Friday, September 28, 2012

food on friday: black bean soup


We love, love, love this soup. It has rocked our original food world! :D

It's the easiest meal to make ever, it's filling, vegan and good for you!

Here are the ingredients you'll need:


 3 cans black beans or equivalent {undrained}
{if using canned Bush's beans are the best- if homemade, make sure they're somewhat pre-seasoned with salt}
{1} 7 oz. can green chiles
1-2 tsp. garlic salt  {this is to your taste- start with 1 and add more if needed}
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tbs. olive oil

Here's what you do:

1. add all ingredients together and blend




option 1: you can use an immersion blender right in your pan or 
option 2: combine all ingredients in your blender or food processor and then add to saucepan


it should look about like this:


2. Heat on medium heat until warm.
{or cover and heat in the microwave if you have no time!}

The longer the simmer, the better the taste {of course} but we find that this is the perfect meal for lunch or a busy night. :D It makes 3-5 bowls, and it's so good!

You could also get creative and add other ingredients if you have the time...onions, bell peppers, sour cream etc. Make it just how you like it! :D



Thursday, September 27, 2012

thrifty thursday: animal pans, castles, and fall finds

In honor of thrifty Thursday, I thought I'd share a few of my recent deals and finds!

I scored this pan at Goodwill for $3.99 in like new condition a couple of weeks ago:



It makes really, really cute pancakes {when you don't use the whole wheat eggless pumpkin recipe}: 


:D They were ugly, but the kids loved them even with just a hint of animal shape. :D Genius, Nordicware. I did later use a regular mix recipe with it too and they turned out beautifully.

And the girls loved Goodwill more than ever when we found both of these Tangled castles:






















Their retail price on Amazon is $34.99 {left} and $109.99 right now. {choke} Here's our Tangled tower {the little one isn't pictured}:


Ours didn't come with the accessories, but that's okay. Our two castles were a total of $3.99 together. :D

$145? or $3.99 and a few less little toys? hmmmm....I love thrifting! 

Not all good deals have to be thrifted, though. I found these Mia Bridgeport {non-leather} riding boots for $29.88 at our local Sam's Club last week: 


I loved them! I didn't buy them, because I already have a pair, but it's really a bargain! Even Target doesn't have that great of a deal. :D 

What deals have you scored lately? 

Do you have good luck finding kitchen items at your thrift store? It seems like appliances, cooking tools, and plates are usually in abundance at most stores I visit!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

what i wore this week {what do you think? edition}

wondering what this series is about? read here to find out more… :)

Dear friends, I'm in a hair rut. 

So I decided to rhyme because I'm a bit of a nut.

Headbands are fun.

Apparently I wear lots of  'em.

I wear them on the porch...


sitting down...


on a log...


in the fog...


around the store...


 over here, over there...

and even under a bear....


Headbands are everywhere!


What should I do when I'm stuck in a rut?

Do you think I should get my hair cut?


Perhaps I should find a new style...

I'm so done with headbands for a while!

_____________________________________


outfit #1: top: forever 21, $10/ jeans- Citizens of Humanity, $7/shoes- Nine West, $5
#2- white lace top, Marshall's, $13/ jeans- AE, $27/ boots- gift/ scarf- AE, $15
#3- top- J.Crew, $15/ jeans- Miss Me, $27


linking up at the pleated poppy for wiww!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

walking through the gospel: walking in joy with an eternity mindset

source
This is our final week of Walking Through the Gospel! Can you believe it? :)

This week we're talking about a crucial part of a believer's life: walking in joy with an eternity mindset.

What does that really mean though?

It means we can walk daily with Him in great peace and with joy while looking forward to what is to come in eternity. Because we know who God is, we remember what Jesus did for us, and how the Holy Spirit helps us, we know that God is GOD.

He is fully capable of taking care of us, and He is more than trustworthy. He is God, sweet friends!

When we know who He is, we realize that we cannot do anything outside of His power. Nothing is out of His control. From Him and through Him and to Him are all things!

Whatever you are walking through in your life right now, He knows every detail. If you're going through an awful trial or a time of great blessing right now, He knows what is happening and He knows what will happen.

walking in joy

That's how we can walk in joy: we know that God is fully in control of our lives and that He is working for His glory and our good.

Joy comes when we relinquish control.

When we live for God, whatever He brings is what He brings. It's what He wanted.

Isn't that freeing?

And even better, when we trust Him, when we let Him take the reins {not that He isn't going to anyway}, and stop worrying about what will happen next, we can be free to focus on the present, and we can do it with joy!

Philippians 4:4-7
4Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. 5Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; 6do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

What has God put in your path today? How will you accept it? With joy or with anxiety?

Every. Single. Day. is a gift from God. We can focus on today, and when we keep our eyes on Jesus, we can move to the next day, and the next day, and the next day with Him, until we get to the other side of this life. Eternity with God!

If you are a believer, it helps to think of this life as a marathon- one that requires endurance to the end so that you might receive the prize:

1 Corinthians 9:24-25
24Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. 25Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable.

Hebrews 12:1-2
1Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.

Do you feel weary in your race? Are you slowing down...wondering why God has hidden His face from you? Do you feel like God doesn't really care what happens to you?


Isaiah 40:27-31

Why do you say, O Jacob,
and speak, O Israel,
“My way is hidden from the LORD,
and my right is disregarded by my God”?



28 Have you not known? Have you not heard?
The LORD is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He does not faint or grow weary;
his understanding is unsearchable.
29 He gives power to the faint,
and to him who has no might he increases strength.
30 Even youths shall faint and be weary,
and young men shall fall exhausted;
31 but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength;
they shall mount up with wings like eagles;
they shall run and not be weary;
they shall walk and not faint.

If you are growing weary in your race right now- don't give up!

Seek Him- tell Him you are weary, that you need His help to continue following Him. Wait for Him to do it. Trust in His Word. He promises to help you- to give you strength when you seek Him.

When you feel tired, cry out to Him, and give thanks to Him for what He has done. He knows what is happening- He knows you. He planned everything long, long ago:

Isaiah 25:1
O LORD, you are my God; I will exalt you; I will praise your name, for you have done wonderful things, plans formed of old, faithful and sure.

God can give you strength to face each day with joy- even the hardest of days. It's not as much a smile on your face as it is a deep heart happiness- it's knowing that God's got this. Really though, this kind of joy cannot even be described. It doesn't make sense to the mind.

I think He wants us to rejoice in who He is and what He has done for us, in spite of our circumstances and trials. And that deep faith- believing in the promises of God- produces hope, which brings us this inexpressible joy that this life is not the end.

Eternity lies ahead of us.

walking with an eternity mindset

It's so, so important that we keep that in mind.

Whatever our situation, God has called us to live for Him in this life we've been given.

He calls us to obey His Word. To follow Him with all of our hearts. To love others like ourselves. To preach the Gospel to the nations. To run the race with endurance.

It isn't as complicated as we'd like to imagine- He wants us to live our lives fully for Him.

And He's empowered us to do His will with His Holy Spirit.

When we follow Jesus, we do what He says.

We will mess up. We will sin. It's not a pretty or easy transformation to become more like Jesus. {In fact, the longer you walk with Him, the more sin you will see and repent from in your heart.}

It's hard to become like Him, but at the same time it is so easy because of what He did on the cross!

If you aren't walking with God, please, please realize that it's the most important thing that you'll ever do.

We have no promise or guarantee of how long this life will last. If you've been putting off a relationship with God, please realize there may be no tomorrow for you.

Oh, hear this: God loves you. He redeemed you by spilling the blood of His precious Son.

Don't reject Him. Don't harden your heart today.

If you don't follow God's Word- if you don't seek after God- chances are, you aren't a follower of God.

If God's Word isn't changing your life, you're not experiencing what you should be.

I can't tell you what you are or aren't by any means, but take a deep look within your heart. You know what is true. And if you can't see it, ask God. He will show you.

There are no perfect people other than Jesus, so we all experience ups and downs in our walk with God. But if your spirit is consistently dry, and you rarely pray or read God's Word {even if you go to church and work in Sunday School}, you are missing out on knowing the one true and living God.

Now is the time to seek Him. 

Not later.

Don't let the stirring in your heart go to the wayside.

Go and sit today and pray for God to show you. God hears the cries of His people. He knows your heart, your sin, your struggles. He wants to be your God. He is jealous for your heart- don't let your job, your school, your spouse, your busyness, or even your parenting role get in the way.

You have a call on your life- one to bring God glory with everything you do.

Don't chase after yourself. Chase hard after God- His joy is so much better than we could ever imagine.

And we haven't even talked about what will happen in eternity!

When we seek after Him- when we give our lives to Him in faith, believing His Word is true, that His Son has defeated death and sin, and that we have the Holy Spirit, our lives will be changed.

The outcome of our faith is a royal inheritance: our salvation and life in eternity with God in Heaven:

1 Peter 1:3-9
3Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, 5who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. 6In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, 7so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. 8Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, 9obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

Our faith will be tested. Will it stand? Will it result in praise and glory and honor when Jesus returns?

Do you love Him even though you haven't seen Him? Do you rejoice in who God is? Do you know Him? Does He know you?

He is able to change your life. He is able to see you to your final day- to complete the work that He began in you:

Philippians 1:6
And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.

If there's one thing you could take away from this series, it would be this:

You have one chance to live for God on this earth. Love Him with all your heart- seek after Him with everything you have. Even if it means losing everything that you know. He is more than worth it. Seek Him as if life depended on it, because it does.

And to those of you who are already walking with Him, Jude encourages you:
Jude 1:20-21
 20But you, beloved, building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, 21keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life.

He will return for His people. He is coming back, and we don't know when.

My prayer is that we will be faithful until the end. Don't let sin overtake your life and cause you to live apart from God. You can't be a follower of God if you don't follow God.

Hebrews 12:12-14
12Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God. 13But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. 14For we have come to share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original confidence firm to the end. 

Those warnings keep us awake, keep us seeking God, don't they? They don't give us cause to fear- they remind us of what our purpose is here on this earth.

We can believe with great confidence that God is able to keep us from sin and able to present us blameless at the end. He chose us before the foundation of the world!!

He set us apart to be adopted in Christ as part of His will! He has even promised to give us a guarantee of our inheritance, the Holy Spirit:
Ephesians 1:3-14
3Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, 4even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love 5he predestined usb for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, 6to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. 7In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, 8which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight 9making knownc to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ 10as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.
11In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, 12so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory. 13In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, 14who is the guaranteed of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it,e to the praise of his glory.

This is the very essence of the Gospel. God redeeming the broken- changing lives. Taking sinners and making them His children, making them blameless before God, and freely giving them salvation and life with Him and eternity!

How could we possibly not want to give Him all of us???

Oh, Lord, we thank you for your gift. You are so, so good to us.

HE can do it. In fact, He already did.

Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen. 
Jude 1:24-35


If you want to share a testimony of what God has done in your life, please do in the comments!! I love, love, love to hear what is happening in your life!! God is so good!

Also, if you have any lingering questions, I would love to try to answer them! You can email me at mandy @ biblical homemaking.com if you have anything you'd like to share or even a prayer request! I've said it before, but the community of sisters here is incredible- it is such a blessing that we can share with each other and encourage each other over the internet!





Monday, September 24, 2012

menu plans + goals {week of Sept. 24}



I'm excited to start a new week, aren't you?

We spent the majority of our weekend working on the house. For you DIYers, you know grabbing a weekend to work on projects feels so good {and tiring at the same time ;)}.

Here's a little peek into our new attic nook. It's going to be my writing room! :D My sweet husband has worked so hard to make me an office in the attic. I'm so, so excited! :D


I'm hoping to get a few more projects done this week around the house. Progress seems to come in spurts, and I'd love it if this spurt would continue. :D

In the meantime, dinner still has to be made and housework still has to be done! I have a new recipe I hope to share this Friday that has rocked our original foods world for the moment. It's super fast and so easy!

My husband has added meat and eggs back to his diet {lots of them, in fact, for muscle building purposes}, which means that we are all eating something different right now. It definitely changes the way I cook- I practically make three meals: the kids' food {usually let them eat more condensed carbs, cheese, and meat}, my food, and his food.

I'm trying to find a happy medium with all the cooking, because we are ending up with lots and lots of dishes. Maybe I need the kids to fall in love with fish and eggs... :D I'm trying to plan more meals that we all like. :)

I eat lots of beans, veggies, and I've also incorporated organic non-GMO tofu so that I can build muscle with my workouts, and keep my iron levels up. I really don't enjoy meat, cheese, eggs, or dairy much anymore, so I am still sticking with the vegan diet.

I've let bites of bread or potato chips here and there sneak in while I'm making lunches, and so this week I'm focusing on eating before I'm starving so I won't be tempted to snack on the wrong foods. Carrots are a good snack for me, and I'm looking for another source of vegan protein I can snack on too.

Here are our menu plans for this week:

dinners:
veggie chili and rice {we all love this one}
baked potatoes and beans {everyone likes, again}
taco salad- rice, lettuce, salsa verde, and black beans {cheese for the kids}
basil mushrooms, tofu, and butter bean skillet meal {me and the hubs only- 2x}
dinner out
black bean soup
frozen dinner from the freezer stock {kids only}
pizza on family night {kids only}

lunches:
peanut butter sandwiches {kids} + natural potato chips
turkey sandwiches {kids}
homemade tomato basil soup {me}
cabbage salad {me}
salmon + egg skillet  {for the hubs- this meal has 100 grams of protein}
egg + black bean skillet {hubs again}
lunch out w/the hubs
baked potatoes

breakfasts:
eggs {we buy the cage free, natural grain-fed ones. I don't know if it really matters, but since we've added them back in over the last month we've made this change}
homemade granola cereal with almond milk
homemade lara bars {I want to try these recipes!}

snacks:
lara bars
apples
dates


and my goals for this week:

do:

  • help hubs paint
  • list 2 things for sale on craigslist
  • take donation items to Goodwill {one of the decluttering projects I did this weekend! yay!}
  • play a game with the kids
  • declutter and reorganize one area {drawer or closet}
  • get up 20 minutes earlier than usual
  • answer emails for 1 hour
  • spend 30 minutes each day focusing on/spending time with my husband

read:

  • daily devos {one chapter in the OT, two chapters in the NT}
  • 5 chapters of One Thousand Gifts

learn:

  • 1 Peter 4:1-12 

be:

  • kind- speak words of encouragement to my husband {I was really good at the beginning of the month, and I've definitely had less than encouraging moments over the past few days. :( must get better this week.  Project: write him an encouraging email. 


p.s. I made the homemade butterfingers last weekend for my mom's birthday, and they were ah.maz.ing.  This is the camping version:



If you love butterfingers, you have to make them! And then try not to eat the whole pan. They're that good! Yum!!!

Friday, September 21, 2012

smashing the idol of the scale

This morning I had a very happy post planned about birthday parties, and I prayed God would give me the right things to say about how to throw a birthday party on a budget. Mmmhmmm.

{You can laugh. I understand. :)}

But it turns out He didn't want me to write about that at all. Instead He told me to share something that I don't want to. {again.}

He never ceases to do things that surprise my feeble little human mind.

Back in early August we had all kinds of parties and things to go to. I eat really well at home, but if I'm at a party or a dinner out with my husband, my rule is to eat and enjoy. And I do.

After a few parties and events, ahem, :) I gained a couple lbs.

I expected it. But you know what?

Every morning I weighed myself, and it made me upset.

Really, though, who really cares about 2 or 3 lbs.?

I did.

And I let it get to me.

My morning weight often affected my emotions for the rest of the day.

But one morning was different. I stepped on the scale as usual, scoffed at the number that wouldn't budge no matter what I did, and as I was getting ready for the day, God whispered this to me:

Cast down your idol.

Throw away your scale. 

A number on a plastic box doesn't deserve your emotions, your attention, your heart.

It hit me like a ton of bricks.

In the name of self-discipline, I've spent years entrapped by a number on a plastic box.

I have spent years bowing down to my scale with my emotions.

I let a number that tells me the effect gravitational force has on my body affect my soul.

Does that sound ridiculous to you too?

My heart started beating like crazy as I imagined a world free of even knowing what I weighed.

Before I could shove the idea away, the Spirit helped me and I told my husband, "I think I'm going to throw away my scale."

I told him how much I let it affect me {as if he didn't know...}. He told me he thought it was a good idea.

When I came home from the gym later that week, the scale was gone.

For the last month {and the first time in years}, I don't know what I weigh.

It was only one little idol, but it had a big part of my life.

Throwing out the scale was like cutting off my hand.

I know it had become an idol in my heart.

I know Satan had a stronghold in my life because of it.

I sometimes still want to go get one and forget I ever took it out.

That's how ingrained weighing myself was in my life.

But God was gracious to me and let me see what it was doing to me.

I don't like sharing about it, honestly. It's too personal, too close to home. I like to keep my heart to myself, especially when it gets uncomfortable. It was an idol I closely protected.

But God is so much bigger than me. He knows what I can pretend is a good habit can be an addiction in my heart.

What the world sees as self-discipline can be dangerous to my soul.

Matthew 5:29-30
 29If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell. 30And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body go into hell.

I can be healthy, I can lose weight or gain weight, and I don't need a number to tell me that's happening.

I just want to encourage you, if you're struggling with this weight thing, don't let it become a stronghold in your life. It's not the weight that's important. It's the state of our hearts.

Satan offers us the apple just like he did with Eve- it looks good to the eyes on the outside, but God knows what's behind it.

If there is something like a scale in your life- something that seems good on the outside, but controls or affects the way you feel in a way that is not pleasing to God, cut it off.

If Pinterest makes you lust after a life you don't and can't have, cut it off.

If Facebook brings jealousy to your heart, cut it off.

If Twitter makes you long to be part of a clique that you're not, cut it off.

If you're a blogger and your stats control the way you feel every day, cut them off. Block that page from your browser if you have to.

If you see someone who is prettier, or thinner, or better dressed than you, and you feel envy, stop looking. Take those thoughts into captivity.

It is better that we lose social media and gain a few pounds than lose our souls.

Who is our god?

Does the one true God have all of our heart? What are we keeping back from Him?

For me, it was my physical body. I wanted to control what I looked like.

And He's still working on me. All.the.time.

Walking with God is both the hardest and the easiest thing I've ever done.

Getting rid of a scale was really hard for me. It would have been impossible two years ago. But God is so good, that He made it so easy. I wanted to do it.

Because where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 

The chains of sin are broken.

We don't have to stay in them.

We can be free in Christ.

We can share our weaknesses, because He is God, and we are so desperate- so broken and in need of a Savior.

What are your strongholds? What are your idols? Give God all of you, and I know He will take them out. He will smash them under His feet.

We praise you God, for redeeming our hearts, and rescuing us from the chains of sin. Thank you Lord, that we can boast in our weaknesses because in them you are strong. We can trust in you!

I would love to pray for you if you have something in your life that you know God wants you to cut off. He can do it sweet friends. He WILL do it if we ask!!! email me at mandy@ biblical homemaking .com.

If you have something you're struggling with, chances are someone else is going through the same thing.

If you are struggling, or God has done something in you, please feel free to share in the comments- praise Jesus, we have a community of sisters in Christ here that can rejoice and pray for each other! Living in Christ is a beautiful thing! 

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

what i wore this week {in living color edition}

wondering what this series is about? read here to find out more… :)

So I've been looking for a pair of white skinny capris all year long, and I finally found them at Goodwill the week before Labor Day. 

I suppose the "no white after Labor Day" rule {albeit an old-school one} doesn't apply when you are in Texas and September 2 feels more like July 2 everywhere else. :)

And honestly, when you find a pair of white capris for $1.99, you can't help but wear them, even if it is  after the first week of September... 


Mustard is kind of fallish, anyway, right? ;) I thought I loved the color, but I'm not so sure after seeing these pics. What do you think? Should I stay away?


Either way a lisa leonard necklace is always in style...


and color is always in, right? ;)

 I say any reason to wear red peep-toe wedges is a good one. :)


Speaking of style talk... Abbie and I had a chance to go eat and do some Target shopping before the baby girls come:


And, yes, there are two 38.5 week babies in there...somewhere! I still can't believe it! She looks amazing!

We tried to coax them out with spicy pizza and Target shopping, but they won't budge as of yet. We had fun trying, anyway! :)

We were attempting to take a self-pic before we left the restaurant and saw someone coming up behind us...it was Jenny and Lacey! We ended up chatting with these sweet girls for a while!


Ah, they were such fun. :) We need to hang out with them more often!!

After we left, we headed out to Target for a late night run and tried on lots of fun things, like these polka-dot cardigans:


I loved the teal, and she liked the orange:


But neither one of us were willing to fork over the $23 they wanted. Target, we love you, but not that much. We also like your indigo faux suede flats. Please make them $10 instead of $15 and we would buy them. Thank you.

We had a great time, and I promised Abbie I'd help her carry one of the girls next time we went. ;) Pray that happens soon! :D

Oh, and if you're wondering which outfit I chose from last week's Goodwill run, color won again:


I was thinking I would wear it on our 10th anniversary trip we're taking soon. :)

I really, really liked this one more, but it was two sizes too big. :( 


It's hard to tell from the pic, but it looked more schlumpy in person, and the underlining was hanging a bit too low, and the armpits were too wide. I totally wanted to alter it, but I knew I'd probably mess it up with all the extra layers. But after all of you liked it so much, I might need to go back and try to find it! Apparently, it looked better than I thought! :D 

So what have you tried on at Target and loved lately? I'm getting in the mood for fall!  

Let me know what you think about the mustard color with red hair- I need a second opinion! :D


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