Monday, November 30, 2009

Menu Plan Monday

What a wonderful Thanksgiving week. We celebrated Thanksgiving in Scotland with several American (and a few Canadian) families. The stuffing was a little different (no StoveTop here). With no canned pumpkin, I was not about to tackle a pumpkin pie, but some of our friends were more skilled so we enjoyed pie as well.

Menu for this week:
  • Monday -- Al Forno Pasta Bake

  • Tuesday -- Teriyaki Chicken and Rice

  • Wednesday -- French Dip - I am trying a new recipe in the crock pot.

  • Thursday -- Beef and Broccoli

  • Friday -- Homemade Pizza

  • Saturday -- Chicken Tortilla Soup

  • Sunday -- leftovers

Check out more menu plan's at Organizing Junkie.

Happy Monday!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Who am I to teach the way?

Lord, who am I to teach the way
To little children day by day,
So prone myself to go astray?

I teach them knowledge, but I know
How faint they flicker and how low
The candles of my knowledge glow.

I teach them power to will and do,
But only now to learn anew
My own great weakness through and through.

I teach them love for all mankind
And all God’s creatures, but I find
My love comes lagging far behind.

Lord, if their guide I still must be,
Oh, let the little children see
The teacher leaning hard on Thee.

By: Leslie Pinchney Hill.

I was so encouraged and inspired by this poem and wanted to share it with you. This is the prayer of my heart ...

This verse was recently posted at Mumma's Place, with a link to the original post by Momma Mindy.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Let another praise you ...

Words That Heal - Chapter 2: "Aren't I Terrific?"

"Let another praise you, and not your own mouth;
someone else, and not your own lips.
" (Proverbs 27:2)

I didn't considered myself to be a boastful person, but this chapter on bragging challenged my thoughts and attitude. It is not about the overt bragging, it is about the subtle hints used to make yourself look better to other people.

Name-dropping. Place-dropping. Event-dropping. I have discovered that I am very skilled at working my importance into conversation using these techniques. Hmmm ... Did I just mention "in passing" that I know "so-in-so" (this great famous person)?

There are times when this is completely innocent, and I am just having conversation. Oh, but there are too many times when I plot in my head how to work in a comment about a place I have been or something I have done that might impress you. So little, so subtle, so prideful.

The same information could have been relayed in a humble way (or left unsaid), instead of praising myself. In this chapter, Mayhall states that "the difference between sharing information and boasting is in who gets the glory." Did my words make me look better? Or did I give praise where it is due? Did my heart seek to glorify God with my words? Did I speak to build up and edify my hearers?

"Lord, forgive my prideful heart and bragging words. Make me sensitive to boasting in my life and give me the strength and grace to change those areas. Teach me to edify and lift up those around me. Help me to always give you the praise. May the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart bring glory to your name."

I am currently reading Words That Hurt, Words That Heal by Carole Mayhall.
All unmarked quotes in this post are from Chapter 2 of this book.
Check out the other posts in this series.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Menu Plan Monday

Last week was our first time trying the Crock Pot Rotisserie Style Chicken from A Year of Slow Cooking and it was wonderful. I am thinking about following Keeper of the Home's lead and making broth with the left-overs next time.

There are a few meals we didn't get to last week, so I am leaving them on the menu for next week -- Minestrone and Enchilada Casserole.

Menu for this week:
  • Monday -- Jacket Potatoes (with cheese and broccoli)

  • Tuesday -- Minestrone Soup

  • Wednesday -- Tikka Masala

  • Thursday -- Turkey, Stuffing, etc - American Thanksgiving in Scotland

  • Friday -- Enchilada Casserole

  • Saturday -- Thanksgiving with other Expats from US and Canada (even though they celebrated a few weeks ago...)

  • Sunday -- Leftovers

Check out more menu plan's at Organizing Junkie.

Happy Monday!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Line Drying: Things to Think About

I have been spending much of my time over the last two months working on the art of line drying my laundry. Check out my previous posts, The Lost Art of Line Drying and What if it is raining?

The chore of laundry has taken on entirely new requirements than I ever thought about before. When you don't have a clothes dryer, there are a few things you have to take into consideration.

As you might have guessed, when you dry your clothing outside you really have to watch the weather and plan your laundry days accordingly (unless you live in a warm climate, with minimal rain). Especially during the winter, I try to get at least one load out anytime the sun makes an appearance. Just a few hours of direct sunlight, even in colder temperatures, will dry clothes faster than all day on a warmer but cloudy day.

Take this morning for example, the sun was out so I ran two loads before I left the house, hanging them on my way out the door. By the time I returned two and a half hours later, they were almost completely dry even though it was only 9°C (48°F).

Smaller washing machines / smaller loads
Our washing machine is smaller here and we are forced to run smaller loads of laundry, although they are front loaders so you can pack them and still get everything clean. We also have limited space to hang clothing and could not really fit much more than one or two small loads (especially inside).

More frequent loads
I find that I need to run laundry more frequently than I use to. In the past I would have one big laundry day about one a week. Now my drying is mostly dependent on daylight, forcing me to run laundry more frequently; the smaller washing machine and limited drying space also play into this change.

First thing in the morning
I use to run laundry all afternoon and evening; this was probably influenced by the fact that we did not have a washer and dryer in our apartment. I had to go down the building basement to run laundry, briefly leaving the kids in our apartment. This was easiest (and safest) to do while they were down for their afternoon nap or after daddy got home in the evening.

Laundry is now one of the first chores of the day. This has been a huge struggle for me since we moved here. But in order to take advantage of the limited sunlight at this time of year, I have to get a load started before breakfast, so it is ready to hang as soon as the sun is up.

Soap usage and soft water
The stiff laundry was hard to get use to when I first started to hang my clothes. I have quickly learned that my biggest problem was using too much soap. It is so easy to be sloppy about measuring soap, and without double rinse cycles (takes too much time), my clothes had some soap residue that made them extremely crunchy after air drying.

I also did not consider our water when determining how much soap to use. We have slightly soft water here, making it harder to rinse our soap. I should have been using even less soap based on soft water (or more if we had hard water). Who knew it could be so complicated!

Fabric softener
Growing up, my mother always used dryer sheets to get that soft, static-free feel to our clothing. With line drying, that is no longer an option. Welcome to the world of liquid fabric softeners. Again, I have had to play with the correct amount to use to get the softness without adding too much that the clothes get crunchy with residue.

When it comes to dealing with stains, I love line drying. If I don't get the stain out the first time and, without realizing it, dry the clothing. I can still go back and treat the stain again - no hot dryer to 'set' the stain. Also, direct sunlight can do wonders for removing stains, especially on cottons. And it makes whites so much brighter. Incredible!

These are just a few things that I have learned to take into consideration as I learn to dry my clothing without a dryer. I am still learning the best way to actually hang the clothes. That is for another post.

Have you tried line drying your clothes? Any tips?
Or are you thinking about trying it? What's holding you back?

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

A Fountain of Life ...

Words That Heal - Chapter 1: A Fountain or a Babbling Brook?

My Bible study group is currently reading "Words That Hurt, Words That Heal" by Carole Mayhall. In this post, I wanted to share some thoughts from Chapter 1.

"The mouth of the righteous is a fountain of life ... the tongue of the righteous is choice silver ... the lips of the righteous nourish many ..." (Proverbs 10:11, 20, 21)

Are my words worth listening to? Are they a fountain of life -- bubbling up life and truth, overflowing out fullness and abundance, refreshing those who hear? Or are they simply a babbling brook, a dime a dozen, or worse, a deadly poison?

This chapter opens with a thought-provoking story, about a young man's brief encounter with a man whose words were fountain of life. "I don't think I've had more than 20 minutes with Bob since I've worked here ... but every moment we've had, he's shared something with me that was just what I needed."

This simple story surprised me and challenged me ... are my words like that? Why not?

Jesus tells us that our words come from the abundance of our hearts. For my words to be a fountain of life, to encourage, challenge, refresh, they must flow from an abundance of life in my heart. "When we dwell deep with God, we will be -- to some people sometimes -- a fountain of life.

What should be dwelling so abundantly in my heart that it flows out in my words?

~ Praise ~
I will bless the LORD at all times; his praise shall continually be in my mouth. (Psalm 34:1)

~ The Word of God ~
Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth, but meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. (Joshua 1:8)

~ Encouragement and Comfort ~
And you know that we treated each of you as a father treats his own children. We pleaded with you, encouraged you, and urged you to live your lives in a way that God would consider worthy. For he called you to share in his Kingdom and glory. (1 Thessalonians 2:11-12)

~ Wisdom and Justice ~
The mouth of the righteous utters wisdom, and his tongue speaks justice. (Psalm 37:30)

From this list given in chapter one, I was most convicted about encouragement. I am not a natural encourager, as some of my friends clearly are, but Mayhall presented the idea of a habit of encouragement. This means I am not off the hook. To develop a good habit, it takes repeated practice. It may not feel natural at first, but (with God's work in my heart) I, too, can develop a habit of encouragement.

In all these things, we must learn to "speak the truth in love" (Ephesians 4:15)or "be truthful and kind" (Proverbs 3:3). We are too often truthful in our words but hurtful, or kind and loving but not entirely honest.

Mayhall talks about the marriage of these two ideas so beautifully. "I wish I could place love and truth deep in my mind to filter every word I speak. Much would be left unsaid if these two concepts were the strainer used to purify my speech."

Thinking back over this past week, how would you describe your speech?

"Lord, teach me to speak the truth in love, to be both kind and truthful. Create in me a heart, abundantly overflowing with your love, your wisdom and your truth that the words that pour out from my mouth bring you glory and encourage those around me. Show me each day how to encourage and refresh and bring life with the words of mouth and the meditation of my heart."

I am currently reading Words That Hurt, Words That Heal by Carole Mayhall.
All unmarked quotes in this post are from Chapter 1 of this book.
Check out the other posts in this series.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Aberdeen: King Street

I wanted to share some shots of Aberdeen on one of our recent family walks. These are all taken on King Street, the main road running from Old Aberdeen (where the University is located, and where we live) to the down town area.

I love all the stone buildings that line this street.

Below is the beautiful church where the King's Community Church, an Assemblies of God church, meets.

This building use to house the Aberdeen Fire Department.

This is the Cathedral Church of St. Andrews, part of the Anglican Communion and the Scottish Episcopal Church.

Here is the Aberdeen Arts Centre Theatre.

Aberdeen is an old city, much older than any city I've lived in prior to this. The stone work is so beautiful. I love walking through town, enjoying the view. Incredible!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Menu Plan Monday

Last week we added a new favorite to our family's favorite meals. We tried the Macaroni Beef from Mumma's Place and it was wonderful. Thank you, Ruby, for this great new recipe.

Menu for this week:

Check out more menu plan's at Organizing Junkie.

Happy Monday!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

The Weekly Weatherly

Today's weather forecast in Aberdeen, Scotland:

Showers // Chance of Precipitation: 60%

High: 8°C (47°F) // Low: 3°C (38°F)

Wind: West at 5 kmph ( mph)

Humidity: 91%

Sunrise: 07:40 // Sunset: 16:04 (4:04 PM)


As you may have noticed, we have lost 39 minutes of sunlight since I last posted the weather on 1 November.

There have been some beautifully sunny days this last week, with scattered rainy days in between. The humidity is always high. Even on drier days, the humidity is still around 80% or higher. This makes cold feel colder.

The temperatures have dropped in the last week. This morning we woke to a beautiful white world. No, it had not snowed, there was a very thick layer of frost covering everything. And if the frost was hidden in shadow, it never got warm enough to melt without the direct sunlight.

The kids ask me every afternoon, "Why is it so dark?" Our countdown to Winter Solstice has begun.

Monday, November 9, 2009

"Tear Down This Wall"

Today marks the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. On November 9, 1989, the East German government announced that their citizens could visit West Berlin.

View in 1986 from the west side of graffiti art on the Berlin wall's infamous "death strip"

Swarms of people climbed onto and over the wall from East Berlin to West Berlin, where they were met by celebrations. The reunification of Germany was completed the following October.

The wall was slowing chipped away by souvenir hunters until industrial equipment was used to removed almost all the rest of the wall.

I wasn't very old when we heard the story of the dangerous balloon crossing of the Berlin Wall. The movie, Night Crossing, made soon after impacted my view of how small our world is, and the concern we must have for oppression anywhere we find it.

I remember so clearly watching this news announced on all the television stations. It was so far away, but you could feel the celebration wherever you went.

Do you have any stories about this day in history?

Menu Plan Monday

Last week was hard for my family. I was out of commission with several migraines, followed by some virus infection (from which I am still recovering). Several of our meals for this week are simply carry-overs from last week's unused menu.

Menu for this week:

Check out more menu plan's at Organizing Junkie.

Happy Monday!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Commitment Comes First

Words That Heal - Part 1: Introduction

The Bible study group that I recently joined is reading "Words That Hurt, Words That Heal" by Carole Mayhall.

The introduction of this book struck a resonating chord in my heart. And challenged my attitude as I begin this study (much as the author intended, I would guess).

Carole Mayhall subtitles the intro "Commitment Comes First" and jumps straight to the heart of the matter.

Any time we approach God's Word we must be completely committed to respond with obedience to whatever God asks of us.

Now that my seem very obvious, but I realized I have become careless with my reading of scripture. Do I remind myself of my total surrender to God before I read, that I may be prepared to promptly respond to His call?

"God wants total commitment. He wants us to be wholehearted. Sold out. Willing to pay the price of being disciples." She goes on to say that this means, "Anywhere, anytime, anything, Lord."

Before beginning this challenging study about the words of my mouth, I must first look at my heart...

Am I truly willing to do whatever it takes to bring my tongue under the control of the Spirit? Giving up selfish activities to provide more time to meditate and pray? Humbling myself to recognize how I wrong others with my words and asking forgiveness from others?

"Lord, teach me what it means to have the mouth of the righteous. Teach me how it fits into total commitment. I want my mouth -- my tongue and my words -- to bring glory to You all the days of my life."

I am currently reading Words That Hurt, Words That Heal by Carole Mayhall.
All quotes in this post are from the Introduction of this book.
Check out the other posts in this series.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Food spending!

Over the last few weeks, it have become very apparent that we need a smaller food budget. This is the tightest we have ever been financially and food seems to be one of those areas where I should be able to save some money.

With our move from the USA to the UK, we are also dealing with the increased cost of goods because our money is tied to the conversion rate.

There are several people doing incredible challenges with really small spending. And others calculate the cost of each meal. I know some people are incredible with coupon shopping, too (I just have no idea if they even have coupons here -- haven't seen any yet).

Being new to this, I am looking for some advise. What do you do? How do you set your food budget? How much do you spend in a week, or month, or per meal? Any other advise?

Thanks for all your help!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Words that Hurt, Words that Heal

I have joined a new Bible study group here in Aberdeen. It is a ladies group comprised mainly of Americans and Canadians expats who are here while their husbands study at the University of Aberdeen.

For the fall, we are reading "Words That Hurt, Words That Heal" by Carole Mayhall.

The Bible tells us that our mouths are to be a fountain of life, but so many times our daily interactions with family, friends and even strangers show that we are far from this goal.

James also warns us that our tongues are "a fire, a world of wickedness ... contaminating and depraving the whole body ... being itself ignited by hell." (James 3:6 AMP)

This book explores the many ways we "curse" with our tongues while trying to praise God -- Can a spring of water bubble out with both fresh water and salt water?

As we read through this book and study what scripture says about our tongue, I will share how God is working in my own life, teaching me to control my mouth.
May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart, be pleasing in your sight, O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer. (Psalm 19:14)

Monday, November 2, 2009

Menu Plan Monday

Last week, I finally decided I needed a crock pot. Because the power requirements and plugs are completely different here in Scotland, we did not even consider bringing ours from the states.

I was hoping to find one at a charity shop or freecycle, but after looking for several weeks, I couldn't wait any longer. We have officially entered Crock Pot season. Now I have to use it at least once a week to justify the money spent.

Here is what I am going to try for this week:

Menu for this week:

Check out more menu plan's at Organizing Junkie.

Happy Monday!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

The Weekly Weatherly

Today's weather forecast in Aberdeen, Scotland:

Heavy Rain // Chance of Precipitation: 100%

High: 11°C (52°F) // Low: 6°C (43°F)

Wind: West at 23 kmph (14 mph)

Humidity: 100%

Sunrise: 07:20 // Sunset: 16:23 (4:23 PM)


This has been a very wet week or two here in Aberdeen. Even the natives are saying this is worse than usual. However, we did have a few sunny mornings this week.

It has been an adjustment getting use to the high humidity here. Even on drier days, the humidity is still around 80% or higher.

We are also quickly moving toward shorter days. You can see by the sunrise and sunset times that the sun is current up for about nine hours. This is getting shorter every day until Winter Solstice in late December.

All the clouds, the rain and the short days sure make us thankful for every glimpse we get of the sun!