Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Looking for Crockpot Meals?

Kristen, over at We are that Family, has declared this wednesday to be a Backwards Works for Me. In other words, I'm asking for some advice on two issues that have been stumping me lately. Are you ready? Here it goes:

First of all, we have crockpot nights on Wednesdays. After a long day of volunteering at the Y and running kids to school and gymnastics, it's all I can do to put a decent meal on the table before small group. But I'm running out of ideas. Plus I'd like to start using my crockpot on Sundays more as well, in order to keep extending hospitality to other church members after service. So I'm looking for some great crockpot or make ahead freezer meals to pad my meal plans. Our family has two little ones, but both of them still enjoy flavorful, sometimes spicy, meals.

My second question involves planning a women's retreat. After a three year hiatus, I find myself planning our fall retreat and feeling as stumbled as ever. I'd love to hear any advice, ideas, or tips you have to offer. Books, articles, and websites are welcome as well. As well as any advice you have about building a vibrant women's ministry.

So there you have it. That's what's on my mind lately.

What Works for You?

Monday, March 30, 2009

Tackle it Tuesday

I'm just getting around to my tackle today and boy do I have a list. It's all those little things that just add up and never get done. I keep putting them off and then forgetting about them. So I have a bunch of little things that need to get done:

*plant strawberry plant
*repot plant from baby shower
*run 2 loads laundry
*meet with Sarah
*call coastal pastor's wives
*make list of local churches
*book retreat site
*drop off fruit at preschool
*make grocery list
*make muffins???

I have bananas going bad on my counter. One week my kids tear through them. And the next... well, I buy extra and now they're not touching them. I have to do something with them. But between that list and Love and Logic class tomorrow night,... well, maybe the muffins will wait another couple of days.

What are you tackling today?

To see what others are tackling, check out 5 Minutes for Mom.

Practicing Hospitality: Chp 6

Lindsey, from Prassionate Homemaking, continues our book club discussion this week with chapter six. For previous discussions, check out chapter one, chapter two, chapter three, chapter four, and Part Five.

These are some key points that stood out to me in this chapter:
* The friendly reception and treatment of guests or strangers + a feeling of deep sympathy and sorrow for someone struck by misfortune, accompanied b a desire to alleviate the suffering = compassionate hospitality... the Compassionate Hospitality Equation moves you from I to an others focus (pg 161).
*remembering to include a variety of people in extending hospitality
*reach out of your comfort zone and extend hospitality to those you don't immediately connect with

Discussion Questions:
How can you purposefully start to include these different people groups in your hospitality practices?
1. Singles--I love having single gals, young and old, in my home, especially on those evenings when my husband is at work. We have four nights a week when he works late and I try to have someone over at least one of those nights. It doesn't always work out. But when it does, I try to focus on these single gals that don't have to rush home to a husband and kids. We can spend time focusing on God and imparting some of the things I've learned as a wife and mother.

2. Widows--There aren't many widows in my circle of acquaintance. I have noticed a few at church and continue to wonder how I can incorporate them in my hospitality practices. However, I do tend to see older mentor ladies in this category and seek them out at retreats and luncheons. I find one of the best ways to build relationships with them, and learn a great deal, is to sit quietly and focus on listening to them.

3. The Grieving-- Again listening is key. Spending time, even in silence, listening is the most important element. Taking meals, offering to run errands, making phone calls, helping with arrangements are all ways of extending hospitality.

4. Hospital Hospitality--This is as much about the well family as it is about the individual in the hospital. Again offering food, running errands, listening, opening your home for a time of rest, offering to sit with the patient, all are helpful extensions of hospitality.

5. Guests with Dietary Challenges-- We have many people in and out of our house that have special diets. And as conscious as we are of eating healthfully, there are still things to consider when having diabetics in our home. This has been a challenge as one of my best friends is diabetic. So some creative thinking has been required in coming up with diabetic deserts: such as our jello cups with whipped cream and berries, or frozen slushes. Fancy salads with fun ingredients such as avacados and red bell peppers have become a great staple.

Keep reading and get ready for chapter 7: Hospitality and Culture

Making Your Home a Haven

Tammy's topic this week for Making Your Home a Haven is to set a bedtime and stick to it. Like most blogging mama's, I'm a natural night owl. This is when I come alive, have time for me, and finish up the last of the household chores. Most of the time this works well for me, with the exception of the occasional morning that I have to get up to sub. The other times it doesn't work for me are those evenings when I just can't make myself go to bed, no matter how tired I am. I'm just having too much fun scrapbooking or reading that book I don't seem to have any other time for. Those next mornings can be rough, especially if I have to get Big Boy to preschool or all of us off to the gym. So ... am I really putting this in writing... my plan is to have lights out by 11 pm. For some people this might really be pushing it, but I do most of my extras at night, and my babies let me sleep in. I find that if I force myself to get up early, it just doesn't work for me. So I'm working with my night owl tendencies, not again them.

Menu Monday 3/30-4/5

Spring has sprung. Yeah. We're having weather in the 70's this week. Still a little cool in the mornings, but the next couple of weeks are going to be prime park time. We have to squeeze it in the next couple of weeks before it hits 100 and we're in doors for the summer. I'm using up a few pantry items (sauce for the lemon chicken, crust for the pizetta, etc) and trying to keep things light and easy.

Breakfast: Cinnamon toast and fruit
Lunch: Picnic lunch at the park: sandwiches, grapes, carrots and dip
Dinner: Lemon Chicken stirfry

Breakfast: Cranberry Orange Muffins
Lunch: Fancy salads
Dinner: Lightning Fast Wraps, pasta salad
(last Love and Logic evening)

Breakfast: Cranberry Orange Muffins
Lunch: Leftovers
Dinner: Crockpot Chicken Nuggets
( Small Group Night)

Breakfast: Yogurt and fruit
Lunch: Cheese Quesadillas, fruit
Dinner: Taco Salad

Breakfast: Orange Smoothies, toast
Lunch: Rosemary Potato Pizetta
Dinner:Garlic Shrimp Pasta

Breakfast: Gingerbread Waffles
Lunch: Leftovers
Dinner: Birthday Party BBQ at Friends'

Breakfast: Leftover Waffles
Lunch: something in the crockpot????
Dinner: Blast off burritos

Fruit Roll-up Fish Treats
Fruit Jello
Apples and Bananas

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Real Resolutions for Moms: Part Ten

Read previous posts in this series by checking out Part One, Part Two, Part Three, Part Four, Part Five, Part Six, Part Seven, Part Eight, and Part Nine.

"I will make time for the lonely, the sick, the elderly, the difficult to love, and will bring my children along, for with every afternoon visit, each ride to the doctor, each raked lawn or washed window they will have opportunity to serve Jesus by serving the "least of these."

With a three year old and a one year old being my ministry at this time in my life, there's not a lot of opportunity for ministering outside of the home. Spending time with the lonely, the sick and the elderly can be difficult to accomplish if I'm looking through the lens of my pre-baby life. Reading our current book club book has been valuable in realigning my thinking. Whether it's a cup of afternoon tea with an elderly neighbor, a phone conversation with a friend in the hospital, or a quick chat at the mailbox, these are easy ways to witness to my children.

Simple things speak volumes to our children. Big Boy loves to help so whether it be stocking cabinets in the nursery or taking a meal to a friend, he loves to be involved. We try to take him along no matter what we're doing. So these easy ways to show him how God uses us in our community, in other lives.

One thing that's been essential to us has been to speak candidly with him. Instead of brushing him off, we welcome the questions of "Why?:" "Why are we letting Miss Jenni borrow our car?" "Why are we taking this family a meal?" "Why are we running some errands for the Smith Family?" With each conversation, we are able to open up new avenues of how God is working in our lives, how he asks us to take care of each other, how we are called to love as Christ loved.

"Father remind me to parent my whole child, parent him spritually and emotionally. Remind me that my children are watching, that the world is hurting, and that it takes some creativity to balance the two. Give me wisdom in ministering while not neglecting my family."

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Check out these great giveaways

Seventh Generation cleaning products at What's for Dinner Mom?

Four Times the Treasure Jewelry at Two of a Kind

Orange Smoothies

Well, it's finally happening... people around here are looking at me like I'm going crazy.

What's the problem? Our cupboards are starting to go bare. Or at least as bare as one can get on a modest income in the richest country in the world. But that's another post...

I haven't been grocery shopping in so long. I'm spoiled. I'll admit it. I wait until late at night, kids and hubby tucked in bed, and do my grocery shopping in peace. But lately, I just haven't had the get up and go to... well,... get up and go. I've been tired myself (despite my usual night owl tendencies) and just haven't had the umph to do it.

Most meals have been ok, but breakfasts have required some creativity. Big Boy, who is used to a constant flow of yogurt and cottage cheese, or at least a baked good, has been close to rioting. I haven't even had the desire to bake. Now that I'm writing this, I'm becoming concerned myself. Anyways...

Rummaging through the cupboards this morning, I think we came up with a new favorite:
Orange Smoothies paired with whole wheat toast and jelly

I've posted the Orange Smoothies on my menus for some time, but hadn't actually gotten around to them till today. I cut the milk to 1/3 c. and upped the juice to 1 2/3 c. hoping for a tart flavor, but found the creaminess to still be prevalent and can't imagine how creamy they would have been had I followed the original recipe. I also added some frozen blueberries for a more complex flavor.

We pair it with a piece of toast (sorry Uncle Caleb, we were out of our own) and some jelly. Full, well-rounded, quick and found in my pantry. And better yet, I don't think anyone missed the morning yogurt.

Eating out of my cupboard Works for Me.

For more Works for Me tips, check out We Are That Family.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Tackle it Tuesday

I love chocolate. I mean LOVE chocolate. So when I saw this recipe for Chocolate Quickies Cookies at Chocolate on My Cranium, I had to try them. They are super moist, super chocolatey, and super indulgent. I halfed the recipe and it's a good thing 'cause I think I ate most of them myself.

The serving size is accurate. I always get frustrated with recipes that say they are making six dozen and you end up with 2. But this recipe was accurate within a couple of cookies and that could be accounted for by the dough Big Boy and I ate. And when you're done mixing the dough, it is super sticky and hard to get off the beaters. So we lost a couple of cookies there.

And by lost I don't mean we lost them. They just found them way to my hips.

You've gotta try this recipe. Hope you enjoy it.

To see what others are tackling today, check out Tackle it Tuesday at 5 Minutes for Mom.

Making Your Home a Haven

I always loved Making Your Home a Haven when Crystal at Biblical Womanhood hosted it. It was a great time at the beginning of the week to refocus on opening my home and heart, allowing it to become a place of refuge. So I was very excited to see that Tammy from Tammy's Recipes has decided to pick it up while Crystal is preparing for baby #3.

This week's post was about establishing a list of 5 things to do every morning. If you know anything about me, it's that I love routine. I love having a schedule for the day and knowing what's coming next. It makes life predictable and orderly (as much as it can be with two little ones) and I love it. Still I've fallen out of my Morning 5 and feel like this would be a great time to work on it again. If nothing else, it forces me to evaluate what really matters to me. What matters enough to make it into my Morning 5?

1. Get up and start breakfast for me and the kids
2. Spend some time with my bible and memory verse
3. Unload dishwasher (if necessary)
4. Start daily chore (see below)
5. Workout after preschool drop off (needs to happen by lunchtime)

My daily chores look like this:
Monday-vacuum, kitchen floor
Wednesday-survive crazy day/maybe bake with Big Boy, trash
Thursday-clean bathrooms
Weekends open to spend with Daddy

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Menu Monday 3/23-3/29

Breakfast: Orange Smoothies, toast
Lunch: Leftovers
Dinner: Salmon Patties, green salad

Breakfast: Yogurt and fruit
Lunch: Leftovers
Dinner: Vegetarian Quesadillas

Breakfast: Cranberry Apple Muffins
Lunch: Sandwiches and fruit
Dinner: Aztec Chicken

Breakfast: Muffins
Lunch: Leftovers
Dinner: Vegetarian Pizza

Breakfast: Orange Smoothies
Lunch:Sandwiches and carrots
Dinner: Lentil Tacos

Breakfast: pancakes
Lunch: Leftovers
Dinner: Chicken Mole

Breakfast: Yogurt and fruit
Lunch: Out to lunch
Dinner: Blast off burritos

Sugar and spice twists
Fruit Jello
Apples and Bananas
Shaved Ice (from Disney's Magic Kitchen Cookbook)

To see what others are making this week, check out Organizing Junkie.

Link Love

I've gotta try these Chocolate Scones (@ Life in your Years).

These Petite Watermelons are so cute and would make a great addition to a little girl's tea party (@ Chocolate on my Cranium).

This Pasta with Eggplant looks good enough for my hubby (@ Pioneer Woman).

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Real Resolutions for Moms: Part Nine

Read previous posts in this series by checking out Part One, Part Two, Part Three, Part Four, Part Five, Part Six, Part Seven, and Part Eight.

"I will teach my children the importance of cleanliness and order while at the same time remain sensitive to the fact that a skinned knee or hurt feeling is more crucial than a spotless floor or uncluttered counter, for by this my children will learn to value people above things."

Sometimes being a parent is a hard balance. Sometimes it's hard to see what was an accident and what was pummeling a sibling on purpose. I know I've made those mistakes countless times. Sometimes a glimmer in the eyes will give it away, and other times it won't.

Sometimes it's hard to see what was being three years old and what was carelessness. How do you find the balance of teaching a little one and yet allowing them to reap the consequences of their actions? When do you hand them the towel to clean up and when do you recognize that their childhood is already fleeting?

One of the greatest examples of this for me has been cooking and baking with my three year old. Now at this point, I only have one that is willing or capable of helping me in the kitchen. Thank you, Lord! Big Boy is a "BIG HELP" and a "BIG MESS MAKER." I love having him in the kitchen with me, but boy is it a challenge. I find myself cringing each time he asks to help, or make cookies. And more often times than not, I'm too quick to say no.

But every once in awhile, if I'm really sensitive to what's going on, I realize that my saying no is really an indication of my own selfishness. It's quicker and easier, and definately cleaner, for me to do it myself. There are some days that I'd rather do it my way and get it done. But then I realize that my life isn't about me. It stopped being about me when I accepted Christ, and took an even bigger leap when I became a mom. And my own selfishness needs to take a back seat to modeling for my children and spending time with them.

I'm by no means perfect in this area. There are still mountains to climb and messes to clean up. But when I feel my blood start to boil, I need to check my own attitude and determine what's reasonable and what's selfish.

"Lord, may I learn to value my children above all else, realizing that they learn the value of people from me. Give me a heart for my family, a heart for my community, and a heart for your children. May I always value people about things, time, and my own selfish motives and desires."

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Wordless Wednesday

From This:

To This:

Has it really already been over a year...

For more Wordless Wednesday, check 5 Minutes for Mom.

Keeping Clothes Fresh While Traveling

Just a quick tip:

If you're traveling, especially overseas, and want a few outfits to be fresh, seal them in ziplocks with dryer sheets. Then as you open each outfit, it will be clean and smell freshly laundered.

I learned this little tip while on a mission trip to Ukraine. We wore the same clothes so much and just couldn't wait to have a couple of fresh outfits for the plane ride home. After a month of being in my bag filled with filthy clothes, these outfits were a welcome blessing to a tired body.

For more Works for Me tips, check out We Are That Family.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Tackle it Tuesday

So I had a totally different menu planned for tonight. A totally different tackle planned for today. Then yesterday (Monday) it hit me. Today's St. Patrick's Day. I had completely forgotten. So now I'm scrambling.

The kids and I ran to pick up some corned beef and some lime sherbert. Corned beef, cabbage, and shamrock shakes became the new goal and mission. Two stores, one hour, and an extra box of popsicles, we were on our way. We couldn't find the lime sherbert for the Shamrock Shakes, but I highly recommend them if you can find it. Looks like we'll be making a stop at McDonald's later today to fulfill that tradition.

So today's mission, one I'm gladly accepting, is to make Corned Beef in the Crockpot. I'm using this recipe from Crockpot 365. There are lots of other recipes out there, but this is the one I settled on and put together in the crockpot last night. Now just to smell the goodness all day.

Big Boy is in school this morning, but we'll do Shamrock Shakes later and a treasure hunt for prizes and paper money.

To see what others are tackling, check out Tackle it Tuesday and 5 Minutes for Mom.

Everything's Amazing, Nobody's Happy

You've gotta watch this video. So funny!

Practicing Hospitality: Chp 5

Lindsey, from Prassionate Homemaking, continues our book club discussion this week with chapter five. For previous discussions, check out chapter one, chapter two, chapter three, and chapter four.

These are the key points that struck me:
*As you study scripture you find that the home, not the church, served as the center for evangelism in the early expansion of Christianity (pg 135).
*life-sharing is not entertaining in our own strength. It flows from a heart full of love for others (pg 136).
*pray daily for the guests that will be attending (pg 142).

Discussion Questions:
1. What insights did you glean on viewing your home as a place of refuge and evangelism?
This is something that's been on my heart for awhile. In fact, before this book study came up, I was already getting ready to buy this book and put it's principles into practice in my own life. I loved what the author had to say about how the early church started. So often we invite unsaved people to church when what they really need is an invitation into our lives.

2. How can you make your home more of a haven first to your family then to others?
We have really worked on scheduling and transitioning our children from one activity to another, all in an effort to enforce stability and routine in our home. We safe guard against music, movies, and people that we believe are too mature for our children, as we don't want to shield them from the world, but rather be age appropriate.
We try to keep our home as open as possible to others while still maintaining routine and safety. But we tend to have an open door policy with friends and family, desiring to make our home restful and intimate. As visitors come and go, I try to have special treats or favorite beverages on hand. Coupled with some candles and soft music and the time to just sit and listen.
Join us next Monday for chapter 6: Hospitality and Others.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Menu Monday 3/16-3/22

I'm trying to do a lot of eating out of the pantry this week, as well as making two nights (Tues and Wed) super easy meals as we have meetings those two nights. With my hubby working Monday-Thursday evenings, I'm also trying to be aware of other gals in our church in similar situations, wondering who might like to join the kids and I on those evenings. Nothing lined up for this week, other than Mom and Grandma visiting at the end of the week. But keeping practical hospitality in mind.

Breakfast: Yogurt and fruit
Lunch: Leftovers
Dinner: Mashed Potato Soup

Breakfast: Toast and Eggs
Lunch: Salads and sandwiches
Dinner: Vegetarian Quesadillas and green salad
(Quick Dinner before Love and Logic)

Breakfast: Yogurt and fruit
Lunch: Sandwiches and fruit Jello
Dinner: Aztec Chicken
(Crockpot night before Small Group)

Breakfast: Pumpkin spice granola
Lunch: Baked Potatoes
Dinner: Tostadas

Breakfast: Yogurt and fruit
Lunch: Sandwiches and fruit Jello
Dinner: Stuffed Peppers

Breakfast: Gingerbread Waffles
Lunch: Leftovers
Dinner: Out to dinner with mom

Breakfast: Leftover Waffles
Lunch: Out to lunch
Dinner: White Chili

Orange Smoothies
Sugar and Spice Twists
Peppermint Hot Chocolate

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Frugal Friday

For the "Memory Maker" in all of us...

I tend to go back and forth between having photos printed and printing them myself. Whatever seems to be cheapest at the time. Sometimes I'll run into a great printing deal and other times ink will be on sale. This week Walgreens seems to be complying with both.

Order 50 prints for $5 using the code MARCH


Get $5 off any ink refill.

I know what I'm going to be doing this weekend. Deal shopping and scrapbooking.

For more Frugal Friday ideas, check out Life as Mom.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Tackle it Tuesday

With two little ones, I feel like I practically live in my car. We go to preschool 3 days/ week, the gym 5 days/week, church on Sunday mornings, small group Wenesday nights, errands, gym class, etc, etc. And every time, "Can I bring my blanket and Lambie?", "Where's Baby Girl's baby?", "Who has the diaper bag?", "Can't leave without my morning coffee.", and "I've just gotta get her down for nap; I'll grab that stuff later." Seems like the list of odds and ends grows longer in the car. I've been meaning to clean out both cars for weeks now. So one morning while Baby Girl was taking a nap, Big Boy and I went out to clear out the little white car. You'll never believe what I found:

-2 reusable water bottles
-2 coffee mugs
-1 Big Boy backpack
-3 serving trays from hubby's old job
-1 Women's Retreat planning folder
-1 issue of Women's Day magazine
-1 baggie of graham crackers
-2 copies of gym schedules
-1 old rent receipt
-1 Big Boy jacket
-3 copies of school vacation schedules
-1 toy dinosauer
-1 pair Baby Girl pink crocs
-2 sippy cups
-2 sets of tie downs
-1 fold up frisbee
-2 Big Boy hats
-1 Baby Girl diaper
-2 pair Baby Girl socks
-1 car duster
-1 bag of Mary Kay product
-2 new shirts from the thrift store
-1 set of toy goggles
-4 kids' books
-1 baby brush
-1 plastic golf ball
-2 stray socks
-1 bag of scrapbook stuff from Michael's
-multiple empty water bottles
-multiple empty YAKS cups
-multiple empty baggies
-multiple trash papers
-multiple receipts

Multiple, multiple, multiple. I swear it all multiplied while it was in there. But now my car is so clean. We didn't even touch the trunk which really doesn't have much. And I haven't vaccumed yet, but already I can't believe the difference. It's so refreshing to get into a car and not have to push stuff over to get my feet in. I'm loving my new car.

What are you tackling today?
To see what others are tackling, check out 5 Minutes for Mom.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Menu Monday 3/9-3/15

Breakfast: Yogurt and Fruit
Lunch: Leftover Chicken Noodle Soup
Dinner: Vietnamese Fried Rice, salad

Breakfast: Toast and Scrambled Eggs
Lunch: Salads and sandwiches
Dinner: Spaghetti, french bread

Breakfast: Gingerbread Waffles
Lunch: Leftovers
Dinner: BBQ Beef and Bean Sandwiches

Breakfast: Yogurt and fruit
Lunch: Salads and Sandwiches
Dinner: Crockpot Beans and Rice

Breakfast: Yogurt and fruit
Dinner: Mole Chicken

Breakfast: Pancakes
Lunch: Leftovers
Dinner: Easy Thai Chicken wraps, brown rice, salad

Breakfast: Leftover Pancakes
Dinner: BBQ at Friends'

Cold Bean and Artichoke Salad
Sugar and spice twists

To see what others are cooking up, check out Organizing Junkie.

Link Love

I'm loving the luxury of this High Tea Baby Shower.

These are some great ideas for Clothing Kids without Breaking the Bank (@ Keeper of the Home).

I'm drooling over this Spice Cake (@ Chocolate on My Cranium).

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Practicing Hospitality: Chp 4

Lindsey, from Passionate Homemaking, continued our book club discussion last week with chapter four. Sadly, I'm just getting around to posting my thoughts. For previous chapters, check out chapter one, chapter two, and chapter three.

These are just a few of the points that stuck out to me in this chapter:
*"Planning suggests that you are anticipating opportunities to prepare a meal, invite a guest to stay the night, or open your home to others in some way (pg 103)."
*"A crucial part of successful hospitality is to be purpose-driven (pg 117)."
*"Planning meaningful conversation will help you be more effective in your ability to meet the needs of your guests (pg 121)."

1. How can you become a planner of generosity?
We love spending time with friends after church on Sundays. However, with two little ones going out every Sunday can quickly become hectic. One of the ways we've worked out Baby Girl's morning nap is for me to bring the kids home for her nap while my husband and friends pick up lunch to bring back to the house. While this has been a good short term solution, it's also been costly. So my plan is to start making a few freezer meals that I can pop in the oven after church. This way we can still have guests, but not be rushed to make lunch.
I'm also planning to make some breads and goodies for the freezer. I have a friend who does this then feels like she can easily have guests over for coffee and still have something to offer them.
As far as planning for conversation, I need to discuss this idea with my husband further. I've never thought about it before, but I do think it's something we need to pray about and pursue further.

2. How can you begin to change your perspective to view household management with an eternal purpose?
I've always kept a fairly tight cleaning schedule and while I'm a pack rat, I still like to keep it picked up and tidy. One of the ways in which I can view it with an eternal purpose is to pray while I'm cleaning, asking the Lord to remind me that I'm cleaning my home for his glory, not for my own comfort. Praying that I'd remember to extend hospitality as my home is already ready.

3. What tips might you have to help maintain a more orderly and prepared home?
I do have a cleaning schedule, one that is still basic, but has helped structure me enough to keep my home in working order. Daily tasks include: wiping down the counters, loading the dishwasher, sweeping the kitchen, making the beds, tidying up the papers and picking up toys and items that have been drug around the house throughout the day.
Mondays I vacuum, Tuesdays and Fridays are laundry days, Tuesdays are trash days, Thursdays I clean the bathrooms as needed, and Fridays are a day for tying up loose ends. I try to have all my cleaning done throughout the week as weekends are reserved for family and tend to be heaver entertainment days. I try to have most of the heavy cleaning done by then.
I also have a couple of sample menus that I use routinely for when there's nothing in the fridge. My Lentil Tacos are a big hit as are my Chicken and Black Bean Enchiladas. Both are easy to make and I keep the necessary ingredients stocked in the pantry.

Join us for Monday for chapter 5: Hospitality and Your Home

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Real Resolutions for Moms: Part Eight

For earlier sections of this series, check out Part One, Part Two, Part Three, Part Four, Part Five, Part Six, and Part Seven.

"When my children have witnessed something ugly in me- unkind words, an angry temper, "harmless" gossip, biting sarcasm, or even my infamous "mommy pout" when things don't go my way- I will confess it as sin before seeking their forgiveness, for by this my children will develop the much needed habit of wiping their spiritual slate clean before God and man."

We live in a society that tends to look down on confession. It seems we view it as a sign of weakness. And so we are very careful to hide our mistakes, or belittle our wrongdoings. We say, "Oh, it's not a big deal" or "It's only harmless gossip" or "I can't be held responsible for that." It's rare that people confess, especially to their children.

How often I've had to apologize to my kids for being sarcastic or at a loss for patience or just plain "ugly." It's very humbling. I never want to do it, but then I remember that I don't model it for them, who will? If I'm not willing to confess it as sin and ask for forgiveness, what type of people will I be raising?

"Lord, make me quick to call my sin out, even in front of my kids. Maybe I remember that little eyes are watching, and little ears are listening. Remind me that my every action models for them an attitude of self-reliance or total dependence on You. And may my actions always speak louder than my words."

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Planned Ahead to Get Out of the House

Play it Again, Mama!

Today on Works for Me Wednesday, Kristy, from We Are That Family, challenged us to post our best tip. So I'm putting this post from my archives (originally posted on 8/20/08) and posting it again for all you out there. These are some of my best tips for getting out the door with two little ones in tow. Hope it's of encouragement for those of us with littles.

Getting out the door...
Baby #2 has been a real learning curve for me. So I'm always doing everything I can to help us get out the door in better shape than we did the day before. These are just a few of the tips I'm working on incorporating into our lives...

1. Keep a stocked diaper bag in the car- I keep a stocked diaper bag in the trunk of our car. It has an extra change of clothes for both of the kids, extra underwear for Big Boy, diapers and wipes for Baby Girl, bibs, and baby spoons to name a few. This keeps me from having to tote around a change of clothes for the kids all the time. And I'm still prepared in case of accidents. Just don't forget to restock and check clothing sizes.

2. Make all sack lunches and snacks the night before- This can be a pain when I just want to sit in front of the TV the night before. But then I remember how nice it is the next morning. No running around looking for good snacks for the park or being frustrated over an unopened jelly jar for sandwiches. This tip alone saves me 10-15 minutes in the morning.

3. Playing music while getting ready- Planning music in the morning helps our house run so much smoother. Big Boy is getting to the age where he can help by dressing himself. But he's in a much better mood, and therefore I am too, when we play worship or classic music. The same goes for fun kids' music as long as it's not too crazy.

4. Keeping my keys on the key hook in the kitchen or by the door- When my keys are in a designated spot, we get out of the house anywhere from 5-10 minutes faster. Although it's easier to toss them somewhere, anywhere, as I'm stumpling in the door, I am always more thankful that I put them away when it's time to head out again.

5. If all else fails, try again tomorrow- Some errands I realize don't need to be done till tomorrow. And on those mornings where all else fails, we plop down and come up with Plan B. Sometimes we just don't get out the door as planned. We shrug our shoulders and try again next time.

That's what Works for Me. How about you?

Wordless Wednesday


For more Wordless Wednesday, check out 5 Minutes for Mom.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Tackle it Tuesday

Yeah! My "Tackle it Tuesday" is simple, but I'm so excited to have it done. A few weeks ago, we had the trees in our front yard limbed. Nothing major, just some trimming. But in the midst of everything (diapers, laundry, housework), cleaning up the front yard has gone to the wayside. So this is the sight that greeted me:

Really all I had to do was clean up some branches and stack some rounds. Just a pretty cleaning up of the front yard. It took me no more than 10-15 minutes while the kids were napping, but boy does it feel good to have it done.

Here's the finished product!

See what others are tackling at Tackle it Tuesday and 5 Minutes for Mom.

Menu Monday 3/2-3/8

Breakfast: Fruit and yogurt
Lunch: Leftovers
Dinner: Salmon Patties, green salad

Breakfast: Banana Crumb Muffins
Lunch: Green salad and fruit
Dinner: Mashed Potato Soup

Breakfast: Gingerbread waffles
Lunch: Baked Potatoes and toppings
Dinner: Beef Barley Soup

Breakfast: Banana Crumb Muffins
Lunch: Leftovers
Dinner: Taco Ring

Breakfast: Yogurt and fruit
Lunch: Macaroni and Cheese (Big Boy's request)
Dinner: Lentil Tacos

Breakfast: Pancakes
Lunch: Leftovers
Dinner: Vegetarian Pizza

Breakfast: Leftover pancakes
Lunch: ?????
Dinner: Rosemary Potato Pizetta
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