Monday, July 09, 2012

Guest Post-The Secret of Counting Gifts

Watching Kari Create Art

              Looking back, I had no idea what I had asked for when I called and said, "Kari, I need a book cover."  I simply asked.  She knew... and she came through.
              We stood and watched her work.  She moved slowly around the rooms... looking for something... seeing everything.  What seemed random to us fit her plan perfectly. 
              "What's she looking for?" I asked quietly.
              "I don't know.  I'm just enjoying watching her work and I'm staying out of her way," came the whispered reply. 
              In the end, she took my pathetic description and created a thing of beauty.  She took a reluctant model and made her laugh.  She taught the two of us a bit of her ability to make art.  Kari blessed me abundantly when I asked for a book cover... on that day when I didn't know of what I asked.
              Kari's art is now gracing the cover of my words in two books... The Secret of Counting Gifts and the accompanying The Secret of Counting Gifts Gratitude Journal.  I'm excited to say that both books are now available in paperback through
              While The Secret of Counting Gifts is a novel, I wrote it from my life experiences.  I am a wife of 18 years and a mom of 3.  I've spent the past fifteen years at home washing dishes, folding clean laundry, blogging, and teaching my children.  My days are full of counting grace gifts with gratitude and asking for grace and forgiveness.  I am blessed with rich friendships and have prayed more friends than I care to count through the battle of breast cancer. 
              The Secret of Counting Gifts is a story about life, friendship, hardship, and gratitude.  It is the story of  Kris McClintock and Liz Bower and their friendship that spans twenty-eight years.  Through marriage, babies, and infidelity they stand by each other and hold one another up... until breast cancer delivers the final blow.  As she sits by Liz, Kris recounts the trials and   blessings that made them who they are.  She tells their story and recalls the many "gifts" they have been blessed with throughout the years. She shares of how Liz taught her to notice the gifts in each day and to live with a grateful heart. It is through the telling of their story that the secret of counting gifts is discovered....
              I'm thrilled for our team effort and the release of The Secret of Counting Gifts and The Secret of Counting Gifts Gratitude Journal.  It is a direct answer to our prayers.  I look forward to seeing how God will use these books!  Thorought this month, I am on a virtual book tour.  You can see the stops along the way on my website  While you are there, stop in and say "Hey!" and register for my giveaway... autographed copies of The Secret of Counting Gifts and The Secret of Counting Gifts Gratitude Journal in a hand-made basket. 
              I'd love to hear from you.  What art has Kari created for you?  How have you been impacted by her art?
              ** *Heidi Kreider is a wife, mother, author and friend.  She blogs about life, grace, and gratitude at


Thursday, March 01, 2012

A Prayer

O Spirit of God,
Help my infirmities;
If thou seest in me
any wrong thing encouraged,
any evil desire cherished,
any delight that is not Thy delight,
any habit that grieves Thy heart,
then grant me the kiss of Thy forgiveness,
and teach my feet to walk in the way of Thy commandments.
Help me to wrestle successfully against weakness;
Give me power to live as Thy child in all my actions,
and to exercise sonship by conquering self.
Lead me safely on to the eternal kingdom,
not asking whether the road be rough or smooth.
I request only to see the face of Him who I love,
to be content with bread to eat,
with raiment to put on,
if I can be brought to Thy house in peace.

The Valley of Vision (p. 188)

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Ode to the Salvage Store

I was looking at these biscuit mixes just a few weeks ago at Kroger, and they ran almost $8 for a box that makes 16 biscuits. Passed them up, and found them for $.75!!!!

These pretzels are a treat, since they run almost $8 a bag! But, at the Salvage Store, I paid $.75, and they are not expired!

Retail price...$3? I paid $.50!

Ah! The Salvage Store. How would I stretch my grocery budget without you? If you don't know about salvage grocery stores-you should. If you are too persnickety to go to them...that's fine..more for my friends and I. :) I've shopped them for years, and have nary had a problem. Most of what I buy is not even expired. If it is, it's more than likely "best used by.." and I don't like to go more than a couple months over the date, depending on the item.

I was introduced to a new ss yesterday by my friend, Renita. Ah! It has now become one of my favorites. Cari Chase, we have SO many up must come soon! :) Here's what I got for $50:

(2) 14 oz. pkgs. Hillshire Farms Beer Brats

(2) 14 oz. pkgs. Hillshire farms Turkey Lil' Smokies

(2) 16 oz. rolls Jimmy Dean Maple Sausage

(10) 1 oz. bags Pirate Booty

(4) 5.25 oz. bags David Sunflower Seeds

8 pack Apple and Eve Fruitables Juice Boxes

4 pack Dole Mandarin Orange cups in 100% juice

1 pkg. (5 bars) Cascadian Farms Sweet and Salty Granola Bars

(2) 6 oz. boxes Late July Organice Crackers

14.1 oz. bag Glutino Gluten Free Pretzels

1 pkg. Atkins Caramel Nut Chew Bars

12 oz. Bear Naked Heavenly Chocolate Granola

10 pkgs. sugar free gum (Trident, Orbit, and Dentyne)

3.17 oz bar Ghirardelli 86% Chocolate

Ziploc Bags, Gallon size, Freezer (38 bags)

(2) Full Circle (28 oz.) Eco Friendly Dish Detergent

35.3 oz. bottle Eco Store Pure Oxygen Whitener (for clothing)

(2) 24 oz. Full Circle Eco-Friendly Toilet Bowl Cleaner

(3) 7.25 oz. Hodgson Mill Whole Wheat Macaroni and Cheese boxes

15 oz. Organic Muir Glen Pizza Sauce

(2) 17.76 oz. 1-2-3 Gluten Free Light and Fluffy Biscuit Mixes

(2) 18.5 oz. Progresso Soups

14 oz. Gluten Free Thai Kitchen Stir Fry Rice Noodles

16 oz. Hidden Valley Farmhouse Originals Dressing, Caesar

12 oz. Gulden's Spicy Brown Mustard

2.4 oz. Mediterranean Organic Wild Capers (original price-$4.09..I paid $0.75!)

(3) 5.8 oz. Gaea Organic Pitted Kalamata Olives

5 oz. Starkist Chunk Light Tuna in Water

32 oz. Lundberg Organic Golden Rose Brown Rice

16 oz. Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free Bread Mix

16 oz. Betty Crocker Gluten Free Brownie Mix

16 oz. Gluten Free Pantry Pancake and Waffle Mix

(2) 16 oz. Pamela's Gluten Free Chocolate Brownie Mixes

1 pkg. Envirokidz Crispy Rice Bars, organic

**The Above Five Items cost me $5.85 total. I bought them for a friend. If I had bought them full retail at the grocery store, they alone would have run me over $35!!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Organizing My Life-Flour Drawer (before and after)

Continuing with my "re/organizing my home in my spare time" theme, I now take you to my "flour drawer." I have an old antique hutch-a sort of 'hoosier cabinet' that came from my parents. They bought it when I was a teenager and I claimed it would one day be passed down to me. :) I have always loved this piece of furniture, and here in our rental, it came in handy, as there is not much cabinet space.

One thing I use this piece for is my flour(s). Since being diagnosed with a gluten intolerance, my flour numbers have gone up! I used to have a few blends, now I (or so it seems) Til now, my best organization has been ziploc you can see below, that wasn't working for me. When I'd go to bake and need a certain type of flour, I had to lift out every bag, and then see if I could read the bag label (due to flour leaking out of said bag inside ziploc bag). It was time for a change...

Some ball mason jars, a label maker-that I love, and just about a half hour later, and ta-da!!! (bottom layer of drawer)

Final shot of my drawer below. (I ran out of big enough jars for a few large bags of flour) Did I already say I love my label maker? I told a friend today that I'm having to keep my self from labeling know "salt, pepper, dresser, cabinet." :) But, I love how I can see, for the most part, which flour is which just at a glance. Ahhh...that job felt good!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Organizing My Life-Cash Envelope System (before and after)

One of the things I love is taking out cash each paycheck. It keeps me on budget...or should I say closer to my budget. There are some areas (like groceries), I cannot seem to stick to some weeks. I'm trying! I have used cash off and on for years, and just find that I do better when I have cash in hand-it hurts more to give it away, I know how much I have-so I make better choices, and I can say no easier.

A year or so ago, my sister gave me her Financial Peace envelopes/holder. I was excited, as I had always used various white regular envelopes filled with money, stashed in my wallet. This was a nice way to keep them all organized and held together. But, as you can see from my pictures, they wore out on me!

So, I found This Tutorial and made some new ones-during the football game the other day I "watched" with Shane (some guy named Tim Tebow was playing??) :) , and I LOVE them! They are fun and bright and might make saving money seem a little more exciting?? I don't know-maybe that's a stretch. :)

But, they are so sturdy-made out of cardstock, and I made several more "categories" to help me keep even better track of things.

My new categories are: Fun (entertainment-which usually consists of eating out once every two weeks-:) ), Haircuts (includes Beauty/Cosmetics), Date Night (currently has $1 in it!), Grocery-Bulk Foods, Grocery-milk/eggs/dairy, Grocery-bulk meat, Grocery-produce, Grocery-Misc., Grocery-Meat, Household Misc., School, Clothing, and Gifts. Now, these are just my "cash" categories, we budget the rest on paper. The lady who designed these, also sells them on Etsy pre-made here, and they are laminated! I'm sure they'd hold up for awhile! I'll let you know how long these last.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Organizing My Life-Back Room "Pantry" (after)

So, this is a follow-up to the earlier post on my back room "pantry." Here are the AFTER photos!! Now, my husband could not tell I had done anything! ha! Very observant. However, I feel like a new woman! I added two shelves that had been sitting there waiting to be added for, oh, 8 months now. :) In my reorganizing, I cleaned the shelves and I realized I had a few things I had forgotten about..or couldn't find. Myra was also excited that she could actually see what we had. I did realize that I DO NOT need any barbecue sauce, tomato sauce, or pepperocinis for awhile. :) But, it's so nice to be when I hit my "salvage stores" I know what I need to stock up on, instead of guessing. :)

However, when I was pulling these pictures off of my camera, I saw that I had moved some olives and sauerkraut on a shelf when I was organizing, and had not put them in the right spot. So, for those of you that are OCD..not mentioning names...I did put them on the right shelf AFTER the photo was taken. No need to worry! :) And, for those of you also OCD, you do not see the laundry pile in the background..and if you do, and you're my friend, you know it's a lost cause with me anyways. I will never catch up with laundry. I'm done pretending. :)

Organizing My Life-Back Room "Pantry" (before)

Well, last post I told you that I had some life changes coming up that I'd talk about later. I am now in a new season of life. After much prayer, and lots of tears, and more prayer, we decided to send our two girls to school for the first time ever. We have homeschooled since my oldest was in preschool. This was a HUGE decision for us, one that did not come easy. Long story short, I just hit a "wall." Each day was hard to face, and I felt like I needed a break...but was willing to press on, if that's what God wanted. God gave my husband and I the peace to let go for this time in our lives, and put them in school. And, wow! What a blessing it has already been. He has given them both Christian teachers, and just keeps confirming that He has this all in His hands.

One of my biggest fears was for my oldest to have a hard time finding good friends, and on her first day there, there was a girl from her Sunday school class, in her homeroom class! They bonded from that first day, and she has been a blessing to my daughter. What I did not know until tonight was that this young girl didn't want to come back to school after Christmas, because she had no Christian friends at school, and was having a rough time. That brought me to tears, that my daughter was as much an answer to her prayers as she was to ours. God is good!

We have felt blessed and surrounded with prayer. Our friends have been amazing-both those that homeschool and those that don't, and have covered our daughters in prayer. We are blessed with good friends. This is for this season of our lives. That's all we know. We have yet to see what God holds for next year, but for now, we feel very much He has a plan for all of this.

In the meantime, I'm getting a chance to just be "mom" again, and I have some time to get some things done that haven't gotten done in awhile. :) One of those things is organization. I do it, then let it go. My friend Kristen B., who was one of the most organized, clean people I know, told me years ago that you don't just organize and it stays that way-it's an ongoing process. Well, I tend to get things organized, then life happens. :) And, boy, does it happen fast. So, I have some time to go through things, get rid of stuff, reorganize. And, I'm posting my life for you!! I've had some encouragement lately from reading some blogs I enjoy-one of them is Keeper of the Home. It just gave me that 'push' to get to it. So, without further ado...this is my "pantry."

I say "pantry" because it's where I store food in my house. The house we're renting does not have a big kitchen, nor a pantry space, but we had some extra, it's our pantry, located in a back room of our house.

As you can see from the below pictures, it wasn't out of control, there had been SOME attempt for organizing at some CAN see that, right? :) However, there came a point when I had stuff and didn't have time to figure out where to put that extra can of tomatoes or that bag of chips. (after photos posted in next post)

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Lessons from the old farmhouse

"Mid pleasures and palaces though we may roam,

Be it ever so humble, there's no place like home!

A charm from the skies seems to hallow us there,

Which, seek through the world, is ne'er met with elsewhere.

Home, home, sweet home!

There's no place like home. "

Lessons from the old farmhouse:

1. We CAN survive without a dishwasher.

2. Being cold will NOT kill us. That's what snuggies are for. :)

3. Free range chickens are the best! We will own our own some day.

4. Being hot in the summer will NOT kill us. People did it for years. Yes, some of them died, but we did not. :)

5. Water in the basement is kills the mice before they get upstairs. :)