Thursday, March 29, 2012

A Fun Craft to Do with Your Child–Simple, Quilled Designs


I am always trying to figure out good ways to connect with my daughter.  There are a lot of factors in our family dynamics that make our relationship challenging at times and also cause her to feel alone and needy.

I intend to be proactive. She likes to create, so I keep my eye open for things I think she may enjoy doing and squeeze them into our days.

Recently, I saw some simple – yet beautiful – designs made by the children at our church’s school.  They were made with rolled/quilled paper.

I didn’t know exactly how to make them, but I figured it couldn’t be too hard. I got out the colored paper, invented a quick system, and away we went!

You may be able to figure out a different way to do this or have done it altogether differently before, but here’s what we did.

Supplies needed:
Colored Paper
Paper Plate

First, choose your paper for the background and which colors you will use to create your design .


Measure 1/2 inch thick strips and cut them by hand (or with a cutter). 


Cut each strip into thirds.  I did not measure this part.  I just eyed it. 


Roll the strips.  We just rolled them by hand. 

Dollop a good amount of craft glue onto a paper plate. 

Place an end of the rolled paper into the glue and place onto your background to start creating your design. 

Repeat the steps until you have the design you desire!

You could do all sorts of pictures!

If you search online regarding paper quilling, it is quite amazing.

Here are a couple sites I found:

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Connecting with Our Children: Part Two


After my last post some of you may be thinking, “Me oh my!  My schedule is already full enough!  How in the world am I going to plan extra things to connect with my children!  Aren’t I doing enough?”

Connecting with your children does not start with the calendar or the pocketbook!

Connecting with your children starts within the fibers of your own heart.

What is your attitude towards your children?

Are you cherishing them and doing your best to preserve and develop your relationship with your children?

Your goal isn’t to bless your children with things and emptiness that will drain both of you. Your goal is to do things intentionally and purposefully, every day, to win the hearts and minds of your children and to have a positive, victorious relationship with them!

The first thing we can do is evaluate our regular daily habits.

Are we telling our children we love them?

Are we snuggling with them?

Are we giving them our undivided attention?

Are we taking just a few moments each day to communicate and listen?

Are we praying for them?

Are we recognizing their needs and trying to help fulfill them?

Beyond our daily habits, we can plan special events that show our children that we care about them.


A couple things to consider:

  • Relationships need a good dose of fun and lightheartedness.  Laughter is good medicine!  Do fun things with your children!
  • Keep your children’s interests in mind.  All of us like it when people show interest in the things we like to do.  Can you plan an activity or a discussion with your children’s interests in mind?

We take our children on dates from time to time, and they love it!  They feel special, as they have more individualized/focused attention from us and oftentimes get to choose where to go.  (A couple of the above photos were from a date I had with my boys.  I took them to Panera Bread at 7 a.m. in the morning on a weekday.  It was a bit of a sacrifice for me, but they enjoyed it thoroughly!)

What can you start doing today to make better connections
with your children?

In my next post I will share a craft my daughter and I did together a few days ago.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Connecting with Our Children


Oftentimes, we feel like we are connecting with our children.

We serve them meals.

We provide ample activities and opportunities for them.

We drive them everywhere.

We spend many waking hours around them.

We educate them.

We train them, steering them away from evil and towards good.

We do a lot for our children, but are we doing a lot with our children?

Are we near to our children, in proximity, or are we also near to their hearts and minds?

Our children need a lot from us, but they mainly need a vibrant, close relationship!

Activities and things in our childrens’ lives
will never be a good substitute for love.

How is your relationship with your children?

Are you spending good quality time with your children in good quantity?  Both are important to evaluate!

Some may say quality time is sufficient in and of itself, but I disagree.

Duration of time and the frequency of good memories help mold a relationship.  Without those, relationships can grow stale and superficial.

Do something to connect with your children today!

In my next post, I will give some practical ideas for connecting with your children.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Farmer’s Breakfast


Tillamook’s recipe for “Farmer’s Breakfast” is grand!  It inspired me to cook up this hearty sandwich last week.

One warning:  the recipe is a bit time-consuming, but it is worth the effort! 

If you are looking for something extremely filling and different to serve your family, try this!  You may want to consider making half-sandwiches for some people, especially children.

*Tillamook’s recipe includes making chive butter.  I did not do that, but hope to try that in the future!

Tillamook also uses fried eggs.  I used broiled eggs.

Farmer’s Breakfast
original recipe found here
Printable Version

Artisan bread
Sliced cheddar cheese
Potatoes of your choice, sliced thin, ~1/4 inch
Baked (Broiled) Eggs
Olive Oil
Butter, softened

Roast Potato Slices:  Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Spread potato slices atop an oiled sheet pan and drizzle with olive oil.  Season with salt and pepper.  Cook for 15-20 minutes, until fork-tender.

While potatoes are roasting, cook bacon.

After removing the potato slices, turn oven up to 450 degrees and put a sheet pan in the oven.

Butter each slice of bread on one side.  Place bread buttered side down, as if you were making a grilled cheese sandwich.  Layer cheese, potatoes, and bacon onto one slice of bread. Place open-faced sandwich into oven on the sheet pan and bake until the cheese is melted.

Put an egg on top of the sandwich and cover with another slice of buttered bread, butter side face up.  (I halved one egg and placed both halves upon the slice of bread). 

Bake until bread is toasted, about a minute.

Of course, you can assemble and bake multiple sandwiches at a time!

Serve and enjoy!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Feeling Behind and Plunging Ahead!

two watches stiff

Photo Credit

Lately I’ve been feeling very behind.  Yes, even behind in blogging!  It’s been a week since I’ve posted anything, even though I’ve had ideas spinning through my head here and there. 

Each day seems to contain more work than I can handle.  My brain and schedule are full. Sometimes I feel like life is going by so quickly. 

How do we handle the pressures of today?  How do we manage the needs, activities, relationships, education, regular workloads, organizational projects, social events, ministering to others, etc.?

We need to find our answers in God.

We need Him to tell us each day what we should do.

We need to have flexibility in our hearts and lives to allow God to speak to us and alter our course, so we may find the keys to success!

I find myself lacking, even as I write this post, as to how to move forward.  I need God’s wisdom and insight for my life!  He will show me what to do!  He will show me what needs to be completed, delayed, or axed altogether.

God knows what we need and has a purpose for our lives.

When we remember God’s love for us, and His great desire for us to have peace and victory, THEN we can plunge ahead!

Are you feeling behind?  Are you feeling overwhelmed?

Take it to God.

Listen to His heart.

Ask Him to give you the wisdom you need.

Be prepared!  His answers may be different
than your own plans and expectations.


Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Food for a Crowd: Oven Tacos and Baked Chili Dogs

Need to feed a crowd? 

Here are a couple options that are tasty, fairly easy to prepare, and decent on the pocketbook!  They were a hit for our events!

Oven Tacos

Brown some beef.  Add some refried beans, tomato sauce, and taco spices. 

Place inside of a taco shell and top with cheese.

Bake at 350 degrees for 10 - 12 minutes.

Top with lettuce, tomato, salsa, and sour cream!  YUM!

Actual recipe found here.

Baked Chili Dogs
Do you enjoy Coney dogs? 

Here is a yummy, homemade version that is delicious!

Good quality hot dogs, chili, mayo & mustard, onion and relish (if desired), and a good coating of cheese is all you need to make this entree a delight!

Slather the buns with the mayo, mustard, and relish.  Add the hot dogs, chili, onions, and cheese.  (We went onion and relish-free.)

Place in a 9 x 13 pan.  Cover with foil.  Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.

Original recipe found here.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Are You Living Proactively or Reactively?

Life…  It can be full of many challenges each day, of various size.  Sometimes it is easy to get caught up in these hurdles and get in a reactive state towards life. 

We feel angry.

We feel frustrated.

We feel overwhelmed.

We worry and fret and fear.

We are exhausted, physically and emotionally, and become paralyzed.

God does not desire this sort of life for us, and we don’t really desire this sort of life for ourselves!

It takes a good mixture of faith and work to overcome the obstacles of our days.

Jesus reminded us that, “In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”  (John 16:33)

Yes, we will have problems and issues and weaknesses and trials in this world, but God is still God.
HE “is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us.” (Ephesians 3:20)

Firstly, I ask you,
How is your faith today?

In Whom or what are you placing your trust?

Encourage your heart.

Look towards God.

Refresh your mind with His Word and His purposes for your life.


What are you doing to be proactive in your life?

Are you telling yourself that yes, there will be problems, but through God you can meet the challenge?

Are you doing all you can to protect yourself
and be strong for the day’s troubles?

Are you striving towards more order and preparation in your home life to make things run as smoothly as possible?

Take some time before God and ask Him for the next steps you need to have a more proactive life.

A proactive, rather than reactive,
life produces a state of peace in our homes and hearts.


Saturday, March 10, 2012

Good Spelling Practice: Writing Letters


Do you have a struggling speller?

Sometimes the spelling program alone, just doesn’t cut it for some kids.  All of us have weaknesses, and kids who don’t spell well need a lot of reinforcement and repetition.  Some kids even need more creative, hands-on ways to practice their spelling, and I mentioned some things that have helped us recently.

Besides using our regular spelling program, I decided to have my daughter write one letter per week to a person of her choice, on the subject of her choice.  She likes writing letters and building relationships, so this practice is perfect for her!

In her journal (above), she writes a letter to someone – all on her own.  The next day we proofread and revise the letter as necessary – checking the format of the letter and mainly looking for spelling errors.  We make the corrections together, and I try to teach her during this time too.  I want the words to stick as much as possible, so I think of ways to help her remember the words.

The following day she writes the final version of her letter on a pretty piece of paper or stationery, and we mail it out!

I have to say, her spelling has improved quite a bit over the past few weeks from the extra effort I have put into helping her excel.

It makes us both happy!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Simple Berry Sauce


I often make this berry sauce to put atop of pancakes.  It is so simple and delicious!

Place frozen, plain berries into a saucepan.  You decide the amount based on how many people are eating and how many pancakes you are making.  You can use whatever berries you like.

Pour desired amount of syrup into the saucepan with the berries.  I usually use a mixture of agave and maple syrup that I buy from Trader Joe’s or just plain maple syrup.

Heat until boiling and warmed throughout.  Stir.

Pour on top of pancakes and devour! 


Sunday, March 4, 2012

Exercise: It Does a Body (and Soul!) Good

I feel like I'm just about the last person on earth who should be writing a blog post about exercise!  I always have good intentions to exercise, but it gets pushed down to the bottom of the list, all the time!
Lately, though, I have been feeling more inspired and pressed to exercise.  It's been weighing on my heart, and I've been looking for the right opportunity to plunge into the activity!
Today was the day!  I had "another one of those days". I was feeling pretty sluggish and overwhelmed by my emotions from challenges of the day.  I asked my hubby to get the kids in bed, so I could exercise.  My mind was made up!  
I changed my clothes, slipped on my jogging shoes, and popped in my exercise DVD. Yep - the 20 minute cardiovascular workout sounds just right!
During and after my workout, I felt better.
I felt energetic.
The endorphins kicked in.
I felt negative emotions and baggage release.
Ahhhh....  Comfort for the body and the soul!
Studies have shown that stress dissipates with exercise.
Our bodies need movement.  Our blood needs good circulation.  Our lungs need to exhale and inhale more deeply.  Our hearts need to be revived! Our minds and emotions gain benefit from it all!
Have you had challenges in your life lately?  Have you felt sluggish?  Have you felt you needed or wanted to exercise?
Go for it! 
Give yourself a realistic goal.  When I *do* exercise, I usually only have time for about 15 or 20 minutes. Something’s better than nothing!

Get yourself moving and feel better!

For some valuable core exercises
check out Mass Gain Source's article here!