Saturday, September 29, 2012

Messy Spirituality

About a month ago, I found this book on a freebie table at work. A co-worker had highly recommended it, so I snatched it up. Messy Spirituality by Michael Yaconelli is a very short book, about 150 pages and I found it to be a really quick read.

I really enjoyed this book. And by "enjoyed," I mean was convicted by and needed to read it. The message was simple -- life is messy, your relationship with people, the church, and even God can be messy -- and it's okay. Yaconelli reminds us that the men and women of the Bible often had messy/screwed up lives; Jesus spent most of his time with the sinners, not the "righteous;" and God's love and grace are the very best gifts for "messy" people.

I could probably read this book often -- it reminded me over and over again just how imperfect I am and how perfect and amazing my God is.  It seems I can't hear that enough!

Hip Girls Guide to Homemaking

Before I left on vacation, I finished reading The Hip Girl's Guide to Homemaking by Kate Payne. I had seen this book at Barnes & Noble a year ago but never went back to buy it. I checked this out from our city library (which I love!).

I love the layout of this book and the wide range of topics Payne covers. Everything from homemade cleaning solutions to baking bread from scratch to canning. She even covered a bit on sewing and decorating. The layout was great because each chapter contained quick little tips and helpful tricks to everyday domestic chores. Payne has lived in some very small apartments so I felt like the advice she gave was relevant to my current set-up as well as my little budget.

This was a very easy read and really interesting (yes, I said reading about cleaning was interesting in this case).  I've seen a lot of homemaking books that seem really overwhelming and way to big to every really get through, but this book was perfect . . . now if I could only remember everything, I'd be set!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Random Report

I haven't written in a while, I guess it's because I don't have enough to say about any one topic so I don't say anything at all. I've had a lot on my mind lately. And so, I bring you my first "Random Report." This is my attempt to share what is going on in my life and what I've been up to - random style. (Sorry to those of you who love my usual topical posts.)

So, first things first, my husband and I are traveling to Europe on Friday afternoon for a two week backpacking "vacation." Vacation is in quotation marks because there most likely will be no resting on this trip as we have seven cities to visit in just 14 days! Yikes! We are really excited about this trip --we've been saving up for this adventure for a long time and we are doing everything on the cheap, or going to try anyway. We aren't planning to spend much time on a computer while we are away so I will have to share all of our stories when I return . . . please come back!

This Saturday, I spent most of the day trying to prepare for this grand adventure. I did laundry and set aside everything I plan to bring . . . it is way too much stuff. How am I suppose to cut it down? I have no idea. Taking five outfits and enough toiletries for 14 days doesn't seem totally insane, it just looks like more than it should . . . and weighs more than I want it to!

I also cleaned my oven this weekend. I tried a new method which is supposedly less toxic than running the "self-cleaning" program on the oven. I made up a baking soda paste (by adding water) and then rubbed it on all the greasy, caked-on, grossness that was covering the inside of my oven and let it dry and sit most of the day. Every few hours I would walk into my kitchen and scrub off a section of paste with a scouring pad. It came off pretty well and took the grossness with it - which left me satisfied . . . until I tried to scrub off the rest of it that night in the back and bottom of the oven, which is almost impossible to reach, much less scrub with any force. My husband had to step in to finish the job. After it was pretty clean, I rinsed it with a water/vinegar solution and dried it with a paper towel. It looked pretty good . . . that is until I tried to bake my salmon last night and the baking soda came back in streaks. So, I will be repeating that rinsing process this week.

I finished another sewing project too, but I can't reveal it yet because well, it's a gift. I ordered new fabric to start on the next little baby-play-quilt when I get back from our trip. I'm really excited - it's going to be so cute!

I cleaned out my coupon book as more than half of the coupons have expired or will expire while I'm gone. It was sad to see empty pages. I really enjoy saving money with coupons. Although, this week I bought two things because I had a coupon, not because we needed them. So, I guess it doesn't always save money. But it is fun!

I'm reading a book right now called "Hip Girl's Guide to Homemaking" by Kate Payne. It's actually a pretty easy read and I find it enjoyable. I love the layout of the book - very hip and great uses of color to highlight tips and tricks. I'm also learning a ton . . . like how to clean an oven with baking soda. I'll write more on that when I'm finished.

The other event on my mind has been the Walk for Life. I mentioned it here already but I'm thinking about being a team leader and trying to recruit a few more people to be on a team with me. I'm also trying to get the word out early that I'm fundraising for the pregnancy center. When I get back from my trip, I'll have 20 days until the walk! That doesn't feel like much time!

I think that's all for now --
Thanks for reading!