Make More Deposits

While waiting in line at the bank, a man developed a very loud case of hiccups. By the time he reached the teller’s window, the hiccups seemed to have worsened. The teller took the man’s check and proceeded to run a computer verification of his account.

After a minute she looked up from her terminal with a frown and said that she would be unable to cash his check.”Why not?” the man asked incredulously.

”I’m sorry, sir,” she replied, ” but our computer indicates that you do not have sufficient funds to cover this amount. As a matter of fact,” she continued, “our records show your account overdrawn in excess of $5000.””It can’t be!” he cried. “You have to be kidding!” “Yes, I am,” she answered with a smile, counting out his cash. “But you will notice that your hiccups are gone.”

Probably most of us know the sinking feeling to know of one time or another when there weren’t sufficient funds in the bank to cover our withdrawals. It makes for a rough day, doesn’t it?

While we are ever so careful to guard our bank account from being over drawn, I wonder what the records would show on the monthly statement of our marriage? How many withdrawals have you made? Wives need love, affection, attention, compliments, encouragement, dates, pampering, help around the house, a listening ear, a shoulder to cry on… Each one of those represent a withdrawal from our marriage account.

We can also make withdrawals by nagging, belittling, giving a cold shoulder, being unforgiving, negligent to his needs, etc.

Now, think back on this past week – what kind of deposits have you made? Not the monetary kind – but the relational kind.

  • Have you shown respect for your husband with your words?
  • Have you elevated him in front of others?
  • Have you thanked him for being a provider for your family?
  • Have you done a thoughtful gesture for him? (Bought his favorite candy bar, written him a note, made his favorite meal, took him out on a special date or created one at home- you get the idea)
  • Have you spent time doing something he enjoys even though it might not be your favorite activity?
  • Have you done something to lighten his load?

These things (and many others) are ways we make deposits into our marriage. There’s a double blessing here – we’re meeting the needs of our husband and rediscovering what a joy it is to be married. It’s fun! It is God’s plan and He can only do what is good!

Take a thorough check into your “account” and make sure you’re not overdrawn! If it’s been a while since you’ve put something into your marriage, you might surprise your husband so much you’ll scare his hiccups away!

Refresh you marriage today!!

Come back the rest of this week for more marriage posts that will encourage you to make your relationship the best it can be!

With love,

Denise Signature 150 px

Summer Date Night Ideas

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One day last week, my husband was cleaning out some of his office boxes that had been stored away in our garage when he came across a stack of preserved letters, notes and cards, most of them written by “Yours truly.”  We began reading them and found ourselves laughing, crying, and rejoicing over the years, the experiences we’ve shared, and the goodness of the Lord in it all.

It became so obvious to me that the written note is so important!  Without that, how would we recall these precious memories?  How would we have remembered how awed we were by God’s provision, or how near the Lord was during that trial?

Since that afternoon, I’ve determined that I must
a.) Continue writing notes.  Texts are great, but in ten years, how will we be able to reread that form of media?
b.) Read through the stack I have tucked away from the 36 years behind us!

Now, here are 30 great Summer Date Night ideas! 

  1. My first encouragement to you about a summer date night is to make a time when you and your spouse can sit down and read through some of your cards and letters you’ve saved.  Go out on your back porch to read them, or take them to the lake where you can sit at a picnic table.  Just do it.  It will remind you where you’ve come from and how special your relationship really is!  I fell in love with my husband all over again!
  2. You don’t have any notes?  Sit down and write your husband one today and leave it in a special place where he’ll find it.  Write it on pretty paper.  Spray a little perfume on it.  Then tuck it away so you can start that file you’ll be able to read again when you’re old and gray.
  3. Make your own Drive-In.  Make the setting outside your home perfect for watching a movie or show on your laptop or tablet.  Turn on the patio lights, light candles, get a bowl of popcorn popped and a comfy swing to share!
  4. Bookstore Date–  I first shared about this here ,and no matter if you have done it before, this date can be done over and over again and it will be new each time.  It’s one of our favorites!
  5. Read your favorite books to one another – or find a new one to read!
  6. Bake cookies together
  7. Watch the sunrise, then make breakfast together
  8. Attend a local baseball game
  9. Go for a long drive
  10. Have a picnic
  11. Play Frisbee
  12. Visit the farmer’s market
  13. Video Record the Story of How You Met & Fell in Love
  14. Cook a Late Night Dinner Together
  15. Write a Prayer List & Pray Together
  16. Make Smoothies or Milkshakes
  17. Share 5 Goals Over a Late Night Snack
  18. Do a Puzzle Together
  19. Play a Game
  20. Have a Chip & Dip Night – Add Conversation
  21. Record Each Other Sharing a Recent Memory
  22. Tackle a FUN Project
  23. Write a Gratitude List about one another
  24. Have an Ice Cream Sundae Night
  25. Search for Funny YouTube Videos
  26. Go to Yard Sales and see who can find the best bargain
  27. Go to the Local Bike Trail and ride bikes.
  28. Enjoy an Outdoor Concert
  29. Begin a Date Night Journal and Write down each time you have a date, what you did and any fun memories you created.
  30. Go to a Theme Park Without your children and leave your phones in the car.  Ride all the water rides.  Eat the snacks.  See the shows.  Stay late for the fireworks!

I hope you’ve had a great first week of June, and I hope some of the ideas shared this week will inspire you to create some fun at home this summer!  Each day is a gift from God and is worth celebrating!  So enjoy!!

Stay refreshed in God’s Word this weekend.  We need Him every single day!

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Kitchen Pantry Tour

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My pantry is a corner closet in my kitchen.  It holds all my cooking items, so that would mean ~

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  • Canned Goods
  • Baking ingredients
  • Dry Goods
    • Pastas
    • Rice
    • Flours
    • Grits
    • Oatmeal
    • Sugars
    • Dried Fruits
    • Nuts
  • Teas
  • Pudding/Jell-O
  • Cereal
  • Jams, Jellies, Honey

It also holds some paper products

  • Paper plates
  • Plastic cups
  • Plastic silverware
  • Straws
  • Holiday napkins and plates
  • Holiday bags
  • Extra Ziploc Bags

Some seldom used items are stored there.

  • Pressure Cooker
  • Pasta Pot
  • Thermos
  • Small Insulated cooler

So, as you can see, that pantry has lots in it AND I go in and out of there all day long. I tell you all that so you’ll understand why this “Before” picture looks so messy!  It had just gotten out of hand, even though I had a “system” I thought was working.

Pantry

I took a day and half last week and got it under control!

Let me give you a tour of the “After.”  It still has LOTS in it, but it’s labeled better and spread out in a way that doesn’t overwhelm me when I walk inside.

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I’ll show you each shelf:

Up above ~

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I added a little decor inside the pantry.  I hung my “Denise’s Kitchen” sign and my Rooster picture above the shelves.

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I hung my two dust pans on a wall in here.  The small one is only for sweeping crumbs off the tablecloth.  The large one is for the floor.  I was constantly going to the coat closet down the hall to sweep around the trash can and counters.  This makes life easier!

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All the holiday paper napkins are in Ziploc bags and labeled.

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A little vignette on the floor!

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While my pantry might not be the most beautiful with glass jars and empty shelves, it works for me and I enjoy stepping inside now.  My items are accessible and it makes me smile to open the door!  Mission accomplished!

If you didn’t see this post, you can see how I used vinyl chalkboard to cover the door of my pantry!

Do you have an area in your house that makes you grimace?  I hope this inspires you to do something to that space so you’ll smile instead!

Refresh those spaces!

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Five Ways To Reduce Your Grocery Bill

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Years ago when I was single and living on a teacher’s salary, I sewed my own clothes,I had pasta dishes for supper, and I shopped yard sales for home necessities.  Then when I got married and my husband began ministry, we took on nearly the same tactics in striving to live frugally.  It’s truly been a way of life for me.  I’ve often said that even if I ever fell into a goldmine, I’d still shop the sales!

I recently shared with a group of women some of the lessons I’ve learned to save money in grocery shopping and thought I’d share them with you, too!  There are a ton of great suggestions on the Internet, along with helpful sites that will snag the best deals and do lots of the work for you!  I’ll share a couple of my favorite places to go at the end of this post. But first, here are my best suggestions to reduce your grocery bill:

  1. Don’t start with coupons, start with the store’s sales.  
    • By knowing what’s on sale, you can purchase what you need when it’s at its lowest price.  Try not to buy foods until it’s at its rock bottom amount.  You could keep a running list of what the “bottom” price is so you’ll know if what the store is asking is truly a good deal.
    • Did you know groceries go on sale in cycles?  Usually every 6-8 weeks the most general items are marked down. You can go to Joyfully Thriving.com and download a free guide that will tell you what is cycling on sale every month.
  2. Stockpile items when they are at their lowest price!
    • When things are at their lowest price, purchase enough of what you buy to last you until the next markdown.  If you can’t buy enough to last until the next sale, buying at least couple, will also save you some money!
    • The goal is to have enough foods on hand (that your family will eat, of course) so you can plan your family’s menu around that.  Then each week, you’ll purchase fresh produce, perishable items and the new items that are reduced.
  3. Think hard about your Meat-filled meals. 
    • Having pasta, soups, salads and veggies could reduce the cost of your groceries by $1,000!
    • For the meat you do buy, buy it only when it’s marked down.
    • Don’t be afraid to buy meat that is on sale that day with a red sticker.  If you take it home and either use it immediately or freeze it, it will be safe to use.
    • Buy in bulk and freeze serving sizes in freezer bags.  Don’t forget to save yourself some time by cooking some of that chicken or hamburger and cooling it,  then freezing it so it will be ready for tacos, soups, or casseroles.  
  4. Plan your menu!  
    • When you know what’s marked down that week and what you have in your pantry and freezer, then make your menu using those ingredients.  I used to sit down with my cookbook and find all these great recipes that called for items that were not on sale and quickly learned that was not the way to vary our menu.  I learned to look at what I had, then find a recipe for those ingredients.  Here’s a cool site I just recently found where you can click on all the ingredients you have on hand and they’ll suggest recipes using those items!
    • Without a menu you’ll be scrambling to know what is for supper.  You’ll run to the grocery store at the last minute and have to pay premium price for items, and your grocery bill will be staggering!,
    • With a menu you can prepare a little ahead of time!  Thaw the meat, start the crock pot, etc.  So not only will you be saving money, you’ll also be saving your sanity!!
  5. Use coupons for the store where you shop.  Coupons can help, but it’s the last thing you need to worry about. I love Kroger because using their e-coupons keep me from having to clip them.  Often I buy an item on sale AND I have a coupon for it!  Double savings!!  I bought a pound of butter recently $1.40 because of the sale and coupon deal!

So those are my five best tips, friends.  I hope this will help you reduce your grocery costs!  One more tip I would add is, don’t be afraid of Aldi’s, if there is one near you.  Whitney at Come Home for Comfort has some great tips about shopping there.  Be sure to check out this post.

My favorite site for finding the sales in the stores where I shop is Southern Savers!

What is the most difficult part of keeping your grocery cost down?

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Family Friday – Mother’s Day Dilemnas

That holiday is approaching.  You know, the one where our family bows at our feet, singing our praises for the sacrifices of

  • laundry at midnight
  • science projects aided
  • homemade cookies baked for classroom parties
  • wounds kissed and cleaned
  • A patient, listening ear always ready to fix a relationship problem.

Okay, maybe not.  In reality, likely not.  Not if you still have children in your care.  Not if you’re a single mom.  Not if your husband is caught up in the pressures and stuff of life.  But I’m not here today to shake my finger at them because it’s so easy to forget.

I admit forgetting, too.  As a little girl, I was pretty much only focused on what my mom could and would do for me. Because she was so consistant, I came to expect a hearty meal every day at 5:00, clean clothes in my dresser, hugs when I was mistreated, and words of wisdom to guide my life.  It wasn’t until I became a young adult that I realized how much was sacrificed in order for me to possess that kind of home environment.  It was then that I really learned to say thank you to my loving mom.  I began to comprehend how truly blessed I was.  Every Mother’s Day since then, it’s been my goal to express to her how grateful I am today for all she was and still is.

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So let me stop to say, Mom (Millie Ray), thank you for all you did to make home so special.  Thank you for the meals you prepared that were both delicious and graciously served.  Thank you for taking the effort to decorate our home and keep it clean, and also teach me how to do those household tasks.  Thank you for sacrificing your own career so you could be home for us.  Thank you for loving God and making sure I knew Him, too.  And thank you for loving my dad and showing me that marriage was for keeps.  I appreciated it as a child, but today I once again say thank you and I love you!

To all you readers who are moms, I say, enjoy Mother’s Day by not expecting anything from your family.  Put your thoughts on your mom, or some other woman that the Lord has put in your life to encourage you, love you and support you.  Be grateful for them.  Do something to show your gratitude.  Stop and thank the Lord for your children.  Keep your focus on gratitude, rather than on your expectations. I learned this the hard way!

This is one holiday that makes me hurt for some dear women.  To those of you who wish you were a mom and find pain on this day, I say I’m sorry, and even greater, God understands and sees your grief.  Remember that He is a good, good Father, and don’t doubt His love because He has withheld this from you.

To those who didn’t have a loving mom, I say, God saw, God knows, and that is the reason we needed a Savior.  He gave us His son so we could all understand the greatest kind of sacrificial love.

To those whose mom or child is in heaven, remember that we’ll be joining our loved ones sooner than we think, never to be separated again. I love to think about what my daughter, Ashley is enjoying in heaven at this very moment!

Let’s allow Mother’s Day to find us showing our families that our greatest desire is God’s, “Well Done,” and that the joy of His comfort is enough for every pain in our hearts.  There are many coming behind us that need to learn from us that holidays are man-made, but the joy of being a Christlike woman is God-made!  That’s a gift that only He can give us, and that is enough!

Find refreshment in Christ!

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Chalkboard Pantry Door

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Maybe I love chalkboards so much because I taught school, I don’t know, but I do love them in every shape and fashion!  I have them in several places in my home, but I recently saw a place for a chalkboard that made my jaw drop…it was painted on the pantry door!  “How cute is that?” I thought. I decided then and there that I’d use my leftover chalkboard paint to create that in my kitchen.

But when I got to thinking about putting paint on that vinyl door, it made me wonder what I’d do when the chalkboard love had waned in my heart?  What would I do about that paint?  Another creative thought jumped in and I remembered seeing chalkboard vinyl that could easily be added or removed from a door!!!  This was my answer!

After much searching, I found just what I needed at Hobby Lobby (where else? I should have started there!).  So let me show you the simple process:

The before and after shots:

The vinyl has a grid on the back, making it super easy to cut a straight line, thank the Lord!  Try as I might, my lines wiggle all over the place without those patterns to guide me!  So I measured the width and the length and cut it accordingly.

pantry chalkboard vinyl

Then I took the vinyl with the backing still on it, and starting from the top, I placed the sticky part down,then slowly pulled the backing away, smoothing as I went.  This product went on super well.  It was easy to pull it off and straighten it, or push out any air bubbles,

pantry chalkboard process

Here’s the finished project without any writing on it – all ready for my chalk!!  Woohoo!  It took me 15 minutes to do this!  It doesn’t get any easier.   It’s sticking really well and hasn’t pulled away, but when I am tired of it, it pulls right off. I tested it to be sure!

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I wrote our Easter Menu on the board for the weekend, but…

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it already has a new look on it!  I anticipate changing it out weekly!  Why?  Because I love chalkboards!!

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But wait, here’s another fun use for the vinyl!  Have you ever used the last of your cinnamon and forgotten to add that to your grocery list? Then the next time you go to make cookies you remember you’re out of  it?  Me too!  So I also added a small piece of the vinyl inside my spice cupboard so I could remember the ones I needed to purchase and also which ones were stored away in the pantry.

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Not only was this project fast, it was also very inexpensive!  I used my 40% off coupon at Hobby Lobby and purchased this for less than $5.  I didn’t even use the whole roll, which means two things:

  1. It cost me around $3 to do this fun project!
  2. I have more chalkboard vinyl to add to other places in my house!!!  Hurries off to find a place to use that leftover vinyl…

Do you have chalkboards in your house?  How do you use them?

Refresh your home with a cute chalkboard!

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Adding Spring Touches Around Home

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Today’s post will be mostly a picture album of some changes I’ve made at home to turn things from winter to spring!!  I love how bright and cheery it makes the house!  Ready?

The mantle…

 

Spring 2017

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Coffee Table (and mantle in the background)…

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Living room bookshelves…

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I added lighting to the top, and middle shelves.  It doesn’t matter how pretty something is decorated, if it’s in the dark, no one can see it!  I used little battery operated lights on the shelves – see them beside the two bottom arrows below. I also put battery operated votives in the candle holders for light on the bottom shelf (above).

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The Dining room…

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The entryway…

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My kitchen window… The cafe curtain is just two cloth napkins on the rod.  I change them out seasonally to lighten up the window!

Spring curtains

My craft room also got some spring cleaning, straightening and redecorating…

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Adding softness to the table with the placemat really helped!  The quilt over the chair is another way I added texture.  It’s amazing how little changes can make a big difference!

Take a step back and see what winter decor needs to be removed from your home and then let the sunshine in!  Show your love for home by adding spring touches.

Which area above is your favorite?

With love from my spring-y country home,

Denise Signature 150 px