Thursday, February 28, 2013

Tummy Toners - Arrow Arm Crunch

I think this one is pretty self explanatory.  Instead of doing regular crunches or sit ups, point your arms together as in these pics and do your crunches pointing your arms to the middle and to each side as you come up.  All 3 positions will then equal 1 rep.  Do as many reps as you can in 30 seconds keeping good form.  Rest, then do another 30 seconds.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Live Faithfully - Week Three

Triumph over temptation: James 1:12-18

Here is what I learned this week:
  • temptation is not a sin, it's what you do in response to the temptation that can cause sin
  • temptation means to put to the test, examine, or to try
  • God will give you the power you need to face temptation, promises to bless you through them, and works all things for good in your life...good according to God's will, not necessarily ours
  • God may send trials, but temptations are authored by satan and encouraged by our own sinful nature
  • we are all susceptible to temptation in three areas: bodily appetites, beautiful things and boastful pride
  • sin is a 4 step process: 1. desire, 2. deceit, 3. design, 4. disobey
  • God uses my past to define my future
We WILL experience temptation, it's all over the Bible, no one is exempt.  How we live and how we respond will define us.  There's something to think about.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Don't Put Down, Put Away

I've talked in other posts about the "one touch" rule....same thing.  You think Oh, I'll put that away later I don't have time now.  Yes you do, even if you're in a hurry.  I have actually timed myself on putting away a few of those things I didn't have time for.  The longest anything ever took me was 53 seconds, the shortest was 3 seconds.  And trust me, when you're done with everything and can finally sit in your chair, you'll relax a whole lot better knowing everything is put away and taken care of.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Communicate Part 2

Here are a few ideas to help you communicate better.

  1. Designate a financial leader.  Usually in a marriage, there is one person who is better at finances than the other.  Even if that isn't the case, decide on one person to be in charge of keeping up with accounts and paperwork.  That doesn't mean the other person does nothing, there is just one person doing the detail work.  
  2. Have regular budget meetings.  During these meetings be sure to discuss things like:
    • bills to be paid
    • your spending up to that point
    • what needs to be purchased with money left at that point
    • any unexpected expenses
    • whether or not you are on track
    • how the goals are looking
    • worries or concerns from either one of you, but watch the emotions
    • any large expenses coming up that might change the plan at all
    • etc, etc, etc
  3. Consider a second account.  I DO NOT mean for you to separate your money.  This would only be if it would make your life easier such as one account would be for the expected bills that are the same amount each month and the other account could be for the variable bills and where you might save for larger purchases especially if you have an interest bearing account.
  4. Use E-mail as a form of communication if you have to.  It's not always a bad thing, especially if you are both so busy that you can only connect this way sometimes.  Also, it is a written and saved statement that you can refer back to if needed.
  5. DO NOT KEEP SECRETS.  If you have any right now lay them out on the table with set rules beforehand, such as, this is the time to be completely honest without any fear of emotional outbursts, the slate will be cleaned and we will move forward from here.  You must both agree to not lie anymore in the future and to have forgiveness for each other if someone makes a mistake.  Remember, if you aren't on the same page, this will never work.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Chili Cheese Dip

8 oz pkg cream cheese
1 can of chili with or without beans, your call
1 2cup pkg colby-jack shredded cheese or mexican shredded cheese
corn or tortila chips for serving

in an 8x8 dish spread cream cheese on the bottom
spread chili on top of cream cheese
sprinkle shredded cheese on top
microwave on high for 5 minutes or bake in the oven until cheese is melted at 350

you could also layer these in a crock pot and cook on low 1-2 hours until melted

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Tummy Toners - Side Hip Drop

Get into a side plank position, but bend your bottom leg at the knee to use it as support, as in the top pic.  Slowly drop lower hip as close to the floor as you can, then raise back up for one rep.  Slowly do as many reps as you can in 30 seconds keeping good form.  Switch sides and repeat for another 30 seconds.

I actually kind of like this one...

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Live Faithfully - Week Two

James 1:9-11 and 5:1-6

This week is all about money and corruption...funny how those two words go together a lot.

First we focus on the fact that all riches and "toys" are only good here on earth.  We can't take it with us, and any wealth and high power means nothing for eternity.  On page 46 we read:

If God's hand of favor and His bountiful blessings have caused you to develop an inflated perception of yourself, perhaps you should revisit your own humble beginnings and remember that without Christ we are nothing.

Here are the other things I learned this week:

  • God looks unfavorably upon those who selfishly hoard their riches
  • he who dies with the most toys doesn't win, he just dies, but whoever dies believing in Jesus gains all of eternity 
  • "in the last days men will be lovers of pleasure not lovers of God"
  • earthly FAT is foolish acquisition of treasure, spiritually FAT is a person who is faithful, available, and teachable
  • your possessions should never possess you
  • God bestows financial blessings not so we can live lives of idle luxury, but so we can bless others and help light their way
  • hypocrisy means pretending to be what one is not or the false appearance of virtue or religion
I hope you are woking along in the book....there is so much more there.  This is my second study on James and I've already learned new things this time around.  God's Word never stops giving.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Errands Once a Week

If you live in a rural area like I do....or even if you don't and just want to save time and gas...try planning your errands and only running once a week.  I plan all the things I need to do, go to the bank, store, library, etc.  Then I look at the list and plan a route where I'm not back tracking, but leaving the store for last if possible so my food isn't in the car for long.

Try it, I think you'll be surprised how efficient you can be!

Monday, February 18, 2013

Communicate Part 1

Money is hard to talk about.  In the middle of the conversation there can be feelings of pride, resentment, shame, and feeling like you don't measure up.  The results are hurt feelings, arguments, isolation and sometimes even lying to each other.

So why would you want to communicate about money?

  1. You have to help each other understand the real financial state you are in.  Not only do you need to know the numbers, but you also need to understand the spending patterns that got you there.  Communicate calmly, putting aside emotions and expectations, so that goals and plans can be made.
  2. You have to hold each other accountable in spending habits.  Talk things through, and establish checks and balances to head off problems.
  3. You have to build trust.  When you learn to communicate without emotions in the way, you'll find that your team is coming together.  You are working together with a purpose, you can face problems together.  As you accept each other's advice and see progress being made, a new level of trust is built.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Chicken Tortilla Soup

1 lb chicken breasts cur into bite size pieces
1 sm onion chopped
28oz can diced or crushed tomatoes undrained
2 Tblsp cumin
1 Tblsp chili powder
1 clove garlic minced
320z (4 cups) chicken broth

use a 4qt slow cooker (or pot on the stove)
add all ingredients together
cover and cook on low 6-8 hours (on stove bring to a boil, then turn down to simmer until desired thickness)
garnish with tortilla strips or crushed chips, cheese, sour cream or other favorite toppings

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Tummy Toners - Mountain Climber

Start in a push up or plank position.  Hands flat on the floor and below your shoulders.  Legs extended behind you. Your body should be straight.  My model's butt is a smidgen high in the air.

Bend your right leg and bring it toward your chest, then straighten it back to the starting position.  Repeat with your left leg for one rep.  Alternating legs this way, do as many as you can in 1 minute being sure to keep good form, keeping your hips and butt low.

If you go to the pool, try doing these in the water using the opposite arm of whatever leg you are moving as if you are climbing a mountain face down.  I love doing these in the water!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Live Faithfully - Week One

I really like the idea of this study.  It will take us 12 weeks to go all the way through the book of James which is only 5 chapters long.  We won't be rushing, and that's a good thing.  Nice tiny bites to savor!

This first week we are looking at James 1:1-8.  We start with acknowledging that we are brothers and sisters with Christ and children of long as we do the will of God.  Then we jump right into dealing with trials in our life...yippee.  But, you and I know, that as long as we are alive there will be trials, so we might as well make the best of them and learn what we can from them to deal with future ones. I like how the authors classified trials into 3 categories:  spiritual, cause and effect, and mystery.  I never really thought about that before, but it's nice to have a box to put them in.

I really like what they say on page 27.  "God uses hard times not only to make us stronger but also to make us complete, a Biblical term for mature."  How mature do you feel when you're dealing with trials?  Sometimes I act my age and sometimes I kick and scream like a 5 year old!

Another good point in made on page 29.  "Patience isn't passive; it is persistence despite trouble, peace in the midst of suffering, and perseverance instead of surrender."  I guess I did see patience as passive....sit and wait.  This study is really making me think!  I like that...most days ;)  On page 31, the author says, "While He has blessed me abundantly, it's the lessons from the trials that I tend to remember."  Isn't that so true?!?

And then we get to wisdom.  I can always use more of that!!  The definition is on page 33: "Wisdom is the ability to judge correctly and to follow the best course of action, based on knowledge and understanding."

I hope you like this study, and learn as much as I am....and it's only the first week.  Please feel free to comment on what stuck with you the most.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Sunday Cooking Day

Here's an idea for the busy family.  Make Sunday...or just one day a week...your cooking day.  Prepare freezer friendly meals, freeze then pull them out and warm them up.  Or plan meals that have leftovers that you can easily make into other quick meals.

Check the links on the side to find recipes I've posted to make with leftover chicken and other things.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Becoming a Team

If you are married, you have got to become a team to tackle this problem and to be on the same page from here on out.  You have to be committed to each other.  Even more important that that, you need to commit your finances to God....they're His anyway. He is the one who gives you the ability to produce wealth.  Committing your finances to God is the first step in becoming a team.

Now that you're a team, here are 5 areas you need to work on/think about/fix.

  1. Communication - do not fight, do not blame...learn to communicate about money effectively
  2. Budget - create and communicate about the budget.  My husband and I communicate about the budget on almost a daily basis so we always know where we stand.
  3. Unexpected expenses - is your $1000 emergency fund in place?  Not planning for those emergencies is a dangerous hole to fall in.
  4. Home purchases - don't buy a home too soon or buy a home that takes up most of the budget.  It's very tempting, but more stress than you may be able to live with.
  5. Spending money before you have it - do not take on unnecessary debt.  Save for the purchases you want, budget for the ones you need.  Don't fall into the buy now pay later trap.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Enchilada Casserole

8-12 soft taco flour tortillas
1 lb ground beef, browned and drained
1 16 oz jar salsa (more or less depending on your tastes)
1 12oz bottle of enchilada sauce (more or less depending on your taste)
1 pkg Mexican cheese or your favorite shredded cheese
optional - corn, back beans, black olives, chives

preheat oven to 375
mix together ground beef, salsa, sauce and any optional ingredients
spray a deep dish pie plate or round casserole (that will fit your tortillas) with non-stick spray
place one tortilla on the bottom of the dish
spread beef mixture thinly over the top
sprinkle layer with a little cheese
repeat layers until you are out of room, then top with more cheese
bake for 30-45 min, until cooked through and cheese is all melty and yummy
let stand at least 5 minutes before serving

these layers can be as tick or as thin as you can have more mixture and fewer tortillas or vice versa.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Triceps - Close Grip Push Ups

Get on the floor in a push up position with your hands directly under your shoulders NOT out to the side.  Keep your elbows close to your sides.  Engage your abs and butt as you do 12 push ups.

Don't forget to add this to the previous 5 moves for a total triceps workout.

You did 6 weeks, you should be proud!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Made to Crave Week 6

From Consumed to Courageous

Things I learned this week:
  • make the courageous choice not to be consumed by food
  • we might have to get to a place where our lack of strength disgusts us
  • we are to be made new in the attitude of our minds
  • a choice can be many things - a privilege, an opportunity, a blessing or a responsibility
  • there are changes that a scale can't measure
  • issues with weight are signs that we need to get unstuck from unhealthy habits

on page 170 of the book, Lysa tells us:
Even when we stand on the scale and see our goal weight staring back at us, we're always one choice away from reversing all the progress we've made.  I'm not saying victory isn't possible.  But victory isn't a place we arrive at and then relax.  Victory is when we pick something healthy over something not beneficial for us.  And we maintain our victories with each choice.  

This paragraph, for me, is the perfect way to end this study.  How many times have we made a change and gotten to where we wanted to be to only forget about all of it and end up back at the beginning?  I don't ever want to start over again!  How about you?

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Use Your Luggage for Storage

pic from Real Simple

In this pic, they are using a suitcase to store sheets and other linens.  I have a friend who lives in an older home and does not have a linen closet.  This would be a good use for her luggage.  And since she keeps her luggage stored under her bed, it would also be a great place to store off season clothing or shoes.

If you had older, vintage, "cool" looking hard sided luggage, like those in the pic, you could also stack them and use it for a nightstand, a conversation piece coffee table, or other side table in a room where it would fit the decor.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Commitment to Change

To get out and stay out of debt, there must be a commitment to change.  And it has to be strong.  You didn't get into this mess overnight and it won't go away overnight.  If you are a married couple, both people have to be on the same page or it will never work.  You must both be on board.  And then it's time for some attitude adjustments...

You must have an attitude of commitment.  it's not easy to walk a narrow path in a very long journey, especially when you may see very little along the way, but you have to keep your eyes on the goal not the boring path.

You need to have an attitude of obedience.  As in, all you have is from God...He owns everything not you.  What does God want from you regarding your finances?  It's very clearly stated in the Bible, and when you choose to obey that, it makes the journey a little easier.

You also need an attitude of surrender.  Obedience equals sacrifice.  You have to sacrifice your wants and limit your expectations materially speaking.  Note, I don't say this is easy, but it's an attitude that must be in place for success.

And you must have an attitude of prayer.  You can't do this by yourself.  If you were that strong things wouldn't have gotten out of hand in the first place.  We have to lay aside our wants and ask God to give us the strength to stay the course.

I'm praying for you too through this journey.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Easy Snickerdoodles

1 yellow cake mix
1/3 C oil
1/2 C sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 tsp cinnamon
2 eggs

preheat oven to 375
mix sugar and cinnamon and set aside
mix rest of ingredients until dough forms
shape dough into 1 inch balls
rolls balls in sugar mixture
bake 8-10 min or until golden brown

I like to sprinkle a little more sugar mix on top as the come out of the oven