Category Archives: Family

A Family Love Banner

A Family Love BannerAh, yes, the sound of the cash register ringing up the love of money. Are you feeling like you want to avoid that and instead make a genuine effort this Valentine’s Day? Look no further, the whole family can participate in this activity. I have nothing against the commercialism of Valentine’s Day, I just don’t need anymore stuff off the shelves. If you are looking for something to raise people up with loving words, this is it.

I have this fantastic window in my kitchen with very exciting white curtains. Ha! So, come holiday time, we like to jazz them up. For Valentine’s Day, I went digging in my bin of stuff and found some beads and festive paper. The kids helped make Valentine’s for the top row, I did the words, but then everyone helped with the bottom row.

Here’s what we did. Everyone was given two hearts for each person. On each heart, they had to write something they love about that person. It could be something they are good at, that they like to do together, something they admire about them, or anything as long as the words were loving and built the person up. So, in our family that meant each person got 10 hearts full of loving words.

We gave each pocket out after our Valentine’s meal and read them. It was so much fun to hear what others wrote because I didn’t look at them ahead of time. We did this early in the week before the 14th and we put them in as we finished. No peeking was the rule. It was so cute because my youngest daughter had me help her with everyone’s but she asked a brother to help her with mine, so it was a secret.

You see, kids love this. And whether everyone in the family gets along all the time or not, we all had something loving to say about each other. Because we are a family. We work hard to teach our children to say things that build each other up, to give hugs – not hits, and kisses – not kicks. Because we are a family. God has blessed us and allowed us to be together and we need to grow that bond and this is a great way.

Remember, your banner doesn’t need to be fancy. We did a variation on this a couple of years ago with the Tree of Love. It’s not about the presentation, it’s about the words on the notes. You better believe I have all those notes tucked away. You never know, when they think they are too tough for love, I’ll be pulling them out.

So, get your chocolates and roses. Open a bottle of wine or make a heart shaped pizza. Celebrate Valentine’s Day however you like. And, if you’re feeling up to it, add in these messages. Happy Valentine’s Day!

Trying to Hide from God

Trying to Hide from GodMy family just got done playing an epic family game of hide and seek. I’ve written about our fun times doing this before. It’s great to do as the evenings get colder. We aren’t die hards – we play with the lights on, but boy is it fun!

We have rules when we play and one of them is, when you are found, you have to go sit on the yellow couch in the living room. So, to be funny, I decided to try hiding right in the room an arm’s length away from the sofa. I had eyeballed up the spot a couple turns before when I got out quick. The drapes were open to the sides of the window and they are pretty long. I thought I might be able to hide behind them. Wow! What a spot. My son (who is really good) walked all around the room and then upstairs. I’m trying to take shallow breaths so he didn’t see me and so I take a big breath.

He finds PK who comes downstairs and sits on the yellow couch. My son is still upstairs looking for others and then all of a sudden I hear a giggle. PK has found me! The rule is, he can’t tell. The other three kids have been found and my son comes down shouting, “Mom, you won!”. Well, I’m not giving up this spot. So, he goes around the first floor again. By this point PK is laughing out loud, the other kids catch on, and my son comes back in and finds me. This was the best spot ever.

Anyway, what does this have to do with hiding from God? Well, I thought about it while I was standing there trying not to move or breathe too much. How often do we try to hide from God? Do we try to hide our hurtful words, our pride, our lack of daily devotions? Who are we kidding? God knows it all. He knows our heart in regard to those things.

Remember in Genesis when Adam and Eve ate the fruit and then tried to hide in the garden? And what does God do? The Bible says, “But the LORD God called to the man, “Where are you?” in Genesis 3:9. Of course God knew where they were and what they had done. But, he loved them. He wanted Adam and Eve to know He was looking for them! He could have come with thunder pounding and flaming swords. But, no, He came calling for them. And then, later on, He makes them clothes. What a loving God!

When we are hiding, He is calling for us with the same love as He showed Adam and Eve. We can’t live to perfection nor are we perfect. But, good news, He still loves us!

So, even though I had a fantastic spot to hide from my family, no place is hidden from God. He knows our thoughts, our desires, and more importantly, He knows the plan for us. Don’t hide from God so He can show you His purpose and His mission for your life. You don’t want to be hiding and miss out!

My Mom for President

MyMomFor PresidentWe were traveling somewhere and from the back of the car, one of my sons asks me, “Mommy, why don’t you run for president?” All the kids chime in about why it would be great if we lived in the White House. Some of the top picks were, they hear there is a bowling alley, it must have a pool, they thought they could each have their own room, and of course the presidential plane probably isn’t too bad either. After talking about it, they asked again, “Why don’t you run for president?” I told them I would check it out.

So, several days later, I was putzing on the internet and decided to check out what you had to do to get on the ballot for president. I mean, why not see? It could be inspirational for them. So, I found out. Well, sort of. It’s hard to find information on how to run for president.

Ballotpedia.org says, “In Pennsylvania, a presidential candidate seeking the nomination of a party must submit a nominating petition of 2,000 signatures and a $200 filing fee in order to gain access to the party’s primary ballot. An independent candidate can get on the general election ballot by submitting to the secretary of the commonwealth, no later than the second Friday after the primary, an affidavit of candidacy, a $200 fee, and a petition. This petition must contain signatures equaling at least 2 percent of the entire vote cast for any statewide elected candidate in the last election.” (see it here)

Hard to say if this is a legitimate site. But, if it is true, I could swing the $200 but I would still need 1,999 signatures. I mean, I get to sign for myself, right?

I found this outdated article, which is enough to shoot any hopefuls dream of being president down. Really, 150 million dollars on advertising? Do you have any idea how much GOOD $150 million will do?

The FEC.gov site has plenty of info on campaign finance. Also, there are plenty of other sites with information, but it wasn’t as easy to find as I thought it would be. So, with that being said, if you want to be one of my 1,999 signatures, keep reading on why to vote for this Mom for president.

First, I want you all to know I don’t need fancy vacations. Staycations have been some of the best family times together. And if we lived in DC, there is a ton to do. I won’t be wasting money on lavish get-a-ways. It could be a boom to my local town to have me as president because tourism might go up. But, the neighbors might not like the extra attention and security, so I’ll have to be sensitive to that.

Second, I’ve already got a wardrobe. I know the best thrift shops to go to and find a great outfit. The media will quickly get tired of mentioning my clothes because I wear my favorite things all the time. I have five pairs of work pants, it doesn’t get much more boring than that. No need for designers to woo me, I’ve got some nice stuff in my closet already. I also have a warm coat for the inauguration and will put up the hood if I’m cold! Also, no worries about me running around in yoga pants…no thank you!

Third, I know people. A real leader surrounds themselves with people who are better then them and lets them be leaders too. Sometimes, these people are your ‘frenemies’ (thanks Disney) but they know stuff the best and so you work together. Also, I can make decisions. After all, I was lead navigator on car trips before Lola (PK’s phone) took over.   There’s nothing like  a decision to exit now or keep going that makes or breaks the length of the journey.

Fourth, there is just some ridiculous stuff that needs to be changed. Being a normal person, making regular people earnings, I know how it is when money is tight. I also know how to budget, stop spending, and prioritize. But, there are two things that really miff me.

  • One, taxes shouldn’t be that hard. I have a master’s degree, I’m not completely dumb. But, how come when the accountant does my taxes I get money back, but when I do them on a tax program I owe an incredible amount? Also, having just paid back the government a lot of money for the accountant’s mistake, I had to pay 6-8% interest. But on my money market account, I only make 0.2%?
  • Two, mortgage refinancing. When is a bank going step up and do the right thing? I’m pretty sure in order to change my interest rate, they just have to plug in the new rate number and the computer program does the rest. So why does it cost upwards of $5,000 to refinance? Fill needs, not greeds.
  • I thought of a third thing, health care. If the insurance companies would stop sending me hundreds of pieces of junk mail on glossy, heavyweight paper, I’m sure rates would drop dramatically.
  • Oh gee, here’s a fourth thing. Do you ever see that Facebook post that Congress shouldn’t be paid if they don’t pass a budget, just like all the services that would stop getting money? Give me a pen and I’ll sign on the dotted line for that now!

Are you seeing that common sense would prevail in my presidency? I mean, an email invite to the next White House dinner with meatball subs and homemade cookies would be just as effective as some elaborate invitation. Also, besides having a warm coat for the inauguration, I already know people who can sing the Star Spangled Banner, play at the ball (which would be much better as a cookout – if it wasn’t January!), and say a prayer. Yup, they are common, ordinary folk.

Fifth, I’m a teacher. We need to get back to teaching our children. Teach them skills for life, how to add and subtract, that there isn’t always a winner, and how to read. I tell my kids that if they can read they can do anything. It has broken my heart to know my kindergartener can read better than a student in an eighth grade class. I’ve also managed 250 second graders for a concert (I teach music) and produced a musical. I’m telling you, I can multi-task. And for goodness sake, let teacher’s teach. A five page lesson plan is just a waste of teacher talent.

Sixth, I’m a parent. If we don’t start loving our kids through our actions and words, we are going to have a lot of lonely adults. Please, love your kids! Love each other!

Seventh, I would promote kindness. Let’s get back to being nice to one another. Slow down, don’t be so quick to sue. The saying for the kids in our family is, “Give hugs, not hits. Give kisses, not kicks.” Sometimes the truth hurts, but delivered lovingly can make all the difference in a person’s response. Build people up with your words. No need to tear them down, there is enough in this world to take care of that.

Eighth, I’m experienced. I already mentioned my multi-tasking skills. Yes, I can hear and keep two simultaneous conversations straight. But, I was also president of my senior class. (I did a lousy job, but stuff got done.) I was also president of resident life or something or other in college. (I did better, but was young.) Now, I’m president of momagement in our household. I’m not afraid to leave the tough notes and carry through.

Ninth, I know that being president is not all about me. It’s about people. Those I know and those I don’t. We all need to learn how to take ‘me’ out of the equation. We have special gifts that God has blessed us with. These gifts are not so that we are amazing, but so that we can use them to help other people grow in their faith. We need to promote love and not ourselves.

Tenth, my kids think it would be cool. My husband and I are responsible for them. And, setting an example of going after things is a great dream. That is why I blog, that is why I set up shop, and that is why I’m publishing a book.  So, what if right now on a good day 10 people visit my blog and I’ve only got two followers on my TpT store (and yes, one of them is myself)? It takes time and perseverance and hard work to build up a business. My kids need to know that they have choices and opportunities. Isn’t that what America was built on? The American dream is mostly alive and well in our house, we all just need to be encouraged.

So, there you have it. I love the United States. We waved a flag long before it was cool and like to celebrate with a good burger with the best of them. This mom is up for the challenge of a presidential run. I’m pretty sure that the news shouldn’t get to choose which candidates gets heard and who is silenced. Let the decision come back to the people and don’t knock off candidates just because they poll less. We all deserve a fair chance.

Since I’m not sure that I’ve even met 1,999 people in my life and could qualify with signatures, your liking this will show my children what a dream for presidency can be. And if anyone is looking for a running mate, I could be open to that too. Happy voting!

Homemade Texas Roadhouse Rolls

Going to Texas Roadhouse is always a treat for our family. Last time we were there, everyone filled up on so many rolls and peanuts we actually had leftover dinner to bring home! My son asked me if I could make the rolls at home. So, I found this recipe for Texas Roadhouse’s Rolls with Cinnamon Butter. I didn’t need the butter, but the picture of the rolls was enough to make me want to try this recipe. So, I did.

Texas Roadhouse Rolls

They take some time, what with the double rising and all, but if you want good bread, it sure is worth it. I actually made the dough in the morning before work and put it in the fridge. I had my son take it out when he got home (because PK is forgetful) and let it warm up. It was easy to pat out and fold. My only thing is I made them too big! That’s not really a bad thing since they were so good. But if you are looking for uniformity, watch as you cut.

I am saying this recipe is a keeper for Will it Work Wednesday. A delicious keeper. They are sweet and after the first bite my son said they’re just like them. I’ll be making these again. Now I need to work on steaks. If you need a yummy dessert, try these soft Lofthouse style cookies. Gee, wonder what other recipes I can find with the word house in it! Enjoy!

Will it Work Wednesday 2

On the Fly S’mores

On the Fly S'mores

Well, we are doing some camping. I use the term camping loosely since we go in a hotel on wheels. Yup, we all pile into the pop up for some adventure and usually at least one night includes roasting marshmallows.

Here's PK maintaining the fire.
Here’s PK maintaining the fire.

My kids are kind of hit or miss with wanting s’mores, so last week when we went camping, I just brought along some marshmallows. Of course, they all couldn’t believe I didn’t bring graham crackers and chocolate for s’mores. *sigh*

So, they started to roast or burn some marshmallows. And then I was like, “Wait!” I ran in the pop up and brought out those can’t eat just one of ’em chocolate striped cookies we got from the Dollar Tree.

Crackerish cookie + chocolate on the bottom + toasted marshmallow = s’more on the fly!

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And it was so much less of a hassle! The kids enjoyed them. I enjoyed them and we all went to bed happy. Really, give it a try. Yummy!

Will it Work Wednesday 2

When the Party is Over

When the Party is Over

I found the above picture as I was downloading my camera. I had celebrated my birthday last week and someone always wants to take pictures. This birthday was not a big deal, just another day for me, but I know the kids like the whole cake and present routine. In fact they forgot it was my birthday until I asked if anyone wanted to help decorate my cake! (In case you were wondering, I even used the soy flour egg substitute and it turned out terrific.)

We had some homemade pizza, opened presents, and had cake. Everything a birthday should be. And when it was all over and the kids were  in bed and my husband and I were just sitting, he asked if it had been a good birthday. And you know what? It was.

The fact that the kids didn’t remember or I had to make my own cake and dinner didn’t really matter. The day just kind of flowed that way. It really wasn’t a big deal that we had to eat early because my husband had scheduled a meeting  and we also had three flag football games to sit through. I got to celebrate with the people I love.

I have treasures to keep. I get to wear a new Eagle’s shirt, that I had bought for myself at a yard sale (for $1!) that my son gave to me along with two of his very own dollars. I got a note from my little girl who wrote, “I lov you” all by herself. I got a solo rendition of “Happy Birthday” from another son whose joy it is to sing for others. All of this, just for me!

And now that the party is over, I still get to keep those memories. I’ve captured them in my heart. It wasn’t a let down or disappointment. I’m not left with wanting more. I have just enough.

So, what party is over for you? Do you have a  birthday celebration coming up or have you finished a big project and are thinking, ‘what now’? If you are only living for the party, then you will be let down every time it is over. I recommend you start  enjoying the process. Then, when it is over, take some time to savor the joys that came with it. Capture some memories that you can keep with you.

 

Love Your Kids

Love Your KidsIsn’t it incredible that God has given you some beautiful children to take care of while you are here on earth? If you’re starting to pull your hair out on summer vacation because the kids are home from school and it seems like the “I’m bored” phrase never ends, here is some encouragement. Here are 30 days of encouragement to love your kids for the small things daily. Love your kids!

Link to the Love Your Kids series.

Quick Father’s Day Gift

In case you forgot, like I almost did, tomorrow is Father’s day! We don’t do a big hoopla about it at church but we do want to recognize Dad’s. I’ll set these out on a back table with a tablecloth and maybe some lifesavers or lollipops spread around.  Anyone can pull this off!

Dews for DadHere’s the label Dews for Dad. It’s so easy and you know Dad probably doesn’t want a flower!

Do You Know What This is a Sign of?

Look at this picture. What do you see?

DQ Spoons

Too many Dairy Queen spoons, I know! Yes, my husband (PK) and I have made a few too many trips to the local DQ this past year. It’s mostly stress eating. His job, my job, or just the burning desire for something super sweet. It’s amazing how sometimes we can just look at each other and we say DQ at the same time. Well, usually we mouth it so the kids don’t hear. (This is an after the kids go to bed treat.) I guess after almost 15 years of marriage you do start to think like one.

Anyway, based on last week’s live-it write up, we realized we needed to put our spending on a live-it too! So, we decided to buy our own ice cream and peanut butter cups and make our own. Oh my gosh, it is so easy! Plus, it is easier on the wallet and waistline!

No fancy mixing machine here, we just use our Kitchen aid mixer. Blend it up and serve.

IMG_0061IMG_0062DQ 2

Doesn’t it look delicious? Cool and refreshing at the end of a hot day? Look, I even used an official DQ spoon. Go ahead and live-it up. All in proportion and you’ll be just fine. Here’s the recipe PK used to make them! A whole gallon is good for six nice sized servings as we found out for PK’s birthday dessert. But for two we use this:

Homemade Blizzards

 

 

Some Days You Need to Live-it Not Diet

Sure bathing suit season is upon us. Sure we’ve got ten 30 day ab challenges saved to our desk top. Sure real food eating pictures bombard us. But you know what? Some days you just aren’t meant to stay on  your diet.

First of all, as PK (aka My Husband) says, “Who wants to be on a diet anyways? Do you want to die while you’re on it? That is depressing. It should be called a live-it!” He’s got a point this time.

I’m not on a diet. I used to have maternity clothes and regular clothes. If one of them didn’t fit, then there is a problem. Since maternity clothes are gone and my regular clothes fit, I’m good to go. But that doesn’t stop me from making the following confession:

Don't judge meYup, I ate half of it. That little part that takes it over half is what my husband ate. He has more self control. Well, confession, he is actually on a live-it and is trying to eat smaller portions! The goodness and flavors of summertime were just too much for me and I had to indulge. I admit if I did this every night, those maternity clothes would probably come in handy! But, I don’t.

I also know that my husband and I will probably take a couple of walks this week. This is to help his live-it too. We get to talk and complain. He’ll try to hold my hand and I’ll pull away because it is just too hot!

I guess I’m just trying to say, if you’re on a live-it, do it in a way that suits you. Don’t judge others for what they eat and don’t judge me. If you fall off because of the tantalizing offerings at a summer picnic, pick yourself back up the next day.

Remember, Live-it not diet, it’s all in your perspective of things!