Carve a LIGHT Pumpkin

Christian-Cross-Carved-Pumpkin
Standing beside mama
, I watched with wide eyes as she took a kitchen knife and cut a circle in the top of a bright orange pumpkin.

Carefully, she lifted the top off and told me to look inside.  Standing on tip toes, I peered into the pumpkin.  “It’s yucky,”  I announced.

With even more interest, I watched mama pull out the gooey seeds while she explained, “We have to clean  the inside so we can place a candle it.”

After several minutes, Mama was satisfied. “Now, we will make a face on the pumpkin.”

Taking a pen, she drew two triangle eyes, an upside down triangle nose, and a big smiling mouth; then took another knife and carved the face.

Turning to me, she asked, “Do you want to put the candle in it?”  Jumping at the chance, I carefully reached into the pumpkin and placed it in the center. When Mama lit the candle, I was fascinated at the transformation. The lifeless pumpkin now smiled at me with a glowing face.

For Christians, October 31 can be much more than a day of too much candy and ghosts and goblins. We can bring Christ into the day in a memorable way.

Which of the following might you do to point your children to Jesus on Carve a Pumpkin Day?

  1. If your child wants to wear a costume, choose a Biblical character  or animal. Talk about that person or the animal God created. Or, help your child select a positive role model like a fireman or  character of good influence.  Discuss how that person or character is kind and that it pleases God for us to be kind.  Share from Ephesians 4:32 “Be kind to one another.
  2. Cut pumpkins out of orange construction paper and print “Be kind to one another” on them. Tape a piece of candy to the pumpkins and let your child hand them out to family and friends during the day.
  3. If you haven’t yet selected a pumpkin, take your child to the store and let them help you select one.  As you look at the various sizes and shapes, discuss how each pumpkin is special. Tell your child, “You are special to God.”
  4. When you get home, let your child help you wash the pumpkin. After cutting the top off the pumpkin, let them see inside the pumpkin and how it, too, needs to be cleaned. As you clean the pumpkin, explain that Jesus cares about us on the inside, too; not just the outside.  That’s why we pray and ask God to forgive us when we do wrong.
  5. Help your child draw a happy face on the pumpkin. Carve out the eyes, nose, and mouth. Let your little one place a candle in the pumpkin.  When you light the candle, explain that just like the candle shines through the pumpkin, Jesus wants to shine through us. Every day, we can pray and ask Jesus to shine through us.  Pray with your child, “Jesus, please shine through me.”  “Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in heaven,” Matthew 5:16. 
  6. Direct your child to the pumpkin seeds. Let them help you wash and roast them.
  7. As an alternative to trick or treating, attend a church “Harvest Fest” so your child can safely enjoy the company of others.  Remind them, “Jesus likes it when we come to church.”

When you return home and tuck your little one in bed, you can know that you’ve done much more than participated in Halloween or Pumpkin Carving Day.  You’ve infused your child’s mind and heart with Jesus. Now that’s something to glow about.

Debbie Taylor WilliamsSpreading the Word & love of God

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READ MORE by Debbie Taylor Williams:  * Marriage & Parenting Tips   * The PLAN A MOM in a PLAN B WORLDFIND DEBBIE ONFACE BOOK,TWITTERPINTEREST.

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When Your Kids Have Good Ideas…

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It happens in parenthood. Sometimes our kids jog us from our comfort zones, and I don’t know about you, but it always takes me by surprise.

One of the things I wish I’d put into practice more as a younger mom, (and honestly, I’m still learning), is to be quicker to listen and slower to speak when they had ideas.

“Hey mom, you wanna play Barbies with me?” “No, mommy’s doing dishes.”

“Hey mama, let’s go to the park.” “No, I just got out of the shower.”

“I have an idea! Let’s make brownies!” “Not right now, okay? I’m busy.”

“Why don’t we go serve at the food kitchen this Thanksgiving, mom.” “We have other plans, maybe another time.”

Fast-forward now to a college-aged son and two teen daughters. Often, I desire to do things with them and spend more time with them (now that I see how fast it goes), and they are too busy for me. But I’ve learned when the rare moments come, I consider their requests more thoughtfully.

The other day, I was busy trying to update my calendar and answering emails, and honestly just enjoying some rare time at home instead of my mom taxi route…and my athletic runner girl asked me to go work out with her. I’m confessing, I would’ve rather been hit over the head with a frying pan than go work out that day. Every single excuse rolled off my tongue, and I almost lost a God-given opportunity.

I apologized and told her I changed my mind a few minutes later, and it turned out to be not only a bonding time, but good for my mind, body & soul as well.

This is only one example of many, and I’ve seen moms who go completely too far in the other direction, letting their children rule the schedule and the day. In either case, the same principle applies.

Do we take the time to listen and really think through our kids’ questions and requests before we reply?

One of the best responses I’ve learned is to tell them to let me think on something before I answer yes or no. I certainly appreciate when others do that for me. Sometimes an immediate answer is known and warranted, but often it’s not. I guess it’s all about being flexible and intentional at the same time, a balance that’s not easy to find. But isn’t that part of living a surrendered life unto the Lord?

Let’s ask for His wisdom, His direction, His insight, His perspective all throughout the day, Mamas. Sometimes our kids have ideas that fit better into God’s plans for us than our own well-intentioned plans ever could.

 

Philippians 2:3, NCV

When you do things, do not let selfishness or pride be your guide. Instead, be humble and give more honor to others than to yourselves.

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The Three Kneelers

The three kneelers
Do you love dreams? I do. Well, the good ones anyway. But I can barely remember them. I love to try and see if I can figure out what they mean. I love the story in Streams in the Desert about a woman’s dream.

It’s the story of three women as they knelt to pray. I can picture myself in the position of each of the pray-ers. This woman’s dream is full of meaning. See which one you are…

As three women knelt in prayer, the Lord appeared and began walking toward them. Drawing near the first one, He bent down to her in tender care, smiling and speaking to her in phrases of sweet love.

As He approached the next one, He merely placed His hand upon her bowed head, giving her a loving look of approval.

And the third one? He quickly passed by her, never offering a word of encouragement or a touch of care.

In her dream, the woman thought to herself, “By His gestures, the Lord must have dearly loved the first kneeler. The second one, He merely patted her with acceptance but none of the recognitions that He gave the first one. But the third kneeler…did she do something to grieve Him that He spoke not a word or give her a passing look? What made the difference between them?”

As she pondered the actions of the Lord, He came and stood beside her, saying, “Oh, my sweet child. You have so misjudged Me and My actions. The first kneeling woman needs all My love and attention every moment, for without it, she would fail.

“The faith of the second kneeler is greater and her love is fuller, so I know she will trust Me no matter what comes her way.

“The one whom I seemed to neglect has faith and love of the choicest and most precious quality. Her intimate knowledge and trust of Me is so solid that she needs no words nor looks, no outward expression of My approval.

“The varying circumstances that I allow in her life do not impede her way. She trusts Me when all outward stresses bring discouragement and frustration, when all the agonies of life attack her sensibilities, attempting to cause her to rebel. She knows that I work My eternal purposes in her and all that she does not understand now, she will later. I am training her for My highest and holiest principals.

“My silence does not mean lack of love, for my love knows no bounds; it is not confined by mere words of approval nor expressions of acceptance. My silence goes beyond the human heart and mind to comprehend. In my finite reasoning, My intentions are perfect, for each child of Mine, that each may learn, in response to My love, to love and trust Me with all his or her heart, without any outward encouragement to bring it forth.”

Are you, precious child of God, going through some crushing blow, or heartbreaking sorrow, or bitter disappointment?
In your prayers, are you looking for a word from your Beloved, a tender pat on the head, a look of approval, or longing to hear some sweet phrases of encouragement?

“The silences of Jesus are as eloquent as His speech and may be a sign, not of His disapproval, but of His approval and of a deep purpose of blessing for you.”

Which kneeler is you?

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Motherhood Is Hard Work

Without a doubt being a mom is one of the hardest jobs I’ve ever had in my life. Never would I have imagined the sheer number of emotions and the intensity each one brings with it. It’s true, motherhood is hard work, and it’s time for moms to stick together.

It’s my heart that by coming to you as a “seasoned” (that’s a nicer way of saying “older”) mom and sharing a little bit of what I’ve learned on the journey of being a mom.

Here’s what I can tell you…it doesn’t get easier.

Yeah, not the answer you expected, I know.

Yes, each stage has its highs and lows, but the motherhood part–well, it’s just as hard today as it was the day I brought my little bundle of joy home. Now that bundle of joy is inching closer to twenty one and the “baby”, well, he’s closing in on nineteen.

I’ve been on this motherhood journey for a very long time and I’d love to share a few motherhood myths that I’ve seen along the way.

Motherhood Myths

  • I can do it all on my own – This happens when we can’t, won’t or don’t ask for help. We put on our wonder woman suit and will do whatever it takes to get it done.

Here’s the truthTwo people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble. Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 NLT

Here’s a better way – Seek out a couple of friends that you can count on to jump in and help you get it done. Whether it is a babysitting swap so you can get your cleaning done, or coordinating a group outing so that you can take some time to just slow down and breathe a little bit.

 

  • At least I’m not that bad – Ouch, we’ve all been there. We’ve seen the mom (sometimes it’s us) in the store, at the doctors office, in the car line that is right on the edge of a breakdown. The kids are going all over the place and she’s doing whatever she can to keep it all together.

Here’s the truthGod will judge us for everything we do, including every secret thing, whether good or bad. Ecclesiastes 12:14 NLT

Here’s a better way – Don’t just stand there and stare, reach out and offer to help. No, not in a creepy way, but in a “hey I’ve been there what can I do to help way”. You would be surprised what a friendly smile or word of encouragement can do in a moment like that.

 

  • I’m the only one… - you name it, at one point or another, we’ve all felt that we’re the only one who couldn’t potty train our child, couldn’t teach our kids algebra, couldn’t _______ (fill in the blank).

Here’s the truthWhat is happening now has happened before, and what will happen in the future has happened before, because God makes the same things happen over and over again. Ecclesiastes 3:15 NLT

Here’s a better way - Stop. Take a breathe. Pray. Seek godly counsel. Then rest in knowing that you are not the only one. Not in a million years. There is another mom out there at this very minute going through either the same thing or something very similar.

 

Mom, you can do this.

Motherhood is hard work, no doubt about it, but God has chosen you to the the mother of your child(ren).

He will prepare you, walk with you and guide you every step of the way.

Don’t give up.
Don’t give in.
Seek other moms to talk with, lean on and walk beside.

If you do that, then you will see the beauty of what happens when moms stick together. 

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10 Things Single Moms Should Consider Before Dating

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Hey single mom… I wish we were hanging out over coffee and chatting because I know what you’re going through. I’ve been there, so I understand how hard it is to be a single mom.

Feeling the pressure and the pain that comes with trying to fulfill both roles of the mom and the dad is daunting. The physical, financial, and emotional strain of it all can wear a woman out.

Motherhood is a beautiful thing but being a mom can be hard… and being a single mom… well, it’s just extra hard.

I remember things like…

Making a sandwich out of bread and a pack of ketchup I found in my fridge so I had enough food for my son to eat.

Wondering what I was going to do and who to call when my car broke down.

Trying to figure out how to fix the toilet.

Wishing I didn’t have to take the trash out at night.

Feeling insecure, inadequate, unsafe, frustrated, and even afraid. 

Wishing there was a man in the house to be a male role model for my son.

For some reason, I thought finding a knight in shining armor who would calm my fears, fix my toilet and take out the garbage would be the answer to all my woes. 

It’s wasn’t.

And I made a lot of mistakes in my single mom journey.

Today, I want to share with you some important lessons about being a single mom and dating… and most I learned the hard way.

1. Don’t focus on finding a man. Focus on being a good mom. You don’t need a man to complete you or your children. 

2. Don’t even think about it if he isn’t a Christian. Missionary dating rarely converts him but almost always converts you. That whole, “Don’t be unequally yoked” thing is for your protection.

3. Wait until you’re talking about marriage before you introduce your boyfriend to them. Your children don’t need men coming in and out of their lives, messing with their emotions and confusing them. 

4. Take your relationship slow. If you’re talking marriage, your children will need time to adjust – so after you’ve introduced him, begin scheduling weekly ‘family’ dates so your children have the opportunity to get to know him well and you can see how he relates to your kids.

5. Your job is to protect your kids, so don’t leave them alone with him until you know him REALLY well and have seen him interact with them. There have been some terrible things that have happened to children because a mom left them with a man she was dating. 

6. Believe your children. If they tell you something they have seen in him that raises a red flag, believe them. And if a red flag goes up, then he needs to go… quickly.

7. Recognize that if you get married that your boyfriend will become your children’s stepdad. So, it’s not only about if he is a good man or a man whom you love, but will he be a good dad who can love your kids well.

8. You can’t change him. Remember the man you dreamed of marrying when you were a little girl. No little girl grew up thinking, “I want to marry an alcoholic or a drug addict.” Or “When I grow up, I want to marry a man who won’t work.” Or “I can’t wait to marry a man who is controlling, abusive, or angry.” You’re kids deserve so much more than that and so do you!

9. Don’t settle for less than God has for you. Don’t let the desire to be married be so insatiable that you would settle for less than God has for you.

10. Keep your priorities right whether you’re dating someone or not. First…Focus on your relationship with God. He is perfectly able  to put the right man in your life and your children’s lives at just the right time. Second…focus on being the mom God created you to be and developing character in your kids. Put their needs above yours. That’s what love does.

SO…there you have it. TEN things single moms should consider before they begin dating. There are so many more things I wish I could share with you. Places where I failed, lessons that I learned, things I wish I could have changed, and a couple things I actually did right. 

But I want you to know that God has a plan for you and your children and He is there for you. In the middle of your single mom journey… let Him be who He said He is… a Father to the fatherless… a Husband to the husbandless.

“For your Maker is your husband,
The Lord of hosts is His name;
And your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel;
He is called the God of the whole earth.
For the Lord has called you
Like a woman forsaken and grieved in spirit,
Like a youthful wife when you were refused,”
Says your God.” Isaiah 54:5-6 (NKJV)

 

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How asking for help can make YOU a more joyful mom…

Do you have a hard time asking for help, even when you know you need it?

Do you have a lot on your plate right now, but continue to try to do it all (all on your own)?

Take a minute to watch this short video from my talk at the Better Together conference, hear how I learned my lesson the hard way, and discover how asking for help can make YOU a more joyful mom!

(click here if the video isn’t displaying for you below)

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Praying Romans 12:2 for Your Kids & the Cross-eyed Salmon

prayingscriptureforyourkids

I want my kids to be like a salmon.

To go against the flow. 

But it’s not easy.

In fact, it’s much harder to go against the flow than to just go with it.

It’s dangerous.

The enemy awaits.

The current is strong.

The journey is long.

Certain death awaits.

The kind of death that teaches them to die to self so that the life of Christ will shine through them.

The kind of death that makes the world unattractive and the destination the desire of their hearts.

A salmon.

Yeah… I want my kids to be like a salmon… a cross-eyed salmon.

With their eyes focused on the cross as they go hard against the flow.

That’s what I’m praying for.

How about you?

Pray on, sweet mom! Pray that your children will go against the flow.

Just like a salmon.

A cross-eyed salmon.

 

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Get Back to Baseline as a Family

get back to baseline as a familyIt’s 7 pm and the doctor has ordered me to fast, so that blood-work may be taken and tested first thing in the morning. So I fast from food and keep hydrated with water, knowing that 12 vials of blood tomorrow will necessitate being super-hydrated. Why does the doctor order the fast, you might wonder?  He does so to get a baseline account of where I am with no influencing values created by eating certain foods.  You see, some foods could elevate certain numbers, causing the doctor to be more aggressive in treatment than necessary. 

Thus, a baseline value gives a known measure or position to calculate or locate something. (Merriam Webster)

Along the same lines, there are times in our family life and personal life when we need to fast from something to measure or locate something else.  It is beneficial.  It is telling–keeping our hand on the pulse of our own life and the lives of our loved ones. There are times we need to get back to baseline as a family.

Personally and recently, I have fasted from both caffeine and sugar.  The first three days are difficult and trying.  I get headaches.  I am grouchy. I start feeling the lack and begin to edge on desperation. Then the fourth day arrives and generally, I find that I am feeling lighter, freer and better than I had been feeling in months. For a time, I may fast from either or both, and often my energy level increases, my metabolism increases and my mental capacity is clearer.

I have also fasted from food for a day or two over the past few years.  It is a time, when I dig deeper into God’s Word and seek Him specifically for better understanding regarding deep concerns I may have.  I hear God better when I fast–there is just less clutter in my mind, when my diet is composed of His Word and liquids (water, broth and juice)  Fasting is a very good personal choice for a time in every person’s life. By the way, I highly recommend this free resource, if you are considering a food fast: Your Personal Guide to Fasting and Prayer by Dr. Bill Bright

As a family, there are times (at least two weeks every year, sometimes more) when I begin to feel and sense things getting out of balance: tempers flaring, fighting, rudeness, lack of focus, lack of close community and the like.

Every time I sense it, I begin to let them know a technology free week is coming.  I prepare their minds and hearts in advance.  Then I set the dates and times.  My Chris and I are specific about the things from which we are fasting (we call it unplugging), like television, electronic games, PlayStation and Wii. We are also specific about how we will fill the void: reading, radio, CD’s (they all LOVE Adventures in Odyssey and get disks from the library), board games, puzzles, outdoor activities, family projects, friends and field trips. 

The first couple of days are very difficult. They struggle and have withdrawals. They are grumpy, edgy and whiny.  I get on the edge of desperation and wonder why I had to go and make this our unplugged week. You could say my resolve is weakened. By about the third day, I begin noticing interactions between our four children. They are reading to one another–without being asked to read to their sibling! They are playing board games. They are making forts out of boxes and pretending. The rude behavior and temperamental attitudes have diminished greatly. By the fifth day, they are asking when we can get back to mom reading aloud the story we are working through and can we play such and such board game after supper or can we walk to the park and play catch!

I am not suggesting that we hit perfect family status as our baseline. 

No, but we begin to see and locate what is going on in the hearts of our children–finding that the pulse of our family is vital to the outworkings of everything else we do individually.  It takes a little extra work on our part, as parents.  It takes more of our own focus, too, which is unfortunately often distracted by many things. But it gives us a sense of where we are as a family and how we can be a community that cares for and loves each other. With all the influential noise eliminated, we begin to see and hear and understand more clearly. For us, it works as a family.

Perhaps you already live in this place all the time.  Well that is a wonderful way to live! However, we like to watch television and play electronic games and such.  It is part of what we do, as a family. But like everyone, we can get out of balance. To find the balance, you need to get back to the baseline. Then you can rightly gather the known measure to calculate or the position to locate where your heart is.

For friends, where your heart is abiding indicates the treasure. And the treasure?  Well, sometimes the treasure is an idol that needs to be taken down and put in its rightful place. Then freedom and fullness abounds!

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Freezer Foods for Fall

freezer meals

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A few weeks ago, I was inspired by The Pioneer Woman to make some freezer meals. We are an on-the-go family but really enjoy a home cooked meal much more than eating out. I’m usually pretty good at cooking dinner on the weeknights (thank you Mr. Crock Pot) but often on the weekends we veg out on frozen pizza or order take out. By Sunday night, the only thing that sounds good is food that takes too much effort for me to prepare. Hence the need for homemade freezer meals. With a grocery list in hand and a weekend at home, I was able to prepare six meals that my family can enjoy on the nights that we crave comfort food but not the work.

Here are Six Freezer Friendly Meals:

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 Warning! Your kitchen will get messy :)

Friday night I started with my chicken meals. I bought a big bag of frozen chicken from Sam’s and cooked my chicken breasts. I keep it simple by cooking chicken on the skillet in extra virgin olive oil and season it with salt and pepper. This made it super simple to just throw the chicken into the meals I was making. I even had some leftover that I froze to use on salads and sandwiches during the week. Here are my 3 freezer meal chicken recipes:

1. Chicken Spaghetti

This meal is super easy and always a crowd pleaser. It also freezes really well in a large throwaway dish.

3 cups of cooked chicken

1 can cream of chicken soup

1/2 cup milk

3 cups cooked rice

1 cup queso dip

Stir all together and back at 350 degrees for about 25 minutes. Top with shredded cheese.

2. Teriyaki chicken

I accidentally cooked too much rice for my chicken spaghetti so I used the leftover rice to make teriyaki chicken. All I did was brown some chopped onions in the bottom of a pan with two eggs and added the rice and diced up chicken. Then I seasoned it with teriyaki sauce, soy sauce, ground ginger, a 1/4 teaspoon sesame oil, and a tablespoon of ketchup. After that, I added cooked edamame and shredded carrots.

3. Chicken Pot Pie

I’ve been dying to make a homemade chicken pot pie ever since I ate my friend Janet’s recipe. I even made my own pie crust and I can’t wait to heat this up on a cool fall night.

Start with the dough first because it needs to sit in the refrigerator for an hour. I made four batches of this dough so I could pull them out of the freezer whenever I needed a pie crust.

Flaky Butter Crust:

1 1/4 cups all purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

7 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled and cut into pieces

1 to 2 tablespoons ice water

To make the dough in a food processor, combine the flour, salt, and butter in the processor and process untilt he mixture resembles coarse crumbs, about 10 seconds. With the machine running, add the ice water through the feed tube and pulse quickly 5 or 6 times, or until the dough comes together and starts to pull away from the sides of the container. Gather the dough into a ball, flatten it into a disk, and wrap in plastic wrap. Regrigerate for at least 1 hour.

De’s Homemade Chicken Pot Pie:

1 cup diced carrots

1 cup diced celery

1 cup diced onion

1 cup frozen green peas

1 whole rotisserie chicken (I shredded four chicken breasts)

1 1/2 cups half n half

3 cups chicken stock

1 stick butter

1 box pillsbury regrigerated pie crust (I made my own)

1/2 cup all purpose flour

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp pepper

Saute carrots, celery and onion in butter over medium high heat in large deep skillet until slightly softened – about 7 or 8 minutes. Add flour and stir for one minute to cook.

Mix half n half and chicken stock in bowl. Pour into vegetable mixture. Reduce heat to me-low and stir until thickened.

Pull meat from chicken and add to mixture. Add salt, pepper, and peas.

Place one pie crust (or half of your homemade dough) in a deep casserole dish (I did mine in a pie pan so I could make two pies out of this recipe). Bake the bottom for 10 minutes so it doesn’t get soggy.

Pour misture on top of crust. Place 2nd crust on top and squeeze edges to seal. Brush egg white on top of crust to make a pretty brown crust. Make 2 or 3 slits in middle of crust to release steam.

Bake on 400 degrees for 35-40 minutes until bubbly. Cool 10 minutes before serving. Serves 8 people. Forget the calories and enjoy!

On Saturday, I woke up and started on my beef recipes (it was game day so it seemed appropriate!)

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4. Taco soup

I actually substituted ground turkey in this recipe instead of beef to keep it on the healthy side. My girls love this soup and I served it for lunch with The Pioneer Woman’s mini blueberry cornbread muffins. Yum!

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My taco soup is super easy. Just brown your turkey and drain out the excess fat. Season it with a taco seasoning packet and water. Next add one whole can of kidney beans (juice included), one whole can of pinto beans (juice included), one can of rotel, and add black beans and corn that have been drained. Add a ranch seasoning packet to the mixture and 1-2 cups of water and let it simmer for 30 minutes to an hour. Serve with Mexican cheese and Frito’s for a yummy game day soup.

5. Lasagna

My mom makes a super easy lasagna. Her spaghetti sauce recipe is cooked ground chuck (drain the fat), two cans of Hunt’s tomato sauce, one can of hunt’s tomato paste, and a cup of water. Season it all with salt and pepper, garlic seasoning, parsley and oregano. I even through in a Parmesan cheese rind to give it extra flavor. I let my sauce simmer for three hours. Then, I just layered the lasagna pan with sauce, noodles, ricotta cheese, mozzarella cheese, mad Parmesan cheese.

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6. Sloppy Joe’s

My husband really liked these! Here’s The Pioneer Woman’s recipe:

Photo by The Pioneer Woman

Ingredients

  • 2 Tablespoons Butter
  • 2-1/2 pounds Ground Beef
  • 1/2 whole Large Onion, Diced
  • 1 whole Large Green Bell Pepper, Diced
  • 5 cloves Garlic, Minced
  • 1-1/2 cup Ketchup
  • 1 cup Water
  • 2 Tablespoons Brown Sugar
  • 2 teaspoons Chili Powder (more To Taste)
  • 1 teaspoon Dry Mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes (more To Taste)
  •  Worcestershire Sauce, To Taste
  • 2 Tablespoons Tomato Paste (optional)
  •  Tabasco Sauce (optional; To Taste)
  •  Salt To Taste
  •  Freshly Ground Black Pepper, To Taste
  •  Kaiser Rolls
  •  Butter

Preparation Instructions

Add butter to a large skillet or dutch oven over medium high heat. Add ground beef and cook until brown. Drain most of the fat and discard.

Add onions, green pepper, and garlic. Cook for a few minutes, or until vegetables begin to get soft.

Add ketchup, brown sugar, chili pepper, dry mustard, and water. Stir to combine and simmer for 15 minutes, adding salt and pepper to taste. Also add tomato paste, Worcestershire, and Tabasco if desired. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.

Spread rolls with butter and brown on a griddle or skillet. Spoon meat mixture over the rolls, topping with a slice of cheese if it makes your skirt fly up. Serve hot with kettle cooked chips!

Hope you have enjoyed these six freezer friendly recipes. Which one are you going to try first?

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Avoiding the ER

emergency room1Minnesota, Colorado, Virginia, Utah, California are all states where at least one Wildenberg child has made a  trip to the ER.  It isn’t an official family vacation until we take at least one trip to Urgent Care or the Emergency Room. 

I prefer to avoid the ER.

There is another -er that would be good to avoid. The suffix, er. The er  that comes at the end of a word:

Smarter

Happier

Sweeter

Nicer

When we compare our kiddos to one-another we can do some damage. Theodore Roosevelt said, “Comparison is the thief of joy.”

It’s true. Comparison can turn admiration into envy and jealousy.

Sibling rivalry is as old as… well… time. It occurred in the very first family  with Adam and Eve’s boys, Cain and Able. 

Our kids will not get along perfectly, but we can help them establish strong and positive bonds by doing these 7 things:

1. Avoid the -ers. Don’t compare your kids or put them into a competitive situation where one is the winner and one the loser. Save the competition type events  for peer  interactions.

2. Train your kids to speak and act with kindness to one-another. This is the simplest and best way to encourage  a good relationship.

3. Appreciate and value each person’s strengths.

4. Exert effort in family and sibling play time. We make a huge effort to organize play dates for our kids with other children, why not with their siblings? 

5. Have your kids work together. Shared effort and maybe even shared feelings (good or bad) about a chore will draw kids together.

6. Create some family traditions so  your kids will have some similar memories.

7. Build empathy into the relationship. “I remember when you were Jacob’s age and you got into my stuff just like your little sister is getting into yours.” Kids love stories about when they were younger and a little bit of a rascal! 

As moms we can have great influence on our kids’ relationship. If we avoid having a “favorite” and  make efforts to build up each child so they feel secure, they will be less likely to be resentful of their sibling and a loving relationship is more likely to grow. Hurtful messages or unwise words may not send a child to the Emergency Room  but they can create a big wound.  How we speak to our kids and about our kids has a great impact on their heart and psyche.

My children will always be siblings but I want them to be lifetime friends as well.  I can can do my part to encourage that relationship.

A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.
Proverbs 17:17

If you liked this article you will like Lori Wildenberg’s two just released books. One for parents of toddlers to nine-years-old,  Raising Little Kids with Big Love or the one for parents of tweens and teens, Raising Big Kids with Supernatural Love. Both books can be found on Amazon.com or BarnesandNoble.com

Little_Kids_Cover

 

 

Big_Kids_Cover

 

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