The Absolute Worst Time to Make a Grocery List

Ok, Ladies. Today we’re gonna get real. Is it too much information? I don’t think so. I think this is worth discussing candidly. (At least today I’m not mentioning my gas. Be proud.)

So here we go.

The worst time to make a grocery list

One of my claims to fame is that I’m a great multi-tasker. This is especially apparent at my house, I believe, because I live in a household with five men and I am the lone female. So while each of my men-folk are often focusing on, and executing, one task at a time, I’m over in the kitchen knocking out twelve.

I’ve always seen this as a blessing for productivity but lately, not so much.

My brain is tired.

Matt can multi-task too, but he’s also much better at focusing than I am. Sometimes I watch Matt doing his one thing, thinking of only that one thing, not hearing the kids arguing in the background, not noticing the grime under the cabinet, not considering a potential problem with the plans we made for tomorrow, not seeing the stuff on the stairs that needs to be taken up and put away – and I’m like, “Man, I wish I could do that.”

I really do. Sometimes I long for the ability to just be in the moment, instead of thinking of past moments, potential moments, just in case moments, long term moments, and also dinner every night for the rest of our lives.

My brain wears me out sometimes. I want it to sssshhhhh every once in a while. Is this just me? Is your brain as loud as mine?

God wired women and men differently, on purpose, for a purpose. This is a good thing. Figuratively speaking, men’s brains are usually better at “pulling out one drawer at a time, closing it, then pulling out another.” Meanwhile, we women might find ourselves with all of our drawers pulled open at once, with items overflowing and toppling out, sometimes struggling to find where one ends and the other begins.

Both gifts are beneficial. Both have their limitations. Truly God is good in how He makes us different, with strengths and weaknesses that compliment one another.

So, the multitasking…

I’m grateful for the ability to get several things done at once. I’m also grateful to be learning my need for regular rest periods so I can help keep my brain from overloading and exploding all over the living room.

But, still, why can I not shut down my brain every time I want to?! (And here’s where it gets real…)

There are times I’m making a grocery list, or a to-do list, or thinking of a good blog post topic, or perhaps all of the above…

In the bedroom. (What?!) Yes. And let’s just say there are no notebooks or pens around and this is not the time to be making a grocery list. Do you follow what I’m saying?

I thought something was wrong with me. I’d be fine and in the moment, then suddenly my brain would shift to “I need to be sure I don’t forget to pick up cat food.” I decided I belonged in Crazy Town.

I thought I was the only one who did this. After all, this isn’t something I discuss with my friends. Who wants to admit to any other human being that they sometimes choose the worst time in the world to start thinking about laundry detergent (also did I remember to sign my kids’ waver and get it in on time, how should I answer that email, and I wonder if the shoes got put away downstairs).

Crazy. Town.

I have felt bad about this for years.

Then I made my way to Lesson Three in the Boost Your Libido eCourse I told you about recently – and suddenly Sheila was describing my brain as if she had been inside it (love her, be my new BFF, Sheila G.)! I did not know this but apparently, in regard to how a woman’s brain works:

I am normal.

Can you relate to any of this? Have you ever made a grocery list or any other list at the very wrong time?

Women do this naturally. It doesn’t mean something is wrong, and it definitely doesn’t mean that we should give up on special time with our husband (and instead head out to the grocery store).

What I love most about Sheila is that not only did she assure me that the way my brain works is normal, she followed up by giving tips to help my focus stay in the bedroom and off of the cat food. Her tips all make so much sense! I can do this! I am doing them, in fact.

Hallelujah!

So, my fellow multi-tasking friends – if you can relate to anything I just said, know that you are not alone, nor are you crazy.

Best news you’ve heard all day, huh?

I think it’s important to share truths like this with one another, even though it might feel a little bit awkward at first to bring it up. This is even better than talking about my gas, don’t you think?

Well, my friends, I must tell you that today is your final chance to get this eCourse I love so much (and all the other 105 homemaking resources) at 97% off.

Don’t put it off any longer, because this sale ends at midnight Monday, May 1. If for no other reason, get it so you can save on this Boost Your Libido eCourse. Then discover all the other treasures that come with it ($2,000 worth – no joke!).

Remember the Freebie!

Today is also the final day I’m giving away this brand new Surrendered Heart Mini-eCourse – my thank you gift to everyone who purchases the Ultimate Homemaking Bundle from my links!

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Once you purchase the bundle, find the Boost Your Libido eCourse in the Marriage Section. Take a look around to see all the wonderment you got in this entire collection of homemaking resources.

Then email me (laura@heavenlyhomemakers.com) so I can get you set up with this new Surrendered Heart Mini-eCourse.

Ready, Set —>

P.S. I might suggest that this moment, right now, is an okay time to make a grocery list.

P.P.S. Actually, buy the bundle first, before you forget and miss out. Then make your grocery list.

What Keeps Me From Going Crazy (This is Working!)

I’d like to think I’m exaggerating when I use the term “going crazy” but I’m not convinced and I doubt my family is either.

Just a few days ago I was screaming at my computer because it wouldn’t send my document to the printer so I was like, “What is wrong with you!? You were working fine two hours ago! Just print already so I can go to bed!”

Can’t you just visualize the sweetness?

My youngest came running and offered, “Is there anything I can do for you, Mom?” Precious, isn’t he? Sure. But then he started playing the piano very loudly right behind me so that I could no longer concentrate on troubleshooting my printer issues. This did wonders for my stress level and it helped even more when Matt chose that exact moment to holler a question about our income taxes from the other room.

Crazy?! Nah. Only a little bit.

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This was taken many years ago when I was jumping on the trampoline
with our boys. This shows a different variety of crazy, one that involves a bladder,
and I guess that’s all I need to say about that.

I’ve shared recently about my emotional and spiritual health struggles. God has been so faithful to gently walk me through some dark valleys and to provide peace I never knew existed. Our Creator is mighty, His forgiveness is abundant, and I suppose the fact that I’d always been such a “good girl” means that I’d never really recognized my great need for a Savior until I came face to face with my absolute weaknesses.

So here I am and here He is. It’s really quite beautiful, experiencing his strength shining through my weakness.

Jesus is my drug of choice. The Bible has become what I cling to over all else, because I’ve learned absolutely that SELF is not able to cut it.

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There are days I don’t have time to pull away from all my responsibilities to spend any real time with my Bible, and boy do I feel the void. (Not the guilt though – praise God! I spend time with God in the Word now because I want and need to – not because “that’s what good Christians do.” What a refreshing change of mindset.)

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My perfect choice, if I get to choose, is to sit for over an hour every morning sipping coffee, journaling, praying, listening, and soaking in several chapters of Scripture. Sometimes it happens, and sometimes it doesn’t.

But even if it does happen, what about the other 23 hours in a day? I find it easy to be at peace and full of conviction to live through the Spirit when I’m sitting in the quiet with my Bible – without any people needing me or printers ignoring my requests to please just print the document.

But start throwing all of the day’s stuff at me and I am faced quite humbly with my human side.

My solution? My plan-of-action against falling back on selfish living throughout the day?

What Helps Me Embrace Peace (aka stay away from crazy)

1. Prayer.

Sure, that’s an obvious Christian answer. But it is a fact that it’s not just “an answer” it is the answer. Talking to God throughout the day, whispering “I need you” and “thank you” and “you are so good to me” and “guide me with this” and “please give me the right words” and “I love how you worked that out” and “thank you for providing that for us” and on it goes all day long. It works.

I talk to God a lot. I ask for the Spirit’s guidance. I forget. Then I remember. Then I get wrapped up in my own thoughts and get all wishy-washy. Then I come back to a surrendered place and let go of control. I’m back and forth, living a life full of demands. God is there constantly, faithfully, grace-filled.

2. I’ve been slapping Scripture all over my walls.

By “slapping” I mean “carefully placing” of course, because there are nails and a hammer involved with this process. I’ve been learning that surrounding myself with scripture that is front and center, all around me, is a great way to stay focused on Truth and to remain at peace.

I fell in love with these prints and ordered them, putting the three top ones in my bright living room and the bottom three in our bedroom. They match each room perfectly. I love them so much I can’t stop staring at them. This is perfect though, because staring at scripture all day long, even while doing mundane chores, is a fantastic to keep me focused on Truth which helps to avoid unhealthy thought patterns.

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3. I’m selective about how I spend my downtime.

Some evenings we actually have this thing called “free time.” I’ve been playing a lot of Skip-Bo with Malachi or sometimes we’re able to play a game with the whole family. We like slowly working our way through Netflix series, watching an episode all together right before we head up to bed.

I just have to be careful what I watch, as in, shows like CSI and Criminal Minds are out for me. Currently, our family is working through Person of Interest (which actually is a bit violent, but not gory or emotional, so I can laugh with my family about how unrealistic it all is while still having a fun story line).

4. I journal and color.

I know it doesn’t work for everyone, but for me, journaling has been a wonderful way for me to process and pray, and even learn new Truths from God. (By the way, ain’t no one except God gonna ever read my journals. They. Are. Messy.)

I learned a few months ago that coloring is loads of fun, completely relaxing, and even great for meditating. Coloring clears my head and helps me focus on pure thoughts that bring peace. I had no idea coloring could be so great.

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Oh! And with this year’s Ultimate Homemaking Bundle (available only through May 1) came the Delight In the Word of God Devotional Coloring Book and Journal. It is so perfect for reflection, relaxation, and for focusing on Scripture. I’m loving it and really recommend that you look into it!

Delight in the Word

Wednesday I shared my top pick from this year’s Ultimate Homemaking Bundle. #lauralovesgas

Today I’m sharing this close second. (Did you get yours yet? It’s worth it just for that marriage eCourse alone!)

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So prayer, posting scripture, being selective about what I read and watch, journaling, and coloring – these, along with spending quiet time in the Word – have been keeping me on solid ground.

I’d love to hear what helps you stay grounded each day. What have you found that helps you most to avoid worry and to keep you focused on God’s Truth?

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Reminder: Don’t forget that I’m giving our brand new Surrendered Heart Mini-eCourse away for FREE ($12.00 value) from now until May 1 to everyone who gets this year’s Ultimate Homemaking Bundle through my purchase links.

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It’s 42 pages of scripture-filled lessons, worksheets, journaling pages, and printables – all for the purpose of strengthening your marriage as you surrender your heart to God.

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One more note about coloring: This year’s Ultimate Homemaking Bundle has an amazing selection of coloring books beyond the Delight in the Word of God book I shared above:

Have I convinced you yet? Ha! Go get all of these amazing resources (106 altogether!) and enjoy all they offer.

I’m getting it now!

Then email me (laura@heavenlyhomemakers.com) so I can send you your free Surrendered Heart Mini-eCourse!

That Time My Husband Gave Me Gas

There are some gifts a husband can give to a wife (and vice-versa) that are a win-win all around. Take the time my husband gave me gas. Best. Gift. Ever.

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You all know I’m talking about the time Matt installed my new oven with a gas hook-up, right? Okay, I figured that was obvious. What else could it be? Just in case you’ve forgotten the details though, let me give you a refresher:

Remember how my very old and over-used stove/oven finally gave out last year? Matt tried to fix it again for the many-eth time, sighed, and finally gave up. Then he looked up at me from his precarious half-in-half-out-of-the-oven floor post while holding the recently removed heating element and said, “Well, Babe. You want to go shopping for a new oven?”

Do I?

Flirting with my hunky repairman for a moment I said, “While we’re at it, you wanna know what my dream oven would be?” Of course he wanted to know, in as much detail as possible, no doubt. So I told him, “I want a white double oven – so I can make twice the amount of food in half the time. Just think of it! And also…

“I really want gas.”

Yep, every girl’s dream.

I knew it was a long shot. In fact, I really assumed it was an impossible shot. I mean, how can a girl get gas when her kitchen only has an electric hook-up?

Ah. Well apparently the girl has to know the right repairman. It also helps if the house already has gas hooked up in other areas of the home. These are only a few of the gas facts I have learned since that day.

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Here she is, the day we brought her home.

My husband went to our basement and found our gas line. And who am I kidding right now? I have no idea what all he did to give me the gift of gas. I just know that he heard my dream and he cared enough to make it happen even though it was not an easy job.

You see now, don’t you, how this is such a win-win?

Every day, multiple times a day, I use my beautiful gas double oven with gas range. And every day, Matt enjoys the tasty bounty that comes out of these ovens and off of the stove-top. I’m happy. He’s happy. He didn’t have to do go to the trouble to give me gas. But he did and we both love it.

From Gas to…This? Well, yeah.

What can I say?

Lately I’ve been considering the many parts of marriage that are a win-win for both of us, gas being toward the top of my list right under companionship, protection, teamwork, being cared for….

And also one of God’s greatest gifts to married couples that sometimes causes us to blush and giggle when the subject comes up. Gas? Well, that too. But I’m actually talking about this: What God provides for married couples in the bedroom truly is a win-win. At least that’s the way He intended it to be.

But what about the times it doesn’t seem like a win? Mmmhmm. I know.

  • Sometimes it may only feel like a win for him.
  • Sometimes it feels like a gift that keeps on keeping us from getting to sleep at a decent hour.
  • Sometimes it feels like something is wrong with me because while I know this really is supposed to be a gift – I don’t understand why it doesn’t always feel like it?!?

That’s the worst part. Not figuring out the bedroom thing perfectly every single time, and assuming something is wrong. Twenty-two years into marriage, while I have mostly loved and enjoyed this great gift, I’ve also gone through many different stages and changes and each new situation has led me to question:

What is wrong with me?

Raise your hand if you’ve ever felt that way. 

It’s a horrible feeling, particularly as we strive to enjoy a healthy marriage, love our husbands, and yep, even enjoy ourselves.

Truth —> Nothing is wrong with any of us! We are the way God made us. < —- Truth

Sheila Gregoire is a Christian author and speaker on this subject, and I think she is awesome to do so much research and tackle this necessary, sensitive, and fantastic subject with such care and godliness!

The past few months, I have been listening to and reading her work from her website and from her latest eCourse, Boost Your Libido. I have been so refreshed and encouraged to hear all of her words, including, “You are normal. This is the truth about how a woman thinks. Here’s some godly advice. Here’s what the Bible says about this.”

Not to dismiss the beauty of “the gift of the gas” in any way, but Shiela’s eCourse has been the biggest marriage win-win I have discovered as of late.

God really did intend for married sex to be a win-win. I hope you’ve found this to be true. This is truth.

I’m mentioning all this today because it’s fun to talk about my gas, and because Sheila’s Boost Your Libido eCourse was selected to be included in this year’s Ultimate Homemaking Bundle which just opened up for sale today. That means that you get this win-win for your marriage at a really great price break right now.

An additional win is that when you buy this discounted package (97% off!) that includes this eCourse, you’ll be getting 105 other great homemaking resources too. You can see it all here, and really, just be amazed at everything you get (for less than $30 total for all of it, seriously). Gas, though. You’ll have to get that yourself.

My Ultimate Homemaking Bundle
Top Pick this Year:

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I’ll be anxious to hear what your top pick is from this year’s collection. But if you’re married, it is a win-win for you and your husband if you check out the Bible-based Boost Your Libido course first and foremost.

Check out the discounted package here.

Care to share a special gift your spouse has given you? I’m wondering if your husband has ever topped the gift of gas? That’s a tough one to beat. But speaking of gifts —>

A Big FREEBIE For You!

Remember the Surrendered Heart series I wrote a couple years ago?

I have found it incredibly beneficial to work my way through those lessons every few months to be reminded of my need to constantly be surrendered to the work of the Holy Spirit in my life and in my marriage. So that you, too, can have all of these writings, journal pages, and scripture printables in your hip pocket at all times, we just finished creating this:

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We turned A Surrendered Heart into a Mini eCourse for everyone! This packet includes 42 pages filled with 6 Lessons with Biblical insights and instructions, worksheets, journal pages, and scripture printables. One of my designers made this packet gorgeous; God, of course, made the marriage truths found inside beautiful, powerful, and glorious.

We’ll be adding this eCourse to our Shop next week, selling it for $12.00. But right now??

Everyone who buys this year’s Ultimate Homemaking Bundle from the links I’m sharing here will receive a thank-you gift in the form of this entire packet of A Surrendered Heart Mini-eCourse for FREE!

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I’m offering this because healthy marriages don’t just happen. Often, we need guidance, encouragement, and most importantly, we need frequent reminders to surrender ourselves to the Lord and to let go of selfishness. Like everyone else, through the years, I’ve needed help from trustworthy, godly mentors. I want you to have the above mentioned Boost Your Libido eCourse, by Sheila Gregoire, and this Surrendered Heart mini-course too.

So here you go. Buy the entire Ultimate Homemaking Bundle for $29.97, which is significantly less than the regular price of the Boost Your Libido eCourse if you were to buy it by itself any other time. You’ll get loads of other great homemaking resources with that purchase, so you can’t go wrong with that.

Then email me (laura@heavenlyhomemakers.com) and I’ll get you set up with your free Surrendered Heart Mini-Course.

You can’t put a price on a healthy marriage, but I do love that you can have all of this for less than $30.

marriage win win

Click here to get the bundle!!

P.S. There are many homemaking categories full of great books and courses to sift through, so head to the Marriage Section to find the course I’m talking about. :)

Some of the links in this post are my affiliate links.

This special offer is only available through May 1. :)

Simple Build-a-Spanish-Rice-Bowl

Sometimes I think I have picky eaters at my house. Then I realize that my kids eat a huge variety of foods and I should be grateful.

I mean, when I was a little girl, I liked exactly two varieties of fruits and vegetables: green beans (canned) and apples (with the peeling off). Somehow this kept me alive, I made it to college, and learned to eat salads (to avoid the Freshman 15, of course). Later, I got married and found out about a thing called broccoli. Little by little through the years, I’ve tried and liked dozens of fruits and veggies, expanding my repertoire many times over.

Though I still don’t like jicama.

It’s okay though because I often sit in my recliner snacking on raw spinach, which isn’t even weird, not even a little bit, am I right? I can’t figure out why my teenagers tease me about this.

Well anyway, my kids aren’t really picky, I’m realizing, because they like and eat a big variety of fruits and veggies. But still, we all have our preferences. Some of us really like cheese and some of us think it’s fun to snack on spinach.

Because of our wide variety of preferences, sometimes, instead of making a meal that everyone has to eat whether they like it or not, it’s fun to instead set out a big buffet of choices and everyone can build their own plate or bowl.

I love this idea so much that I include a category for this every single week in our Simple Meals plans. Build-Your-Own buffets are a huge time saver and make for a really fun meal too!

Today’s idea is Build a Spanish Rice Bowl.

I used to make Spanish Rice all in one pot, but some people like corn and some don’t. Some like black beans and some don’t. Some want sour cream and some don’t. I have found it easiest to simply set out all the fixin’s and let everyone build their bowl the way they like.

We each pile in our favorites:

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Then stir it up and dive in.

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The bowl above has a lot of greens (bet you can guess which mom that belongs to), no rice (can we even still call it spanish rice?), a whole lotta ground beef and black beans, and a dollop of sour cream.

But this one got piled up with rice, meat, beans, corn, and salsa without the greens and sour cream.

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So it got stirred up to look like this.

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At the end of the meal, everyone was satisfied and happy because their bowl was filled with everything they wanted and nothing they didn’t want. Of course, many participants in this meal filled their bowl more than once, which is also fun because they could either choose to fill it the same way as the first time or create something new the second (or third) time around.

Build a Spanish Rice Bowl

5.0 from 1 reviews
Simple Build-a-Spanish-Rice-Bowl
 
Author:
Serves: 4-6
Ingredients
  • 1 pound ground beef, seasoned with chili powder, garlic powder, and salt
  • 2 cups cooked brown rice
  • 1 can black beans
  • 1 can sliced olives
  • Shredded cheese
  • Sour cream
  • Salsa
  • Fresh greens
  • Cooked corn
Instructions
  1. Set out any or all of the ingredients listed above, along with anything else your family might like.
  2. Allow each person to fill their bowl the way they like.

Those are just some of the foods you might want to set out for your Build a Spanish Rice Bowl buffet. I’d love to hear of any add-in ideas your family might like.

Build a Spanish Rice Bowl

Want to enjoy more Simple Recipes? You’ll never have to work hard at cooking again!

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Join Simple Meals here – we’d love to have you on board!

What Happens When a Mom Takes a Step Back

Well, honestly, sometimes when this mama takes a step back (literally), I fall over (actually). I’m just not as spry or coordinated as I used to be, and also sometimes the reason I’m falling is because I have tripped over the groceries my kids didn’t put away after I asked them twice.

Which leads me to a big point of this post.

It is rare that my kids will do exactly as I ask, immediately after I ask. I often have to say things twice or twelve times. They hardly ever come right when I call. Sometimes I say, “Put all your shoes away before you head up for the night” but then I find all the shoes exactly where they shouldn’t be in the morning. We can be sure that if I didn’t tell them to pick up their sweatshirts, all of the hoodies in the world would stay on the floor forever.

One of my kids always forgets to rinse his dishes even though that’s been our practice after every single meal for every single day of his entire life. Getting my kids out of bed in the mornings requires much more than a cute wake-up song, and I often hear about all the parts of life that aren’t fair.

This is what I do all day. I am Mom. I am blessed to be with my kids all day, but the thing is that I AM WITH MY KIDS ALL DAY.

It is my responsibility to educate and train them in everything ranging from geography to kindness to algebra to selflessness. I’m intentional about preparing them to be godly husbands, leaders, servants, employees, people. So every time one of their weaknesses flares or their response to an assignment, chore, brother, friend, or parent is less than ideal – I am on it! I instruct, reprimand, encourage, cry, offer suggestions, pray, and yep, sometimes even yell.

I see their weaknesses; no doubt they see mine.

What I sometimes fail to see is their strengths. Their gifts, talents, leadership abilities, Christ-like hearts, tenderness, humor, care, compassion – those are all there in my kids too, in abundance. But I all too often forget to notice the greatness through all the crusty socks that never made it upstairs to the basket.

It’s when I take a step back that I see the good that’s been there all along. It’s there in spite of me and even a little bit because of me. Mostly it’s there because God is at work in my kids and He wants their good even more than I.

When I step back I see…

  • My oldest, almost 20 now, being loved by so many on the college campus, taking a lead he doesn’t even know he’s taking, just because people are drawn to him. He rocks at videography, already utilizing his skills professionally. When he talks about his special girl, his voice is gentle and sweet. He loves the Lord and continues to learn what it means to live for Him.

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Photo cred goes to the man himself

When I step back I see…

  • My 17-year old being a leader on the basketball court, encouraging his younger teammates, motivating his youth group peers to join him in a service project, teaching younger kids how to play soccer, talking sweetly to an elderly lady. I hear the music he creates and I am blown away that my kid has ability like this. I hear his poetry, the words of which tell me of his talent and of his heart for God.

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When I step back I see…

  • My 15-year old coming out of his shell, making people laugh, talking to me about the sweet girl he likes, getting the door for people coming in behind him, and spoon feeding our disabled friend. I see him cheerfully making trips back and forth from apartment to truck as he helps another disabled friend load heavy furniture. I hear him confidently singing a solo on stage for the first time, fulfilling roles we never could have dreamed he’d be willing to step into. I hear him pray at night, amazed at his growing relationship with God.

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When I step back I see…

  • My 12-year old being the “big kid” that the little kids at church flock to. I see him confidently teasing adults and making them laugh. I see him hugging the man whose wife is dying, making the gentleman smile through his tears. I watch him on stage, acting as if he was born to be in character. I see him excited to finally have a chance to go on a mission trip this summer with his older brothers, and I see him with tears in his eyes as he says, “Mom and Dad, I am ready to be baptized.”

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When I take a step back, I see all of this, and I don’t even have to look hard. This is all there because at their very core, this is who my children are.

In the thick of parenting, instructing, teaching, planning, dreaming, longing, and probably not sleeping quite enough – too often parents are only able see to the tip of the arguments and to the end of the unmade bed. Stepping back, we see the entire picture – the one that is beautifully painted with caring children, strengths that shine through the weaknesses, and a God who is at work to bring out His purposes for these darlings who are dearest to us.

To all who are in very middle of this parenting adventure: Take a step back. What are your children doing well? Where do they shine? In what ways have they grown? Bring it all to mind. Sit there for a while, and bask in the sweetness. It’s peaceful there and it is very real.

It is in this place, the place of stepping back, that we can remember our purpose and joy as parents. We remember that good shines brighter than bad, and that God is powerfully at work in both our children and in us.

Then hopefully, next time we trip over the backpack that got dropped right in the middle of the floor, we can recall to mind the heart of the child that left it there, even as we holler once again for said child to come put the backpack where it goes before we throw it into the fireplace.

What Happens When a Mom Takes a Step Back

Please take a turn! I got to share about each of my sons. Will you please take a minute, step back to see the good in each of your kids, and leave a comment to share that good with us?

5 Top Family-Friendly Recipes

I suppose it’s obvious that if I’m sharing a recipe with you here, it’s because my family loves it. But what I really enjoy is when you try a recipe and send me feedback about how much your family loves it too!

Here are some messages I’ve received recently. I’m sharing them here because everyone needs to know how these recipes save time, money, and are a hit with families! If you haven’t tried these yet, here are a few reasons you should. :)

About Simple Pizza Chicken Bake, Pam said: I made this for our small group last night, and they scraped the pan clean. My husband asked me to make it again. It was a hit! Thank you so much for your fun and easy recipes.

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About Last Minute Creamy Bacon Spaghetti Amber said: I’ve made this 3 times now, and it’s definitely a family favourite! I always double the cream cheese, because… cream cheese. Yum! So good. Thanks for another great recipe!

And Tara said: Laura, I just made this tonight after we spent an extra long time at the park. We ran home and got in the door at 5:30pm, and I had nothing planned for dinner. Thankfully I had bacon and cream cheese, so I threw this together and steamed some broccoli, and served it with a side of applesauce. It was on the table at 6! So easy, and it was a big hit with everyone in the family—including the 3 year old twins that are very picky these days.

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About Simple Chicken Cheeseballs with a Kick with a Kick, Megan said: These were SO GOOD tonight that we all just called them “amaze-balls”. Thank you!

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About Homemade Vanilla Wafers, Jennifer said: This is definitely a keeper!  Hubby kept going on & on about how ‘good these vanilla wafers are!’ He had a hard time not eating them. This comes from someone who likes his white flour, white sugar type cookies. Thanks!!! But thanks from all 6 of my children, too.

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About Simple 3-Cheese Crock Pot Pasta, Tosha said: My 3 year old son made this today! He added spinach because that is his favorite vegetable! I love that even he could do this with a little supervision from mama!

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Have you tried any recipes here recently that you love? I’d love to hear how they worked for you.

Also, it’s been really fun to hear feedback from Simple Meals subscribers. If you get Simple Meals Planning Packets in your inbox every week, share here what you love about them!

 

Simple Barbecue Beef Roast (2 Minute Prep!)

Before I tell you about the easiest Barbecue Beef Roast on the planet earth, I must ask this:

How did we ever get through life without knowing how to make the Easiest Crock Pot Mashed Potatoes?? I don’t even know.

Well, I guess I do know. I had given up on making mashed potatoes altogether. Never able to fit it into my schedule, or not wanting to mess with the mess if I did have time – I just stopped making them. We’ve been through all this.

But now that I know I can make them like this and it takes almost no effort, time, or clean-up? I’ve made them for my family at least once each week since.

My children are so happy. My husband is so happy. But I am the happiest because I feel like a great big champion when I’ve made not just a delicious, wholesome dinner but fantastic mashed potatoes too. I feel like a rock star. Mashed potatoes have made me a rock star.

I obviously measure success in ways that no one else does. Everyone else can have their fame, fortune, fancy boats, big houses, and cool cars. We have our mashed potatoes. This is what dreams are made of.

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Well, perhaps it’s time to move on to information about the Barbecue Beef Roast?

This new recipes is even easier than the potatoes, which of course, is saying something. So if you happen to have two crock pots, you can make both of these on the same day and your family will stand up at the table and give you an ovation.

The first time I made this roast, I did this:

  • Walked to the freezer and got out a roast. (30 seconds)
  • Opened the package and put it into a crock pot. (20 seconds)
  • Got out some barbecue sauce and dumped it on the roast. (20 seconds)
  • Grabbed and onion, pulled off the outer layer, rinsed it, and quartered it, then threw it in with the meat. (40 seconds)
  • Plugged in the crock pot, turned it on low, walked away. (10 seconds)

This, my friends, is how we make dinner in 2 minutes.

My kids scrubbed the potatoes for me and we got those started in our second crock pot a couple hours later. At dinner time, we mashed the potatoes (2 minutes), steamed some green beans (30 seconds of “work”/5 minutes of cook time), and got out a bowl of fresh pineapple.

This dinner is glorious.

P.S. I considered making gravy but decided I had “worked” hard enough to make this dinner. So I chose to simply use the juice in the crock pot. That was still perfection.

Simple Barbecue Beef Roast

5.0 from 1 reviews
Simple Barbecue Beef Roast (2 Minute Prep!)
 
Author:
Serves: 6-8
Ingredients
  • 3-4 pound beef roast, frozen or thawed
  • 1-2 cups BBQ sauce
  • 1-2 medium onions
Instructions
  1. Place roast in a crock pot (frozen is fine).
  2. Douse the meat with barbecue sauce.
  3. Quarter the onion and place in the crock pot.
  4. Cover and cook on low for 10 hours if frozen or 8 hours if thawed.

Simple Barbecue Roast Beef

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My Husband is Making Me Do This

How sweet of my husband to be so supportive. How great of him to jump on board with my latest “pet project.” Between the two of us, we’ve even gotten our boys excited and they have started to tell their friends. We’re in this together, and we’re looking forward to being a part of this!

But I’m not sure about this newest idea my husband came up with. Who does he actually think I am, anyway? After 22 years of marriage, does he not know that I do have some limits? My inner spring chicken flew the coop more than a few years ago.

Yet, Matt said it so confidently, as if he didn’t even question my ability. I guess I should be honored? Sure thing.

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So first things first, to catch you up on my inner conundrum: Our family is taking part in a 6K event with World Vision on May 6. Many of you have signed up to join, and if even more of you join, I will be so ridiculously happy.

This will mean clean water for people who normally have to walk 6K every single day just to get DIRTY water. The thought of this makes us sick, and knowing that our 6K efforts on May 6 will help provide people with a short walk for CLEAN water? Well, I’d walk 6K every day if it would keep the donations coming in.

My youngest saw this picture and was like, “Eeew. What is that?” and I had to tell him that it’s the dirty water kids are walking for miles to get for their families —>

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My husband’s idea

Here’s what Matt said, and you guys, I am both amazed at his brilliance and terrified that I won’t be able to handle it.

“We need to do this the right way. When we go on this 6K walk, we’re going to take along a big jug, and map out a path that will take us 3K to a body of dirty water. We’re going to fill our jugs and walk back the final 3K with our full jugs. How else will we truly understand what these children face every day?”

So basically, I feel like a 43 year old baby. I wanted to argue, and even opened my mouth to do it. My hips, you know? My bad knee!

But the truth is that little tiny children, who are likely malnourished, walk this trek every single day just to collect a jug of dirty water for their families.

Dirty water.

Every day.

So we’re doing this thing.

Our family is walking the 6K for World Vision and we’re doing it with jugs of water. If this doesn’t make me appreciate the beautiful, pure water at my tap I’m not sure what will.

We’ll be live-streaming some of our journey via Facebook on May 6 so we can share more about our experience. I hope you’ll join us! And by that, I really mean that I hope you walk with us! (You can just walk it though. Jugs of dirty water are not a requirement.) :)

I’m extremely thankful our sons were so quick to join in with us, so we’ve got them signed up too. The beauty of how this 6K works is that you and I don’t have to be physically together to do this. You can sign up, then walk straight out your own door and do the walking in your own neighborhood.

So, May 6. Walk 6K for water. Join our virtual team. Why?

  • Every day, people around the world walk an average of 6 kilometers (approximately 3.7 miles) in search of water, and that water is often contaminated with life-threatening diseases.
  • World Vision provides safe water, sanitation and hygiene education to decrease illnesses, improve health and lessen the burden on women and children.
  • Safe drinking water, improved sanitation, good hygiene and good water resource management can lead to a reduction in child mortality, cut transmission of malaria, improve public health and reduce extreme poverty.

Learn more here about World Vision’s water program here.

Want to do this with me?

Sign up here. Want to see part of our live journey on Facebook May 6? Like my page here.

Here’s to clean water for everyone!

Jenuinely Pure – Non-Toxic Cleaning Products Giveaway

Some of my favorite cleaning products include the very cheap and non-exciting: vinegar and water. And also washrags. Children are also a great help. (Let’s hear it for teaching our kids the importance of doing chores around the house.)

Well, water and vinegar (and children) are all well and good, but sometimes we need more than that – for the tougher jobs (as if all cleaning isn’t tough, but don’t worry, I won’t start my typical “I don’t like to clean” whining fit).

jenuinely pure

This Jenuinely Pure All-Purpose Cleaner is the one I’ve used on my shower that left my husband asking, “Who came and installed a new shower in our bathroom?” Yep. It got the shower THAT clean.

I personally love that not only does this work very well, it is completely organic and non-toxic. And if all that isn’t great enough, it truly lives up to its “all-purpose” title. I mean windows, carpet, bathrooms, kitchens – one cleaner really does do it all!

Jenuinely Pure All-Purpose Cleaner boasts:

Safe and effective on all surfaces in your home – use in kitchens & bathrooms, spray lightly to clean windows & mirrors and floors; treat stains on clothing and carpet, dust wood surfaces…leaves surfaces clean, streak-free and smelling fresh. Plus, the essential oils used in this cleaner are known for their antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral properties.

Jenuinely Pure also has a great variety of products from Bar Soaps (super high quality, wonderful smelling, luxurious!) to Foaming Hand Soap and Gentle Baby Products.

These Jenuinely Pure products are worth trying. They are hoping this 20% off code will tempt you! (Use 20%off at checkout)

Not only that, they are giving away two $20 gift certificates to spend in their store. Want a chance to win? Enter the Rafflecopter below. I’ll draw two random winners on Tuesday, April 18.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Dear Teenage Girls (From the Mom of Four Teenage Boys)

Dear Teenage Girls,

I think you all know how much I love spending time with you. I’m the only one of “our kind” at my house, so any time I’m with one or more of you and we can talk about sparkly things like toenail polish, cute dresses, and all of our feeeeeelings, I find it so refreshing and fun. You girl people are so neat. I can’t wait until the day four of you are my daughters-in-law. Truly, we will have so much fun together.

I wouldn’t trade my life with a houseful of men for anything in the entire world, and I cherish my life for exactly what it is. This leads me to share my mom-thoughts with you, from a “mother of boys” perspective.

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I want to assure you of what we do intentionally at our house.

First and foremost, we are teaching our boys about their need for Jesus and inviting them to seek Him alongside us. Because of that, we are working to train our boys to respect you, to treat you with care, and to show you every kindness. There aren’t any other females in our house, so whether they know it or not, our boys get to practice all these skills on me, their mom.

It melts my heart every time my boys open a door for me. (Having four sons and a husband, it is a fact that I have not had to open a door for myself in so many years that I don’t even remember how to do this task.)

My sons have learned to allow me to walk in ahead of them, to tell me “thank you” when I’ve done something for them (all day long, thank you very much), and to listen to me when I’m going into far greater detail and using many more words than they might prefer. They’ve learned to hug me when I’m teary-eyed, to let me talk when I want to share something God put on my heart, and to carry all the heavy stuff. (I have zero to prove about how “I can do everything a man can do.” I absolutely can’t, plus I’m often too busy doing so many of the less-heavy-but-equally-needed jobs around here. So can the gentlemen get the luggage and carry the boxes and open the jars? Yes, they most certainly can.)

Also, my men clear and rinse their own dishes after every meal and always, always put the toilet seat down. Unfortunately, they still do not see all their stuff laying around on the living room table and floor and think to carry it to their room at the end of the day. I’ve done everything I can – their wives must take it from here.

This might all seem like physical training (dishes, luggage, doors), but I believe what our sons are learning is that you, darling girl, deserve to be cared for, honored, respected, and loved.

Do my boys sometimes say or do something inappropriate, crude, or disrespectful? Of course. So do I. I guess it runs in the family, or maybe it just shows that no matter how noble our efforts, each of us is human and needs a Savior.

So, assuming that you, as a teenage girl, are also seeking Jesus, I want to encourage you to never compromise your Godly desires. That respect you want from others? Show that very same level of respect to yourself and to everyone around you – guys and gals alike. When respect meets respect, a relationship becomes un-pressured, fun, and all around great.

I know what you’re thinking. But, not to worry. This isn’t the part of the letter where I say, “Therefore, this is how I think you should dress and how you should carry yourself and how you should sit and…”

No. Because I’m absolutely sure that if you desire God’s greatness in your life and in your relationships, you’ve already set a high standard for yourself in all these areas. You and I know that being a Godly person isn’t about following all the rules. Words like “dress modestly” and “act appropriately” land precariously all over a wide spectrum depending on each person’s perspective and experiences. Yes (for the love of my teenage, Jesus-seeking sons) do both. But do them with a pure heart motive because you are choosing God’s best, not because the purity rules dictate such behavior.

Rules get us nowhere, but a heart’s conviction and desire to put others before ourselves and to seek God’s Truth in all things – well, that will change everything about how you and I see life as we strive for Kingdom living.

So, Girls. I’ll continue to do my part in raising (hopeful) future husbands, fathers, men of God. You do your part in seeking His goodness in every area of your life as a (hopeful) future wife, mother, woman of God.

At all times, keep the Truth in mind about who you are. Hold tight to your “list.” (I know you’ve got one. It’s the list of everything you want in a guy. I had one too. About the time I thought my list was too unrealistic – like there wasn’t a guy on the planet that would meet all my expectations – I finally met him. Then he exceeded my expectations and he even wanted to marry me. God is faithful – to me and to you. Never forget this.)

Above all, seek Jesus and trust His promises. Treat others as you want to be treated – from the cute guy in Bible class to the elderly lady at the grocery store.

Teenage girls, you are dear to me. I am on your team, in your corner, and cheering you on with more love and longing in my heart than you might be able to imagine.

Seek Jesus, choose goodness, and keep on being adorable. You are cherished.

With love ,

Laura, mother of teenage boys

Dear Teenage Girls