Monday, June 30, 2014

Comforting Chicken Noodle Soup

Monday, June 30, 2014

This is a recipe that speaks for itself. It is a soup that is filling, yet at the same time, light. When you feel sick or even on a "blah" day, you want to feel nourished but you really do not want to feel full. This meal is fast, easy, and just that. Enjoy!



2 quarts water
8 chicken bouillon cubes
6 1/2 cups uncooked wide egg noodles
2 cans cream of chicken soup, undiluted
2-3 cups cooked chicken
1 cup (8 ounces) sour cream
Parsley
Boil chicken until done completely and shred. (I bake mine because it retains the moisture.)

Bring water and bouillon to a boil in a Dutch oven. Add noodles; cook until tender. Do not drain. Add soup and chicken; heat through. Remove from heat; stir in sour cream. Sprinkle with parsley.

That easy, and equally as comforting!

Lets Be Biblical About This

Monday, June 30, 2014

 
Seriously, Facebook has a new trend where people are sharing their opinions via "memes." A few of them are really good, a few of them are funny, and a few of them drive me completely insane! I say this humbly, because sometimes I say, "Yeah, no kidding." But then the Lord convicts me that we share these things and they are not even true and mostly flat out unbiblical in their standards. It's subliminal but we as Christ followers really need to be watching what we think is funny or "deep."
 
The truth is, we represent Christ all the time. At least, we should be. Think about these things a little bit. Here are a few examples that sound good but really are not.
 

 
1 Corinthians 1:31
Therefore, as the Scriptures say, "If you want to boast, boast only about the LORD."
 


Happiness is when you find who you are in Christ without looking to yourself to feel good enough. Other's approval isn't needed, neither is ours. God approves of those who trust in Him and that alone should bring us true joy. We are forgiven without need to flaunt off our feelings for ourselves. Bring Him glory, not yourself.

  
  Philippians 1:6 And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you,
 will continue his work until it is finally finished
 on the day when Christ Jesus returns.
 


Sometimes sorry is enough. While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. We did not have to change first. We are all a work in progress and we need to remember that all of us should work on changing ourselves.
 
I understand here that we like to see change once someone apologizes. However, we need to avoid the trap that they need to meet our standards of change before we love and accept them. Change could happen. Maybe not over night, maybe never. But we should love without boundaries even to death when people do not deserve it.
 
 
John 8:7
So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them,
 He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.

 
Oh gosh where do I start? Yes, lets nail a man's sin to a sign and publically humiliate him. In fact, why don't we do it with all of us. "Promiscuous," "Porn Addict," "Drunk," "Druggie," "Emotional Eater," "Arrogant," "Judgmental," "Bitter." We would ALL have something staked out front. Though the idea begins with keeping everyone safe, it puts this man in the position of, "Your sin is worse than mine and I don't care about details or if God can forgive you, he forgave me. Stand humiliated."
 
This is like when an angry mob stood to stone a woman. Lets publicly humiliate this woman. Jesus stood between them and said, "Go ahead. Whoever hasn't sinned, toss yours first." I believe Jesus would stand between this sign and this man saying the very same thing. "Go ahead, post the stake. Only if you cannot post one of your own."
 
How about we give them a chance to stand forgiven? Loved? Accepted? God does. He died for them too. Take the sign down. Get to know the guy instead. All sin nailed God to a cross. Not just everyone else's. Even yours, even mine. 
 
 
 
1 Timothy 3:5
 For if a man cannot manage his own household,
how can he take care of God’s church?
 


Or, maybe because you are the parent and need to make better choices for your family? Yes, lets blame the system. Here is a thought, why not cook at home? Lets not eat out twice a day and be upset with a restaurant that has really unhealthy food. Water at home is free but I am sure we have soft drinks in our refrigerators. Salad is healthy but I am sure we make dishes with a stick of butter or two. Lets make a picture about that. This frustrates me because instead of taking responsibility we again pass blame. "This is your fault our kids are unhealthy." It has nothing to do with what they eat in the morning (Captain Crunch/Pop Tarts anyone?) and nothing to do that we all work harder to make a paycheck and decide to make eating out a regular habit. I believe as women, working outside of the home or not, it is so biblical to make sure our family is taken care of at home. This means extra effort to make healthy choices FOR our kids even if it means extra work in planning healthy alternatives. This means getting our kids off their electronics and out for a walk and making freezer meals ahead of time if your weeks get busy. We parents have to make the choices that teach our kids how to make theirs. It starts with us, not the restaurant. Let us own up to our parenting and be the best leaders in our homes that we can even down to our food.


1 Corinthians 10:31
So whether you eat or drink,
 or whatever you do,
do it all for the glory of God.

 
 
Let's give to give God glory for changing our lives and making us generous. Not because of how it made us feel or makes other feel. For God. Not because of what we will get from being generous but simply to give because we love God. We are actually supposed to give in private to avoid self glorification. This makes giving about us when it's clearly not.
 
 
Psalm 64:2-3
Hide me from the conspiracy of the wicked, from that noisy crowd of evildoers.
They sharpen their tongues like swords and aim their words like deadly arrows.

 
 
This screams, "I love drama but don't want you to think I do." These kinds of posts are arrows that slander people without calling out people by name. That's drama. Ladies, lets be uplifting and kind. Things that sound like this are not uplifting or kind. They bring out a negative vibe and make you look foolish. If we really are adults, even more so, Christian women, who have kids to take care of, a house to clean, and a life to live, we certainly wouldn't have the time to click "share" on a meme like this.

 
 
Colossians 3:21
Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged.


We aren't afraid of making our kids mad. It's biblical not to. I get it. We need to rise up and be parents. However, we need to be careful about crossing a line where we become a chauvinistic parent. We can certainly raise, discipline, and nurture without provoking our children. We don't want to discourage our kids, we want to raise our kids. You can actually be your children's friend and parent at the same time if you make sure to instruct first, be a friend second. In fact, define friend.

Friend: "somebody emotionally close: somebody who trusts and is fond of another." Heck yes I want to be my daughter's friend. In fact, my three girl's best friend.

They will "get over" it? The way in which we parent our children sticks with them for the rest of their lives. Instead, parent better by being a better example. Parent with calmness, scripture, and prayer. Maybe instead this should say:

All parents need to learn to be a Godly parent
not a fraternity sibling.
Quit being afraid to challenge your kids to rise above.
 
They'll thank you for it.
 
 
Friends, lets really look into each thing we see and post. People are watching us, expecting us to have changed hearts, attitudes, and minds. What we agree with is a reflection of our lives. Let's make a direct statement without sarcastic memes.
 

 
 
 
 


Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Break Free of Mom Syndrome!

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Okay, hear me out.

We moms love our yoga pants and our hoodies. They are so comfortable! We get a lot done in them, they are usually black and hide baby messes, they pull us in and cover us up, but lets get honest here, sometimes, after wearing yoga pants and hoodies for a week straight, it can really drag you down.

It becomes hard to feel pretty or to feel "done up," like we used to be able to do. And ladies, don't you think our husband would like to see us care about ourselves too?

Here are some stylish, simple, fast, and really affordable options to feel more dignified in public or if someone pops in for a "surprise" visit.

1) The belt.

This is a must have in every closet. Belts are great to add to a jean, to shorts, or over top an outfit. I love how a belt can really make you feel like your style is firm, complete, and thought out. It's also a functional tool to aid in keeping your backside crack free bending over to pick up all those toys, again.

 
 
2) The scarf.
 
Not only can you twist a scarf in 40 different ways, you can buy it in any color, of any length, with any pattern and usually on a great sale. They are a great way to appear that you put in a ton of effort, effortlessly. You can throw them over a plain colored shirt in so many combos that you will really feel like you have a new outfit almost every time. They can make a statement or they can be an accent. Play with them!
 
 



3) The maxi skirt.

I love it in black. They are comfortable like a yoga pant, but my daughters always greet me with a gasp and a comment consisting of the word "princess" or "beautiful." They are also really modest. Solid colors are great because you can throw on a t-shrt and a fancy belt. In the fall you can add a long sleeve, scarf, and/or a jean jacket.  They can be worn with any shoe and are a must have in any closet!



4) Makeup must haves!

ELIMINATE the pile of chaos and old makeup you don't use. We have precious moments if we are lucky and don't have the luxury of wondering what we should use or digging for what we want. Here are my tips to a five minute makeup routine.



First, BB cream (I reach for Aveeno). BB cream covers like a foundation, has great benefits, and has SUNSCREEN! How often do you forget that! Go right onto a quick brush of a soft, crisp blush. Next, a plain shimmery eye shadow. One color, over the lid. A liner in the corner, and finish off with some mascara.

It shows you put in the effort, but it doesn't soak up your time. If you want to look air brushed, you can, but save it for the date nights!

Lastly, don't forget your lip gloss. Chap stick is great, but a great lip gloss makes you feel pretty. I love any sheer nude/natural color by Clinique. It's not sticky and it won't cake up or stick to your teeth.



5) Perfume.

Anything by Clinique in the Happy line. The scent is crisp, confident, warm, and welcoming all at the same time.  It gives you that boost of something other than baby food and the chance that you cannot remember if you have taken a shower today feeling.

 
 
6) Toe nail polish.
 
It's fast, it's cute, and comes in a billion colors. Need I say more? Do them when your kiddos go to bed! If you have the extra time at that point, add some nail art.
 
 



 
 
7) A plain colored shirt, or ten.
 
I love that you can put them over any tank, under any button up, dress them up dress them down. And you can get them on clearance. Win.
 
8) Jewelry.
 
They make necklaces now, with safe beads, that your kids can chew on. Seriously, you can even make your own.  They are stylish and completely safe for your teething babes. If your kids are older, a simple necklace and a simple bracelet can really make any woman feel like a million bucks.
 
9) Hair.
 
Oh, moms, we love our pony tails as much as we love our alone time. But there are fast and easy ways to make your hair absolutely fabulous, really fast. Here are a few tutorials, search for more. Even a few curls in our pony tail can help immensely!
 
 
 
 
10) Brush your teeth, and then floss.
 
Seriously, this will take literally two minutes. This is healthy and really can perk you up. If you don't have an electric toothbrush, invest. So worth every penny.
 
 
 
These ten easy things can help set your mood for the day. Moms, we matter, what we do matters, and a little extra quick time can help us start off on a strong foot. You can do all of these things while your coffee brews.
 
Above all else, remember this:
 
Proverbs 31:30
"Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;
    but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised."

And that is most important.

 
 
 

Pumpkin Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

 
 
This is so bad for you I had to include it as a dessert. I love to make this because it is so easy to  make and I have never had a complaint. 
 
 
 

Bars:

4 eggs beaten
1 cup vetg. oil
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
2 cup pumpkin
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 -1 teaspoon nutmeg (depending on how much you like)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 1/2 cups flour
1 cup raisins (optional)
1/2 chopped nuts (optional)

Mix together, pour into greased cookie sheet with sides, bake 30 minutes.

Frosting:

3 ounce cream cheese, softened
6 tablespoons butter, softened
3/4 lb. powder sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon milk (or more if needed)
Mix well, spread on bars.

Grandma's Pumpkin Bread

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Another bread that is sinfully easy to make and eat. We love this for breakfast in the crisp cool fall months, which means our house always smells like pumpkin bread!


Ingredients:

1 cup vegetable oil
2/3 cup water
4 eggs, beaten
2 cups pumpkin
3-1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1teaspoon nutmeg
1teaspoon cinnamon
1-1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking soda
3 cups sugar
1 cup raisins, optional

Directions:

Combine oil, eggs, water and pumpkin.
 
In a separate bowl, mix all dry ingredients and make a well in center. 
 
Add pumpkin mixture and blend until moistened. 
 
Stir in raisins. (Optional, we leave them out or my toddlers claim they are bugs.) 
 
Pour into 2 greased and floured bread loaf pans. 
 
Bake 1 hour at 350 degrees or until toothpick poked into center comes out dry. 
 
Let set for 10 minutes in bread pans before turning them out onto cooling rack to cool completely (again, if you can stand to wait that long!)

Grandma's Banana Bread

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

We love this recipe, throw it in the bowl, bake, and eat. It apparently tastes better day old but ours never lasts that long. Seriously, enjoy!

 
Ingredients:
 
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/3 cup milk
1 egg
1 1/4 cup mashed bananas, about 3 medium
 
Directions:
 
Heat oven to 350 degrees.
 
Grease bottom only of a 9x5x3 loaf pan.
 
Mix all ingredients; beat 30 seconds.
 
Pour into pan. Bake until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. (65 to 70 minutes)
 
Cool slightly.
 
Loosen sides of loaf from pan; remove from pan.
 
Cool completely before slicing. (If you can stand to smell it for that long, we can't!)
 
To store, wrap and refrigerate no longer than 1 week.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Just Wait Till Your Dad Gets Home

Tuesday, June 3, 2014


Colossians 3:21
Fathers, do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged.

As moms, especially say at home moms, we all have days where our kids are one step away from losing a life. I have texted my husband telling him that I have reached my breaking point. I have told my dear friends that, "I just don't know what else to do anymore, nothing I do is working." Sometimes it feels like what we do as moms, all day long, is absolutely fruitless.

How many times can we abuse the verse, "Do unto others as you'd want them to do unto you." How many times have we constantly said, "Respect others, use your manners, be a blessing, I don't care if you don't want to do it, I am asking you to be obedient, I said 'no,' wash your hands, don't put that in your mouth..'' I have been there. I have simply sat down at nap time and cried and said, "Lord, what am I doing wrong? How can I keep screwing this up? My children are going to be in jail when they are sixteen!"

There are times as a mom, where I feel like I rock in my skills. I can do the dishes, one handed, as I am baking the bread, and dinner was already in the crock pot, laundry is done, and my own teeth are brushed. To top of those days, I even give a verbal lesson on the character of Jesus and why the Bible says what it does and that's why we implement it in our home and my toddler gets it.

Then there are the days, when I walk out and crayon is on the wall and they ate a whole bag of marshmallows and a nice blood stain on the brand new guest bedroom comforter. Before lunch there is a full blown fist fight and words of hate spewed between them and the only way for me to break it up is to make them nap. Then they are out of bed every two seconds for "water" and "bathroom break." A new exorcism type scream fight will ultimately break out before I go back and I say the words, "Just wait until your dad gets home. You will regret your decisions you are making today."

We have all said them. The phrase seems really harmless, really.

Until the other day when I texted my husband explaining that I don't know my purpose anymore. My five year old has the attitude of a teenager. My two year old is the most strong willed, independent, dependent human being I have ever known, and my infant, well...

I explained to him, via text, that I was done. I couldn't deal with the attitudes anymore. He got a bullet point list of every single thing that happened and he said it, "Oh boy, just wait till I get home from work."

I was instantly struck with guilt.

We let what happens in Vegas, stay in Vegas. Why can't what happens at home stay at home? This is a hard concept for me. I feel like my husband gets to go to work, come home, and then "check out." I work all day and he comes home and I still have to feed everyone, do the cleanup and then bath, brush teeth, read a book, pray, tuck in, grab the water, pray again, take the book away.. you get the point. When do I check out? When Dad gets home and steps in.

I felt so bad that my husband's initial reaction to coming home is, "What went wrong and what do I have to do to punish someone?" I hate that my kids think of dad coming home as, "Dad is going to be mad and I'm going to get it!" If dad keeps coming through the door like Thor, they will eventually believe that dad is only full of wrath. It's my job to change that, not enhance it. I have come to realize that I do not want their dad to be my biggest weapon. I want their dad to be my biggest ally. In order to do these things, I want to change these things.

1) Deal with drama myself. We have three girls. I doubt the drama will die down at any point. I want to pray more, ask God more, and find out what I can do in order to mend the issues myself. Maybe it's as simple as kneeling down to make eye contact, maybe not. But I need to believe my role and consistency is important. That what I can do is change things.

1 Corinthians 15: 58 says, "Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain."  

As a homemaker, my children are my work of the Lord. My husband does not call me when someone calls in sick or doesn't finish a project he has asked and expect me to "fix it." I should consider the same. This means, I do the work, get in the Word, and learn to pick my battles.


2) Unless it's major, keep  my mouth shut. Unless one of my teenaged toddlers runs away or is seriously hurt, I want to keep my husband focused on his job. I don't want him at work focusing on the fact that his women are falling to pieces when he is away. If what is going on here is not life threatening, he can wait to hear about the crayon, attitudes, and emotions after the girls are tucked into bed and we have our time to talk. This way, he is my team mate there to give advice and encouragement instead of my verbal punch bag. God holds us together when mothering is tough, not our husbands.

Colossians 1:17
And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.

When I live with the girls' father as my weapon, that's exactly what they will view him as. When I make his homecoming full of dirty work, not only are my girls not excited to see him, my husband is  not going to be excited to come home.

3) Make dad's homecoming exciting. Chances are, if my kids are excited that dad is home from a long day, are excited to greet him, and want to play, my husband will also be excited to play. I will get positive alone time instead of being in the fetal position somewhere in the dark while dad hands out punishment and tears ensue. I will hear laughter and positive tones. I set the tone in the home during the day. My husband cannot help me with that but God can. He can grow me to be a positive, cheery, creative role model that I was born to be. If that doesn't give me purpose as a mother and homemaker, I don't know what will.


Moms, what we do is hard but what we do has purpose. We can do this, and our hard work will pay off! Let's set the tone in our home so when we say, "Just wait until your dad comes home," we can finish off strong with: "It's going to be amazing."

Galatians 6:9
And let us not grow weary of doing good,
 for in due season we will reap a harvest,
 if we do not give up.
 

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