Saturday, October 29, 2011

Comforting Fall Foods!

Truly I do enjoy the change of seasons.  When autumn arrives, I start to picture and enjoy the cozy ambience.  You know ~ candles, warm soups, blankets, the fireplace, being snuggled up with a book and/or a loved one with a cup of hot tea or cocoa. 

To celebrate the season, I have been making some of those great, heart and body-warming recipes!

Here’s what I made this past week:


Broccoli Cheddar Potato Soup

found here at “Crumbs and Chaos”

This soup was great!  It was a novelty, containing both potatoes and sweet potatoes.  The sweet potatoes really enhance the color, flavor, and texture of the soup!  We loved it!


Chicken Chili

courtesy of Martha Stewart

I blogged about this chili a long time ago.


Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup

“My Style” – recipe found here.

What is on your fall menu?


Shared at Growing Home’s Teach Me Tuesday’s Link-UP

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Dealing with Expectations for Your Children


Guest Post at Musings of a Minister’s Wife

Do you ever feel frustrated with your children?

If you are an honest mom, surely there are times when you do. You might feel angry and impatient and wonder “why in the world” your child is acting the way he is acting.

The Lord put something on my heart the other day regarding the expectations we have for our children.

Read the rest of my excerpt here at Musings of a Minister’s Wife.  Check out what Melinda has to offer while you’re there!

Melinda Martin has lived a life full of mistakes and has only survived by God’s amazing grace. She “retired” from the corporate world three years ago and has since been making more mistakes in the avenues of homeschooling and running an online business. God has recently blessed her and set her peace-shod feet on a journey to becoming a minister’s wife. Follow along with her as she blogs about this experience over at To offset her serious posts, she supplements with fun things like recipes and how to siphon gas from your lawnmower.



Sunday, October 23, 2011

Making Monday Better–Our School Store

Tomorrow is Monday, and you know what that means… Everything is going to go perfectly!  Our home will be filled with great attitudes.  Everyone will want to get up early.  Children all across the globe will want to do EXTRA school work, just because.  Right?! 

As most of us experience, Mondays can be grueling. After experiencing some recreation and relaxation over the weekend, it can be hard to get the wheels churning into full gear again come Monday!

Last week I did something that helped our Monday go so much better.

I opened our school store!


I had been thinking about doing this for a while and finally got around to getting a handful of items to start.  Boy, were the kids excited! 

Every item in the basket, currently, is 50 cents.  I try not to spend over $1.00 for the items and just bless my kids by giving them a discount. They earn money through their pom jars and by doing extra/special chores. 

Initially I was going to have the school store open on Friday.  I opened it last week on Monday, since I wasn’t ready the previous Friday.  Then I realized it might be better to do it on Mondays to motivate everyone!  Sure enough, it was a great incentive!

The rule is that a majority of my children’s schoolwork must be done before lunch, when the store opens.  That helps productivity, and I found myself not having to strive as much as usual on a Monday.

What do you do to help your Mondays run better?

Do you do anything out of the ordinary?

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Tea for Two

Last week my daughter had a friend visit for a couple hours.  During their time together, I planned a special surprise for them:


Tea for Two!


While the girls were outside playing, I gathered some special things together to create an ambience that would make them feel cherished. 

I used linen napkins for the place settings and planned to delight their palates with freshly, stovetop-popped popcorn, blueberry tea, and a salted caramel. 

When the girls came to the table to see what I had created for them, they were filled with excitement!  Their faces could not stop smiling for a minute or two. 

Have you surprised your child

with something lately?

Monday, October 17, 2011

Be Still and Know That He is God


My sweet seven year old daughter actually took this picture. 

“Be still and know that I am God”

Psalm 46:10

As you examine your soul today can you say that you are “still”?  Do you feel calm?  …or anxious?  Strong?  …or weary?  Joyful?  …or depressed?  Are you resting in God’s goodness overall or has the enemy’s ways gripped your soul?

I can say that I am learning through a very, grueling process to be still.  I am learning to trust in my God and to be less affected by the things around me, to be able to surrender them to my Lord without them consuming my soul.

I have been thrust out of my comfort zone for years now.  It has been a painful period of my life, as God delves into the depths of my soul to deal with the dark issues of my heart.  God wants us to be at peace no matter what.  He wants abundant life ~the fruit of His Spirit~ to flow out of us; in turn the flesh must die.

If you are feeling weary, trust in your God.  He loves you.  He cares for you.  As it says earlier in Psalm 46,

God is our refuge and strength,

A very present help in trouble!

Be still, my soul, and know He is God!


Thursday, October 13, 2011

My Bathroom’s Facelift

Last week my family was gone for a little over 24 hours.  I, being the family lady that I am, knew that it was not going to be easy with them gone in another adventuresome place without me so I had to make the best of it.  I pummeled through some ideas quickly in my head and decided I would paint the bathroom!  Surely that would keep my mind off what they were doing and help me to funnel my energies in a productive way.  It is definitely hard to carve out a good chunk of time and energy for a project like this with everyone in the house, so I figured it was a good opportunity for me.

I have been thinking for quite some time that I would like to finish painting our house.   When we moved into our house eight years ago, we knew the house needed work.  We have been chipping away at landscaping, siding, gutters, molding, painting, and remodeling room by room each year.  A couple of the main functioning rooms – my kitchen and main bathroom – have gone untouched, and I really thought some fresh paint would do the trick until we could get to remodeling them more thoroughly. 

Yes, I painted my bathroom by myself in less than 24 hours.  Yes, it was a hassle at times, running into snags.  Yes, the baby took shorter naps than I was hoping during some of my painting sessions. 

The paint job was a challenge.

However, now that it is finished, it is a joy!

Before I painted, the entire room was basically a Kilz white.

Now it is a cozy (yep, that’s me ~wink~), bamboo brown.




Truly, a coat of paint does wonders!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Bulk Meal Preparation

I have always admired the “Once a Month” bulk cookers.  However, I did not think I could ever do it myself.  It seems like a lot of work and time to get much of the food prepared for a month’s worth of meals ~ all within a day’s breath.  Lately, though, I have been evaluating my meal preparations and realize that I could (and should!) combine some of my efforts to make things simpler for some of my dinners.

Currently I buy my ground beef at the local fruit market.  If I buy at least three pounds, I get a discount.  In the past I have bought the meat, used what I could within a couple days, and divided the rest into suitable portions for the freezer.  Recently, it dawned on me… I could oftentimes brown most of the meat simultaneously to help with future meals. 

Today I took out my five pounds of ground round, and divided it into three portions:  one two-pound section and two 1.5-pound sections and placed them into separate pans/pots.


I chopped all of the necessary vegetables for the various dishes – tacos, nachos, and Sloppy Joe’s.


I separated the ingredients accordingly and put the extra seasonings into the pans for the nachos and tacos.  Once the meat dishes were finished, I used one pan for tonight’s tacos.  Tomorrow I will warm up the other Mexican beef pan for nachos.  The following day, I will warm up the beef that I browned with onion and pepper and simmer it with the Sloppy Joe sauce ingredients. 


It took just a little bit of extra work today to help a couple dinners run more smoothly!

I like that!

How can you combine some of your meal preparation efforts to make life a little easier for yourself?

Growing Home

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

I’m Still Alive!

Yes, I am still alive!  It has been a while since I have blogged.  Life has been consuming, for sure!

The big news for the day…

Coney Dogs!


Yes, that’s right!  Nitrate/nitrite-free, beef hot dogs, smothered with cincinnati chili from a can (next time I’ll use homemade, ~wink~), topped with your choice of shredded cheddar cheese, onions, and mustard.  I guess it’s fitting since the Detroit Tigers are in the playoffs right now, fighting to stay alive.

Life has been busy and complex, so the food has been simpler!

What have you been eating lately?