Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Taking Life by the Reins

Today started off poorly, very poorly!  It was one of those days when I just wished I could have pulled the covers over my head and gone back to sleep!  The first couple hours of my day challenged me tremendously – my household’s weaknesses, needs, and questions for the day were overwhelming me.  I finally felt like everything was just “too much”, and I ran to my husband’s office (“man cave”).  I locked the door behind me, and within moments floods of tears arrived.  I cried… I prayed.
“Oh God, please help me!”
Inside I was giving up, surrendering the day and its good intentions, thinking life would just become aimless today.

“God, please show me what I am supposed to do”.

It didn’t take long.  God prompted my heart and reminded me what I was called to do.  I am a mother, a homeschooling mother, nonetheless.  My job is set before me, clearly.  Sure, there are days when I need to take breaks and set a different course for the day.  However, today was not that day!  God revealed to me that I was giving in to my circumstances, and I needed to take life by the reins!
I walked upstairs, with a clearer head and a resolve to take charge.  I declared the rules and guidelines for the day to my children and went to work!  God blessed my efforts, and the day went fairly well in the end.
What has God called you to do?

Are you letting circumstances and emotions rob you?

Ask God to help you take life by the reins!

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me!”
(Philippians 4:13)

Linked up at "Simply Living"

Brown Sugar Bacon Waffles

I remembered I had seen bacon put in waffles and wanted to try it.  I scoured the internet and cooked up this recipe

Per a suggestion on one of the reviews, I added about a cup of cornmeal instead of a cup of the flour.  Cornmeal just sounded good with bacon!

These waffles were soooo yummy!


Tasty waffles with a bit of slightly sweetened (turkey) bacon in almost every bite! 


Monday, February 27, 2012

Spelling Helpers for the Hands-On/Creative Child

Do you have a hands-on/creative child in the bunch for whom you have to “think outside of the textbook” at times? 

I do!  Spelling has not come naturally for her, and I have been racking my brain, trying to come up with ways to help her.  We did a couple things over the past week that helped, so I wanted to share them with you.

My daughter LOVES to write on whiteboards!  I found this cute one in the dollar bin at Target.  I pulled it out of our school store, gave it to her as a present, and said, “Okay, we’re going to do spelling on here today”.  She lit up, and it worked wonderfully!


We also used our large whiteboard in the kitchen one day to play hangman for the words she had gotten wrong on her spelling list.  She loved that, too!


Another resource we found recently is Spelling  They have all sorts of activities on there to reinforce your child’s current spelling words or with a random list to try.

Whatever you do, remember to pray!  God knows what our children need!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

The Good Wife’s Guide: Embracing Your Role As a Help-Meet by Darlene Schacht

The Good Wife’s Guide by Darlene Schacht is a great book for any wife who desires to live a Biblical life before God and unto her husband.  Darlene is the author of the “Time-Warp Wife” blog.  She truly delivers a message that is not of this world and age where selfishness and personal rights are the driving forces. 

Many of us want to become better wives. We read book after book and blog after blog, looking for the “hands-on” solutions. Darlene emphasizes that “change begins in the heart where a battle is constantly taking place.” (Chapter 4) When we tackle the heart issues of our lives as wives, we can move forward much faster!

Darlene’s book is Scripturally-based, giving the reader a proper premise for living.

I love what she says:  “Scripture isn’t a candy bowl by which we pick and choose our favorite words hoping to satiate our palette.” (Chapter 10)

That is the truth, and if we are going to become the wives God wants us to become, we must look to His Word for our ultimate guidance.

In her book, Darlene covers wonderful topics, such as:

Self-discipline Order
Priorities Submission
Heart attitudes Unity
Planning our days Weekly schedules
Organizing our homes Simplifying

Darlene’s message reminds us that the essence of good wifehood and motherhood is servanthood, something God has been greatly impressing upon my own heart recently!  She addresses the realities of our lives with good, solid thoughts, encouraging words, and practical advice! 

“Are you a stay-at-home mom so that you can care for your children or your internet friends?” (Chapter Three)

The first part of Darlene’s book covers heart and conceptual issues to think and pray about, while the second part of her book includes many practical tips for caring for your home.  I guarantee you will glean something beneficial from this book!

I highly recommend The Good Wife’s Guide E-book!

(You can purchase it by clicking on the above image or on the button in my side bar.)

May God give us the strength and vision to be great wives!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Supporting Your Husband

A quick reminder:  I am hosting a Lilla Rose blog party through Tuesday, February 28th.  If you are interested in purchasing some of their lovely hairpieces, you can register as a guest here and check out their products.

Sometimes my husband’s job gets insane.  Correction – most of the time my husband’s job is insane!  We always think it is going to get better “soon”, but you just never know what’s going to happen when you are an IT manager. 

With his long hours, sleepless nights, and a 24/7 on-call expectation, I tend to get grumpy sometimes.  I miss him.  I get frustrated that his work seems to encompass our lives.  I feel angry at times.  I think about how his job is affecting him, his health, his sanity, my sanity, our children, our schedules, etc.!

There have been times when I would, inevitably, distance myself from my husband and/or make known to him my concerns and emotions in a not-so-great way.  In the end, I realize this is not helpful for him.

He needs my support,
especially when he is weak and extended past his limits.

He needs my love.

He needs my tender care.

He needs my encouraging words.

He needs me to have a positive attitude.

Yesterday my husband worked from home – a rare thing these days.  He was awakened, just after four hours of sleep, at 3 a.m. in the morning and had problem after problem arise.  I had compassion for him.  I wanted to do something for him (of course, I was praying!).  I prepped his lunch on a tray, trying to make it a bit more special than usual, and included a small note to him, reassuring my love for him.


It was just a small way I tried to let him know that I was still there for him, thinking about him and loving him.

Are you supporting your husband these days?

Our husbands need our support and our love.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Green Monster Smoothie!

A quick reminder:  I am hosting a Lilla Rose blog party through Tuesday, February 28th.  If you are interested in purchasing some of their lovely hairpieces, you can register as a guest here and check out their products.

Looking for a yummy, nutritious way to start your day?  The green monster smoothie is it!

The original recipe is found here, but I switched it up a bit to make a bigger quantity and use a little less spinach in proportion to the rest of the ingredients.  Honestly, you can not taste the spinach in this smoothie.  My family says it tastes like a peanut butter smoothie.  It’s so yummy and good for you!

Green Monster SmoothieP2200027

Printable Recipe

2 large handfuls of spinach

1/2 cup rolled oats

2 frozen bananas

2 T peanut butter (or almond butter)

2 cups milk

1 handful of ice.

Blend to your heart’s desire!

Drink and enjoy the goodness!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

My Niece’s 18th Birthday, Part Two: A Surprise Adventure for Four!

A quick reminder:  I am hosting a Lilla Rose blog party through February 28th.  If you are interested in purchasing some of their lovely hairpieces, you can register as a guest here and check out their products.

After my niece and her friends finished eating their lunches, I sent them out of the house on a surprise adventure!  I planned three destinations with my niece’s preferences in mind.

When the girls were ready to leave, I handed my niece three envelopes.  In each envelope was a poetic instruction sheet, a map to the surprise location, and money to cover the expenses.  The girls were to open the first envelope before leaving the house and could not open the next envelope until they were finished with the previous activity.


My niece excitedly opened the first envelope, which read:

Your first destination is a colorful place.
I’m sure it will put a smile on your face.
During your visit you will feel pampered.
Your beauty and style will not be hampered.
Follow the map to your destination. You have appointments made for a special service for all of you.

The first location was a nail salon where each girl received a manicure.

The second location was Maggie Moo’s, my niece’s FAVORITE ice cream store in the “WORLD”!

The third location was For Love 21, an affordable accessories store.  Each girl was given $10 to spend.

The girls had a BLAST!

According to my niece, it was “one of the most fun days of their lives”!

Friday, February 17, 2012

My Niece’s 18th Birthday

First, a quick reminder that I am hosting a Lilla Rose blog party through February 28th.  If you are interested in purchasing some of their lovely hairpieces, you can register as a guest here and check out their products.

Last week we celebrated my niece’s 18th birthday.  Some of you know that we have been her legal guardians for the past few years, so she is like one of our children.  We wanted to do something special for her.  God’s blessing upon our lives enabled us to buy her a “set of wheels” ~wink~ and throw a special surprise luncheon event with a few of her close friends.

I planned for her friends to show up at the door together at 11 a.m. Saturday morning.  Boy, was she surprised!  She answered the door in sweats and no makeup and wished I would have prepared her a bit.  ~smile~  Of course, I couldn’t do that.  I would have ruined the surprise!
Once the friends arrived, my daughter and I busily went to work!  We sent the girls upstairs while we set the table with beauty.  (Notice the centerpiece ~wink~!)


We served breaded chicken salad, and I had most of the food prepared in advance. I breaded and fried the chicken breasts the night before.  I made a large mixture of fresh romaine lettuce and carrot peelings in a bowl.  We placed the greens on a plate with a good amount of chicken on top.  The table held other optional toppings:  grape tomatoes, freshly shredded cheese, dried cranberries, and honey sticks, with a choice of all-natural, delectable ranch or creamy italian garlic dressing.  I made a 9 x 13 pan of cornbread that morning and placed that on the table as well.  The girls were delighted and enjoyed the food thoroughly!

In my next post, I will tell you where I sent the girls after they ate.  ~smile~

Monday, February 13, 2012

Love Notes for Your Children


For Valentine’s Day, why not write your children a note about how much you love them and all of the things you appreciate about them?  How often do we take the time to do that throughout the year?

It doesn’t have to be anything super fancy, just from your heart.

Blonde Designs has a template for business card-sized notes to write short and sweet messages.

Small Notebook displays a note written on a heart template.

Balancing Beauty and Bedlam has a printable for a snazzy “10 Things I Love About You” sheet.

OR you could just use some colored paper or lined-paper and be simple.

Your children will love to hear what you love about them!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Ways to Pour into Your Hubby for Valentine’s Day


A couple years ago we went to a bocce ball restaurant with some friends for Valentine’s Day.

Yes, Valentine’s Day is nearly here!  Just as it is good to review our hopes and dreams when New Year’s Eve arrives, it can be just as fitting to review the state of our marriage relationships during the Valentine’s Day season.

You *could* evaluate your current status in your marriage and focus on all of the negatives ~ all of the things that are lacking or going wrong ~ all of the things that are bothering you ~ all of the things *you* are not getting. 

Instead, I encourage you (and myself!) to evaluate your marriage and see what baby steps you can take to make your marriage more vibrant.

Here are some loving and thoughtful things you could do for Valentine’s Day to show your husband you care:

Make breakfast in bed for him.

Wake up earlier to have a cup of coffee with him and good conversation, centered around positive things.

Send him caring notes throughout the day:  in his car, in his lunch, on his phone, at his desk, on his pillow, etc.

Play a game together.

Watch one of his favorite movies with him.

Try very hard not to say anything negative about him or your household.

Give him a massage.

Take him on a date!  YOU plan it.  Consider what he enjoys doing!

Buy (and wear!) some new, flirty PJs.

Cook some of his favorite foods.

Complete something on your “To Do” list that has been of utmost priority to him.

Most of all, pray for him.  Pray for your marriage.  Pray for the Lord to show you what your husband needs from you right now and how God wants to change your heart.

Think of what you can do to bless your wonderful husband.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Cupcake Liner Topiary: A Perfect Craft for Valentine’s Day



My daughter and I made this topiary.  We started to make it like the one that originally inspired me.  However, as we were making our project, the thought crossed our minds to put the foam ball into the pot directly (rather than on a stick).  We think the results are lovely.

We are using our creation as a centerpiece throughout Valentine’s week and then it will be transported to my daughter’s room where she will enjoy its beauty there.

How to Create the Topiary

Printable Version

You will need:


Foam ball, a size that fits just a bit inside your pot – enough to glue it into your pot.   Burlap or other material, if desired
Cupcake liners – 1 pkg of about 75 liners should do.   Hot glue gun & glue sticks

Heat your glue gun.

Place the foam ball inside the pot.  Shape cupcake liners and affix to the ball with a dollop of hot glue.  (We wrapped and “folded” the liners around our index fingers with the non-decorative side facing inward).  Quickly place the liner on your foam ball and hold for about 10 – 15 seconds, until the liner is sufficiently glued to the ball.  Continue until all of the foam sticking out of the pot is covered.

Glue your foam ball into the pot.

Cut a piece of burlap or other material, just enough to wrap around your pot once. Trim the fabric so it lines up with the bottom of the pot. Glue in a few areas around the top edge of the fabric to hold in place.

Cut your ribbon to a desired length.  Wrap around the pot and glue in place in a few areas to help hold it.  Tie your ribbon.

Appreciate your creation!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Valentine’s Day Desserts

I am trying to decide what to serve for dessert on Valentine’s Day.  I would like the dessert to be a bit interactive – something that the kids can help make or decorate.  Here’s what has been floating around in my mind so far:
Hot Fudge Sundae Cupcakes
recipe found here at “Joy the Baker”
Delicious, homemade vanilla cupcakes, served with a smorgasbord of chocolate ganache, homemade whipped cream, chopped nuts, cherries, and whatever else fits your fancy!

We have made these before and enjoyed them thoroughly!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Fondue
This fondue is scrumptious and easy to make!
1 7.5 oz. jar marshmallow creme
1/2 cup whipping cream
12 oz. semisweet chocolate
1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
Melt 1st three ingredients in a double boiler.  Add peanut butter.
Serve with dippers – fruit, marshmallows, pretzels, graham crackers, cookies, etc.!

“Life as Mom” and “Comfy in the Kitchen” posted about their tantalizing TRIPLE CHOCOLATE SUNDAE and CUPCAKE BUFFET, respectively, and got my mind thinking even more!  They are also hosting link-ups where you can join in on the fun and find a lot more great ideas!

Have you decided what you are serving for dessert for Valentine’s Day?

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Grace and Peace: Essentials for Victorious Living

My Guest Post at “Woman to Woman”


Do you ever feel like you are living in the midst of a storm,

as the intricacies of daily life swirl about you?

The tempests of discouragement and disappointment surround you.

Clouds of sorrow and despair wait to engulf the precious moments of your days.

Whispering winds of gossip and hurtful words blow through your life.

Torrential downpours of to-do lists, full schedules, and “the unexpected” flood your being.

The storm is alive and well!


You may remember Jesus in the midst of the storm.

“And suddenly a great tempest arose on the sea, so that the boat was covered with the waves. But He was asleep.”  Matthew 8:24

Read the rest of my post here at “Woman to Woman”.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Breaking Out of the Mold


When we review our family’s needs, sometimes we have to break away from the mold.

Each family has its particular strengths and weaknesses, and the individuals within that family have their own strengths and weaknesses.  Therefore, each family will have to decide on things that are best for their family. 

Continually we need to be before the throne of God, getting wisdom from Him as to how we are to go about our days.

Lord, how should we educate our children?

Lord, how should we order our schedules?

Lord, in which activities would you have our family participate?

Lord, where should we spend our money?

Lord, to whom should I reach out this week?

God has a specific plan for our lives, and we need to find that plan and live it out to its fullness!

Currently, I am being encouraged to break out of the mold.  One of my children has some desperate needs in our schooling, and I am going to do all I can to help my child succeed!  That is one huge benefit of homeschooling for us!  I am happy that I have the flexibility to change my children’s education and orient our days so I may teach my children the skills they need to excel in this world.

What is God teaching you these days?

What does God want for your family?

Listen to Him and don’t be afraid to break away from the mold.

Noah did.

Abraham did.

Jesus did.