Being a mom is the hardest thing I've ever done, but it has brought me so much joy! I want to encourage other moms on their journey, I'll share motherhood tricks, spotlight tips I've learned from friends, and I hope you will share your ideas. I will focus on secrets that help families stay balanced, healthy, frugal, creative, and closely knit. I will also share favorite fiction and nonfiction books that I have enjoyed. Many blessings to you on your mothering journey!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Crock Pot Black & White Chicken Chili

I haven't made this Crock Pot Black and White Chicken Chili with Philadelphia Cooking Creme
from Faithful Provisions yet, but it sure does look yummy!  If you get to try it before me, let me know what you think...

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Homemaking Help 101 (Repost from Passionate Homemaking)

Lindsey from Passionate Homemaking has posted another great list of resources for homemakers.
Do you feel lost in your homemaking and don’t know where to begin? Did you not receive the training you desire to be a resourceful homemaker? Do you desire a routine but just feel hopeless? Here is a compilation of all the best articles here at Passionate Homemaking and elsewhere on the basics of homemaking, from cleaning to menu planning to your mission. I hope having them all in one place would make it easier for you to take simple steps, one by one, in finding a routine that works best for you. 
And she goes on to list a BUNCH of topics.  Here are some that interest me!
Fifteen Family Chore Charts

Establish Routines for a Simple Home

Simple Menu Planning

My Favorite iPhone Apps for Home Management

Simple Steps to Declutter Your Home

Free Printable Homemaking Resources

Simple & Frugal Children’s Bedroom Decor

Make a House a Home – Decor

Happy reading, and happy homemaking

Friday, January 18, 2013

Easy Appetizers - Shrimp dip

Shrimp dip (from my friend Sheila at the Robertson County YMCA)

 1 can of cream of shrimp soup

1 eight ounce cream cheese/softened

1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper

4 finley chopped scallions

1 sm. can of finely chopped water chestnuts

1 cup of baby shrimps


mix everything together until creamy. You may add to the spices if you desire more of a kick.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Book Review: Candle Bible for Kids, Toddler Edition

Candle Bible for Kids, Toddler Edition
by Juliet David; illustrated by Jo Parry

I was excited to see this little Bible come in the mail, and my children immediately gravitated towards it.  The approximately 35 stories are well-told, in simple words that early readers can sound out.  The pictures are beautiful - the vibrant colors and bold pictures inspire creativity and curiousity.  The stories are 4-8 pages long, and every page has a big bold picture with 1-2 sentences.  It's a wonderful read for families, and small classrooms.  The book is small (5x7"?), so it would be difficult to use with large classroom groups.  This is my favorite toddler Bible, then I would recommend Sally Lloyd Jones' Jesus Storybook Bible for preschool - 2nd grade readers.  
Disclaimer:  I received this book from Kregel Publications in exchange for my honest review.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Easy Appetizers - Seven Layer Dip

Seven Layer Dip

1 cup(s) fat-free sour cream

2 tbsp reduced-sodium taco seasoning

9 oz fat-free bean dip, about 1 heaping cup

6 oz guacamole, about 3/4 cup

1/4 cup(s) low-fat shredded cheddar cheese

4 medium scallion(s), chopped

1 small tomato(es), chopped

6 medium olive(s), black, sliced



Combine sour cream and taco seasoning; mix well.

Spread bean dip on bottom of a 12-inch round glass serving bowl or edged-platter. Top with guacamole, sour cream, cheese, scallions, tomatoes and olives. Yields about 1/4 cup dip per serving.

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Favorite Parenting Books

My friend Valorie just sent me a list of some of her favorite parenting books, and I thought you might like to see them as well:

"The Five Love Languages for Children"   
"The Strong-Willed Child"
"Raising Boys" 
"How to Have A New Kid by Friday,"
The One-Minute Mom,"
 "The Praying Mother" 

Valorie also adds, "You don't have to be a parent, I believe, to find some useful information among these resources."

I also just started a book called Give Them Grace: Dazzling Your Kids with the Love of Jesus, and I'm really impressed!

Do you have other favorites?  I'd love to hear them! 

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

Use your Personality to Pick a Volunteer Project

God created you with a thumbprint of very unique gifts and personalities. He designed you with a purpose, prepared to make the world a better place. Looking at your personality might help you find your niche for volunteering in the community. Here are some examples:

Help with outdoor activities for a Big Brothers Big Sisters or a 4-H Club. Organize an adventure for the church youth group or a Young Life club. Plan a treasure hunt for children.

Make a puppet theatre box for children, help with home repairs for senior citizens, or build a Habitat for Humanity house. Help a single mother with yardwork and home repairs.

Visit patients in the hospital, nursing home, or Ronald McDonald House. Volunteer as a crisis pregnancy counselor or answer calls on a crisis hotline.

Decorate a room for the Renewal House or the Ronald McDonald House. Paint a mural at a daycare center

Help children perform a simple drama, tell the gospel through dramatic stories, or read stories to children at a preschool.

Coach a sports team, lead recreational activities for children, chaperone a youth group trip, or help at Vacation Bible School. Babysit for single mothers.

Visit senior citizen’s centers, dress up as a clown at a hospital, or help with puppet shows at the library

Host an open house or help with a fundraiser for a non-profit agency’s collaborating partners, clients or the community-at-large. Volunteer as a foster parent for children or animals.

Offer to give a motivational speech at a school, community center or church. Use arts and crafts to inspire other people. Read stories to children. Mentor a child.

Help plan special events for a non-profit agency, or volunteer on their board of trustees. Tutor a child. Teach study skills to students.

Quick Thinker
Volunteer with CASA (Court-Appointed Special Advocates), coach a debate team, or lobby congresspersons on an important issue.

Visit with people with disabilities, read stories to children in a low-income preschool, or host a dress-up party for the Boys & Girls Club.

Teach money management and share shopping tips with singles, new families, widows, and former prisoners.

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Friday, January 04, 2013

Easy Appetizers - Praline Pecan Crunch Snack Mix

I attended a workshop years ago, and one of the participants brought this super delicious appetizer.  Beware - your guests won't be able to stop munching on this delight!

Praline Pecan Crunch Snack Mix

1 (16-ounce) box Quaker® Toasted Oatmeal Squares Cereal (about 8 cups)
2 cups pecan pieces
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
4 tablespoons margarine OR butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1.      Heat oven to 250ºF. Spray 13 x 9-inch baking pan with cooking spray.

2.      Combine cereal and pecans in pan; mix well.

3.      In large microwaveable bowl, combine sugar, corn syrup and margarine. Microwave on HIGH 1 minute 30 seconds; stir. Microwave an additional 30 seconds to 1 minute 30 seconds or until boiling.

4.      Stir vanilla and baking soda into sugar mixture. Pour over cereal mixture; stir to coat evenly.

5.      Bake 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes. Transfer to baking sheet, spreading mixture in even layer. Cool completely; break into pieces.

6.      Store tightly covered at room temperature.

Makes 10 cups.

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

Book Review: A Change of Fortune

I thoroughly enjoyed reading A Change of Fortune, the new book from Jen Turano.  It's funny - I actually laughed outloud many times while reading in bed - not such a good thing for someone with bronchitis!  It's a quirky story of friendship, mystery and high society culture.  There is a little bit of mystery, a little bit of romance.  This is a great book for women, and probably for girls 16+.

Thanks to the publishers at Bethany House for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.