Tuesday, September 10, 2013

For by Him All Things were Created.

I love rainy days, and I mean everything about rainy days.  I love the smell and the clean bold colors it reveals. I don't even mind the bad hair and the damp feet but, most of all, I love the life it brings.  I'm not talking about the burst of growth in the plants and creepy crawlies that come out of the cracks and crevices... although those are wonderful.
Instead, I'm talking about the sweet curiousity that it brings to life in my 6 year old.
There is something about the break in the clouds on a rainy day that coaxes him outdoors.  Away from all the toys, video games, and indoor projects, he is free to see it all.   I love to sit inside and watch, with a smile on my face, as he takes in God's creation.  He is my explorer... my scientist... if it is creeping and crawling or new and mysterious, he will find it, observe it, love it, and never forget it. 

Today, as I sit watching him I am reminded of a verse, 
"For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities-- all things have been created through Him and for Him."  Colossians 1:16

God created all things big and small. He created each creepy and each crawly.  And He created my sweet Cade, who continually reminds me to slow down and drink in the Glory of God.  Especially, on those precious rainy days.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Memory Verse Monday: Colossians 3:12, Ephesians 4:32

Memory Verse Monday is meant to help me and my kids focus on spiritual character building!  I love that we get to work on these characteristics as a family and draw each of us closer to God. I hope it will help you too!  This week we will be working on a character of Compassion and Kindness.

Ephesians 4:32
Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other,
just as in Christ God forgave you.
Colossians 3:12
You have been chosen of God, holy and beloved,
put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.

God calls us to take action (put on a heart of ...) as his sons and daughters.  Action that will show others that we belong to Him, that we are His children.  Colossians 3:12 tells us to cloth ourselves with these characteristics so that others will know God’s character and be drawn to Him.  Ephesians 4:32 instructs us to be kind to each other, and forgive others as Christ has forgiven us for all of our wrongs!

Ask: Help me name the characteristics we need to have as Christians

· Heart of compassion
· Kindness
· Humility
· Gentleness
· Patience

When we want to become better at something like soccer, drawing, or piano, we practice, right?
We are going to be practicing these characteristics so that we can be better at showing God’s character to others with our actions in life. 
Ask: Help me know some places we can practice:   Examples: At home, school, church, restaurants, parks, anywhere/Everywhere!!

Ask: Now lets talk about how we can practice, Can you give me some examples of how to show Compassion, Kindness, Humility, Gentleness, and Patience to others?

For a toddler: 
 Helping Mommy pick up his toys
Saying please and Thank You
Saying yes mommy
Giving Hugs 

For my big kids it could mean:
Not arguing with their siblings
Paying someone a compliment
Helping their teacher at school
Doing a chore without being asked to
Holding a door open for a stranger at a store
Helping the neighbors pull in garbage cans
Letting someone else go first
Holding your words when you aren’t getting
 your way or things are taking longer than you expect.
For Mom & Dad it could mean:
patience when things get crazy and loud
Leaving a special note for someone around the house
Taking a meal to a friend
Helping out with chores
Helping a neighbor out
Letting kids help with fun jobs in the house

Ask: Give me some examples of what happened in your day that you would be tempted to act in an unholy manner… How would you be tempted to act, how could you act to make sure you are portraying God’s characters in your heart?

How does it affect you when you act unholy? What is the affect on others around you?


Putting it into Practice! Kindness Jar

Purpose: To encourage the practice of living in a holy manner daily. 
How it works: Each time you see a kid acting with compassion and kindness, a bean goes in the jar.  Each time an act of compassion or kindness is neglected, two beans come out of the jar.  At the end of the week… swap the beans for jellybeans and explain the reward for the good deeds/acts of character they portrayed!

Remind children, it takes a pattern of acting in kindness to build up something big, like character and set a true example for God.  The more you practice the easier it gets! 

Tips: We allowed the kids to point out when they saw a sibling or parent being kind.  It encouraged the boys to look for the good and not just point out the bad, which really helped with the tattling and arguing, always a bonus!! 

Extra beans were given each time a child said one of the memory verses throughout the week! 



Monday, May 6, 2013

Quick Chicken Dinner Ideas

 Quick Chicken Dinner Ideas will get you through the lazy hazy crazy days! Just in time for Summer!

Lets face it, lives are busy, time is precious, and yet dinner time still comes everyday!  I, like many of you, have become an menu planner extraordinaire.  With calendar, budget, cookbooks, recipe boxes, and pinterest in hand; I sit for about 2 hours(4 if I get sidetracked on Pinterest) each month planning out a month of meals. 

And each month there are at least 3 nights a week that call for a quick dinner.  You know the dinner that can be scarfed down before running out the door... or one that is so easy to prepare we can eat it when we get home just before bath time. The one you really just want to drive through the golden arches instead...  Well, none the less we do try to spend dinner together and not in the car; so here are a few of my quick go-to chicken dinners to help with meal time rush!

1. Crock Pot Shredded Chicken Tacos 

A must have recipe I found on a dear sweet friend's blog A Southern Fairytale.  5 minutes, 3 ingredients, a crock pot, and of course a Reynold's crock pot liner, and you have the start of a quick no mess meal!

2. Fresh Takes Chicken Bites

These are perfect for the early dinner rush!  You know when you have time to prep a meal, but need to eat fast and get to karate, soccer practice, church, etc. I know you are with me. These babies are always gone in 60 seconds... and they pack up nicely!  Throw a few carrot sticks and some apples slices in  and you've got a healthy meal on the go!

1 pkg. Kraft Fresh Takes- Classic Four Cheese (this is in the meat section at your grocery store)
4-6 Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast (cut into bite sized chucks)

Follow pkg directions to coat chicken pieces.  Bake 350 degrees for 10-15 minutes and enjoy!

3. Crock Pot Pineapple Chicken and Rice

 4-6 Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts
1 15oz can chunk Pineapple
1 tbs. unrefined Coconut oil
1 tbs. brown sugar
1 cup water
Salt and pepper to taste

Dump all ingredients into a Crock Pot (use a liner for easy cleanup too).  Turn on low for 6-8 hours or high for 3-4 hours.  Serve over rice, or alongside a salad! 

We always have chicken.. and these are such quick and easy meals... and BONUS: My kids always Gobble them up!!
What, no complaining at the dinner table? That's right! Well not unless you serve these delectable along side Brussel sprouts like me, aren't my kids lucky?

I am always looking for new ideas and would love to hear some of your favorites!  Please send your links in the comments!

Saturday, April 27, 2013

How to make Flour Tortilla Chips

So, I have to start by stating upfront...This is a How to on making Flour Tortilla Chips,  this is NOT a post on making flour tortillas.  I do not, nor do I plan on making my own flour tortillas!! I live in South Texas for goodness sake. I can get homemade, fresh- we're talking hot off the presses, flour tortillas at every local taquaria and grocery store. 

This is a blog on turning those oh so delicious flour tortillas, into oh so delicious CHIPS! They are soft and fluffy and crispy, and warm, and, oh dear I think I just drooled...   If you have never had a flour tortilla chip this is a MUST MUST MUST !!

So, here's how it works! 

Start by cutting about 12 flour tortillas into quarters.

 I use my ULU Knife for the job, the boys call it my battle ax.  A pizza cutter works well too. 

Cover the bottom of a large skillet with your favorite oil (we use olive or coconut oil), about 1/2 inch deep on Medium-High Heat.  Place a single layer of tortilla quarters in the hot oil.  Cook about 2 minutes, until golden brown.  Using tongs, flip the tortillas over and cook for another minute.   I love the sizzle of oil!!

Remove from oil, to a platter covered in paper towels and allow to drain.  Continue this process until you have reached the amount of chips you would like.  Tip: Make extra!! You will want them! 

It really is simple, just a little time consuming! Serve along side your favorite dip, queso, or guacamole(my favorite) and enjoy!!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Be Encouraged! You are MOM!

They call me Mom.  Sometimes with a giggle, sometimes with exasperation, most of the time because they need something; but then, there are those times that I love most.  The times that mend my heart and boost my energy.  The times that they look straight at my face, deep into my eyes, and with sweet soft voices, simply say, "I love you, Mom!" 
 Those are the moments... the moments that make all the refereeing, rear wiping, laundry doing,  activity running, and snack making worth it.  Those are the moments that all the whining, tattle taleing,and  toy snatching, seem to melt away.

and then I am reminded that these are the blessings that God provided to show His power and His wonder!  And they call me MOM! :)  I am blessed!

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Crock Pot - Taco Soup

Well,today is the day.  Will spring come early, or will there be six more weeks of winter? Only Mr. Groundhog knows...

 Honestly I'm not really fond of spring and summer in our next of the woods.  Spring brings torrential WIND! :) It blows all day every day for at least 2 months... and then the summer hits. Then we are praying for wind to help with the steaming days of humid 100 degree temperatures.  But for now, I'm just enjoying the last few days of cooler weather and cooking as many savory casseroles, stews, and soups my family can handle.

 This Taco Soup is one of our favorites. Inspired by all the flavors from South of the Border and so easy-peasy I can't hardly stand it!! Plus it feeds an army, so it's great for entertaining (hint hint, the Superbowl is tomorrow)!

Crock Pot TACO SOUP:

What you need:

2 lbs. Ground Beef
1 medium yellow onion diced
2 (28oz) cans petite diced tomatoes
2 (10oz) cans diced tomatoes & green chilies (We use one mild and one original, but heat it up as much as you like here)
2 (15oz) cans Pinto beans (Again if you want more heat get the ones with added jalapeno.)
1 (30oz) can Golden Hominy, drained
1 pkg. dry ranch dip
1 pkg. dry taco seasoning

What to do:

Brown hamburger mean and onions in a skillet, and drain well.
Combine Hamburger and all other ingredients in a large crock pot, stir ingredients well.
Cook on low heat for 6-8 hours, or high for 3-4 hours.

Serve with cornbread, tortilla chips, or cheese quesadillas
Garnish with shredded cheese and sour cream.

If you have leftovers, it is great as a topper for baked potatoes,  or serve with Frito's and cheese for a twist on Frito pie! 

Yes, It's that easy and Yes, it's that good!! :)  Happy cooking!! :)

Thursday, January 31, 2013

DIY: Reward System for Kids

We were having a hard time figuring out consequences and reward that were suited for our family and our style of parenting. We have learned by trial and error as most of you probably have. About 8 months ago, we were going through several changes in our life. We sold our house, moved, started one of our babes in school, and added several other time consuming activities to our life. On top of everything the kids were feeling the stress of the changes before the move and afterwards our world of "behavior and obedience" pretty much fell apart. My days were spent in survival mode moving from one behavioral crisis to the next. Something had to change! Michael and I tried everything... one on one quality time, special outings, time outs, corporal punishment, taking away toys and privileges, the list goes on and on, yet not much changed.

Flashback two years! I found myself in the presence of shear genius. I was sitting at the vet and beside me sat another young mom with 4 young boys about the age of my own. As I sat there watching these 4 brothers that reminded me so much of my own boys at home, I heard the mother reprimand one of the boys behavior and say, ""When we get home, you owe me a brother buck.". I stopped dead in my tracks at that moment I had to know what a brother buck was... so I not being one to sit silent told the mom... I must know what a brother buck is! She was happy to share her system of rewards and consequences they used in their family. I loved it, and tucked it away in my mental bank for a rainy day.

Flash forward! It hit me in my desperation one day, maybe we could do some sort of sticker chart... and all of a sudden I remembered the system of Brother Bucks. My sweet husband ran to the local Dollar store and the next morning we started a new system of consequences and rewards and 8 months later it is still working like a charm.

In less than two weeks our entire family attitude was refreshed. As parents we were 1. focused on the positives in the kids behavior more than the negative and 2. refocused on the need for consistency!! Two things that we had lost in our survival mode; and the boys were excited to work for rewards. They were using their manners, speaking kindly to one another, and working towards their own personal behavioral goals, most of the time.

So here is the rundown!

The boys are rewarded for putting the fruits of the spirit into practice. Each time we catch them using a fruit of the spirit, they are rewarded with a brother buck. Each brother has a special basket to keep his brother bucks in. Periodically we find them counting their bucks and trying to decide if they want to spend or save. The boys are allowed to turn in their bucks at anytime, but also know that some rewards are instantaneous like a sucker or dessert after dinner.... while others have to be scheduled, like dates, and family outings. (by the way, there are spending limits on both of these rewards). If the boys are acting disrespectfully or being disobedient Michael and I always hold the right to have the boys return one, or all of their brother bucks back to us.

I made a quick chart using Microsoft word, eventually I would like to write the rewards on a replace it with a small chalkboard. For now, I have the document displayed in a spare picture frame, and kept near the baskets.
dum dums are always in our pantry... Brennan likes to turn his brother bucks 5 at a time.

Galatians 5:22
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law or punishment against such things.