learning one day at a time

How To Celebrate Valentine’s Day This Year February 13, 2012

Filed under: Faith,Marriage,Recipes — fullofhisgrace @ 3:12 pm
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Here we go all you married couples out there, a list of inexpensive ways to celebrate Valentine’s Day just in case you are stumped this year! It really isn’t about gifts or extravagance…it’s about celebrating your love for each other. It doesn’t have to cost a fortune!

1. Build a fort.
Yes, I said build a fort. Get some blankets and chairs and fashion a quilt fort that you can spend the night in. Rent a movie or read a book together, buy some yummy Heart-Day treats and light some candles. This actually is really romantic and just fun, not to mention inexpensive! It feels like you are going away, but really you are just moving to a different room. Be sure to sleep in your fort to get the full experience!

2. Go see a romantic movie.
Usually there are many romantic movies coming out around Valentine’s Day. My suggestion would be The Vow this year.

3. Make dessert together.
Spend the evening in the kitchen making chocolate covered strawberries, cupcakes, or ice cream sundaes. This is sweet because you can spend time together and celebrate the day of love with foods.

4. Candlelit Dinner.
Husband’s this is for you! If you really want to impress your wife, cook her dinner, set the table with flower, candles and a tablecloth, and play some romantic music! She will LOVE it! Here are some great recipes for a romantic dinner:

Chicken Parmigiana


  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 2 ounces dry bread crumbs
  • 2 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
  • 3/4 (16 ounce) jar spaghetti sauce
  • 2 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease a medium baking sheet.
  2. Pour egg into a small shallow bowl. Place bread crumbs in a separate shallow bowl. Dip chicken into egg, then into the bread crumbs. Place coated chicken on the prepared baking sheet and bake in the preheated oven for 40 minutes, or until no longer pink and juices run clear.
  3. Pour 1/2 of the spaghetti sauce into a 7×11 inch baking dish. Place chicken over sauce, and cover with remaining sauce. Sprinkle mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses on top and return to the preheated oven for 20 minutes.

Baked Broccoli


  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme (optional)
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 pinch fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 pound broccoli florets
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  2. In a bowl, mix together the olive oil, brown sugar, lemon juice, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, oregano, thyme, salt, and black pepper until thoroughly combined. Add the broccoli florets, and toss until evenly coated with the seasoning. Spread the broccoli florets out onto an baking sheet with a rim.
  3. Bake in the preheated oven until the broccoli is just browned on the top, 10 to 15 minutes.

Chocolate Covered Strawberries


  • 16 ounces milk chocolate chips
  • 2 tablespoons shortening
  • 1 pound fresh strawberries with leaves
  1. Insert toothpicks into the tops of the strawberries.
  2. In a double boiler, melt the chocolate and shortening, stirring occasionally until smooth. Holding them by the toothpicks, dip the strawberries into the chocolate mixture.
  3. Turn the strawberries upside down and insert the toothpick into styrofoam for the chocolate to cool.

5. Go for a drive and star gaze in the country.
Make sure to dress warmly, and take lots of blankets if you live in a cold climate! It is always sweet to star gaze with your honey and it’s fun to snuggle in the cold too!

6. Write love letters.
Sit together at the table and write each other a love letter, a poem, a song or make a list of why you love your spouse. It is fun to read these out loud to one another.

7. Picnic.
I know it’s freezing outside…it is February after all, but picnics can be inside too. Set up a picnic in a room of your house that you don’t normally eat in. Actually pack a picnic basket and lead them to your romantic picnic. This is nice because you can light candles, sit on pillows, have flowers and so much more. Your imagination is the limit on this! It is a nice surprise for your husband or wife too, they will be thoroughly impressed!

8. Decorate your bedroom.
Make the bed, set out candles, rose petals and what not and celebrate love! Your spouse will love this because you put forth effort to make it special.

9. Massages.
Give one another massages. It is sweet and free!

10. Board Games.
Play board games or cards together. You can play for different things like winner gets a kiss and loser has to do the dishes after tomorrow’s supper.

Have a Happy Valentine’s Day! Don’t forget that marriage is glorifying to God so take the time and celebrate the love He has given you for your spouse. Let them know how much they mean to you!

Blessings In Christ,


Christmas Lists… December 23, 2011

Filed under: Faith,Family,Recipes — fullofhisgrace @ 5:01 pm
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I love that it is almost Christmas, but I do not love all the rushing associated with the coming holiday. This year I have decided to cut down on the things we do in preparation for this holiday and focus on the most important parts for next year…Are half the things on my list that stress me out really even necessary? Probably not. Here is a list of the traditions I am going to keep around or begin next year…

1. Baking

I am going to continue baking cookies and candies and all kinds of other things because I love baking and because that’s what my mom did with us. It’s a really good way to spend quality time with family and friends and giving away these goodies blesses someone else. I like to make Amish Sugar Cookies, Snickerdoodles (Noah’s favorite), Oatmeal Chocolate Chip (Mimi’s specialty), Fudge, and any other fun recipes that don’t take too many ingredients!

2. Christmas Tree

I want to continue chopping down real Christmas trees because I love the smell a real tree brings into the house and because it is really fun to pick one out and then saw it down yourself. I know that Christmas trees do have somewhat pagan origins, and it is a controversial issue, but I do love having a Christmas tree.

Here is our little Charlie Brown tree from last Christmas

Here are some articles about the history of Christmas trees that I find interesting:

3. Christmas Eve Service

Every year at my church we have a Christmas Eve service with music and the Nativity. Anyone who lives around New Palestine, Il is more than welcome to join us at the United Methodist Church at 7pm this Saturday! I absolutely love participating in this, and it is one of the traditions that I wouldn’t miss for the world. The service helps me keep Christmas in perspective and to truly reflect on the wonder of it all. I always feel like the service is a little magical especially when we all gather around in a circle to light candles and sing O Holy Night.

Here is a video of the Celtic Woman group singing this song! So beautiful!
O Holy Night

4. Jesse Advent Tree

Next year I would love to start doing an Advent Tree! I think it is a wonderful way to anticipate the coming of Christmas and to gain a deeper appreciation of all that the Christ Child means. I heard about this from Ann Voskamp’s blog, A Holy Experience. My mother-in-law has begun this at her house and I think it’s just great!

5. Spiritual Challenger

I love the idea of giving spiritually challenging gifts for Christmas, and I hope to become better at this in the coming years. I think Christmas is about Jesus and what better gift to give someone than something that helps to challenge them in their spiritual walk, and gives them more knowledge about Christ. The point of Christianity is to become more Christ-like and to be more like him, we have to know him. Praise and worship CD’s, a new Bible, a devotional, or a spiritual journal are all ways to challenge and encourage your friends and family in their walk.

6. Giving

I do not mean giving as in giving to friends and family (even though that’s very nice), I mean giving to those less fortunate. I have read some things recently that have opened my eyes to what Christmas should be. Giving to those who are in need should happen everyday, but most especially on Christmas! That is what Jesus did all throughout his life. He helped those who needed it. I know I don’t need the things that I put on my Christmas list for my husband this year. Those are things I want, but to know there are those who may not even have food to eat has hit me hard. It’s interesting when I stop to define needs and wants that my perspective on life completely changes. Next year, we will be giving one another something spiritually challenging and then finding something very worthwhile to do with the rest of the money we would have spent on one another. I wish we had done it this year! We would also love to begin volunteering somewhere Christmas morning, like a soup kitchen! I know this experience will be rewarding!

7. Caroling

I love to go Christmas caroling! It can be such a blessing to visit the homes of those who are home-bound and sing uplifting songs to soothe their spirit! It is also so wonderful to visit nursing homes and sing the residents Christmas carols. Many of the people in nursing homes don’t get to attend church anymore even on Christmas and it is so heartwarming to be able to spread some cheer!

8. Christmas Story

I love reading the Christmas story on Christmas Eve with just the glow of the candles and lights on the Christmas tree. To imagine Mary and Joseph and the wonder they must have felt of it all. The wise men and shepherds traveling and knowing what they were about to witness. The Angels singing and rejoicing. What wonder and amazement…the Christ child…

Luke 1:26-46 (KJV)

26And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth,

27To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary.

28And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women.

29And when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and cast in her mind what manner of salutation this should be.

30And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God.

31And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS.

32He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David:

33And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.

34Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?

35And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.

36And, behold, thy cousin Elisabeth, she hath also conceived a son in her old age: and this is the sixth month with her, who was called barren.

37For with God nothing shall be impossible.

38And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her.

39And Mary arose in those days, and went into the hill country with haste, into a city of Juda;

40And entered into the house of Zacharias, and saluted Elisabeth.

41And it came to pass, that, when Elisabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost:

42And she spake out with a loud voice, and said, Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb.

43And whence is this to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?

44For, lo, as soon as the voice of thy salutation sounded in mine ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy.

45And blessed is she that believed: for there shall be a performance of those things which were told her from the Lord.

46And Mary said, My soul doth magnify the Lord,

Luke 2:1-20 (KJV)

1And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed.

2(And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.)

3And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city.

4And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:)

5To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.

6And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.

7And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.

8And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.

9And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.

10And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.

11For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.

12And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.

13And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,

14Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

15And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.

16And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.

17And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child.

18And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds.

19But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.

20And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.

This is my list from now on of traditions I want to establish and keep for my family, and I hope I am able to stick to my guns on this! It is so easy to get caught up in the hustling and bustling of it all! I think it is so important to maintain the right perspective about Christmas and to establish traditions that keep in line with what the season is all about. Doing a family devotional everyday before Christmas is a wonderful way to do that. I hope some of you readers will prioritize your Christmases from now on and keep in mind what it is really about! May you have a blessed Christmas and may you truly grasp what it really is all about…

Blessings In Christ,


Having a Girl’s Night December 1, 2011

Filed under: Party,Recipes — fullofhisgrace @ 3:59 pm
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I love having girl’s night! Here are some fun ideas for food, games, and more!


1. Appetizers

This is delicious! –   1 container of Spinach Dip mixed with
Mozzarella Cheese to texture
-Sliced french bread – toasted on the stove top

Slices of ham with cream cheese spread wrapped around a pickle

Dip: for chips and veggies- 1 container sour cream w/ 1 pkg. original ranch seasoning
2. Egg Whites

Whip egg whites and use them as a facial. It is great for your skin and leaves it super soft!
You have to leave the mixture on until it tightens.

3. Manicures/Pedicures

4. Movies

Rent themed movies like (weddings, romance, action, adventure) or go see a movie in the theater!

My favorite lists:


My Best Friend’s Wedding
Bride Wars
The Wedding Date
Runaway Bride 


Fried Green Tomatoes
Steel Magnolias
Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood


Rambo movies
Star Wars

5. Games

My personal favorites are catch phrase or last word. These are so much fun to play with a group of people.
Games that do not require anything but yourselves are the singing game. You go around the room and each person has to sing the first song that comes into mind when they hear the song before them. You cannot stop singing! I love it!



Household Binder November 19, 2011

Filed under: Family,Homemaking,Recipes — fullofhisgrace @ 3:05 pm

Hello Everyone!

Here is another November organizational tip! An organizational tool that I wouldn’t be able to function without is my household binder. I have everything in here- menu plans, shopping lists, budgeting information for everyday and for Christmas, meal plan ideas, recipes, projects I want to get done, herbal remedies, birthdays, anniversaries, receipts, important phone numbers, chores (daily, weekly, monthly, yearly), and anything else that is important to the maintaining of our household. It is so convenient because everything is in one place!

Organizing your binder…

1. Menu/Shopping List

In this section, I have the shopping lists which I have shared in recent posts and the 4-week menu plan.



Tuesday- Pork Chops in Mushroom Sauce/ Asparagus/ Peas and Carrots

Wednesday- Baked Chicken/ Green Beans/ Mashed Potatoes

Thursday- Hamburger/ Baked Beans/ Cottage Cheese

Friday- Cabbage Surprise/Corn on the Cob

Saturday- Deer Burger Stroganoff/ Green Beans

Sunday- Shrimp Fettuccine/ Salad/ Garlic Bread


Monday- Enchiladas/Mexican Rice/Chips and Salsa

Tuesday- Spaghetti Casserole/ Salad/ Garlic Bread

Wednesday- NEW RECIPE

Thursday- BBQ Chicken/ Pasta Salad/ Bread

Friday- Fish/ Mashed Potatoes/ Green Beans

Saturday- Steak/ Gravy/ Pasta/ Bread

Sunday- Chicken Salad/ Fresh Veggies/ Dip


Monday- Pork Loins in Dressing/ Sauerkraut/ Cucumber Salad

Tuesday- Casserole/ Broccoli and Cheese/ Bread

Wednesday- Hamburgers/ Stir-fry/ Salad

Thursday- Lasagna/ Green Beans/ Garlic Bread

Friday- Shrimp/ Rice/ Sauce/ Veggies

Saturday- NEW RECIPE

Sunday- Deer hash/ Cauliflower/ Salad


Monday- Pork Chops in Cooking Wine and Onions/ Mashed Potatoes/ Green Beans

Tuesday- Fish/ Stir-fry/ Salad

Wednesday- Grilled Chicken Strips/ Rice w/ Soy Sauce/ Veggies

Thursday- Meatloaf/ Corn/ Fried Potatoes and Onions

Friday- Chicken Tacos/ Chips/ Salsa

Saturday- Turkey Breasts/ Cauliflower/ Green Beans


Shopping List 1

Shopping List 2

Shopping List 3

Shopping List 4

2. Budgeting

Budgeting is important because it helps you know where your money goes. I try to budget, but sometimes it is difficult because my husband is a construction/concrete worker and everything varies. Sections for budgeting are different for everyone. Here is a list of some of the things I include in our household budget…

HOME: rent, insurance

If you own your own home this may look different : mortgage, taxes, insurance, house payments, repairs

UTILITIES: electricity, water, gas/oil, cell phones/texting (or landlines if you have them), internet, garbage company

VEHICLES: insurance, gas, repairs, oil changes & other maintenance, car payments, license renewals, etc.

INSURANCE: health, life, etc.

BILLS: credit cards, student loans, etc.

FOOD: groceries (cleaning supplies & medications), restaurants/fast food

CHILDREN: child care, diapers, school supplies, clothing, sports equipment, etc.
We don’t have children yet, but if we did I think this is some of the expenses we’d have…I’d love to get some
comments on this section for sure!

MISC: hair cuts, personal care products, clothing, etc.

ENTERTAINMENT: movies, books, magazines, newspapers, concerts, outings, hobbies (ours are hunting and
scrapbooking), etc.

OTHER: missions, tithing, donations, doctor visits, dentist visits, savings accounts, retirement, vacation

You can make monthly or weekly budgets. I prefer monthly because then it is easier to keep track of the bills.

I also like to keep a separate budget for Christmas. I begin Christmas shopping right after Christmas because it looks better for our finances. It is easier to spend a few dollars here and there rather than to go and spend a large sum all at once. It also makes it less of a financial stress. I love to craft and so I make a lot of our gifts homemade (facial scrubs, bath salts, cookies, ornaments, etc.).

3. Recipes

Here is where I put all the recipes that I use the most. This is where I can find the recipes for the foods on my weekly menus. I try to go through and clean this out once in awhile because this is where I also put recipes I’d like to try and I tend to get a little over zealous there! I also keep several recipes for easy desserts to take to church or family gatherings.

I also find this a good place to keep a list of most used ingredients:

turbinado sugar-whole wheat flour-salt-Tony’s creole seasoning- dijon mustard-greek yogurt-milk-bread-eggs-brown rice- brown sugar-honey-whole wheat pasta-butter-cheese-potatoes-etc.

Keeping a list of most used ingredients reminds me to check the pantry and fridge for these essentials anytime before I go to the store. I make almost everything using these ingredients!

I also keep recipes for my homemade cleaning supplies here like laundry detergent, all-purpose cleaner, shower cleaner, etc.

4. Herbal Remedies and Medicinal Information

Here is where I keep herbal remedies like what different herbs and plants can do!

For instance…

Aloe vera: can relieve constipation because the juice from the plant works as a laxative.

Garlic: can prevent blood clots

I like to know these things because it’s nice to use natural things instead of medicine when possible. I am a huge fan of the Bulk Herb Store

5. Projects

Here is where I keep projects that I’d like to do! Some magazines have great ideas so I just rip out the pages that I like and put them into this binder…I have only gotten around to a few, but it’s nice to have ideas for rainy days!

6. Family Information

This is a great place to keep addresses, birthdays, anniversaries, phone numbers, and other important information like your family doctor and other emergency numbers. This is helpful to me because I married into a huge family and it is so hard to keep track of birthdays. This way I don’t have to write them in on the calender every year. I just make a heading for each month and write the date and the person’s name beside it! Creating this section of the binder is also very important if you have children and hire a babysitter. In case of an emergency, they will always be able to reach someone on the list!

7. Cleaning

This is where I keep daily/weekly/monthly cleaning lists.


dishes, tidy up, take out trash, wash counters and table, make the bed, one load of laundry, clean stove top


scrub shower/toilet/sink, wash mirrors, vacuum, dust, sweep and mop, clean out fridge and pantry, wash out microwave, wash bedclothes, tidy up baskets


de-clutter each room, clean windows, wash baseboards/vents, wash curtains/iron, go through clothing and give away things that haven’t been worn in forever, tidy up closets




There are so many ways to put together a household binder! I highly recommend doing this. I know it takes awhile to put together, but the hour or so that you spend doing it will save so much time down the road. For people that don’t like putting together lists there are many websites that offer printable lists and labels:

1. Printable Pages For Your Household Notebook

2. Top Cleaning Checklists

3. Family Finances & Expenses Checklist

4. Survival Guide

5. Make A Household Notebook {Ideas & Printables}


If you try this let me know how it works out for you! I love getting comments and suggestions!

Blessings In Christ,