Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Teaching Kids the Bible

Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord: And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: and thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes. And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates.  Deuteronomy 6:4-9 
If I want my children to love and absorb the Bible, I must love it. The words must be in my heart. Then, and only then, can I effectively teach them to our children. Micah frequently gets up as I am finishing my personal reading in the morning. I like that because I want him to see me reading the Bible. Some things are "more caught than taught." Teaching the Bible and Biblical principles shouldn't be pushed into little corners of life and not talked about after that. We are to discuss the Bible when we sit, when we walk, when we lay down, when we get up. That's a lot of instructing.

Obviously I'm not an expert since my children are under the age of three. But I do want to document what I'm doing for future reference. We have specific Bible times worked into our routine. (If I want to do something regularly, I have to work it into a routine.) Some days we don't get all of them, specifically the Bible story during morning reading but the rest are routinely part of our day. I want my children to know that the Bible is supposed to be part of their daily lives regardless of how old or young they are.

Over breakfast, I read from Psalms and one of the Gospels. We started in John. I read as much or as little as we need to that day based on time constraints and our daily schedule. Then we work on our memory verse of the week. I am using this list. I love how it's divided up into categories. I write our verses on index cards (I look them up in my Bible since she uses a different version of the Bible than I do) and stick them in the front of my Bible. After we read our chapters I read the verse aloud a few times. This is mostly for my benefit. I wanted to work memorization into my schedule but I know Micah will also benefit from it. He doesn't talk much yet but he absorbs everything he hears. And before long he will be memorizing them too!

We also sing the "B-I-B-L-E" song after we read. Micah loves that part and I know it won't be long before he's singing it too! My aunt even taught me another verse that I had never heard.

"The B-i-b-l-e, I take it home with me. 
I read and pray, and then obey
The B-i-b-l-e!"

I am teaching Micah not to talk during the Bible reading. I remind him that nothing he has to say is as important as what the Bible says. This is great training not only for him being quiet when he needs to but also looking forward to him moving into the church service. 

How do (did) you teach your children the Bible? 

Monday, January 28, 2013

Week of Meals

I love food pictures. Except they make me hungry. Which makes me want to eat. And I usually do.  Hum....I should start taking pictures of healthy food only. That might help! 

For a few weeks I've been wanting to post a week of dinners but I kept forgetting to take the pictures! I finally got them all taken this week! I'm going to be hungry when I finish this! 

Monday Night: 
Pork and black bean chimichangas. Similar to ground beef chimichangas but even more amazing. You'll see the recipe next week. Seriously, I could eat these every day. And we had Mexican rice with it. 

Tuesday Night:
Chicken Carbonara Pizza  Who wants to pay that money to Domino's? 

Wednesday Night:
Hamburgers and Crash Potatoes  I didn't put any secret sauce on my burgers but they were good. The potatoes.....Ah-mazing! Seriously. I put parmesan cheese on top of them and turned the broiler on for a few minutes. We'll be eating these frequently. 

Thursday Night: 
Chicken Alfredo  One of my favorites, remember? 

Friday Night:
Chicken Biscuits  Justin ended up spending most of Friday at home (!) because we had an ice storm so we snacked around all day and weren't terribly hungry. So I thawed and fried some chicken to put on biscuits. 

Nothing that took a long time. But all so very yummy!

We love food. And I love to cookIt saves us a lot of money too. 

Excuse me, I'm going to have to go eat now. 

Friday, January 25, 2013

Friday Favorites

Today during my naptime reading I found two great articles I wanted to share with you. The first was about homeschooling. It was from Forbes which surprised me since it was pro-homeschooling. 
The second was by Ann Voskamp about 25 points for sanity. Great concepts and I plan on implementing a few of the ideas. 

Wednesday I suggested moving small things around in your home to brighten up wintry days. I took my own advice and adjusted my kitchen some. And we love it! 

The microwave used to be over the dishwasher. The counter space in the corner was virtually wasted and I am already loving having the space open on the end! 

I also closed the butterfly leaf on our table. The dining room seems much larger now and the table is an adequate size for the three of us.

Typical breakfast, although sometimes I substitute an orange for the grapefruit. I must admit, however, that I did have chocolate chip pancakes for breakfast yesterday.

Somebody rolls over in bed now!

Me and my baby love!

Morning bus route for church! Love those kids!

My love and my baby love! Aren't they adorable!? 

And my big boy! He's such a sweetheart! 

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Cabin Fever Corrections

There are many things I like about winter: snow, winter sunlight in the afternoon, sweaters. Ok, several things I like about winter. There's are innumerable things I like spring, summer, and fall. Those short days in the winter when it's too cold to play outside bother me more than the boys, I think. There are several things I've learned to do around the house to brighten up the day and my spirits. I thought I'd share some of them today. 

  • Drink hot chocolate: have something warm and yummy to savor for a few minutes
  • Spend time memorizing Scripture: nothing helps my spirits more
  • Clean your windows: try it. It makes an amazing difference. 
  • Spot-clean curtains: once again, makes a huge difference. I dusted the top of the ones in our bedroom and cleaned off spots on the dining room ones. (Who thought it was a good idea to sit the toddler in front of them?)
  • Light a candle: it's pretty and smells amazing
  • Move some furniture: even something small makes a big difference! 
  • Be grateful: spend some time each day thanking God for your blessings. Walk through your home and thank God for specific things in it. 
  • Decorate with a child's artwork: bonus if you help them make the art! 
  • Get rid of clutter: clear it out and give your brain space to see
  • Clean off counters: again, open space is inviting and brighter
  • Fresh flowers: pull a few dollars and grab some cheap flowers when you're grocery shopping
I threatened last week to throw a party for the sun when it came back out! We had several dark, dreary days. My philosophy on those days is to turn on a lot of lights and play our music really loud. I try to do extra active things with Micah too, like chasing him around the house and dancing in the kitchen.  The sun did come back out after a beautiful snowfall. Micah was thrilled watching the snow fall! He probably doesn't remember the ones last year. And until the beautiful weather is back, I'll keep planting my flower bulbs to enjoy in the spring and drinking my homemade hot chocolate (keep in mind that I added an extra cup of powdered sugar to this recipe.)

Monday, January 21, 2013

Favorite Meal Comparisons

Justin and I sat down over the weekend and tallied up our favorite ten meals. It was a fun conversation for both of us over lunch. I thought I would share our lists; I was surprised at how little overlap there was. 

Justin's list: 
1. Beef wellington and mashed potatoes
3. Potato cakes
5. French dip sandwiches
7. Beef roast

Lisa's list: 
4. Hamburgers and twice-baked potatoes
5. French bread pizza
8. Spaghetti

 Justin's meals were heavy on the meat and mine on the carbs. Can you tell our first food loves? 

This little exercise will definitely help me meal plan! I would like to have a good balance between meat and carb concentrated meals, for health as well as enjoyment. (Yes, yes, we'll have vegetables too!) And we've only had French dip sandwiches once; I'll have to remedy that. 

Have you ever compared your favorite foods to your husband's or a close friend's? 

Friday, January 18, 2013

Friday Favorites

Bread! I love bread!! This honey oat bread is amazing! Check it out :) 

 Ok, I made the french bread again today. A double batch this time. And it turned out even better than last time. I think the trick is to let it rise four or five times. It really doesn't take any longer as long as you're home because you just punch it down and go on. It freezes great too.

Birthday money= birthday shoes!! $8 on clearance!! I love clearance. Aren't these gorgeous? My old pair of black heels I bought before I was pregnant with Micah. They were well over-due for the trash can. Seriously, I hadn't worn them in forever because they were sad.

We had company for dinner last night. That means company mashed potatoes. So not healthy. 

 My baby love investigating the sunlight! Isn't he the most adorable little thing in the whole world?? 

This is the cutest picture of Micah! 

And this is the funniest picture of Micah! haha 

 Baby fun before bed! 

Wednesday, January 16, 2013


Now that baby Kevin is several months old, I've gone back to a more "normal" morning routine. I like it. And I hate it. Mornings aren't my thing. I always feel like I've been asleep only thirty minutes when my alarm goes off and if I'm dreaming I frequently can't figure out what's really going on. But if I get up I realize it's not so bad- after about fifteen minutes. :)

But that morning time is precious enough for me to fight this battle every day. Once I put in my contacts and get a glass of water, I settle down at the kitchen table to read my Bible. I don't dare sit on the couch. It's very comfortable and I'll sleep. But I usually get a good hour before Micah wakes up. Sometimes I even get my hair fixed first!

Our preacher made a statement in marriage class that really stuck with me. He said that we could try to improve one area of our life and we might succeed. But it would probably only be at the detriment of other areas that are also important. We, as humans, can only concentrate on so many things. But if our focus is to grow closer to God, He can change us for all the areas in our life that we are called to. If I focus on my marriage, I may slack off on mothering and vice versa. But if I focus on drawing close to God, He will give me wisdom for all areas of my life. That time in my Bible is so necessary for my whole life.

Set your whole heart on the Word of God! Some people like to read so many chapters every day. I would not dissuade them from the practice, but I would rather lay my soul soaking in half a dozen verses all day than I would, as it were, rinse my hands in several chapters.
Oh, to bathe in a text of Scripture and to let it be sucked up into your very soul till it saturates your heart! -Spurgeon

Monday, January 14, 2013

Pinterest Meals

I have a new favorite food. Ask my husband. I get ridiculously excited when this meal is on my menu and frequently move it to, oh the night after I go grocery shopping! haha  What is this delicious meal, you ask? Ham and cheese sliders on Hawaiian rolls. 

They have an amazing sauce! I was concerned about this the first time I made them because I hate soggy bread. But it doesn't make the bread soggy; it makes it crispy and yummy! 

You can find the recipe I pinned here although the blogger says she found the recipe on Pinterest as well. I did make a few (very) minor modifications so I'm going to write out the recipe for you. 

1 stick butter
1/2 onion, finely chopped
1 tbsp. dijon mustard
2 tbsp. worchestershire sauce
1 pack Hawaiian rolls
3/4 pound honey ham
6 slices provolone

Melt butter in skillet over medium low heat. Add chopped onion and cook until onion is tender. Add mustard and worchestershire sauce and cook another three minutes. Turn the heat down if you  need to so you don't burn the onions. 

Line a 9*13 pan with aluminium foil. Leave enough on one side to cover the top of the rolls. 

Split the entire pack of rolls in half horizontally to make one big sandwich. (After they have cooked you can cut the individual rolls). Pour half of the sauce over the bottom layer of bread. Top with ham and cheese. Place top half of rolls over cheese. Spread the remainder of the sauce over the rolls and cover loosely with aluminium foil. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes. Let cool for five minutes and then divide by cutting along the individual rolls. 

Seriously, these are way more amazing than I would have guessed. My brother said he would prefer them without the onions and mustard in the sauce and I told him I would just make him a ham sandwich! I always have to refrain from eating the whole pan; I might have eaten seven of the individual rolls one time however. I'd make a bad dieter!


Friday, January 11, 2013

Friday Favorites

From upper left corner clockwise:
-I made french bread last Friday. I hadn't found a french bread recipe that I liked yet. They were all too dense. This one had a great texture. Stores/restaurants must have molds for their dough to rise/cook in. Mine always rise out more than up.  Anyway, I made a pizza on what was left of them. I just sliced it in half and topped with sauce, cheese, pepperoni, mushrooms, spinach, and more cheese. Pretty sure it was the best thing I ate all week.

-We rearranged our bedroom furniture! We love it. The room is more proportional and open. And I love to rearrange furniture.

-My dad's cousin (what's that make her to me??) sent me a Christmas present of oven mitts because she had seen a picture of mine on FB. They were pretty sad. But these are amazing! The black part  is some heat-resistant material. And who doesn't love a notepad??

-Found a sandwich bread recipe! Goodbye to buying bread. I really am switching over to making more things myself. Mostly to avoid all the preservatives and chemicals that are in foods and because it's cheaper. I made the bread with half whole wheat flour and it's delicious!

And here are some adorable pictures of my munchkins!! Baby Kevin turned four months old last week. He also has eczema but we are swiftly getting that under control. My babies delight my heart! 

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Reading Program...Again!

I enjoyed my pregnancy reading program so much that I'm doing another one! Well, really, this is more of a year-long educational venture. I may be done with school but I'm not done learning. My parents gave me some money for Christmas and I bought ten books.

Some of them aren't pictured here because they haven't arrived yet. You'll hear more about them later. You'll probably be hearing quite a bit about all of them. I will also try to put up a list of my selected reading for this year. But I will be constantly adding to it because I check every day and they frequently have good selections.

The first book I started was Large Family Logistics. And I love it! It is seriously an amazing book and I think everyone should read it even if they only have one child. The first half of the book talks about who the mom is supposed to be in Christ and the second half focuses on how to run your home. Homemaking 101, let's say. Now, I have a totally different cleaning schedule that works for me right now and I'm not going to mess with it. But there are several things from her book that I do plan on incorporating.

1. I've started reading Psalm and the Gospels to the boys over breakfast. It's a great time when they are both being still anyway!

2. I'm going to start including "deep cleaning time" for 15-20 minutes every afternoon. (Or most afternoons). I've mentioned before that I've struggled with monthly/yearly cleaning tasks and this is the best approach I've seen so far. I need to start a list of tasks that need to be done before I can begin.

3. I'm going to make a set day(s) to do extra kitchen work. You know, bread, desserts, granola bars, freezer cooking, etc. Most of these only take small pockets of time throughout the day and I can work it in around what we are already doing.

4. And I'm going to set aside some hour somewhere in the week to work on my blog posts instead of fitting them in whenever I can. I haven't settled down the particulars of this one yet.

I could go on and on about how much I love this book but I won't. Instead I suggest you buy it. And then read it! That usually helps. Oh, did I mention she has 9 kids? And homeschools? And lives on a farm? Yeah.

Monday, January 7, 2013


Apparently this is officially our Christmas dinner now. We get plenty of turkey and ham on Thanksgiving and at our parent's houses for Christmas so we decided to mix it up. And there is nothing better than carnitas. It's true. 

These are a little more time/labor intensive than meals I typically do with two small children. But it's totally worth it. 

Pork roast: butt or shoulder either one
1 cup orange juice
juice and zest of 3-4 limes, plus more limes for serving
2-3 tsp. cumin
3-4 tsp. garlic powder
2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. pork seasoning, optional
toppings: lettuce, cheese, salsa, sour cream, onions, etc

Here's our lovely ~4 lb. roast. It does have a bone in it. Don't worry about that. 

Cut your meat into 2 in. cubes. Just cut as much off that bone as possible and toss it in too. And do NOT remove the fat. You need it later. Side note: the pot you use is important. This is a nonstick pot. It works beautifully. I used one of my regular aluminum pots with a copper bottom the first time and my meat stuck horribly. Don't waste the deliciousness. 

Add orange juice. Zest and juice your limes. Or have your husband do it because he's stronger and can get more juice out.  :) 

See all that deliciousness on the meat?? 

Add remaining seasonings. 

Cover meat with water and bring to a boil. Turn down to a simmer and cook for two hours. Do not touch it. Don't stir it. Don't cover it. The water is supposed to cook off. 

After two hours turn up the heat to medium high and let the rest of the water cook off. The fat will be left in the bottom and your meat will start to brown in it. Pull the meat off that bone and remove it. The meat is very tender and will flake right off.

Turn the meat until there are lots of pieces that are nice and crispy on the outside! 

Place meat on a plate draining off as much grease as necessary. 


Layer on a tortilla with desired toppings. And it is imperative that you squeeze lime juice over the meat right before eating. It's the crowning touch to the flavors! Enjoy!