Raising the next generation to shine for HIM!

Raising the next generation to shine for HIM!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

This Life

This morning on my way to my OB appointment I passed by the city rescue mission as I always do and every time I do my heart is heavy as I see numerous Mama's and their babies walking out after having a place to actually sleep the night before.  But this morning was different.  As I drove by I saw a pregnant woman holding a cardboard sign that read, "Homeless, Hungry and Pregnant."  My heart began to sink and the tears were flooding out of my eyes as they are doing now while I write this.  I thought of all the people that were so engrossed in their day that they just drove by making harsh comments under their breath or making judgement of this lost soul.  We tend to just drive by or walk by or stand by and purposefully not notice because it will mess up our day.  We don't have time for others in need because of everything on our schedule for the day. We don't even stop to wonder, what if this person, this situation was put in front of me because God did it.  He chose us to be the one to help this person, to show His love that He so freely gives us to this person in need.  And as I drove by, I blew her a kiss and immediately began to pray for her.  God used this woman today to remind me of the life I have been blessed with and how He chose this life for me and how I am supposed to live it.

Lately I have felt the Holy Spirit tugging at my heart in ways I have never experienced before.  I used to wake up every morning thinking how I would start my day and look at my planner to see what was on the schedule.  I would allow the chores, the schoolwork, the appointments and many other things control what I was doing that day.  Every night that I went to bed and things were crossed off my list, I still felt like I had not accomplished anything.  The truth is, I hadn't accomplished anything.  Well I hadn't accomplished the things that should have been accomplished.  I knew I was missing something.  I was continuously feeling this void but couldn't quite figure it out.  I began to pray in the mornings as soon as I got up, still looked at my planner but instead of looking at it like "it" controlled my day, I gave each thing to the Lord.  I prayed that God would use each and every item on my to do list to bring glory to Him.  I also prayed that if things had to change in the day, that He would show me the direction to take and to cancel things or move things around if need be.  Trust me, this is a very difficult task for me.  I am a complete control freak and the idea of not being in control of what my day would be like scares me in ways I cannot even express.  The thing that scared me and still does the most about this is knowing that God really will put people in my life that need Him and will change my day around to further His kingdom.

Many of us are blessed.  We have so much and forget why we have it and where it came from.  We forget the purpose of our lives.  I have a wonderful husband who loves me unconditionally, I have 3 beautiful, soon to be four children that light up my day with every smile they give me, I have amazing parents and an amazing sister who accept me for who I am and support me in my dreams, I have a roof over my head that keeps me safe and warm at night, I am able to wake up in the morning to a pot of coffee and to soak into God's Word, I have friends who care about me and support me in every aspect of my life.  I could go on and on with the blessings God has given me.  God has given me these things because He loves me and is using me to do His work.  When I have those days where I want to think selfishly and complain about the little things in life, God will remind me of this day that I drove by the pregnant woman and I will get on my knees and thank the Lord for what He has so gracefully given to me. I go to bed with a different feeling of accomplishment now.  I may not finish everything on my to-do list but I have focused my day on Christ and what He has in store for me.  I surrender my life to you, my God and my Creator!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Frugal Recipe: Dishwasher Soap

I have been trying many different variations of dishwasher soap recipes and I have finally found one that works great.  We spend a lot of money on the name brand soaps because we have such hard water and I have been determined to find a recipe that would work and be way more frugal.  So here it is :)

1 Cup Borax
1 Cup Arm and Hammer Washing Soda
1 packet of lemonade flavored unsweetened Kool-Aid

I pour all of the ingredients in a mason jar and give it a shake to get all the lumps out.  I use 2 Tablespoons per load but this can vary depending on your water.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Why We Chose To Homeschool

When my oldest turned 3, my husband and I quickly started researching preschools.  We wanted the best school to send him to.  We wanted a loving teacher, small class size, parent involved school and a school that had some type of character building curriculum.  We found the perfect preschool and the following fall, with backpack and supplies in hand, Braden began school.

I spent a lot of time at the school.  With my youngest still a baby, I made sure to have sitters lined up so that I could spend a lot of time in Braden's classroom.  When a parent that was scheduled to work in the room had other responsibilities, the teacher's would have my name and number a the top of the list to fill in.  I loved being a part of his schooling.  I loved singing songs about his numbers and ABC's, learning right beside him.  As the school year was coming to a close, I was nominated to be on the preschool board.  I was so excited because I knew that this would be the next step to being more involved in his education and I knew his little brother would be coming up to begin preschool soon and I could then have a huge part in his education as well.

That summer as I was preparing to accept the nomination that I was given, God was pulling me in a new direction.  All of a sudden the word "homeschooling" was popping up in my head.  I would quickly disregard this tugging on my heart and continue to be excited and prepare for the upcoming preschool board meeting.  Now let me stop for a moment and tell you honestly what I thought of homeschooling at that time ;) I thought it was THE craziest idea that any parent could possibly have for their child.  I definitely thought that a parent could never be fully equipped to teach academics to their children without a teaching degree.  In my mind, all homeschool children wore white keds and long skirts and didn't know how to socialize.  Basically, homeschooling was far from normal and far from what I wanted to do.  God then began to show me "normal" homeschool families.  The crazy thing is that one of the "normal" homeschool families I knew were in my family as my Aunt and Uncle homeschooled my cousins.  I kind of just thought it was a weird phase they were in and I just overlooked it.  I then began to think back when I babysat for a homeschool family.  I really enjoyed this family and loved how close they were.  At this point I began to talk to my hubby about it.  Let's just say, our first talk didn't go the greatest.  I have a tendency to come up with some "crazy" ideas that I share with my husband and he will laugh or think, "here she goes again."  That is basically the same reaction I got from him when I brought up homeschooling.  God didn't give up on us though and he continuously laid it on my heart and I continuously brought it up in my conversations with Matt (my hubby).  He started to truly listen to me and we began to research shortly after me saying no to the preschool board nomination.  The first person I called was my Aunt and she gave me information on a homeschool convention where I could go and just see what homeschooling was all about and what opportunities were out there.  I had also just recently met a seasoned homeschool mom at my church and she suggested a curriculum to check out.  We went to the convention, bought a curriculum and the "idea" of homeschooling was quickly becoming a reality.

We began our homeschooling journey in September of 2008.  I am now homeschooling a very energetic 2nd grade boy, an eager kindergartner and busy toddler.  I am amazed by all of the blessings that homeschooling has given our family.  We have grown so close through this time as we build one another up and encourage one another daily through school and life.  One of my favorite character building themes we have studied lately is this:  I show love to everyone, especially my family.  Our love for another has matured and we are able to share that love with others around us, being a light for God as we go about our day.  There are many stories that I could share with you ofI would like to end with a verse that many of you know but I believe describes what my husband and I strive for as a family as we homeschool and as we live our lives.

Deuteronomy 6:6-9

New International Version (NIV)
6 These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. 7Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. 8Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. 9Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Fresh Recipe: Granola Bars

  • rolled oats_DxO1.jpg
  • 4 1/2 cups rolled oats
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup honey
  • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup mini M & M's
  • 1 1/2 cups raisins

  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Lightly grease one 9x13 inch pan.

  • In a large mixing bowl combine the oats, flour, baking soda, vanilla, butter or margarine, honey and brown sugar. Stir in the m & m's and raisins.

  • Press mixture firmly into the prepared pan. Bake at 325 degrees for 22 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool for 10 minutes then cut into bars. Let bars cool completely in pan before removing or serving.

Fresh Recipe: Crockpot Chili


1 1/2 pounds ground beef
2 lbs. kidney beans
2 lbs. canned crushed tomatoes
1 onion chopped
3 cloves garlic
3 Tablespoons chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin

Mix all ingredients in a crockpot and cook on low for 8-10 hours.

Fresh Recipe: Stuffed Shells


1 8 oz. package of large shells (you will use approximately 25 shells)
2 15 oz. packages of small curd cottage cheese
1 cup grated mozzarella cheese
1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 Tablespoon chopped parsley
2 eggs
1 cup cooked chopped spinach
1 jar spaghetti sauce or about 3 cups

Boil noodles according to package directions, adding oil to water so they won't stick together.  Meanwhile, mix cottage cheese, mozzarella cheese, parmesan, salt, pepper, parsley, spinach and eggs.

Drain noodles;  run cold water over it.  Stuff each shell with cheese mixture.  Place them in a 9x13 greased baking dish, and pour sauce around the stuffed shells. Sprinkle desired amount of mozzarella cheese and shredded fresh parmesan over sauce. Cover dish with foil.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Bake dish covered for 45 min. and uncovered for 15 minutes more.

Fresh Recipe: Hummus and Pita Bread


Hummus Recipe
1 can garbanzo beans/chick peas (or 1 cup dried beans, soaked and cooked)
1 tablespoon lemon juice
4 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon cumin
salt and pepper to taste
1/4-1/2 cup olive oil (I used a full 1/2 cup, we like our hummus creamy)

Mix all ingredients in a blender or food processor (I use my Magic Bullet). Add olive oil until the hummus is the consistency you like, and season to taste. It’s that easy! You can also add Tahini if you would like.

Pita Bread Recipe
1 tablespoon yeast
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 cup warm water
4 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 cup warm water
1 tablespoon olive oil

Mix the yeast, sugar, and 1/2 cup warm water and let rest 10 minutes. Mix salt and 1 cup warm water. Put flour in a mixing bowl and make a well. Add the yeast water and mix. Add the salt water and mix thoroughly. Knead in the oil for 10 minutes. Cover and rise until double (1 1/2 to 2 hours).
Knead for 5 minutes. Divide dough into balls the size of golf balls. Shape into balls, and roll to 3/8 inch thick. Prick each piece of rolled dough with a fork.
Cook on a dry or lightly-oiled griddle for 3 minutes each side. Keep cooked pitas covered with a towel so they don’t dry out.