Friday, April 30, 2010

Sale at The Modest Mom!

Mother's Day sale!

Every skirt is on sale at our store! Maternity, Women's, and ready made skirts are on sale! Shop now until May 9th for the sale price.


Why nagging doesn't work

Growing up I was homeschooled using the Charlotte Mason method. Now that I'm starting to homeschool my own children, I have explored all the different curriculum out there, and much to my Mother's delight I'm coming back to Charlotte Mason. :-) Recently I have been pouring over the Simply Charlotte Mason website, there is way to much good information there! This is a free e-book entitled "Smooth and Easy Days" that they put out. I have copied just one chapter of it, but I would encourage you to go and download all of it and read it! You can do so here.

Why Nagging Doesn’t Work

I nag them and I nag them, but it does no good.” Most of us can testify to the truth of that statement. But I never understood why nagging doesn’t work until I started to study Charlotte’s habit-training principles. Now it makes sense. Let’s say that you’re trying to teach your child to hang up her coat when she takes it off. In order to make that action a habit, she needs to repeatedly and consciously think through the hang-up- my-coat-when-I-take-it-off neuron route. (Remember the neuron routes we talked about in chapter 6?) Now, let’s say you come into the room and trip over her coat.

The easiest thing to do is to call her into the room and say, “I’ve told you before, hang up your coat when you take it off!” She obediently picks it up and hangs it in the closet, but . . . and here’s the key . . . her brain didn’t initiate the idea, so you just reinforced the wrong neuron route.

You just reinforced the do-what-mom-says-to-do neuron route. That’s a completely different route from the one you want her to mentally travel. And that explains why once we start nagging, we find that we’re always having to nag in order to make something happen. We are reinforcing the do-what-mom-says-to- do route, which means the child will constantly wait until mom says what to do!

" ‘I’m sure I am always telling her’––to keep her drawers neat, or to hold up her head and speak nicely, or to be quick and careful about an errand, says the poor mother, with tears in her eyes; and indeed this, of ‘always telling’ him or her is a weary process for the mother; dull, because hopeless” (Vol. 2, p. 1734).

So, let’s say you just came into the room and tripped over your daughter’s coat . . . again. You call your child into the room, and you say something like this: “I promised I would help you remember.” That’s all. If she still doesn’t understand, you can pointedly look at the coat on the floor. Little hints might be needed at first. But you wait until the mental lightbulb goes off in her head and that will start those neurons traveling the hang-up-my-coat- when-I-take-it-off route. Do you see the difference? She thought of it. She made the mental effort.

Yes, it might be faster to nag. Yes, it sometimes seems easier to nag. But think of the long-term effects. You will have to continue to nag whenever you want something done.

“But, perhaps, even his mother does not know how unutterably dreary is this ‘always telling,’ which produces nothing, to the child. . . . As for any impression on his character, any habit really formed, all this labour is without result” (Vol. 2, p. 174).

Nagging doesn’t work. Stop nagging and start forming habits.

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Thursday, April 29, 2010

Laundry Links

I'll confess. My mind is on laundry. Yesterday while I was at WalMart I decided to buy gifts for an upcoming wedding. The laundry aisle seemed like a very useful practical spot to hit and the gift registry was loaded with suggestions for me. Then I came home and remembered why I was in the laundry organizing mood. I had read some of these laundry links posted at I'm An Organizing Junkie. There are some really awesome ideas here! I'm seriously thinking of making the laundry room drying rack. You might have to search awhile to find someone as unhandy with using tools as myself (using the hammer and nail to put pictures up is doing good for me). I was so inspired by that beautiful and useful drying rack that I might talk myself into giving it a try.

I'm An Organizing Junkie Laundry Links:

To help with the laundry chore Suburban Granola created an awesome family closet
Organized Laundry Room ~ @ Organize and Decorate Everything

I love this simple visual laundry lesson for kids ~ @ Reluctant Entertainer

A very clever tip for when you want others to stop shrinking your clothes @ Simply Stated

This beautiful laundry room makeover was an entry into the 28 Day Organizing Challenge ~ @ The Skinner Scene

I would love love love this laundry room drying rack. Centsational Girl provides a fantastic step by step tutorial.

Meck Mom is sharing Mini Laundry Tips on her blog ~ here is the link to Mini-Tip #4

Is Your Laundry Room Organized? ~ @ Clutter Control Freak Blog

Podcast ~ The Laundry Room (a happy place?) ~ @ The Savvy Organizer
Laundry Links ~ lots of links @ Complete Organizing Solutions

Organizing the Laundry Room ~ @ Organized Everyday

Laundry Room Makeover ~ @ Heart at Home
From Jennifer Allen


Organizing Junkie's Laundry System

Okay, I will confess. I don't mind doing laundry. Even the folding part. Really. However, I don't have a mountain of laundry 24/7 like some of you ladies do. I've seen your mountains and if I had that particular pile of laundry I just might start disliking my laundry. Fast. Real fast. I ran across this post from I'm An Organizing Junkie and was amazed. Think of the possibilities of doing laundry this way! No more sorting. Hmm, sounds like a saving grace for some of you. I will have to get brave and try doing my laundry this way and see what happens. Old habits die hard. I might stand there in front of the washer and peer in looking for color bleeding. Organizing Junkie calls it the Laundry System that Changed Her Life. Well, that's high praise indeed. You'll have to decide if you want to brave it. If anyone has used this method please leave a comment and reassure me that you didn't ruin your clothes. I would feel better. :-)

The Laundry System That Changed My Life:

In order to get the full picture though of how much time and frustration this particular system saves me, let me walk you through how I use to do laundry. Perhaps you can relate. Each of my kids has a hamper in their bedrooms and on laundry day they’d each bring their basket downstairs and I would start the chore of sorting the piles of laundry into whites and darks. Then when it was all washed I’d start the sorting process all over again as I sorted each child’s clothing back into their individual baskets. It took forever and I was constantly putting it off because I always felt like the laundry had to get done all at once so everyone would have a full basket to return to their rooms. Finding a big chunk of time like that to devote to this task was tough.

Now with the wisdom I gleaned from my friend Beth, I can honestly say my new laundry method has changed my life. Each child still has a laundry basket in their room but rather than do everyone’s laundry all at once, I do one child’s load at a time. In other words I throw their whole basket of laundry into one load WITHOUT separating the whites and colors…gasp! Can you believe it, I certainly couldn't. I thought for sure the colors would run but they didn’t. In fact the laundry came out just fine….I just add about a 1/2 cup of vinegar to each load to help set the colors and keep them from running. I’ve yet to wreck a piece of clothing doing it this way. Although note of caution wash new red items separately the first time.
I’ve eliminated the entire sorting process all together. Gone. As in I no longer spend any time trying to figure out whose socks are whose. Sorting clothes is highly overrated :)
Are you impressed yet? I was! Go Here to read the rest of the post.
From Jennifer Allen


Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Giveaway: A Membership to the Ultimate Homeschool Expo Online!!

Wow, two giveaways in one day! The ultimate Homeschool expo starts May 3rd, so I wanted to get this giveaway going as it will be a short one. The Ultimate Homeschool Expo online is *the* online event of the year! Here is a clip from the website telling what it is:

" This is one homeschool convention that you will not want to miss!Everything is recorded live online (or you can call in and listen on your telephone or via SKYPE). Plus, we compile every audio and save it into a complete audio Mp3 library that you can download and enjoy for years to come. This homeschool convention can be enjoyed from the comforts of your own home–no conflicts with the schedule...right there in your pajamas...or while you work through your chores or take your daily walk!

No choosing between workshops. No choosing between shopping for your needed curriculum and listening to workshops. You can listen to each and every workshop at your convenience OR bit-by-bit after the event to every one of our wonderful speakers!"

I counted up 55 workshops, plus you get all of this:

PLUS! When you sign up! Here is what you get:

  • Free audio Mp3 downloads of each and every seminar session AND preview chat--we record them, edit them, and upload them on a members-only Membership Site for you to easily find and download every session.
  • Free ebooks from our speakers and sponsors.
  • Free printable planning pages, notebooking pages, unit studies, and unadvertised gifts from our speakers and sponsors.
  • Free BONUS AUDIOS--EVEN MORE teaching by our speakers and vendors to help you get started homeschooling on the right track.
  • Doorprizes and special gifts–Yes! You get access to all of them at your convenience.
  • Complimentary membership to our Ultimate Homeschool Expo 2010 Membership Site–With lots of free articles, bonus Mp3 download audios, free notebooking pages, free unit studies, free printable planning pages, and wonderful savings from our speakers and vendors.
To hear a radio advertising of it, click here to listen.

I can't wait to attend online and hear all of these great speakers! The cost to go is only $39.95, or if you want to order with a friend and split the costs, it is only $59.95!

You can go here to see more information and to order your ticket!

But I have exciting news! One person is going to win a membership to the conference online! That's right, I have one ticket to give away and I'm super excited about it. I have a chance to bless one Mama who is really wanting to go.

To Enter:


Go to the Ultimate Homeschool Conference and tell me what class you would like to listen to. Come back and leave a comment telling me which class it would be!

For extra entries, leave a comment for each of the following you do:

1. Blog about this giveaway and leave the link.

2. Follow us on our blog using google friend connect.

3.. Follow us on Facebook and leave a comment letting us know.

4.. Follow us on Twitter and leave a comment letting us know you follow.

5. Grab our button and put it on your blog.

PLEASE leave a separate comment each time you do one of the above. The giveaway will end Friday, April 30th at midnight and a winner will be announced the following day. You will have 48 hours to get back with me or I will have to pick a different winner.


Giveaway: A free night at a bed and breakfast!

The B&b where we stayed at recently. A Beautiful house over 120 years old!

Getting ready to leave for our overnight. Olivia got to come also!

I simply adore bed and breakfast getaways. We went to a B&B for our honeymoon, and since have gone back twice since than. Each time has been so enjoyable, the food is delicious, the houses are so lovely, and it is nice and quiet. The perfect getaway! This past weekend my husband and brother in law ( Jennifer's husband, who is my husband's brother. Yes, sisters married brothers!) surprised my Mom, sister and I with a getaway to a local B&B for the night. My Mom is on Hospice right now fighting a severe case of Lupus. She has always dreamed of going to a B&B, so off we went to fulfill a dream of hers! It was an absolute blast. We had a fun girl night, and stuffed ourselves on Longhorn Steakhouse, Oreos, and Peanut Butter Cups, only to wake up to a totally scrumptious meal for breakfast! I didn't eat lunch that day I was so full!

I was really excited to be sent a copy of the I LOVE guide to "Bed & Breakfasts and Country Inns." The book is an excellent guide to 1,100 B&B and inns all over America. It gives detailed descriptions of places to stay in each state. The B&B we stayed at for our honeymoon was in there! This book is currently Amazon's #1 bestseller in it's category. The best thing about this book is that there is a coupon in there good for a FREE night at any B&B found in the book when you buy a night at the B&B! Basically a buy one get one free coupon! But that coupon is worth far more than the price of this book! Sean and I will hopefully get to put that coupon to good use sometime this year. :-)

The exciting news is that the I LOVE INNS have graciously offered to give away not just one copy of this book, but FIVE!! So five different blog readers will have a chance to win a copy of this book!

To enter:

REQUIRED-please leave an email address so we can contact you!

Go to I Love and look for an inn that you would like to stay at. Just staying in your town is super fun if you don't have the time to travel far! Come back here and leave a comment where that would be.

For extra entries, leave a comment for each of the following you do:

1. Blog about this giveaway and leave the link.

2. Follow us on our blog using google friend connect!

3.. Follow us on Facebook and leave a comment letting us know.

4.. Follow us on Twitter and leave a comment letting us know you follow!

5. Grab our button and put it on your blog.

PLEASE leave a separate comment each time you do one of the above.

The giveaway will end on Tuesday May 4th at midnight, and the winner will be posted the next day! The winners will have 48 hours to contact me back with their info before I move on and pick someone else. Thanks!

Please know while I did receive a free copy of the book, I was not paid to write this review.


Monday, April 26, 2010

Menu Plan for Week of April 26th

This week I wanted to try out some new recipes. Making my own bagels sounded fun. I have always wanted to try that. We are going to give Breakfast Cookies a whirl, along with the homemade Graham Crackers. Those sound yummy! The Mexican Lasagna is so good, you have to try it. It's a great meal for having company over. It taste great but is very easy to prepare. The Fettuccine Alfredo is a husband happy meal from the Pioneer Woman. It is delicious! We are off the start of another busy week. I am oh so thankful to have a menu plan in place and all the food here that is needed. Have a great week!

Monday- Cereal
Honey Whole Wheat Bagels & fruit
Oatmeal & fruit, Green Smoothie
Biscuits, Gravy, & Eggs
Giant Breakfast Cookies, bananas

Monday-Grilled Cheese Sandwich, Tomato Soup
Chicken & Noodle Soup, veggies, fruit
PB & J, fruit, veggies
Stir Fry w Rice, veggies, fruit
Pizza, PW Peach Crisp with Maple Cream Sauce

Cranberry Pudding
Homemade Whole Wheat Graham Crackers
Apples w Peanut Butter
Corn Chips & Salsa

Monday- Cheese Pizza, Vanilla Pudding, Salad
Mexican Lasagna, Salad, Tapioca Pudding, Sweet Potatoes
Stir Fry over Spaghetti Noodles, Strawberry Peach Slushies
Fettuccine Alfredo w Broccoli, Garlic Bread, Baked Sweet Potato Casserole
Parmesan Chicken, Mom’s Crescent Rolls, Peas, Corn

Perfect Blueberry Crisp


Friday, April 23, 2010

Book Giveaway!

I was highly intrigued after reading an online review by Jennie Chancey of the book "Start your Family, Inspiration for Having Babies" by Steve and Candice Watters . Since my husband and I didn't waste any time in having children after marriage, I was excited that there actually might be a book out there that explains why we started our family so soon. I was not disappointed! After tearing open the package, I spent the next few days reading the book every chance I got. How refreshing and invigorating this book was for me! I have read several "quiverful minded" books, but this book has a totally different feel to it. They don't preach down your throat about how the Lord requires that you must have babies and if you don't start right away how terrible you are. They simply give you the evidence of how dangerous it is to wait...and wait...and wait some more before starting your family. From the book:

"Lacking cultural and community support, couples are putting off starting their families longer. The average couple marries in their late twenties. Their initial priorities are often to get established and spend time enjoying their marriage before considering having kids. Unfortunately, what it takes to 'get established' has been complicated by increased consumer and education debt, as well as by inflated lifestyle expectations that require every bit of both spouses' income. As they put more and more into 'enjoying their marriage' many couples start to wonder if they're really ready to take on the headaches and responsibilities of children.
Still, as woman age, the various reasons to hold off on having kids often give way to an inexplicable biological urge to have a baby. By the time the average couple tries to have kids, however ,they are often surprised to find they are already moving past the peak of their fertile years. As a result, the proportion of forty something women who are childless (and unlikely to ever have children) doubled between 1976 and 2000."

Steve and Candice do not ignore the fact that having children is hard work. I have come to believe that raising children is the hardest kind of work possible, because the stakes are so high. If you fail, or don't put your best into it, the results are eternal and so devastating. While I know some people were surprised how fast Sean and I started having children, I do not regret it at all. Yes, we lost some of our "play time" before children. But when do you decide you are done "playing" and actually ready to have children?

The beauty of this book is that they do not make black and white statements. They realize that each family is different, and that their circumstances vary greatly. They simply want to come alongside you and encourage you in the path of choosing parenthood.

This book would be excellent for newlyweds to read, or to give to family members who don't understand why you have chosen to start having children (and lots of them!) so soon. Or you just might want to read it yourself as encouragement to keep pressing on in bearing and raising your children for the glory of God. I highly recommend this book!

You can buy this book at Amazon for only $11.97! Go here to purchase it.

Would you like to read a copy? Good news! The Watters have been generous and have sent a giveaway copy! To enter, simply leave a comment telling me why you would like to read this book!

For extra entries you can do the following:

1. Blog about this giveaway and leave the link.

2. Follow us on our blog using google friend connect!

3.. Follow us on Facebook and leave a comment letting us know.

4.. Follow us on Twitter and leave a comment letting us know you follow!

5. Grab our button and put it on your blog.

PLEASE leave a separate comment each time you do one of the above. The comments are closed on this post, just use the form below to enter. We never share your email addresses with anyone, which is why we use the form to keep them private!

The giveaway will end on Friday, April 30th at midnight, and the winner will be posted the next day!

Please know while I did receive a free copy of the book, I was not paid to write this review. These thoughts are all my own! A big thanks to the Watters for sending me the review and giveaway copy!


Thursday, April 22, 2010

Ultimate Homeschool Expo 2010!

I just love Cindy Rushton's ministry. We recently gave away an ebook of her's on the blog, and I was thrilled to discover that the Ultimate Homeschool Expo 2010 is just a few weeks away, and she sponsors it! It sounds so encouraging to be able to sit in the peace and quite of our own homes and listen to speakers rally us on in our daily path of mothering and homeschooling. Below is an article that she wrote which I thought would be edifying.

Quick Tips For the Perpetually Late, Disorganized, Stressed Out Mom!
By Cindy Rushton Does this SPEAK to you? Nothing is more frustrating than great intentions but failure with the time management, organization, and gentle spirit thing! So, what can REALLY help? Need a bit of hope? Practical ideas? Well, beloved, here are a few tips that have made a world of difference for me:

--> Be sure to slow down and have a quiet time EACH DAY! Take time for God to fill YOUR cup each day. Let Him give you HIS peace, order, and best of all, schedule! Take time to hear HIS plans for your day. Throughout the day, listen to His gentle direction. Be sure that you are willing to let go of the things that God wants to prune away. Without this, all else is only a band-aid!

--> Invest in a Planner! I am the world’s worst at trying to do it all while trying desperately to remember those incredible details that are doomed to slip my brain! I decided to take a long, honest look at the things that were creating chaos. Most often, the biggest culprit was overcommitment or an underestimate of time involved with commitments. Writing down ALL commitments, along with an honest look at the time commitment involved (even going and coming OR planning the details around that commitment!), has made an indescribable impact on my life! Not to mention, another breeder of chaos in my life was constantly looking for information that needed to be in a dependable place like phone numbers, ordering information, etc. Keeping ONE binder with my information included eliminates the chaos, but it does even more! It gives my brain a rest!

--> Evaluate to find the BEST that God has designed for YOU to do! Sure, there are many “little things” that must be done to manage our homes, but if you are really struggling with balance, discipline yourself to write down everything that you are doing for a little while. Pray over the importance of each and every thing. Time is so very precious. God gives us everything that we need to do all that He has designed for us to do, but He will not anoint those things that will choke out His best for our lives. So, really pray through…think through…weigh out everything. Listen to God for HIS goals for you. Prune those things that are not in line with His goals for you. Get rid of any time wasters. Prioritize every activity, every day! Combine activities that can be done together to make the most of time. Delegate those things that others can do to help you be a good steward of your time. Then, make the most of your time doing the very best things that God has designed for you to do!

--> Write IT down! Yep! Give your brain a break! This may seem to compound your problem, but trust me this will help more than you know! It is NOT another thing to do! Rather, once things are written down, the work is done FOR you! For example, keeping a calendar of events in your planner will help to alleviate conflicts in your schedule. Blocking off plenty of time for each entry will help you to give yourself enough margin left over for LIFE! I may live less than five miles from downtown, but if there is an appointment there, I KNOW to give myself 30 minutes to get there! Also, I cannot tell you how much my lists from years ago are beginning to really help me! I have lists for school lessons, shopping, traveling, producing the magazines, speaking, etc. I may have to add to my generic list, but I cannot tell you how many times my lists have helped me to be sure that NOTHING was left out or forgotten. Plus, now the planning process is simplified. I just pull out my list, go over the list, add anything that is missing, and get busy! Several of my lists are typed into my computer, ready to print. Talk about EASY planning! Find ways that you can simplify what you are doing—writing it down will probably be one of your first steps too!

--> Keep your STUFF ready to use! Whether your planner or your purse or even your Bible/journal for church, get things together and in their special spot, ready to go. I have a tote that includes all of the things that I need for Church. I keep it together, ready to go. Our school books stay in a milk crate (one for each child), ready to use at the table or to grab for our trips with the business. Everything that we need is ready at all times. My planner stays at my chair, ready to grab to leave the house. So on. Decide on what you need for planning, church, homeschooling, or your business. Get everything together. Find its very best spot for it to be easy to use, but not in the way or forgotten. You will be surprised at how much stress this will alleviate!

--> Put limits on your day! For years, I battled the different aspects of my day that tend to become monsters! Funny thing, I have never seen my family life ever become one of those monsters. My sweetheart and my children are so much more patient than my nasty kitchen! Memories will always wait for schoolwork to be completed. Laughter will always let the business monster rant and rage! The best (but most difficult) lesson of my life to date was that if I wanted the legacy that God had planned for me, then I had to diligently guard the different aspects of life. I had to consciously purpose to make memories and build relationships with those I love much, much more than a clean house or thriving business or successful homeschool. A whole day can zoom by just on the internet with the business…or working through our lessons…or even re-organizing a closet. Plus, those things wear me down till I am completely zapped! Oh, and then, I am not the nicest person on earth! (ouch—confessions hurt!) While these things are precious and wonderful in their boundaries, I have to CONSTANTLY place limits to insure that we have a balanced life that makes the most of each day AND builds a legacy.

Need MORE Help? How about the ULTIMATE mom-time? Yep! Check out the Ultimate Homeschool Expo 2010! Cindy Rushton is the hostess of the Ultimate Homeschool Expo, the very first online homeschool convention. She is recording Preview Chats for the 2010 Ultimate Homeschool Convention RIGHT NOW! Join her wonderful guests FREE as they count down to the Ultimate Homeschool Expo (May 3-7, 2010--BUT! NEVER ENDING because it is an ONLINE Convention!). Check out all of the details here:


A Woman In Her Home

I love books! I spent many a summer afternoon as a teenager curled up in a chair or sitting outside reading. I started my own library when I was a teenager. I tried to buy not just good books, but the best books. Books that would stand the test of time. Books that would be great resources, encouraging, and great biographies. I looked for books that I couldn't find in the library. I had so much fun! My Mom, sister, and I would find books at homeschool book sales and used book stores.

There isn’t a lot of time now to browse through my books. Occasionally it’s time to find a new “spare” reading book. Off I go to my shelves looking for treasure. I get reacquainted with the titles and contents.

I found two books I own by Ella May Miller. One is titled "A Woman In Her Home." It was written in 1968 and published by Moody Press. Then followed her book titled "I Am A Woman."

Ella Miller believed that a successful Christian family depended upon the mother guiding her family in God’s way. If you can get find her books I would recommend reading these little treasures.

A beautiful poem ends the first chapter in A Woman In Her Home. I wanted to share this.


Blessed is she whose daily tasks are a work of love; For her willing hands and happy heart transform Duty into joyous service to all her family and God.

Blessed is she who opens the door to welcome both stranger and well- loved friend; for gracious hospitality is a test of brotherly love.

Blessed is she who mends stockings and toys and broken hearts; for her understanding is a balm to her husband and children.

Blessed is she who scours and scrubs; for well she knows that cleanliness is one expression of godliness.

Blessed is she whom children love; for the love of a child is of greater value than fortune or fame.

Blessed is she who sings at her work; for music lightens the heaviest load and brightens the dullest chore.

Blessed is she who dusts away doubt and fear and sweeps out the cobwebs of confusion; for her faith will triumph over all adversity.

Blessed is she who serves with laughter and smiles with every meal; for her cheerfulness is an aid to mental and physical digestion.

Blessed is she who introduces Jesus Christ to her children; for godly sons and daughters shall be her reward.

Blessed is she who preserves the sacredness of the Christian home; for hers is a divine trust that crowns her with dignity. By Ella May Miller

From Jennifer Allen


Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Our giveaway winners!

I am late in posting these has been so crazy lately between homeschooling, sewing skirts for The Modest Mom, garage sailing :-) and trying to visit a lot with my Mom who is on Hospice. I'm so grateful for Jennifer-my sister who is the other blogger on here that has been keeping things going! I have a lot of posts swirling around in my head, so once we get caught up on our enormous amount of skirt orders I will start writing! We also have some really great giveaways lined up!

The winner for the $40 Joy of Soap gift card is #5 Misty- nmmar@ Congratulations!
The winner for the Super Mom organized E-Book set is #57 Erica-robinsnest1123

For those of you who didn't win, don't worry! We have lots more great giveaways coming up!

If you want to purchase the E-book set, it is on sale right now 50% off! You can go here to purchase it.


Free Maternity Portrait

If you would like to have pictures taken of you while you are pregnant, here is a good deal! A coupon for a free portrait from Olan Mills. Click here for the coupon.



Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

Society can expect, no demand, perfection in beauty:as it beholds it.

This perfect beauty is not real. It is built on falsehoods that can destroy a woman if she tries to hold herself up to these imaginary ideals. Magazines, movies, and the fashion industry shows their false ideal of the perfect beauty. Trying to be that beauty can require starving yourself to a twig size, breast implants, cosmetic nips and tucks, excessive exercise that can destroy your bodies reproductive capabilities, and much more. The video below will give a visible example of this truth, the beauty expected of you is only possible through false means. As a real woman, beautiful in your own special ways, you can not measure up to this false perception of beauty. Because you are real, the perfect woman society presents you is a lie.

Or as Stacy McDonald of Your Sacred Calling so clearly shares:

When we present ourselves in a way that glorifies God, and when we live chaste and sober lives, loving our neighbor and glorifying the Lord with all we are, His beauty will shine forth from us!

We have no true beauty without the Lord, and any outward beauty we do have is a rotting facade that will one day return to dust. There is nothing wrong with presenting ourselves in a lovely way. There is nothing sinful about make-up or beautiful clothes or jewelry, but we must teach our daughters that our focus is to glorify God.

Be faithful; teach your daughters that beauty doesn’t come from a tube of lipstick, it doesn’t come from having a twenty-one-inch waist, and it’s not lost because those gray hairs start coming or that last baby brought twenty extra pounds. The beauty of the Lord is eternal and it should be cherished and worn with dignity.

Tell your precious daughters to remember this video when they see billboards and magazines that try to "train" them into accepting Hollywood's version of beautiful.

From Jennifer Allen


Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Modesty and Attractiveness

Our beautiful mother!

Dressing modestly and looking lovely don't always go hand in hand. Why not? Some Christians seem to think to fulfill being chaste and modest we also need to look sloppy, untidy, or wear very unattractive clothes. Looking beautiful or pretty is equated with pride almost immediately.

It does say in the Bible that man looks at the outside, but God looks at the heart. Very true. I am required as a Christian to follow God's example and love others in spite of what I think I see on the outside. However, this scripture does prove a point. People do look at what you wear and form an opinion of you based on what they see. Why? Because they aren't God, and unless they are walking with perfect hearts of charity, they won't see what's in your heart first, they will see what you show them.

With that in mind I think the following article is worth reading. This is a good reminder: don't keep people's attention focused on you, it's not about you, it's about Christ. You are representing Him and people will take a look at the Christian you are. How you talk, how you treat others, and yes how you dress.

From Jennifer Allen

Modesty and Attractiveness
You should not judge a book by its cover. That is true. And if you have time in the library to browse and read the back flap or half a chapter, you will often come home with an amazing book even though the cover didn’t really promise much. But how often do you have time for all that? Between children, household, work, family, hobbies… quite often we run in and out of the library in fifteen minutes and we have to content ourselves with first impressions. After a while you even become very good at this. You know what styles of illustrations probably promise a great read, or what kind of font is often used just to draw attention to a cheap sensationalist piece of non fiction. Now and again we have pleasant or unpleasant surprises, but, in general, we know what we get. After all, a scientific work will not often have a full-colour shot of playing children against the background of a wheat field on it, a family novel will rarely have a shiny black dust jacket with blood drops over the title.

In the same way, people who do not have the time to truly get to know us and be surprised by our personality must judge us by what they see–the woman we pass in the grocery store, the librarian, the people we meet on the street. While it is true that beauty starts on the inside, the way we present ourselves shows that we care about the feelings of others who meet us. We should not explicitly dress to get attention to ourselves, but it is a thoughtful gesture to present ourselves with the beauty with which the Lord has endowed us undimmed by sloppiness or carelessness.

Modesty is very important to me. And yet few people would look at me on the street and immediately have it pop into their mind “Oh my, she dresses modestly.” If we make a feature of our modesty that attracts attention, can we call it modesty? Or does it become a way to show the world how “holy” we are?

Many people cringe when they hear the word modesty, because it is often associated with unattractiveness. And as daughters of the King, we are certainly not called to unattractiveness. He created us as women and wants us to celebrate that beauty and to adorn our temples–just not in a way that they incite lust in others. There often is confusion about the word “attractiveness” Should we dress attractively? My answer is a resounding “yes.”

Go Here to read the rest of this excellent article.


Monday, April 19, 2010

Menu Plan for Week of April 19th

Weekly Menu Plan
I was sitting at the computer working on this week's menu plan when my husband walked by. I complained to him that I was tired of eating the same things. I would like more variety. He stared at me, thought a minute, then told me he didn't know what I was talking about. We don't eat the same things over and over. Okay. I.will.not.complain. I guess my main dishes are varied but I fix breakfast items and side dishes in a monthly blur. So I want to shake things up a bit (Did I scare you honey? I promise not to start us on a raw foods diet. Really.) but not too much. After all, my hubby's not complaining!

In the last few weeks I have been making double batches of some food then sticking it in the freezer for meals at a later date. So far I have a Pizza sitting in there, Chicken Spaghetti, Spaghetti sauce, Four Cheese Spaghetti, and Pumpkin pie filling. I'm finding it is a wonderful way to have a meal on hand for a busy evening, or unexpected company. Yesterday we had family stay over for the afternoon. Then it was decided they would stay for supper as well. We each shared food for lunch but supper was unplanned. For the crew of 10 here I decided on Four Cheese Spaghetti, Spinach, Pears, and Stove Top Stuffing. It was simple but filling. I made a huge batch of the Four Cheese Spaghetti. I had enough left over to fill a 13x9 pan. Perfect, a meal already made! Now I'm ready for the busy week ahead!

From Jennifer Allen

Monday- Breakfast Burritos
Whole wheat waffles
, blueberries
Cream of Wheat Combo
Favorite Pancakes w Blueberry Sauce
Egg Sandwiches, Applesauce, Cottage Cheese

Monday- Potato soup, Green Smoothie, carrot sticks
Tomato Soup, whole wheat bread, veggies
Salad w black beans, fruit
PB&J sandwich, Salad, fruit
Chicken Enchiladas, Corn on Cob, Mexican Rice

Apple w peanut butter
Putter Fingers
Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins

Monday- Three Cheese Garlic Chicken Pasta, Spinach Rice Casserole, Corn
Four Cheese Spaghetti, Garlic Bread, Baked Corn Casserole, Green Beans
Chicken Pot Pie, Peaches, Salad
Quiche, Salad, fruit
Chicken Spaghetti, Baked Sweet Potato Casserole, Salad

Peanut Butter Crispy Balls
Pumpkin Pie Cake


Peanut Butter Crispy Balls Recipe

These were brought to potluck one week. They were a yummy treat. It can't get any easier that this!

Peanut Butter Crispy Balls
1 lb. powdered sugar
2 cups creamy or crunchy peanut butter
1/2 cup butter-softened
2 tsp vanilla
3 cups cocoa flavored Rice Crispy

Mix butter and peanut butter with vanilla, then add powdered sugar and Rice Crispy.


Friday, April 16, 2010

Recipes for Freezer Meals

Yesterday in the Freezer Meals & Ready Meals For New Moms post we took a look at the logistics of getting together a group to make these meals. If you have been wanting to try preparing some freezer meals and mixes for your own family this would be a good place to start. Now the fun part, the recipes!

These were the freezer meals:
4 Pizzas
2 meat loafs
3 of Breakfast Hot pockets
3 of Creamed Chicken
3 of Potatoes with Ground Turkey
ABC Muffin Mix
3 of Skillet Lasagna Mix
2 of Pride of the Farmer's Wife Oatmeal Cookies
Homemade Wheat Bread

When you have these meals ready for the freezer don't forget to label the Ziploc bags or freezer containers. Make it easy for yourself and write out the baking temperature and time needed on the label as well. That way you don't have to dig or search for a recipe, all the info you need for supper is right before you.

A tip on freezer containers I learned from my mother-in-law. You don't have to go to the store and spend money on special containers. As you go through normal life save any containers you could use for freezer meals. That would be yogurt, butter, sour cream, cottage cheese, dips, and etc. containers that you use. When all is gone wash them out well and save for freezer containers.

Skillet Lasagna Mix:
1/4 cup plus 2 Tb instant dry milk powder
2 Tb plus 2 tsp cornstarch
2 tsp chicken or beef bouillon granules
1/4 tsp dried basil
1/4 tsp dried thyme
1/4 tsp pepper
1 tsp dried parsley flakes
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 cup dried minced onion
1/4 cup Parmesan Cheese
3 cups egg noodles

Layer the ingredients in the order given in a wide mouth 1 quart canning jar. Pack each layer in place before adding the next ingredient. Attach a gift tag with the cooking directions. If you aren't giving as a gift it can all be placed in a quart Ziploc bag. (Tip: I have found when making this mix that I don't like to have the egg noodles in with the mix itself. When making the mix this can result in a very burnt pan as the noodles soak up the moisture. Believe me! I recommend making the mix without the egg noodles. You can give them separately if for someone else. I would boil the egg noodles until done when making the recipe, then add the noodles to the rest of the already prepared mix. It makes life much easier and taste great.)

To Make Skillet Lasagna:
Makes 6 servings
1 batch Skillet Lasagna Mix
1 1lb. ground beef
2 cups water
1 (16 oz.) can tomato sauce
2 cups mozzarella cheese

In a large skillet, brown beef and crumble. Drain off fat and add Skillet Lasagna Mix, water and tomato sauce. Bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring until thickened. Boil the egg noodles until done and add to the mix. Top with Mozzarella cheese 5 minutes before serving. Turn off heat, stop stirring and allow cheese to melt.

Easy Pleasing Meatloaf
Go here for the recipe.
Once the recipe is made you can put it in the meatloaf pans with heavy foil or wax paper lining the pans and flash freeze until the meatloaf is frozen enough to hold it's shape. Once it can hold it's shape take out of the pans and cover, put in a Ziploc bag and it's ready to go.

Go Here for the recipe for the Pizza Crust.
Make the crust first so it can be rising then gather your ingredients desired. The crust will be pre-baked for about 6 minutes then all the sauce and toppings add and frozen.

Potatoes with Ground Turkey
Buy a ten pound bag of potatoes. Peel and dice to bite size pieces. Salt and pepper well then fry up with oil in several large skillets. Put in one huge bowl when done. Have 3 lbs of ground turkey thawed. Use Turkey Sausage recipe to season the meat while cooking in a skillet. Once it is done you will combine the Potatoes and Ground Turkey together and bag desired amounts in the freezer. When it is pulled out of the freezer you will thaw it out then cook it up in a skillet with scrambled eggs (and cheese if desired) for a yummy fresh breakfast.

Turkey Sausage
3 lbs ground turkey
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp nutmeg
2 tsp black pepper
1 tsp savory
5 tsp sage
3 tsp salt
2 tsp marjoram
1/4 tsp thyme
1 Tb Olive Oil in pan

Mix all seasonings together first in a bowl. Then sprinkle over turkey as it browns.

Farmer's Wife Oatmeal Cookies
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
1 cup butter
2 eggs
3 cups oats
2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cup raisins

Beat eggs and add sugar and butter. Blend well then add the raisins and vanilla. Add the rest of the ingredients. Make small balls and place on cookie sheet. The cookie balls can be placed close together since they won't be cooked at this time. Place in freezer to flash freeze until firm. Take out and place all the cookie balls in Ziploc bags and label. When baked they need 375 degrees for 9-10 minutes.

Creamed Chicken
Go here to this great website for your Creamed Chicken recipe.
Once the Creamed Chicken is made it can be frozen in Ziploc bags (be warned that is the messy method) or in freezer containers. When you pull it out of the freezer to use it can be served over rice, biscuits, toast, or noodles. See the recipe for even more meal ideas with the Creamed Chicken. Yummy!

Homemade Breakfast Hot Pockets
The recipe is here along with pictures that show you how to make them step by step. If you are having a Freezer Day I would advise having someone start on these first thing. The dough takes like 3 hours total to be ready to put in the oven to bake. On our Freezer Day everything else was done and in the freezer with all the other ladies able to go home. My sister Caroline and I were still at the church waiting on these to finish. Once they are baked and cooled they can be frozen. According to Caroline they are worth the work!

ABC Muffin Mix
The recipe is here along with the many variations of muffins you can make with this mix. This doesn't have to be frozen. Instead it can be kept in the cupboard in a large glass or plastic container. It is very handy to have this mix ready to go!

These were our Freezer Day Recipes. You can see how wonderful it would be to have these tried and true meals in your freezer ready to pull out. You can always try a little at a time and build your freezer meals slowly. Last night I put a package of chicken breast in the crock pot with seasoning and plenty of water. I plan on using the chicken to make 3 recipes of the Creamed Chicken. I can use the chicken broth from the crock pot for the recipe. I'll be happy to have these ready to go for a meal later down the road on a busy evening. When you make a pizza, make an extra one and put it in the freezer. It can be that simple and quick to begin stocking your freezer! Being prepared with an extra meal or two for your family or someone in need will be a blessing in a day to come.

From Jennifer Allen


Thursday, April 15, 2010

Freezer Meals & Ready Meals For New Moms

Today I wanted to share some ideas on helping new mother's after their babies are born. There are many ways to do so, but I want to focus on helping with meals. In the church I attend we have two wonderful plans for helping pregnant mothers and their family after their baby has been born.

Several weeks before the baby is born we have a freezer meal day. We have someone each year that volunteers to be the coordinator for the freezer/warm meals for new mothers. The expectant mother comes up with several recipes that would work for their family.That coordinator takes the recipes and buys the food needed for the freezer day. It is announced that we having a freezer day and all the mothers who can make it show up. I'm going to share how this was accomplished last year when I was the coordinator.

A day was chosen to work on the freezer meals with the ladies of our church and we set a time for 9:30 AM on a Saturday. I went out and bought the food for the recipes we were using this time. Our budget is $50 per freezer meal day at this point. I made it at $51. If the mother has some extra food she would like to have help getting together on this day she can bring that food along, but pay for it herself.

My goal for this freezer meal day was to begin at 9:30 and end by noon. To help expedite the day I put all the chicken in the crock pot the night before and had it cooked up by morning. I kept the chicken broth from the crock pot for the meal we were putting together. I then cut up all the chicken at home and brought it to church. This freezer meal day was for my sister Caroline. She came up with these recipes she wanted to have made:

Freezer Meals for Caroline:
4 Pizzas
2 meat loafs
3 of Breakfast Hot pockets
3 of Creamed Chicken
3 of Potatoes with Ground Turkey
ABC Muffin Mix
3 of Skillet Lasagna Mix
2 of Pride of the Farmer's Wife Oatmeal Cookies
Homemade Wheat Bread

We had nine ladies who came to help with the freezer meal. Almost all of these ladies have young children they brought with them. Here's how we did it:

1. We took turns watching the children in the fellowship room, 1 mother for 30 minutes at a time before the next mother took over.

2. As we began our freezer day we had several stations set up ready to go with a recipe. There were 2 Kitchen Aids and 1 Bosch Mixer. We had the Muffin Mix ingredients together in one spot with a large bowl for one mother to start on. We had another large bowl with ingredients for the Skillet Lasagna Mix.

3. Other mothers began helping with things that would take the longest in preparing first. For example one lady got started on the pizza dough immediately. This was the meal she prepared from beginning to end. While the pizza dough was rising she helped with other small quick jobs for another meal. Another lady started on the Calzone dough for the Breakfast Hot pockets since that would take awhile to rise. While it was rising she made the cookies with a friend and spooned out the cookie dough onto cookie sheets. They had them done and in the freezer to flash freeze before her dough had risen.

4. Have someone in charge of the meal preparations who can try and assign ladies to a certain meal or portions of a meal to keep things going quickly. Several ladies peeled all the potatoes, cut them up, and fried them on the stove in several skillets for the Potatoes with Ground Turkey.

5. Someone can be in charge of cooking up all the meat on the stove.

6. Once all the ingredients have been prepared they can be put in bowls in the fridge until needed to assemble. For example we had all the ground turkey and hamburger cooked before we had to use them. We put them in bowls in the in the fridge separated in the amounts needed for the meals they would go in.

7. Have fun together in the kitchen! I think all the ladies enjoyed the time together and we got done by noon. If you go longer than this you can plan on having each family bring their own lunch or order pizza.

This is the essence of the freezer meals. Now the mom to be has some meals and or mixes to be a blessing to the family for the week before or after a baby is born. There were some ladies who were unable to make it to the Freezer Meal day. For those ladies they can be asked to make something at home. They can bring bring the food they prepared to the church freezer and leave it in there marked for the mother. An example is one lady who made all the bread as she wanted to help but was out of town on this day.

In the past there have been freezer meals made where there was a list of the food wanted and different ladies volunteered to make this in their own homes. No one met at the church at all. One lady made the pizza and put it in the freezer. Another made meatloaf, another the bread, and so on. I personally prefer meeting at the church and getting it all done together in a few hours. Plus when we have it done in the homes the ladies will bear more of a burden financially in making the meal in their own home. It's hard to spread $50 among those who help although the meat is still paid for and given to them. When we have it done in the church kitchen we can use flour, sugar, spices, etc, that are already in the church kitchen without an added expense to those helping us. Which ever way you do it these freezer meals will be a blessing to the family receiving them.

The second part of this gift for a new mother is bringing warm meals for a week. This is very simple. When we know a baby has been born the coordinator gets a list of days the mother would like to have meals brought to their home. It is one weeks worth of meals normally, although a mother could ask for it every other day. If there has been some especially difficult situation with the birth or baby bringing in warm meals may last for 2 weeks. You create a sign up sheet of the days the new mother needs warm meals and ask ladies to sign up for one of those days. If you have signed up for a day you prepare the warm meal and deliver it to the new mom and her family at the time they normally eat supper. It is greatly appreciated by the family!

I think this is a wonderful help to new mom's! I'm so thankful we do this at our church. I think it's an idea that should be spread around and implemented in other churches as a way to help families with new babies.

From Jennifer Allen

Coming next: The recipes we used for the Freezer Meal day.

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Monday, April 12, 2010

Organized Mom Super E-Book Giveaway!

I am thrilled to be able to offer this giveaway to you all! Even though I have never met Cindy Rushton, whenever I hear her name it makes me smile because of the fond memories I have of her materials when I was a homeschooler. As a homeschooling mother, my mom really respected Cindy Rushton and appreciated the resources she offered. I always saw her books laying around, and now that I'm a Mom, I too have read several of her books. I think my personal favorite is "Ministering to the Heart of Your Child". I have gleaned a lot of good ideas from that book! Cindy has been a homeschooling Mother of two children. She is quite fond of Charlotte Mason and her methods.

Cindy has so graciously offered to give away a copy of her e-book, "Organized Mom Super E-book"! I was given a copy to review. It is an excellent book! Here is what Cindy has to say about it:

"Would you love to spend an afternoon--or a week--with another homeschool mom and plan out the details of your school year? Wouldn't it be great to have someone take you step-by-step through planning out your goals, choosing techniques for teaching those new studies, deciding upon your curriculum selections, setting up your daily schedule, and fitting in LIFE? Well, beloved, this could be the most valuable resource you'll ever find: A complete, SEVEN VOLUME E-Book Library for filled with printable pages for your planner, articles that are written by another busy homeschool mom, tips that will make remedy those little problems along the way...AND a complete AUDIO LIBRARY of E-Workshops that will inspire you more than you could ever imagine!"

Cindy includes so many extras in this set, it is just amazing! It will take you some time to get through everything she has included in this set. I know I haven't even gotten a chance to read through everything yet! If you are looking for some fresh new ideas, and some encouragement from another homeschooling Mom who can relate to you, this is the e-book for you! This e-book retails for $99, but you can win a copy on our blog!

Would you like to win one? You must do 2 things to enter! Follow our blog to enter this giveaway! Go to "The Organized Mom Super E-book" page and tell me which e-book you would like to read the most. Leave a comment in the form below.
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This giveaway will end April 20th, and a winner will be chosen through the following day.
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