Tuesday, November 24, 2015

It's Through the Blood

Lately the only songs I want to hear are hymns, everything else just sounds too noisy and gratuitous! This one I woke up singing this morning and it is just touching my heart. I've listened to it several times today already.

When I think of heaven and all the sights I'll see,  The walls of jasper, gates of pearl, the clear and golden streets, Why should I be present, why should I enter in? After all the sinful living and the wicked one I've been? 
In the presence of Jehovah as I stand before the throne. The accuser of the brethren starts to read the things I've done, As I hear the awful charges a question fills my mind, Why should I not be put in hell to suffer for all time?
Chorus:It’s through the blood that's all I have to plea, It’s through the blood that Jesus shed for me, Not by works of my own righteousness for filthy rags are they, But because of that old rugged tree, hanging on dark Calvary That is my only plea it’s through the blood. 
When I'm walking through a valley and I feel there’s no way out, When the winds of sorrow threaten me and they turn my world around, That's when I look to Jesus and the price he paid for me. I can lift my hands in praise to Him and shout the victory.  
Chorus:It’s through the blood that's all I have to plea, It’s through the blood that Jesus shed for me, Not by works of my own righteousness for filthy rags are they, But because of that old rugged tree, hanging on dark Calvary That is my only plea it’s through the blood. 
Oh, precious is the flow that makes me white as snow, No other fount I know, It’s through the blood,It’s through the blood. 

I love when I wake up in the morning and songs like this are going through my mind. It helps me to start my day on a good note thinking about Jesus.

I found a quote the other day by my favorite author, Jane Austen, that I saved because I thought it was beautiful. Now I get to share it with you:
"Give us grace, Almighty Father, so to pray, as to deserve to be heard, to address thee with our Hearts, as with our lips. Thou art every where present, from Thee no secret can be hid." —Jane Austen
God bless you! Enjoy your Thanksgivings if you're in America like me!

Love,
Elizabeth  

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Creating a Schedule for Myself


As I am often asked what I do all day as a homemaker, sometimes it is difficult for me to name everything or explain. I do have a small income on the side outside of my homemaking but this is sporatic and not guaranteed work (I do some freelance essay corrections and tutoring). What I do work on regularly is homemaking with consistency and pleasure. I also really want to do everything in my life with purpose.

For me, my deepest purpose is to serve God and honor His word. I do that in serving my family and my home to the best of my ability. That is my joy and my job and how I choose to spend my time. With that said, I want to be more organized and to have goals and a plan. Today I sat down and pulled out my master schedule that I'd created for myself a few years ago and a lot has changed since then! For one, I don't have a husband that works from home anymore so where before my days centered around him, they now need to be 100% focused on how I spend the hours of my day.

One thing I always want to be is honest with my readers. Lately I've been struggling with my faith life, my commitment to homemaking, and that old self that I chose to walk away from when I decided to follow Jesus. The Christian life can be really difficult. Worldly attractions abound and there is just so many messages that come at us every day from different directions about what we should like and do and be and want that sometimes, for me at least, I get really caught up and I end up taking a step back and questioning everything.

I love the parable of the lost sheep probably more than any parable Jesus gave us for this reason. I'm so thankful that God patiently comes after me again and again when I get lost and confused. I'm comforted that even when I lose my way, He's not going to allow me to be left behind because I'm His. What a wonderful and soothing assurance I have in Him!

Last night, I quietly asked my husband to tell me about Jesus and I listened silently as he shared the Gospel and the hope it gives with me again. I was thinking about that later, how the Holy Spirit had prompted me to ask David to share Jesus with me as though I'd never heard it before. I think sometimes I need that refresher course to just pour myself completely out and allow my cup to be filled again with the hope and love of Jesus.

David said something last night that really gave me a perspective on being spiritually fed that I had never considered before. He said that a person couldn't be satisfied if they were constantly picking and choosing between this platter and that platter just what they liked and never staying to be fully fed. I can be like that sometimes - wanting to be fed by the world, by my own desires, unsatisfied with this, that, or the other parts of Christian life. But as he said you have to stay and be filled to truly remain satisfied and sustained by God.

I really liked that. So with his suggestion to stay sustained in the word (and not the world!), I reworked my schedule so that my heart and mind has less time to worry about the things of this world, and more time living. I want to spend less time pondering meaningless ideas or worldly entertainment. That requires being more purposeful. Naturally having made this plan in the middle of the week, I'm already out of sync with my weekly goals, but I'll just have to jump in and eventually march on the right foot.

To be clear, this weekly schedule is all about goals and less about holding my feet to the fire. I may never accomplish everything I set out to do in one day, but I have a goal and I'm going somewhere!

Thanks for being patient with me through a small posting lull!

God bless you,
Elizabeth

If you're interested in what my schedule looks like I've attached the photo below. You can click on it to see a bigger version. :)




Friday, November 6, 2015

No Pants November Days 3-6


If you're just checking in (read about days 1&2 here), I've taken Our Wood Home's challenge for eschewing pants for the month of November. I'm also linking up today! I've had kind of a dumpy and stressful end part of my week so I'm trying to perk back up and catch up on my blogging to-do list. I did purposely wait until the end of the week to share my outfits though so I could catch today's look too. If you want to see my outfits daily, check out my Facebook page and like it!

This was worn for walking (in Sam's because of DST), comfortably hanging out at home, and doing my chores. The top is hooded and a very light pink - I got it from Old Navy, Skirt is Target, leggings are hiding underneath and came from Target. 


I have had this dress for years, and until the other night I had never worn it as anything but a summer dress with a brown shrug. I bought it from Ross. I decided it might be cute with a shirt underneath and a belt. I was correct. I wore this to bible study this week. I wore brown leggings that came from Walmart and brown knee boots from Torrid. Belt is a recent purchase from Walmart.

This is what I'm wearing today. I keep mentioning leggings and you can't see them, so I've pulled my skirt hem back a bit so that you can see my boots and leggings combo. If you're worried about getting cold in the winter months with a skirt, all I have to say is, "Girl, please!" Honestly, wearing leggings (fleece lined or no), boots, and a skirt on top is about three times warmer than pants. True story. Skirts without something worn underneath can indeed be chilly when it's cold though, so I definitely recommend wearing some comfortable leggings. In any case, top is Old Navy, scarf is Walmart, skirt is a thrift store find, belt and leggings are Walmart, and brown boots are from Torrid. 

I'm really enjoying this challenge because it is encouraging me to be more creative with my clothing choices and to really be intentional about what I'm wearing. Now that I have learned how to highlight the narrowest part of my waist, I'm kind of addicted. Expect a lot more of that as the month goes on! Sorry not sorry! Again if you'd like to see what amazing outfits everyone else is coming up with, go check out Our Wood Home or follow #OWHNoPantsNovember on social media! 

Thanks for reading and God Bless!

Love,
Elizabeth

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Whole Wheat Bbq Chicken Pizza



This isn't so much a recipe as it is a meal idea. Either way, it's delicious. I bought this whole wheat crust from Trader Joe's at the same time as I bought the other one I made pizza with, but this one was frozen for a little while. I like their pizza dough because it rolls out really well. There's no fighting with the dough or dealing with it not being ready to use when you are, so until I have mastered the making of my own dough, this will likely be my go-to.

Here's how it looks plugged into the tracker:

























Translation:
1 bag of Trader Joe's whole wheat pizza dough
3 oz Cabot Sharp Light 50%
4 oz chicken breast cooked
1/4 cup onions
1/2 cup bbq sauce

Cook this on 425 for 15-20 minutes or until the dough is fully cooked and cheese is melty and wonderful.

I cut mine into eight equal(ish) pieces

Needless to say, this was pretty tasty and enjoyed guiltlessly between my husband and me. You could definitely use more or less chicken or cheese or onion depending on what you prefer. Naturally, the points will fluctuate. This would probably be good to add bacon to, or to have in addition to a side salad. You could also easily turn this into a buffalo chicken pizza with blue cheese crumbles and buffalo sauce instead of barbecue.

I hope you enjoyed this non-recipe! Thank you for visiting!

God Bless you!

-Elizabeth

Monday, November 2, 2015

Baked Chicken Nuggets Recipe


I love chicken nuggets. I don't know many people who don't. I went to Aldi the other day and they had a large package of chicken breasts as a special ($8.15 for 6 pounds). I don't usually buy meat at Aldi because I try to meal plan and do groceries for a month and consequently I buy meat in bulk from Sam's. BUT I was in Aldi about to buy a couple of bags of popcorn chicken and chicken nuggets for my husband's lunch (we cook it for him the night before) and I saw that chicken. It gave me pause and I called my husband and we agreed to forget the frozen chicken for lunches and make some fresh lunch items instead with the chicken. So one of my big projects last week was breaking down these chicken breasts and cutting them into strips and nugget pieces and making lunch plans for them.

First lunch item on my list was baked chicken nuggets. I wanted them simple but I also wanted them to taste pretty great too. Typically when I batter chicken I use both regular bread crumbs and panko bread crumbs to give it a good crunch, but Aldi didn't have any panko bread crumbs last week. I decided that an easy way to get that great crunch and have added flavor to boot would be with croutons. So a bought a bag of Italian seasoned croutons and ran them in the food processor until they were Italian seasoned coarse crumbs, then I carefully added them back to the bag they came in.

The whole operation
Here are my ingredients: (It's important to note here when calculating WW points not to stick ingredients you don't eat in the recipe tracker. I have leftovers of all of the battering ingredients after the chicken nuggets have been dipped, and so when I go to log this into the recipe tracker I might cut the almond milk and egg in half, for instance, depending on what I have left over)

1 10oz chicken breast cut into nuggets
1/4 cup of unsweetened almond milk
1 egg
2 1/2 tbsp crouton crumbs
2 1/2 tbsp breadcrumbs
2 tbsp flour


I started by laying a sheet of plastic wrap over my kitchen scale and measured out my chicken nuggets as I cut them (when trying to lose weight, it's crucial to know what you're actually eating). Then I dipped them lightly into the flour, then the egg/almond milk (whisk egg and almond milk together for the liquid portion), and then the crouton/breadcrumb mix. Then I transferred them to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

I popped them in a 425 degree oven and cooked them about 20-25 minutes (chicken is done at 168 degrees) flipping each nugget over once about halfway through.



While those were cooking, I broke down the rest of my pack of chicken, cut off the bad pieces, weighed them and put them in bags to freeze with their weight and intent (strips, nuggets, chicken salad). Then I popped those in the freezer. I took the cut off pieces and boiled them to make chicken broth, drained the broth and tossed the pieces.

Make sure you skim the fat off the top of homemade broth when it's cool! 

The nuggets turned out great and come to about two servings for 5pp each. Your point values will likely fluctuate depending on the size of your chicken breast, how much of the ingredients you use to batter, and what kind of milk you decide on.

Ready to be lunch!

I hope you enjoy this recipe idea, thank you as always for reading! God bless you!

Love,
Elizabeth

No Pants November Challenge Hosted by Our Wood Home



You guys, I'm pretty excited that this is coming on the heels of my Signature Style Odyssey (Parts one, two, three) and my revelations about my modesty conviction. I think this is the perfect challenge to take. I now have a really good idea of what I have in my closet and thus the tools to mix and match for the next month.

http://www.ourwoodhome.com/



So I'll be periodically popping in with my outfit creations all month - if you want to see them every day, like At Home with Elizabeth on Facebook! And if you want to see what everyone else is coming up with check #OWHNoPantsNovember on social media.

Here are the rules:

http://www.ourwoodhome.com/


Now, without further ado, let me kick off my month with my looks from November 1st and 2nd.


This was my outfit to church yesterday and for a lunch date with my husband. It was rainy and yucky, but I think we made the best of it! Skirt is thrifted but I think it once came from Walmart, Gray shirt is from Target (Ava &Viv), Cardigan is Target, Scarf was a gift, and my gray leggings (you can't see them but they're there, keeping me warm) are fleece lined and from Walmart (recent purchase if you need some).  Belt came attached with a dress from somewhere, Torrid I believe. Black booties came from Kohls and I believe they still sell them even though I bought mine two years ago.


This morning's outfit is meant for a rousing day of Monday chores. I don't do much housework on the weekends save the occasional meal, and so when Monday rolls back around I have a ton of stuff that needs my attention. Anyway, I definitely got dressed in the dark this morning and didn't notice that my t-shirt was on inside out until my husband pointed it out while we were eating breakfast. Oops. Inside out shirt was from an Atlanta 5k (Celebrate Freedom Run), maxi skirt is old and pilled but from Walmart, gray leggings are from target, and crazy house shoes are from Five Below.

Anyway, I'm looking forward to spending this month challenging myself to create new styles with my skirts and to spend this month embracing my femininity and modesty. I've gone for long stretches over the course of a few years with wearing just skirts and over that time, I've acquired a good bit. But if you're not in the same boat as me, and wish you could do similar, a couple of skirts can be mixed and matched with a lot of things you have in your closet. If you don't have any skirts and really don't want to spend a lot of money, thrift stores like Goodwill have a ton of skirts and you might could grab a few pretty inexpensively.

For me, this is just something I want to do. I love everything about being a woman and my joy really comes from homemaking and nurturing the people in my life. I think my love of hearth and home has stemmed from that joy - I just want to serve at home all the time. Femininity goes right along with that, for me (talking about me here! Wear what you want!). A month is usually what it takes to establish a habit. We will just have to see what comes of it!

If you have a chance today please go over and check out the host of this challenge, Christina at Our Wood Home and her co hosts: King Maker Blog, Happy in Heels, P31 Beauty, and Sparkly Ambitions!

Thanks as always for reading and God Bless You!

Love,
Elizabeth


Friday, October 30, 2015

Discovering my Signature Style Part Three




This is the post where all the leg work comes in, so I hope you don't mind the gap between posts one, two, and three! You see, I've been really busy...photographing myself wearing ALL of my clothes. Yes, all of them. Every single article has now been styled and cataloged for future use. If you have never considered tackling this? All I can say is, I'm so thankful I made the time to see what I had going on in my closet and to consider each item thoughtfully.

Obviously I don't have every single exhaustive clothing combination cataloged. I DID try to do that some, but honestly I just got tired. Imagine yourself in a hot dressing room trying on clothes, now imagine that experience with about 10x as much stuff. Yeah, that's basically what it was like. So of course after a while I started to skimp on the outfit combos. But I still did some and I can really see what's going on with my wardrobe.

I did take pictures with my skirts and with the pants I have as well. While I tend toward skirts these days I do still own about three pair of pants (plus two pair of yoga pants) that I do my best to style modestly for the photos and for real life. Also, I'm keeping an open mind here and I know that there are times when I cannot wear skirts or don't want to - no one's in bondage here! And also they'll continue to serve as outfit inspiration because it's easy to stick a skirt in an outfit where pants are.

Anyway, what really helped me out style-wise was going to Target and buying a full length mirror for $6.00. I like to be frugal and I wanted to do this series without spending additional or extra money, but I needed a couple of things to help me figure out my wardrobe. One of my challenges in our current home is that I just don't have a lot of storage space and my drawers are filled to the maximum as well. So I knew I needed a solution for all the t-shirts I have that aren't part of my regular day to day style - I mostly reserve those for housework or exercise. Luckily Target had just the thing in clearance for $4.99. So for about $11, I was able to bring clothing harmony to my closet. Such a relief.



I gained some knowledge for sure during this activity. One thing was that I absolutely do not need anymore clothes. None. I might want more clothes, but nope nopity nope don't need them. Yes, some of my clothes were too big and I had to let them go and some will, God-willing, continue to get too big and I'll have to remove those too, but even after I had cleared all the things I couldn't wear anymore I still have more than plenty to wear.

The one thing my closet is actually missing is belts. Through this process I am discovering how useful a belt is in accentuating a waistline. I have two skinny belts (they came free with random clothing items), but zero chunky belts. There's a simple explanation for my lack of belts - I'm very allergic to nickel and so I just can't wear them the traditional way. However, with a shirt tucked into a skirt or on top of a blouse, I think I'll be safe. So that is, in fact, something I could stand to add to my wardrobe.

This experience was probably one of the most helpful things I have done for myself in regards to being really purposeful with how I look and style myself. I'm pretty happy with the results and I think I've gotten a lot of helpful information and acquired useful tools for getting dressed when I feel like there is nothing to wear.

If you're interested in what 80+ pictures of me wearing the contents of my closet looks like please help yourself:

Give me grace with some of those pictures too please. They weren't all taken on the same day. 

So, now that I have a great deal of ideas, an even better idea of how I'd like to present myself when dressing, and a Pinterest board filled with photos of my closet, I think I'm ready to focus on being modest without feeling dowdy and frumpy. I think it's so important, whatever you choose to wear, that you focus on dressing intentionally.

I have really enjoyed sharing my closet project with you! Thank you for taking the time to read! God bless you and have a great weekend!

Love,
Elizabeth