Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Hope and Patience in the Difficult Times of Motherhood

I don't know about you, but I fail daily as a mom

I lose my temper.
I yell.
I'm grumpy.
I'm selfish.

Mom of the year, right?

Let's face it, motherhood puts us to the test every second of every day
It's hard. It's messy. And sometimes it's no fun.

But thankfully we don't have to face the daily challenges of motherhood alone. God is with us and will give us that extra dose of patience if we will just ask. 

I came across this verse today and it really spoke to my heart as the mom of a toddler:

I love this because it encourages us to rejoice in the hope that our children will grow up to know the Lord and that hope can give us patience in the hard times.

As mothers we have the daily task of raising our children to be strong men and women for Christ. That's a huge undertaking and it won't happen over night. It's going to take lots of time, faith, hope, patience and prayer.

I've already failed countless times today and will fail again tomorrow, but I know that God is working in me for His glory.

I also know that I can begin to choose to have hope in the future and patience in the hard times.

Will you choose hope and patience as a mother today?

Modest Monday

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

How to Dehydrate Jalapeño Peppers

I got a dehydrator for Christmas last year and it's basically been running non-stop all summer long. I've dehydrated most of my tomatoes this year because it's so much easier than canning and takes up way less space.

Anyways, I found Jalapeños on sale at Aldi for .99/lb so I bought 5 pounds which ended up filling my dehydrator to the brim.

The process of dehydrating is simple: put just enough heat and air on the food that it won't cook, but will remove the moisture. Since dehydrated food isn't cooked it retains most of the nutrients.

Dehydrated vegetables should be hard and crunchy whereas fruit should be leathery. Anyways, here we go!

How to Dehydrate Jalapeño Peppers

You will need:
Cutting Board 

1. Put on gloves 
(trust me you don't want to handle this many peppers without
 them unless you enjoy being in pain)
2. Rinse and dry peppers
3. Remove stem end and slice pepper in half lengthwise
4. Remove seeds and pith 
(you can leave this part in if you like things to be spicy)

5. Arrange on clean dehydrator trays
6. Set dehydrator on fruit & veggie setting (135-145 F)
7. Let dehydrator run until peppers are hard and crunchy
(My dehydrator took 48 hours but I think something is wrong with it because most instructions say it should only take 8-12 hrs??)

8. Store dehydrated peppers in an airtight container. I use a mason jar. You can also store in the freezer. If you see any condensation in your storage container your peppers are not dehydrated enough therefore will not store safely. 

My five pounds of fresh peppers fit into one quart mason jar once dehydrated. At this point you could grind them into a powder, but I plan on using them chopped in recipes. 

To rehydrate cover with water (hot will work faster) until soft.

What's your experience with dehydrating food? 
Do you have any tips? I'd love to know!

Be sure and follow my Canning & Preserving board on Pinterest for similar recipes!

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Friday, August 22, 2014

Outfit of the Day - Maxi Skirt Review

It's been awhile since I've done an outfit post, mostly because I just had a baby five months ago and things are busy. Also, I spend a lot of my summer sweating in the garden in a tank and shorts and you probably don't want to see pictures of that. :) 

Anyway, this is what I wore to church on Sunday. It was really hot that day so three layers and a full length skirt probably wasn't the coolest option.

Under Tank: Target
Shirt: Target
Denim Vest: Old Navy
Maxi Skirt: Kosher Casual
Necklace: Great Grandma's
Bracelets: Versona
Shoes: Target

Have you heard of Kosher Casual? They are an online company that sells modest clothing for woman and girls. They have tons of modest skirts to choose from and I was asked to do a review for them. I chose the olive maxi pictured above and I absolutely love it! It's soft, fits great and is actually long enough for me! I'm 5'9" so most maxi skirts end up being a few inches too short. Anyway if you are in need of modest clothing I would highly recommend checking out Kosher Casual. One of the great things I noticed about a lot of their skirts is that they have stretch waistbands even on some of the denim skirts. How awesome is that!?!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

I have a Secret Admirer at

As a blogger I get several opportunities to share new products and companies with you. Honestly, I end up saying no to a lot of them because they aren't a good fit, but when
contacted me to do a review on their flowers I jumped at the chance! What girl doesn't want fresh flowers delivered right to their front door? is different from other online flower companies because they have a $40 flat rate with free shipping and no extra charges. Also, they don't cut the flowers until after you order them so they are fresher when they arrive at your front door! They also have a concierge service that allows you to send flowers on a future date. How cool is that?!? Watch the short video below to learn even more about how is changing the face of online flower delivery:

Overall I was very pleased with My flowers arrived on time and were beautiful and fresh looking. Some of the outer leaves did have brown edges, but I pulled those off and my bouquet looked at good as new!

If you know me at all then you know I love fresh flowers! I've already told my husband about and I would recommend them to you as well! :) Go on and check out the other beautiful bouquets they have to offer! 

Also, from now until the end of September you can use code TEACHER15 for 15% off of your order! Awesome!

Monday, August 4, 2014

How to Stretch Ground Beef Using Oats

I'm excited to show you how to stretch ground beef using oats! I promise you it tastes the same and no one will know the difference. I do this every time I cook ground beef and it saves me lots of money by making it go further.

First off I normally buy the 5lb family pack of ground beef at Aldi to save money, but this time they were out so I had to buy the 2.25 lb pack. 

You will need:

Uncooked Ground Beef
Uncooked Old Fashioned Oats
(1/4 - 1/2 cup per lb of beef)
Chopped Onion (optional)
(1/4 - 1/2 cup per lb of beef)

1. Mix all ingredients until well combined.

2. Brown ground beef as usual. 
*Note: The oats soak up a lot of the fat so you will need to stir often to avoid burning or sticking to the pan.

Use your beef mixture like normal! I normally let mine cool and freeze for later use. As you can see I got 4 "lbs" of ground beef out of my 2.25 lbs! Yea baby!

I've also heard that you can stretch ground beef using lentils, rice, beans and/or pureed veggies, but I've never tried any of them.

Do you do anything to stretch your ground beef? 
If so I'd love to know your secrets!

Other posts you may enjoy:

August Garden Journal

 A ton has happened in the garden since I last did an update. First off, we harvested our potatoes and onions. The potatoes did great, but the onions not so much. Any tips for me? My onions never seem to get very big even though I dig out around them.

Also, our bell pepper are doing awesome! This is the best year we've ever had with bell peppers. Normally they rot and die and we don't even get to harvest any, but I've already picked several this week. Woohoo!

A couple of week ago we had a bad windstorm that blew most of my sunflowers over and some of my tomato plants. :( As you can see a couple of my tomato plants are just hanging out on the ground. They are loaded with tomatoes though so I can't pull them up. I've been picking tomatoes for a couple weeks now and I've already canned 20+ pints of puree and I have a batch in the dehydrator as we speak. Despite our overgrown mess it's been a great year for tomatoes so far!

I went out today and pulled all of our cucumber and bean plants (they had mildew and were dying off, but we've enjoyed TONS of cucumbers this season!) and I planted peas. Then I planted beets, spinach and lettuce all of which I've never grown before. 

As usual, our sweet potatoes have taken over which is awesome cause they are one of my favorite vegetables!!

I also planted a row of butternut squash where the potatoes were and they are growing nicely. I can't WAIT to harvest these and make pies, etc. :)

I didn't think to take pictures of what I've been harvesting because I post those mostly on Instagram. You can follow me @MissyRakes to see more. Also I'd love for you to follow along on Pinterest (honeybeegrace) as well. I've been pinning lots of good canning and dehydrating recipes lately. 

Whats happening in your garden?

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Thursday, July 31, 2014

My Top 5 Money Making Apps

*This post contains affiliate links.

Back in January I wrote a post on how I use Swagbucks to earn $50+ per month in gift cards. Since then I've started doing several other things to bring in extra money each month and a lot of what I do is on my smartphone. I know there are several money earning apps available, but I today I'm sharing with you the ones that I use on a daily/weekly basis.

SBTV (Swagbucks TV) 
This app allows you to earn Swagbucks by watching videos on your phone. You earn 2 SBs for every 5 videos that you watch and you can earn up to 50 SBs per day. I usually plug my phone in and let it run throughout the day or if I have the time I will sit and click through the videos (after 5 sec. has played) to make it go faster.

To sign up for Swagbucks click here.

 This is another Swagbucks app that lets you earn by watching videos. You earn 2 SBs for every 10 videos that you watch and you can earn up to 120 (I think) SBs per day. Also I've heard Swagbucks has another video app called MovieClips (or something) that you can earn even more with, but I haven't downloaded it yet. 

To sign up for Swagbucks click here.

If don't use Bing then you should start right now! Basically it's a search engine that is just as good as Google (I promise!) where you can earn points for searches. You can later redeem those points for gift cards. You earn 1 pt for every 2 searches up to 25 per day on the computer and up to 10 per day on your mobile phone. I earn around $10 per month in gift cards just for searching the Internet! Wahoo! 

To sign up for Bing Rewards click here.

If you're a couponer then I'm sure you've heard of Ibotta. Basically it's a rebate app that I use weekly to earn money on my grocery purchases. All you do is unlock the rebates you want to redeem (I almost always have a milk rebate) and then scan the product and receipt then wait for approval. Once you earn $5 you can make a Pay Pal transfer. That reminds me I need to go enter the baby food I just bought at Target... 

Also, you earn money for referring friends and you can earn weekly cash bonuses! 

To sign up for Ibotta and be on my team click here.

Checkout 51
This is another grocery rebate app, but it's not store specific which I love since I shop at Aldi a lot. Plus, they have more generic rebates such as bread, eggs and bananas. Once you earn $20 they will send you a check. 

As I stated earlier, there are tons of other money making apps out there, but these are the ones that I use most often and love. So are you ready to put your Smartphone to work? Go ahead and give them a try!

Do you use your smartphone to earn extra money? 
If so, which apps are your favorites? 
I'd love to know!

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