Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Menu For 7/4 - 7/10

Sunday: Spaghetti and Meatballs


Homemade seasoned beef meatballs combined with tomato sauces, served over spaghetti

4 servings (of meatballs)
For Spaghetti and Meatballs:
Spaghetti pasta, as many servings as you need
Homemade pizza sauce (2 c per meatball recipe)
Homemade tomato soup (2 c per meatball recipe)
Homemade meatballs (recipe below serves 4)
Shredded mozzarella cheese and parmesan cheese, optional
Meatball recipe:
1 lb ground chuck
2 medium eggs
1/4 c minced onion
1 clove minced garlic
2 handfulls quick oats
To make meatballs:
1. In mixing bowl, combine all ingredients and mix well.
2. Shape into balls and place on a jelly roll pan.
3. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes or until thoroughly cooked.
For spaghetti and meatballs:
1. Cook pasta according to package directions. Strain.
2. While pasta is cooking, heat sauce and meatballs over medium-low heat.
3. Serve meatball and sauce over pasta, topping with mozzarella and parmesan cheese if desired.
Spaghetti and meatballs, served with asparagus and onions and 
italian bread
Additional Notes: 
We like to have this with homemade garlic bread and a cooked green vegetable.
Meatballs can be made in large quantities and frozen in meal-sized portions. Just thaw and re-heat for a quick and easy meal!

Monday: Oven-Roasted Chicken

Juicy and tender roasted whole chicken

4-6 servings
1 whole frying chicken
garlic salt
seasoned salt
lemon pepper
1. Rinse chicken with cold water and remove giblets from inside. Lay chicken, breast side up, in sink.
2. Sprinkle seasonings generously over chicken (still in sink; this makes less mess!). Lift chicken and place, breast-side down, in baking dish (one that had a lid). Season the back side. Cover with lid.
3. Bake chicken for about 30 minutes per pound at 325 degrees. I find that the chickens I usually cook are about 5 pounds and I can bake them for at least 2.5 hours, but up to 3.5 hours, with success. It seems like the ones baked for at least 3 hours are the most tender!
4. Test chicken with thermometer and remove when tender (and, of course, at least up to temp!). Remove chicken and place, breast side up, on a plate to serve. The juices left in the baking dish make a great gravy! :)
Unbaked seasoned chicken     Freshly baked chicken, still in the dish

Oven roasted chicken served with egg noodles and easy green bean 
Additional Notes: 
I use a deep glass baking dish that's just big enough to hold the chicken. I like to season the chicken ahead of time and keep in the fridge until it's time to start baking it.
I've also made this recipe in the slow cooker. I cooked a 5+ lb. chicken for 7 hours on HIGH and it was very tender and delicious!
Preparation Time: 
7 minutes
Cooking Time: 
2-3 hours
Sweet Mommy's  Review: 
This recipe is a 10/10. DH loves roasted chicken, and I have been experimenting for years (literally!) for just the right flavor and moistness. This chicken falls apart when you take it out, and is so moist and tender, we use our forks to cut it on our plates. I season the outside liberally, and the flavor permeates the meat as it bakes. And since it's baked breast-side-down in a small dish, covered (as opposed to a large pan with lots of extra air and space inside), it just doesn't get dried out. We have this recipe as often as once a week. Almost as good as the fresh roasted chicken itself, is the leftover meat. Perfect for making casseroles, soups, gravy, or sandwiches requiring chicken. This is a must-try recipe. :D
Tuesday: Grilled Chicken Quesadillas with Corn and Black Beans

Crispy flour tortillas with a flavorful filling of grilled chicken, corn, black beans, and cheese, best enjoyed with toppings of sour cream and salsa!
6 (whole) quesadillas -- about 3 full servings
1 can (15 ounces, or about 1 1/4 cups freshly cooked) black beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 of a 15-ounce can of corn, drained
2 cups (8 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup cooked chicken*, chopped into thin, small pieces
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
12 flour tortillas (soft taco size)
Sour cream, for serving
Salsa, for serving
1. Combine the first 7 ingredients in a bowl for the filling.
2. Coat 1 side of the tortillas with a small bit of olive or vegetable oil. Lay half of the tortillas, oil side down, on cookie sheets.
3. Spoon filling mixture onto tortilla,s dividing evenly among them. Top with remaining tortillas, oil side up.
4. Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until filling is warm and melted and tortillas start browning. Flip quesadillas halfway through the cooking time to brown both sides of the quesadillas.
5. Cut each quesadilla into quarters with a pizza cutter and serve with salsa and sour cream.
Grilled Chicken Quesadillas with Corn and Black Beans

Preparation Time: 
15 minutes
Cooking Time: 
15-20 minutes

Wednesday: Shepherd's Pie
A flavorful beef and vegetable mixture, topped with mashed potatoes and cheddar cheese, baked until hot
6-8 servings
1 pound ground beef
1 large onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
3 cups mixed vegetables, either frozen, canned, or leftover*
4 cups (approximately) mashed potatoes (made from about 8 potatoes)
8 ounces (2 cups) shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 cup whole milk
1. Brown ground beef with onion, pepper, and garlic. Drain grease.
2. In a large bowl, combine the meat, crushed red pepper, salt, pepper, and mixed vegetables.
3. Grease a (deep) 10-inch glass pie plate. (You could also use an 8-inch square glass dish.) Spread the meat and vegetable mixture in the dish. Top with a layer of the mashed potatoes, sealing to the edges. Sprinkle cheddar cheese on top.
4. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Just before baking, pour milk over cheese. Bake for 35-45 minutes, until pie is hot and cheese is lightly browned.
Additional Notes: 
*I like to use a mixture of corn, cut green beans, green peas, and chopped (cooked) carrots
Preparation Time: 
45 minutes (if using all fresh ingredients) or 10 minutes (if using leftover ingredients)
Cooking Time:

Thursday: Incredibly Easy Taco Pie
A spicy taco meat casserole surrounded by cheesy soft breading, topped with sour cream, lettuce, cheese, tomatoes, and green peppers

8-10 servings
2 pounds ground chuck
2 large onions, chopped
1 cup chopped green pepper
1 clove minced garlic
2 teaspoons freshly ground cumin
1 Tablespoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
Tapatio or other hot sauce, to taste
Filling:2 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
2 cups original Bisquick mix
2 cups milk
4 eggs
1 Tablespoon Tapatio hot sauce or hot sauce of your choice
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
2 cups sour cream
4 cups shredded or thinly sliced Iceberg lettuce
1 cup diced tomato
diced bell peppers or green onions, optional
1. Fry beef with onion, pepper and garlic. Drain grease. Add cumin, chili powder, pepper, salt, and hot sauce.
2. Grease a 9 x 13 inch baking dish. Spread meat in bottom of dish. Spread 2 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese over beef.
3. In mixing bowl, whisk together the Bisquick, milk, eggs, and hot sauce. Pour over cheese.
4. Bake at 400 degrees for 40-50 minutes, or until fork inserted into the center comes out clean. Cover loosely with foil after about 25 minutes, to prevent over-browning. If desired, sprinkle top with cheese during final 10 minutes of baking time.
5. When casserole is finished baking, cut into pieces. Spread a layer of sour cream on top. Sprinkle shredded lettuce, cheese, tomatoes and bell peppers (optional) on top.
Incredibly Easy Taco Pie
Preparation Time: 
15 minutes
Cooking Time: 
45 minutes

Thursday: Sweet's Easy Pizza
A soft pizza dough recipe, topped with your favorite pizza toppings and baked
12-16 slices
Crust Ingredients:
3/4 cup water (110-115 degrees, preferably)
1 teaspoon sugar
2 Tablesppoons butter, melted or very softened
2 1/2 cups flour
1 Tablespoon yeast
Other Ingredients:
1 Tablespoon cornmeal (optional)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup pizza sauce
12 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese
sliced onions, optional
chopped bell peppers, optional
turkey pepperoni, fried turkey bacon, or fried hamburger, optional
1/4 teaspoon oregano
1/8 teaspoon basil
2 Tablespoons parmesan cheese
1. If using a bread machine to make pizza dough, put ingredients in bread machine in order listed and set to dough setting.
If making dough by hand, mix water, butter, and sugar in mixing bowl. Add part of the flour and stir. Add the rest of the flour and the yeast, and stir into a dough. Knead for 6-8 minutes, or until dough is smooth and elastic. Set dough in bowl and grease the top. Cover with a towel and set in a warm place to rise for about 45 minutes.*
2. After dough has risen the first time, punch down and knead until air bubbles are removed.
3. Liberally butter a 16-inch round pizza pan, and press dough onto pan. Carefully lift one-half of the crust and fold over (to expose half of the pizza pan). Sprinkle 1/2 Tablespoon cornmeal over pan. Lay crust back in place and repeat on other half, so that there is cornmeal sprinkled between entire layer of crust and pan.
4. Sprinkle 1/2 teaspoon salt over top of crust and then spread with 1 cup pizza sauce. Sprinkle on cheese and any optional toppings desired. Sprinkle on oregano, basil, and parmesan cheese last.
5.** Place pizza in oven and turn heat to 400 degrees. Bake for 10 minutes; rotate crust and bake for an additional 5-10 minutes or until top is browned. (Be sure to watch so it doesn't burn; every oven is different!)
6. When pizza is browned, turn off heat and open oven door. Leave pizza in oven until ready to serve. Then remove from oven, cut, and serve. If there is leftover pizza, we often put the pieces directly on a cooling rack to cool, which prevents condensation forming between the crust and pan.

Easy Pizza

Tammy's Easy 
Pizza (unbaked)
Tammy's Easy 
Additional Notes:
*If you're short on time, you can skip this rise and just press your freshly-kneaded dough onto the pan and continue with the recipe.
*Alternate baking directions: Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Bake pizza for 15 minutes on the bottom rack, or until browned. (Baking on the top or middle racks could result in an under-cooked crust.)

Tammy's Easy Pizza
Preparation Time: 
30-40 minutes + rising time
Cooking Time: 
15 minutes

Friday: Homemade Lasagna


A flavorful and cheesy homemade beef lasagna with cottage cheese and spinach

8 servings
3/4-1 pound ground beef
1 large onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 teaspoons oregano
1/2 teaspoon basil
1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning, optional
8 ounces* lasagna pasta sheets, cooked according to package instructions
2 cups pizza sauce
16 ounces mozzarella cheese, shredded
2 cups (16 ounces) cottage cheese*
1-2 cups fresh spinach leaves, optional
1/2 cup parmesan cheese, for serving
1. Brown meat in skillet with onion, garlic, salt, pepper, oregano, basil, and Italian seasoning. Drain grease.
2. To drained meat mixture, add 1 cup of the cottage cheese, stirring well.
3. Grease a 9 x 13 baking dish and spread a small amount of pizza sauce in the bottom. Layer cooked pasta in a single layer on top of sauce. Sprinkle with 1 cup of the mozzarella cheese.
4. Continue layering: meat mixture, pasta, sauce, 1 cup mozzarella cheese, remaining 1 cup cottage cheese, spinach, pasta, remaining sauce, and remaining mozzarella cheese. Garnish top with oregano if desired, and bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes, until top is golden. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese when serving, if desired.
Lasagna, served with garlic bread
Homemade Lasagna, served with Garlic Bread
Additional Notes: 
*Or more, depending on how deep your 9 x 13 baking dish is. I like to use about 12 ounces of pasta, but depending on the dish, it can get too full to fit.
**If cottage cheese is watery, as some brands are, strain off any excess liquid before using.
Preparation Time: 
30 minutes
Cooking Time: 
30-40 minutes

Soup Saturday:  Vegetable Bean Soup with Spinach
A brothy vegetable soup with two kinds of beans, flavored with basil, with chopped spinach added near the end
6 servings
1 tablespoon oil
3 medium carrots, diced
2 ribs celery with leaves, diced
1 medium onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
7 cups chicken broth (or water; it's good either way)
2 cups cooked great northern beans
2 cups cooked red kidney beans
2 cups tomatoes (may be canned)
1 tablespoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon parsley
10 ounces fresh spinach leaves, coarsely chopped (about 12 cups loose leaves before it's chopped, or about 6 cups coarsely chopped)
salt, to taste
1. Heat oil in a large stock pot over medium heat. Add carrots, celery, onion, and garlic. Cook and stir for 5 minutes.
2. Add broth, beans, tomatoes, basil, pepper, sugar, and parsley. Bring to a boil and simmer, uncovered, for about 30 minutes, until carrots are tender and flavors are well-spread throughout the soup.
3. Reduce heat to low and stir in spinach. Cook and stir until spinach is wilted. Add salt to taste.
Vegetable bean soup with spinach, shown with hearty herb bread
Vegetable Bean Soup with Spinach,
shown with Hearty Herb Bread
Preparation Time: 
15 minutes
Cooking Time: 
45-60 minutes


But I am Submissive!

Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing. Ephesians 5:22-24

As men and women, we tend to loath submission to authority. From birth, we don’t want to be told what to do; everything is “mine” and anything that goes wrong is “somebody else’s fault.” It’s the nature of sinful man.

So it’s not surprising that the “chain of command” found in Scripture tends to be a hotly debated topic – even within Christian circles. And thanks to the feminist movement, the biblical concept of wives submitting to their husbands is many times misinterpreted or rejected all together.
Webster’s 1828 Dictionary gives us this definition of submission:

"Resignation; a yielding of one's will to the will or appointment of a superior without murmuring. Entire and cheerful submission to the will of God is a Christian duty of prime excellence."
Even those of us who agree with this biblical principle struggle with submitting from the heart. It’s so easy for me to believe that I am submitting to my husband when in truth I am already in agreement with him. During these times, I can fool myself into believing that I am a “truly submissive wife.”

“Honey, I believe that you should wear your hair long and down, the way that you wore it when we met.” Says Darling Husband.

You may think to yourself, “I really liked my hair longer too.” So you happily “submit” and commit to growing it out.
“Honey, will you please make sure that the grocery budget stays under ­­­___ amount?”

You had been planning to make that cut and are in agreement with saving money on groceries. “No problem, Darling Husband!”

When husband and wife are in agreement in spiritual matters, matters of how the house should be run, or how the children should be raised it is a wonderful thing. Our lives run smoothly and the oneness we enjoy is evident by a peaceful home. However, we can be easily deceived. The true test of submission comes when we analyze our reaction to areas of disagreement with our husband’s choices.

For instance, what about when your husband informs you that he is going to allow your thirteen year-old-son to play a game that you feel is particularly dangerous? Or do you find yourself on the defensive when he speaks to one of the children in a way that you felt was too harsh? What happens when he wants to purchase something that you feel is a total waste of money! Does your sweet demeanor fall to the floor and shatter into a million pieces? I know I have to get a staple gun after mine at that point!

Don’t misunderstand, I’m not saying that wives should not give valuable input and wisdom in these matters, but there is a respectful way of giving input and that’s probably where I struggle the most. I tend to respond with emotion and passion and it can come across as demanding and critical. I know I’m “right” and I want him to know it too—and admit it!

My husband needs to know beyond a shadow of a doubt that his is the last word. Not only does he have the final say, but he has it with my total support and trust. Here’s the trial!

Many people picture an unsubmissive wife as one who angrily stomps her foot and says, “No, I won’t do it your way!” May I present a different picture; one I am much more familiar with myself because I have sadly fit the image too many times? Imagine the wife who says with her lips that she will do as her husband asks, but then pouts, is disapprovingly quiet, whines, or even resorts to tears of frustration. All of these tactics are called, quite simply, “manipulation.”

Many times, I deceived myself into thinking I was submissive. After all, I never said I wouldn’t agree to his decision. I never disobeyed or went against his wishes. However, my secret (or not so secret) unsubmissive attitude turned me into a contentious, rebellious, woman.

It can happen to you too. Beware of a manipulative and controlling nature. The Lord will work mightily through your obedience to Him.

You may ask, “What if my husband makes a foolish mistake?” Be in prayer for your husband’s decisions, but submit joyfully, trusting God for the outcome. Remember that God is right there in the midst of the situation, working things out for your ultimate good and His glory. It may not be the outcome you would have chosen, but again, remember that His ways are above our ways (Isaiah 58:8-9).

“Let the wives be to their own husbands in everything….” (Ephesians 5:24) Not just those things in which we agree.

That being said, we should never submit to any leader to the point of sin. We must obey God above all others and violating His statutes under the guise of submitting to a sinning husband is wrong. Yes, a husband will be held accountable for leading his wife into sin, but a wife is also accountable for her own sin.

There is a peaceful trust that is born from obeying God and remaining under the authority in which He has placed us. There is a distinct comfort that comes from recognizing the sovereignty of God and being content in our role. May God bless you as you glorify Him in all you do.

And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28

A Challenge:
Be on the lookout this week for manipulative reactions to your husband’s requests. If he asks you to do something (that is not sinful) and you get the urge to show your disapproval with a healthy dose of the “silent treatment,” repent right away and out loud. Confess to your husband right then and there that you were tempted to control him by ignoring him and ask him to hold you accountable.
Rather than manipulating or berating your husband, calmly and thoughtfully present your case. You may need to pray first, write out your appeal, or gather your thoughts before speaking. Sometimes arguments are born out of a failure to communicate properly and we become overwhelmed with frustration that the other person "just doesn't understand." So take the time to gather your thoughts and then present your case in love as a well-reasoned appeal.

Ask God to show you other ways that you attempt to manipulate authority and repent to God, confessing and asking forgiveness from your husband. Let him know that your desire is to be submissive in action and attitude. Show him that you want to joyfully follow him and that you trust his leadership because you trust God. After he picks himself up off the floor, I’m sure he’ll forgive you—and it just may make him a better leader.

One of the most helpful and balanced books on this subject I’ve ever used is The Excellent Wife by Martha Peace. I have taught this study in my home as well as online and have found it to be doctrinally solid, well written, and packed with biblical advice. Other resources on this subject are:

As Unto the Lord by Pam Foster
Biblical Womanhood in the Home by Nancy Leigh DeMoss
Building Her House by Nancy Wilson
Damsels in Distress by Martha Peace
Domestic Tranquility by F. Carolyn Graglia
Evangelical Feminism by Wayne Grudem
The Fruit of Her Hands by Nancy Wilson
God’s Priceless Woman by Wanda Sanseri
Let Me Be a Woman by Elisabeth Elliot
Love and Respect by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs
Passionate Housewives Desperate for God by Jennie Chancey and Stacy McDonald
Praise Her in the Gates by Nancy Wilson
Seven Lies Women Believe by Nancy Leigh Demoss




Sanctuary Isn't a Great Pair of Jeans

"We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, where Jesus who went before us, has entered on our behalf..." Hebrews 6:19-20a (NIV)

As I got dressed, the brand name label in my jeans caught my eye: Sanctuary. Really? They definitely are my favorite pair of jeans, but could they really be considered a sanctuary?

This word "sanctuary" keeps showing up in my life. My family recently took a much needed respite away from our busy and demanding schedules. We went to a place whose motto is "Escape completely." That sounded perfect to me.
One morning, I headed to a spot they called "The Sanctuary." Anticipating a great time with the Lord, I found a quiet chair overlooking the peaceful water. Settling in, I had my Bible open and journal and pen in hand when I heard "Excuse me Ma'am. Do you have your Sanctuary card?" Sanctuary card? You've got to be kidding ? I have to have a separate card to get into "The Sanctuary?" I picked up my things and found another cozy spot two feet outside of "The Sanctuary" where I didn't have to have the appropriate card to meet with God.

Opening my Bible again I could hardly believe my reading:

"We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, where Jesus who went before us, has entered on our behalf..." (Hebrews 6:19, NIV).

I had not been allowed to enter "The Sanctuary" two feet away because I didn't have the right card, but because of Jesus, I could enter the true sanctuary...His presence.

The Bible says a true sanctuary is not a place created with comfy chairs, soft music and views of the water. It is a place where the presence of God pours over us like a healing balm and Jehovah-Rophe, our healer, is present.

Combining the many definitions of sanctuary in the dictionary, I created this one: A place in God's presence where I can find shelter or protection from danger or trouble, finding relief and escape, and exemption from liability and prosecution.

The Psalmist spoke of his need for just such a sanctuary throughout Psalm 73:
Surely God is good to Israel, to those who are pure in heart.

But as for me, my feet had almost slipped; I had nearly lost my foothold.

(Sometimes in life, I feel like I'm hanging on the edge. Something has happened; causing me to feel like I'm going to lose it. What are you doing, God?)

For I envied the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.

They have no struggles; their bodies are healthy and strong.

They are free from the burdens common to man; they are not plagued by human ills.

This is what the wicked are like—always carefree, they increase in wealth.

(Sometimes in the middle of our pain, we look around at others, and ask – "Why is their life going w ell? And why isn't this Christian life thing working for me?)

Surely in vain have I kept my heart pure; in vain have I washed my hands in innocence.

All day long I have been plagued; I have been punished every morning.

(He just doesn't get it. Why is his life a mess? Can you relate?)

When I tried to understand all this, it was oppressive to me till I entered the sanctuary of God; then I understood their final destiny.

(In the sanctuary of God, things changed. In the presence of Jehovah-Rophe my healer, I can find relief; escape and exemption from liability and prosecution. I find healing.)

Yet I am always with you; you hold me by my right hand.

You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will take me into glory.

Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you.

My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.

But as for me, it is good to be near God. I have made the Sovereign LORD my refuge; I will tell of all your deeds (verses:1-5, 12-14, 16-17, and 23-28).

Sounds like the Psalmist really got it and it doesn't sound to me like a sanctuary can really be a pair of jeans!

Dear Lord, sometimes I feel like I need to escape completely. May the only place I escape to be You. When I feel like I want to run, help me to run straight into Your arms! In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Searching for the Truth

You answer us with awesome deeds of righteousness,
O God our Savior.
Psalm 65:5


My child, does your heart still search for truth? Are you confused about the whys of life? Study My words. Let Me share with you the mysteries of My kingdom, available only to My children. I reward the diligent seeker, as I hold the keys to life. I'm waiting to unveil so many things I want you to know. I am the answer.


A thousand questions pelt my life like the raindrops of a summer storm. Too often, after I've searched in vain, I finally turn to You. You not only have the answers I need, but You are the answer. Through nature, through Your Word, through the whisperings of Your Spirit, I hear You, Lord.

Even in changing times, God's faithfulness remains a constant source of help — ever loving, ever guiding, ever giving.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Saving our Girls

There is a rising epidemic in our culture.

Have you noticed it?

The length of childhood, for little girls especially, is rapidly decreasing. It is a sad phenomenon. When I was a child, I can remember playing with my dolls until I was 14 or 15 years old. There was no shame in it, no push for me to grow up. Sadly, this does not seem to be the case today. Everywhere I look I see little girls dressing older, talking older, and acting older. In my opinion this should not be. We are taking something very special from our daughters when we don’t allow them to enjoy a lengthy childhood.

Childhood, this marvelous girlhood, only happens one time. We need to protect it and cherish it for our little girls. I want this for my daughter, but the cultural pressure suffocating these dear ones, pushing them to look and to act grown up is overwhelming. However, we as mommies, can push back. Here are some of the ways that we can protect childhood for our daughters.

Let’s limit media – the obvious is TV, but also magazines (let us be careful as moms what magazines we are reading), music, internet, video games, and even some books. They may seem harmless at first, but our children are so impressionable. Is this what we really want impressed on them?

Let’s allow our little girls to look like little girls, pretty bows, frilly shirts, twirly skirts, braids, pig tails and the like help to preserve this girlhood period a bit longer. While it is fun for our daughters to play dress up and experiment with our makeup, let’s keep it for play for now and put the dress up clothes back in the closet and the makeup back in our drawer when play time is over.

While we are raising these little ones to one day be homemakers, and that is the majority of the reason for this site, we do not have to push them into being little women just yet. They can learn a lot from us by our modeling, rather than formally training them in every task. Let them be little and practice in their toy room with their baby dolls, strollers, kitchen sets, and ironing boards. There will be plenty of time for our daughters to do it for real later.

I also strongly believe that allowing our little girls special time with their daddy keeps them little longer. Being accepted and loved and cherished by their daddy, keeps them from longing for that affection outside the home. Essentially it keeps her little longer. Along with that, little girls also need fun interaction with their mommy. Let’s show them our silly, soft side. Get on the floor and be crazy, create zoo animals out of play dough at the kitchen table, craft with glue and scissors and messy, but oh so delightful, glitter, put puzzles together, read and snuggle on the couch. Allow her be a child in her own home.

I think that a long, sunny childhood is an amazing preparation for adulthood, and it is one of the most beautiful gifts we can give to our girls. We cannot slow down the clock, but we can make the most of the minutes that God blesses us with.

How do you keep your little girl little?

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Summer Activities for your children and family

In honor of FlyLady "Family Fun Day," I thought I would share a few ideas on what you can do during the summer as a family and activities you can have your children participate in.  

The Public Library and Book Stores
What a treasure the public library is! Not only can you borrow books all summer long, they have extra activities scheduled for many age ranges over the summer months. They have reading clubs that offer prize incentives to get kids to read more. The library represents a change of pace. It’s quiet (mostly), relaxing, and gives a break from TV & electronics. 

Museums & Zoos
In our area, the museums have a free and/or discount day each week. Call your local museums to see if they have the same thing. Our Zoo doesn’t have a free day, but they do have a membership you can buy for a year, that will allow you to make unlimited visits for one flat rate. In many cases, you only need to visit 3 or 4 times to start getting “free" visits. Some museums do this as well.

Vacation Bible Schools, Summer Bible Clubs, Kids Camps, Day Camps, etc. Your local churches will be looking for ways to help you keep your children from getting bored this summer. This is a cross denominational phenomenon. Many of these programs are free to the public. Check out your local Baptist, Methodist, Episcopalian, Catholic, Lutheran, etc church. You’ll probably meet your neighbors there & your kids will most likely see friends from school.

Don’t Be Afraid to Schedule
Be purposeful about your time with your kids. Don’t be afraid to have a plan of activities & stick with it. Do certain things on certain days: Monday is Museum Day, Tuesday is Pool Day, Wednesday is No Electronics Day, where you read, play games, go to the library. You get the idea. I find my children really enjoy having an idea of what to expect. 

Set reasonable bedtime and get up times for the summer. Don’t let them stay up until very late at night. We add an extra hour on to their school bedtime as a general guideline. There are, of course, exceptions for special occasions or just for fun. It is summer after all!

Expect them to help you more around the house. They’re out of school give them some criteria for home behavior.  Ask the kids to make a sweep of the house every night and pick up all the cups, plates, snack wrappers, socks, shoes, and the like that have accumulated during the day & put them where they belong. Trash to the trashcan, dirty dishes to the sink, laundry to the hamper. It really helps peace of mind & you'll be much less apt to get frustrated. 

I really hope these ideas help spark some creative ideas of your very own. Go enjoy those kids! They’ll be gone before we know it.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Music to FLY By

On Marla discusses music that she suggests to FLY by.  In the interest of both music, and movement, and ways to get me FLYing during the day and keeping me flying I created a station on Pandora (a music site) where it plays music that I find truly helpful while flying.  You can hear that station by using this link!

I hope you find the selections helpful, and if you have any suggestions for other songs, please, please share them.


Thursday, June 24, 2010

Radical Obedience for God - Do you possess it?

The other day I received this devotion from Girlfriends in God.  Since I read it, I have been thinking heavily about the scripture and wondering if I too am radical in my obedience for God and Jesus, as Mary was.  I have come to the devastating conclusion that I am not.  However, It struck me this morning as I was readying Joseph for the day... God will help me with this journey if I just seek out His help and guidance and love.  I am so pleased that we have such a loving, forgiving, understanding Holy Father.  Enjoy the devotion, and consider for yourself... Are YOU radical in Obedience for God??

Enjoy the Video as well...

June 22, 2010 
Free to Fulfill an Extraordinary Purpose 
Sharon Jaynes
Today's Truth

"Blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished!" (Luke 1:45 NIV). 

Friend To Friend 

Mary, the mother of Jesus, was certainly an extraordinary woman.  All through the gospels we see her playing leading roles in God's redemptive plan. In the book of Acts, we see Mary one last time. After Jesus' resurrection, he addressed the disciples one final time before his ascent to take his seat at the right hand of the Father.  He instructed them to wait for the promised Holy Spirit, reassured them that he would return again, and commissioned them to share the gospel to the ends of the earth.  Then Jesus was taken up before their very eyes, and the group headed to Jerusalem to wait.

So who was among this commissioned group of disciples?  Peter, John, James, Andrew, Philip, Thomas, Bartholomew, Matthew James Simon, Judas son of James, the women, Mary the mother of Jesus, and his brothers.  Hold everything!  The women?  Yes, the women.  Mary?  Yes, Mary.  For centuries, the religious leaders had been an all boys club.  But now, a fresh wind blew in to change the scenery of the new order called "the church." Jesus' parting words commissioned both men and women to spread the gospel to the ends of the earth. 

Mary, the mother of Jesus was among the disciples.  She was a disciple, a learner, a follower.  She was commissioned with the rest to spread the gospel "in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth."  And while we don't meet up with this incredible woman again, we can be sure that she did just that.

Mary was among the collective prophesy of Joel: "'In the last days,' God says, 'I will pour out my Spirit on all people.  Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams.  Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days, and they will prophesy'" (Acts 2:17-18; Joel 2:28-32 emphasis added).
We have to be careful not to worship Mary.  Jesus didn't.  When someone from a crowd yelled, "Blessed is the mother who gave birth and nursed you;" Jesus answered, "Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it" (Luke 11:27, 28).

Perhaps the most remarkable character trait of Mary, the one we can grasp with both hands and soar with her to great heights, is her radical obedience.  From the very beginning, Mary's response to God's call on her life rings through the ages: "I am the Lord's servant. May it be to me as you have said" (Luke 1:38).  When that is our response to God's call on our lives, we will indeed lead extraordinary lives filled with great exploits for the kingdom.

Yes, God chose Mary.  Yes, God chose you.  He has freed us from insignificance, and the key to access that freedom lies in Jesus' words:  "Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it."  That is where our significance lies. 

That type of obedience flows from a relationship of trust.  It is not a burden or a "have to" but a joy and a "want to."  It is not obedience simply because the Bible says so, but an adventure because we link arms with Jesus and follow him into great purpose.  This is a place where our simple water is transformed into the robust wine of life.

God has great plans for all of us. "Things which eye has not seen and ear has not heard, and which have not entered the heart of man, all that God has prepared for those who love Him" (1 Corinthians 2:9).  As Mary has shown us, God sets the offer before us, but He will not force His plan on anyone. We have to choose and say "yes" to Him. "Blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished!" (Luke 1:45).  That, my friend, is the key to experiencing the abundant life!

God freed Mary from an ordinary life and freed her to fulfill an extraordinary purpose.  He called an ordinary girl named Mary center stage, and she willingly walked forward to take her place.  I'm so glad she did.

Let's Pray  

Dear God, I want to be radically obedient like Mary.  Help me to be a woman who says "yes" when You call.  I know that You have a great plan for my life.  My prayer is that others will say about me..."Blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished.

In Jesus' Name,


Now It's Your Turn 

 If you are ready to experience the abundant life that God has planned for you all along, then write out this verse and fill in the blank with your name.

"I, ________________, am the Lord's servant. May it be to me as you have said" (Luke 1:38).  



Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Our new addition!!

Please Join Us In welcoming our newest addition in our happy family....



Born: June 18th 2010
Time: 1:42 pm
Weight: 7lbs 12 oz
Length: 20 1/4"


Menu For 6/27 - 7/3

Meal Plan for the week of 6/27 - 7/3.  Again, a fairly simple menu due to healing time, once I have recovered I hope to get back to enjoying my time in the kitchen cooking for my family.

Sunday, June 27

Barbecue Chicken Packets
Recipe source: Kraft
1. HEAT grill to medium-high heat.
2. PLACE 1 chicken breast in center of each of 4 large sheets heavy-duty foil; top with remaining ingredients.
3. BRING up foil sides. Double fold top and ends to seal each packet, leaving room for heat circulation inside.
4. GRILL 12 to 15 min. or until chicken is done (165°F). Cut slits in foil to release steam before opening each packet.

1 lb small boneless skinless chicken breast halves
3/4 cup Kraft Original Barbecue Sauce
1 (15 1/4 oz) can corn, drained
1/2 cup chopped green peppers
= Meijer One Stop Special = Coupon

This recipe is a product of Kraft. All rights reserved.

Monday, June 28

Beef and Broccoli Supreme
Recipe source: TryFoods International
(Prep Time:10 minutes, Total Time:55 minutes)
1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly grease 3-quart rectangular baking dish. Set aside.
2. In large saucepan cook broccoli in small amount of boiling salted water 6 to 8 minutes or until crisp-tender. Drain.
3. In large skillet cook ground beef and onion until beef is brown; stir in garlic and ginger. Drain fat.
4. In large bowl stir together beef mixture, rice, soup, milk, cheese, salt and pepper. Add broccoli. Lightly toss until combined. Spoon into prepared baking dish. Bake, uncovered, 30 to 35 minutes or until bubbly around the edges.

1 (10 3/4-oz.) can cream of chicken soup
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tbsp. peeled grated gingerroot
1 cup milk
1 medium onion, chopped
1 lb. lean ground beef
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
3 cups cooked white rice
1 clove garlic, minced
4 cups chopped fresh broccoli
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
= Meijer One Stop Special = Coupon

Serving size: 6
% Daily Value 
Calories 366
Total Fat 14g22%
Saturated Fat 7g34%
Trans Fat 0g
Cholesterol 67mg22%
Sodium 789mg33%
Total Carbohydrates 34g11%
Dietary Fiber 2g9%
Sugars 4g
Vitamin A 1006IU20%
Vitamin C 32mg53%
Calcium 221mg22%
Above information is approximate and depends upon the nature and exact quantity of ingredients used.
This recipe is provided by Try Foods International, Apopka, Florida, and is reproduced by permission. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, June 29

Pork Tenderloin with Ponzu Sauce
Recipe source: TryFoods International
(Prep Time:15 minutes, Total Time:45 minutes)
1. Place pork in large resealable plastic bag. Add 3/4 cup of the ponzu sauce. Seal and refrigerate 1 hour.
2. Meanwhile, whisk together remaining 1/4 cup ponzu sauce, lemon peel, juice, honey, ginger and red pepper flakes. Set aside.
3. Spray grill rack with nonstick spray and heat to medium-high. Remove pork from bag; discard marinade. Grill pork 10 minutes on each side, brushing occasionally with ponzu sauce mixture. Grill pork until meat thermometer registers 155°F for medium. Remove pork and let stand 10 minutes. Slice pork and arrange on platter. Garnish with fresh cilantro, if desired.

Fresh cilantro sprigs (optional)
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1 tsp. freshly grated lemon peel
1 tbsp. honey
1 tsp. peeled, minced gingerroot
1 (2 lb.) pkg. pork tenderloin
1 cup ponzu sauce, divided
= Meijer One Stop Special = Coupon

Serving size: 1
% Daily Value 
Calories 194
Total Fat 5g8%
Saturated Fat 1g5%
Cholesterol 84mg28%
Sodium 327mg14%
Total Carbohydrates 5g2%
Above information is approximate and depends upon the nature and exact quantity of ingredients used.
This recipe is provided by Try Foods International, Apopka, Florida, and is reproduced by permission. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, June 30

Baked Tilapia with Brown Butter
Recipe source: TryFoods International
(Prep Time:2 minutes, Total Time:17 minutes)
1. Preheat oven to 350ยบF. Coat baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.
2. Season tilapia with salt and pepper to taste. Drizzle with lemon juice. Place in prepared baking dish. Bake 12 to 15 minutes or until fish flakes easily with a fork.
3. Meanwhile, melt butter in small skillet over low heat until foamy, and butter begins to brown, about 3 to 4 minutes. Strain butter into small bowl.
4. Drizzle butter over tilapia; sprinkle with toasted almonds.

1 tbsp. lemon juice
1 tbsp. sliced almonds, toasted
1 1/4 lb. tilapia filets
1 tbsp. unsalted butter
= Meijer One Stop Special = Coupon

Serving size: 1/4 of recipe
% Daily Value 
Calories 152
Total Fat 5g7%
Saturated Fat 3g13%
Cholesterol 77mg26%
Sodium 123mg5%
Total Carbohydrates 1g0%
Dietary Fiber 0g1%
Vitamin C 2mg3%
Above information is approximate and depends upon the nature and exact quantity of ingredients used.
This recipe is provided by Try Foods International, Apopka, Florida, and is reproduced by permission. All rights reserved.

Thursday, July 1

BLT Catfish Sandwiches
Recipe source: TryFoods International
(Prep Time:20 minutes, Total Time:30 minutes)
1. Combine chili sauce, ketchup, 2 tablespoons of the lemon juice and hot sauce in small bowl; set aside.
2. Preheat grill to medium-high. Drizzle remaining 2 tablespoons lemon juice over catfish and sprinkle with lemon pepper and salt. Grill, covered with grill lid, on grill rack coated with nonstick cooking spray, 5 to 7 minutes on each side or until fish flakes with a fork.
3. Arrange catfish, bacon, lettuce, tomatoes and onion, if desired, evenly on bottom halves of bread. Spread top halves with reserved sauce and serve immediately.

1 to 2 thinly sliced tomatoes
4 slices bacon, cooked
1/4 tsp. salt
4 red onion slices (optional)
4 lettuce leaves
1/2 tsp. lemon pepper
4 tbsp. lemon juice, divided
2 tbsp. ketchup
1/4 tsp. hot sauce
2 tbsp. chili sauce
4 catfish fillets
4 slices white or wheat bread
= Meijer One Stop Special = Coupon

Serving size: 1
% Daily Value 
Calories 282
Total Fat 13g20%
Saturated Fat 3g17%
Cholesterol 59mg20%
Sodium 589mg25%
Total Carbohydrates 18g6%
Dietary Fiber 2g8%
Vitamin A 522IU10%
Vitamin C 15mg25%
Calcium 51mg5%
Above information is approximate and depends upon the nature and exact quantity of ingredients used.
This recipe is provided by Try Foods International, Apopka, Florida, and is reproduced by permission. All rights reserved.

Friday, July 2

Butterflied Roast Chicken
Recipe source: TryFoods International
(Prep Time:10 minutes, Total Time:55 minutes)
1. Preheat oven to 500°F. Season chicken to taste on both sides with salt and pepper. Make an incision in both of chicken’s thighs, tucking legs in.
2. Heat oil in large ovenproof skillet or iron Dutch oven over medium heat. Place chicken skin side down, browning 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from heat, flipping chicken over to skin side up.
3. Place in oven. Bake 35 to 40 minutes, basting once after 20 minutes, until chicken is no longer pink and instant-read thermometer registers 185°F. Remove chicken to serving platter, covering loosely with aluminum foil.
4. Discard fat from skillet; place skillet over medium heat. Add butter and shallots, stirring until golden but not burned. Add lemon and orange peel and juices and honey; bring to a rolling boil. Remove from heat; immediately spoon sauce over chicken.

Grated peel and juice of 1 lemon and 1 orange
2 tbsp. butter
2 tbsp. canola or corn oil
1 tbsp. honey
3/4 cup minced shallots or green onions
1 whole chicken, butterflied*
= Meijer One Stop Special = Coupon

Serving size: 1
% Daily Value 
Calories 615
Calories from Fat 344
Total Fat 38g59%
Saturated Fat 11g56%
Cholesterol 181mg60%
Sodium 160mg7%
Total Carbohydrates 13g4%
Dietary Fiber 0g2%
Sugars 7g
Vitamin A 878IU18%
Vitamin C 21mg34%
Calcium 47mg5%
Above information is approximate and depends upon the nature and exact quantity of ingredients used.
This recipe is provided by Try Foods International, Apopka, Florida, and is reproduced by permission. All rights reserved.

Saturday, July 3

Chicken and Ham Shells Marinara
Recipe source: TryFoods International
(Prep Time:25 minutes, Total Time:55 minutes)
1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat 11x7-inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray; set aside.
2. Prepare and drain pasta according to package directions.
3. Meanwhile, stir together ricotta cheese, cheese spread, chicken, ham, 1/4 cup of the Parmesan cheese, green onions and garlic pepper; mix well.
4. Lightly cover bottom of prepared baking dish with some of the marinara sauce. Fill shells evenly with ricotta mixture. Place shells in baking dish. Drizzle remaining marinara sauce and Alfredo sauce over shells. Sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese. Cover loosely with foil coated with nonstick cooking spray.
5. Bake 20 minutes. Remove foil. Bake 10 to 20 minutes more or until heated through. Serve drizzled with additional marinara sauce and sprinkle with additional Parmesan, if desired.

Additional Parmesan cheese (optional)
4 oz. rotisserie chicken, shredded
1 cup reduced-fat ricotta cheese
16 large pasta shells
2 green onions, sliced
1/2 tsp. garlic pepper
1/3 cup garlic and herb spreadable cheese
3/4 cup bottled marinara sauce, divided
2 tbsp. bottled Alfredo sauce
3 oz. Virginia ham, diced
Additional marinara sauce (optional)
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese, divided
= Meijer One Stop Special = Coupon

Serving size: 1/4 of recipe
% Daily Value 
Calories 348
Calories from Fat 125
Total Fat 14g21%
Saturated Fat 8g42%
Cholesterol 112mg37%
Sodium 792mg33%
Total Carbohydrates 31g10%
Dietary Fiber 2g7%
Sugars 5g
Vitamin A 535IU11%
Vitamin C 2mg3%
Calcium 266mg27%
Above information is approximate and depends upon the nature and exact quantity of ingredients used.
This recipe is provided by Try Foods International, Apopka, Florida, and is reproduced by permission. All rights reserved.