Friday, December 30, 2011

Another benefit of canning :)

(Sorry about the sideways picture!!)

Sometimes when I'm in the midst of canning, when there are 20 raw chickens in my fridge waiting to be cut up/canned/frozen, or bushels of corn, tomatoes, etc. sitting on my kitchen floor patiently waiting. . .canning seems to be a huge inconvenience, somedays it's so hard to fit it in amongst all the other stuff of life (homeschooling, regular meals, cleaning, laundry, laundry, laundry, etc.) But I know that it'll be much more of a benefit than a hassle, and we'll enjoy the results for a long time.

Today is a day I'm appreciating all those canned goodies. On this second-to-last day of the year I am making a bunch of meals for the freezer or shelf for my friend who will begin chemotherapy right after the new year. Trying to find meals which will be easy for her husband and pre-teen daughters to prepare. Just picking off my shelf I was able to grab sweet and sour chicken (canned) (which I partnered with a carton of instant rice), several soups (I put each one in a brown bag with some crackers), and now for the freezer--making several batches of chicken divan, chicken bruschetta casserole, and this yummy dinner we enjoy quite a bit which consists of apple pie filling, then the meat, and topped with stuffing.

All these were quickly and easily whipped up from chicken and turkey which we had canned and some other veggies, etc. which were on the canning shelves as well.

So---if you're on the fence about canning--I'd highly recommend you give it a try. Especially if you raise your own meat or have a trusted source for good meat. The freezer is great, but nothing beats the convenience of being able to just pull the cooked, non-frozen (if you're like me, you often forget to pre-thaw!), delicious meat/soups/etc right of the shelf and make a quick dinner!

Give it a try! :)

If you'd like a little more inspiration on canning/farmish stuff/simpler life, etc. check out Deborah Jean's blog hop! here

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Couch to 5K ?? :)

I'm always very reluctant to join in with things I see as "fads". I've heard about this couch to 5k program for years and have finally decided to give it a try. I did find one with Christian music here and am currently on week 4. Truthfully I'm liking it! I have always hated running, and get overwhelmed with it. Or envious of people who are good runners (like my sister, who is training for a half marathon!) Or don't have the time/commitment.

So what do I like about this program? It's combo run/walk/run/walk with cues of when to run, when to walk. It's all organized/laid out for you, so you don't have to do the figuring out.'s just for up to 5K. 3 miles doesn't seem tooooo long, but when you're starting fresh with running--it's a good goal! :) seems attainable. AND I don't have to commit hours a day to it.

We'll see how it goes, if I follow through and become a runner! :) Truthfully, beginning a running program in Vermont in December may seem a bit unrealistic, but with long johns, gloves, hat/neckwarmer, etc. maybe I'll be able to enjoy it! :)

The 60 Minute Money Workout by Ellie Kay

I've read articles and heard Ellie Kay on the radio before, and she seems to have some rather clear, good, practical financial advice. With these assumptions I began reading this book, The 60 Minute Money Workout. As I began in the introduction I started getting a feeling that I might not like this book so well. I understand that having a positive attitude toward finances/my handling of finances is important, but a forced 5-10 minutes of "self talk" saying positive things about my handling of this. . .didn't sit right with me. Okay, so on with the book.

It's set up chapter by chapter like an exercise type plan--with 5 min warmup, 10 min strength training, 20 min cardio burn, etc. and the suggested plan of use is to go through one 60 minute chapter session every week. I had a bit of difficulty with getting into this style of organizing her information--as a matter of fact it drove me a bit berserk--made me feel like I didn't want to read the book at all. BUT--plowing through. . .as I read on I found that she had some very practical information on many different family financial topics, such as debt, vacationing, vehicles, retirement, and many more. These were found outside of the cutesy exercise plan segments.

So. . .re-reading what I've written so far. . .sounds like I didn't like the book, right? Well, not exactly. I DID get some good ideas from it. I'd suggest that if you read this book, just skip over the "exercise" segments and read the meat of the sections. Another suggestion (to the publisher) would be to re-publish the book in a different format, eliminating all of that workout stuff. (On the other hand, this is just MY opinion. Maybe there are thousands of other people for which this format works beautifully!)

My final word on the review is that I do see helpfulness in this book, maybe just check it out at the library to see if it works for you before purchasing it. You'll be able to tell if it drives you crazy or really reverberates with you, and then you can make up your mind about purchasing it. There's a lot of good content in there, buried deep within the exercise format.

I received a free copy of this book from the publisher for the purposes of this review. I was not required to write a positive review.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Love Lifted Me by Sara Evans and Rachel Hauck

This nice-sized book entitled Love Lifted Me by Sara Evans is my latest read-for-review book. I HIGHLY recommend it! I'll just start my review that way so you know what's coming! :) Although it is the third book in a series, I had no difficulty picking up the story line. The author did an excellent job introducing/including events from the past books which had great impact on this story.

The beginning of the book finds Jade, one of the main characters, putting one of her vintage stores up for sale, taking care of her husband's toddler son, and awaiting her husband's return from rehab. Phew! A lot of drama right up front! And the drama only continues! I don't want to give away the "secret" that Jade finds out, so you'll have to read the book to find that out--but that is really only a sub-plot of the book. As Max (Jade's husband) comes home--with a deep relationship with Jesus Christ--changes begin to alter their life as they knew it previously. A move, a change of job, the "secret", and amazing challenges that come with each.

A theme that runs through all these issues is reliance on God and His sovereign care/guidance/wisdom. Both Jade and Max seek to follow God's guidance for them. The characters are very believable and written for today (with lots of references to today's culture). There are all kinds of characters who enhance the story--quirky ladies, down-on-their luck individuals, troubled teenagers, a really bad "bad guy", lawyers, coaches, and more!

Love Lifted Me is a great read--I didn't want to put it down! It was very enjoyable with all of the drama, love, family, challenges, and a bit of football! I would certainly recommend it. It's not just a fluffy Christian romance, much deeper than that. It certainly made me cry in parts! It also challenged me to surrender challenges in my life to the Lord. A line from the last chapter of the book which speaks to this is, "We've seen what man can do. Let's see what God can do." I love that! Something to remember!

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Bible Translations--and a giveaway!

So many Bible translations!! Everyone has their "preferred" translation of the Bible, but I find it helpful to read other translations for my devotions, as sometimes I "get used" to one certain translation--sometimes seeing the same thought in different words opens up a more clear meaning, or just speaks to me differently.

One translation I've not used before is the New Living Translation. The publishers of the New Living Translation of the Bible are offering a giveaway throughout the month of December on their Facebook page. I'm going to copy/paste the info from an email I received so you can sign up!

" Here are the NLT Facebook page giveaway details:
Starting on November 29th until December 24th at the New Living Translation Facebook page we're giving away lots of great prizes and something free for you just for singing up.
By visiting the giveaway entry page (located on the NLT Facebook page, the link is under the profile picture) and entering your name and e-mail address you'll be entered to win the following prizes:
One random person each day will win a Life Application Study Bible Family Pack (Guys Life Application Study Bible hc, Girls Life Application Study Bible hc, Student's Life Application Study Bible hc, Life Application Study Bible hc, Life Application Study Bible Large Print hc).
One Random person each week will win an Apple iPad 2!
Everyone that signs up gets a free download copy of the Life Application Bible Study – Book of Luke!

Here's the link to the New Living Translation's facebook page for you to enter!

Good luck! :)

Finally a little snow! December in Vermont without snow so far?!?!?!? Kind of feels like the first half of "White Christmas" :)

Snow just makes everything feel more Christmas-y!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

A Woman's Guide to Fasting by Lisa E Nelson

I'll start this review by saying that I have never fasted in the Biblical sense. So I am not writing as a person having experienced or tried the things in this book. This, however, did not keep me from understanding or enjoying this book about fasting.

The book is a very well-writen book about fasting, how to, why to, what to. There's no judgmental feel (like as if you haven't fasted you're in horrid disobedience to God) and no super-academic feel (like it's just theory, not proven practice). The author speaks regarding topics such as why should you fast? How do you know it's time you should fast? How do you know what kind of fast? (and if you don't know there are different types of fasts, she tells you that as well!)

She goes through spiritual reasons for fasting and speakes of the physical aspects of fasting. She gives clear step-by-step instructions for fasts of different lengths and types. All in all, it's a wonderfully written book on fasting. I would highly suggest reading it, whether you think you're interested in fasting or not. It's a down to earth book, written by someone who seems like she's talking to you as a friend, which increases the book's readability as well. I liked the book, for sure, and recommend it to you.

I received a copy of this book for free from the publisher for the purposes of this review. I was not required to write a positive review.

Jackson Jones Book 2 by Jenn Kelly

The whole title of this book is Jackson Jones Book 2: The Tale of a Boy, a Troll, and a Rather Large Chicken. Now, doesn't that just catch your interest? When I reviewed the first Jackson Jones book (in this blog post, I said that it was like reading my nine year old's mind. I will use that statement again regarding this second installment in the Jackson Jones series (hopefully there will be more to follow!)

This second book in the series sees Jackson magically transported via a very strong wind and a stubborn patio umbrella into an amazingly large tree, filled with unique individuals. As he encounters different ones, he has adventures and shares some of his wisdom about life and "The Author" (God) with them. He has matured a bit and learned from his adventures in Great Aunt Harriet's Hair (in book one) and it shows. I don't want to go too far into his adventures, because you really should read them in the book, not here! Just suffice it to say that they're very silly and very interesting!

The chapters, once again, are very short, with funny titles that keep it all a bit crazy. Fun for out-loud reading or silent reading! I really think this book is a huge winner with children in the 8-11 age group. It's vaguely like some of the writing that's out there for kids in this age range, but this book is clean, kind, and teaches some moral lessons. It's not as overtly about God as the first book was, but there are lessons taught for sure.

I highly recommend this book, along with the first one. I do think that it was easier to understand this book having read the first book, so I would suggest reading them in order. This book would make a wonderful gift!

I received a free copy of this book for review from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review.

Sweet and Sour Canned Turkey!

We are in the midst of butchering 10 turkeys and there's SOOOOOOO much meat!! Lots in the freezer, lots canned, and now I'm looking for ways to do it up a little differently. I was looking online for recipes and found this great one for sweet and sour chicken. It was SO easy to make and very delicious too!! The recipe was from the Creative Canning Blog. They have some neat ideas on there. I made up a few canners full of this and we'll be enjoying it all year long!!