June 29, 2013

Joyful Mom Monday - Plan Long Term

Counting God's Little Blessings
Happy Monday, All!  I'm writing this on Saturday because I will be away all day Monday having a day to myself - getting my hair done, having a pedicure, lunching with my friend and making some time to renew myself and my vision for my family and I.  There is nothing that brings me as much joy as watching our family reach the goals we have made for ourselves.  I had never thought of doing this until 3 or 4 years ago when our Ladies' Bible Study was doing a study on contentment.  The book encouraged us to write out a short description of what we wanted our lives to be as Christian women.  Doing this for myself caused me to really think about and prioritize what I wanted to be most important in my life.  Of all the things in my life, what do I most want to accomplish?  What do I want my entire life to be focused around?

As I have grown in my Christian walk and in my walk as a wife and mom, I have begun to use this idea of a life plan in many areas.  It has helped me to stay focused on the important things, and when I become overwhelmed, I go to these plans to get my priorities back in order.  Here are some ways that I use and apply this idea of long term planning.

Personal Plan - I have written out (in just a few sentences) what I want to focus on and become as I grow as a Christian, a wife and a mom.  Most of these are spiritual goals and came from the descriptions the Bible gives of a wise or older woman.  Each year (usually August or September), I sit down and make out a yearly personal plan.  This is much more specific and involves certain character traits that I need to work on, habits that I need to make or break, physical fitness goals, even fun things that I would like to try or do that year.  This plan is more subject to be changed or tweaked as the year goes on, but I do try to stick to it and accomplish the things I have written down.

Family Plan - The Mr. and I have written out what we want to focus on as a family.  We began with a very long term plan that pictures what we want our family to become.  We think of it as our End of the Journey Goal.  As we wrote it, we pictured what we wanted our family to be 15 years from then.  Again, much of this is a spiritual aspect given from Biblical descriptions.    Each year (usually in March for some odd reason), the Mr. and I have a getaway, and we plan our yearly goals for our family.  This would include more specific goals such as ministries we would like to do as a family, fun plans, discipline strategies and the Bible studies we would like to have as a family.  The Mr. and I also include things we would like to work on or do as a couple. (Side note: my experience and the experience of other women I know is that usually we wives may have to get the ball rolling in making a family plan, but I have found that once we get away from the busyness of life, the Mr. is ready to plan with me.  It really does become a wonderful time of planning and unifying.)

Individual Child Plan - This is something I usually do by myself, although when I am done, I talk it over with the Mr., and he will add his thoughts.  Each year, again in August or September, I focus on each child.  I make a list of their character strengths and weaknesses.  I list out strategies that I can use to help strengthen them in these areas.  I make a list of things that I am thankful for each child for as well as ways they bring joy to my heart.  I also write down a few things that I would like to do with them that year one on one and even a few things that I would like the Mr. to do with them.

Homeschool Plan - In August, I make out a very general homeschool plan.  This would include Bible focus, field trips, specific books to read, habits in schooling that we need to work on, etc.  Even if you are not a homeschooling mom, I would encourage you to make out a  plan like this for your kiddos.  As a mom, it is your responsibility and privilege to help your child strengthen areas that he/she may need more individual help in.  Also, just the ideas of encouraging learning at all times - not just in the classroom - and teaching your children that learning is fun are important and will carry your children far past their 12 years of formal schooling.

Whew!  That's a ton of planning that takes conscious effort and quite a block of time, but it is so worth it!  I am a list person, and I find it encouraging to look at these plans every now and then and see how far we've come.  We have to be careful not to let the list, plans, goals run over our lives, but they can be a wonderful tool in helping us bring about the family we dream of  - the family that will bring us joy not only when we "finally" reach the end of the journey but throughout the entire journey!  Intentional parenting brings unbelievable joy and rewards!

 Every wise woman buildeth her house: but the foolish plucketh it down with her hands.
~Proverbs 14:1

Wishing you a day full of blessings,

I am still experimenting with computer technology.  I tried to upload these documents so that you could print them off to use, but it keeps giving me a strange message.  This is what I made to use for my long term planning.  If you would like me to email them to you, let me know!  I have a child plan and a homeschool plan as well.

June 26, 2013

Christian Advice or Biblical Advice

When someone asks me for advice or asks how I handle a situation, I always want to think of a wise and thought-provoking answer - basically, make myself look really good in this moment!  This morning, as I was mopping my floor - one of the few things I actually do completely by myself around here :) - I was thinking about advice that I have received over the years and the kind of advice that I appreciated the most and the kind that I disliked the most.  The more I thought about it, the more I realized how much I enjoyed the advice of a person who gave me Scripture - who either took me to a place in the Bible or was even able to quote it to me.  Scripture can be convicting, but it is also a never-ending source of life and encouragement and joy.  I don't believe it is a strange coincidence that those who give me advice using Scripture are also the most encouraging advisers I have had.  

Here was my profound thought for the day...Many people give Christian advice as in "the right thing to do is..." or "people who do that will never..."  There isn't necessarily anything wrong with this advice, but I should always, in every situation, turn to the Bible for my answers.  What does Scripture tell me about this?  Are there a set of Biblical "rules" that I should know about when addressing this issue?  Does the Bible speak specifically of this problem?   Now, I am the first to be on the band wagon when it comes to having high standards and pursuing excellence.  I am not saying that we cannot do something just because it is the "Christian" thing to do, but I do wonder how many times I have placed insurmountable expectations or unhelpful guilt on someone because I have told them my Christian opinion instead of God's Biblical perspective.  

Why am I telling you all this?  Well, it was thought-provoking for me, and I thought you might find it to be so as well.  It has also been a good reminder to me that I need to know the Word better.  I can tell you all about the Christian thing to do, but how many verses can I show you that will tell you the Biblical thing to do?  I encourage you today to study God's Word deeply.  Learn about your God and His desires and perspective so that when you are given the chance, instead of spouting all of your Christian knowledge, you will be able to encourage with the best Encourager of all, God's Word.
Wishing you a day full of blessings,

June 25, 2013

Southern Chicken Salad

I thought I would share another new recipe today that I have recently tried.  This one is for Chicken Salad.  I have a sweet Chicken Salad recipe that I have used for years, but I was in the mood for a more southern style salad, and so I went a-pinteresting!  I found this recipe, and it hit the spot!  I love how moist the chicken turned out because it was simmered in chicken broth, and it really was much faster than waiting for the chicken to boil!  The taste was pure perfection and made an absolutely delicious sandwich.  I followed the directions to a T except that I did not find I needed to add any additional salts or seasonings to the salad at the end as it suggested you could.  The seasoning I placed in the chicken was perfect for our taste!  If you have a picnic coming up soon, I would definitely recommend this!  Let me know what you think!

Wishing you a day full of blessings,

Southern Chicken Salad


June 24, 2013

Joyful Mom Monday - Summer Fun!

Counting God's Little Blessings

Our summer has been different this year. We are trying to figure the ins and outs of homeschooling year around, and even though I do enjoy the freedom that it gives us all year long, I have to admit that it has taken away some of the anticipation that usually comes with summer.  I also think that the first trimester of pregnancy and the beginning of summer do not mix very well.  Now that I think about it, I'm not sure the first trimester of pregnancy mixes well with much of anything! :)  All that to say, that now that it is June 24, I finally feel like I am ready to begin some summer fun!  I've been looking for some ideas online as well as just planning the normal summer stuff!  Here is a list I have come up with.

1.  Water balloon day!  This happens on really hot days when Mom sits with the garden hose and fills and ties water balloons the entire afternoon while the kids smash them to their heart's content.  We also usually have a sprinkler running!

2. Garden hose running water on the slide into a swimming pool at the bottom. kids thought I was pretty awesome!  They thought I was even awesomer when I slid down the slide! :)  Only once...the pool needs more padding before I'll do it again! :)

3.  I found this idea online and had my 1st through 6th grade Wednesday church class do it.  It occupied them for a long time and brought out a creative side I didn't know some of them had!  Even little ones like to just squish it in their hands.  How To Create a Sand Castle That Lasts.

4.  Camp out in the yard.

5.  Lots of smores by the fire pit!

6.  Now that Miss Evvie has her own camera, I send the kids out with a list of things to look for and take pics of.  They love doing this, and it gives me a few minutes of peace and quiet!

7.  Early morning walks before it gets hot!

8.  Make home made ice cream!  My goal for the month of July is to make a different kind of ice cream every weekend!

9.  Make these glow jars for camp out nights.
10.  Have a paint day!  I want to try this idea here, but I may use an old sheet instead of a box!  If I told my kids to splash in paint...well, I'd be even awesomer than when I slid down the slide into the kiddie pool!  

Those are a few of my creative goals for this summer!  I would LOVE to hear yours!  Make sure you take time to make memories!   Be intentional and let your children know how much you enjoy spending time with them.  We only have this today once!
 Wishing you a day full of blessings,

June 19, 2013

A Wednesday Funny!

I saw this in a local paper while waiting for our pizza yesterday.  I'm not sure who to give credit to, but it gave me a few good laughs, and so I thought I'd share!

25 Things My Mom Taught Me
"If you're going to kill each other, do it outside. I just finished cleaning."

2. My Mom taught me RELIGION.
"You better pray that will come out of the carpet."

3. My Mom taught me about TIME TRAVEL.
"If you don't straighten up, I'm going to knock you into the middle of next week!"

4. My Mom taught me LOGIC.
"Because I said so, that's why."

5. My Mom taught me MORE LOGIC.
"If you fall out of that swing and break your neck, you're not going to the store with me."

6. My Mom taught me FORESIGHT.
"Make sure you wear clean underwear, in case you're in an accident."

7. My Mom taught me IRONY.
"Keep crying, and I'll give you something to cry about."

8. My Mom taught me about the science of OSMOSIS.
"Shut your mouth and eat your supper."

9. My Mom taught me about CONTORTIONISM.
"Will you look at that dirt on the back of your neck!"

10. My Mom taught me about PATIENCE.
"You'll sit there until all that spinach is gone."

11. My Mom taught me about WEATHER.
"This room of yours looks as if a tornado went through it."
12. My Mom taught me about HYPOCRISY.
"If I told you once, I've told you a million times. Don't exaggerate!"

13. My Mom taught me the CIRCLE OF LIFE.
"I brought you into this world, and I can take you out."

14. My Mom taught me about BEHAVIOR MODIFICATION.
"Stop acting like your father!"
15. My Mom taught me about ENVY.
"There are millions of less fortunate children in this world who don't have wonderful parents like you do."

16. My Mom taught me about ANTICIPATION.
"Just wait until we get home."

17. My Mom taught me about RECEIVING.
"You are going to get it when you get home!"

18. My Mom taught me MEDICAL SCIENCE.
"If you don't stop crossing your eyes, They are going to freeze that way."

19. My Mom taught me ESP.
"Put your sweater on; don't you think I know when you are cold?"

20. My Mom taught me HUMOR.
"When that lawn mower cuts off your toes, don't come running to me."

21. My Mom taught me HOW TO BECOME AN ADULT.
"If you don't eat your vegetables, you'll never grow up."

22. My Mom taught me GENETICS.
"You're just like your father."

23. My Mom taught me about my ROOTS.
"Shut that door behind you. Do you think you were born in a barn?"

24. My Mom taught me WISDOM.
"When you get to be my age, you'll understand."

25. And my favorite: My Mom taught me about JUSTICE.
"One day you'll have kids, and I hope they turn out just like you!" 
I did and Mom was right, they did.
Maybe they should read this list too.

Did your mom tell you any of these?  Better yet, if you are a mom, do you find yourself saying them?  Enjoy your Wednsesday!
Wishing you a day full of blessings,

June 18, 2013

Smothered Chicken Casserole

I have been on a roll here lately trying all kinds of new recipes, and the Mr. and kids have approved of several!  This is a big deal!  The Mr. is not at all a picky eater, but he is a meat and potatoes kind of guy.  I personally get a little bored with meat and potatoes.  When I try new recipes, the Mr. eats, but if he wasn't impressed, when he is done he'll ask where the real food is! :)  At least he's honest!   I prepared this recipe that I found on pinterest, and the Mr. devoured it and complimented me despite the fact that it has casserole in the name of the dish!  That was HUGE!!!  I'll definitely be making it again soon.  I hope your family enjoys it as much as ours did.  Click on the picture below to link to the recipe. 
Just a side note: Since we have several small kiddos, I cut the chicken breasts up into bite sized pieces once they were finished baking.  Then, I tossed the noodles, sauce and chicken bites all together!  

Well, summer is here which the means the kiddos and I see a lot of each other and not very much of the Mr.! :(  So, we are off to break up the monotony and grab us some pizza from the "town" 20 minutes away - a very rare occasion which will hopefully brighten everyone's mood!  Happy Tuesday, everyone!
Wishing you a day full of blessings,