Thursday, October 23, 2008
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
How I was tempted to leave the kitchen last night:
How it looked before I went to bed:
I know to many women this seems ridiculous... to see cleaning your kitchen before you go to bed as progress. At this point, I really can't go to bed without the kitchen picked up. I would lay there thinking about the dirty dishes talking about me in the other room, and the disastrous prospect of waking up in the morning to a mess.
But this is what I mean by progress, because i hate to say it ladies I have not always been this way. It's definitely a result of discipline and the renewing of the mind. And my flesh still cries out, "just leave it! Go to bed! You had Awanna tonight, you're tired, you have a reason to leave it until tomorrow!" But, thanks be to God, this is one piece of evidence that I am a new creation and one can make change and progress, with God's help.
Ladies, what chore can you never leave undone in order to get a good night's sleep? Or, what chore do you really struggle to get done, even though you know it's really a necessity?
I was listening to Revive our Hearts today and, as always, was encouraged. Nancy talked about the 31 Day Challenge to pray for your husband. I have printed it out and plan to start today!
I would really encourage any of you out there, no matter what your marriage looks like right now, to take this challenge. None of us has perfect marriages, but whenever we build into our marriage according to God's principles and through prayer, we will always see change for the better, whether it be in our husbands, in our home, or, if nowhere else, in our own hearts.
And if you aren't a married lady, I encourage you to pray for the marriage of someone close to you, as today like no other marriages need to be lifted up in prayer.
She does him good, and not harm, all the days of her life -Proverbs 31:12
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
After looking online for a while, I wandered in to a pet store and met Stuart, who broke my heart in two. I know pet stores are bad, so no need to tell me if the idea offends you, it was unplanned and I just had to have him. I knew he was mind when, after pacing the mall for an hour weighing he pros and cons, I walked back into the store to find a couple asking to see him. I almst shouted out, "he's MINE!" So... now he is mine. :)
Stuart, his first day at home with us
Maltese are high-maintenance dogs, period. You can't put them out back or leave them out on a leash. They are people-centred dogs, and don't have much use for anything in life if they aren't enjoying it with a person, and preferable the one or two people they are closely bonded with. I've actully learned a lot of spiritual lessons from Stuart, namely that I see his deep desire, his passionate need to be with me at all times, and I think about how that's the kind of passion I want to have for God. I also see the uncoditional love he gives us, and see how humans have a lot to learn from dogs when it comes to loving others.
Also, he's cute.
So, now it's winter (we got him in the Spring) and not only do we have one of those dogs... but now we have realized he needs a sweater. I know.. I know... if you aren't a dog person yourself, or more specifically a small, high-maintenance dog person yourself, you will think, "Sweaters for dogs?!!" and then procede to regurgitate your last meal. But in truth, poor little Stuey is such a teeny thing, with not an ounce of fat to keep him warm, that he shivers outside and is in fact in need of some clothing to keep him warm.
Stuart, freezing on Sunday morning and wrapped in my sweater
Thankfully, providence (in the form of my sister in law) stepped in and I haven't yet had to bow my head in shame and go into a store to purchase a dog-specific clothing product. Thank God for blessings small and large. Beth pointed out to me that she still had some baby clothes from her dolls when she was a kid, so we sorted through and found this little blue sweater that, with a few alterations, should do the trick.
To have a laugh, we dressed up the inlaws' poodle, Maple, in the matching vest and, much to their dismay, sat them down for a couples' portrait.
I know... it's cute, funny, and nauseating all at the same time. Such is the life of a high-maintenance dog owner.
I managed to win a few items, both in the silent and the Chinese auction. From the silent auction I won this:
Cute little pumpkin set, very seasonal
From the chinese auction I won these:
little silver finger foods tray- I've really been wanting one
Ladies of the World!
I am so excited to see how many different parts of the world have stopped by my blog, either for a quick look or a longer stay. I'm loving Sitemeter because it shows me where the folks that view my page are from. Here is a wee list of the locations represented so far. Hello, ladies, I hope you come back and become part of our community here. Identify yourselves if you wish, and tell us how you found Armchair Housewife. And if any of you ladies are military or military wives, big shout out, I was raised a Marine Corps brat. :)
UK (I spent a month in England when I was 15 and I manage to feel homesickness for the UK still to this day...)
Saskatchewan ( I got engaged in Saskatoon!)
California (Shout out, Cali... I lived in Oceanside as a wee one)
New York (My home state)
Arizona (Hola, Arizona, I miss Yuma where I lived as a kid!)
Hawaii (Aloha, Hawaii! I was once Kama 'Aina in Kailua!)
North Carolina (Oh, Tar Heel state, I miss you- lived in Jacksonville and Cherry Point!)
Maine (Hey there Domestic Accident!)
Alaska (Wasilla Alaska, even! Governor Palin, are you reading my blog? ;) )
This is so exciting! I will occasionally post when I see other neat places that have visited the blog.
Do you ladies have any gifts you like to hand-make? Or resources you use for good hand-made gifts? Point me in the righ direction, ladies!
Monday, October 20, 2008
Sarah, you have been my best friend for I don't want to count how many years now, and I am so excited for you and Michael at this precious moment in time. You are going to be a wonderful mother, and I knew the minute I met Michael that he was the most amazing guy, and he has been a perfect husband and now I know a doting father. Your little boy is beautiful, and I can't *wait* to get my arms around my little Baby Baggins in just 14 days from now (but who's counting?)!
Jack will always have a prayer warrior in his corner, his Auntie Nikki, praying he will live a long life that is honoring and pleasing, and blessed by, the Lord.
For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. -Psalm 139:13-16
Outside My Window... is a crisp, cool autumn day
I am thinking... that I can't wait for Dec 1, when I'll be home Monday mornings and not at the office
I am thankful for... my husband, his support and provision
From the kitchen... bacon and egg sandwiches on english muffins for breakfast
I am wearing... office casual
I am creating... this blog as a place where i can journal my progress as a homemaker
I am going... on a Cruise starting Sunday!! Woohoo!
I am reading... Proverbs 31, 1 Peter
I am hoping... to have children someday
I am hearing... the humming of the chemical plant behind my office building
Around the house... auction wins from last weekend still have no "home" and are on the dining room table
One of my favorite things... mmm...coffee.
A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week: pack for vacation, clean our rabbit's cage, make soup for the freezer
Here is picture thought I am sharing...
Sunday, October 19, 2008
She is a rather gifted seamstress and she had made many a slip cover in her day. She also sewed my prom dress, and the accessories to my wedding gown, including my veil and my shawl. Mom taught me the basics of sewing earlier this year, and here are some pictures of us at work.
I still have a looong way to go before can say I actually “know how to sew”, but mom got me started in the right direction.
Mom, showing me how to read a pattern.
Me, laying out my first pattern.
Mom also owned her own successful cleaning business for a few years right around the time that Caleb and I got married, and as her sometime employee, mom taught me a lot about the hard business of getting down and dirty with cleaning. She taught me tips for cutting costs on cleaning products by making your own, and taught me things like time management, and the value of elbow grease. Also, she just plain made me proud of her for how hard she worked and how well she did with her business.
Mom also really gave me an appreciation for second hand stores and antiques. We both love old stuff, and we are both big time Anglophiles. Also, mom makes a mean spaghetti sauce that, six years into my marriage, I am still trying to get right.
Lastly, as a woman who worked as a server for many years of her life, mom really instilled in me the value of being a good hostess, and of service. I have worked as a server and in other forms of customer service all of my working career thus far, and I like to think I learned good lessons on the skills of service from my hospitable mom.
So, who are YOUR heroes of housekeeping? Who has really influenced you, or who do you strive to emulate?
Also, I wish y'all could have seen me trying to discreetly take pictures of the recipe rack in the store without catching anyone's eye. I felt like a secret agent.
Friday, October 17, 2008
I put all the goodies out and we can make our salads to our liking
I loooooove my mandolin- invest in one!!
I use my Fridgesmart Tupperware, which really does keep fruit and veg fresh a lot longer than regular Tupperware or other knock-off products. I'd love it if they would make a piece that was compartmentalized, but I make do with this one.
Do you ladies have any time-saving tips for weeknight meals?
Thursday, October 16, 2008
1. The ugly plaid couch. When caleb and I moved to Ontario nearly five years ago now, we were blessed beyond our dreams with everything we needed in our apartment when we arrived. Courtesy of our inlaws, we were given a two-seater plaid couch, circa 1977. It served us well these past five years until a month ago, when our neighbors Scott and Steven shared the wealth of their gorgeous living room set and gave us their two-seater couch. It was bigger, more comfortable, matched the colors in our living room and... wasn't plaid. But, even though it's been replaced, the couch is still here. I have not gotten around to begging the use of someone's truck or renting one to get it (along with the table and the baker's rack on the deck) to the thrift store or dump. See and compare the two couches below:
The Old Couch
The New Couch
2. My deck. Oh goodness gracious the deck. When we first moved in I had such grand plans for the deck, but we soon found out we couldn't afford a patio furniture set, and soon after that the deck started being used as a garage. Currently, there deck is home to our cooler, some paint cans, a disassembled dinner table we need to get rid of, a baker's rack that also needs to go, my laundry rack on which I dry delicates (probably the only legitimate item out there), and a big box of recyclables I need to take to the dump. I can't bring myself to actually include the picture here.... I just can't do it. Thankfully, as we are on the second floor, no one sees this but me, but it's still there. (goodness I feel like the hoarders on Oprah. Ok, it's not that bad, its like lot of peoples garages I am sure, but the point is it's not a garage, but a deck).
Come on now, ladies, what do you have to confess?
I looked up beef stew on Recipezaar (highly recommended), and found one that was so basic looking I figured even I couldn't mess it up. And it turns out I was right! Here is the recipe, with my changes included in italics.
1lb stewing beef
1 cup flour
2 tblspoons lard (I used butter... who has lard around these days?)
900ml beef broth (I think that's like 3 cups, but in Canada we rock the mls)
3 carrots, sliced thick
5 medium potatoes (I used about 8 or 9 new potatoes instead) in thick chunks
3 medium onions (I used ½ a very large red sweet onion)in thick chunks
2 bay leaves
salt and pepper
(¾ cup cooking sherry or any dry red wine0
(1 tblspoon minced garlic)
Roll the beef in flour. Heat large soup pot on med-high and melt butter. Brown beef and extra flour in butter until nice and brown but not burned.
Add just enough broth to cover meat, and add the sherry or wine if desired, along with the bay leaves, salt, pepper, and garlic. Cover and cook on low for an hour.
Add carrots, cook another 20 minutes. Add potatoes and onions and cook until tender, adding additional broth as needed while adding veggies to keep them covered.
I should say I didn't add the extra flour when I made it and wished I had, as it would have made the soup a bit thicker and nicer. Other than that, though, it was very good, and it made hubby happy so it's a winner!
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
OK, I have a ton to blog on for being gone for nearly a week here, but before I forget i wanted to post the link to the write-up on the first annual True Woman 'o8 Conference, put on by Nancy Leigh DeMoss and her ministry Revive Our Hearts. Follow the link below to read about the event, and to find links to *all* the sessions of the event which you can download for *free*. I am downloading as I type this and can't wait to hear all the great messages.
True Women '08 write up
If you want to skip and go right to the page where you can download the sessions, go here.
Wednesday, October 8, 2008
The Armchair Housewife (who likes to talk about herself in the third person) will be away until Tuesday, and as such is not likely to post. But don't let the fire dwindle, come back next week for more confessions (in fact I would have had one posted tonight if the blogger picture importer wasn't driving me insane), stories, recipes (i made an awesome stew I'm going to post next week), and everyone's favorite, pictures of my dog.
I am traveling to New York to visit family and attend a benefit being thrown for my sister, Ashley, her boyfriend Ron, and their son Devon. Devon was born this year and has gastroschysis, which is where the intestines develop outside the body in the womb. He is doing well, but is still at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and still has a way to go before he can come home. Follow the link on the right to see more of his story.
See you soon, ladies!
Tuesday, October 7, 2008
I just wanted to post a picture of the very first plant/flowers I have ever purchased for myself and/or my home. That's right... ever. I once had bequeathed to me these sad little spider plants in old mugs that I let eek out an existence on my shelf until they outgrew their surroundings and started to die, so I euthanize them and send them to the big garbage heap in the sky.
Up to this point, that has been my personal horticultural history.
But, on Sunday, after working hard for two days to get my house nice and clean and my dining room table totally free of debris (it often covered with this laptop and paperwork) I was at the grocery store, saw a pot of... (searching for name of flowers on the pot.... not finding it)... flowers that looked pretty and all autumny and I thought, "hey, I bet women buy those and decorate their houses with them", and so... I did! I paid 7.99 for them, and I have no idea if that was a steal or if I got ripped off. I quite love having them there whenever I walk by, or sitting there as I type away on this blog or listen to the talking heads on cnn.com.
The picture is kind of small, but if anyone can make out what my flowers are, let me know!
He's our little maltese dog and while some might use words like spoiled, or ridiculously spoiled, we prefer the words like appreciated and well-loved. As a married couple without kids, he sure gets a lot of attention, but he is also very well-behaved and well-trained (thanks mostly to my beloved husband).
As you would expect from such an extraordinary animal, Stuart is very helpful around the house, and can be seen here helping me with the laundry.