January 19, 2011

Families and a recipe

We have been attending church on Sunday nights as a commitment with our small group and I have really been enjoying them!  I feel they are a hidden gem that many many people in our congregation are missing out on.  This week the message from Pastor Tom was called "Families: Toxic or Tranquil" He talked about how there are many types of toxic family groups and what you can do to help change the way things are going.  He gave 5 things we can do every day to make our families better.  I typed them up on the computer and put them in a few places in our house as reminders of things we should be doing everyday to make our family the best it can be.  I thought I would share them with you too!
1)Emphasize the uniqueness of every member of your family and encourage individuality.
2)Maintain consistency of the messages we convey.
3)Give immediate and appropriate discipline (kids can't call the shots).
4)Allow a generous margin for mistakes.
5)Require responsibility for actions.
These five things are so simple and yet so easily get forgotten.  I hope and pray that by seeing these reminders everyday Brian and I can continue to raise Joey and Aaron up to be amazing men of Christ!

Also I wanted to share one of my favorite recipes with you.  We have it about every other week here!  It's from Weight Watchers and is simply amazing and so easy.  I'm a big fan of using my slow cooker since I have daycare kids at my house until 5:30-6 everyday so this one has become a staple here.

Slow Cooker Lasagna
 1 pound(s) uncooked lean ground beef (with 7% fat)     
 1 small onion(s), chopped  
 1 clove(s) (medium) garlic clove(s), minced   
 28 oz canned crushed tomatoes     
 15 oz canned tomato sauce   
 1 tsp table salt   
 1 tsp dried oregano   
 1/2 tsp dried basil   
 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes, or to taste   
 1 cup(s) part-skim ricotta cheese   
 1 1/2 cup(s) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheeses, divided   
 6 item(s) dry lasagna noodles, no-cook   
 1/2 cup(s) shredded parmesan cheese, strong-flavored like Romano or Parmigiano Reggiano


  • Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add beef, onion and garlic; cook, stirring frequently, breaking up meat with a wooden spoon as it cooks, about 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce, salt, oregano, basil and red pepper flakes; simmer 5 minutes to allow flavors to blend.

  • Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, stir together ricotta cheese and 1 cup of mozzarella cheese.

  • Spoon 1/3 of beef mixture into a 5-quart slow cooker. Break 3 lasagna sheets in half and arrange over beef mixture; top with half of ricotta mixture. Repeat with another layer and finish with remaining 1/3 of beef mixture.

  • Cover slow cooker and cook on low setting for 4 to 6 hours. Remove cover; turn off heat and season to taste, if desired.

  • In a small bowl, combine remaining 1/2 cup of mozzarella cheese and Parmesan cheese; sprinkle over beef mixture. Cover and set aside until cheese melts and lasagna firms up, about 10 minutes. Yields 1/6th of dish per serving.

Enjoy it tonight!

January 12, 2011


Do you sing them to your babies?  As I was rocking Aaron to sleep tonight contemplating how long I should rock him, I started singing one of my favorite lullabies to him.  Joey heard what I was doing and sat right next to me and so I sang to both boys.  I could tell he was a little jealous because I sang a song that I have been singing to Joey since he was born.  But I made it fun by inserting both of their names in the song and looking at both while singing.  I could see though how it affected Joey.  Most nights I sing to him in his bed, in the dark, with my eyes closed.  Tonight I could see his whole mood change in front of me as he watched me sing and then wanted to rock along with Aaron and me.  What precious times!  We, as moms and dads, have such amazing opportunities to love on our children!  Even if you don't have a great singing voice, that special time before bed can be so important.  When all is quiet after a crazy day, some of the best bonding occurs.  It did make me think though that I may need to get a few more songs in my "playlist," some special ones that I only sing to Aaron so that Joey can have his special ones too.  Here's my list of a few that I sing...feel free to add more.
Beautiful Boy by John Lennon-My brother TJ sent this song on a cd along with the next one when Joey was born.  Love it!
Godspeed by the Dixie Chicks-This one sums up being a mom to boys in every way!

Masterpiece by Sandi Patti-I can remember growing up, hearing this song every time a baby was baptized in our church.  That is one tradition that I really miss!  This song is so amazing!
Feel free to add your suggestions!  Thanks for reading!

January 7, 2011

"I'm so glad you're home!"

Last night Brian and I were blessed by my parents to have a date night.  It seems they come so infrequently that when I finally beg my parents to come out I get so excited to have an evening with just Brian that it's all I can think about.  Being cheap (and poor!), we really rely on mine and Brian's parents to babysit for us.  They are so gracious to come and spend time with their boys that we are really blessed.  But that's another post.
Brian and I had a great time: getting a little shopping done at the mall (VS has their big sale-great prices on bras and panties-something I hardly ever let myself spend money on!) and eating at one of my favorite restaurants, On The Border.  It's amazing how different dinners out are without the boys.  Needless to say, we had a great time as usual.
       We got home around 8:30 hoping to have both boys in bed.  That was not the case.  We opened the door to a sleepy little boy staring at us and telling us how happy he was that we were home.  I'm not gonna lie and say I was a little sad he was still up but I soon understood the reason why he had not fallen asleep.  Talking with my parents about the evening, Joey's sweet little voice kept repeating "I'm so happy you're home."  I think we heard it nine or ten times.  It really made me think what it's like for them when we go away.  We continually reassure him before we leave that we will return and remind him when we do that we kept our promise.  But sometimes that is just not enough.
Aren't we just like that with the Father?  He continually reminds us that He is coming back, but I always feel like I am waiting up by the door for him.  Everyday I see examples of his love and shepherding over my life and yet still find myself wondering where he is.  I long for the day when I see him face to face and hear him say "I'm so happy you're home!"
          I have done a lot of growing in this area of my spiritual life lately, trusting God that I do have a home to enjoy forever. For the longest time I had let fear drive my thoughts about heaven, and would spend many nights laying in bed being scared of dying.  Looking back I realize how silly that really was.  Why?  Has He not promised me numerous times that he is coming back?  How could I believe some of his promises but not this one?  Why did I let fear run my life and many times steal my sleep?
It wasn't until I earnestly started praying about it and giving that fear over to God that anything changed.  The devil knew he had a hold on me and made me feel embarrassed to tell anyone, especially God that I was afraid of dying.  I just recently started exploring passages on heaven.  I finally was able to read through Revelations without fear.  I had always avoided that book because I simply did not want to think about it.
         Now I long for heaven.  I don't have a death-wish by any means, but my soul longs for the day when I can hear heaven's music and see my Father face to face. I have been reading books on people's accounts of going to heaven and returning.  Two of my favorites are 90 Minutes In Heaven by Don Piper and Heaven Is For Real by Todd Burpo.  The second book is by far one of my favorites and a must read for anyone who is doubting heaven.
Praise God that I have a forever home and will some day here from my Father's mouth "I'm so happy you're home!"
John 14:2 (from the Message)

 1-4 "Don't let this throw you. You trust God, don't you? Trust me. There is plenty of room for you in my Father's home. If that weren't so, would I have told you that I'm on my way to get a room ready for you? And if I'm on my way to get your room ready, I'll come back and get you so you can live where I live. And you already know the road I'm taking."

Starting a new endeavor

I have felt the tugging to post more things on my blog and while "resting" during nap time today I decided to listen to my voices and make my blog more than just me raving about my boys.  I'm sure there will be plenty of that still but there are just times when I feel I need to share the things that God are speaking to me with other moms like myself.  (If you are not a mom, I hope you can enjoy this blog just as much...but most of my thoughts are generally about motherhood.)
God has given us mothers such an amazing, crazy and important job to do.  He blessed me with two little boys who are by all means the most challenging things I have ever been in charge of!  But through this blog I would love dialog and feedback on how we can all journey through this together raising children who love and fear our amazing God.  Thanks for reading!