Creativity comes from God. He is the source of creativity, (after all he did create heaven and the earth we live in) and he wants us to create beautiful things. l love the story in Exodus where it talks about how God called all the artisans and craftsmen to help build the tabernacle. They were called to design artistic works (Exodus 31:4). Many of us have those same creative juices flowing through us! Whether it be art, music, dance, writing or theatre, God placed those talents and abilities inside of you for you to enjoy and share with others. For the Oasis Creative Design Session we learned how to make fun and easy t-shirt scarves! Click on the link below for step by step instructions and have fun being creative!
Kim Green, or Mama Kim, as we lovingly call her at Life Link, did an AMAZING job teaching about the art of slow cooking. Along with many tips and tricks, everyone in the class took away a small slice of heaven in the form of bread pudding. Below you’ll see the recipe and step-by-step instructions.
Slow Cooker Bread Pudding Recipe
- 5 eggs, beaten
- 3 1/2 cups milk
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 2 Tablespoons (yes!) ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 6 cups plain bread crumbs (or more to make mixture as thick as cooked oatmeal when mixed with all ingredients)
- 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
- 1 Tablespoon butter or margarine, melted
- 1/2 cup raisins (optional)
- One mashed or sliced banana (optional)
Mix all ingredients together until bread crumbs are thoroughly wet, and mixture is smooth like thick oatmeal. Place mixture in a generously greased slow cooker. Cook on high for 4 to 5 hours, or until a knife inserted in center comes out fairly clean.
NOTE: For the last 1/2 hour of cooking, lift the lid a “crack” by putting a spoon or fork between it and the pot, to let the excess moisture escape; otherwise you will have a clear liquid all around the bread pudding.
Links to additional SLOW COOKER recipes:
FITNESS AND NUTRITION
Our very own fitness ladies, Kirsten Posten and Monica Melton broke down fitness and nutrition! This section has tons of info for what to eat, and how to stay active!
Eat balanced meals:
* Each meal and snack should contain protein, good carbs, good fat and fiber. A well-balanced meal keeps your insulin levels from spiking and enables your body to burn fat.Eat every 3-4 hours:
* Eating smaller, more frequent meals fuels your metabolism, keeps your energy levels high all day, and helps prevent you from overeating at any one meal.
Use a smaller plate:
* Using a salad plate or saucer in place of a dinner plate for every meal helps reduce the amount of food you eat by up to 28%. We eat with our eyes first so you will see a fuller plate but with appropriate portion sizes. *If trying to lose weight, limit high sugar fruits and consume fruit earlier in the day.
*Drink water! At least 64oz everyday.
*Carry healthy snacks (nuts, protein bar, apple.) on you at all times! Your day may not go as planned and you don’t want to go past 4hrs without eating.
*Preparation is key! Have grab & go items on hand (hardboiled eggs, shredded chicken, chopped veggies).
*Food is Fuel!
Here are a few examples of some healthy snacks:
20 almonds with 2 tbsps craisins
hardboiled egg with an apple
an apple with peanut butter
5 tbsps hummus with veggies (bell peppers, broccoli, cucumber, cauliflower, carrots, etc.)
2/3cup frozen blueberries with 1cup Greek yogurt
*Heat blueberries in the microwave for 2mins and then top with Greek yogurt.
* lean meats: chicken, fish, turkey
* egg whites
* Greek yogurt
* low-fat cottage cheese
* protein shakes
* brown rice
* sweet potatoes
* olive oil
Low Sugar Fruits
High Sugar Fruits
30mins of physical activity 3-4x’s/wk
* Can be as simple as walking
* Keep it fun – ride a bike (vs. spin class), rollerblading, tennis, etc.
* Push-ups: tone chest, arms & shoulders. Levels of progression: wall, knees, and then toes.
* Lunges: tone legs & butt
* Squats &/or wall sits: legs & butt
* Planks & crunches: tone core
Include in EVERY workout:
* warm-up: 5mins of gently moving the body (walking, arm circles)
* cool down: 5mins of low intensity
* stretching: needed for muscle growth and helps relieve some soreness.
Key points to remember:
* Anticipate Soreness: Don’t think that because you get sore you shouldn’t do a particular exercise or move again. It is ok to work through your soreness. You will learn to listen to your body.
* Practical Changes Add Up: take the stairs, park farther away, etc.
* Progress: start at your own level and work your way up. “Anything you did better today, that you didn’t do yesterday, is progress. Applaud yourself for doing more than you would have done.”
* Consistency: “If you’re tired of starting over than you need to stop quitting.”
* Building Muscle will NOT make you Bulky!! With a balanced workout routine (weights, cardio & stretching) you can build long, lean muscle that burns fat!
Learning Your Body:
* As you become consistent in your workouts & eating you will learn the difference between mental & physical limitations. You will learn that you can work through feelings of nausea & soreness. You will learn the times when you are feeling hungry and when your body actually needs to consume more food. You will learn when you need to rest and when you are making excuses.
* $$$ -> You can get fit & healthy at home. Walking & toning exercises do not require fancy gym memberships! Healthy, fresh foods ultimately cost less than fast food & restaurants.
* Time / Too Much Work -> You are worth the investment to set aside time to get healthy. You will be a much more satisfied, happy & confident you! You will sleep better and have more energy.
* Too Unfit -> You can start from where you are physically at right now and improve! If you can’t do knee push-ups then you can start on the wall. If you can’t walk a mile then walk a block.
The spunky Lacie Mercer broke down the idea that writing is how we express our thoughts and feelings. For those ladies that get excited at the smell of a freshly sharpened pencil, this section is for you!
“Thoughts and feelings disentangle themselves through the lips and fingertips” Writing. That’s where things get all sorted out. Maybe you’re into typing it all out. I have to say, I love the sound of my computer keys. But, as much as I love my iPad, iPhone, and MacBook, I love my journal and pen more. You know what it’s like, writers. We have our favorite kind of pens that we like to use. We know what paper we like. I like my journals to smell good. Maybe, like me, you’ve been made fun of in the past for the little round smudge of ink on the pinky of your writing hand! I have found in my 21 years, that if I don’t write things down, I feel cluttered, stifled, and stuck. I can explain how I feel better in writing. I can be feeling something but don’t even know what I’m feeling until I can write it out. Sometimes in life, we get stuck and stifled. All we need to do is work out our creative muscle. You, with an interest in writing, do that through having inspiration and then writing it down. Have you ever felt like you want to write, but you can’t unless you’re hit with inspiration? Eventually, by working out our creative muscle, we can get to the place where we don’t need to be inspired. Our creative muscle can be so worked out that we’re always inspired by everything. And then we’ll walk around with guitars strapped to our backs and flowers in our hair. Just kidding. As writers, we need to be able to see pictures in our heads. Even if you aren’t into writing fiction, we still need to be able to describe a scene to the point that our readers are there. They’re smelling, seeing, hearing, and feeling what’s going on.
So to start working out that creative muscle, let’s practice. When you read the prompts below, write down the first thing that pops into your head.
- He turned the key in the lock and opened the door. To his horror, he saw…
- The detective saw his opportunity. He grabbed the waitress’s arm and said…
- You walk into your house and it’s completely different — furniture, decor, all changed. And nobody’s home.
We have to practice in order to get our muscle working. Here are some more prompts that involve common things around your house.
- Get a package of one of your favorite canned or boxed foods and look at the ingredients. Use every ingredient in your writing session.
- Write about work and include these words: stapler, phone, car, billboard.
Or you could just start with a simple grocery list. We all have to make them and it does count as writing! Instead of saying you need to buy one tomato, for example, maybe write that you need to buy one, round, plump, firm, shiny, red tomato.
It counts and it gets that muscle working!
Here are some tips to get you writing:
- Keep a journal
- Write what happens during your day (it doesn’t have to be incredibly long or crazy inspirational)
- Write the funny things your kids say
- Free write
- Whatever pops into your head, write it down. It could be ANYTHING
- This tickles your creative muscle and gets him working
- Whatever you’re interested in writing, read that genre
- Pay attention to how the author paints pictures or what phrasing they use
- Every genre is different so learn your genre!
- If you have a favorite author, read their work like crazy
- You’ll find that some of their style will work its way into yours
- Read the book of Psalms and Song of Solomon
- They’re filled with vivid descriptions
- It may also spice up your marriage a little
- Whatever you’re interested in writing, read that genre
So now that we’ve tickled your writing muscle, think about how you can use this outside of just your personal life.
- Writing cards
- LLC constantly has blurbs that need written
- Radiant Women’s ministry has a fabulous blog that is always looking for contributors
- Teach younger girls how to write-it’s becoming a lost art in the world of technology
Now go! Create! Write! Inspire!
Our very own sweet Danielle Peterson taught all about the art of couponing and how to save money WHILE you shop1
How to coupon:
- Gather tools
- Choose a filing system:
- By week and letter
- By usage and number
Match sales to coupons:
- Look through weekly store ads and match sale items with coupons
- Do this yourself
- Use a website that matches coupons and sales for you:
Plan ahead/stock up:
- Buy as many as possible
- Buy only when item is on sale
Many stores will double coupons up!
Wal-Mart will match the prices of other grocery stores!
How to Organize Coupons by Week and Letter:
Method used on Couponsense.com
You will need:
- A filing system with 26 folders
- Coupon inserts from Sunday’s paper
- A stapler
- A sharpie
Assigne each folder a letter of the alphabet
- Each week’s inserts will be given a letter
- A-Z it cycles through the alphabet twice a year
- Each coupon is numbered, and each insert had a specific number range
- General Mills:400-500
- P&G: 600-700
- Red Plum:1-50
- Smart Source:201-300
- You will locate coupon by week and number
- Example: M204
- This would be in the first few pages of the smart source insert, located in week M of your file folder.
Remove inserts from Sunday’s paper
- Write that week’s letter and the number range on the front of the insert
- If you have duplicate inserts collate them
- To collate:
- Open duplicate inserts next to each other
- Put duplicate pages together
- In addition you may staple your pages together
- (All of this work saves time when you are ready to clip your coupons.)
Once collated place inserts into that weeks file folder
How to Organize Your Coupons
An INCREDIBLE System That Works
What you will need:
- Computer that has a word processing program that allows you to insert a ‘table’, or has a spreadsheet program.
- A large coupon carrier for coupons (enough room to hold 1,000 to 2,000 coupons).
- Permanent marker
- StaplerWhat you will have when you are done:
- Your coupons will be at your fingertips. Listed in the computer, numbered and sorted alphabetically.
- A coupon carrier with your coupons filed chronologically according to the number you write on them.
- A system that will eliminate sorting your coupons to purge ones that have expired. Benefits of the System:
- You will no longer be a slave to the grocery buying process, you will be able to remain within your budget, and SAVE money.
- Keeps life simple and organized. We all know that by adding more time in the store, you will lose patience and will not find the GREAT SALE items. This system will solve that problem.
STEP 1: Cut Out the Coupons
Cut out the coupons for any items you think you may use. If you are unclear which coupons you want to clip, ask yourself if you would use the item if the coupon made it free. If you have duplicates of the same coupon, staple them together.
Two quick methods of matching duplicate coupons:
- 1) As you cut the coupons, place them beside you on a table and stack the duplicates together as you cut.
- 2) If you are cutting and not able to stack at the same time, use your kitchen table or counter top. Start laying out the coupons in rows according to the size (dimension) of the coupon. If it is tall and skinny, place all the tall and skinny coupons in the same row. Place all of the long and narrow in another row. What this does is allows you to quickly find the matching coupon. Tip: If you have a long enough countertop, try to utilize it for laying the coupons on. It is taller than a kitchen table, easier to see, and easier on your back!
This may seem like a minor detail but it is a huge time saver, especially if you cut the coupons while you are traveling, at a doctor’s office, or waiting for the school bus. While cutting, the coupons will be in random order in your envelope or baggie. Matching duplicates by their size (dimension) is a huge time saver.
STEP 2: Number Your Coupons
First, staple the duplicate coupons together. Next use your permanent marker to start numbering your coupons. Start at number 1 and continue until you have no more coupons. When you get to 999 you start over at number 1. (I will explain more later). Since the cashier scans the coupon, do not write your number on the UPC code. Write the number large enough for you to see at a glance.
Stack the coupons, lowest to highest number. In other words, as you write 1 on your first coupon, set coupon with number 2 on top, 3 next, and so on.
As you acquire coupons in following weeks, you will continue numbering the coupons where you left off the previous week. For example, you left off with number 152 the week before, so you begin with number 153 the following week.
STEP 3: Create Your Table on the Computer
Below is a portion of the actual table that I use. This table is a Microsoft Word document.
Your table needs five columns and you can start with approximately 25 rows (add rows as you need).
Tip: When using Microsoft Word, and you are on the last row of the table, you can add rows by hitting Tab at the end of the row. It automatically adds a new row at the bottom of the table.
Bonus: You can download for free a blank table from PracticalSaver.com to use for your coupons.
The column headings should be:
# (For the number you wrote on each coupon)
Name (For the Product Name on the coupon)
Expire (For the Expiration Date of the coupon)
Amount (For the Amount displayed on the coupon)
Store (When the coupon is a Store Coupon, you list the name of the store)
STEP 4: Entering the Information
After you enter each coupon individually into your table or spreadsheet, you will need to pay close attention to the order in which you stack your coupons. As you proceed through your coupon stack, place the coupon with the highest handwritten number on the bottom of the stack. This places the coupon in the correct order for placement in your carrier.
Below are details of the information you will enter in each column.
Name: As you can see from my sample table above, the name of the coupon is very short. Quick and to the point is the easiest and fastest way to list your coupons. The coupon may be very descriptive with the size, flavor, or multiple products listed. On your table keep it simple, and list only the information you will need to identify which coupon you are referring to. Remember, this is your list. If it is “Dannon Lite with Fruit in the Bottom Yogurt 5 oz. size” you could easily list the coupon as “Dannon Lite”. That keeps it simple and allows you to enter your coupons quickly.
Expiration: Generally, you will only need to list the month and day the coupon expires. You may come across a coupon that expires far into the future, in that case you will want to add the year. If there is no expiration, leave the box in the table blank.
Amount: This is the amount of discount offered on the coupon, i.e. 55¢, 45¢, or ‘Buy One Get One Free’.
- Eliminate the dollar signs.
- ‘Buy 1 Get One Free’, simply enter: 1/free
- $1.00 off of two items, simply enter: 1 / 2
- (you should place a space between the number and the slash mark because otherwise it appears 1⁄2 , which is a little harder to read)
Store: If it is a ‘Store Coupon’ and is good at only one store enter the name of the store. In my sample table, Basha’s Coke is an example of a store coupon.
STEP 5: Save it on Your Computer!
Continuously hit ‘Save’ while you are entering coupons. It is a habit that you won’t regret!
STEP 6: Sort Alphabetically
The only way this list is of value is if you can quickly locate the coupon. Therefore, it is necessary to sort the list Alphabetically.
Each computer program may vary on the commands used to sort items, but the concept is the same, you need to sort the name of the coupons in ‘Ascending’ order. The coupons will then appear A – Z.
It may be necessary to indicate that there is a ‘Header Row’ or ‘Column Titles’. Meaning, if there is a column title, it will not sort the column title along with your coupon names.
STEP 7: Print
Once all of the coupons are inputted into the computer, print out your sheets and staple the pages together in the upper left corner.
Tip: When printing, use ‘low quality’ printing and scrap paper. No need to use excessive ink or paper.
STEP 8: Getting Your Coupon Carrier Ready
You will need a sturdy carrier that has a handle a good latch, and has the capabilities of holding 2,000 coupons. Surprisingly, these carriers are very hard to find. Trust me, I looked a long time before I found mine.
You can order a Coupon Carrier at http://www.PracticalSaver.com.
The box is a major instrument to the system, so I suggest you find one that will work well for you.
If you use a box, you will need dividers. There is a template in the Appendix that can be used to make your dividers. Cardboard or card stock would be good for the dividers.
With a label or permanent marker, write your name and phone number on your coupon carrier. It was a sad, sad day when I left my carrier at the check out stand at the grocery store. Luckily, a very thoughtful, considerate, wonderful person turned the carrier in to the customer service desk. It would have been much easier if my name was on the carrier and the store could have called me. Now, my number is plastered everywhere!
You will want to stock your carrier with a pen and permanent marker. It is very handy to check off your list when the pen is near by.
Step 9: Placing Coupons in Your Carrier
Since your coupons are numbered, they will appear in your carrier in numerical order. Number your dividers of your carrier in increments of 100, i.e. 1- 100; 101 -200; 201 – 300; 301 – 400 etc. Place the coupons within the corresponding dividers.
Maintaining Your List Removing Expired Coupons
Each time you enter new coupons in the computer, you need to remove any expired coupons from the list. You don’t need to remove the coupons from your box, just from your list.
To remove expired coupons, you need to sort your list by ‘Expiration date’. On Microsoft Word, you highlight your ‘Expire’ column, click Table and Sort. ‘Expire’ and ‘Ascending’ should already be selected. Then select ‘OK’. This will sort your coupons from most recent expiration date to furthest. You can then highlight and delete any coupons that have an expired date.
Tip: Don’t delete the ones that are blank, remember, this means that they have no expiration date. You want to keep those on your list. Once you have deleted the expired coupons, you can re-sort your list alphabetically, print a new list, and be ready to shop again.
Since you must have your list in order to know where the coupons are filed, it is irrelevant if expired coupons are in your carrier. When you make it to coupon number 1,000, and start over at 1, any coupons in the first section (1-100 in your carrier) will most likely be expired. You can throw away the expired coupons at that time.
Tip: Remember, some of the coupons may not have an expiration date, so do not throw them away.
Maintaining Your List After Using a Coupon
After you use a coupon, remove it from your list. Your completed shopping list will be a great reminder for the coupons you have redeemed. The advantage of removing them is that you will not have to wonder if you have that coupon or not, and you will always have a completely up to date list.
Another option is to leave the coupon on your list and not remove it at all. I personally find it too time consuming to remove used coupons from the table. However, I might also add that after years of doing this system, it all seems to flow in my mind. You might be more comfortable beginning with the first suggestion and trying my approach at a later date.
An important thing to remember is that you must select a way of managing the table that works for YOU. How your brain processes information and how comfortable you are with your personalized table. Remember that the system I have described is a guideline, the adaptations are what makes it YOURS!
Many times you will end up with several entries for the same coupon. In my table below, you can see that the same coupon for Keebler cookies is entered four different times, each with new numbers. This happens when I locate a duplicate coupon at a later date. You can pull out from your carrier and staple the coupon to the matching coupon, or you can give the coupon a new number and file it in your carrier.
Edwinna Brantley is the queen of organization and she taught us how to stay on top of our stuff!
Proverbs 14:8 The wisdom of the prudent is to give thought to their ways, but the folly of fools is deception.
God gave a perfect example of scheduling your week and balancing your time when He made the earth in 6 days and rested on the 7th day.
He didn’t make the animals or man before He made light and vegetation. If he did there would have been nothing for them to eat. His plan was precise and thought out!
He balances the earth on its axis.
He gives us a balanced diet that makes us healthy.
He scheduled the seasons of the year.
We are in charge of 100% of our week!
(Each category should have 20% of your time for the week)
Rest/pamper yourself time 20%
(God is a part of all these times)
Quick balance check list for the person who wants to do EVERYTHING!
You can balance your life in any of the above categories with a quick check list
(Example: Edwinna’s Ministry check list)
1. Life Groups
2. Dream Center
4. Radiant Women Council
5. L C U
Time management Tips:
- Use a calendar for all your appointments. There are many apps on our smart phones that will sync your phone with your computer and other devices.
- Choose a system that works well for you for your daily to-dos (computer, phone, day timer, to do list)
- Give yourself realistic time limits for your tasks on your to do list
- If you think of things that you need to do tomorrow, don’t worry about them. Just jot them down so you can add them to your list for tomorrow. Matt. 6:34 says take no thought for the things of tomorrow!
- Delegate things that bug you or time stealers (remembering that you cannot go back and do it over yourself)
- Make your daily to do list the night before. It will clear your mind and you can rest better (read a scripture before bed)
- Two things to make sure are always in your schedule
Secret place time
Time for yourself to rejuvenate, rest
- Use times that seem like wasted time to your advantage for personal growth. (example: lines in grocery store, waiting in the Dr. office, traffic, few minutes left of your lunch hour or break)
- If you are planning an event or party, make it your goal to be totally prepared 24 hours ahead of time. Then you can relax, get yourself ready and have time for last minute emergencies and be relaxed for your party or event.
“To be certain of God means that we are uncertain in all our ways, not knowing what tomorrow may bring. This is generally expressed with a sigh of sadness, but it should be an expression of breathless expectation. We are uncertain of the next step but we are certain of God. As soon as we abandon ourselves to God and do the task He has placed closest to us, He begins to fill our lives with surprises!”