Friday, February 27, 2009

{ 31 Days of Prayer for my Husband } - 26, 27

To find out more about this journey, read here.

Day 26
Pray that your husband will discover and live his God-given purpose. Pray that he will offer all his dreams to the Lord, and pursue only those goals that will bring God glory and count for eternity. (Jer. 29:11; 1 Cor. 10:31)

Day 27
Pray that your husband will understand the importance of taking care of his body—the temple of the Holy Spirit—for the glory of God. Pray that he will practice self-control by making wise food choices, and get sufficient exercise to stay healthy. (Rom. 12:1-2; 1 Cor. 6:19-20, 9:27)

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For those who are starting late, or who may want to keep track of the prayers we've done so far, I actually found all the 31 Days to print online. Remember I told you that this prayer was done on some blogs last year? Well I found the link on the Revive Our Hearts website, which is a wonderful site devoted to women's ministry.

{ It's done..... }

and now we sit and wait until July to find out the results. It's a long wait I tell you and it's nerve wrecking but if he passes this test, it will all be worth it.


All the weeks, the long hours of studying, of surrounding himself with tons of material about everything and anything to do with the military and more....have come to an end. He went in and he took his promotion exam and he thinks he did good. That's all we can ask for and either way, I'm extremely proud of the amazing husband I have.

Along with my husband there are many other soldiers taking their respective Tech and Master Sergeant tests, and many more at home this minute studying for theirs. I'm sure they are also tired and "studied out" and surrounded by anxious wives rooting for them. So I pray for every single one and send out nothing but the best of vibes so that they may all pass their exams and get the promotion they so deserve.

Thank you all for the prayers too, I'm sure they helped!

Won't you help me send out a quick prayer for them all? Just leave a comment wishing them good luck, if you have a husband or significant other or family member testing this month, then come on in and leave their names so we can pray for them. Don't be shy, even if you're a lurker, it's for a good cause right?

Thursday, February 26, 2009

{ Camera Fun - ISO what the heck is it? }


I'm sure you've heard people talking about ISO and photography and I'm sure just like me, you are probably confused wondering what it means and how it affects your photos.
In Digital Photography ISO measures the sensitivity of the image sensor. The same principles apply as in film photography - the lower the number the less sensitive your camera is to light and the finer the grain. Higher ISO settings are generally used in darker situations to get faster shutter speeds (for example an indoor sports event when you want to freeze the action in lower light) - however the cost is noisier shots.
That's great, but I still wanted to know how this affects me and if I really need to worry about it when taking photos around the house. The answer is, no, not really, I mean it depends on what exactly I'm planning to photograph. But I tell you, understanding what it is and what it does opened up a whole new world for me....suddenly a lot of my photographs make sense....who hasn't taken a shot only to discover it's grainy?

For example, I took a series of shots and I changed the ISO in each....just to show you and then I'll explain how I did it.

ISO 3200 - look how grainy it looks, you see it better on the blue of the feeder

ISO 800 - Still grainy but not as bad

ISO 100 - perfectly crisp shot, little noise or grain

I used to take all my photos in AUTO mode, which means the camera picked the best setting for whatever it thought was the best mode for what I was photographing. It generally tries to keep the ISO at it's lowest but not all the time, because I found that I was getting grainy shots, and it was frustrating as I had no idea what I was doing wrong.

Your camera should let you change your ISO, mine obviously won't let me do it in Auto mode so I need to switch it to Program Mode.

Changing your ISO also means it affects your shutter speed, the higher the ISO the fastest the shutter speed.

Here's some things to keep in mind when you're taking the shot.

If there is plenty of light and I'm shooting something stationary, like a flower or the sky or a tree or whatever, then I don't want grain, which means, my ISO setting should be pretty low. I use ISO 100 and that's the one that gives me the crisp clear shots.

If it's dark or I'm shooting the kids running around or action pics, then I increase my ISO to about 400 or so, because it gives me a faster shutter speed which means I can get all the movement without it turning into a blur.

Situations where you might need to push ISO to higher settings include:

Indoor Sports Events - where your subject is moving fast yet you may have limited light available.
Concerts - also low in light and often ‘no-flash’ zones
Art Galleries, Churches etc- many galleries have rules against using a flash and of course being indoors are not well lit.
Birthday Parties - blowing out the candles in a dark room can give you a nice moody shot which would be ruined by a bright flash. Increasing the ISO can help capture the scene.
Here's some more examples:

ISO 3200 - again you can see the grain and noise

ISO 800 - much better but still not as crisp as I like

ISO 100 - perfect

I hope I was able to explain the ISO setting without making you want to run for the hills or take a tylenol for the headache you got trying to decipher what it all means.

Take a look at the honeysuckle photos beneath, the top one is with an ISO of 100 and the bottom one is with an ISO of 3200. Click on them to enlarge so you can see the difference.

It's pretty easy once you know what it does and how it affects your shots. So go on, go play with your ISO setting....take some shots and then come back and show me. Next time, I'm going to talk all about Shutter Speeds.

{ Slow Cooking Thursday }

Don't forget to add your name to Mr Linky and a link back to your SCT post so others can come by and see your recipe too.

As always, share your slow cooking recipes but if you REALLY REALLY don't have one and still want to participate, then you can share any kind of recipe.

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Crockpot Caramel Rice Pudding

3 cups cooked white rice
1/2 cup dried cranberries or cherries or dried, chopped apricots
1 tsp pure vanilla
1 can (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk*
1 can (12 oz) evaporated milk*
1 TBS brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon

Spray inside of 2 to 3.5 quart crockpot with cooking spray. (or grease with butter) Mix all ingredients except sugar and cinnamon in crock.

Cover and cook on LOW 3 to 4 hours or until liquid is absorbed. Stir pudding. Sprinkle pudding with sugar and cinnamon. Serve warm. Makes 8 servings

NOTE: Reduced fat sweetened condensed milk and skim (fat free) evaporated milk may also be use.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

{ Spring is in the Air }


We had the most beautiful day today, those kind of days where the sun is shining, there are no clouds in the sky and it's warm. We're already wearing shorts and tank tops around here and enjoying the outdoors.

So come on in and sit with me, let's chat a bit, I have so much to tell you but keeping forgetting. You know how it is, you have all this planned for a blog post and then you sit down and your mind goes blank and you're faced with an empty post wondering just what the heck you could say that would interest anyone.

The housing department on base is repainting all the houses, they just got done with mine and all that is left is painting the doors. You may think it's not a big deal but I tell you for a while there I was shaking in my flipflops because I was watching the houses behind me get painted and there seemed to be some sort of pattern going on. Light brown with dark brown trim and green doors (really cute), beige with dark trim (not much of a difference from what they currently are) and then....oh THEN.... puke mustard orange yellow with green doors. scared me, it is awful with a capital A.

Even the painters are shocked at what an ugly color it is and were quick to let us know they didn't pick the color LOL
So when I saw them coming down the street to my house I prayed real hard that I wouldn't end up waking up in the morning to egg yolk on my walls, and the prayers worked because we ended up with the light brown and dark trim, I'll have to take some photos for you after they're completely done. Tomorrow there is still the side door and the front door to be painted.

So that's what I've been doing the past two days, moving everything out of the carport and away from the house in the backyard and taking the chance to clean it all up, throw out the trash, dispose of some empty cardboard boxes still there from our move and so forth.

Other than that, it's been a quiet day, I slipped into some shorts and reveled in the fact that I was walking around barefoot with the air conditioner turned on, the front and back doors open and the breeze coming in. I made food for the hummingbirds and refilled their feeder, I trimmed my honeysuckle bushes and I picked some more lemons.

I also tried to stay out of Curt's way. He is studying SO hard for his next stripe and I'm going to ask you all to please say a prayer that he passes this test. Making Tech Sergeant in the Air Force is one of the hardest promotion tests the guys have to pass, most end up taking it 2 or 3 times before they make it. Curt's exam is on friday morning and he is just a ball of nerves and exhausted and his brain is fried from the endless words across the pages of the study material. If anyone deserves this promotion, it's him, he's been in the Air Force for 18 years and he's worked so hard.

After picking up the kids from school we came home and while I got dinner started, they played out in the back yard, they were beyond ecstatic to be outdoors enjoying the warm weather.




Playing with my Black and White feature on the camera. Did you know that your camera has that option? If you didn't, then you don't know what you're missing. I'll show you on the next Camera Fun post.


We had a wonderful dinner of Mini Meatloaves which the kids absolutely adore. They don't even realize that it's chock full of veggies, but shhhh....we won't tell them that part.


After dinner as I was standing at the kitchen sink doing the dishes, I looked up to see a stunning sunset, the kind that has you questioning whether it's real or if you're staring at a painting in the sky.

It was the perfect ending to a wonderful day and now I'm going to climb into bed and watch my Season 2 of Lark Rise to Candleford. If you haven't yet been able to track this series down, you HAVE to, I promise you won't be disappointed.

I also started the Kite Runner but had to put it down, I felt it was just too serious and too deep for me to concentrate on right now, I have to be in the right frame of mind for that kind of book.

Instead I picked up The Shape of Mercy which I started and then set aside because of reviews I was doing....I love it, there's something magical about the way the author writes, the words just flow on the pages and her storytelling draws you in.


But my dearies, I think I've babbled enough for one night, my warm bed calls me. Have a wonderful night and see you back here in the morning for more Slow Cooking Thursday.

{ 31 Days of Prayer for my Husband } - 23, 24, 25

To find out more about this journey, read here.

Day 23
Pray that your husband will be a good father—disciplining his children wisely and loving them unconditionally. If he is not a father, pray that he will find a young man to mentor in the things of the Lord. (Eph. 6:4; Col. 3:21; 2 Tim. 2:1-2)

Day 24
Pray that your husband will have a balanced life—that he will balance work and play. Pray that he will fear God, but also gain favor with people he knows at work and church. (Luke 2:52; Prov. 13:15)

Day 25
Pray that your husband will be courageous in his stand against evil and injustice, and that he will stand for the truth. Pray that he will protect you and your family from Satan’s attacks. (Ps. 31:24; Eph. 6:13; Ps. 27:14)

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For those who are starting late, or who may want to keep track of the prayers we've done so far, I actually found all the 31 Days to print online. Remember I told you that this prayer was done on some blogs last year? Well I found the link on the Revive Our Hearts website, which is a wonderful site devoted to women's ministry.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

{ Let's crochet! }


I can't tell you how much I missed my craft basket. These past two weeks of being sick and having everyone else in the household sick too, meant that my crochet and knitting had to be set aside for more pressing matters, things like cleaning runny noses and cooking up big batches of chicken noodle soup.

But now....oh now....we're back in business. Everyone is finally over the cold and things are back to normal which means, I get to dive back into those things I absolutely love doing. Like crochet.

If you've been one of my readers for a while, you will know that I couldn't crochet to save my life, I mean honestly if my life depended on me making a crochet chain to swing across an abyss...well let's just say I wouldn't be here *snicker*
But seeing that crochet has always been one of those crafts that I adore and wanted to learn, I set about teaching myself the art. I'm by no means an expert, I'm a baby at most, slowly trotting along and learning new tricks as I go.

A couple of you have shown interests in learning to crochet too and I said I would do a tutorial. I wish I hadn't because I'm more of a *show you* kinda gal, than a *write it down and explain in detail* kinda gal. I tend to confuse myself and others....but I did say I would help you all get started and that's what I'm doing today.

So go on, grab that ball of yarn you've been wanting to use and some crochet hooks, let's not worry about size and all that stuff, that's something for future use, right now we're just wanting to cast one, make a chain and join it in a little circle. *don't you just love my descriptions? I feel for you all trying to understand what I'm about to do* LOL

Casting on....there are so many different ways to do this, but this is how I do it and it's easy for me. Start by making a little loop


Pull the thread through the hole


Tighten and insert the crochet hook


How easy was that? Now you're ready to start making your chain


Making the chain: Yarn over the hook


Pull it through


Repeat until you have 4 chains


Joining the chains into a circle:

Insert the hook into the first chain, yarn over and pull through BOTH loops.


Now chain 2 just like I showed you above


Then you're going to make 9 single crochets into the hole in the middle. If you find it hard to locate it just insert your finger and wiggle it a bit so you can see it.


Insert hook, yarn over, pull the loop back through the stitch (two loops on hook), yarn over and pull through both loops on hook.

Repeat 9 times.



When you're done, join with a slip stitch (insert hook, yarn over, pull the loop back through the stitch, then through the loop on your hook.)...which means....insert the hook into the second chain of the first chain 2 you did, yarn over and pull through both. You'll end up with just one loop on the hook.


Fasten off. (Cut the yarn about 6" from the last stitch. Yarn over and use your hook to pull it through the loop on the hook.) Cinch the strand to secure it. Weave the loose end into the fabric with a tapestry needle.


Now go on and try it and then come back and show me how you did. Next time we'll start the actual petals of the flower and just you wait and see how easy they are.

And once we've made one or two flowers, we'll make some leaves too.


There are tons of crochet flower patterns out there, so easy to make.

Flower Power
Crochet Flower
Four Leaf Clover
Carnation (I'm making this one right now, can't wait to see how it looks)

EDIT: Pat aka Posh, thank you so much for letting me know about the typo. I fixed it and it now says SINGLE CROCHET instead of double. :)

Monday, February 23, 2009

{ The simple joys of housework }

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I remember a time, back when I was a teenager. I admit that I cringed away from housework, I literally went out of my way to avoid it at all costs, even when my stepmother would ask me to do something, there was always an excuse....a place to to listen to or a friend's house to visit.

I vividly remember one time time where I was in the bathroom, primping like teenage girls do and my stepmom yelled out from somewhere else in the house "Sandra....are you in your bedroom?" and me thinking I was so smart, I yelled out "No, I'm in the bathroom" with a little grin on my face, obviously thinking I had just avoided some chore that I wouldn't want to do. She quickly replied "Oh great, can you bring me the laundry in there?" LOL

I tell you, we still laugh about it to this day.

As I grew older, I realized that I started enjoying housework, well maybe *enjoying* is too strong of a word, I say more like embracing it as part of life, as part of my quest to become a great homemaker and wife. All the while I had my greatgrandmother in the background explaining things, showing me how to do this or that, teaching me and sharing her stories of life as a little girl in the 1900's....oh I can't forget my stepmother and grandmother too, all extremely influential women in my life.

After I got married and became a full time mother and wife, I realized that it all depended on me, there was no more dodging the housework for something else more interesting, there was no depending on my stepmother to make dinner or worry about the was all me. And begrudgingly I started throwing myself into it, fighting it at every step, annoyed that I now was responsible for having meals on the table and clean laundry and a tidy house.

But as the years went by I grew to love it, and nowadays I tell you, I find the most joy in the simple things, see I found the secret to loving it as opposed to despising it. It's all about how you do it, just like everything else in life, you need to make it fun, you need to make it interesting.

Like this, see these 3 baskets full of clean laundry ready to fold? My first instinct is to run for the hills, I mean who wants to be stuck a whole afternoon doing this? But I make it fun, I popped in my Lark Rise to Candleford DVD and watched it while I folded, before I knew it everything was folded and ready to be put away.


And sewing. I know, nowadays it's easier to just throw it out and buy a new one, but sewing and especially darning is something that my greatgrandmother taught me and I take a lot of joy in doing. It's relaxing and it's rewarding to see that favorite t-shirt or sock or whatever that you would otherwise throw out, now sewn and looking good as new.

I also do this while watching tv, or with some music in the background.


And washing dishes....I open the kitchen window and the curtains and enjoy the sound of the birds outside while I do the dishes.


Let's face it, no one wants to do something they feel is a chore or boring to death. No matter WHAT it is, whether you're ironing or cooking or even cleaning the bathrooms. Pop in some music or turn on the tv, or even one of those audio books and enjoy making a clean comfy home for your family.

That's what keeps me going, that's what makes me absolutely love what I do.


I've been faced many times with the question "don't you get bored being a stay at home mom and homemaker? Don't you ever wish you were out doing something?" and I have to smile because I AM doing something, I'm a military wife, I am keeping the candle burning and supporting my wonderful husband and the numerous soldiers out there fighting for our country.

I'm a mother, I'm raising adults, I'm raising a man and a woman who I hope will grow up to be amazing human beings.

I'm creating a safe haven, for my husband and for my children AND for me. I'm creating that one place on earth that you want to be, that one place that no matter how bad a day you have, you can't wait to get back to. So I ask you, how can I ever question what I'm doing?

Oh don't get me wrong, it's not easy doing all these things, there's days that I am beyond frustrated, that I'm so sick with a fever or a stomach virus that it hurts to walk, days that I'm sad and lonely and want nothing more than a good cry. It's all about balance, it's about enjoying the moment and being content with what you have.

What about you? Are you content with your life? Are you a homemaker and SAHM, or do you work outside the home? Do you find housework a joy or an annoying chore?