Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Halloween!!!


Monday, October 28, 2013

Menu Planning

My cooking hiatus is over I am sad to say, so that means today I have been menu planning.  Ever heard of it?  In January I made the best batch of Chicken & Dumplins I've ever had and today I searched for it and wanted to re-share it with you.

Crock Pot Chicken & Dumplins
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (I used 6)
1 can cream of chicken
1 can cream of celery
2 cans chicken broth
2 T butter
seasoned salt & pepper
2 10oz cans refrigerator biscuits

Spray crock pot with Pam.  (I'm assuming your Mama taught you this but just in case here is your friendly reminder).

Put in frozen chicken.  Cover with soups, broth, butter, salt and pepper.  Liquid should cover all the chicken so add water if needed.  Cook on low 8 hours.  About an hour before you are ready to eat shred the chicken.  (I took the lid off and just used two forks to shred the chicken right in the crock pot).

Pinch of the biscuits and add them to the crockpot.  Cook until dumplins are not doughy, an hour or so.

Here is how November is shaping up so far...
(if the link is shaded blue you can click on it for the recipe! if you see another recipe you want, holler and i'll post it)

    The Broken Spaghetti Mini Meatball Stoup is a family tradition.  We always celebrate daylight savings time by having a candlelit dinner with the good china and our bowls are always filled with this delicious dish!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

15 Minute Makeover

Time Commitment: 15 Minutes in one room
Cost: Free
Results: Every bit as gratifying as shopping 90% off at Steinmart
How'd I do it: Flylady

For over 10 years I have been using Flylady's system for decluttering and cleaning my house.  I am always amused when people walk into my home and comment on how clean it is, even with a house full of boys.  It amuses me because I do not slave away for hours on my house.  I knock away at it in 10-15 minute chunks {most} every day.  At first she overwhelmed me with emails but in the long run it was simple.  Divide the house up.  Spend 15 minutes a day in one "Zone."  That is not overwhelming at all.

Today I'll start by showing you my bedroom.  I'll tell you that in 15 minutes this room was picked up, dusted, windexed, vacuumed and looking like the very last picture.  The only way I was able to whip it into shape that quickly is by throwing stuff away over and over and over through the years.

You can't organize clutter.

You can only trash it! 

I set the timer and got busy.  The first thing I did was clear every surface into two piles.  I had the put away pile and the trash pile.  Easy.  The key is to move fast and not overthink it. 

My goal in my head is always to throw away 27 things when I enter a room.

This is called a hot spot.  A hot spot is a flat surface that is cluttered.  Clutter attracts more clutter.  If you don't believe me see Exhibit A.  The trashcan nightstand.  I hate waking up to this.  It is about the most unpeaceful way to start a day that I can imagine.  It took 30 seconds to clear this spot and put the things away in their appropriate homes.

Ahh, the root of all evil, the unmade bed.  Throw in the fact that I haven't washed the sheets in a few weeks that makes it doubly uninviting. 

And then there is this.  While you are decluttering keep an eye out for spaces that do not make you happy.  This little nook is the first thing my eye sees in the morning and I always have the same exact thought.  Well, sometimes my first thought is, "Dang, I am hungry."  But then this is always the next thought, "This space feels so clutter-y-ish."  {I just gave spell check a heart attack}

I have been reluctant to move the leather book caddy because I love the book caddy and think it is cute.  And I use it all the time.  I just didn't love it in this space.  And my phone charger cord looked junky in this space. 

Moving those two little things made this space look a million times cleaner and more pleasing to the eye.  See what I mean?  It is the little touches like this that make your home look and feel cleaner.  I moved the caddy to another room and love it in its new home!

This is the time to insert a friendly reminder.  Spending 15 minutes in one room is not the time to unearth every overstuffed drawer and closet.  The rest of your house will probably look like this.  Leave it!  You are focusing a 15 minute effort in one space that is going to yield very happy results for you.

This is the room after 15 minutes of loving.  It always amazes me how the rest of the house can be in shambles but just knowing I have one space that looks good is very motivating.

The fruit is waking up to a peaceful room. If you are interested in doing this, start in your master bedroom this week.  Get the surfaces cleared as best you can and make the bed.  When I got started it literally took me almost a year to get our small apartment decluttered.  We had so much stuff and I only chipped away at it 15 minutes at a time.  Over 10 years later the results have paid off.  I can breeze through a room in no time and get it whipped into shape.

 {Linked to the Hearts For Home blog hop}

Monday, October 21, 2013

Good Report

Today we went to the high risk doctor and got a great report!

At 8 weeks my lab work came back not looking so hot.  My antibody levels were "out the roof" in the words of my doctor.  It was very discouraging!  My last two pregnancies, I have dealt with something called RH Sensitization.  That is fancy talk for my body developing antibodies that attack the babies red blood cells and create a dangerous environment for the baby.

Our last two little guys made it to full term with only a week in the NICU.  So we see a high risk doctor who monitors blood levels in the babies brain.  He can tell by the levels how anemic the baby is getting.  In the past the goal was to make it to 32 weeks before having to deliver and do a blood transfusion.  Scary stuff but both times we made it to full term, thanks to lots of prayers from family and friends.

But we went today and everything was great.  All the blood levels in the baby are well within the normal range and we are so thankful!!!  The top of the range was 35 and our little one ranked a 21 today.

It was absolutely amazing to see a healthy baby.  We have had over 10 weeks to trust in God over this.  There is still a long road ahead, but we are halfway there.

So after they weighed me (I don't want to talk about that part), she asked if I needed to empty my bladder.  Is it just me, or is that just the funniest way to ask the question?  I suppose it would be awkward if she asked if I needed to go tee tee.  Anyhoo, I've decided this week I'm going to be asking the boys to empty their bladders before we leave, just to add an extra level of awkwardness to the family dynamic.   Just trying to keep it lively around here.

The boys got to spend the night and Nana and Papa's.  Man.  They are rock stars.  The boys got to take apart a small engine, ride the Harley, eat nachos, and stay up past their bedtimes.  They are already scheming when they can go back.

After we picked them up I decided I needed to go to the grocery store.  I have no earthly idea what to be cooking these days.  I've been leaning mostly toward a gourmet fare menu of cereal for dinner, sandwiches, and Kids Eat Free around town.

Today we got some fruit, fresh veggies and ranch dip.  Tonight we're having French Toast with strawberries and tomorrow night is grilled cheese, potato chips and pickles (the good kind were on sale!).  Pickles count as vegetables right?  Yeah OK, that's what I thought too.

Other than that I've been looking around my filthy house thinking of getting on the Flylady bandwagon.  Cleaning the entire house in one sitting is completely overwhelming to me.  I am so ding dang tired all the time.  But I think even I can put in 15 minutes a day.  Don't quote me on that, but I'm willing to give it a try.  This week is Master Bedroom week and next week is Living Room week.  That means this week I'll spend 15 minutes a day cleaning/decluttering the Master Bedroom.

I might even take before and after pictures.  But don't quote me on that.  Man I'm turning into a slacker.  A food eating slacker machine.  You can quote me on that.

(Oh Lordy, keep praying for me.  I am not kidding when I tell you I just had to stop writing to break up a fight and the words, "We don't grab wieners in anger" came out of my mouth.  Maybe I am hoping Cuatro is a girl?)

Tuesday, October 15, 2013


One of my sons has slipped into the habit (sin pattern) of being defiant.

There are different ways to label disobedience and defiance is the label for our most recent issue.  Defiance is not just disobedience, it is disregard.  Back talk.  It is challenging me in opposition.

It usually takes me about a week to notice that we are dealing with an issue like this.  It could be noticing anger in the boys, fighting, fear, seeing discouragement in them, etc, but this week defiance is on the menu.

The way I finally wake up and notice we have an issue on our hands is that I find myself responding in harsh anger to the boys. 

If I am having to raise my voice and my tone has to change to a harsh tone in order to get obedience, that is my red flag that a deeper issue is on our hands.

Take yesterday morning for example.  I was in the bathroom, with the door locked, getting ready for the day.  My son knocked on the door telling me I had four really long text messages.  Ok I said, lay my phone down and I will deal with them when I am done getting ready.  He said, "But Mom, they are really long" and kept on giving me some more reasons why I should open the door and take the texts.  That is when I closed the deal by responding with the final line in the dialogue we were having.  I did it by raising my voice and speaking in a harsh, authoritative tone and told him to put my phone down-I would deal with it when I was done getting ready.  He finally obeyed but only after I got angry on the inside and spoke in an ugly tone.

That is one way to run the house and I hate that way.  Having to yell or talk harshly to get obedience just creates the most ugly atmosphere in the home.  Ick.  We've been dealing with this issue for a good week so that means for a good week the atmosphere has been gross around here.

Yesterday I was so frustrated because I just wasn't sure how to handle the situation.  How do I get this child to start obeying the first time?  And that is not even the biggest issue for me.  I wanted to figure out how to get to the bottom of the issue-some call it reaching the heart.  Yes, I can demand first time obedience but the buck doesn't stop there.  There are more layers to be addressed and I was at a loss.

Later yesterday morning we had some friends over to bake cookies together.  It was almost time for them to leave and the candy centered cookies were hot out of the oven.  I knew they needed to cool because the candy center is really hot and burns you if it is not completely cooled.  My son was excited to call the other kids in to see their candy creations.  I told him no-we will wait to call the kids in until the cookies are cooled.  He started to call them in anyway.  I blew my cork, sent him tearfully to his room, we said our goodbyes to our friends, and then I went in for some training time with my son.

Demanding first time obedience is one thing.  Taking the time to get to the heart and explain why is another thing that takes time.

He was on his bed crying and feeling unheard.  I had to pray for wisdom in talking because I was at a loss.  With my Child Training Bible in hand, we got to talking.  We talked about how Romans 13:1 says that all authorities that exist have been established by God.  That means that the authorities in our life are ordained by God and given for us as an umbrella of protection.  When we choose to submit to that authority we are safe under the umbrella.  When we choose to challenge/disobey that authority we move outside the umbrella of protection and we are open to attack and hurt.

"Son, today when you called the kids inside after you were told to wait, you moved outside the umbrella of protection.  That is why you were not allowed to engage in telling me why you did what you did.  It is why you lost that privilege and ended the play time alone in your room."

We talked about two Bible verses.  "Those who turn away from their training become poor and ashamed.  But those who accept warnings are honored." Prov. 13:18  We talked about how poor can mean you feel poor in your heart, you are lacking something inside that you need.  It can also make you feel ashamed, like having to end the play time alone in your room.  But accepting a warning will bring honor to your life.

We also talked about how Jesus left heaven, came down to the lowest level, and obeyed God completely, even though it ended in death.  (Phil. 2:8)  Sometimes obeying completely leads to death for us as well-the death of not getting our own way every time.

Lots of tears were cried as his little heart began to soften under the truth of God's Word.  I really wanted him to know not just what he was doing wrong, but that dealing with sin is normal and it is possible to overcome it.  God is the one who can change us.

He said, "Mom, I've been trying to change," and that is when I crumbled on the inside.  As we talked I saw a little boy who was struggling.  He knows he has been wrong and like Paul, he keeps doing what he doesn't want to and the thing he wants to do-well, he doesn't do it.

Our time together ended with me scratching his back and praying for him.  He did not want to pray out loud for forgiveness so he prayed in his heart.  In my prayer I affirmed his character, affirmed the fact that God forgives us every time we come to Him, and tried to bless my son in my words prayed over him.

His last assignment was to stay in his room to think about what we had talked about and to write Philippians 2:8 while he thought through things.

This is what getting to the heart looks like.  I can get the response I want by talking harsh and ugly and they'll do it but this way is so much better.  It is the way that takes time and effort.  That child came out of his room and he had a different demeanor to him.  His face was filled with life and joy.

I don't always get it right and even yesterday there were times I got it wrong but I wanted to share this with you that maybe it would encourage you.  The Child Training Bible is the best resource I have ever found to help me in training my boys. 

Not only does it give you scriptures that speak to different sin issues, but it gives questions to ask your children.  Are you receiving instruction with a good attitude?  Has your behavior demonstrated wisdom?  Did Jesus ever have a stubborn and defiant attitude?  What attitude did Jesus have? (Phil 2:5-8)

Lord, help my child to have a compliant and humble heart that heeds reproof.  (Phil 2:8, Prov 13:18). Thank you Jesus for always having a perfectly righteous attitude. (Heb. 4:15)