Tip o’ The Day

Tuesday’s Tip o’ the Day ~ Dating to the glory of God

Posted by on May 4, 2010 in Tip o' The Day | 2 comments

As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, my husband, Matt, spoke on purity at a Disciple Now this past weekend.  He ended the last lesson with ten questions that an individual should ask before they begin dating.  Even if you already have a spouse, these questions are worth looking over to give you: a better biblical understanding of the purpose for a dating relationship, wisdom in counseling others, and a foundation for how to raise children to have this mindset.  Without further ado, here are ten ways to pursue purity in relationships:

  1. Do I have my parent’s permission?

Eph. 6:1 “Children, obey your parent’s in the Lord, for this is right.” Whether young or older, you should seek your parents blessing before you being dating someone.  How tragic it is when one’s family is torn because of a poor relationship choice!

2. Am I dating a growing Christian?

2 Cor. 6:14 “Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness?” Simply because someone claims to be a Christian and might attend church on Sunday’s does not mean that they have a personal relationship with God.  Seek to find someone, not only with the same values you possess, but one who can challenge and encourage you spiritually.  Also, make sure that you are the type of growing Christian that another person would seek to date!

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Tuesday’s Tip o’ the Day: Getting the Most out of Coffee

Posted by on Apr 13, 2010 in Tip o' The Day | 5 comments

While attending college, I worked for several years in a coffee shop.  I loved the job.  Not only did I meet life-long friends (including my husband), but I developed an addiction to espresso-based drinks.  While on-the-clock at Kaldis, employees could make any drinks they wanted for free.  It didn’t take long for me to realize what a rip-off iced drinks are.

I’m not referring to blended drinks, rather to the iced variety.  You know, when ordering a beverage and the barista asks, “Would you like that hot or iced?”  It the same drink, the same price; one is steamed, the other poured over ice.

When ordering a medium size vanilla latte (a 16 oz. drink), the “hot” option will probably contain 12-14 oz. of milk.  However, if you order the “cold” drink, your beverage will only hold around 8-10 oz. of milk due to the volume of ice in the cup.  For this reason, I never would order an iced beverage.  If I’m paying $3.53 for a medium drink, I want to get all $3.53 worth.  I want all of the milk, not to pay the same price for a cup of ice and less milk!

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Tuesday’s Tip o’ the Day: I vs. Me

Posted by on Apr 6, 2010 in Tip o' The Day | 3 comments

Nearly four months have passed  since I stood in front of a classroom teaching English.  While I wouldn’t change the days of nursing, spit-up wiping, bottom cleaning, and cry consoling for anything, moments do exist in which I want to teach a little something about correct writing and speaking.  While I don’t pretend to have reached perfection in this area, it remains a goal of mine.  Here’s Tuesday’s tip for you:  When to use I or me. This mistake is quite common and burns my ears every time I hear it.  It is, however, one of the easiest to fix!

Schools and teachers have done a great job instructing students to always put their name after someone else in a sentence.  Most of these students remember this well and always add and I when adding themselves to the scenario:

1. Matt and I went to the bank.                                                   2. The teller gave Matt and I each a lollipop.

3.She then told he and I that this candy  had roast beef flavor.   4. He and I both spit our lollipops out as fast as possible.

Unfortunately, simply doing this step is not always right.  Two of the above sentences are correct; two are incorrect.  How can you tell?  The easiest way is to remove the first name and reread the sentence:

1. Matt and I went to the bank.                                                     2. The teller gave Matt and I a lollipop.

3.She then told he and I that this candy  had roast beef flavor.     4. He and I spit the lollipops out as fast as possible.

Now you should easily see that sentences 1 and4 are correct, and sentences 2 and 3 need the word me instead of I.  This same method can be used to check the he’s and him’s of a sentence as well.  Let’s look at sentences 3 and 4 again:

3.She then told he and me that this candy  had roast beef flavor.     4. He and I spit the lollipops out as fast as possible.

As you can see, sentence 3 should actually use the word him; sentence 4 is correct.  All sentences corrected read:

1. Matt and I went to the bank.                                                        2. The teller gave Matt and me each a lollipop.

3.She then told him and me that this candy  had roast beef flavor.   4. He and I spit our lollipops out as fast as possible.

You may have noticed that when used as the subject of the sentence, the word I is used.  Me should be used as the object.  Whichever method you use to find the correct way to speak and write is fine, as long as you use it!  Begin by simply thinking through your sentences before you write/say them and soon this will become natural to you.

Thanks for allowing me some grammar teaching time!  Hope that it helps!

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Tuesday’s Tip o’ the Day: Cooking Ahead

Posted by on Mar 30, 2010 in Tip o' The Day | 2 comments

I learned to cook in two venues: A seven member household & for 200+ people at a summer camp.  When Matt and I were married I had a hard time learning to cook for just two people.  Lord willing, the day will come when I once again cook for a small army, but until that day comes, I try to simply “cook ahead.” Whether you are a mom, dad, you stay at home, or work seemingly endless hours away from the house, this is a helpful tool to use!

When I was teaching full time, I used this method in a different way than I do now.  During that time, I would pick a Saturday to spend the day cooking and freezing ten to fifteen meals.   Also known as, “Once a Month Cooking,”  this pattern proved extremely helpful for my work schedule.  Each night I would pull out a meal from the freezer, put it in the fridge, and then we would eat it the following night.  These meals were made for four, so we would eat them for dinner, then have the leftovers the next day for lunch. Now that I’m able to be at home, the cooking ahead method looks slightly different.

To “Cook Ahead” you must start with a plan.  Sit down and write a menu out for the amount of days you want to work with.  Right now, my menus are made every two weeks.  You could do once a week or once a month.  A good thing to do to save money is sit down with the sale ads for your local grocery stores, and plan your menu around what’s on sale.  This will save you money!!

Remember also that this is a flexible menu.  If tonight’s chili night, but a heat wave pushed through and you’d rather have tacos… eat tacos!  This is simply an easy reference point for your cooking preparations.  Making a menu will help you not feel frazzled at four every afternoon, can give your family foreknowledge of their food, will encourage healthier eating habits, and will help your budget since you know what to buy when you visit the grocery store.

Some people just plan a menu and then spend every night cooking what’s on that menu.  If this is where you stop in this process, that’s fine!  Your life will automatically be easier.  I personally like to go a step further.  I check my menu, then shop accordingly.  Either the day I get home from the grocery store or the day after, I will do a few things to prepare for these meals.  I usually buy 5lbs of ground meat at once because it’s cheaper.  So, on my “food prep” day, I’ll brown all of this meat at once.  Once cooled, I’ll separate it into 1lb portions and put them into the freezer.  That way, whatever meals I need ground meat for, I’m already once step closer to those meals being finished. I also like to cook a chicken or turkey then spend one day making several different casseroles at once for the freezer.  Think about it.  This means only one day of piles of dirty cutting boards, measuring cups, bowels, etc.

If that seems overwhelming to you, take it in slower steps.  Try just doubling your dinner tonight and take half of it and put it in the freezer.  Then on Sunday, instead of having to go out to eat, you’ll have your meal ready and just needing heating after church.  Some other ideas are: chop up an entire onion (or any other vegetable you’re using in your dinner) instead of just the fourth cup you need and put the extra in a bag or small container in the fridge or freezer.  Then that step is already done for you when you need it.  It’s almost like a cooking show when they have everything done ahead of time!  Plan two meals that use rice a few days apart on your menu, then just make double rice on Tuesday and you have more for Thursday.  If strawberries are on sale, by two cartons and stick one in the freezer for smoothies. After saving meals in the freezer for a few days or weeks, you’ll be able to take time off from cooking to do other projects around your house.  Plus, even on the busiest days, you’ll be able to save money by staying at home to eat.

One important thing to remember though is to use what’s in the freezer.  About once a month I scour my freezer for anything I may have forgotten about and try to eat those things sometime in the next two weeks.  Please understand that I don’t have a pre-made meal every night of the week  But when I do, it sure is nice!

These are just some simple ideas to help you with your cooking at home.  What are things that you or your family do to make life simpler in the kitchen?

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Tuesday’s Tip o’ the Day: cleaning the microwave

Posted by on Mar 23, 2010 in Tip o' The Day | 4 comments

Dirty microwaves gross me out. a lot.  I hate opening the door to one only to see bits of yesterdays chili, spats of tomato sauce, unidentifiable green blotches, and little crumbs stuck to any and every crevice of the warming box.  Many options exist to remedy this problem:

1. The ever popular – cover everything you heat up – method. This works great to stop sprays of mashed potatoes, but tends to fail when it comes to soups and other “wet” dishes which tend to attract the paper towel and suck it into their delicious wet goodness.   Any dish with beans also tend to “pop” the paper lid off of the dish sending projectiles to hit every inch of the square container.

2. The often annoying – wipe the microwave after each use – idea.  This idea can be extremely effective…as long as each party that uses the microwave follows the rule in cleaning it.  Unfortunately, that just-warmed piece of pizza tends to distract the user from grabbing a cloth to rub the cheese pieces off the top of the magic box.  Besides, if the user does take the time to scour the surfaces, by the time they’re done, the pizza will be cold again thus warranting another thirty seconds of heat leading to more splatters… and the vicious cycle continues…

3. The – once in a blue moon – method. This simple plan can solve the dirty microwave problem for a while.  Just shut the door and don’t think about the mess.  After all, microwaves can appear quite clean on the outside.  The hope is usually that the next person to open the box will decide to clean it out.  This method works best when three or more people use the same microwave.  If everyone in the family adopts this method, however, the microwave tends to only be cleaned “once in a blue moon” when the light is blocked by so much gunk that the users can no longer see what they are heating up. One brave soul then decides to attack the disgusting mess.

4. The – steam clean whenever necessary – rule.  This is my personal favorite.  Whenever the microwave starts looking a bit dirty, place a glass measuring cup 3/4 full of water inside the microwave oven.  Heat for three and half minutes to boil the water.  This will produce steam that permeates the box and begins to loosen the food that is grabbing the sides of the walls.  Carefully remove the cup, grab a warm, wet wash cloth, and get to work ridding the inside of that microwave of those pesky splotches.  The food should come off extremely easy! Then you can warm up some hot chocolate, sit back, leave the door to the microwave open, and enjoy the sparkling cleanliness.

Happy microwave cleaning!!

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