The Strategic Homemaker

learning to follow the Father, care for the clan, and redeem the resources


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A new kitchen!

Well, folks, life is showing no signs of slowing any time soon, so blogging is still on the back burner not likely to happen. But, I am doing really really well. I say with the Psalmist: “The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance.”

A random post to show the before and afters on the new kitchen. No time for commentary; I’m just going straight to pics. For some before and afters of the dining room from long ago, see here.08-IMG_1135

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Okay, really quick commentary. Problems to note with original kitchen were: 20 inch stove, no hood at all, little counterspace and outlets, strange old fan through the wall, beat up linoleum, and carpet just inside back door (it was gross.) and until a year and a half ago, there was a wall with cabinet between it and the dining room.

The wall:

 

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After:

Beautiful new kitchen. Problems solved. and my own special desk. We didn’t do much ourselves, so it cost a lot, but we hopefully increased the house value by the same amount. (The dining table is not back yet, because we are waiting for the new poly on the floors to cure longer. ) I am enjoying it a lot and putting it to work. Hooray!

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I’ve since filled up the open shelving.

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Entering a New Phase

Not sure if anyone is still reading this…my bad on not posting in 6 months, but we are entering some new phases around here. A phase of big kids not taking naps, a phase of planning serious kitchen remodeling [we finally have the house mostly furnished!], a gardening phase, and perhaps the biggest change:

We’ve been getting all our background checks done, and will hopefully be certified as a host family by April. Safe Families is different from foster families in a few ways, including that the child’s parents retain custody and voluntarily request help, and the kids’ stays average a month. It is through Bethany Christian Services rather than through the state, although the state is in cooperation with Safe Families and can refer parents to them. You can read more about it here: http://www.safe-families.org/

All that to say that I have re-prioritized my time, and Facebook and blogging didn’t make the cut. And at the rate things are going, I don’t see myself getting back to it for a while. Actually, even my sewing machine is currently banished to the basement . If you know me, send me an email or give me a call sometime. and I’ll try to keep sending out real Christmas cards.

Au revoir,

andrea


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Home Decorating to the Glory of God

This summer, I decided to do a Bible study on home decor. I had some notes from a Sunday school class I took in high school, and I also looked up every time the Bible talked about furnishings, as well as read all the passages where God describes something he designed (creation, new Jerusalem) or gives instructions for it (tabernacle, temple). Those led me to some other passages too. It was a sort of Biblical scavenger hunt.

I was hoping to do a blog series on what I learned, but I’m having trouble making time to write these days, so here are the quick takeaways with a few of the supporting references:

1. The Bible talks about God’s designs for a place and home furnishings more than many people think. (Gen 1-2, Exodus 25-40, I Kings 4, II Chron 2-5, Rev 21-22)

2. Home decor should be done for God’s glory. (Psalm 19:1, Psalm 29:9, Psalm 115:1, I Cor 10:31)

3. God often directs symbolism or memorials to remind us of His works. (Deut. 27:1-8, Numb. 15:39, Zech. 6:14)

4. We should pursue hospitality in the way we furnish and decorate our homes. (Rom 12:13)

5. God’s Word should have a prominent role in our homes. (Deut. 6:9, Psalm 119:97)

6. We must avoid decorating in a way that dishonors God. (Exod. 20:4, Psalm 49, Prov. 7:4-5, Amos 3-6)

 

The study also led me to make some art for my house by which I could share the good message about Jesus Christ with guests. I got the idea from my friend Dan’s snowflake book that tells the advent story, and then came up with my own designs. TSH made the graphics below for me. Feel free to download the stencils and make your own.

Stencil templates

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These snowflakes show the history of man according to the Bible. Adam and Eve disobeyed God when tempted by the serpent, and  “therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned. “ (Rom 5:12)

            “Then Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people, [the third day he rose again from the dead” (I Cor 15:4)]…”

               …and will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him.” (Heb 9:28)

                  “He is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him…and all peoples of the earth will mourn because of Him. (Rev 1:7)”

                And the angel said to me, “Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding feast of the Lamb.” And he added, “These are true words that come from God.” (Rev 19:9)

Here they are framed on the wall:

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Do you have any ways you have intentionally sought to give God the glory with your home decor? Please let me know and send me a picture! I would love to put an inspiration book together.


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Recent Reading and Brothers and Sisters

I have been reading this summer.

World Magazine

www.challies.com

The Discipline of Spiritual Discernment by Tim Challies

Nothing in my Hand I Bring by Ray Galea

All really good, fyi.

Today I read this post: http://philipnation.net/2014/08/5-things-you-can-do-for-the-christians-in-iraq/

I tend to read about persecuted Christians, pray for them, and then move on, thinking that there is nothing I can do, but this article points out things we can do to help them. On Sunday night at our church, we prayed for our Iraqi brothers and sisters, being reminded from Hebrews 13:3. to “Remember those who are in prison, as though in prison with them, and those who are mistreated, since you also are in the body.

Will you read the article above, and remember them too?


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A Little Boy’s Room

I have been enjoying the summer: gardening, outings, reading, Del’s lemonade, and house projects. We finally finished the little guy’s room a few weeks ago, and he has been doing a great job sleeping in it. TSH had to re-drywall it due to improperly prepped walls under wallpaper, hence why it took us so long, but I am very pleased with it now. I made the valences and pillow cover, and found the bound carpet rug at Ocean State Job Lot. Still working on wall decor, but that is not stopping the kids from enjoying the room.

Before:

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In progress:

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Current!

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I hope you all are having a wonderful summer. I’m planning to be back in a week or so with a series on home decorating to the glory of God (intriguing subject, no?).


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Giveaway! Some Eggs for Easter…

The TSH and I attended a Weekend to Remember marriage getaway this past weekend. It was pretty great, and I picked up the resource below to use in teaching my daughter the Easter story. Then I thought you readers with young children might like one too, so I picked up an extra. If you know someone who might like one, please share this post with them. They are called Resurrection Eggs, and you can read about them here:

Giveaway starts tonight at midnight, ends Tuesday at midnight, and is available to international entries. If the winner lives in the lower 48, I’ll try to mail it so that it makes it to her by Monday. If she lives in Rhode Island, I’ll try to deliver it next Monday, and if she lives internationally, there is no way it is going to make it before Easter this year, but I will mail it soon.

To enter, leave a blogpost comment sharing one of your Easter traditions, and then click the rafflecopter link below to go to the widget (WordPress wouldn’t let me load it here.) Happy Resurrection Day!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 


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Five Free Toddler/Preschooler Toys

I am always wanting to buy my kids new toys and fun things. Usually I get it under control and refrain. and sometimes, if I think about the toy long enough, I decide to make a version of it myself.  So here are five toys we made in the last couple of months totally free–and easy enough to do as a craft with your kid:

Sock puppets. These socks had been missing their mates when I cleaned out my drawer a couple months ago, and we got it into our heads to make puppets after reading If you Give a Moose a Muffin. Of course, as soon as I made them, I found the mate to the green sock under the washing machine. We may have to make another frog puppet soon.

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New puzzles. My mom used Mod Podge (paint both sides of the picture with it to avoid wrinkling) to glue magazine pictures to cardboard, and then she cut them with a razor blade after they dried.

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Rings to practice stringing or…

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a snake! A papertowel tube or two was sacrificed for this one. (old spools [above] are a bead to string for the more advanced.)6-IMG_7902

A Personalized Memory game. I used blank index cards–just make sure it’s something you can’t see through. This has been played with more so far than several toys we own .

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A playhouse–personally decorated.

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No, these do not look professional, but the kid won’t care, and then you don’t feel bad about throwing them away when you’re done with them.

Let me know if you have any other ideas for quick, free toys!