comes for us ready to fight for us, rescue us "wages a righteous war". Ladies, our earthly Prince Charming may be amazing- mine is- but our Heavenly, eternal Prince will blow our minds. He will never argue with you or cheat on you or complain about an ill cooked meal. I'm pretty sure He will never leave His dirty clothes all over the house either. He loves us like no other, cherishes us like we've never been cherished before. Ladies, He adores you even now, no matter what is going on in your life, please know that.
Men reading this, it goes for you too!! I know it sounds mushy, but if you are a Christian, the Prince is coming for you too. He will fight for you as hard as He will fight for me. He cherishes you just as much as He does the ladies.

I can't wait for the day of our real life, last for eternity (literally) Fairy Tale Wedding.

Princesses, I love you all.

As always, your comments, questions or corrections are welcomed just be polite. =)
Bible verses are from the New Living Translation.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Adventures in Bread Baking

You've seen the posts on Facebook. You've seen the picture of the final product. Here is the entire story and the recipe.

A while ago my sister sent me a very easy bread recipe. I held onto it and held onto it. Last week I decided it was time to try it.
When I tried it on Friday it was very gooey and runny. The dough was more like a thick brownie dough. The bread didn't rise in the oven at all and it was flat, dense and almost like it didn't cook all the way through. I'm pretty sure that I didn't use enough flour. The ingredient list calls for 4 cups of flour, however, the 'what to do' list says to add 2 cups and then knead in a half a cup more. I followed the steps and since I was a bread baking virgin I didn't know to add more. Now I know. I remember my friend, Leila, saying her grandmother never really had a recipe. She said that different weather needs different amounts of flour. Unfortunately, I didn't remember this until after I made the first batch of bread.

Now, without further ado, the recipe.

1 1/2 cups warm water
1 tbsp active dry yeast
2 tbsp white sugar1tsp salt
2 tsp veg oil
4 cups bread flour

Dissolve yeast and sugar into water -- let set till creamy about 10 min. Add salt and veg oil and 2 cups flour (I mix all of this in my kitchen aid with the bread hook) Turn onto a floured surface and knead in more flour 1/2cup. Knead for about 10 minutes (again I use my KA) place in an oiled bowl cover with dampened dish towel let rise for 1 hour.

After an hour form into 16 rolls or two loaves and let rise another 30 min.

Bake at 400 for 20 min or until golden.

And now, all of the mistakes I made the first time.

The first batch I mixed with my stand mixer and the second I did totally by hand. I don't know if using the mixer was a mistake or not, I really did enjoy kneading it by hand.

The first time I added the water to the yeast and sugar and the yeast

became really clumpy. The second time I sprinkled the yeast and sugar onto the water.

When I mixed the oil and flour into the yeast the first time I used the prescribed 2 cups. The second time I added flour little-by-little until it looked more like bread dough.

The second time I made the bread I kneaded it by hand adding flour until the dough was no longer sticky. I did some research on kneading bread. Stretch the bread away from you and then fold it toward the center. Turn the bread a quarter turn clockwise and repeat. I would add flour when my hands were sticking to the bread. I would just sprinkle a little flour over the top and sometimes rub it on my hands.

I think that might be it. I don't remember anything else I did (I admit I'm really tired right now so I hope I didn't forget anything).

This is the good bread, it's so pretty.

This is the first bread I made (ignore the mess in the background). You can see that it didn't rise at all in the oven. I wish I had taken a picture of it cut.

I would LOVE to try more recipes, please send me some. I would also like to hear any tips or advice concerning bread baking you may have. Please leave them in the comments box because we are here to help each other out and encourage each other, just remember to be polite and respectful. =)

Happy Baking and God bless you and your family,

Then the older women can train the younger women to love their husbands and children,
to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God. Titus 2:4-5

Friday, April 22, 2011

Considering the Cross

I’ve spent this week trying to feel what the followers of Jesus may have felt during that first Holy week. I came to the conclusion that they had no clue what was going to happen. Ok, getting to that conclusion didn’t take very long because even Jesus’ closest friends really didn’t know what was going to happen to Him until it was happening. I did feel nervous throughout the week though. I wonder if Jesus was nervous during that week or if He didn’t get nervous until Thursday, the day He was arrested.

This morning (Friday) I wondered how the Believers felt waking up to the news that their leader had been arrested. I think they would have felt shock and disbelief because Jesus was so upstanding and had never broken the law. You never expect a religious leader to be arrested. Were the Believers afraid, embarrassed, maybe ashamed?

I think they may have been afraid for the future of this new group who followed the teachings of Jesus. Did they wonder if a new teacher would step up and continue to lead them? Did they think that the group would dissipate now that the Leader was gone? Maybe they were even afraid for their own lives; would they themselves be beaten and killed?

I’m sure some of them were embarrassed. I know, like today, many of them endured the ridicule of family and friends. How many people teased their loved ones while Jesus was suffering? I can almost hear it.

“This ‘God’ of yours, this Holy Messiah, Savior, how can He save you when He can’t even save Himself?”

Just thinking this brings me to tears. How many of them agreed with their family members? How many of them broke the heart of the God who was suffering just for them?

How many followers had been Jewish? I wonder how many of them spent the Sabbath (the next day, Saturday) pleading with God for forgiveness thinking they had sinned by following this Jesus. How many felt ashamed that they had forsaken hundreds of years of family tradition and religion to follow a man who claimed to be God and now that man was dying a criminal’s death?

Did some have hope? Jesus said over and over again “the Temple would be rebuilt in three days.” Most people thought He was talking about a building but did some of them understand He was talking about Himself? I like to think someone out there got it. Would you have understood, would you have had hope?

I am not a pastor. I’ve had no formal education in theology. I just think that maybe this is how I might have felt had I been there on the very dark Friday so many years ago.

I have felt ‘heavy’ all week and especially today. I was on Facebook around 5PM this afternoon and saw that a friend wrote “It is finished.” Those were Jesus’ last words as a mortal. I nearly broke into tears. I was reminded today that Jesus was in control the entire time; He Himself commended His spirit to God.

I can only imagine the joy that was felt on that Sunday morning when Jesus’ tomb was empty and Jesus Himself appeared to Mary and later the disciples. As word spread all of the despair and shame faded like frozen breath dissipates in the winter. In an instant a new Hope sprung to life, all the fears are quenched; all the doubts are put to rest.

Can you imagine what was going on in the hearts of people; the rejoicing going on in the homes of Believers?

“My Savior has indeed saved Himself and He has saved me as well!”

The best part is He has not only saved those who were with Him so many years ago, He has saved everyone who believes in Him. All you have to do is believe that Jesus died on the cross, was buried and rose again. Jesus is your Savior and as a pastor friend always put it “wants to be the boss of your life.” This doesn’t mean He is going to tell you what to eat and when to go to bed. It just means that you will love Him with all your heart, read the Bible (it really is relevant to life today); pray to seek God’s will for you.

**If you want to read the story of Jesus in its entirety, you can find it in the Bible. Look for the books of Matthew Mark Luke or John (they are all in that order near the back). If you have any questions concerning the life or death of Jesus, please email me or if you are comfortable enough, leave it in the comment box.**

As always comments/corrections are welcome, just be polite.

Have A Blessed Resurrection Day


Tuesday, April 19, 2011

My Brand New Solar Powered Clothes Dryer (AKA clothes line)

I’ve been using my clothesline for week now and I absolutely LOVE it! I love the way my clothes smell and feel when they come off the line and I have yet had to iron anything. It does take longer than it used too as I am trying to figure out a system to take things out of the washer in an order so like items can be hung up together.

My line is rather makeshift and there’s not much room on it, only enough room for a not too big load. I kind of want the umbrella kind so I can hang two or more loads on it. I am very anxious to see our next TECO bill. All of my research has told me that line drying will save between 5% and 10%, however, our dryer is extremely old (read NOT ENERGY EFFICIENT) and it takes and hour and half to dry ONE load of clothes.

In doing research for proper clothesline hanging here is what I have learned.

Soap is what makes your clothes feel stiff after line-drying. I have also learned that most people use way too much soap when washing clothes. You could probably get away with using only half of what the manufacturer says to use. This will save you money as well.

You must use a fabric softener. I use distilled white vinegar. I fill up the Downey ball that I used for fabric softener before I discovered the miracle that is vinegar. I know that vinegar takes out soap residue. I found this information on Wikipedia about fabric softener. “Fabric softeners work by coating the surface of the cloth fibers with a thin layer of chemicals; these chemicals have lubricant properties and are electrically conductive, thus making the fibers feel smoother and preventing buildup of static electricity. Other functions are improvements of iron glide during ironing, increased resistance to stains, and reduction of wrinkling and pilling.”

Do you really want chemicals to “coat the surface” of your clothes? I don’t and vinegar is cheaper.

When I take the clothes out of the washer I shake them out and make them “snap”. This helps to shake out the wrinkles. I do this inside because I am afraid to drop the clean clothes in the dirt outside. I try to take the clothes out of the washer in the order I want to hang them up. I try to hang all like clothes together—shirts with shirts, towels with towels and so forth. This makes the line look prettier and it makes it easier to put them away.

Now to actually hanging the clothes. You will want to wipe the entire length of the line with a wet rag before hanging out your wash. There’s no point in hanging clean clothes on a dirty line.

The main rule I learned in research is if you wear it on top, then hang from the bottom. If you wear it on bottom, hang from the top. Shirts are hung upside down with an inch or two over hang. I was letting them hang from the hem until I read that could tear a hem and stretch the clothes. Jeans are hung from the waist with an inch or so overhang. I hang ALL dark clothes inside out to help prevent fading and pants are hung buttoned and zipped to keep the butt from getting a fade triangle. Nothing says designer like a light colored triangle on your rear =).

I hang underwear from the waist, mine and the boys. I understand that some of you may not want to hang out your “delicate” items. I do. I have privacy fence on all three sides of my

back yard and my line is not visible from the road. If you don’t have that luxury, you can hang your delicates on the middle of three lines surrounded by not so private articles of clothing. Socks I hang by the toe with the match clipped either with the same pin or right next to it.

Towels I hang longways with several inches hung over. Sheets I fold in half and hang with a few inches overhang. Fitted sheets I do the best I can =) Dress shirts are likely the easiest thing to hang. I button them up on a hanger and put the hanger on the line secured with a clothespin.

Never leave your pins on the line when there are no clothes. This looks sloppy and will make your pins weather and midew. I have made a pin bag out of one of the boy’s old shirts. I made it out of a t-shirt that I cut down the front two thirds of the way and sewed up the bottom to make a bag. I slipped in a metal hangar and stitched the shoulders a little so the hangar won’t slip out of the shirt.

I hang the entire bag on the line when I’m putting out clothes.

Here is a fun poem I found when doing research on clotheslines. I have no idea who may have written it.


A clothesline was a news forecast
To neighbors passing by.
There were no secrets you could keep
When clothes were hung to dry.

It also was a friendly link
For neighbors always knew
If company had stopped on by
To spend a night or two.
For then you'd see the "fancy sheets"
And towels upon the line;

You'd see the "company table cloths"
With intricate designs.
The line announced a baby's birth
From folks who lived inside -
As brand new infant clothes were hung,
So carefully with pride!

The ages of the children could
So readily be known
By watching how the sizes changed,
You'd know how much they'd grown!

It also told when illness struck,
As extra sheets were hung;
Then nightclothes, and a bathrobe, too,
Haphazardly were strung.

It also said, "Gone on vacation now"
When lines hung limp and bare.
It told, "We're back!" when full lines sagged
With not an inch to spare!

New folks in town were scorned upon
If wash was dingy and gray,
As neighbors carefully raised their brows,
And looked the other way . . ..

But clotheslines now are of the past,
For dryers make work much less.
Now what goes on inside a home
Is any body's guess

I really miss that way of life.
It was a friendly sign
When neighbors knew each other best
By what hung on the line!

Ok, I know that one who has been hanging out clothes for only a week is not really one from whom to take advice. These ideas are not my own (except for the pin bag, which I found online after I made mine). I am enjoying being outside early in the morning hearing the birds chirp and getting a bit of fresh air before my day really begins and when the clothes come off the line they really do smell wonderful. Give it a try. I spent less than 10$ on my line and pins and was lucky enough to have a tree and fence to attach my line to.

If you decide to try it, I want to see your line, send me a picture. And, as always, ideas to make this better are always welcome.

Happy washing,


Thursday, April 14, 2011

Buffalo Chicken... Nuggets?

Any one who has a child under the age of 10 in the house will probably have an endless supply of frozen chicken nuggets in your freezer. I know I do. I also know that they are a "go to" meal when I am tired or (more likely) haven't thought about what to make for dinner that night.

Last week I found myself in that very predicament. I was tired and I hadn't thought about what I wanted for dinner and it was too late to thaw real meat. I googled 'different ways to cook chicken nuggets' and found the following recipe.

Cook about 20 nuggets according to the package.
Put a half a stick of butter and a heaping teaspoon of finely diced garlic in a microwave safe bowl and melt the butter. If you don't have diced garlic, you can use garlic powder. Only use a half a teaspoon if you are using garlic powder. Add hot sauce to your taste, Christian likes ALOT. Mix well. I put the chicken nuggets in a bowl and pour the garlic butter over them, stir to coat the chicken and serve.

Christian loves this! I only found this last week and have made it twice. Once I made it with fried rice and stir-fried veggies. Very good. The second time we just had it as a snack late one night with blue cheese dressing. Also very good.

Even if your kids don't like the spice, you can serve them the nuggets "traditionally" and the adults can have the grown-up version. This is also a good wing alternative if you are running low on funds.

I hope you enjoy this recipe. As always, your comments and suggestions are welcome. Let me know if you have any ideas to make this recipe better. Happy cooking!!

Friday, April 8, 2011

The Domestic Executive's Daily Planner

**I am going to attempt to explain this idea in writing. If I hear from many of you that I didn't explain the concept well enough, then I will do this in video form. So please tell me if you would like to see this on video, many people understand things better if they can see it.**

I am a box checker. I am also the person who could waste away the day on the couch watching T.V. or in front of the computer only to realize, at 6 PM, that nothing has gotten done and no dinner ready for my hungry men. And then there are just the things that I forget to do, like dust the blinds and wash the baseboards.

I was wandering around on a website and ran into the concept of the daily planner. I fell in love with it immediately. It consists of pages that are printed everyday with your personal schedule of chores that you check off once done, thus appealing to the box checker part of my brain. It includes things like; Bible study, making beds, lunch, dinner, load of laundry etc. These are things that should be done everyday and honestly, if I didn't have some of them written down, I wouldn't do them. One of my daily chores is to refill the ice trays. I am always forgetting to do this, dinner time rolls around and I have a freshly brewed pitcher of sweet tea and no ice to cool it with.

The planner also includes a list of weekly chores, monthly chores, bi-annual and quarterly chores. Weekly chores are things like mopping, scrubbing toilets... and you get the idea. The same with monthly and quarterly chores, things that need to be done, just not on a weekly basis.

I was not, however, a fan of printing one page each day. It is a big waste of time and resources, not to mention, I would forget to print it and that would be the end of my planner. I read that one mom took her daily chore list to Kinkos to have it laminated. Since I'm too cheap to do that, I devised my own solution. I printed it and bought page protectors and a few dry erase markers (I like the various colors). Every night I erase my day away and start anew each morning. I love it!!

I also have my weekly chore list in a page protector. Because Christian doesn't always have the same days off every week, I plan my weekly chores around him in order to make the most of his days off. I simply printed a blank 7 day calendar and every week I put Christian's work schedule on it and then plan which days I want to do which weekly and monthly chores and write it under that day. At the end of the week I wipe it clean and start again. Most of you could print one schedule and keep it for a while, not having to re-arrange your chores every week.

I have also made pockets for coupons I want to use that week and recipes I'd like to try that week.

You can visit to get the forms. You can completely customize everything. I suggest making sure you put chores on your list that you would forget to do otherwise. It's so much fun to check off the boxes. =)
I am including pictures of my forms and book. And like I said, I am more than willing to do this again in video form.

Here is the cover of my book. I Just played with it and made it fun. I picked a picture of a happy homemaker for the uplifting that I hope it will give me... so far it's worked. =)

I know this is kind of small, I'm still trying to figure out how to do all of this stuff. I can use any advice on how to make the blog as a whole better as well. This is my daily chore chart. I have sections for things to do, I need to buy some rice. Sections for dates to remember,our menu for the day, how God has spoken to me that day, a verse of the week and special things to pray for. Oh, and my neat little boxes to check after each chore and little glasses to color in after I drink water.

This is my weekly chore chart. Like I told you, I just printed a blank 7 day calendar off of Google. Each week I write in Christian's work schedule and then decide which days I want to do what chores and then write them in with my dry erase marker.

My monthly and semi annual chores. Most of them have been done in March, but I started this at the end of the month so not a lot of time to get them all done.

So, I hope this will help make your Executive duties a little easier to remember. Please let me know if you have any questions or suggestions. This little book has made the last few weeks so much easier--especially when I want a cold drink and there is ice. As always suggestions on improvements are always welcome.


Thursday, April 7, 2011

The New Andrea Blogs

It has been a long time since I have posted anything-- ok long time is an understatement. When I started the blog I wasn't really sure what I wanted to write about, it was just the ramblings of me and not really interesting. I wanted a theme to my posts and I wanted my posts to mean something.

Lately I have discovered a longing to help women become better moms, wives, housekeepers and book keepers. Basically, to help women become better stewards of the things God has entrusted us with--everything!

For the past two years I have had and energy to tell people how to become better stewards of God's money. If you have had a conversation with me at any point during the past two and a half years, then most likely we have talked about money and I have told you about Dave Ramsey and have sung the praises of his course, Financial Peace University. More recently our church has offered a class called Effective Parenting in a Defective World, that my husband and I are facilitating. I am sure to say the word facilitating because out of all the parents in the class, Christian and I have the least experience, we just happen to be the leaders of the small group offering the class. Anyway, all that just to say this, during the second or third Sunday of this class I was sitting there going "This is what I like doing."

I just want to tell people (mainly moms) the tips I am learning about how to maximize our time as a Domestic Executive. Do you like my new term for stay-at-home mom? I thought it was clever.

I want this blog to contain all the tips and recipes I come across to make the job of Domestic Executive a little easier as well as some of the things that God tells me during my alone time with Him and in His word. So just a little explanation of what is going to be happening here in the Andrea Blogs.

I hope you don't get bored, no hard feelings if you do. =)

May God bless you and your family,