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Friday, December 28, 2012

Advent Devotions for December 28, 2012

This is the second and last devotion I wrote for the church booklet. I hope it is a blessing to you.

December 28, 2012


Read Matthew 2: 1-12.


Here we read the story of the Magi bringing gifts to Jesus. The story calls Him a young child at this point, and it has been decided He was close to two years old by the time the Magi arrived. It would take a long time to travel all the way from the East after first seeing the star of Bethlehem. They brought with them some very precious gifts, fit for a king. Could this be Jesus’ first birthday party?


That’s what we do too, isn’t it. All the grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins come bearing gifts for a young child’s birthday. Not to mention the birthday cake complete with candles for the number of years, and maybe balloons and other decorations, and it is a happy time. We might not bring gifts fit for a king, but many of them can be quite expensive these days.


What kind of gifts do we bring to Jesus for His birthday now? Have you even given any thought about bringing Jesus a birthday gift? We often spend a lot of time choosing gifts for loved ones, hoping that it is something they will love and cherish, and think of us whenever they see it.  And for Jesus, do we just toss a little extra in the offering plate and call it done?  What could we give Him that He will love and cherish and think of us whenever He sees it?


Dear Lord, I come wishing you a Happy Birthday.  I bow before you and give you my heart and soul, and ask that you show me what else I may give. I thank you for all the amazing gifts you have given me, most importantly, eternal life. Amen


Wiley Post Steak

We received a little over 4" of snow by this morning. It is a very fine and light snow - so fine that you could barely see it coming down. But it came down steadily and accumulated. Now the sun is shining and the snow looks like it has been dusted with the diamond dust glitter that is used in crafts. Very pretty. I wish I could get a good picture through the window because I am not going outside in the cold just to take a picture. Sorry to be such a wimp.

Today I am making an old recipe that is a long time family favorite. It is one that my mother clipped from a newspaper column probably over 50 years ago. She passed away in January 1971 so we know the recipe is older than that. I have no clue as to why this is called Wiley Post Steak, but I do know it is really good.

Prepare 2 lbs round or chuck steak by pounding until the meat separates slightly. Pound 1 cup flour and salt and pepper to taste into both sides of steak. Sear meat in hot fat until brown. Transfer to large baking dish. Add 2 1/2 cups water, a medium onion, sliced thin, and garlic if desired. Bake covered in 275 degree F. oven for 3 hours. The meat forms its own gravy. Serves 8
I always use round steak and usually have it tenderized so I don't have to pound it. The steak I am using today has not been tenderized, but it is usually very tender anyway so am going to skip that step today. The recipe doesn't state it, but I also cut the meat into serving size pieces before flouring and browning.  I will dredge the meat and press with fingers to work it into the meat a little more.
I use an enameled roaster, mostly because that is what I have and it works really well for this. You can also use the crockpot but mine is busy cooking a pork roast for pulled pork today. And since it is cold outside, having the oven on will be comforting.
I have also made this with venison steaks. I did that for a dinner party after my husband had gotten his first deer, but I didn't tell the people they were eating venison. They didn't know the difference and liked it so well that they kept eating more. This is a dish I have used many times to feed guests as it never fails.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Advent Devotions

My church had members write a daily devotion for a booklet that was given to all members to use during Advent. Here is one that I wrote for Dec. 21.

December 21, 2012

Malachi 3:1-2

1 "See, I will send my messenger, who will prepare the way before me. Then suddenly the Lord you are seeking will come to his temple; the Messenger of the covenant, whom you desire, will come," says the LORD Almighty.

 2But who can endure the day of his coming? Who can stand when he appears? For he will be like a refiner's fire or a launderer's soap.  


These verses caught my attention when I saw them on the list for this devotional because I recently looked at them in connection to the Covenant study we are doing. As with all Scripture, each time we look at them we see something different, depending on what we may be dealing with in other areas of our lives.

 “See, I will send my messenger, who will prepare the way before me.”  This is a prophesy of John the Baptist who will prepare the people to receive Christ the Lord. Then the people will be anxiously waiting for this Christ to arrive, and suddenly He will show up. Here Christ is called ‘the messenger of the covenant’ because He brings with Him the message of the New Covenant – the covenant of grace. Because we believe in Jesus we are part of that covenant. Jesus is our covenant partner. If you have not studied about the covenants of the Bible you may not understand the importance of being a covenant partner with Christ and all that is included in that. Just know that it is important. One commentary says that all the covenants of the Old Testament find their fulfillment in the New Covenant of Christ.

There are a couple of ways to look at verse 2. It sounds a bit harsh, and makes Christ’s coming as something to fear, but since we are His covenant partner, we do not need to be afraid. To say He will be ‘like’ a refiner’s fire or a launderer’s soap can mean that He will be very bright like fire and very white and clean.  That sounds more like Christ’s second coming.  It can also mean that He will do the work of a refiner’s fire, separating the dross from the gold. And the launderer’s soap is the kind that bleaches the clothes to make them as white as possible. This brings to mind that we are told His blood washes us white as snow.

Since Christmas is only a few days away, we should be preparing ourselves to welcome again the anniversary of Christ’s birth, a holy day (holiday) of great importance. For, if He had not been born, salvation would be beyond our grasp. But because He came, He brought salvation to both Jew and Gentile – to all who believe in Him.

From now until Christmas prepare yourself for the rebirth of Jesus within your heart, and to allow His presence to grow there.

Dear Lord, prepare my heart, allow it to soften and open up to Jesus’ presence so that He may abide in me and I in Him forever. Amen




Sunday, December 16, 2012


Friday was the time to hit the grocery store for their 2-day sale again. These are the bargains I got ~
~ Jack's 12" pizzas @ $1.98
~ store brand 8 oz bag shredded cheeses @ $1.48
~ Birds Eye Steamfresh frozen veggies @ .58
~ Birds Eye regular frozen veggies @ .58
~ 3 lb bags of frozen boneless chicken breasts @ $5.99
~ store brand 8 ct. hamburger buns @ .88
~ store brand 18 oz. peanut butter @ .88 - limit 2
(yes! 88 cents!)
~ store brand 56 oz square ice cream @ $1.28
      (advertised price was 1.99 but another store had theirs for 1.29, so this store allowed one at that low price and the rest at the advertised price)
~ store brand 5 lb bags white flour @ .88 - limit 2
~ 5 lb bag of Betty Crocker russet potatoes @ .88 w/coupon
~ Cheetos @ @ $2.50
~ Doritos @ $1.98
~ store brand gallon milk @ $2.88
I paid $3.98 for a gallon of 1% at Walmart last time. It has really gone up in price. Was getting it there for $3.29 -3.59 for awhile. I could have gone back yesterday and picked up more flour and peanut butter, and a few of the other good buys, but now my freezer is quite full! So it is time to stop shopping and start cooking.
And the last bargain I got was the local bakery's almond patties @ $3.99 - 6 per package. They regularly sell for $5.59 now. They are a much loved Dutch treat here in this Dutch county of Iowa. I have not seen them anywhere else, though they can most likely be found at Pella, IA as that is a big Dutch city. Below is a picture of one.

It is a flaky puff pastry similar to what is used in creme horns, and has a filling in the middle that is almond paste, then the dough is folded in half over the filling and baked. It is so good and so rich.

When I was in high school I had a good friend that was Dutch. She made almond bars that I thought were so good, and got the recipe from her, which I still have. But I have not made them for years so will have to dig to find it among my many cookbooks. I will post that later when I find it. It tastes similar to the above patties, but doesn't have the flaky crust.

I will add here that if anyone would like to taste these goodies, you can order some online from the bakery and have them shipped to you. My niece has done that to give as gifts. I will say, though, that doing that isn't exactly frugal (but worth it).

Here is the link:

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Surprise Prize!

A little over 5 weeks ago I received an email saying I was chosen to receive a $25 gift box of Hodgson Mill products - one of 10 people chosen because we voted in a pizza contest on their Facebook site! I didn't even know they were doing that. I just voted for one of the bloggers I have followed, hoping she would win the big prize, and she did, by the way. I was told I would receive the box in 2 to 4 weeks, but after 5 weeks nothing had showed up. I sent an email to the person that informed me and wondered if this was all a joke. She promptly sent a reply saying it was ready to ship the next day, but the next day - yesterday - the box arrived in the late afternoon! This is what was in the very heavy box ~

The bread flour is a 2 pound bag and the rest are 5 pound bags.

Doesn't the European Cheese & Herb bread sound good? That just might go in the bread machine tomorrow. The box on the right is whole wheat angel hair pasta. I have never tried whole wheat pasta so that will be interesting.

This is not the greatest picture. It is fast rise active dry yeast. I think I count 5 packages. I foresee a lot of baking going on soon!

I like the fact that these products are GMO free. My youngest daughter found out a couple years ago that she has a wheat allergy. There are many more people with such allergies now than there were 30-40 years ago, and some people think it is because of the grains grown today in America are genetically modified organism products. I heard someone on Dr. Oz show say just the other day, that the wheat today is not the same as it was in the 1950-60's. I guess that would be referring to the GMO. His theory is that those altered grains are what is causing us to gain weight as a nation too. :o(  Maybe some of us react to them as my daughter has, with an allergy, while the rest of us have reacted with gaining weight.

That gives us all something to think about, doesn't it. Maybe we should all be making a stink to the companies that are doing all these unnatural things to our food, and buying only GMO free foods. What do you think?

Friday, December 7, 2012

Bargain shopping

This is another post that should have been done a month ago. The things in the picture are the bargains I got a couple days after Halloween, so many of them are Halloween related, and others must be discontinued products that my Walmart will no longer carry.

There are 5 Jif jars there. They are all the mocha cappuccino flavor of Jif's answer to Nutella. I love anything that says mocha, cappuccino, hazelnut, chocolate, and this fits all those categories! I paid $1.50 each. Regular price - $3.94. Saved $2.44 each for a total of $12.20 saved.

Three cans of pumpkin spice flavored almonds @ $2.29. Regular price - $4.58 for a savings of $2.29 each = $6.87 saved.

Three Halloween cake mixes @ $.63. Regular price - $1.25. Saved $.62 each = $1.86 saved.

Three Halloween canned frosting to match the cake mixes @ $.75 each. Regular price - $1.50. Saved $.75 each = $2.25 saved.

The cake mixes and frosting may have said Halloween on them, but they just had fall colored sprinkles so it works for Thanksgiving or any fall dessert.

One bag of jumbo pumpkin shaped/colored marshmallows @ $1.50. Regular price - $2.98. Saved $1.48.

Since they were plain pumpkins and not Jack'o'lanterns, they worked for Thanksgiving as well (though they didn't last that long).

Four cans of International Coffee - Orange Cappuccino have been discontinued (again, and one of my favorite) were on a clearance cart. I was wishing there were more than just the four so I took all that was there. Price - $2.25 each. Regular price - $3.28. Saved $1.03 per can = $4.12 saved.

Two large bags of PayDay candy bar minis @ $2.34. Regular price - $4.68. Saved $2.34 each = $4.68 saved. (one bag didn't last long enough to get in the picture!)

That is a savings of $33.46. And my pantry was overstuffed once more. Not bad for one shopping trip and no coupons used.

Newest project

This WAS my newest project. As you see by the date on the picture, it was taken over a month ago. I had added a few pictures to drafts at that time, with the intention of getting back here to write about them, but obviously life intervened big time.

This project is now finished and in the hands of the person that ordered it. The picture was taken after I had started on the second skein of a total of 10. The color is different than what shows up in the picture. It is really more purple and called Purple Haze - Lion Brands Homespun yarn. To me the colors look very much like red grapes. This is a very easy pattern, just all single crochet, so it works up rather quickly.

Since this was finished I started another afghan just like it but a different color for my 8 year old granddaughter. She saw this one and said she wanted one too. She had also said the same thing over a year ago when I gave one to her older sister for her high school graduation. I told her then that she had to wait until she graduated from high school. Since she is now only in 3rd grade, and I just turned 70, I realized I may not be around when she graduates! So I decided this could be her Christmas present. I never know what to get those kids so usually end up giving my daughter money to buy something for them in my name, or give them the cash so they can buy what they want.

That afghan is also now finished and ready to be wrapped. I have also been slowly working on the counted cross stitch project. I have all the regular stitches done, the metallic gold stitches and the outlining done. All that is left is attaching all the beads, and there are a lot of them. First, the fabric must be ironed and spray starched since it cannot be ironed once the beads are on it. I have never worked with the beads before so it could get interesting, to say the least. I did watch a couple of videos on youtube to see how it is done, and found two different ways of doing it. The pattern does not give instructions, just the color of the beads and where they are to go. I did use an orange colored pencil to mark each one on the graph so that it is easier to find. I have gone over the pattern at least three times and each time I find several that I missed the times before.  I will go over it one more time, and wonder how many more I find.

Very soon I need to decide on another afghan pattern and get the yarn so I can start on the afghan that will be donated to the church auction which is the first Wednesday in February. Time is going very fast! But first. . . Christmas letter to write and cards ready for mailing.