Thursday, January 31, 2008

Throwback Thursday - Space Exploration

On this day in 1958, the United States Army launched the first U.S. satellite, Explorer 1, into Earth's orbit. Instruments aboard Explorer 1 made the first detection of the Van Allen belts, which are bands of trapped radiation surrounding Earth. This was the first major scientific discovery of the space age.

While I was reading about this, I discovered something I never knew. This satellite was tiny! I mean, not tiny like a raisen or tiny like a speck of dirt, but much smaller than I had imagined. Here is a photo of the satellite:

And here I thought satellites were big ole' monsters! Not big like a rocket, of course, but....bigger than that! Okay, so maybe I'm the only person in the world who never saw a satellite before. But I found it very interesting.

Do you know of anything else that happened on this day in history? Write about it in your blog, then leave me a comment and I will post a link to it!

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Wacky Wednesday - Bad Day!

You know it's going to be a bad day when...

1. You return from a vacation & discover a new name on your mailbox.

2. You stop at Motel 6 & they turn off the lights!

3. Your boss tells you not to bother taking off your coat.

4. You jump out of bed in the morning, & you miss the floor.

5. The bird singing outside your bedroom window is a buzzard.

6. You wake up in the morning, & your dentures are locked together.

7. Your horn accidentally gets stuck, & you're following a group of Hell's Angels on the freeway.

8. You put both contact lenses in the same eye.

9. You walk to work on a summer morning & find the bottom of your dress is tucked into the back of your hose.

10. You call your answering service, & they tell you it's none of your business.

11. Your income tax check bounces.

12. You put your bra or your athletic supporter on backwards & it fits better.

13. You step on your scale & it flashes, "Tilt, Tilt, Tilt."

14. The Suicide Prevention Hotline puts you on hold.

15. As the moving van starts to unload next door, the first four items down the ramp are dirt bikes.

16. Your pacemaker is recalled by the manufacturer.

17. Your church treasurer says, "The IRS called about some of your donations."

18. Your brakes go out just as a patrolman motions for you to pull over.

19. The university where you've willed your body to science calls to say they'd rather not wait.

20. You call the suicide prevention hotline & Dr. Kevorkian answers.

Source Unknown

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Tasty Tuesday - Honey Wheat Bread

I have to apologize in advance for this recipe (and any other bread recipes that I may post in the future) - I am not familiar with bread machines and therefore have no recipes that use one. However, I'm sure any avid bread machine user would easily be able to convert this recipe to bread machine "format".

This is my favorite bread!

Honey Wheat Bread

2 c. warm water (110 degrees)
2 c. whole wheat flour
1 T. yeast
1 t. salt
2/3 c. honey
1/3 c. oil
5 c. all-purpose flour

Dissolve yeast in warm water. Add honey and stir well. Mix in whole wheat flour, salt, and oil. Work into dough. Turn onto floured surface and knead in remaining flour 10-15 minutes, until smooth and elastic. Coat dough lightly with oil and place in oiled bowl. Cover with damp cloth.

Let rise until dough has doubled in size. Punch down dough. Shape into 2 loaves and place in 2 bread pans. Let rise until 1 inch above edges of pans.

Bake for 25-30 minutes at 375 degrees.

Another variation for this recipe is to make sub rolls instead of regular bread loaves. (They make EXCELLENT sandwiches!) Just place the sub rolls on a cookie sheet instead of a loan pan for baking. Make sure you leave room for them to expand during the 2nd rising before they go into the oven.

Have a recipe to share? Email me!

Monday, January 28, 2008

Money Monday - Budget, Part 2

How are things coming along with keeping track of your expenses? I encourage you to continue doing this for at least a month to see exactly where your money is going.

For now, let's assume that month is over. You have tracked ALL of your expenses and can see where every cent of your hard-earned income has gone. Now what?

If you are spending more than you are making, you have a serious problem. And as I mentioned last week, what you need to do next is to get rid of things that are unnecessary. Cable, internet service , cell phones, movie theaters, and restaurants are a good place to start. If, even after cutting out ALL non-necessities, you are still spending more than you make, you have no option but to increase your income. Get a job delivering pizza, working at Starbucks, tutoring, babysitting neighbor kids, or doing retail. Whatever you can find to increase your income, do it.

If you have tracked for a month and have found that you are spending less than you make, you may still want to consider cutting out unnecessary things - especially if you have the big "D" word that I'm about to address: DEBT.

There's an excellent chance that, if you live in America, you have debt. And a good amount, at that. It seems almost an impossibility in today's culture to live without debt.

The average American owns at least 5 credit cards. One in six families with credit cards pays only the minimum due every month. Roughly 70% of homes in the United States that are occupied by their owners have a mortgage. Of those homeowners with a mortgage, 22.6% of them have either a second mortgage or a home equity line of credit. It is rare to find someone who paid cash for their vehicle.

But living debt free is not as impossible as it may sound. Making sacrifices now will be well worth it later in life!

As debt soars higher and higher in America, savings has become a thing of the past. After all, who needs a savings account when there are credit cards?

A savings account is a VERY important thing to have in place for the purpose of emergencies. Many people say that they only keep their credit cards around for emergencies. But let me tell you something: That would be the absolute WORST time to use a credit card!! At the point in your life when you know you cannot pay for something, you would choose to put your life on a credit card that charges you interest up the wazoo?? That's craziness!! A savings account is a MUCH wiser decision.

If you have debt, however, you don't want to save and save and save while you continue to pay gobs of interest on your loans and credit cards.

So how much savings is enough? Well, that depends on you and your situation. Some people recommend $1000. Some people recommend 3 months of living expenses. Some recommend 6 months. So how should you decide? Let me give you a few examples:

If you and your spouse both work full time, you would probably be safe leaning toward a smaller amount in your savings account. If only one of you works, you might want to increase the amount a bit in case of an unexpected job loss or medical emergency. If one or both of you are contract workers or your income varies dramatically due to a sales position, you would probably want to keep a larger amount of money in your savings.

Do what feels comfortable to you, but don't go overboard. Remember that you are continually paying interest on all of your debts while you are building your emergency fund (savings account).

Your assignment for this week: Work on getting rid of unnecessary expenses in your life. If you are spending more than you are making, get out there and look for an additional source of income. And as you cut out the non-essentials in your life, begin building your emergency fund.

Next week, we will talk more about your emergency fund and begin looking at what I consider to be the most effective way to pay off debt: the debt snowball.

Links to the rest of this series:
Part 1
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5
Part 6
Part 7

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Weekend Worship - Church Unity

Therefore if there is any encouragement in Christ, if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and compassion, make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose. Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interest, but also for the interests of others.
- Philippians 2.1-4

"The one danger which threatened the Philippian church was that of disunity. There is a sense in which that is the danger of every healthy church. It is when people are really in earnest and their beliefs really matter to them, that they are apt to get up against each other. The greater their enthusiasm, the greater the danger that they may collide. It is against that danger Paul wishes to safeguard his friends.

"In verses 3 and 4 he gives us the three great causes of disunity.

"There is selfish ambition. There is always the danger that people should work not to advance the work but to advance themselves. It is extraordinary how time and again the great princes of the Church almost fled from office in the agony of the sense of their own unworthiness....Far from being filled with ambition, the great men were filled with a sense of their own inadequacy for high office.

"There is the desire for personal prestige. Prestige is for many people an even greater temptation than wealth. To be admired and respected, to have a platform seat, to have one's opinion sought, to be known by name and appearance, even to be flattered, are for many people most desirable things. But the aim of the Christian ought to be not self-display, but self-obliteration. He should do good deeds, not that men may glorify him, but that they may glorify his Father in heaven. The Christian should desire to focus men's eyes not upon himself but on God.

"There is concentration on self. If a man is forever concerned first and foremost with his own interests, he is bound to collide with others. If for him life is a competition whose prizes he must win, he will always think of other human beings as enemies or at least as opponents who must be pushed out of the way. Concentration on self inevitably means elimination of others and the object of life becomes not to help others but to push them down."

(From The Daily Study Bible Series by William Barclay)

Church unity seems to be something that is greatly lacking in the United States today. Not only are there teenage cliques in our churches but also adult cliques. And sometimes a church can be a clique in itself, not willing to participate with other area churches in things like outreach ministry, MOPS programs, joined services, etc. We, as a body of believers, should be continually working with each other in all aspects of ministry. We should be striving to bring glory NOT to ourselves - not even to our church - but to the Lord Jesus Christ, to whom all glory is due!

Friday, January 25, 2008

Fitness Friday - Uh Oh!

So Fitness Friday has come. I have been thinking for a few days about what I would write about today. I did a little bit of research this week and wasn't really impressed with what I found. I was discussing this with my husband last night and he suggested I write about how hard it is to find the time to exercise with 3 small children in the house. I told him it wasn't the time I was lacking but rather the motivation.

In case you're not familiar with my family life, I have 3 little ones - my oldest is turning 3 next week, my middle child will be 2 in March, and my youngest is now 4 months old. (I know, I know....don't we know what birth control is?) I have about 7 lbs to lose before I am back down to my pre-pregnancy size. I am tired of the wearing the same pair of jeans everyday. And besides that, they're about to fall apart since they are constantly in the washing machine! I just can't justify buying another pair if they're not going to fit me very long.

So you think: No biggie, right? It's just 7 pounds! That should only take a few weeks!

Oh, wait. Did I forget to mention my downfall? CHOCOLATE. Cookies, cake, candy, chips (chocolate chips, that is). If it's chocolate, I like it.

Since I'm not interested in kicking the chocolate habit, I've got to start exercising.

A fitness center membership is out. The membership fee plus the cost of gas to get there and back plus the fact that my husband takes our only vehicle to work everyday adds up to one big NO.

A few weeks ago I bought one of those yoga balls. I thought 50% off was a pretty good price. After bringing it home, it sat on the counter for a few days. When I finally got it out, I discovered it was LOTS of fun to roll around on. Sure, I actually exercised on it a few times, but mostly it's just been sitting in my closet (taking up a LOT of room). The kids get it out every few days and play with it. I look at it often and think about how I should be using it. But do I actually get up and do anything with it? Rarely.

When I was in elementary school, I used to do an exercise video with my mom. I loved that video. (Yes, we always did the same one). I think I had the 15-minute cardio exercise memorized. So a few weeks ago I added "fitness videos" to my list of things to check out at the library. I thought it would be a good start to this exercising thing. I'm still thinking about it.

I'd like to go running, but's so darn cold outside! That, and I have asthma. Oh sure, I could go to the doctor and get a new inhaler. But that brings us back to the whole no vehicle thing.

Walking is a good alternative to running, I hear. Just as good for your health. Similar results in calories burned per mile. An excellent way to get fresh air. But let me ask you: Have you ever taken a walk with 2 toddlers in a double stroller and a chubby baby in a front carrier on your chest? That's about 90 pounds! Talk about some extra weight! I think I'd rather die from jogging.

So I guess I'm looking for ideas. Ideas for ways to exercise. Ideas for getting motivated. And dare I say...*Gulp*...ideas for cutting back on the chocolate. Something. Anything.

If my pants fall apart, we're all in trouble!

So, tell me....How do you stay motivated? What do you do in the winter when just the thought of exercising outside makes your saliva freeze over? How do you steer away from the desserts and junk food? Let me know what works for you!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Throwback Thursday - Women's Rights

This week marks 35 years of unrestricted legal abortions for all women in the United States. Since that time, an estimated 46 million unborn children have been murdered in the U.S. alone due to our society's focus on self.

The Women's Rights movement first became prevalent in the early 1900's. Women fought for the right to vote, the right to own property, and the right to work outside the home without discrimination. With each passing ammendment, women looked for more and more opportunities for equal rights. When the second wave of the Women's Rights movement took place in the 1960's, more women began to abandon their calling as wives and mothers and decided that they would be better suited in the world of politics and business. They forsook their position as child bearer, homemaker, and help meet to their husband and sought to stand on their own two feet in the world of commerce.

By the time Roe v. Wade entered the scene in 1971, our country had already set itself up to accept the most horrific of all women's rights - reproductive rights. On January 22, 1973, the Supreme Court ruled abortions legal in all 50 states. Rescrictions were put in place for the 3rd trimester. Abortions, according to this ruling, are only allowed after 24 weeks if carrying the child to term would affect the mother's health. Health, as defined by the World Health Organization, is "any condition that might impact her physical, emotional, psychological or financial well being". Yeah, some restrictions.

Each year in the United States an estimated 1.3 million innocent children are aborted - about 3,500 each day. (2005)

93% of all abortions occur for social reasons. That is, the child is simply not wanted. (1996)

An estimated 43% of all women will have at least 1 abortion by the time they are 45 years old. (1996)

The state of our country is a sad state indeed. Let us pray for the overturning of Roe v. Wade in order to save the lives of the unborn.

Works cited:
About Abortion
Abortion Statistics
MSN Encarta - Roe v. Wade
MSN Encarta - Women's Rights

What do you think? Is the Women's Rights movement the cause of abortion? Leave me a comment and share your thoughts on this topic.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Wacky Wednesday - Health Warning!


Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Tasty Tuesday - Chocolate Chip Cookies

My mother's old faded red cookbook has always been my favorite cookbook. In it, I discovered the BEST chocolate chip cookie recipe in the whole world! I'm positive I have made these cookies at least a hundred times in my 23 years of life. I am not lying when I say that these cookies are, WITHOUT A DOUBT, the best chocolate chip cookies ever! I have never met anyone who doesn't like them.

So today, for my first Tasty Tuesday blog, I will share with you this cherished recipe. Seriously, these are amazing!

The BEST Chocolate Chip Cookies In The World

3 1/4 c. flour (approximately)
1 c. sugar
1 c. brown sugar
2 eggs
2/3 c. margerine (softened - NOT melted)
2/3 c. shortening
1 t. vanilla
1 t. salt
1 t. baking soda
12 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips

Combine all ingredients except flour and chocolate chips. Beat together with mixer. Add flour one cup at a time and mix together after each cup. If, after 3 cups, your dough pulls away from the bowl when stirred, your dough is perfect! If it still sticks to the sides of the bowl, add a bit more flour a few tablespoons at a time until dough pulls away from sides. Stir in chocolate chips.

Place cookie dough balls on an airbake cookie sheet and back at 350 degrees for 8-13 minutes or until very lightly browned. Let cookies cool on pan 3 minutes before removing and placing on cooling rack.

This recipe makes 4 dozen 2 1/2 inch cookies. That is, unless you eat half the dough while you're making them!

(Hint: For perfectly round cookies, use a cookie scoop)!

After you try them, leave me a comment and let me know what you think!

Monday, January 21, 2008

Money Monday - Budget, Part 1

The first question that needs to be answered about budgeting is: Why is a budget necessary for my life?

Let me give you a few reasons: A budget will help you tell your money where to go - not the other way around. A budget will bring peace and harmony to your home and your marriage. A budget will keep you on track with your short-term and long-term financial goals. And most notably, a budget will allow for saving, investing, giving, and paying off debt so that you can enjoy a life of financial peace.

In order to establish a budget, you must first learn to overcome the mindset that you "need" stuff. This mindset is sometimes referred to as "stuffitis" - the idea that you must constantly be getting more stuff in order to make you happy. Once you have conquered that hurdle, a budget is actually quite simple.

Begin by tracking your expenses to see where your money is going. For one month, track EVERY PENNY you spend - cash, check, and card. If you have never done this before or if it has been a while since you last did this, chances are you will be surprised where your money is actually going. When my husband and I did this 2 years ago, we realized that we were spending an average of $300/month solely on going out to eat. Yikes! That was equivalent to what we were spending on groceries each month!

After one month, if you have found your income to be greater than your outflow, Congratulations! Know that you are in the minority. I will pick back up with you next week.

However, if after tracking your expenses for a month, you discover that your outflow of money is greater than your income, you need to do one of two things (or better yet - both!):
1. Increase your income
2. Decrease your expenses

Now, I realize that in America credit cards grow on trees, and cash advances are as common as dirt. But let me tell you something else about these things: they're STUPID. Paying interest on your life is not living. It's being stupid. So stop using the dang things.

If credit cards and cash advances are not a part of your equation, you need to take a closer look to see what you can rid yourself of in order to better your financial situation. As shocking as this might be, things such as cable, cell phones, new cars, internet service, restaurants, movies, and beer are not essentials in life. In fact, all of our lives would probably be much more productive without them. At any rate, if your outflow is greater than your income you need to cut costs somewhere and I suggest starting with that list.

Get started tracking your expenses and we will pick up on Budget, Part 2 next week!

Links to the rest of this series:
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5
Part 6
Part 7

Welcome to Today's Daily Dose!

I just made my Blogger debut last month and have been loving every minute of it. In that blog, I have been writing about things in my life and thoughts I have on various issues in the world, but now I have decided to start another blog - this one with a theme for each day of the week. Here is what you will find:

Money Mondays
Anything related to money - budgeting, investing, freebies, paying off debt, coupons, and more

Tasty Tuesdays

Wacky Wednesdays
Hump Day Humor - stories, anecdotes, news reports, Darwin awards, and jokes

Throwback Thursdays
Old stuff - lessons from history, inventions, tales, and dead people

Fitness Fridays
All components of getting and staying fit - exercise, weight loss, dieting, etc.

Weekend Worship
Saturday and Sunday will be clumped together and will include articles on devotions, worship music, theology, prayer, serving others, and all aspects of the Christian walk

I hope you enjoy this new blog. I am excited to learn new things in all of these areas.

If you have an idea for a specific topic you'd like to hear about or have something you'd like to submit for review, leave a comment or send me an e-mail!