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29.7.09

Moussaka

Thank you Marli for sending this recipe in, I tried it yesterday & it is delicious! One thing I would mention though if you are going to try this, leave a space at the top of the baking dish as the topping rises. I found this out after filling my baking dish up all the way to the top!

1 medium aubergine, peeled & sliced into 1/2 rounds
1 tin crushed tomatoes
2 large potatoes, thinly sliced
olive oil
1 cup Parmesan, grated
1 large onion, minced
2 cups plain whole yoghurt
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 eggs, beaten
450g minced beef
3/4 cup single cream
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
butter

· Preheat oven to 190 C.
· Brown aubergine rounds in olive oil
& season with salt & pepper.
· Cook onion & garlic in 2 tablespoons of olive oil
· Brown mince, add spices, onion, garlic & tomatoes then simmer.
· Brown potatoes in olive oil, salt
& pepper.
· Butter baking dish & add potatoes, meat, aubergine
& Parmesan.
· Combine yoghurt, eggs & cream in a bowl.
· Season with salt
& pepper & pour over casserole.
· Let casserole sit for 10 minutes
& then bake for 30 minutes.
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28.7.09

5 Love Languages

The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman is one of my favourite books. This particular book is aimed at married couples but I find the principles work in any relationship. You can also apply love languages to a friendship, to a parent child relationship, in a family & even your relationship with God.

No matter how young or old you are this is a great principle to learn about. In a nutshell the 5 Love Languages are Words of Affirmation, Quality Time, Receiving Gifts, Acts of Service & Physical Touch. You may already be able to guess what your love language is but I do recommend reading the book as you may find that your love language is not what you thought it was. Most importantly you may receive love in one language but need to speak another language to give love to someone.

I have used the principle of love languages in my marriage, in my friendships, in my relationship with my children & in my relationship with God! It might sound silly to you but I try to tell God how I love Him in all sorts of different ways :) God IS love! Eric preached on this recently & it is powerful when you think about it. God doesn't have love for us He IS love. If God is love then it makes sense that us learning about love & how to love is really important.

I highly recommend this book as a great starting point to learning about all the different ways love is expressed & received. If we all simply grasped & used love this world would be a much nicer place. Check out the 5 Love Languages website too for all sorts of resources.
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25.7.09

BC - Before Coffee

I have been very spoilt since Amy was born. Every morning Eric brings me coffee & breakfast in bed so I can ease into the day. Amy still doesn't sleep through the night so mornings are not the best time of day for me. This morning I thought I would make Eric breakfast so he could have a day off from taking care of me. Let's just say after spilling baby food all over the floor, missing Amy's mouth several times & getting baby food up her nose... I decided to go back to bed & humbly ask for my usual coffee so I could wake up slowly & ease into the day! I am just too clumsy BEFORE COFFEE!

A photo of me before coffee would be too shocking to share with you so I thought I would spare you & have a photo of Daniel eating his breakfast :)
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23.7.09

Boost your Immune System

With all these nasty bugs going around I thought it would be good to chat about what we can do to avoid them! Here are some tips on boosting our immune system so we can lead a healthy, fun filled life together.

1. Sleep. On average we need 8 hours of sleep each night but this varies from person to person. Whatever your personal sleep needs are make sure you get it! Sleep has been linked to balancing hormone levels, keeping weight down, having a clear mind & healthy skin. (Perhaps I shouldn't be working on this post at 2am then?)

2. Water.
On average we need 8 glasses of water a day! I have covered this in a previous post & am very passionate about it. My children will tell you that my response to most of their complaints is, "Have you been drinking enough water?".

3. Coffee.
There is a lot of conflicting information on this one, but I would say that if you drink too much coffee you are damaging your body! The guidelines I've come across is 3 cups a day but I stick to one just to be safe.

4. Sugar. White refined white sugar is positively evil in my opinion (also medically proven of course). If you choose to apply only one of the points I have mentioned here then start with eliminating sugar. One thing to mention here though is not to replace sugar with artificial sweeteners, they are even worse than sugar.

5. Fruit & Veg.
Daniel 1 in the Bible has a great story that proves how effective it is to eat fruit & vegetables. Fresh fruit & veg boosts your immune system, give you great skin & hair, boosts your energy levels... just about all health benefits come from eating plenty of fruit & veg.

6. Exercises. Exercise releases endorphins (your happy hormones). Most of us spend 90% of our lives indoors, inhaling stale or filtered air & other people's germs so exercising outdoors is even better.

7. Fun. What a great way to stay healthy! Fun releases endorphins & laughter is as medicine. (Proverbs 17:22) Take time to laugh, hang out with friends, and do whatever you find fun. When you are happy, you're far less likely to get sick.


The photo above is of my lovely, lively daughters! xxx
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17.7.09

My Friday

This Friday was quite a crazy Friday so I thought I would share it with you. The morning was a bit sad, I had to take my dad & brother to the station as they were heading home after a 2 week visit with us. I said my good-byes, drove off & burst into tears realising that I hadn't seen them for about 7 years & may not see them again for that long! Eric had to turn the car around & drive me back to the station so I could give them another big hug & I held them tight for ages. Life is so short & I needed to make sure they knew how much I love them. We weren't a pretty sight all 3 of us being all emotional at the station! The great part was the Eric took me out for breakfast afterwards to cheer me up... mmm nice :)


Next item on the day plan was to rush home to clean up & prepare for another house guest who is staying for the weekend & for one of my piano students concert in the afternoon! Whilst rushing around getting ready, baking cupcakes & cleaning the doorbell rings. It's a teenager!!! He kindly tells me that the REST of them are tagging along behind him. AAAH this was not it the day plan, they were only due to come over at 6 for the youth program tonight! I hit a bit of a panic & I think the look on my face frightened them so they all offered to help! Yay 6 extra pairs of hands. Here they are in the photo above helping me.

Next.... Rosie's piano concert! How gorgeous is little Rosie & she played so very beautifully. Sadly the camera batteries weren't charged so this was the only photo we got.


And then, as if this wasn't enough for any women in one day! The Zone, our Friday night youth group begins at 6pm & we only manage to kick everyone out around 10:00pm.

So that's it, my crazy Friday! How was your Friday? I hope you all have a lovely weekend. xxx

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Lust

I am busy reading Christine Caine's book Stop Acting Like A Christian Just Be One & I can't wait until I am finished it to tell you about it so I may have to do a review in stages! This book is so packed with life changing principles that I feel if I read it too fast I will miss something so I am savouring it, picking it up occasionally only when I am sure I have totally applied what I have learned & can safely move on.

Lust - you may be wondering why I have chosen this as my post title! Christine's book consists of two parts, the first sections covers some fascinating thoughts on how we are made up, who we are & how we can be all that we can be for Jesus. The second part of the book is a 31 day devotional. I am only on Day 8 & as I mentioned I only move on to the next day once I am sure I have fully absorbed what I need & applied everything that has challenged me. Day 8 is called "Be: Content" & the caption under the title says; "Lust is when we have a desire for something that is not ours to have".
This thought completely blew my mind as I had never thought of lust in that way. Suddenly I found myself looking back over my life & recognised areas that I may have operated in lust. It is frightening what happens when you put a label to this thought. I wonder how many people lust after ministry positions, lust after something in a friends life, lust after someones role in a work place. I dare you to ask yourself " Do I have an area in my life where I may be desiring something that God does not have for me? "

I highly recommend Christine's book to you, get a copy & come on this life changing journey with me. xxx
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14.7.09

Fireproof

This movie had me in fits of laughter & tears! If ever there was an inspiring movie about the power of choice this is it! I tried to write a good review for you but thought I couldn't match what is already on the Dove website, so here it is:

"
After seven years of marriage, Caleb and Catherine Holt have drifted so far apart that Catherine wishes she had never married. Neither one understands the pressures the other faces--as firefighter and she as the public relations director of a hospital. Regular arguments over jobs, finances, housework, and outside interests have readied them both to move on to something with more sparks. As the couple prepares to enter divorce proceedings, Caleb's father challenges his son to commit to a 40-day experiment he calls "The Love Dare."

Wondering if it's even worth the effort, Caleb agrees, but more for his father's sake than for his marriage. When Caleb discovers the book's daily challenges are tied into his parents' new found faith, his already limited interest is further dampened.
While trying to stay true to his promise, Caleb becomes frustrated time and again. He finally asks his father, "How am I supposed to show love to somebody who constantly rejects me?" When his father explains that this is the love God shows to us, Caleb makes a life-changing commitment to love God. And--with God's help--he begins to understand what it means to truly love his wife. But is it too late to fireproof his marriage? His job is to rescue others. Now Caleb Holt is ready to face his toughest job ever--rescuing his wife's heart."
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10.7.09

Friends

Choosing who your friends are is really, really important. The person you will be in 5 years time will be mostly determined by who your friends are and by what books you have read. There are four types of people in your life:

People who add or People who subtract
People who multiply or People who divide

Only allow people who add or multiply in your life to get close to you. If a person is subtracting or dividing, you need to keep your distance from that person, if possible cut them out totally. It sounds difficult but it's your life & you will waste it if you don't choose your friends wisely. "He who walks with wise men will be wise, But the companion of fools will be destroyed." (Prov 13:20). Have a lovely weekend & invest in your precious friendships! xxx
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8.7.09

Broad Bean & Mint Soup

Every week I get a delivery of lovely fresh organic food from Riverford. This week in the box were loads of broad beans so I thought I would find something interesting to do with them & came across this recipe.

1T vegetable oil
1 onion
2 cloves garlic
2 medium potatoes, chopped
300ml vegetable stock
1½C shelled broad beans
juice of 1 lemon
300ml single cream

1 sprig mint chopped
salt & pepper to taste

·Lightly fry onions and garlic in oil.
·Add the potato and stock & cook for 15 minutes.
·Cook the broad beans in boiling water for 5 minutes & add to potato.
·Leave the soup to cool then add the lemon juice, cream and mint.
·
Purée until smooth.
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6.7.09

Seeking, Stuck, Flourishing



I am loving Eric's series on Seeking, Stuck, Flourishing! It is so refreshing to hear such hardcore truth with very practical steps to move onto a flourishing life. The one bit that stood out to me the most was "If you are still the same person you were a month ago... that shows that you are not moving forward in your walk with God! And if you stay there long enough you will waste your entire life there!" The reverse engineering principles to Saul’s life was really helpful. Based on Saul in 1 Samuel chapters 10 to 15, we learned what caused Saul to stay stuck, which of course helps us know what NOT to do. Here is a little recap of those points.

He hid himself (1 Sam 10:1) He avoided responsibility by hiding away
He was proud (1 Sam 13:3-4) He took the glory for Jonathan's victory
He panicked (1 Sam 13:9) He did the right thing in the wrong time
He made excuses (1 Sam 13:12) He tried to justify his disobedience

With this list of what not to do in mind I guess the way out of being stuck is to do the opposite! Stop hiding away, be humble, don't panic and stop making excuses. It's well worth getting busy with the right things in the right time rather than wasting your energy on being busy with the wrong things in the wrong time. I hope this little summary of Eric's message is helpful in some way.

Love
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4.7.09

Dating - My Top 5 Tips

One of the most significant things that you will deal with in life is dating. There are so many opinions out there, so much conflicting advice yet still so little you can rely on. I hope I can offer you some advice that will help the dating season be pure joy for you.


#1 Know Who You Are

To me this is the most important thing in every area of life, especially dating! I have done a whole bunch of posts on identity as I am very passionate about this subject. If you don't know who you are, how are you going to let anyone else get to know you? A lot of energy and time will be wasted trying to be who you think you should be to please the person you are dating! If the relationship ends then you will be confused about who you are and will go into another relationship to do the whole thing yet again, adding another layer of confusion to your already confused life. Sadly confusion is the only result. Your identity is so precious, don't compromise who you are for anyone. If you are not sure of yourself yet and not sure who you really are rather take time to invest in you before you start investing in a relationship. Two halves don't equal a whole when it comes to dating. If you are broken, going into a relationship won't fix anything it will only cause damage to both of you. Find you, be you, love you and then you will be free to love someone else too.


#2 Know What You Want
To want to date and share your life with someone is normal, there is nothing wrong with it, so the first thing I would say is to stop feeling guilty about how you feel! It's OK having these feelings but it's what you do with them that counts. What do you want from a relationship? I encourage my daughters to write down what they want and the boundaries they desire for a relationship. This is so that when they are in a relationship and emotions are controlling their brain, they can depend on what they wrote and not fall into a nasty emotional trap that they will regret later. Writing down what you want in a partner and out of a relationship is important, if you don't know what you want you will end up with anyone. Writing down certain boundaries is good too - perhaps even share your boundaries with someone you trust to stay accountable.


#3 Know Where You Are Going
Having a vision, dream or plan for you life is important. If you know where you are going you won't be wasting any of your precious time with things that aren't important. The right person for you will be running in the same direction as you and at the right time your paths will cross and you will come together. It will be a beautiful harmony of two people with a dream moving in the same direction. How simple is that, just get on with living your life and the right person will show up running along side you. Of course the opposite is also true, if you have no plan and no direction you are likely to end up with no one special who is also milling around going nowhere.


#4 Know People You Can Trust
"He who walks with wise men will be wise, But the companion of fools will be destroyed." (
Proverbs 13:20). Need I say any more?

#5 Know About Marriage
The whole point of dating is to find someone you can marry. No matter how old you are that is the point of dating so it makes sense to firstly make sure you are old enough or ready to date. Do you feel if you dated now the person you are dating could potentially be your husband? If not maybe that is something to think about. Dating is not a game it is a very precious part of life and if it's treated like a game a lot of hurt and damage will result. In Song of Solomon in the Bible it says three times "Do not stir up nor awaken love until it's ready". I wish I knew this when I was younger before I started dabbling with my heart. God can heal and He has faithfully healed my messed up heart but the memories are still in my head. Even though I am married to the most amazing man in the world and have a beautiful relationship with him... I still have memories of a past life. If I can share one thing today it would be to be careful what memories you are making, beware of what memories you are going to have to live with! Memories don't go away they live with you forever, what ever memories you make now you will be taking them into your marriage...


Do you have any top tips to share? Do you have any question your would like ask? Or if you just want to share how you are feeling free to do so - we are all in this together and are here to support each other.

Love
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1.7.09

FaceBook Addiction

More and more I am finding people saying that they are addicted to FaceBook, need to close their FaceBook account (but then don't) or say how they hate that they spend so much time on FaceBook but can't seem to get away from it! This got me really curious as to what has made us this way. I begun snipping up my FaceBook page to create the image on this post and realised that there is a lot that this little website has to offer. Take a look at the image and see all the bits and bobs that we use it for (there are loads more too).

Facebook reports that its 200 million users worldwide are logging in collectively for 3.5 billion Facebook minutes per day. WHY?
It starts of with an innocent glimpse at your friends profiles on the site and suddenly you are logging on 10 times a day to see if any of them have made updates to their profile, changed their relationship status or have posted pictures. I am not even going to begin to get into all the applications and quizzes that I have noticed popping up more and more. wikiHow has even published an article entitled “How to Quit Facebook.

Anne Jackson posted an interesting article on why she left FaceBook. Here is her closing snippet:

"The ultimate question, for the social media world as for every other world, is this: Is how I’m spending my time bringing glory to God? When the online world becomes our only source of communication or inspiration, it may be time to take a little breather and log off. If you do, I can guarantee you two things. You'll feel refreshed and renewed. And the poke wars, friend requests, and Tweets will be waiting for you when you return."
I know several people who have done FaceBook fasts but I have never known anyone in my world who has said that they want to close their FaceBook have actually done it!
I would absolutely love to hear your thoughts about FaceBook.


Love
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