Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Priority #4 - My Home - The Leftover Challenge

Over the past couple of years, we have gradually increased the amount of food we buy organically.  While on a microcellular level it may be improving our health, it is not improving our budget.  The downside of buying food without preservatives is that they have no preservatives.  They spoil quickly and that is just money in the trash can.  I have tried to come up with some ideas for kitchen loss prevention.

Retail loss prevention is a set of practices employed by retail companies to preserve profit. Profit preservation is any business activity specifically designed to reduce preventable losses. A preventable loss is any business cost caused by deliberate or inadvertent human actions, colloquially known as "shrinkage".  

As an effective home manager, I need reduce these preventable losses by any means.  Here are some of my ideas.

COOK LESS:  With The Grand Duchess in her own apartment, there are only four of us at home now.  I look for recipes that serve 4-6 people.  Although cooking less at one meal may mean that I have to cook more times in a week, it also reduces food boredom so leftovers don't just sit in the refrigerator because we're tired of eating them.  If I make a recipe that serves 6, whatever is leftover goes into Friend Hubby's Pyrex lunch dish for the next day.  If 4 servings doesn't seem like it will be enough food, then I try to stretch the meal with more vegetables, cornbread, or a salad.  

SHOP MORE FREQUENTLY FOR FRESH FOOD:  When I lived in Europe, none of my neighbors had a refrigerator as large as my military issue American fridge.  Theirs were the size of the mini-fridges we send our kids to college with.  Every day I saw them get off the buses, walk to the corner market, and head home with just one or two small bags of food.  A trip to Costco will show you the differences in our culture.  Many of us have not just one refrigerator, but either a second one or a freezer as well.  It's great in the winter not to have to leave the house for much of anything, but unfortunately, forgetting what's in the freezer can result in freezer burned food that no one wants to eat.  Here are a couple of ideas to help you with inventory.
Put a chalkboard on the freezer.  

Put a wipe-off board near the freezer.

There is one store in particular where I like to buy the majority of my produce.  Since I am as of yet a very poor gardener, I refer to this store as my backyard garden.  Rather than buying a lot of produce when I get paid, I just go to the store when I need it so I can get the freshest produce and know that I am going to use what I buy right away.  I don't buy ALL my produce organic.  I have an app on my phone to remind me which fruits and vegetables are on the "Dirty Dozen" list and which are on the "Clean 15" list by Environmental Working Group.

If you are afraid that you're going to run out of money before you're able to buy produce again, then factor a store gift card into your produce budget, that way you've put that money aside and it's not going to get spent on something else.

Here is a chart to help you know how long you can safely keep food.

An chart of the shelf life of fruit and vegetables. 

FIFO is an acronym which most commonly stands for first in first out. 

Friend Hubby is a stickler for this.  No boxes of cereal get opened before the first box gets eaten.  The pantry shelves are stocked so that the oldest jar of spaghetti sauce or can of baked beans gets used first.  In addition, fresh vegetables get cooked before frozen vegetables do.

MUST-GOs:  Fridays are for MUST-GOs.  What are MUST-GOs?  Everything in the refrigerator MUST GO.  From one Friday to the next, we keep track of what has been put into the refrigerator.  Most of it is still within the 3-4 day safe period so those get eaten before Shabbat meal is cooked.  This is a good habit and helps to prevent science experiments from reproducing in your refrigerator.

CRYSTAL CLEAR:   I missed out on these bowls at Costco last year. I have been disappointed about it all year. They are back today and I pounced on them. I am tired of having to put the whole crock pot in the refrigerator because I don't have anything else big enough to store leftovers in. I also feel that having translucent dishes will help us not to throw away food because no one knows what's in there and how long it's been there. We've got a big meal coming up and we're not going to want our leftovers to taste like the aluminum pans. Plus, $15 for 8-piece Pyrex is a deal.

I hope you save tons of money with these ideas!  


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Thursday, October 15, 2015

Priority #3 - My Children - Teaching What is Valuable

While praying through The Power of Praying for Your Adult Children for The Grand Duchess, I ran across this portion of a prayer:  "Help (her) to learn from the correction of wise teachers and people of maturity, wisdom, and experience, so that (she) will avoid poverty and embarrassment and gain honor and prosperity. (Proverbs 13:18).    

Proverbs 13:18 ISR98 - "Poverty and shame are for him Who ignores discipline, But he who heeds reproof is esteemed."

As a parent, you will never be the only person who speaks into your child's life.  There will be a plethora of people who think themselves wise who always have a word for your children, particularly if you are raising PKs (preacher's kids).  They live life in a glass bubble as it and there are any number of people who take it upon themselves to judge your parenting when they have no mature fruit show for themselves.  While they are so busy judging your children, the seeds of rebellion are being deeply ingrained in theirs, and they are so busy trying to remove the speck in your children while a beam remains in theirs.

However, blessed be the name of the Most High who brings "wise teachers and people of maturity, wisdom, and experience"!  I'm so thankful for the friendships that Yah has blessed us with that have been a part of our lives for over two decades.  They have become "uncles and aunts" to our children.  Because they have "been there, done that" when they speak into our children's lives it is from the perspective of someone who has been through the realities of life and not the idealism of what they wish life to be.  Their own lives are a testimony to the biblical practice of sowing and reaping.  Their youth was busy sowing seeds of preparation that they can now draw upon later in life.  In every area where they have applied the Word through discipline, education, and an orderly life, they are neither impoverished nor embarrassed because they have lived well.  Nothing in life for them has gone according to their plan and they have all had difficult challenges to overcome, but they are willing to share, "This is how Abba brought me from there to here."  They are overcomers who walk humbly, knowing that joy of Yah is their strength and they will rejoice in the time to come!  

Proverbs 13:20 ISR98 - "He who walks with the wise, shall be wise, But the companion of fools suffers evil."

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Friday, October 9, 2015

Priority #2 - My Husband - The Beam in my Eye

Matthew 7:1-5 ISR98 - “Do not judge, lest you be judged. For with what judgment you judge, you shall be judged. And with the same measure you use, it shall be measured to you. “And why do you look at the splinter in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the plank in your own eye?  Or how is it that you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove the splinter out of your eye,’ and see, a plank is in your own eye?  Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you shall see clearly to remove the splinter out of your brother’s eye."

This verse is one of my social media pet peeves as it is the most often quoted but least often understood.  Perhaps you've seen this meme:  

The verse is not talking about not making any judgment calls EVER.  It is saying to be careful of the standard you use so that your judgments are righteous, that is by Yehovah's straight and narrow standard, not our fluid standard that changes with our moods.  

Think about everything about your husband that irritates you.  
He's always complaining.  Are you always grateful?  
He's always late.  Are you always rushing?  
He's too accepting.  Are you very particular?  
He's overweight.  Do you keep yourself attractive?  
He always procrastinates.  Do you finish all of your tasks in a timely manner?

For ever issue, there is a counter-issue.  If we are honest, most of the criticism of our husbands stem from the overflow of self-righteousness in our own hearts and not a genuine desire to see change in them for THEIR good.  That's another by-product of going through the self-examination questions from Yom Kippur.  I recognize that I have SO much to work on and correct in me that I don't have time to work on my husband's list.  

When I work on myself, I see a difference in the atmosphere in my home.  When I am playing close attention to my exercise habits, I have more energy to be of assistance to my family members.  When I am disciplined about planning ahead, my family follows suit.
We are created to give off a pleasant aroma in every garden in which we are planted, but it takes a lot of work for a plant to produce a vibrantly aromatic blossom.  This is a good message on being a woman of influence.

So before you dig up a bone to pick with your husband, check your own attitude, habits, and appearance first.


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Monday, October 5, 2015

Priority #1 - My Elohim: Fresh Ideas

From Faith, Grace & Torah
At the conclusion of Yom Kippur this year, I came away with the feeling that I should get back to my old way of blogging.  I actually had a fairly successful blog on yahoo.360 back in the early 2000s.  Since that ended, I had been sort of flailing in the blogging department, with the exception of my Day Book, which my children think I publish just for them.  I do, but I don't like them to think about that.  LOL  My system for blogging before was to take one priority and just write about it for 15 minutes, whatever was on the top of my head about the subject.  It sounds crazy, but it actually worked for at least a couple of years.  It won't be PUBLISHED daily.  Actually, it was always published about every 5 days, but writing for 15 minutes a day gave me plenty of material.

So in today's blog (I've got 10 minutes left), I want to talk a little about what WE do on Yom Kippur.  Another Hebrew title for Yom Kippur is Yom HaKippurim.  That means the Day of Coverings.  Do you remember what Adam and Eve did in the garden?  They attempted to cover themselves.  I like to think of Yom HaKippurim as the day of UNCOVERINGS.

As I mentioned in my Day Book, on Yom Kippur, we went through the self-examination questions from T'Shuva Ministries.  This year, I only wrote down 1 or 2 from each of the Ten Commandments that I would like to work on.  I may go through it again before the spring feasts and do the same thing.  

2 Corinthians 13:5 ISR98 - "Examine yourselves to see whether you are living the life of trust. Test yourselves. Don’t you realize that Yeshua the Messiah is in you? — unless you fail to pass the test."

Although last year I took notes, this year I found myself writing less.  The reason is that we can  become so overwhelmed looking at our own inadequacies.  We can't possibly fix everything that needs to be fixed right away.  Sanctification is a process.  The self-examination questions are designed to show us where we cover ourselves and act as if it doesn't even matter.  

This year, my note focused on what I felt was the most significant area of each of the commandments that I needed to focus on.  One of the things that I thought about doing is to regularly write the 10 Commandments down to remind myself of what it is that I am supposed to be focusing on.  The Scripture is full of admonishment not to forget the commandments.  

Numbers 15:38 ISR98 - “Speak to the children of Yisra’el, and you shall say to them to make tzitziyot on the corners of their garments throughout their generations, and to put a blue cord in the tzitzit of the corners."  

I will admit, I am not all the way there on this one.  When I do decide to wear them, they need to be discreet and feminine since they have not traditionally been worn by women and in my heart, there needs to be a clear distinction.  Also, I know that some people wear them for "identification" so that someone else who is Torah observant can pick them out in a crowd.  If that's a by-product, great!  But that is not what their purpose is.  They need to be a visible reminder to the wearer.  

Deuteronomy 17:18 ISR98 - “And it shall be, when he sits on the throne of his reign, that he shall write for himself a copy of this Torah in a book, from the one before the priests, the Levites."  

I figure, if the king has to write the entire Torah, the least I can do is write the 10 Commandments in my own hand.  

Also, a favorite passage in the book of James 1:21-25 that reminds us not to forget what it is that we have seen in the word.  

"Therefore put away all filthiness and overflow of evil, and receive with meekness the implanted Word,1 which is able to save your lives.  And become doers of the Word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.  Because if anyone is a hearer of the Word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks at his natural face in a mirror, for he looks at himself, and goes away, and immediately forgets what he was like.  But he that looked into the perfect Torah, that of freedom, and continues in it, not becoming a hearer that forgets, but a doer of work, this one shall be blessed in his doing of the Torah." 

This chart illustrates the differences in how the commandments are delineated.

This is how it is written in the Complete Jewish Bible (Exodus 20:2-17)

א “I am Adonai your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the abode of slavery.
ב “You are to have no other gods before me. You are not to make for yourselves a carved image or any kind of representation of anything in heaven above, on the earth beneath or in the water below the shoreline.You are not to bow down to them or serve them; for I, Adonai your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sins of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but displaying grace to the thousandth generation of those who love me and obey my mitzvot.
ג “You are not to use lightly the name of Adonai your God, because Adonaiwill not leave unpunished someone who uses his name lightly.
ד “Remember the day, Shabbat, to set it apart for God. You have six days to labor and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is a Shabbat for Adonaiyour God. On it, you are not to do any kind of work — not you, your son or your daughter, not your male or female slave, not your livestock, and not the foreigner staying with you inside the gates to your property. 11 For in six days, Adonai made heaven and earth, the sea and everything in them; but on the seventh day he rested. This is why Adonai blessed the day, Shabbat, and separated it for himself.
ה 12 “Honor your father and mother, so that you may live long in the land which Adonai your God is giving you.
ו 13 “Do not murder.
ז (14) “Do not commit adultery.
ח (15) “Do not steal.
ט (16) “Do not give false evidence against your neighbor.
י 14 (17) “Do not covet your neighbor’s house; do not covet your neighbor’s wife, his male or female slave, his ox, his donkey or anything that belongs to your neighbor.”


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