This blog is about two friends, miles apart, striving to pattern our lives after the Proverbs 31 woman. Here you will find our daily journeys, whether serious, funny, practical, or inventive. Thanks for stopping by and we hope you'll stop by often!

~Lauren & Page

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Artichoke, Arti-what??

Proverbs 31:14 "She is like the merchants' ships; she bringeth her food from afar"

How many of you know what an artichoke is? (raise your hand) Ok, how many of you know how to cook and eat a fresh artichoke? (I don't see many hands raised) Just as I suspected, you may like artichokes, but haven't the faintest idea of how to cook and eat a fresh one.

When I was growing up, my amazing mother made it a point of bringing home exotic foods from the grocery store. I may not have always liked it growing up, but I believe she definitely helped to shape my unique tastes today. I honestly can't think of anything I don't like. My mother instilled in me the importance of eating healthy, and thinking outside the box when it came to food.

The first time she brought home fresh artichokes, I looked at them with amazement. These prickly green flower like vegetables were supposed to be eaten?? She steamed them and wow, I couldn't stand the smell. She then proceeded to show us how to eat them. I thought they tasted horrible, but found them to be so intriguing, that I kept eating them! Needless to say, I grew to LOVE them and now consider them to be one of my favorite vegetables!

Here's a little tutorial on how to cook and eat them.

First, wash them, then proceed to place your knife underneath the bottom leaves and cut the stems off. The pictures is pretty self-explanatory. Some people also cut off the tips of the leaves, but I find that only useful if you're going to utilize them in a way where you'd need to do that - aka, stuffed artichokes, fried, etc. Or if you're VERY accident prone and think you'd hurt yourself on the spines. ;-)

Once you have the stems cut, they should sit nicely on their bottoms. :-) If you have a steamer, this is the time to use it. If not, then place a small amount of water at the bottom of a saucepan and steam them that way. Artichokes need 30-40min depending on their size. Sometimes they need even more time, depending on how stubborn they are.

**They'll turn an olive green color and the leaves will come off easily, when ready.

Once they're cooked and ready - you're at the fun part - they're ready to EAT!!
Now, this is the part that intimidates most, or people whine about it taking too long. I am here to tell you that it is totally worth it, and you can learn to eat them quickly.

First, you'll want to peel back each leaf and scrape off the white "meat" (with your teeth) at the base of each leaf. Once you get closer to the artichoke heart (at the center), the leaves will get very thin and spiny. Most people don't eat those (I do, however -ha!) Try dipping the ends of the leaves in melted butter, lemon butter, Italian dressing, the dip of your choice - or eat them plain with a little bit of salt, as I do!

Now for the part you've been waiting for all along - THE HEART!! You can buy canned artichoke hearts, but my friends, they do not come close to comparing to a FRESH artichoke heart.

Those thin leaves shield the fuzz of the artichoke that you must scrape off in order to eat the delicious heart. Take a fork and gently scrape, it should be fairly easy. See the example below.

Once you've removed the fuzz, sprinkle some salt, dip it in butter, or whatever you prefer and enjoy the goodness of the Artichoke!

Next time you pass them in the produce section, why not give them a try? Now you know exactly how to cook and eat them!!

Ya never know, you might just end up learning to love them, as I have.


Monday, August 30, 2010

How Big is God?

Isaiah 40:12 "Who hath measured the waters in the hollow of His hand, and meted out heaven with the span, and comprehended the dust of the earth in a measure, and weighed the mountains in scales, and the hills in a balance?"

I heard a message today from Isaiah 40 on our Great God... on how BIG He is... on how incomprehensible His likeness is...

Above we see God measuring out and calculating the waters, the span of heaven, every speck of dust on earth, and the weight of the mountains!

Isaiah 40:15 "Behold, the nations are as a drop of a bucket, and are counted as the small dust of the balance: behold, He taketh up the isles as a very little thing."

Here, even all the nations, as He sees it, are measured as but a speck of dust, and the islands like a fine dust (as if regular dust wasn't small enough!)!

Isaiah 40:18 "To whom then will ye liken God? or what likeness will ye compare unto Him?"

There is nothing to compare to God. HE IS GOD. There is none bigger, nothing greater. Our minds could never truly fathom this.

But here is the BEST PART:

Isaiah 40:25-31 "To whom then will ye liken me, or shall I be equal? saith the Holy One. Lift up your eyes on high, and behold Who hath created these things, that bringeth out their host by number: He calleth them all by names by the greatness of His might, for that He is strong in power; not one faileth. Why sayest thou,..."My way is hid from the LORD, and my judgment is passed over from my God?" Hast thou not known? Hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? there is no searching of His understanding. He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might He increaseth strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall: But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint."

Can I get an Amen?!!?

Our great, mighty, wonderful, huge, omnipotent, omnipresent, miracle-working, immaculate, PERFECT God--that even sees this world as "a speck"--cares about YOU & ME!!! He loves and cares for His people!!

Gives a whole, new meaning to:

Psalm 27:1 "The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the LORD is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?"

God is amazing and big. Don't lose perspective. No matter what is going on in your life--God is bigger. And He cares. And He will give you all that you need!

Amen! Amen! Amen!

Thank you, Almighty & Gracious God and Father!


Saturday, August 28, 2010

"There's no place like home...."

I am definitely a "people person", I love meeting new people and taking an interest in their lives. That was one of the highlights of my previous job as a Dental Assistant. I was constantly meeting people day -in and day out. Since then, I am happily a Wife, Domestic Engineer, Photographer, and Jewelry Designer. I love being a homemaker!
Sean & I affectionately call our charming 1920's home "Sean & Lauren's Bed & Breakfast" aka "S&L's B&B".I love to cook, we both love to entertain, and our home just happens to be the perfect setting for combining the two. We've had many visitors this Summer and have enjoyed each and every guest! Sean & I are a great team, and we strive to help people to feel comfortable, relaxed, and welcome at our place. I have turned my love for people into turning my home into a warm and hospitable environment for those that we entertain!I believe the gift of hospitality is a lost art these days. We live in a busy world, one that has little time for anyone else. The Proverbs 31 woman made time for others and went out of her way to be a servant to those that she met. We, by no means have mastered this art, but our goal is to make a habit of being hospitable. Reaching out to others, taking the time to nurture and develop friendships, and showing the love of Christ through our lives takes time, but is so rewarding. People are what life is all about. It's too easy to be self focused. Practice being others focused and you'll find yourself truly happy, while being a blessing to those around you. It doesn't come naturally, but it's something for us all to work on everyday!

In closing, you don't have to live in the South to show that good ol' Southern hospitality. You heard right, Page! This Northern gal can do it too. haha! Give it a try!

Oh and if you're ever in our "neck of the woods", give us a holla and stop by "S&L's B&B". :-D


P.S. Sean makes a MEAN breakfast - it's slap yo momma good!!

A VERY Exciting Addition To Our Blog!

Proverbs 31:

13 "She seeketh wool, and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands."

19 "She layeth her hands to the spindle, and her hands hold the distaff."

22 "She maketh herself coverings of tapestry; her clothing is silk and purple."

24 "She maketh fine linen, and selleth it; and delivereth girdles unto the merchant."

Ok--does anyone see where I am going here? :0 )

The P31 woman was definitely a busy woman. She worked with her own hands to make things better for her family, herself, and her house in general. She even had an income from her homemade goods!

So how can we emulate the P31 woman in this area of our lives? There are many ways... And here is one way I'm sooooooooooo excited about!

Our big addition: "Crafty Creations"!! A once a week tutorial on all things crafty, fun, and easy. These will be things that are cost effective, imaginative, and innovative! We've already got a few lined up, and they are fantastic!

Here, we will also have several guest posts--showing off what others can do as well! One regular to watch for will be my good friend, Jes. She is CRAZY talented--it kills me.

We'll try to post our new "Crafty Creations" each Friday, so you can run out, grab anything you need, and craft the weekend away! So be on the look out!

Hope you enjoy!!


Thursday, August 26, 2010

Lord, Thank You.

John 3:16-17 "For God so loved the world, that He gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through Him might be saved."

Have you ever stopped to think about what the Lord has done for us? For you?

1 Peter 2:24 "Who his own self bare our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed."

He suffered greatly so that we could be saved... So that we could have eternal life in heaven with Him! His sacrifice was the ultimate--His perfect life, for our sinful one.

Hebrews 12:2 "Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God."

Seek Him. He is not far away.

Acts 17:27-28a "That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after Him, and find Him, though He be not far from every one of us: For in Him we live, and move, and have our being"

Call unto Him.

Romans 10:10-13 "For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved."

He will save you. You can have eternal life with Him.

John 5:24 "Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth My Word, and believeth on Him that sent Me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life."

We are free! Saved by Him from death and the punishment of sins!

Romans 6:17-18 "But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you. Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness."

It's a forever thing.

John 10:28 "And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand."

Thank you, Lord!

1 Corinthians 15:57 "But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ."

We have the victory! Celebrate! Thank God for it!

2 Corinthians 9:15 "Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift."

I am so thankful for my salvation! Don't ever miss or forget what was done on the cross for you!


Tuesday, August 24, 2010

My favorite "Essentials"

Proverbs 31:27 "She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness."

If you haven't noticed from a few of my other posts, I love essential oils and making my own homemade "goods" from them! : ) So, here, I'd like to talk about some of my favorite oils, their properties, and of course--some RECIPES!

Many E.O. (essential oils) have scores of great properties. The ones I look for the the most in E.O. are antibiotic, antiviral, antiseptic, and antifungal properties. Can you imagine--all of those characters in one bottle of E.O.? Tis true! : )

Lavender has to be my favorite of all oils. I put it in everything! I love the smell, it's relatively gentle, and has all 4 of the properties I look for. It's a must for a starter kit.

Some other oils that have all 4 properties are: Eucalyptus, Lemon, Rosewood, and Tea Tree.

I love these oils the most because you can use them for so many things, and get more done! : )

One other thing I would recommend if you're serious about getting your home clean the "natural way" (which is healthier, cleaner, and works better!), is this book:

THIS BOOK ROCKS!! It is small, simple, and loaded with facts and tips about cleaning your home naturally; she even lists all things needed for your starter kit (which is how I started!). Love it!

Her book covers detailed cleaning recipes for the kitchen, bath, laundry, wood care, cleaning metals, walls and carpeting, clearing the air, the garage & basement, the garden & landscape, and your home office! I'm telling you--it's power packed!

Ok, now some promised recipes:

Germs Away Spray

2 c. water
1/4 c. liquid castile soap
20 drops of essential oils
(preferably lavender, tea tree, rosewood, lemon, or eucalyptus)*
*a mixture of the above oils to suit is best!

Place the ingredients in a spray bottle, and shake well before each use. Wipe clean with a damp cloth or sponge.

I had already listed this one here, with some other of my home cleaning necessities, but I really love this recipe and want to make sure everyone gets it! It is generally used in the bathroom...

Pine Floor Cleaner*

1 gallon of hot water
2 Tbls. of castile soap
10 drops of pine essential oils
5 drops of cedarwood essential oils

Put all ingredients in a large bucket, mix, and use as you would to normally mop your floor.
*This is leaves a light pine scent behind, without all of the chemicals in your old pine solvent cleaners.

Lemony Kitchen Cleaner

1 tsp. of liquid castile soap
1/8 c. of white vinegar
1/4 c. of lemon juice
2 cups of water
6 drops of GSE (Grape Seed Extract)
4 drops of lemon E.O.
1 tsp. of borax

Place the ingredients in a spray bottle, and shake well before each use. Wipe clean with a damp cloth or sponge.

Well, there they are! Simple, easy, and very effective! I've used each of these recipes and really enjoy them. Let me know what you think, and feel free to contact me with any questions!



Monday, August 23, 2010

What is a friend?

I have been SO incredibly busy these past several weeks. Needless to say, I really haven't had the time to do much blogging. You already know this, but Page has been doing an excellent job in "holding down the fort". She has covered for me while I've been away, and I appreciate it SO very much!!

I got to thinking about this "Monday Meditation", wondering what I should write about, wishing it was a "Thankful Thursday" so that I could expound on how thankful I am for Page. ;-) Instead, I continued thinking about what a good friend Page is to me.

I wonder how many people understand what a true friend really is? There are many misconceptions about true friendship in today's world. So many relationships are built on selfishness and shallowness. Friendship, marriage, etc, -no relationship will survive, built on these traits.

~Here are a couple of valuable verses from the Bible regarding friendship.
Proverbs 27: 6 Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.

Proverbs 18:24 A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.

Proverbs 17:17 A friend loveth at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.

True friendships are built on the principles of God's Word.
Are you a friend who is honest? Are you faithful to "wound" in love, speaking the truth, even when it's difficult to do? Or are you described as the "enemy" and flatter your friend with the "kisses of deceit"?

Are you friendly, kind, and loving? Are you a loyal person, not talking behind your friend's back? Are you trustworthy, closer than a brother would be?

The epitome of Christ-likeness - Are you a friend who loves at ALL times? Jesus Christ is the only true and perfect friend, I hope that every one of you know Him as your Lord and Saviour! A relationship with Him is life changing, and one that you can't help but tell others about!

Is your friendship built on selfishness and shallowness or is it built on selflessness and Christ-likeness?

I challenge you this Monday to examine yourself as a friend, and to see if you measure up according to the Bible's definition. If your actions reflect the fact that you're not a true friend, determine to apply these Biblical truths so that you can become one!!

Thank you, Page, for being a true friend to me! I appreciate you and love you more than you know!


Friday, August 20, 2010

5 Years Ago Today, I Said Yes!

Song of Solomon 3:4 "but I found him whom my soul loveth: I held him, and would not let him go"

My engagement story...

5 years ago today, I was a cashier at Lowe's Home Improvement. I don't know how many of you have ever been a cashier, but let's just say--it's not always the most pleasant of jobs... Ha ha... But this day was different. I was having a GREAT day at work. Actually, the whole day had been great... Also, I knew I was going to be going on a date to a fancy restaurant later that evening with Scott, so I was already in a great mood. : )

I remember talking to Scott on my lunch break, and telling him what a good day I was having. He said something to the effect that it would be even better later, but I didn't give that too much thought.

So, after a long, but good day at work--I went over to Scott's house to change clothes, put on some makeup, and fix the hair for our date. We had plenty of time, so I was taking my time (which was exactly was he was planning on). But, I couldn't decide what to wear--I had brought two outfits... A dress or nice pants... I never can decide these things... So I put on the dress and decided to ask Scott what he thought.

I remember opening the bathroom door and seeing rose petals on the floor leading to the living room--and... I CLOSED THE DOOR! Yes. I did. I didn't see Scott, and I was worried he wasn't ready! Ha! (I later found out that he had everything ready, but put in the closet, so he could grab and set up quickly--since he wasn't sure just how much time I would give him. He's the best!)

Scott had heard the door close, so he came a got me. He lead me into our living room, with this beautiful set up...

Yes, that is a big, ugly boar head on our wall. Another story, another day. : )

Isn't it beautiful? Our favorite, romantic cd playing in the background. The couch and table covered in white. Cheese and crackers. Welch's Sparkling Grape Juice. A framed picture of us. A framed poem he had written for me. Lit candles. Rose petals everywhere. A dozen roses. And a thirteenth rose with a special something tied to it...

He brought me over to the couch. I sat down, and HE KNEELED DOWN. Oh, my soul. It still gets my heart pounding! He told me all things wonderful and sweet. Then, he pulled the thirteenth rose out of the vase and asked the question. It was like magic. The cd was even playing our most favorite song at that moment--at our favorite part! Of course, I hugged him and said an absolute "YES" through the beginning tears. It. Was. Perfect.

Soon thereafter, we went on our date, calling everyone to tell them the news!

What a great day. It will forever be in my memory.

Scott, Thank you. You have been a wonderful husband, and now you are a wonderful father, too! I truly love you more and more everyday.

Yours always, only, and forever,


Song of Solomon 2:16 "My beloved is mine, and I am his"