Making Life Easier: chicken noodle soup with sweet potato recipe

Over here life is very busy, sometimes just because I like it that way, and other times because with two little people and a husband and being involved with ministries at church that's just the way it is.

A week ago I found out my root canal was most likely infected.  I made an appt this week to have the specialist who put it in take a look and decide what the next step was.  It didn't look good because a root canal should not give you pain after 4 years (unless it cracked or their is some type of infection) which means most likely there will be some type of oral surgery.  John took off work for me and right away I started to break out the Crock Pot.

All of you out there who have read my blog KNOW I love my crock pot.  First of all having food cooking all day, makes your home smell like a restaurant, Second, all you have to do is chop and throw in all the ingredients and go about your day, and Third, I've never made a dish that didn't taste amazing or meat didn't just fall off the bone because of tenderness.

Making life easier for myself this week meant I had to make a meal that would last more than an evening, and also a meal that would be kid friendly, dad friendly, and 'just visited the dentist friendly'.  I decided on making:
Chicken Noodle Soup with Sweet Potatoes.


I've made it before and we all love soup around here, actually we love any meal where bread gets dipped, and noodles are involved.  And whenever John comes home and sees the crock pot out he's a happy camper!

All you need is:

6-8 boneless, skinless, chicken thighs (cut into 1 inch pieces)
2 sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
1 onion, chopped
1 1/.2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp pepper
1 bay leaf
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
2 celery, chopped
1 14 oz can of chicken broth (and a second one for the next day)
egg noodles, cooked (and put to the side)

Directions: Combine all ingredients except egg noodles in the crock pot.  Cover; cook on low for 8-10 hours or cook on high (4-5 hours)  As you serve the soup add the noodles to each person's bowl.  I keep the noodles separate because they tend to absorb all the liquid very quickly.  And for the second day I add another can of broth anyway so that the meal is soupy again even after you refrigerate it.

I posted on Facebook that we were having this meal at the beginning of the week and lots of people asked for the recipe!  So here it is!  It's a great Fall soup, and it is good at lunch or dinner!

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So What IS the Difference?


Guest writer:  John McInerney (the husband)
“For You formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother's womb.
King David - Psalm 139:13

God knew exactly what He was doing when He made men.  This is my son Mark after he came home from the hospital.    He started as a microscopic cell, like all of us, but within that cell are the biological instructions given by our Creator that would make him unique.   About 6 weeks after his conception there was a spike in a particular chemical that makes all men what they are, TESTOSTERONE. 



This hormone actually damages the walnut-shaped brain and alters its structure.  The corpus callosum, which connects the two hemispheres of the brain, is made less efficient.  Thus men have to think longer about what we believe especially thoughts regarding emotion.  Women are more articulate than men and are able to express themselves much more clearly and efficiently.  (So men, when we do not respond fast enough – we can now argue brain damage).  We then take a second Testosterone bath at puberty, where we have 15x more testosterone than women. 

And because of this chemical, we like to do one thing – dominate.  We must be the best.  We must win.  You can jump 3 feet high – I’ll go 4.  You can jump your bike over 2 garbage cans, I’ll do 3.  You can fly a plane to the next state, I’ll take that thing around the world!!! 

Out of the Fortune 500 companies, 493 are men.  We need to be in charge.  If women were to get together to go skeet shooting, the first woman to shoot one out of the sky would be engulfed in applause, excitement and words of encouragement from the other women.  Men, when we go shooting, if another guy blasts one before us, the first thing we do is start talking trash just to intimidate them so that we can start our conquering verbally before we get to it physically.  We talk smack, and we don’t stop trying until we win.  Like Sensei John Kreese says, “second place is no place.”

We are risk takers, we men.  We can’t help it.  We are chemically predisposed to putting it all on the line.  Look at our heroes:



Arnold Schwarzenegger – COMMANDO

One guy against an army – out numbered, yes, a sucide mission, yes, does he go, absolutely!




Bruce Lee - Game of Death

 5’7” – 135lbs.  Takes on Kareem Abdul Jabar – 7’2” – 267lbs.  – Not a problem!





Not only do we have much more testosterone, but we have much less Serotonin.   This chemical carries information from once nerve cell to another and helps people control their impulsive behavior and facilitates good judgment.  Case in point – tonight Mark was pushing his carriage in the middle of the street tonight with all of the neighborhood kids playing, Dad wants to show off (testosterone) so he jumps over the carriage and Mark (lack of Seretonine) and lands on Marks head.  Mark falls down crying, Kristi sees it, I plead brain damage. 

So are women chemically superior?  Mentally advanced?  The more perfect of the sexes?  Au Contraire!  Men and women are exactly as God made them, the perfect complement.  James Dobson says in this chapter:
“…the sexes were carefully designed by the Creator to balance one another’s weaknesses and meet one another’s needs.”
WOMEN

Women are nurturing, caring, sensitive, they make fewer mistakes, take fewer risks, are better students and are more thoughtful and less impulsive.
My wife is the most thoughtful and encouraging person I have ever met in my life.  Her words transform me to be able to accomplish things I never thought possible.  For the last 2 years I have had the most difficult time in a new career.  I have an extremely high pressure job in Finance and she never fails to leave me notes of encouragement, text me words of love and appreciation and never fails to let me know how much she treasures me and my efforts.  I could never do what I do without her love and support.  She is my rock. 
“A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies.”  Proverbs 31:10
MEN

Men value change, take charge, love adventure, seek opportunity, physically protect and provide for their families. 

When my son hit his head on the coffee table and we had to rush to the hospital, Kristi made me just as nervous as Mark’s bloody head.  She was so shocked at the sight.  I started barking out processes and procedures for the most efficient way to stop the bleeding, get in the car, organize family to watch Julia all within 8.5 seconds.   Men protect, men get things done. 


However, men are not supposed to just be manly.  I think our culture swings from extremes.   Ultra manliness says men do not cry.  Feminists say gender lines should be taken down so men become more like women.  I think a good man is one who exhibits his Testosterone in a way that also exhibits his love and affection.  Jesus wept with people and His loving words lifted up the downtrodden hearts of those who were hurting and needed it most. 
My prayer is that Kristi and I can raise Mark to be a man who is strong, competitive, and aggressive but also compassionate, loving, and encouraging. 




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New Ideas for Fall

Fall is practically here!!!

I'm so excited!  We have so many neat things going on this year with the kids with Pre-School stuff at home with me, Fall field trips click here with MOPs (Mothers of Pre-Schoolers) which I am coordinating this year (I joined the MOPS steering committee, and I love our team and theme this year--God has created us to be bold, loving and sensible!) and we will have Awana and Gymnastics!  And have I mentioned I'm leading a Ladies Bible Study on Tuesdays?  Yes, I decided to do another year and we are starting off with a Women of the Word series: Giving God Your All.

At first I was feeling a bit overwhelmed with my new responsibilities and schooling the kids again this year (although setting up the school room and buying curriculum and planning is really fun for me click here to see my ideas) but a really great friend reminded me that at this point, schooling my children is is not required or mandatory, they are only 2 and 3, but since I'm a teacher and an educator by career and choice it is hard for me not to feel pressured to do everything with zeal and excellence.  And giving your all is awfully tiring as all you moms out there know!

Last year some milestones for us was Julia being potty trained, Julia getting a big girl bed, Mark talking, and no longer nursing.

This year some milestone Goals are potty training Mark, getting Mark a big boy bed (Dad still has his heart set on making/building one, although I think we might just end up buying one) and giving up thumb sucking and sippy cups (I HATE sippy cups.  I know hate is a strong word but I really don't like packing them every where we go!  It's gotten old, really fast!)  Visiting the Dentist takes place on Aug 31!!! We are so excited over here about that!  Julia and Mark know all about the importance of brushing your teeth, not swallowing tooth paste, and not eating too many sweets or you could get cavities.  We've read so many dentist books that now Julia goes up to strangers and goes, "Do you have cavities?  Let me see!"

And Julia has stopped sucking her thumb, but we are working on Mark-man...Julia tells him about how he needs to stop all the time!

Our Fall School Schedule is packed with reading, writing, and counting, and learning about the weather and the planets!  We continue to review our Presidents during Circle Time and I can't wait to start Awana so we can start earning our badges for memorizing Bible Verses!

While Julia is at Awana, Mark and I will have Mark and Mommy time!!!  I'm thinking we will play in the church nursery or sometimes go food shopping across the street.  Either way it will be just us and really fun.
My Blog will be revamped too:

Monday: School Happenings
Tuesday: Bringing up Boys by Dr. Dobson (featuring me or John, chapter by chapter)
Wednesday: Routines/Sched/Ideas, ways to make life easier
Thursday: Esther study and next 1 Timothy
Friday: Fun Outings
Saturday: (from time to time) Kristi's Kitchen (meal planning or recipes)
And don't you just love Fall?  The cool mornings, the breeze in the trees, the smell of sharpened pencils, and the splashes of reds, oranges, and golds all around?  I love love love FALL!

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Hurricane Prep

As many of you know the east coast is being hit by a massive hurricane.  There is much to prepare for the worst of the storm which will start this evening around 9pm (it's already raining pretty hard now at 7:45) til noon tomorrow with heavy rains and strong winds.

These are some things we have done for our home and our family over the past 2 days:

1. Filled up our SUV gas tank.
2. Bought canned foods (tuna, peanut butter and jelly) and water bottles for 3 days
3. Taped all our glass windows on the inside to prevent glass shattering
4. Cleared our garage to house John's car.
5. Put all deck chairs and toys and flower pots in the shed.
6. Filled up the tub with water to be able to flush the toilets if the water stops working.
7. Bought batteries for our flashlights
8. Candles are out and ready to go
9. Set up the basement to sleep with the kids since the heaviest part of the storm will be during bedtime
10. Laid the basketball hoop on its side so it doesn't fall over
11. strapped the BBQ with bungee cords to the deck
12. Bought cookies, crackers, bread, chips, and fruit (all things I don't have to cook)
13. Bathed the kids just in case we can't use water for the next few days!

Just thought I'd post our list in case anyone else is wondering what to do or how to prepare.  Feel free to post any other things we should do that we might have forgotten!

Above all, God is in control, He is our help, I'm happy to be snuggled up close to those I love, and I'm praying no trees fall on our house or damage our property.

Oh, and stay off the roads!



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The Heart of Christ

My husband preached a sermon on The Heart of Christ (John Ch. 4 The Woman at the Well) story.

I can't tell you how proud I am of him, and how well he did, of course I am extremely biased, but he was amazing.

Let me say that again.  He did an awesome job at portraying just how much God loves us and just how far he will reach out to show us his love and pursue us.

If you have a minute.  Please listen.
Click here to hear the sermon.




Winner of Blog Hop Giveaway!

Wanted to say Congratulations to Elizabeth at Crochet Jewelry!  She is the winner of our blog hop giveaway today!!!

Elizabeth please contact me as soon as possible to I can mail you your yummy scone mix from Cape May!  

Blog Hop #14--My First Giveaway!!!

It's Time to Mingle!

Hosted by All About Being Inspired, Happy Go Lucky, Joy in the Jumble and Keeping Up With Kristi.
Each week we will choose one blog at random to spotlight at the next week's blog hop.

This weeks guest host is Baby Berry
  There are no rules to this blog hop.  Just link up your blog's main page.  Then have fun reading new blogs and making new blog friends.  We would love for you to follow the hostesses in the first four spots and our guest host in the fifth spot.   We always follow back!!

This week we have another fabulous giveaway hosted by Keeping Up With Kristi.
One of our blog hop participants will win this yummy scone mix from Cape May.  Make sure you follow all of the hosts in order to be eligible to win the scone mix.
Grab our button if you want to share our blog hop with others.  There will be a new list every Thursday, so be sure to come back every week.


We hope you have fun and thanks for joining us!  We are so excited to find new blogs, share great ideas, and inspire each other.


Harmony

Aaaah, Harmony...what a great word.

This is a word John and I made up together, I mean obviously it's a word already, but it's a word that has a spouse meaning.

You and your spouse or friends probably have words or terms that only you fully understand that have meaning beyond the words.  There's a whole story behind the word.

Well in our world "harmony" was always my parent's home.  My mom and dad are the epitimy of harmony.  They speak quietly.  They listen to soft, jazzy, music that creates such an enjoyable atmosphere to sit and talk in.  And they are always brewing coffee or boiling tea.

The opposite of harmony in our eyes (and we mean this in a totally funny way--and we tease my in laws all the time!) was always my in laws house.  We love them to pieces but they are always loud, always yelling, and there is always some sort of drama going on!  We would call it the circus!  And yes, we had a tune we would sing for them about it.

So, we were always seekers of "harmony" and you all know what harmony is, it may be different things for you, but right now for me, here are the things that "harmony" is...

Harmony is drinking my first cup of coffee in utter silence.  And drinking slow sips.

Harmony is taking a hot shower and not worrying if the kids are okay.

Harmony is hearing Chris Botti or Norah Jones on the radio.

Harmony is listening to the waves on the beach and nothing else, but maybe a seagull.

Harmony is sleeping in, and waking up to nothing in particular, no deadlines.

Harmony is hearing yourself think.

Harmony is looking at an empty laundry basket and realizing all the chores are done.

Harmony is hearing John play the guitar as I blog.

Harmony is having all your emails answered and an empty inbox.

Harmony is strolling in the bookstore with a Tall Caffe Latte in one hand and John's in the other.

Harmony is holding both my kids hands at the same time and walking into the library quietly because the library is "sleeping."

Harmony is walking into a room, any room, and everything is in it's place.

Harmony is a vase full of roses or sunflowers on the table.

Harmony is the smell of Downy fresh laundry and warm air from the dryer hitting your face.

Harmony is Paris spending a few days with my in laws. (that's our 4 year old boxer)

Harmony is walking slowly and not having to rush.

Harmony is going to church early and sitting in the chair and praising and thanking God for all He has given me.

Harmony is a cool Fall morning.

Harmony is a family reunion at the beach and lots of hugs and laughter and catch up stories.

Harmony is praying with a friend in the pool, around the block, or over the phone.

Harmony is meeting a friend's baby for the first time, and seeing your friend in their little face.

Harmony is holding a sleeping newborn and feeling their fingers wrap around yours.

Harmony is kissing your kids good night and hearing them say, "I love you."

Harmony is not being able to imagine your life any other way because you know that what God has given you is absolutely enough and absolutely the best.

Harmony is being able to tell a friend "I love you" on a text.

Harmony is that moment when you look up at the sky and can't imagine how big God is or just how much He loves you.

Harmony is hearing your husband preach, and seeing a man of God do a mighty work with God's help right before your very eyes.

Harmony is finding all the right words to say at just the right moment.

Harmony is...

What is harmony for you?

Vive La Difference

We are continuing our read in Bringing up Boys by Dr. James Dobson.

Chapter 2: Vive La Difference

There are no differences between boys and girls besides the fact that they have different private body parts.  They are exactly alike, it is us who give them pink toys or blue toys, or dolls or trucks that make them to be male or female, or masculine or feminine, right?  Wrong!

Boys and Girls are different!  Not just physically, but socially, mentally, etc.  And the reason I know is not only because I am a mom of a daughter and a son, but because I taught children for 7 years!And not to mention I babysat from the age of 11 years old, so I have a lot of experience with children.  I can remember to this day the notes my girls would write to me and the hugs after class I would get.  I can remember the chocolates the boys students would give me on holidays.  I remember the girls dotting their i's with hearts, and the neat handwriting.  I can remember the chicken scratch and barely legible homework assignment from boys.  I remember the boys watching the clock tick before recess or gym class, and the girls at the edge of their seats as I read a novel to the class.  I can remember the boys cheering loudly when I gave free time, and the girls giggling and passing notes.  Boys and Girls are different!!!


All children are unique, of course!  But we are all made in the image of God and He made male and female!  He made distinct differences and preferences and personalities.  Isn't it funny that there are feminist out there and people who don't have children or even work with children but have strong opinions on the fact that we should have a "gender-neutral" approach, is there any wonder why so many of our children are so mixed up?  Now don't get me wrong, Mark plays with Julia's toys and Julia plays with Mark toys, kids should be able to explore, BUT we as the parents of children have a huge responsibility to shape and mold our children and teach them how God made them unique and how God has a divine plan for men and women.  There isn't one gender, God distinctly made male and female for a purpose.

Julia...Female...3 1/2

She loves to sit and read.

She can draw and write for hours on end.

Her imagination has no limits.  She thinks up stories and plots and characters and acts them out with her dolls.

She loves wearing dresses, headbands, jewelry, nail polish, and lip gloss.  Her favorite colors are pink and purple.

She could stare at her image in the mirror for hours.  She loves combing her hair and making it just so.

When she wakes up she already has a plan of how she plans on spending her day.

She is strong willed, independent, social, friendly, outgoing, and loud!

Mark...Male...2 years old

Loves to ride his bike outside...loves to be outside, cries if he cannot be outside, cries if he sees kids playing outside and can't join them.

Enjoys hearing stories, but likes to walk around as he listens.

Loves to snuggle with mom or dad while sucking his thumb and holding his blanket.

His favorite color is blue or green.  He's very shy.  He enjoys painting and making a huge mess!

Loves playing with his big sister and mimicking how she plays.

Likes to color but gets bored of it easily.

Likes to make crafts but would rather cover the project in glue stick.

Loves the computer.  Cries if it's not his turn.  Wants to figure out how to use the "mouse".  Loves to hear the character talk on the screen.

Still cries when I drop him off at nursery.  He stops after 2-3 minutes, but parting with Mommy is still very difficult.


Dr. Dobson says, "Shield both your sons and daughters from gender feminism and from those who seek to confuse their sexuality.  Protect the masculinity of your boys, who will be under increasing political pressure in yours to come.  Buffer them from the perception that most adult males are sexual predators who are violent and disrespectful to women."

 My job as a parent is to teach Julia and Mark that God has made them so special.  That He loves them and has such big plans for them.

My job is also to teach my children how to love each other.  I want them to be best friends.  I want them to encourage and bless each other.  I want them to share and take turns.  I want them to see the good qualities that the other one has.  This may mean when Mark does something really well, complimenting him, and making sure Julia hears that, so next time he does something great she will compliment him and vice versa.  You can already hear Mark tell Julia, "you're beautiful Julia!"  why?  because mommy and especially daddy tell Julia how beautiful she is, and vice versa with Mark's handsomeness!  Julia is always telling mark, "I like your hair, you look handsome boy!"  Sunday mornings as we all get ready for church compliments are going back and forth!

But we can obviously also focus on our child's gifts and talents...Julia is great at reading, and writing and drawing and we tell her so!  Mark is awesome at riding his bike and building tall castles and we tell him so!  He is also great with deep voices and being super funny!

Genesis 1: 27 God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them."

Both our children play with each other's toys, it's just a fact of life for us.  Mark carries dolls around and we tell him he is going to be such a great daddy, and Julia plays with trains and we say she is quite the conductor.








James Dobson says, "Accept your child just the way he/she is made.  Then look for those special qualities that give your boy/girl individuality and potential.  Nurture him/her.  Culitivate him/her.  And then give them time to develop into their own unique personality like no other human being on earth."

Boys and Girls ARE different! Praise God for that!  I love having a daughter and a son and seeing how unique they both are!  What a challenge it is to raise children!  I need all the help I can get!

Guest Writer--James Kim


A career woman’s dream comes true in The Prepackaged Diet
We all know how little time we have left after a day at the office, then the endless list of household chores, children to bath, homework to check, the list seems endless! The prospect of even considering our own health needs is seldom more than a passing thought at a traffic light.  The health food industry has developed a solution to this problem, taking the pain out of Meal planning and helping you to remain health conscious!
Lean Cuisine started to address the problem of meal planning with their prepackaged but “healthy” foods which you could purchase at the local supermarket.  They worked with Weight Watchers and labeled their products with the points allocated to the meal inside.  Although these foods are very low in calories, fast and easy to prepare, they are not as healthy as they seem - containing unhealthy preservatives and additives.  These meals also often have a calorie count which is too low for most people, so the dieters resort to snacking as the meal does not satisfy them.
Although Lean Cuisine targets the career mom, who would like to eat healthy, yet simply does not have the time to cook like Martha Stewart, their meals are not a healthy alternative to properly prepared fresh meals.
There are a few companies now offering prepackaged meals which are indeed healthy alternatives to cooking yourself.  Some companies like Diet-To-Go, Freshology or Fresh-n-fit, to name a few, offer this service as a delivery in their localized areas, the food is prepared fresh and delivered to your home.  Other companies like My Fit Foods and Snap Kitchen provide the service as a collection plan where you can collect freshly prepared meals en-route home.  These services provide food which has not been frozen and does not need to be frozen, therefore the preservatives required to keep frozen foods fresh are not used and they are able to make claims like “reset your metabolism” as they retrain your body to process food quickly.
Although these companies do not use high levels of artificial sweeteners, sodium or fructose corn syrup, the service they offer does come with a price! Diet-To-Go will cost approximately $158.00 for one week of meals, and Freshology, which some celebrities use, charge approximately $45.00 a day.  This is even more expensive than organic foods!
Perhaps nothing is better than slaving away in the kitchen at the end of a busy day, but if you can stretch your budget, there is no harm in trying this new diet plan.  Order your weeks meals, and maybe take the 30 minutes or more it would take for you to prepare a meal from scratch and spend them with your family for a change!
James Kim is a guest writer for foodonthetable.com.  Food on the Table is a company that provides online budget meal planning services.  Their goal is to help families eat better and save money.


Our Peachy Day

On Friday, August 19th, we went peach picking with friends.  It was a real treat since I've only been apple picking and pumpkin picking before.  And oh, the weather was perfect, the kids were wonderful, and the peaches were sweet and delicious!

We decided to meet up with some friends mid morning (which was great because I had time to clean the house first, go to the bank, and the farmers market all before heading to the orchards.)  We went to Eastmont Orchards right off Route 537 in Colts Neck, NJ and it was so pretty!  I really want to go back with John and go apple picking there.  The orchards were amazing.  I've never seen so many rows and rows of peach trees.

Julia and Mark were smothered with hugs and kisses and love by all the Coyle girls.  Ms. Lisa, Abi (17), Hannah (13), and Emma (7) met us there and all I had to do was hold the bags.  The girls took the kids from me and guided them down the rows of trees.  Julia got a kick out of picking her own peaches, and Mark liked the ones on the ground, although in the car he did not like that his shoes were dirty!  He's so funny that way.  I had to give him a napkin to clean them off.

Peach trees are so beautiful the way they twist and turn and are so low to the ground.  I just love them.  It smelled so sweet and peachy as we picked Yellow peaches and Nectarines, both are good for making Peach Cobbler (which is what I made that night...mmmm it was delicious).  I plan on making peach cobbler again this Sunday after John's sermon as a celebration for him and I plan on making another peach cobbler for Labor Day weekend when we spend it with the Weavers in Doylestown like always.

Here is a Peach Cobbler Recipe for you and don't be afraid to add in some blueberries and a few extra dabs of cinnamon and sugar!


Ingredients
Cobbler filling:
  • 4 cups peeled and sliced fresh peaches (blanch in boiling water for 30 seconds to remove the skins)
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 tablespoon flour
Cobbler crust:
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2/3 cup buttermilk
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar, for topping
  • Whipped cream
Directions
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
Generously butter a 1 1/2-quart shallow baking dish. Place the sliced peaches in the dish and sprinkle with brown sugar, cinnamon, vanilla, and flour. Mix gently and spread evenly again. Bake for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile combine all dry ingredients for cobbler crust in a bowl. Cut in the butter with a pastry cutter or your fingers, to make the texture like coarse crumbs. Add buttermilk and stir to form a soft dough.
Remove fruit from oven and drop rounded spoonfuls of dough on top. Sprinkle with last tablespoon of brown sugar and return to oven. Bake until fruit is bubbly and crust topping is golden brown, about 20 minutes. Serve warm with whipped cream


Saturday Chores

Something I will always remember from my childhood is Saturday chores.  Not too fondly, I must say, but I remember it nonetheless.  It was a part of our routine, and my job was always to clean the bathrooms (yay...not!) and wash the kitchen floor.

Now that I have my own home I can see why having everyone participate in the cleaning is not only a help, "Many hands make light work," but also it connects everyone to the home and gives everyone a responsibility and a purpose.

Getting a bulk of the cleaning on Saturday, allows for Sundays to be such a treat, such a relaxing day when you know laundry, sheets, floors, bathrooms have been cleaned and are completely done.  Then on Sunday one can just focus on the business of going to church and making the meals!  I think a new tradition I might add on Sunday is making it a day for baking a special treat...tomorrow we are making...Peach Cobbler again...this time with blueberries added in!

Here is a list of my Saturday chores today and in parantheses you will see the name of the child that will/can help me with that job.  Even though Julia is 3 1/2 and Mark 2 yrs. and 3 months they are both VERY good helpers and they NEVER give me a hard time, in fact usually there are tears when we have to stop cleaning, especially from Mark!  The bulk of the work will be done by me, but I like it that way.  John has a sermon to prepare for and I don't want to disturb him, besides, he loves playing with the kids while I'm working, and that my friends is a BIG help!

Saturday Family Chores:


1. Change bed linens (Julia and Me)
2. Laundry in Washer (Mark and Me) 2 loads
3. Wash Kitchen Floor (during nap time)
4. Empty all trash cans in one bag (Julia)
5. Clean all bathroom toilets
6. Wash windows in kitchen and living room
7. vacuum/sweep school room (mark)
8. Clean and Set Dining Room table
9. Clean Microwave
10. Organize Pantry
11. Clean Fridge Drawers
12. Bleach Kid's Tub

Happy Cleaning!



Just Ask--And Be Specific!


I was recently talking with a very good friend of mine and we were sharing about what works well in our marriages.  I was telling her how the longer I have been married the more I truly believe that men really really really want to please their wives.  They want to make us happy.  They love to see us smile.  And most of all they love to hear us say, "Thank you, honey!"  Very often we expect our spouses to read our minds and just know what to do or how to make us happy.  A lesson I have learned is that for me, it just means I have to take the time to ask very specifically for what I need, instead of "doing it all" (which is never the case but sometimes we feel that way) and feeling overwhelmed we retreat into ourselves and do not communicate with our spouse or we give up because it takes time and effort and work, and who wants more work?


But with John, I have learned that if I take the time to say, "This is really important to me if you would..." He really listens to what I have to say and whatever I usually ask for it is done within minutes.  Sometimes I expect John to think like I do which is ten steps ahead all the time, and that just isn't the way he thinks, and I don't think most men are ten steps ahead, they are diligently working on the one step they are taking.  Moms, or wives, are usually thinking about the ten million other schedules, lists, and things they have to coordinate and do that if we don't think ten steps ahead we will be behind!  But men, and my John, they don't read minds, and they were never meant to.  We as women need to take the time, yes, the time, to communicate our needs better.  We really just need to ask, and be specific about what we want or need, and 9 times out of 10 I know for a fact your spouse will be all ears and willing to help you.


Let's face it!  We are different.  That is how God designed us to be.  But the bottom line is your spouse loves you, and if you love your spouse, which I know you do, it is up to you to take the time and tell them how you feel!  Like last night for instance, John was at work and then headed straight to church to prep for his sermon.  I didn't see him til after 10 pm...meanwhile I took my kids to a pool party, we got eaten alive by mosquitoes and it was a lot of work to watch two kids at a party by myself, and I got lost coming home, but by 9pm we finally made our way home.  It was garbage night, and I just couldn't do it.  I was so tired.  I was spent.  I had a headache.  So instead of bitterly and grudgingly stomping the two large heavy pails down the driveway, what did I do?   I took the 2 minutes it would take to do the garbage and I texted John, "Hey babe, it would really mean a lot for me if you would take out the trash before going to bed tonight."  Now, it's John's job to do the garbage.  But...I knew he was coming in late and I knew he might forget so instead of worrying about it I just texted him, and within seconds, he replied, "No problem my love."  And I know it's only the garbage but it felt so good to have it done and the fact that he did it.


My challenge to you today is whatever you need help with, whenever you are starting to feel overwhelmed, pray about it and then ask your spouse to do something specifically  that would really help to ease the burden off of you.  Trust me, they will be happy that they could serve you and bless you, and you will be blessed that they did!


Blog Hop #13--I've reached over 100 Followers! Thank You

It's Time to Mingle!

Hosted by All About Being Inspired, Happy Go Lucky, Joy in the Jumble and Keeping Up With Kristi.
Each week we will choose one blog at random to spotlight at the next week's blog hop.

This weeks guest host is:
Mel's Deals

  There are no rules to this blog hop.  Just link up your blog's main page.  Then have fun reading new blogs and making new blog friends.  We would love for you to follow the hostesses in the first four spots and our guest host in the fifth spot.   We always follow back!!

Grab our button if you want to share our blog hop with others.  There will be a new list every Thursday, so be sure to come back every week.


We hope you have fun and thanks for joining us!  We are so excited to find new blogs, share great ideas, and inspire each other.



God really DOES have a plan!


Well, it happened.

Yup...you know the last thing you would ever want to happen during the week, the last problem you would want with two babies underfoot and daddy off at work...

An overflowing toilet!

And then it subsided by the time Daddy got home, and all was well, right? No!

The next morning, the basement had a huge leak, and daddy was in his suit trying to fix the problem and clean up the mess before heading out the door...mommy was forced to try to call the plumber, and waited, and waited, and waited for them to arrive, as no one was allowed to flush any more toilets!

The plumber came and fixed the problem...

only to discover a much bigger, much much worse, much much much more expensive problem...

oy vey...

And this is when I ask God, "Why is this happening?" 

Why now?  Why today?  Why us?

And then our plumber starts asking me about God...and we start talking about the Bible and we start talking about church, and how just because you love God or believe in God doesn't mean all your problems on earth are washed away, even though we would really like a problem free life, wouldn't we?

And we wonder, "What is God's plan?"

Well, last Friday it was God's plan for a plumber named Joe to come to my home.  Last Friday it was God's plan for John to go in late to work.  Last Friday it was God's plan for us to shell out over $3,000 to fix our plumbing issue.  But you know what?

God always has a plan, and God's plan always has a purpose.

Do we understand all of the reasons why?  Absolutely not.

Do we always enjoy the plan or agree with the plan...ummm no.  Trust me I had great plans for last Friday with my kids and the sunshine, but sometimes God stops our plans to show us HIS plan and He refocuses us and shows us what is truly important.

We have been reading in the tiny book of Esther, all about God's awesome plan to save the Jewish people from the evil edict of Haman.

Last week we read Esther Chapter 7: Coincidence or Providence post and we learned that God was not going to let Haman get away with his evil plot against the Jews.  We learned that Queen Esther was brave enough to stand up for her people.  And we saw that Haman ended up being hanged on the gallows he had made for Mordecai.  

Let's look at God's Word and learn from Esther Chapter 8 together!

Esther 8
The King’s Edict in Behalf of the Jews
 1 That same day King Xerxes gave Queen Esther the estate of Haman, the enemy of the Jews. And Mordecai came into the presence of the king, for Esther had told how he was related to her. 2 The king took off his signet ring, which he had reclaimed from Haman, and presented it to Mordecai. And Esther appointed him over Haman’s estate.
It must've been surreal to Esther and Mordecai being given their great enemy, Haman's estate.  And for Mordecai to receive the King's signet ring and to be promoted to a position of such honor must've been awesome!  It just goes to show you that obedience to God is always the right thing to do.  Sometimes we are rewarded on earth for our obedience and other times we will have to wait until we meet the Lord, but either way, being faithful to God and obeying God never goes unnoticed.  God is always watching His people.  He is always glorified when we do what is right.

 3 Esther again pleaded with the king, falling at his feet and weeping. She begged him to put an end to the evil plan of Haman the Agagite, which he had devised against the Jews. 4 Then the king extended the gold scepter to Esther and she arose and stood before him.
 5 “If it pleases the king,” she said, “and if he regards me with favor and thinks it the right thing to do, and if he is pleased with me, let an order be written overruling the dispatches that Haman son of Hammedatha, the Agagite, devised and wrote to destroy the Jews in all the king’s provinces. 6 For how can I bear to see disaster fall on my people? How can I bear to see the destruction of my family?”
What I love about Esther is that even though the King honored her and her uncle she never forgot about the plight of her people.  You must remember once an edict is written and signed by the King it can not be reversed!  Esther's people are still in danger from being attacked and murdered on a very specific day that Haman had picked out.  Just because Esther might have been protected as Queen she still cared about the well being of her people.  She still pleaded with the King to help her save them.


 7 King Xerxes replied to Queen Esther and to Mordecai the Jew, “Because Haman attacked the Jews, I have given his estate to Esther, and they have impaled him on the pole he set up. 8 Now write another decree in the king’s name in behalf of the Jews as seems best to you, and seal it with the king’s signet ring—for no document written in the king’s name and sealed with his ring can be revoked.”
 9 At once the royal secretaries were summoned—on the twenty-third day of the third month, the month of Sivan. They wrote out all Mordecai’s orders to the Jews, and to the satraps, governors and nobles of the 127 provinces stretching from India to Cush.[a] These orders were written in the script of each province and the language of each people and also to the Jews in their own script and language. 10 Mordecai wrote in the name of King Xerxes, sealed the dispatches with the king’s signet ring, and sent them by mounted couriers, who rode fast horses especially bred for the king.
 11 The king’s edict granted the Jews in every city the right to assemble and protect themselves; to destroy, kill and annihilate the armed men of any nationality or province who might attack them and their women and children,[b]and to plunder the property of their enemies. 12 The day appointed for the Jews to do this in all the provinces of King Xerxes was the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, the month of Adar. 13 A copy of the text of the edict was to be issued as law in every province and made known to the people of every nationality so that the Jews would be ready on that day to avenge themselves on their enemies.

The King hears Esther's plea and allows her to send out a new edict that the Jewish people have every right to defend themselves, to bear arms, and they are warned about the harm that is present.  The letters are sent out to all of the provinces near by...but what is God's plan?  Will the Jewish people still be killed?  What if they are attacked, will they be able to defend themselves?  What is God's plan here?


15 When Mordecai left the king’s presence, he was wearing royal garments of blue and white, a large crown of gold and a purple robe of fine linen. And the city of Susa held a joyous celebration. 16 For the Jews it was a time of happiness and joy, gladness and honor. 17 In every province and in every city to which the edict of the king came, there was joy and gladness among the Jews, with feasting and celebrating. And many people of other nationalities became Jews because fear of the Jews had seized them.

The Jewish people are so happy!  The King is on their side!  They will now be able to defend themselves and protect themselves against their enemies?  And more people are added to the Jewish faith!  There was feasting and celebration!  Apparently God had a plan to save the Jews all along.  God really DOES have a plan!  Even when we feel like it could only be negative, or our situation is hopeless, we forget that nothing is hopeless with God, we forget that God can make all things new, we forget that God is our Jehovah Jireh, our provider.  Nothing is too difficult for Him!

Next week we conclude our study in Esther as we read Chapters 9-10!


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