An Ingredient in My Recipe for Life and a Frugal Recipe

Dear Reader,

 I’m so happy to spend a few moments of this new month with you. Like you, I have many interests and many roles and responsibilities in my life. I am a wife, mother, my children’s teacher, homemaker, friend, and of course, a daughter of the King. Each month, as I write to you, I’d like to share with you a little about an ingredient that I believe helps us create an enjoyable, rich recipe for life. I’ll also share a favorite recipe to help make your life a little easier.

Reading is an integral part of my life’s recipe. I read to learn, to relax, to hope, to plan, to dream, and to glean from the experiences of others who have walked this way before. I am primarily a non-fiction reader. A few years ago, I added more fiction to my reading. I found that although I am all grown up, I really enjoy losing myself in a good story. As a full-time wife, mother, and my children’s teacher, I welcome those moments alone.

Time alone has taken on new meaning and different forms as each of my four children were added to our little family. What used to be uninterrupted hours of free time to read or pursue hobbies and other entertainment, has shrunk to snatched moments here and there. Still, I have managed to find moments for this beloved nourishment for my mind and companionship for my soul.

By reading, I am indeed allowing the author to nourish my thoughts and my imagination. I’m also enjoying the author’s companionship as I read. That’s why I often linger over favorite books, stretching the reading over weeks or even months. To finish the book means to end the companionship, unless I find another book she’s written. I say she because most of these books are written by women about my journey with Jesus, homemaking, frugal living, or homeschooling.

As a matter of discipline, I have a goal of reading 50 books a year. I keep a journal of the title, author, date completed, and a notation stating fiction, non-fiction, or with the children. This keeps me accountable for what I read, and it helps me to see that I’m reading a good variety. I believe what Zig Ziglar used to say, “You are who you are and what you are because of what has gone into your mind.” Reading is a big part of that for me.

I encourage you to make yourself a reading goal for the remainder year. It might not be 50 books. It might be 12; but, set a goal and start reading toward it. This year I set aside 50 books on my bookshelf that I’d like to read. Perhaps my interests will lead me to different books; but, I’ve got a plan. Make a plan for yourself. Think about books that will help you with your finances, your cooking skills, your homemaking skills, your people skills, your business skills, your Christian life, a hobby or a skill that you’d like to learn. Most importantly, though, make a BIBLE goal. Make it something attainable. After all, even one book, read over and over can change you. That’s what we really want after all, isn’t it? To be conformed to the image of Jesus Christ?

Now, to give you a little more time to sneak in a little of what I call snatch reading (snatch a moment here and there), here is one of my family’s favorite soup recipes. It’s frugal, too. Put it together and let it simmer on the back of the stove or in a crock pot while you snatch a few pages! May God bless you as you seek His face.


By the way, in case you’re wondering, I do count the books I read to my children that are chapter books and some of their history readers and that sort of thing.  I don’t read 50 just for me. ~grin~

I have also discovered books loaded onto an MP3 player that can hang around my neck at my library.  They are helping me to meet my goal and also stretch beyond my normal reading genres.  I recently listened to The Audacity of Hope by President Obama.  I don’t agree with him on many of his beliefs; but, it was good to know where he stands.  I also listened to Anastasia, The Last Grand Duchess (of Russia).  It was in the youth section; but was very informative.  I like history.

It’s Christmas!

Well, my friends, Christmas is here!  If you’re like me, you still have a lot of things on your to do list that are not going to be done for Christmas.

So, rather than beat ourselves up about it, let’s do our very best to let go of our perfect dream plans, and enjoy the reality of our holiday.  Very few of us will have Norman Rockwell or Currier and Ives Christmases.  Of course, now, I think we might be wanting Thomas Kincaid. ~smile~

So, if the house isn’t perfect, the tree isn’t perfect, the circumstances aren’t perfect, the gifts aren’t perfect, the turkey isn’t perfect, the meal isn’t perfect, the kids aren’t perfect, or the relatives aren’t perfect, let’s just let it go. 

After all, what started it all was God’s perfect gift to us.  He came to Earth as a baby, Jesus, to experience all the emotions, happiness, and suffering that we do.  He then gave us the gift of His life as payment for our sins, so that “if you confess with your mouth Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved.”   1 John 1:9

That’s all that really matters this Christmas. 

The rest is just stuff.

Wishing you God’s peace and salvation,

Merry Christmas!


Happy at Home


I had great fun going garage “saling” last Friday and Saturday.  It was our City Wide Garage Sale.  I found a wonderful dark red sign, lettered in white, that I really liked on Friday night.  It said, “Always Kiss Me Goodnight” .

Buying that sign, in the country primitive style I love, and buying a second one, black with white lettering, that said Welcome Friends really got me thinking about the things I have in my home. 

I’m ready to really start clearing out the things I don’t love or need, so that I can start filling our home (little by little) with things I love.  (I”m not planning on tossing hubby’s things.  He likes my style, too.)

So, I’m going to keep working on preparations for my own garage sale.  I think it will probably be two or three weeks yet; but, I’m getting really motivated!

God bless you all!

Laura of Harvest Lane

Happy at Home

Something to Think About….What is Education?


“Whatever an education is, it should make you a unique individual, not a conformist; it should furnish you with an original spirit with which to tackle the big challenges; it should allow you to find values which will be your roadmap through life; it should make you spiritually rich, a person who loves whatever you are doing, wherever you are, whomever you are with; it should teach you what is important, how to live and how to die.” – John Taylor Gatto

It’s time to be praying and planning our choices for our children’s educations next year. May God bless and guide each of us as we think and plan and pray.

Laura of Harvest Lane
Happy at Home

Easter Weekend Plans 2008

Hi Friends,

I’ve been thinking of my plans for the coming weekend.  Those of you who are Christians know that this is Holy Week.  Now, my husband and I are what I call first generation Christians, though some of our parents are now saved.  We don’t have traditions that have been handed down regarding Easter.  All we knew was the Easter bunny came and gave us a big basket of candy which we then made ourselves sick on. 

When we had our own children, I started thinking about what I’d like it to be for our family.  We’re still in the process of making our own traditions.

Here’s what I’ve got in mind for this week:

Thursday–  “Last Supper” Communion dinner of homemade bread and grape juice.  We’ll talk about Jesus’ last days and the crucifixion and resurrection. 

Note to me…make homemade bread in the morning and stir up the grape juice.

Friday-  We’ll color eggs just because it’s fun, and they make a good snack.  We’ll eat them during the weekend.

Note to me…boil 18 eggs early Friday morning. 

Saturday- In the morning, I’ll make cupcakes with jellybeans and licorice to look like Easter baskets.  In the evening, we’ll make Resurrection Cookies.  Hillbilly Sweetpea shares the recipe here.

Sunday- We’ll go to church, have an egg hunt there, then come home to a nice ham dinner.  My mother-in-love will join us for the day.  I usually give the kids a small gift, $5 or less and a little candy in a basket.  The Easter bunny doesn’t stop at our house, he just hops on by. ~smile~

I’d love to hear what your plans are for the weekend.  Maybe you have an idea we’d like to add to our celebration.

Whatever you do this weekend, keep the focus on our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.



A Christmas Weekend Menu & Cooking Schedule

Season’s Greetings!  Having a well-planned menu and cooking schedule for the days just preceding and including Christmas is so helpful for me. I created a plan a few years ago; and, I update it yearly. Here’s what this weekend looks like for me. Perhaps you can adapt it to help you in your home.






Tuna Sandwiches



Potato Soup

Cheese biscuits





Egg Salad Sandwiches

Canned Peaches


Chili with Fritos


Cookies and Milk

Christmas Eve Day




Canned Soup

Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

Christmas Eve

Cocktail Meatballs

Veggies & Dip

Queso & Chips

Rice Pudding with One Almond

Fudge & Peanut Brittle

Christmas Day

Breakfast 9:00

Breakfast Casserole

Banana Bread

Orange juice

Dinner 2:00


German Apple Stuffing

Scalloped Corn

Potatoes and gravy

Green bean casserole

Black & Green Olives

Little Vlassics Sweet Gherkins

Angel Eggs


Pumpkin Pie

Pecan Pie



Spend 15 minutes at a time. Do not crash and burn!

2 Days Before Christmas Eve:

  • Make candies.

Day Before Christmas Eve:

  • Make chili.
  • Make meatballs & fry them.
  • Bake cookies with Grandma.
  • Mix veggie dip.
  • Banana Bread

Christmas Eve Morning:

  • Finish anything left from yesterday.
  • Mix sauce & put meatballs together in crock pot & put in fridge.
  • Make pie.

Christmas Eve Afternoon:

  • Cut up veggies & put in fridge.
  • Mix up stuffing & put in fridge.
  • Mix up breakfast casserole & put in fridge.

Christmas Eve- Early Evening:

  • Heat meatballs.
  • Put everything on dishes & serve.
  • Cookies for Santa.

Christmas morning:

  • Put casserole in oven.
  • Put turkey in oven.
  • Peel potatoes for mashed potatoes & refrigerate in water.
  • Set table for dinner.
  • Put green bean casserole together.
  • Mix scalloped corn.

Christmas Afternoon:


  • Bake everything.
  • Carve turkey.
  • Mash potatoes.
  • Make gravy.
  • Warm rolls.
  • Serve.



Christmas Night

  • Serve pie.



Easy Morning Breakfast Casserole

This yummy dish is straight forward and to the point!

It’s got a down home flavor my kids really like!

1 lb. Sausage

6 eggs

2 cups of milk

2 slices of bread

1 cup of shredded cheese

Add some chopped green peppers and chopped onions if you like, we always do!

Brown sausage and drain well. Beat eggs, and add the milk. Gently stir in the shredded cheese, sausage, and torn up bread pieces. This is the time to add the green peppers and onions if you’d like. Put it in 13 x 9 pan which has been sprayed with cooking spray. Refrigerate overnight.

Put it in a cold oven the next morning and Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. Insert a knife in the middle to check doneness. It should come out clean. This is great with salsa.

I like to have hot buttered toast and orange juice with it.