Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Fat or Fit?

Check out my daughter, Anna's blog over on Swerve. She is our 4th child, 20 years old, and the Associate Youth Pastor of Lifechurch Northwest. She has written some challenging words and stirred up a little bit of controversy there. Hope you enjoy it--I did!

Click here:
And click on "comment on this post" below to leave your comment!

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Am I Doing Enough? (Part 2)

Potty Training is Home Education!

OK – here’s my philosophy on “Am I Doing Enough?” If you’ve ever successfully potty trained a child, then you are a successful home educator!

Potty training is hard work. First of all, you must determine if your child is even ready for the concept. How do you know? By observation. By noticing his interest level, by trying it out and watching his reaction. And even at some point you go forward with the idea, even if your child shows no interest whatsoever.

Next, you experience lots of trial and error. You switch up your approach, you play games, you get creative, you may question whether you can even do it. “Maybe,”
you think, “someone else could do a much better job of this than I." You finally experience elation when your little one says, “Mommy, I need to go potty”. And you make it to the potty right in time! You give lots of hugs and praise. Success! But, then, in an hour or so, he forgets to tell you, and wets himself and the sofa cushion. So, did you give up? Did you send him to potty training academy? Or did you just start again, reinforcing what you had already gone over a million times before? You started again.

And guess what? When your precious little one is taller than you, and headed off to his first job, he won’t even need you to remind him to “potty”.

That’s how it is with teaching your child at home. This applies to everything from learning to read to learning to change the oil on a vehicle. You discover your child’s needs. You discover a way to attain them. You work and work to accomplish those needs together. Is it enough? Most definitely. If you’ve loved your child enough to see him through potty training, learning to walk, and learning to talk, you’re equipped to do the rest. Accepting your calling as a dedicated parent will assure you that exactly the right amount of academics, character building, life skills, and most of all, love, will see your child mature into the person God has called him to be. That’s success!

Thursday, July 19, 2007

What's for Dinner (Part 4 of 4)

Better Than Drive-Thru

Instead of driving through McDonald’s or explaining to your husband why your family needs to eat out, why not have a few really quick recipes that can be made in only minutes. Or, plan ahead and get out your crock-pot!

Here are a couple of mine:

Border Bowl
(sorry Taco Bell)

Place in order in large microwave-proof bowl

1 can beans (Ranch, black, kidney, or refried)
1 pkg. pre-cooked ground beef
season with 1 tsp chili power, ½ t. cumin, sprinkle with salt or garlic salt
1 can corn, drained
2-4 cups cooked brown rice (use Minute Rice if you’re in a hurry. Add the same seasoning as above to your rice as it cooks)
grated cheese (I like Colby or Mexican)

Cover your dish with plastic wrap and microwave until hot – usually about 8-10 minutes. While it is warming, prepare lettuce, as you would for a salad, or even slice a head of iceberg. Set your table with a bowl of tortilla chips, sour cream, salsa, dressing of choice, jalapenos, guacamole. You get the idea.

When serving, some of my family prefers making soft tacos from the Border Bowl. Others of us prefer mostly salad using salsa as our dressing.

This recipe is requested by my family often. If this would be too much food for your family, leave off the corn, or use less rice.

Another easy one:
Chicken Stroganoff

Chicken breasts or boneless thighs, enough to feed your family
2 cans fat-free cream soup (chicken, celery, mushroom or a combination)
1-16oz carton low fat sour cream
1 pkg. dry onion soup mix

Pre-cook your chicken (I use bone-in breasts. The cost is cheaper and the skin comes off easily before cooking and the bones are easy to remove after cooking. I do this in a covered, non-stick skillet with just a small amount of water added) When the chicken is just cooked through, remove from skillet and set aside to cool if you are removing bones. Shred chicken when cool.

Add your cream soup to the same skillet with the dry onion soup mix. Heat the mixture adding just enough water to make a nice thick gravy consistency. Add the chicken and stir in the sour cream. Keep your heat low so the sour cream doesn’t separate. Heat through and serve over brown rice, mashed potatoes, or grits. Yum!

There’s always Spaghetti. Use one of those frozen zip-locks of cooked hamburger, open up a can or two of spaghetti sauce (add onion, bell pepper, garlic, carrots, etc. finely chopped in your food processor—your kids will never know!). Cook some pasta (try the whole grain version—it tastes just the same but adds extra fiber to your meal), open up a bag of salad mix or make one of your own, and, voila, almost-instant dinner!

Save time and money by having a plan!

Have any really quick recipes to share?

What's for Dinner? (Part 3)

Saving Time

I never did the Once-A-Month-Cooking. It just didn’t work out for me. Maybe you do, and you could share your ideas and methods with us. Here are a few things that did work for me to save time and effort at dinnertime.

  • I brown several pounds (5-10 lbs.) of ground beef/ground turkey at a time, drain it, and put about 3 cups cooked meat into a quart-size zip-lock freezer bag. I lay them flat in the freezer. These bags are great to get out, thaw in the microwave and use for nachos, spaghetti, etc.

    Know what’s for dinner early in the day. I used to prepare everything I could ahead of time when the children were napping and then, when the “gorilla hour” arrived, it was much less stressful for us all! I still do this today even though the gorilla hour is gone. It allows me to enjoy mealtime since I’m not worn out from an hour or so of preparation before eating.

    Clean up the kitchen as much as possible BEFORE dinner. Even if that only means filling the sink with hot, soapy water to soak pots, pans, and utensils that you used during preparation.

What are your dinner time-saving ideas? Please share them with us!

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

What's for Dinner? (Part 2)

Grocery List & Shopping

What do you use for a grocery list? Mine has evolved over the years from a master list with every item I ever purchased listed by aisle at my usual grocery store to an index card that I now use. I keep a weekly list, writing items down as they are used up or getting low. And when I plan my menus, I add the ingredients needed for each recipe I will use. I make sure to check products like tissues, paper towels, and other items that we use regularly. Family members know where I keep the list and add items as needed. (or sometimes, not needed) I do have to remember to TAKE the list with me when going to the store! What sort of grocery list do you keep?

And guess what? I am now able to go to the store ALONE! I know that can’t happen to most of you. Do you have someone you can trade children with just long enough to buy your groceries? Or maybe you have a child old enough to hand a short list and let them take their own cart to pick up items. Share with us your creative ideas for grocery-shopping- harmony when you must take your children with you.

Monday, July 16, 2007

What's for Dinner? (Part 1)

A Master Menu

As mentioned in the June 28 post on the Family Notebook, one of the main pages I still use today is the Master Menu page. This is a single page listing various main-dish meals under the following category headings:

Ground beef/ground turkey
Beef (steak or roast)
Breakfast for dinner
Soups and stews

Under the ground beef heading, I have listed main dishes like spaghetti, Border Bowl, porcupine meatballs, beef enchiladas, etc. I list every recipe I can think of using ground beef. Then I do the same thing with the other categories.

Maybe you are feeding so many that you need to include a breakfast and lunch plan. I have a friend that used to put her menus for the week on her refrigerator – all 3 meals of the day!

Years ago, when I was fixing meals for nine people, we grocery shopped at Crest Foods in Midwest City once a month! (It took two carts and no, we didn’t take the kids with us.) We would fill in with milk and produce from another local store as needed. In fact, there came a time when my husband, Dirk, did all the shopping. That’s when this page came in really handy. I came up with menus for nightly meals for the whole month using this list as a guide. Now, I usually cook for 4-6 and I shop once a week. I still use this master menu list. It helps me quickly think of ideas of what to fix for dinner!

Sunday, July 15, 2007


The wedding was Thursday, July 12 and we made it! It was a wonderful week of celebrating family, love and life. It was so fun to see the blending of two godly, (and homeschooling) families, knowing that the values and ideals of both Katie and Alexander were so much the same. The pastor that married them said they were like an old married couple in beautiful young bodies! They know each other that well. What a blessing!

Our immediate family worked together as a team doing all the preparations and being our support system during the week. It took all of us! They are such a blessing to me. Fruit from our years of training.

And now we have the added value of a new extended family. Alexander’s family. Together we can be a blessing to both Katie and Alexander as we share the same belief system, family values, and goals for our children: A rich Christian heritage. Now that’s a blessing!

So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up. (Gal. 6:9) NLT