The Porch Light copyright by Revka (2006-2010). All rights reserved.

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Jesus' bones?

By now, you have probably already heard about this, but, on Monday morning, Mr. Incredible was watching The Today Show when one segment talked about an archaeological discovery made in 1980 in Talpiot, Israel. Apparently, a tomb was discovered that some are now claiming to be Jesus’ family tomb. Inside were ossuaries bearing the following inscriptions: Yeshu Ben Yossef (Jesus son of Joseph), Yehuda Bar Yeshu (Judah son of Jesus), Martha, Mariamene (purported to mean Mary Magdalene), and Myriam (Mary).

James Cameron, director of the movie Titanic, has produced a documentary and co-authored a book about this discovery. Both movie and book are titled The Jesus Family Tomb. While claims are being made that this is actually the family tomb containing the bones of Jesus, interviews with other archaeologists and scholars revealed that the names found in the ossuaries were common Jewish names during those times and that the assumption that this is Jesus’ family tomb is both highly unlikely and coincidental. (Interestingly enough, a previously discovered ossuary called the James Ossuary was touted as the resting place of James, one of Jesus' half-brothers. The artifact itself was genuine, but the inscription on the box has since been determined to be a fake.)

While I am confident that further research will prove that this is, in fact, neither Jesus’ tomb nor His bones (for He rose from the dead and now lives in Heaven), I can see how this would make a great movie. Picture it – a movie about the “real” life of Jesus in which He is in love with Mary Magdalene and has a son by her. I even have a title for this movie: The Da Vinci Code. Oh, wait! That movie has already been made!


Can you guess the answer?

Mr. Incredible heard this on a morning radio talk show and thought it was interesting enough to share with me.

What are two words used in conjunction that, once a girl/woman learns, she uses every day (or nearly so) for the rest of her life?


Tuesday, February 27, 2007


Lately, it would seem that I have some unconscious desire to inflict pain upon myself. Here is how Sunday went.

I did fine until after lunch. Than I made the mistake of walking between the couch and recliner. Bad move! I whacked my ankle bone on the wooden handle that reclines the chair. Ow! I was hopping around for a couple of minutes.

Fine, I can live with that bruise, but just a little while later I was holding Baby Bear. We were near a counter. She got mad about something and started to throw herself backward. Fearing that her head was going to hit the corner of the counter, I flung up my hand between her head and the sharp corner. Thankfully, Baby Bear didn't actually throw herself backward, but my hand struck the corner with a great amount of force, resulting in a painful blow to the base of my ring finger. It was so bad that I initially thought that I had broken my hand as it seemed incapable of movement. Instead of crying, I convulsively shiver when pain levels get high enough, and I was shaking for about 10 minutes.

That's quite enough trauma for one day, don't you think? I certainly thought so, but after we went to bed, Mr. Incredible rolled over and somehow managed to bend two of my toes upward. Ow, ow, ow! That hurt not only my toes but also the tendons on the top of my foot.

Needless to say, I was a limping, hurting wreck yesterday. At one point on Sunday, Mr. Incredible looked at the girls, shook his head, and said, "Mommy's accident prone!"

I don't know what you're talking about, Honey. You know I am the epitome of grace!


Monday, February 26, 2007

Miscellaneous Monday

This idea comes from My Derbe, a blog I enjoy. She gives three random pieces of information about herself on Mondays and has invited everyone to participate. Here are three random facts about me.

  1. Where I grew up, Caucasians, including me *laughing*, were a minority.
  2. I grew up without the "benefit" of television. I think I'm doing just fine, thank you very much. *grin*
  3. I sing, teach piano (not really an unknown fact), and can play guitar and violin a bit - though I wouldn't want anyone to hear me now. I'm really out of practice on both those instruments!


Sunday, February 25, 2007

So you think you can cook?

Well, you just may be up to the challenge - Mom's Niche Recipe Challenge, that is! Mom's Niche Blog is looking for really great recipes in the following categories:

  • Appetizers
  • Entrees
  • Desserts
According to Mom's Niche,
Three semifinalists in each category will have their recipes published in the Mom's Niche Newsletter for all of the subscribers to make and try for themselves. The subscriber's will VOTE on the best recipe in each category and the winning recipes will be published again in the Easter issue of Mom's Niche News! Each of the winners in the three categories will receive a great Mom's Niche Prize Pack filled with goodies!!
You still have enough time to enter in all three categories. Deadlines are as follow:

Appetizers: February 26. 2007 - 11:59pm EST
Entrees: March 5, 2007 - 11:59pm EST
Desserts: March 12, 2007 - 11:59pm EST


Friday, February 23, 2007

To DIY or not to DIY?

When we purchased our house, we did so with the intent of completely repainting both the interior and the exterior. The previous owners had good taste and nothing is hideous, but it's just not what I want to see permanently. Thus far, we have managed to paint the girls' room, although a portion of it will have to be redone shortly due to the ill-fated placement of the Princess mural. I have the paint colors chosen, but the question ringing in my mind is this:

"Revka, is it really worth the hassle to paint every inch of the house yourself? You know you will have to deal with the kids wanting to "help" you as you paint!"

After doing some research into painting costs, my cheap frugal side is screaming at me to go ahead and do the job myself. I know Mr. Incredible will certainly help; in fact, knowing him, he'll probably end up doing to bulk of the painting. Do you guys have any thought on this? Sometimes I think it is worth paying someone else to do these kinds of chores!


Thursday, February 22, 2007

Con artists in the making

Even though I did make light of the beginning of this week, I must say it was certainly not ideal! I am so glad that Spring is fast approaching. The temperature has flirted with the 70F mark for the past three days so the girls and I have seized the chance to revel in the outdoors. We have had fun swinging on the swings (well, I push them - I'm kinda too big for their child-sized swing set!), playing a simplified version of dodge ball, playing in the sandbox, and just being outside again.

All this outside fun does come with a minor price, however - we are going through enough Band-Aids to supply several First Aid kits! Both Pookie Bear and Miss Muffet think that any injury, no matter how insignificant, requires the application of a Band-Aid to soothe away the "pain." I keep explaining that a Band-Aid is not necessary unless there is actually blood, but I think they are just in love with the exalted status acquired by means of the badge of suffering that is a Band-Aid.

You see, when one is in possession of a Band-Aid (applied to one's skin, of course), one has the means by which to extort sympathy, even from strangers. Simply put on your most forlorn face and hold up the "injured" member, making sure the Band-Aid is most prominently in view. Sadly say, "I got an owie." (or something similar) More likely than not, those suckers grownups will fall over over themselves in their attempts to make you feel better. If you are lucky, you might even get money or candy for your efforts. Ah, yes! There's nothing like the rush of having "touched up a score" yet again!

clip art of bandage courtesy of


Congratulations, Darling!

Mr. Incredible is such a wonderful man. He is patient, calm, thoughtful, reliable, trustworthy, honest, and strong. He gives his best wherever he may be. And it is nice to know that others recognize his numerous good qualities.

When we finally got to talk after church last night, he told me that he had received the results of his year-end 2006 evaluation. Everything was positive; he had even exceeded expectations in several areas! And, of course, that meant a modest raise - always a lovely event.

On top of the positive review and pay increase, he also received a promotion in classification. That part is rather funny because neither he, his immediate supervisor, nor his supervisor's superiors can find out if there are additional responsibilities/requirements with the new classification. Right now, it's rather like, "You did a great job so you're getting a new title. Isn't that nice?" It'll be interesting to see what happens next. No matter what, I'm very proud of him for being so faithful and industrious!

But that wasn't all the good news. The icing on the cake was that the company for which he works greatly exceeded 2006 revenue projections. Because of this, even though half of the regions in the company (including my husband's region) did not meet goals and, therefore, did not qualify for personnel bonuses, the company has decided to go ahead and give personnel bonuses worth half of what employees would normally would expect. YEA! Since we had resigned ourselves to not receiving a bonus, this is fantastic news!

Now that we will be rolling in the dough (laugh), maybe Mr. Incredible can get me that grandfather clock I've always dreamed about receiving. Oh, wait, I'm dreaming again. ;) But I'm not dreaming when I think that I am married to a wonderful man. Thank you, darling, for all you do, and congratulations, too!


Monday, February 19, 2007

I'll take "Childish Logic" for $2,000

Clue: "Because I want to fill it up and go swim."

Answer: What is, "Why did you pour water all over the bathroom?"


10 steps for working up to working out

  1. Acquiesce when your child asks if she can take a bath. Remind her that she is not to get any water on the floor.
  2. Fill the tub, and remind her yet again not to get any water on the floor.
  3. Let her play for about 20 minutes.
  4. Check on her.
  5. Freak out when you realize that there is about an inch of water on the ceramic tile floor.
  6. Realize that the hall carpet is soaking up the water from the bathroom.
  7. Turn into a crazy woman - get your kid out of the tub, throw a couple of towels down on the tile floor, and toss your child a towel to wrap around herself.
  8. Grab a few towels and throw them on the carpet.
  9. With all your might, stomp on towel-covered carpet.
  10. Repeat steps 8 and 9 for about 45 minutes.

This knee-lifting exercise is guaranteed to get your heart rate up and is a great way to prepare for a full workout session the following day.


Better than Pizza Hut

Wow! I've received a high compliment! I was talking to A. after church last night, and she was telling me that they had enjoyed the homemade pizza Friday night. In fact, they ordered Pizza Hut pizza on Saturday night (a rare treat for them). Their 3 year old daughter ate a little bit and then said, "This isn't as good as Miss Revka's pizza!" That is high praise from a child! So I thought I'd share the recipe with you.

Quick and Easy Pizza Dough

3/4 c. warm water
1 pkg. rapid rise yeast
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. olive oil
2 1/4 c. flour

Preheat oven to 500F. Mix together the warm (not scalding) water, yeast, salt, sugar, and oil until yeast is dissolved. Add 2 cups of the flour. This should form a rather moist dough. Turn the dough onto a surface covered with the remaining 1/4 c. of flour. Knead until dough is smooth and shiny (about 5 minutes). Place in a greased bowl and cover with a clean dish towel. Placing the bowl in a warm place, let the dough rise for a minimum of 10 minutes. Grease and flour a pizza pan. After dough has risen, stretch it to cover the pan. Cover with sauce (recipe follows) and toppings as desired. Bake for 8 minutes.

Yield: one 16 inch pizza crust

Note: I usually double the recipe and make a 14-inch pizza and a 16-inch pizza.

Pizza Sauce

1 can (8oz.) tomato sauce
1 can (6 oz.) tomato paste
1/2 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. Ken's Steak House Italian Dressing with Romano Cheese (or other brand zesty Italian Dressing)
1 tsp. Italian seasoning
1 Tbsp. olive oil

Mix all ingredients together. Adjust Italian Dressing, olive oil, and Italian seasoning amounts to suit your family's taste.

Yield: sauce for one pizza

Note: Since I normally make two pizzas, I double the recipe. Since I use tomato paste simply to make a thicker sauce, I still only use 1 can of tomato paste whether I am making sauce for one pizza or three. I also use this as a basic Italian sauce for use in spaghetti, lasagna, and other such dishes.

photo of pizza courtesy of


Saturday, February 17, 2007

What a fun evening!

I didn't post anything yesterday because, once again, I was attempting to tame my house. If you haven't figured out by now, that is a recurring activity around here. I get the house in order and feel relieved so I slack off until it is once again out of control. You'd think that, since I have identified the cycle, I would have broken it by now, but I haven't.

Anyway, in news of possible actual interest (grin), I was working on the house because we actually had company last night. We invited a family from church over for homemade pizza and a chance to visit in a relaxed environment, and we had so much fun! Since Mr. Incredible is supposed to get off work at 5:00 p.m., we had asked them to come over at 6:00 p.m. - thinking that would give Mr. Incredible plenty of time to shower and get ready. Wouldn't you know, he ended up getting home about 7:30 p.m.? Oh, well. We fed all the kids (they have 2 kids who are around our children's ages) and stuffed our faces without him. When he did arrive, he ate pizza while we ate dessert. Afterward, the kids played together while I visited with A. and Mr. Incredible visited with D. We all have a lot of common interests and are in about the same situation in life so there is quite a bit of common ground on which to build.

It was really nice to have another couple to visit with. We're relative newcomers to this area and haven't had the opportunity to develop many friendships yet. It can get rather lonesome at times. Earlier, we had met another family that we were getting to be good friends with and had visited back and forth with several times, but for some reason we haven't heard from them in a couple of months now. So I'm not sure what on earth happened there. I'm just glad God sent another family across our path.

Mr. Incredible cracked me up after they went home. We were sitting in my piano room just talking when he asked me, "So do you think they really had fun or did we scare them off?" What, are we some kind of freaks now? (laughing)

So what do you like to do for fun?


Thursday, February 15, 2007

A happy announcement

I am thrilled to be able to report the addition of a new little fellow to our family. My sister-in-law, after having a problematic pregnancy, delivered a healthy baby boy about 6:30 p.m. last night. What a wonderful Valentine's Day present for her husband! We are so glad to welcome Cavan into the world.

Thank You, Lord, for your mercy and grace toward this family!


Ahead of the season

I get really irked when retail stores - Target, for instance - start selling swimsuits in the middle of January. I guess that's because I'm a last minute kind of gal, unfortunately! But, seriously, who wants to go to the beach when it's freezing? I guess some organized people are ahead of the game and plan their outfits and reserve their Outer Banks vacation rentals months in advance. In all honesty, I think their organization reaps much better dividends than my procrastination!


Valentine's Day in review

I hope you all had a nice Valentine's Day. We didn't do too much, but we managed to have fun anyway. Pookie helped me make sugar cookies. She cut them out herself and covered them with the red sprinkles I had purchased on clearance after Christmas. *grin* She was so excited to be able to give her Daddy a red-sprinkle-covered heart-shaped cookie. I thought Mr. Incredible and I had agreed not to even give each other cards this year so I was quite surprised when he proceeded to give the girls a heart-shaped box of chocolates and produced one for me along with a lovely, thoughtful card. Poor man! He only got the cookies we baked. Of course, I had bought him 3 die cast cars the week before, but I still felt rather bad. After all the sugar, we're all rather sluggish this morning. I almost feel like I could use a metabolism booster. (You know how I really feel about that, though.) How did your day go yesterday?


Wednesday, February 14, 2007

With Sympathy

No, I am not aware of anyone I know having died. Thank the Lord!

I received an assignment to blog about sympathy gifts. Now, I don't know about you, but any sad occurrence in someone else's life leaves me feeling awkward and at a loss for words. What do you say? You don't want to appear callous by apparently ignoring the person's circumstances, but neither do you want to appear cavalier by making an inappropriate comment.

I remember when I miscarried our first child that I had so desperately wanted. People, with all intentions of being kind and helpful, made the most hurtful remarks: "Oh, you can always have another baby," was probably the one that took the cake for me. I think when I don't know what to say, the safest and most effective way for me to communicate my sympathy is by giving a hug (if appropriate) and letting the hurting person know that I am praying for them.

One thing I like about Comfort and Grace (the target of this post) is that they offer simple and practical directions for How to Write a Sympathy Card. Look for the link in the left sidebar of their home page.


Craig's List

I don't know if you have heard about Craig's List, but Good Morning America did a feature on this a while ago. I'm a member of Freecycle, and I love it, but sometimes I don't mind having to pay a small price for an item, and other times, I simply don't want to GIVE something away.

That is where Craig's List comes in. Some guy named Craig began a site that is basically a virtual classifieds section. You can buy and sell and even find free stuff. The selection varies according to the location - duh! Do your research for your item (say, home furniture) on the Internet to determine a reasonable price for the item you are buying or selling. Then take a look at Craig's List to list your item or see if someone is offering it. To find your Craig's List area, click on Craig's List. You will arrive at the site for the San Francisco Bay area, but on the right hand side of the page are three columns of locations from which to choose.


Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Making a home spa

This one's for you, girls. I was just browsing this morning and came across a post by Bath and Body Junky about how to create a home spa retreat. I've often dreamed about being pampered at a spa, but my cheap frugal/thrifty side laughs in derision at the mere thought of the expense. However, creating my own personal home spa is a compromise I can hack. I love a long, hot bubble bath already! And, hey, if your guy likes to wait until the last minute to buy gifts, you still have time to suggest that he buy some items for your new spa.


Monday, February 12, 2007

I'm way behind on this, but ...

I've finally learned how to make lists and scratch them out. Ha! If you are as behind-the-times as I am, visit Blogging Basics 101 where I found directions for creating the scratched-out look. It's well worth your time to browse their site; I found some very helpful info there.

Blogging Basics 101 button designed by Jules of Everyday Mommy


Congrats are in order

It seems as though my family has decided that the pregnancy experience is best when shared. For example, one of my nieces was born in July of one year and Pookie Bear was born exactly 4 months later. More recently, my sister in TX had a baby girl on November 15, and my brother's wife (still pregnant, BTW) was pregnant then as well. Now, my oldest sister, Sho, has made public her exciting news that they are expecting their fourth child sometime in September. I'm so excited for them! Would you leave her a congratulatory note and let her know I sent you? Thanks!


Time to go vote

Hidden Treasure

After some delays, voting is now open for The Hidden Treasure Blog Awards. Go read the entries and vote for your picks.


Saturday, February 10, 2007

Common misperceptions about the title "Christian"

Have you noticed how generic the title "Christian" has become? Take a look into a Christian book store and see the array of products that they sell: everything from Bibles to first communion gifts to books about "Christianity" that are actually promoting Eastern mysticism in disguise to Cd's of "Christian" groups whose music sounds just like that of secular bands to "Christian" accessories. So many things that have no relation to Christ are accepted as "Christian" because so many people have misconceptions about what it means to actually be a Christian.

Here are some of the misconceptions I have run across: if you live in America, you MUST be a Christian; if you are a church member, you must be a Christian; if your good works outweigh your bad, you must be a Christian. (By the way, according to Scripture, "all our righteousness is as filthy rags." Even our best works are filthy to God; thus, we have no good works to weigh against our bad ones.) That is just a small sampling of the many misconceptions that people associate with the word "Christian."

A Christian is a person who has accepted Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior, realizing that His shed blood on the cross is the only payment that God will accept for the debt of our sins and trusting in Christ alone for salvation. Jesus Himself said that many who call him "Lord" will not enter into Heaven. If you had to convince God to let you into Heaven, what would you say to Him? If you cited your good works, church membership, water baptism, or anything other than Jesus' blood atonement, God would not let you enter Heaven, for none of those can pay the debt of your sin. "Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith..."


Friday, February 09, 2007

More items to dress up your house

Last month, I wrote a paid blogging post in which I told you about a company named Seattle that sells various home decorating products which offer a touch of class. I have once again received an assignment featuring this company, but this time you should take a look at their yard markers. The link takes you to the home page where you will have to look under "Complete Product Line" to find their "Lawn Sign" and "Lawn Sign - Deluxe" categories (See, that was an easy assignment for me to complete!)


NASCAR returns

Mr. Incredible loves him some NASCAR (Nextel Cup series), let me tell you! (Yes, that sentence is grammatically incorrect and reeks of Southern-ism. *grin*) And he is getting excited because the 2007 season is about to start. Maybe this will be the year that Jr. (Dale Earnhardt, Jr. for you non-NASCAR people) will finally win the championiship.

Yes, my husband loves Dale, Jr. - in spite of his sponsor. Mr. Incredible first began seriously watching NASCAR in '01 (I think), and his favorite driver was Dale Earnhardt, Sr. When he died upon crashing into the wall at Daytona, Mr. Incredible transferred his loyalties to Earnhardt's son - Dale Earnhardt, Jr. He has since collected both the Wal-Mart cheapo versions of the real die cast cars as well as a couple of the "real" die cast cars. In fact, I just bought him 3 more 1:24 scale models last night, and he had purchased six 1:87 scale models earlier that day. He's a FAN! I'm thinking that when we finally go on our dream trip and take a Orlando vacation, we need to swing by for the Daytona 500. I'm sure Mr. Incredible would love Disney World, but he would be in heaven here on earth if he could watch the Daytona 500 in person!

I have to admit that I have learned to actually like watching a race, but I'm not as gung-ho as Mr. Incredible is! Do any of y'all enjoy NASCAR or live with a NASCAR fan?

NASCAR and NASCAR Nextel Cup Series logos courtesy of
#8 car photo courtesy of Orlando Sentinel


Thursday, February 08, 2007

Creating a post using a non-Blogger font

I'm having fun learning new tricks lately. This is my latest trick: writing posts in fonts other than the ones provided by Blogger. I figured out how to do this without having to type my post in Word first, and this is much nicer because changing the code manually prevents Blogger from automatically changing the font back into one of its standard fonts when you publish or edit your post.

(UPDATE 2/9/2007) I was told that, while I can specify a particular font, the viewer must have that font on his computer in order to be able to view it.

I thought I had figured out how to manually set the font size, but I don't quite have that worked out yet. I'll keep trying, and sooner or later I'll get it. Hey, if you already know that trick, how about sharing it with me?

If you are interested in learning how to write your posts in a different font, visit my tutorial at RS Designs.

The same principle should work in other blogging platforms.


Creating a "Contact Me" form

I am really excited! I found out how to add a Contact form to my blog. Now, instead of your having to view my full profile to get my e-mail address, you can just click on the "Contact Me" link in my sidebar to be directed to my Contact form. I LOVE IT! It was so easy to add, too.

And since I love it, I thought I would generously share my source with you. Visit Han's post titled how-to contact form for blogger at BlogoSquare. I could not get the code provided in the post to work for me, but when I let Hans know, he graciously provided a link to a text file with the necessary code. When I used that code as specified, it worked like a charm. He has since edited his post to include further directions for using the code provided in the post and added a link to the text file that he provided me. Take a look at my contact form; this might be a useful tool for you as well.


Wednesday, February 07, 2007

The Carnival of Beauty (Beauty of Creativity edition) is up

Lindsay of Reading Red Letters is hosting this week. Head over to read the other participants' thoughts on The Beauty of Creativity. My post, The Most Beautiful Kind of Creativity, is included. Next week's topic is "The Beauty of Innocence," and Bethany of A Picturesque Life will be hosting on Febraury 14. If you are interested in participating, take a look at the guidelines.


Blessed with enough

Sallie of A Gracious Home is celebrating a year of abundance and has invited us to join her. I have wanted to join in since she started this but just had not gotten around to writing about it. Our experiences over the past two weeks have been so incredible to me that I can no longer resist the urge to blog about them.

My husband gets paid every two weeks, and I do the bulk of my shopping on the first Thursday night of each pay period. (I absolutely despise shopping and try to do it as little as possible!) Mr. Incredible also usually averages 6-7 hours of overtime per paycheck, and even though that amount is not included in our basic budget, we still manage to find ways to use it. *grin* The point is that the last two checks have only had 3 hours or less of overtime, meaning that we have to stick strictly to our budget.

This last paycheck, I paid our tithe/offering and the necessary bills only to find that we only had $96 left, and I had not yet purchased groceries/household items for our family of five or gotten any gas for the minivan. Our budget for groceries/household items for two weeks is $150 (we usually spend more than that, too) and the gas budget is $37.50 - a total of $187.50 and nearly $100 less than what we had in our account.

Well, I was determined that we were not going to dip into our savings yet again if I could possibly help it. I looked carefully through my freezer and pantry, planning out 14 dinners that, as much as possible, featured items I already had on hand. I then made a list of the other items we absolutely had to have to complete the menu and replenish essential items, like toilet paper and diapers. Then, armed with my list, I went shopping.

After purchasing everything on my list, I had spent only $81! Wow! That left about $15 in our account, and it had to last for two weeks. Shortly thereafter, $5 went for trash tickets. (We live in a rural area and have to purchase trash tickets if we want the private garbage collectors to pick up our trash.) Another $9 and some change was spent to purchase more bread and milk - we had used more than normal since we were eating sandwiches more often than normal. Okay, now we were down to $.78 in our account, and we still had a week to go.

Driving home from church on Sunday, my husband remarked that we had less than 1/4 tank of gas and would certainly need to put more gas in soon. I had not yet put any gas in the van. Then, when we got home, I noted that we needed yet another gallon of milk, more eggs, oil, and another loaf of bread. I resigned myself to withdrawing $20 from savings UNTIL...

I remembered some items that needed to be returned: an expandable file, a pair of slippers, and a pack of underwear that fit no one because one of the girls had managed to throw into the grocery cart on some previous trip to the store. When I returned the items, I received $19.63 in return. Close enough; thank you, Lord!

I was able to purchase the items I needed and even bought one non-essential snack item for Mr. Incredible. I put $5 of gas in the van - enough to make it until Thursday night Mr. Incredible's next paycheck will be deposited. I still had $3 left.

Last night, I had to buy some chicken for supper. Guess what? I bought 2 packs of boneless skinless breast tenders, and the total price was $2.96. I have $.04 left! I'm rich!

To me, this past two weeks has been evidence of the Lord's blessing on our family and also illustrates the fact that so much of what we think is "necessary" really is not at all necessary. None of us have gone hungry or lacked for anything. Even in circumstances that some would deem lacking, I am truly blessed with abundance.


Tuesday, February 06, 2007

February '07 edition of The Healthy & Fit Family Carnival

Hello, there! Thanks for visiting this edition of the Healthy & Fit Family Carnival. I am so glad to be hosting and am happy to have you stop by.

Since healthy eating is an important factor in having a healthy family, several entries relate to food.

More4Kids wants to help you choose the right foods to boost your child's brain activity at crucial times during the day. Included is helpful information detailing not only what to feed your child but also what to avoid giving to your child.

Kate of Babylune, creator of this carnival, extends an interesting challenge to help you get your 5 to 10 servings of fruits and vegetables daily - eat the alphabet!

Wisdom from Wenchypoo's Mental Wastebasket also promotes eating foods that are close to their natural roots and ponders whether all of the food nutrition labeling is disabling to us.

If, after reading the nutrition label, you have sworn off of French fries because of their general lack of nutritional value, visit Kathy Maister's Start Cooking blog to find Emerils’ recipe for baked French fries, sure to be a hit with kids and adults alike.

Here at The Porch Light, I offer an easier way for moms to achieve family togetherness over dinner and provide a delicious recipe for Tex Mex Steak Burritos to get you started.

But why should you put in the effort to have a family dinner? Lisa Mitchell of Let's Talk Babies provides us with several good reasons for eating together as a family.

After that wonderful family dinner, take the advice of Refrigerator Raid: have fun with your kids and play the pounds away.

If you are interested in a more organized type of family activity, head over to Scribbit and take the time to read Michelle's story of running together as a family. I gained several ideas for new avenues to explore in my quest for family fitness.

If you are a new or nursing mother, you probably are not ready for strenuous exercise. has ideas and tips for tailoring your exercise to meet your special needs.

Lastly, in a different yet interesting vein, My Self Development explains why you should help your child become an optimist instead of a pessimist.

That is all for this month's edition. I think this carnival included some very helpful and interesting information, and I appreciate having had the opportunity to share these articles with you.

The next edition of this carnival will be published on March 6 and will be hosted by Thrifty Mommy. Submissions are now open for the March edition and will remain open until March 4. Why don't you consider sharing your thoughts and ideas?

health basics clipart courtesy of


Sunday, February 04, 2007

The most beautiful kind of creativity

This week's Carnival of Beauty topic is the Beauty of Creativity. As I was thinking about what to write, my mind first went to artistic endeavors, such as painting, then traveled on to the beauty that people often create out of nothing. Then I wandered onto a completely different path.

Did you ever stop to think how wonderfully creative God is? No, I'm not talking about the world or any of His other marvelous creations, though those are creative efforts that only He could undertake. I'm talking about how He can take something horribly ugly and, to human eyes, irrevocably ruined and turn it into something glorious.

How about the wretch that has wandered in sin for years and is not only filthy spiritually but physically as well? We see the exterior and avert our eyes as we pass by, unwilling to be confronted by such ugliness.

BUT GOD ... sees the beyond the apparent lack of value and answers the broken sinner's plea for salvation, completely transforming one who was a virtual leper into a bright and shining child of God.

II Corinthians 5:17 "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new."

What of the Christian who has rebelled against God, taking his life into his own hands and making a complete mess of it? Once again, that which is impossible with man is more than possible with God. Once His rebellious child repents and turns to Him in contrition, forgiveness is extended, and God once again takes the man-made mess and turns it into a glorious testimony of His amazing grace.

But what of the Christian who has walked with God and yet faces the storms of adversity to the point that all hope is lost? God, the Master Weaver, takes every thread in our life and weaves it into a tapestry of beauty.

Romans 8:28 "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose."

When we see the effects of God's wonderful transforming power, we cannot but worship Him for His wondrous works - works of creativity without parallel.


Friday, February 02, 2007

Time: we all waste it

Everyone wastes time in some way. I don't know of anyone who can say they have made the most of every moment of their life. However, we can all work on making better use of the time allotted to us. Shannon of Mommy, Inc. participated in the Thursday Thirteen meme (?) and listed thirteen hints to defeat the time stealers. As with any list, most likely not everything listed will apply to you, but I am sure you will find at least one suggestion that would make a difference in your life.


Family togetherness courtesy of a crock pot

Here's a all-too-familiar scenario:

Dad, Mom, and kids have come home from work and school. Everyone is tired and hungry. Mom gets besieged by everyone else asking the same question. "What's for dinner?" Since Mom, worn out from her day, doesn't feel like cooking, the family either orders pizza delivery or piles into the car to hit the nearest fast food restaurant.

Problem: this "quick and easy" food is loaded with unhealthy substances: fats, too many calories, and chemicals! Also, the family doesn't usually spend much time together when they eat these kinds of meals. And everyone knows that "the family that eats together stays together." (Yes, there are many variations on that theme. *smile*)

There is an easier way for Mom to provide healthy meals that she won't have to slave over: by using the marvelous tool called a crock pot. Using this tool, the previous scenario can be changed into the following scenario.

Dad, Mom, and kids have come home from work and school. Everyone is tired and hungry. Mom gets besieged by everyone asking the same question. "What's for dinner?" Mom, smiling, asks the children to set the table while she adds the final touches to the meal that is already prepared and steaming hot in the crock pot. Everyone gathers at the table to enjoy a healthy, home-cooked meal; and both bodies and relationships are nourished during the family dinner.

To aid you on your journey to healthy eating and family togetherness, here is one of my family's favorite crock pot recipes: Tex Mex Crock Stew. It comes from a free week's sample of Leanne Ely's Low Carb Menu Mailer as featured on While the recipe is for a stew, I have tweaked it a little bit to change it into Tex Mex Steak Burritos.

Tex Mex Crock Stew/Steak Burritos

1 lb. steak, cut into cubes for stew or strips for burritos
1 Tbsp. oil
1/4 tsp. salt
1 (14.5 oz.) can beef broth
3/4 c. salsa
1 medium bell pepper, seeded, de-ribbed, and cut into thin strips
1 small onion, sliced
2 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
Flour tortillas (if using as burritos)

Sour cream
Chopped cilantro

To cook: Heat oil in a skillet over medium-high heat until hot. Add beef (half at a time) and stir-fry for 2 minutes or until outside surface is no longer pink. DO NOT OVERCOOK. Season with salt and transfer to a crock pot. In the same skillet, combine broth, salsa, bell pepper, onion, and cumin. Bring to a boil, scraping up any bits of meat from the bottom of the pan. Add to crock pot. Cover and cook on low heat setting for 8 hours, on high for 6 hours, or until beef is fork tender. If you want a thicker sauce, drain it into a saucepan and simmer until reduced. To use as a stew, just serve with a dollop of sour cream and garnish with a spoonful of cilantro. To use for steak burritos: place a spoonful of meat on the middle of a tortilla; add lettuce, tomato, cheese, sour cream, and other toppings. Roll up.


Nominations are now open

... for the Hidden Treasure Blog Awards. Everyday Mommy is accepting nominations until February 7. Voting begins on February 8. Categories include:

  • Children and Family
  • Faith
  • Marriage
  • Motherhood
  • Homemaking
  • Humor
  • Current Events
  • Life
Feel free to nominate any of my posts! :) (Of course I won't be offended if you don't.)

Only the top three nominated posts in each category will advance to the voting round. You guys write so many good thing that choosing one nominee per category was a struggle for me. In one category, I couldn't narrow it down. Here are the posts I nominated. Take a look, and if you feel they are worthy, why don't you send in your nomination for them as well?


Thursday, February 01, 2007

"The rod" defined

As part of a lengthy comment, one commenter at The Scriptural case for spanking asked a great question: "Do you really think the rod referred to in Proverbs was a literal rod?" (You won't be able to read his full comment for yourself since he later e-mailed me asking me to delete it.)

Here is my reply.

You asked if I truly believe these Scriptures are referring to a literal rod. Yes, I do. In a moment, I'll give you the Strong's Concordance definition for the particular word that is translated "rod" in the verses from Proverbs.

Before I do that, one other reason I believe this was a literal rod is not only because of the numerous references to a literal rod throughout the Bible but also because the Bible talks about the stoning to death of a man who cursed (Leviticus 24:10-23)as well as the scourging of Jesus with a whip that historians believe to be a cat-o-nine tails designed to rip flesh from bones. Keeping in mind the culture, I absolutely believe the rod was literal and not at all figurative. I'm also positive that if people from that time were transported to our time, they would quickly be jailed for "child abuse." Additionally, I believe that Israelites in those times had a much greater fear of transgressing than people generally have today. In Bible times, consequences were much more severe than we would consider humane today. Knowing you could consequently lose your life would be a great deterrent to breaking the law.

Now for the definition. Quoting from The New Strong's Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible:

"(literally) a stick (for punishing, writing, fighting, ruling, walking, etc.) or (figuratively) a clan"

The figurative definition comes nowhere near to being applicable. And this definition clearly states that the literal definition can refer to many wooden implements, including a plain old stick (or "switch" as your grandparents' generation probably called it), ruler, walking stick, writing implement, etc. That's not so far-fetched now, is it? How many people today can remember having had to cut their own switches for the spanking they were about to receive? Or how about the stories of children whose teacher rapped their hands with a ruler when they misbehaved? Today, our freedoms have been taken away to such an extent that we no longer feel that we can choose such means of punishment for fear of having our children taken away from us.

Again, I do believe Proverbs is referring to a literal rod.