Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Showing Sympathy To Your Husband

“Keeping up a constant interest in what the other is doing shows love.”  ~Homemaking J.R. Miller

I’ll have to start this out with some explaining ;-)  I am, by no means a good wife…(how could I be, I’m not even married!)  but I am working on BECOMING that woman of God that is focused on serving first the Lord, and second my family.  I am learning, just like you are!  I have been so blessed to have the resources to begin learning these things before I am married. 

One of the things that stuck in my mind from Debi’s book “Preparing to Be a Helpmeet” was the different kinds of men.  There are 3 basic types, and they all have different ways of seeing things…which of course means, us girls are gonna need to “figure them out.” ;-) 

  Debi categorized them into the “Prophet” man, the “Priest” man, and the “King” man.  It was really just a way for her to categorize their different personalities. 

Today I’m going to focus on one aspect of the “Prophet” man, because I believe this applies to almost ANY type of guy. 

You like it when people show interest in your little plans projects and dreams don’t you?  It goes the same for guys.  One of the most essential parts of our job as wives will be to always show interest.  You should be ready to ohhh and ahhh over his next idea, plan, project or accomplishment, whether it’s really exciting to you or not. 

The “Prophet type man wants you to be interested in what he is interested in.  Will you be?  It is incredibly encouraging to the men when we show that we care!  Yeah, a lot of times the things they do are more complicated than doing the laundry.  And hearing every step in building a garage or changing a tire (I’m sorry for the rather lame examples!) may not be all that exciting to you.  But this is an important factor in strengthening your marriage.  My job is to be a listener, to have an open ear and to be ready and willing to give advice or insight.  You want your husband to feel like he can talk with you about ANYTHING, and you will be there to listen to him. 

Learn to listen.  It can be a hard thing to do, and requires forgetting yourself.  Take the focus off of your day, and everything that happened at home while he was gone.   

 I think of an old Dick Van Dyke show where he came home after a horrible day, and she had a bad day too.  They both started to unload all of the day’s problems on each other, and before you knew it, the scene evolved into a “but don’t you care that I had a bad day too?” argument.  This scenario was sad to me, since I have heard of it happening often, and I know it doesn’t have to be that way.  One of the main things is NEVER TO COMPLAIN.  As much as you may feel like it sometimes, don’t let yourself.  There’s nothing worse for a guy than to come home after a long day to a wife that complains about everything.   Try to think about what went WELL during your day.  (There has to be something!) And if you’re living like most every American is, food for breakfast lunch and dinner, a house over your head…then think about what you have to be thankful for. 

There will be those days…. the dog tracked mud on the carpet when you brought him in because he was acting sick, and then the kid’s grilled cheese burned because you were busy bandaging a broken toe you gave yourself when you went running to clean up the accident your 2 year old had in the bathroom because you were too busy washing the sinkful of yesterday’s dishes to help him.  I know those kinds of days, and I’m not even a mother!  But that shouldn’t happen all the time, and when it does, you’re man will give you some grace I’m sure!!!

Another thing is, be sympathetic.  It is amazing what a sympathetic heart can do for the one who’s had a bad day. You want home to be the place he can come back to and be re-energized and encouraged, and where he knows someone is waiting to hear about his day and sympathize with him.

“She is made happy by being taken in to all his counsels, and thus lifted up close beside him in his life-work, and he is mad stronger too, for energetic duty and for heroic achievement by her warm sympathy and by the inspiration of her cheerful encouragement.  Whether the day should bring defeat, failure, or success, he should confide all to her in the evening.”  ~Homemaking  J.R. Miller

Friday, February 18, 2011

Frozen Yogurt!

It isn't much harder than making Yogurt! ;-)  It is way lower in fat content than ice-cream, and it's almost as good!  It tastes a lot like sherbet, almost lemony, and would probably be awesome with a fruit added.  It's WAY cheaper than buying ice-cream, and you know what all went into it too! 

So here's what you will need:

  • 3 cups Greek yogurt

  • 3/4 cup white sugar

  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • a bag of ice and rock salt for the ice-cream machine

  • an ice-cream machine ;-)

  • Greek yogurt is just plain old yogurt that's been strained to get the whey out of it.  Since I didn't have a cheesecloth, I used a piece of thin fabric.  Yes, I know, improvising again. It worked pretty well, although you will probably get a creamyer (is that a word? LOL)  ice cream the more whey you strain out.  I hung the bag from the microwave with a bowl underneath to catch the whey.  Pigs, goats, and chickens love the stuff, so feed it to them if you have any!
     The ideal "Greek Yogurt" should be the consistency of cream cheese, or slightly runnier.

    Mix in the sugar and vanilla, and refrigerate it for 45 minutes.

    Pour mixture into the machine, and continue following the manufacturer's instructions.
     Now you have a relatively healthy sweet treat! ;-)

    Homemade Yogurt...

    ...It's EASY to make, tasty, and very good for you!

    Trust me on this one, the only tricky thing about making yogurt is keeping the temperature at the right place.  The rest is no harder than mixing up a cake mix! 

    So here's what you'll need:

    3 1/2 C. Skim milk in a glass Pyrex measuring bowl
    1/2 C powdered milk (this is added to make thick yogurt)
    2 Heaping TB of plain, "live" or "active" yogurt culture  Just check your plain yogurt container to make sure it has one of those words on it (most of them do)

    Heat the powdered milk to your skim milk, and  heat to almost boiling in the microwave.  Let it cool down to around 115-118 degrees.  Add your yogurt to a quart mason jar, and add half of your milk.  Put on the lid and shake it up really well. 

    Then add the rest of the milk, and put your mason jar in a small cooler with a heating pad.  (This is the way that I do it, there are various other ways to provide consistent heat.  Keep the temperature between 110-120 degrees for 6-8 hours.  Mine is usually done in 5 hours.  When you refrigerate it, it will firm up a little more, so don't worry if it's not a perfect consistency. 

    This is the cooler, heating pad, and thermometer that I use.  This was a doubled batch. 
     (I was out of the jar lids, so I used tin foil instead if you're wondering ;-)  

    Taa daa!  You have your own home-made yogurt!  You can use a culture from this batch, and the next batch and the next until your culture "goes bad" or loses the good bacteria it uses to create yogurt.  You can freeze yogurt so that you will never run out of extra to make a new batch. 

    Try mixing it with bananas, blueberries, strawberries or raspberries.  They help sweeten it up if you're trying to get away from using sugar.  It makes a great breakfast!  I like to slightly defrost frozen blueberries and strawberries, smash them up and mix with a couple tablespoons of yogurt.  Yummmmm!

    Monday, February 7, 2011

    Easiest White Bread Recipe in the World!

    One of these days I'll get around to remembering to take pictures of these things...to add a little 'iterest' to these posts :-)  I'll put the recipe below for the more experienced bread maker,so that you don't have to read through all of my explanations. 

     This makes 4 loaves, which freeze really well. 

    Easy White Bread  With instructions for the new bread maker! 
    4 C. Hot Water (About 110 degrees) 
    2/3 C. (x2) Sugar
    Combine to "proof" This is to make sure the yeast is active.  After you combine these in your mixer, let it sit for a few minutes and check to make sure the yeast "grew"  There should be a foamy layer on top.  If you don't get this, it means that the water was too hot, too cold, or that your yeast is old.

    1 Tablespoon Salt
    1/2 C Vegitable Oil
    Add these to the yeast

    10-12 C. Bread Flour
    I usually only use 10 cups of flour, but it all depends on what your bread is looking like.  Trust me, you'll get to know the correct consistency from experience.  If the dough is too stiff, it will be impossible to knead.  If it is too soft, it will make a big mess, and not rise properly. 

    Pour out the dough and flour (there will be some loose flour in the bottom of the mixer) onto a well-floured counter top and knead for 8-10 minutes, or until the dough is 'elasic'  You'll learn to know that consistency from experience too! 

    Let rise in a greased bowl for an hour.  I like to turn the oven on to 350 for 30 seconds, and let the dough rise in there. 

    Punch down the dough, then divide it into 4 loaves.  Pull the edges under to make a nice smooth top.  Let rise again for 30 minutes.  Preheat the oven to 350, then bake for 35 minutes. 

    Condensed Version :-)
    4C. Water
    2x 2/3 C sugar
    3 TB yeast

    1Tb Salt
    1/2 C oil
    Add to yeast

    10-12 C. Flour

    Knead for 8-10 minutes, let rise for an hour.  Punch down dough, divide into 4 loaves.  Let rise 30 minutes, bake at 350 for 35 minutes. 

    Sunday, February 6, 2011

    Today's lesson~ Persevering in Prayer

    “Ask and it will be given to you, seek and you will find, knock and the door will be opened to you.”  Matthew 7:7

    Prayer continues to be one of the most confusing subjects to me.  To think that God has already seen all that has past, and all that is to come, and yet he wants ME to be involved in the “to come” part.  Isn’t that a fascinating thought?  He has given us the opportunity to communicate with him, in order that our prayer and petitioning may bring about his purposes. 

    A couple of the things ABOUT prayer that have greatly affected me are:

    1.  That Jesus LOVES to hear from me.  Think of all the good gifts that he is aching to give us…if only we would ask him.  It glorifies him when we are in constant dialog with him, every day, all day.  He never puts us “on hold” so that he can listen to someone else.  That doesn’t mean that he will always answer quickly or in the way we want him to.  Our pastor explained to us last week that one of the possible reasons for a delay is to purify our passions.  Are the things we are asking for pleasing to him?  Could we possibly be asking for something that wouldn’t be pleasing to him? 

     2. By praying, we are bringing about his will.  Confusing?  It is for me.  His will WILL be accomplished whether we choose to pray or not.  But we get to experience blessing when prayers are answered.  No one wants to miss out on that! 

    3. He wants us to continue praying until we receive an answer.  It doesn’t bother God when we continue to ask, in fact, it is glorifying to him.  Persistence shows that we take our requests seriously.