Thursday, May 28, 2009

Smoothies, Fresh-Squeezed

Over the past month or so, Matthew and I have fallen in love with making smoothies! The smooth, cold texture, the endless combinations, and best of all- they taste delicious and are healthy for you! So when I noticed myself buying one or two jars of organic juice a week at $4 or more a jar, I knew I needed to do something about it if we were going to continue our morning ritual. My solution? Freshly squeezed juice! After viewing that week's "sales" on jars of juice at the grocery, I headed straight for the produce aisle. Feeling enthusiastic about my idea, I loaded up a good sized bag with large, ripe navel oranges. Mmmm!!

A day or two later, I decided to give my citrus juicer a whirl. It definitely wasn't as easy as I thought it would be, and it was messier and took longer too, but in the end my work paid off- 6 large oranges now equals about 5 cups of juice. Yay! I may not be as liberal with adding juice to our smoothies as I was before, but I like knowing exactly where all that delicious juice came from. It's quite rewarding, and it sure makes for a gooood smoothie!

Gaffin Smoothie:

1 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
1/2 cup coconut nectar
1/2 cup low-fat vanilla yogurt
1 ripe banana
6-8 frozen strawberries

*Place in a tall tumbler with straw; garnish with fresh mint or slice of orange

Sunday, May 24, 2009

God-Conscience Cleaning, Living, BEING...

As a homemaker and as a woman, I can sometimes get into the mindset of, "is what I do at home really worth anything? Who sees what I do?" I'm guessing that at one time or another we've all felt this way, be you a homemaker, a business woman or just a woman! Questions may arise such as, "does anyone see the trouble I go through to do..." or "what would happen if I stopped doing it altogether? Would anything really change?" I'm guessing so, but does that make us feel any better? I'm guessing not.

I love the quote in the movie "Shall We Dance" spoken by Susan Sarandon. She says, "We need a witness to our lives. There's a billion people on the planet... I mean, what does any one life really mean? But in a marriage, you're promising to care about everything. The good things, the bad things, the terrible things, the mundane things... all of it, all of the time, every day. You're saying 'Your life will not go unnoticed because I will notice it. Your life will not go un-witnessed because I will be your witness'." I love it and it certainly is a romantic idea, but let's face it- whether you're married to a wonderful guy (& I am!), dating a great guy, or live in close relationship with your family or friends...nobody will notice everything about you. It's not possible! And isn't that what we all want? To be noticed, loved, appreciated, praised & known? I have a sneaky suspicion I'm right. But hey, there's hope!

I read a fantastic excerpt from a book of mine called "His Victorious Indwelling" that seems to shed just the right amount of light on this subject. It says:

"Amid the pressures of daily life, trust the Holy Spirit, who is emphatically the Divine Remembrancer, to bring all things to your remembrance, and to recall you to the consciousness of God. There is no duty in life, however trivial and commonplace, that may not be dignified by being rendered to God, as our bounden duty and service. This is indeed the secret of lifting all life to a noble and happy elevation. To do all for the Lord Jesus; to see Him standing behind every human relationship; to do the meanest and most irksome things because He takes them as service rendered to Himself, for which He will give a reward- this is Christian life, this makes the presence of God real, this dignifies the sweeping of a room...Equally in our hours of recreation we may set the Lord always before us. Remember that it is said of the elders of Israel that they saw Jehovah, and there was under his feet as it were the paved work of a sapphire stone (Ex. 24:9-11); they beheld God, and did eat and drink. How many eat and drink without beholding God! How many whose consciences were uneasy might behold God without daring to eat and drink! Happiest are they who are so at rest in Him that they do not hesitate to perform the natural functions of life with perfect ease, though all the while they recognize that He is nearer than hands of feet, nearer than breathing! The sense of God's presence would check immodesty, levity, self-indulgence, excess in eating or drinking, whilst it would give a new zest to all that was natural and innocent." - F.B. Meyer

So carry on with your work and pleasure- you are not alone! You are known, and incredibly worth it!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Gotta Love a Bargain!

If you've ever been on a hard-core bargain hunt, you'll be able to relate to the following story.

It was a crisp Saturday morning. Matthew and I had decided the day before that we would go estate and garage saling. (FYI definition of "Saling"- the act of floating from sale to sale at no particular speed but that which is desirable to you.)I had mapped out our route the afternoon before so we were all set to go. At least I thought so. 4 Frappes and 4 bagels later, we were on our way.

What were we looking for? Matthew and I like to do what we call "turn-around sales". It's where you find something of value at a garage sale or online auction for a great bargain, then turn around and sell it again to someone who is willing to pay what it's truly worth. We've done this numerous times with Craigslist, etc. It's really fun! It's more than a hobby than a necessity for us, but it's also a good lesson in the wonderful world of investing, but on a smaller scale. And of course, no hunt would be complete without a treasured item found along the way to keep! But more on that later. Anywho, back to the hunt!

Sale #1: garage sale. Ya know, garage sales are a funny thing. Here you are rummaging through other people's belongings for a quarter that they don't want anymore and all the while they are staring you down (at least at most sales) to see what unwanted item you are going to relieve them of. It's quite funny actually! And I must say, not for the prideful if you know what I mean. But in the end, the old saying stays true, "One man's trash is another man's treasure." So true! After finding a few of these "treasures" along the way, we were onto the serious sales: Estate sales.

Estate saling: here's where it gets good. Normally with an estate sale someone is downsizing, retiring, or has deceased. It's an open house where you walk through like a retail store and usually anything you see is for sale...and if you know what you're doing, you'll negotiate. This is the fun part in my opinion. For instance, you say, "I noticed you had this listed for $5, will you take $3? If they say yes (and they usually do), you just knocked off $2 bucks! Negotiation done. :) I like estate sales the best because it's the best place to find antiques or vintage items, which if you know me you're aware that I'm a fan. Today I found a beautiful vintage linen tablecloth + 8 matching napkins in great condition and at a real bargain! Possibly my favorite buy of the day! Another thing about estate sales: it's like a mad frenzy in these places! I have to laugh inside because it's literally people rushing here and there trying to seize up somebody's old stuff before someone else gets to it. And I'm right there in the midst! I can't say I'm a six o'clock die-hard hunter (we left at about 10:20), but I can't deny I like the rush just a tad. Come on folks! It's exciting!

In the end we did quite well. Matt got a few items and so did I and we made out without spending much- mission accomplished. But you know what? There's a bit about this whole experience that truly is the best of all, and that's the time we got to spend together- just us. There we were drinking frappes, eatin' bagels, comparing bargains, singing to Nickel Creek cranked sky high and having a ball the entire time. And did I mention the people we met along the way? You'd be surprised what conversations arise with other folks when you're there sifting through their grandmother's heirlooms or family's prized glassware collection. You get to be a part of hearing their history as it is transferred into your hands. No amount of money can buy that.

So after it's all said and done, it's not about the bargains or how much we saved not having bought it from a conventional store, it's about the people. Now isn't that what it's always about? I think so.

Favorite finds of the day:

Matty's find- a solid wood file cabinet

Set of 3 vintage jello molds & a tart pan

My favorite: set of red & white vintage table linens

Another Matthew find: set of 8 silver-plated goblets