Monday, May 31, 2010

Marriage is What Women Want

I've begun reading a wonderful book that is having a huge impact on myself and my marriage. It was originally written for young single ladies who are looking for a spouse, but the principles found in it are also found in the author's book for married women.

The book is "The Fascinating Girl" by Helen Andelin, and is a companion to the book "Fascinating Womanhood" by the same author.

Unfortunately, these books have been seen as highly controversial, especially in modern society, but I am finding that more rings true in them than I ever could have imagined. In this day and age, our pro-feminism matriarchal society has been working long and hard to tell men what they want and need in their wives and sweethearts. Unfortunately, they not only are seeking to suppress men's true desires and feelings, but they are also pushing young women to work against their inner-most hopes and dreams.

No wonder the families of the world are in crisis!

Here is a quote from Mrs. Andelin's book that rang so pure and true to my heart-- though I had to quiet all the feminist propaganda that screamed in my ears in order to appreciate it the first time I read it. (We have been programmed so effectively!)

" It is right and natural for every young girl to seek to be loved and to marry. It is not our plan, it is God's plan. She is seeking something more than just a man for herself, a larger and nobler life than single days offer. She wants a home of her own, a little nest to make comfortable and to warm with her love and kindness. She wants to be someone's partner and to share with him his joys and sorrows. She wants and opportunity to be a tender, loyal and devoted wife and the mother of a family. And she wants, above all, to avoid the narrow selfish life of living alone with no one to care for, to work for, to live and die for. In fact, to want to find the man of her choice is the holiest aim a woman can entertain."

We have such a noble and beautiful work to do, as wives and mothers! What a blessing, and what a responsibility. I'm so grateful for the opportunity!

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Easy Herbed Spuds

I'm sorry I don't have a picture for these yummy potatoes, but they are so quick and easy, I never think to stop and take a photo when I make them! :-(

They're a great accompaniment to lots of different main dishes. My husband and kids love them, so they get rave reviews. If you need a cooking-self-esteem boost today, I recommend making these tonight! ;-)

*PLEASE NOTE: This is one of those non-measured type recipes. I just throw the ingredients together, and pop them in the oven. It's a very forgiving dish!

Easy Herbed Potatoes
  • Enough russet potatoes to feed your family. (The bigger the spud, the fewer you'll need.)
  • Olive Oil (Extra Virgin is my favorite)
  • Italian Seasoning
  • Garlic powder
  • Onion powder
  • salt
  • Other seasonings you like (i.e., rosemary, marjoram, spice mixes)
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Scrub potatoes well. (Do not peel them!) Dice the clean potatoes into 1-2 inch cubes. Grab a large mixing bowl OR a gallon plastic zippered bag. Splash a few Tablespoons of olive oil in the bowl or bag. Then add as much of the spices as you feel will coat the potatoes well into the oil. Add salt, keeping in mind that potatoes usually need lots of salt.

Load the diced potatoes in to the mixing bowl and stir the potatoes, coating them with the oil and herb mixture. (If you're using a plastic zippered baggie, be sure to seal it tightly, and then shake or massage the oil mixture on to the potatoes.) You can adjust the oil and the herbs as needed, making sure that they coat the potatoes well.

Dump out the potatoes on a large cookie sheet, making sure that they are spread evenly in a single layer. Place in the preheated oven for 45 minutes to one hour. They will be done when they are golden brown, and fork tender.

I hope your family enjoys these as much as my family does! :-)

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Baby Names

Being 37 weeks pregnant, I have lots on my mind, but one of those things that I thought would be fun to discuss today is:


My husband and I have a system for naming our babies, and I like how it works. Of course, some of my kids have names that I really ADORE, and then there are a few names that I wish I had given more thought to. In fact, my baby number five got his name changed at 5 months old, because we simply could not get the name we had chosen before he was born to stick! We learned our lesson, and now keep our minds and options open until we see and get to know the new baby and his or her personality.

We decided, soon after we named baby number one, that we need a "theme." Mostly, because I am one of the most indecisive people on the planet (it's really true... I think...), and narrowing down the list of names I like helps me make up my mind.

The "theme" we chose came about partially because of our ancestral heritage, but also because we think these kinds of names are pretty cool. So, we keep our list to Gaelic/Celtic names for the first name, and family-associated names for the middle names. (*Two exceptions to this are two of our daughters who were born in December. They have Christmas-type middle names.) We don't include British/English names in that category, because that broadens our choices too much. (I try to push the envelope on that, from time to time, but Russell's good at holding me to "our rules"!) Who knew when we started, that these kinds of names would become so popular? So much for being "original!" ;-)

Just as a point of interest, I thought I'd share our kids' names here:
  1. Morganne Natalia* (daughter)-- Welsh, "born on Christmas" (She was born two days after Christmas.)
  2. Brennan Geoffrey (son)-- Welsh, name of Russell's older brother who passed away shortly after birth.
  3. Lliam Donal (son)-- Irish, named after my two grandfathers, William and Don
  4. Bonny Dianne (daughter)-- Scottish, named after my mother-in-law
  5. Gavin Xavier (son)-- Welsh, ancestral name (His name, for the first five months of his life, had been "Logan"-- just doesn't fit him!)
  6. Dierdre Marie (daughter)-- Irish, middle name of a great-grandmother, a grandmother, and two sisters
  7. Ronan Wainwright (son)-- Irish, play on family name (Wayne) belonging to a great-grandpa, grandpa, and dad's middle name
  8. MacKenna Elyse (daughter)-- Scottish, play on ancestral name of "Elizabeth"
  9. Grayse Dawn (daughter)-- Manx spelling (Yeah, we kinda cheated on this one, but it had been a very difficult pregnancy, and we felt the name was the right one!), Granna's middle name
  10. Avalon Noelle* (daughter)-- Celtic Aurthurian legend reference, "Christmas" (She was born at the beginning of December.)
Another important part of this process is that my husband and I "take turns" picking the name. Of course, we allow the other parent complete Veto power, so it does end up being something we both are happy with. (This worked nicely for me with the last baby, as "Avalon" has been my FAVORITE name for a few years now, and though it's not HIS favorite, he finally warmed up to it. Yay, me!)

So, this time, it's my husband's turn to choose, and I've been trying to be as helpful as possible, following him around with a list of name "ideas" I have. ;-) We pretty much agree on a middle name for a boy, and have a few ideas in that direction, but as for little girl names, I'm stuck. But, my husband has had a knack for choosing names, and I think he'll come up with the perfect one, once we see WHO is arriving.

How do you name your babies? Do you stick with a system? Do you pre-choose the name, or do you wait a while? I'd love to hear your thoughts on this matter.

Aren't babies wonderful? *sigh*

Monday, May 24, 2010

Divinely DIFFERENT Roles

Men and women are different-- not only because culture helps us define our roles, but even our very base natural instincts differentiate us from one another.

I also have a strong conviction that men and women were designed by a very loving God to have complimentary, though separate, strengths and talents. And those talents give us help in the roles we fill in our marriages and our families.

One of the greatest statements I have ever read about gender roles and their place in marriage and homes is found in a document the leaders of my church shared with the world back in 1995. It's called, "The Family-- A Proclamation to the World", and you can read it in its entirety here.

Today, I'd like to share a few bits and pieces from this document that I believe was inspired by God's servants on earth.

We, the First Presidency and the Council of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, solemnly proclaim that marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God and that the family is central to the Creator’s plan for the eternal destiny of His children.

Remember, this was given back in 1995, when the arguments on what defined "marriage" had yet to enter into society's great debate. So, at the time, it seemed almost unnecessary for this issue to be addressed. But, oh, how times have changed in the last few years!

All human beings—male and female—are created in the image of God. Each is a beloved spirit son or daughter of heavenly parents, and, as such, each has a divine nature and destiny. Gender is an essential characteristic of individual premortal, mortal, and eternal identity and purpose.
I agree most emphatically that gender is an eternal part of who we are. God made us-- "male and female created he them." (Genesis 1:27) Both of us are needed in order for the Lord's plans to go forward.

The first commandment that God gave to Adam and Eve pertained to their potential for parenthood as husband and wife. We declare that God’s commandment for His children to multiply and replenish the earth remains in force. We further declare that God has commanded that the sacred powers of procreation are to be employed only between man and woman, lawfully wedded as husband and wife.

I love this passage, because it clarifies and reiterates the commandment the Lord gave to our first parents. The commandment to bear and raise children has never been rescinded! That is so simple, so beautiful, and so profound! But it makes me sad when I hear about couples who are unwilling to trust God in the planning of their families-- be they large, or be they small. If God is mighty enough to run the universe, to save and redeem us, to lead us lovingly into life eternal, isn't he mighty enough to trust with the size of our families?

We declare the means by which mortal life is created to be divinely appointed. We affirm the sanctity of life and of its importance in God’s eternal plan.

Babies are the most wonderful thing in this world. Their innocence and trust has the potentialk to bring everyone around them closer to heaven-- the place from which they've just arrived. "...trailing clouds of glory, From God, who is our home: Heaven lies about us in our infancy!" ("Intimations of Immortality" by Wordsworth)

How utterly barbaric can a society be that sees these precious little ones only as an inconvenience, a medical "condition", or-- worst yet-- a "problem" to be eliminated?! My heart breaks when I think of the statistics that change and increase on the abortion counter I have here on this website, in the left-hand column.

Abortion is a big business, facilitated by the utterly selfish for their own gain. And not only does the blood of millions of helpless babies cry out for justice against these purveyors of murder, but so do all the millions of broken hearts of women who have been convinced that it's "no big deal," but then find that it cries out against their very nature as nurturers.

Children are gifts of God to be welcomed and desired with love.

Husband and wife have a solemn responsibility to love and care for each other and for their children. “Children are an heritage of the Lord” (Psalm 127:3). Parents have a sacred duty to rear their children in love and righteousness, to provide for their physical and spiritual needs, and to teach them to love and serve one another, observe the commandments of God, and be law-abiding citizens wherever they live. Husbands and wives—mothers and fathers—will be held accountable before God for the discharge of these obligations.

Once we welcome these children into our families, we have responsibilities that cannot and should not be abdicated to anyone other than we, the parents. A favorite quote of mine supports and clarifies this ideal:

God has implanted deep in the souls of parents the truth that they cannot with impunity shirk the responsibility to protect childhood and youth. There seems to be a growing tendency to shift this responsibility from the home to outside influences, such as the school and the church. Important as these outward influences are, they never can take the place of the influence of the mother and the father.”
-- David O. McKay

Society has tried time and time again to create anything that could even slightly compare to the great foundation structure that a family brings to the world. They have never been successful in this attempt! God designed not just men and women, he created marriage, and familial units, because he knew that would be the best chance for his children to progress and find joy.

The family is ordained of God. Marriage between man and woman is essential to His eternal plan. Children are entitled to birth within the bonds of matrimony, and to be reared by a father and a mother who honor marital vows with complete fidelity. Happiness in family life is most likely to be achieved when founded upon the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ.

And here we have the pivotal point about the separate, though complimentary roles of husband and wife:

By divine design, fathers are to preside over their families in love and righteousness and are responsible to provide the necessities of life and protection for their families. Mothers are primarily responsible for the nurture of their children. In these sacred responsibilities, fathers and mothers are obligated to help one another as equal partners.

In my own marriage, I see a daily example of how true these principles are. My husband has strengths and talents that compliment my own in a way I never could have imagined possible. He feels the responsibility of providing and protecting myself and our children most acutely. He knows that my responsibilities of growing, birthing, and nurturing our children is a true sacrifice, and he gently protects my role in our home. He would never expect me to give up my duties at home to do what he feels called to do himself.

And I try and give him the same courtesy, even though I am immensely blessed to have him relieve some of the strain of cooking and shopping during my difficult times. (Pregnancy being a big one!)

He leads our family in prayer, in scripture study, and teaches my sons and daughters what it means to fulfill their duties by his example.

Of course, neither of us is perfect, and we acknowledge that freely! But we can still work hard to follow our ideals, even though we come up short. And we know that the Lord makes up for the rest! :-)

Partnership in marriage is not about keeping score-- it's about love, genuine concern, kindness, and Christlike unselfishness. It's about each of us fulfilling our individual roles to create the best kind of partnered leadership for the teaching and governing of our families. And it takes a father and a mother, to be successful.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

The Dating Game

Today I read an article about "Courting vs. Dating" that was beautifully written with a very mature voice. The young woman writing the article discusses this sometimes heated topic with a grace and openness that is so refreshing!

I hope you enjoy it! :-)

The Dating Game

Friday, May 21, 2010

Menu Planning

I will be the first to acknowledge that I'm not a great photographer, but hopefully you can tell what is going on in the picture above.

This is my "control station," for our family's menu planning. I used electrician's tape to divide up the wipe-board into different sections: the weekly menu, a grocery shopping list, and a place for the kids to keep track of the chore points they've earned for the day. (They get 10 minutes of computer time for every job mark they have earned, or for every hour of study they've completed on a particular day.)

And, though I didn't have anything marked there on the day this picture was taken, in the upper right-hand corner, I've started keeping track of all the things I should do and eat per day during my pregnancy so that I can remember what I've done and what I haven't done. (Pregnancy brain-- 'member?) Included are tasks like: drink water, take multivitamins and supplements, drink pregnancy tea, exercise, eat two eggs daily, eat green leafy veggies daily, etc..

So this morning, I just felt a huge urge to get my menu all planned out for these next few weeks, in preparation for this last month of pregnancy, the forth-coming birth, and beyond. It's not easy to plan somethings that far out, but I think it will be a blessing to my husband and kids who are doing (and will be doing more of!) a lot of the cooking.

I also don't really enjoy grocery shopping, not only because it's a MEGA-effort at my house, but because I want to get it done now, before my belly starts to grow larger, and my hips even sorer.

Today a friend reminded me about simplifying the menu-planning process by assigning types of food to different nights. I used to plan this way, and I'm not sure why I stopped, so I'm grateful for her suggestion! (Hi, Donna!) She gives it more variety by alternating weeks, but I decided to generalize a bit more and do the same every week.

Here's the schedule I came up with:

  • Monday = Mexican
  • Tuesday = Pork or Chicken
  • Wednesday = Crock Pot (This is our busy night of everyone coming and going.)
  • Thursday = Rice or Bread
  • Friday = Pasta
  • Saturday = Casserole or Soup
  • Sunday = SIMPLE
I live in the HOT desert, so I've also planned meals that don't require the use of my oven. My stovetop and crockpot become our best friends during the hot months!

Here are some examples of dinners I've scheduled that DON'T require the oven:

  • Spaghetti and other pasta dishes and sauces
  • Soups and chili
  • Crock Pot Casseroles & Roasts
  • Chicken Curry with rice
  • Swedish Meatballs
  • Fried Chicken
  • Mashed Potatoes
  • Nachos & Tacos
  • Grilled Sandwiches
  • Taco, Chef, or Cobb Salad
There's more, but I was amazed to discover that there's lots of great meals for the summer that don't require the heat of our oven.

Anther thing that has sometimes been difficult to plan is simple lunches. Again, I've decided that repetition is not a bad thing, so that's what I've decided to use in my lunch AND breakfast plans. I've tried to leave a few days open for variety, but I think it's better to plan and then tweak things, than to not plan at all. Some variety can easily be added to breakfasts and lunches with the addition of different veggies and fruits.

Here are some ideas for lunches:

  • Grilled sandwiches (cheese or tuna)
  • Good ole' PB&J's
  • Griddle-cooked bean & cheese or pizza crisps
  • Ham Sandwiches
  • Chicken salad sandwiches
  • Egg salad sandwiches
  • Pigs in Blankets/Fancy Hot Dogs
As for breakfasts, they can be simple or complex, but they certainly don't need to be cereal every day! Cereal is not only very expensive (especially when our crowd goes through 4-5 boxes and more than a gallon of milk in ONE breakfast!), it's loaded with sugar, and never keeps tummies filled until lunch.

Here are some of the breakfasts we frequently eat:

  • Egg Casseroles with a side of fruit
  • Pancakes, Waffles or French Toast
  • Smoothies with toast
  • Oatmeal or Cracked Wheat Hot Cereal
  • Grits and Scrambled Eggs (It's a Southern thing...)
  • Muffins with fruit
  • Breakfast Casseroles and "Cakes"
I'm almost done planning my menu now, but I won't bore you with sharing everything we're eating for the next four to six weeks. I hope some of the ideas I've listed above might inspire you in your own menu-planning efforts. Happy planning and shopping!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Pregnancy Brain

I'm sorry I've been falling behind on my blogging this week. My kitchen has been torn apart, (Not just by my kids-- there's actual CONSTRUCTION going on in there!) and I've hit 36 weeks in my pregnancy.

I have even been making a considerable dent in the Mount Washmore that inhabits my laundry room. (Yay, me!) And did I mention that I have ten children...?

Do I need more excuses than these?


So this evening, I will be sharing a recipe AND talking about pregnancy stuff. They may or may not be related, but take what you want, and leave the rest!


One of my favorite things to eat when I'm pregnant is blueberries (even though they trigger my Braxton Hicks contractions-- go figure). I got a breakfast casserole recipe from a friend (Hi, Aine!), and have added blueberries and a crusty topping.

The recipe works best if you make it the night before and pop it in the oven in the morning, BUT I have made it without letting it sit, and it works okay... Let me know what you think of it!

Blueberry Breakfast Casserole

1 loaf unsliced French Bread
8 oz cream cheese
8 eggs
2 1/2 c. milk
6 TBSP butter
1/4 c. maple syrup or honey
2 cups frozen or fresh blueberries


1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 stick cold butter, cut into pieces

THE NIGHT BEFORE SERVING, spray bottom of 9X13 pan. Cut bread into 1 inch cubes, spread 1/2 of cubes on bottom of dish.

Cut up cream cheese into small cubes and put on top of bread. Mix eggs, milk, butter and syrup until well blended. Pour over bread and cream cheese. Put rest of bread over mixture. Lightly press with spatula until moisture comes to top. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate 2 - 24 hours.

To make the topping, mix the flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Add butter pieces, and cut into the dry ingredients until the mixture resembles fine pebbles. Store topping overnight separately from the casserole in a plastic baggie until casserole is ready to bake.

When you're ready to bake the casserole, sprinkle the topping over the top, place the casserole in the oven and then turn the oven to 325 degrees. Cook 35-45 min.

My pregnancy is going well, despite all the whining I'm doing. ;-) For the most part, my kids are stepping up to help, and we're getting things ready for the big day in mid-June. We don't know if the baby is a boy or a girl, and we're working on baby names. (We have a long list of boy names, but are having a hard time with girl names.)

Right now, I'm hoping this baby is not nine pounds or more, since the last two were 9 pounders. Not that it's a real problem, it's just that I usually have 7-8 pounders, and I'm pretty sure my last two were bigger because I didn't exactly eat right. *blush*

Thanks for sticking around and listening to my pregnancy ramblings. (Oh, and if you try the breakfast casserole, let me know how you like it!)

Tomorrow I plan on writing a much better post! ;-)


Friday, May 14, 2010

Teaching Kids Practical Skills-- Cleaning

Otherwise known as "Getting Your Promotion"!

Please NOTE: I'm sorry I've gotten behind this week. So I'm combining today's planned post on homemaking with yesterday's planned (though not executed) post about teaching kids how to work.

First of all, I think my lovely readers should know my personal philosophy about teaching kids to work. You can find the article that inspired-- and continues to inspire me-- at the link here:

"Housewife to Home Manager- Making the Promotion Real" by Cheri Logan

I heard Cheri speak about these principles at a homeschool convention, and read the article above, long before I was finally able to put these principles into practice in my own home, but hopefully, of the course a few weeks, I can help you save some time in your own "teaching-kids-to-work" efforts.

So have you read Cheri's article yet? Go ahead. I'll wait.

Are you done now? Okay.

So here's the first thing that I had to do that changed my brain so that I could allow my promotion to become closer to reality:

1) I had to lower my cleaning standards.

I know you don't want to hear this. I know that you shudder to think what your children's toilet will look like after a week or two of letting them clean it. But trust me-- in order to allow your children to succeed, you first must allow them to FAIL. They will never know what a job entails until they try doing it on their own. But they also cannot truly succeed until another thing happens, and that is...

2) I teach them HOW to do every job at my side.

Motherhood is about nurturing first, and teaching second. We're not talking about academics, here. We're talking about things every adult person needs to know someday, like:
  • What cleaner are we supposed to use where?
  • What does a clean toilet look/smell like?
  • How does one properly use a broom or a mop?
  • Are there chemicals that should never be used at the same time?
  • What does a cleaned and wiped down counter top look like?
  • ETC., ETC.
I think you can see how many things that we, as moms, know that our kids just don't yet have the life experience to know yet. But we CAN teach these things to them-- ALL of these things! Yes, it will take lots of time, and lots of patience, but they CANNOT learn how to clean by osmosis, or even by your example. So we must teach them.

WARNING: Please recognize that it takes MUCH more time to teach them than it takes for you to do it perfectly yourself! Don't give in to the temptation of throwing your hands up in frustration. YOU know how much time you and each individual child can take on these lessons. Follow your instincts and don't push them too hard beyond their frustration levels. (Or your own!) Remember that the nurturing-- the relationship-- needs to come first in all things!

Especially if your kids are older, you may have to occasionally have a group lesson or two on things like : "How to correctly load the dishwasher." (These lectures still happen periodically in my own kitchen to this very day. They are most enlightening, let me tell ya!)

3. Look honestly at all the work that needs to be done in your home.

Here's the part that takes some mental effort.

First of all, I sit down with a notebook and a pen or pencil, and think through every room in my house. And then I write down EVERY job that needs to be done in that room-- regardless of level of difficulty-- in order for me (the "Home Manager") to proclaim the room "CLEAN."

Before I move on to thinking about the next room, I make a note of how often each job needs to be done. This is a very individual preference-- no right or wrong answers! There are some homemakers who feel very strongly that their windows need to be washed every day, or every week. (I admit, I'm more of an "every month" kind of girl...) YOU are the expert on your home-- YOU are the management! (Doesn't that feel great?!) So it will be up to you to manage your little workers and guide them in the work to be done.

4. Classify all the jobs.

Look at your long list of all the work that needs to be done, and think through what jobs each of your children can handle. Now remember, the little ones will still need your teaching and help! (Three-year-olds cannot scrub a toilet sufficiently on their own, know what I mean?) But they CAN do things like set the table, put away silverware, dust some surfaces, and make their beds.

YOU know your kids, and what they can and can't do. It's not just about age, either. Sometimes a wunderkind-type cleaner is born into a family, and bless their little hearts, they're raring to go on laundry at age four. (Out of my TEN, I have ONE of these! And yes, I kiss this child's feet on a regular basis...)

Break down your daily list of jobs into categories of jobs that are easy, moderate, and difficult. Then assign kids jobs from this list, depending on their ages. *It's a good idea to start simply on ONE room, so that neither you or your kids get overwhelmed and frustrated right out of the gates.*

5. Try a job chart system.

Almost ANY will do! You can't know what will or won't work for you and your kids until you try it. I know this sounds frustrating, and it can be-- if you let it. But just remember that this is a trial and error process.

Guess what? THERE IS NOT ONE "TRUE" CHORE SYSTEM IN THE UNIVERSE! I hate to break it to you, but this is an area where seasons for chore systems come and go. What worked last year or what worked for your neighbor may not work right now.

Don't get discouraged! Just try the next thing with a smile and give it enough time to know if it honestly will or won't work for you. Assigning the kids jobs in just ONE room is a good way to ease into using kid-powered help. PLEASE DON'T GET CAUGHT UP IN PERFECTIONISM! Remember step number one-- be willing to lower your standards so that your kids can LEARN.

Some tips on how to choose a system that fits your personality: I found that *I* HATE keeping track of points or rewards. My inner-self rebels, and so I don't enforce the chores, and my kids don't want to do them in the first place, because they never get the rewards they're promised, and... ARG! Complicated reward systems no work-ie for us! (Extra work, clerical or physical, never works for me!)

The first chore system to REALLY work well for us was a simple job wheel. I could look up at the wheel that was held up by magnets on my fridge, see who was on what job, and put the troops to work. And then, when a child wanted to do something like watch a movie, play outside, go to the park, or have a friend over, I just looked at the wheel, asked them if they'd done their jobs, and if they had, they could have the privilege they were looking for. If not, they were told that they could as soon as their chores were DONE.

A chore wheel especially works well for younger children, if you include pictures of each job. (Actually, it helps everyone, because all can see what the job is without needing to be close enough to read the words.)

Alright! I have more to say on this topic that is near and dear to my heart, but I think I've given y'all enough to get started on.

Motherhood is about nurturing first, and teaching second. Teach and train with all the love and patience you can muster. I know these are not easy skills to teach, (especially when these are not the kinds of skills kids are looking forward to learning!) but if you put forth the effort now, the "harvest" down the road will be GREAT! :-)

See you next time,

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Wednesday Post: Yes, I know it's Thursday

Wednesday's posts are supposed to be about pregnancy or parenting, but since I'm behind in posting I'll spare you a long blog post.

Instead I will tell you that if you are a parent, you need to get this book ASAP:

Parenting A House United: Changing Children’s Hearts and Behaviors by Teaching Self-Government by Nicholeen Peck

Nicholeen and her husband Spencer are an amazing couple who have impacted our family and the way my husband and I parent in so many ways! They also happened to be featured on the BBC's television program "World's Strictest Parents", and you can watch them in action (They have the entire episode up!) here: The Peck Family on "World's Strictest Parents"

She blogs about parenting, and even answers your parenting questions here:

Check out her book, the video, and her blog. You will not be sorry!!!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Tuesday's Recipe: German Pancakes

This is my fourth daughter's favorite meal. I remember my mom making these for my siblings and I as a special treat. I admit that I don't make them very often, because with my large family (10 kids and one on the way), I have to quadruple the recipe! If I had two ovens, it wouldn't take that long, but until I do have my dream of double ovens fulfilled, I'm afraid I'll continue to make these only for special occasions. (But they really are YUMMY!!!)

German Pancakes

1 cube butter
1 cup flour
1 cup milk
6 eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
dash of salt

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Cut the cube of butter into four equal parts, and put one pat of butter in each of the pie pans. Four pans will be used in all. (Of course, you can do one or two pans at a time, if you don't have four pans.)

Once the oven is preheated, place the pie pans in the oven, and WATCH the butter until it melts. (If it stays in the oven too long, the butter will burn!) When the butter is melted, remove the pans from the oven and set them aside.

In a blender, combine the other 5 ingredients until well blended. Carefully pour 1/4 th of the pancake mixture into each pie pan.

Immediately place the pie pans in the oven, and cook for 15 to 20 minutes. The sides of the pancakes will puff up in a curve, above the sides of the pie pan.

Serve with powdered sugar and lemon juice, cinnamon and sugar, fruit preserves and syrups, or maple syrup. Enjoy!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Marriage is More than a Partnership

When we get married, many of us believe that we have entered into an equal partnership; husband and wife; each giving our equal fifty percent to make a marriage "work."

But the ideas above are deceptive.

First of all, as anyone who has been married more than a year or two can tell you, if one spouse only gives fifty percent to the relationship, and then waits around for the other to dole out their fifty percent of effort, BOTH parties will end up disappointed. But when each couple gives all their hearts and souls to their partner's happiness and comfort, there is more than enough love and happiness to go around.

For today, I'd like to focus on the mistaken idea that marriage is a "partnership" made up of one husband and one wife. True, as the scriptures say in Genesis 2:24 " Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh. " And by this scripture we know that no one in our lives-- our parents, our siblings, or even our children-- should come before our spouse.

But I am talking about the third person who is a big part of our marriage. The glue that keeps a marriage strong, the one whom is an active third participant in the covenants we make at the sacred altar. I'm talking about God, our Father in Heaven.

I once read an analogy that explains the role of God in our marriages beautifully. It's found in an out-of-print book called "Woman's Divine Destiny" (printed in 1978) by a Latter Day Saint author named Mildred Chandler Austin.

She likened this "sacred triangle", as she calls it, to the ingredients for making lemonade. In her words:
Lemonade is made of three ingredients: juice, sugar, and water. A good marriage also has three essential components: the man, the wife, and the Lord. The juice, the agent that decides the flavor distinction, is like the husband; the sweetening agent that "comforts" the sourness of the juice and enhances its tart delightfulness is like the wife; and the agent that provides for expansion and real refreshment, the life-giving water, is like the Lord. (John 4:10-14)
I love this analogy, because I can see how each ingredient has an important, specific role to play in creating GOOD lemonade. No one is no more important than the other-- they are each needed if one is to make lemonade.

Our husband sets the tone. He is the head of our family; our protector, our provider. His role is essential. Without his vital "flavor", there can be no lemonade.

Wives bring the sweetness; we temper the juice to make it more palatable, more appealing. We are the hearts of our homes, giving love and encouragement, nurturing the relationships in our family. Our softening influence is needed.

And then God provides the bond for both the lemon and the sweetness. The lemonade cannot quench thirst or provide refreshment without the "living" water that the Lord provides. It holds the juice and the sweetener together, and makes them more than they are on their own, or combined. There cannot be delicious lemonade without this last, third ingredient.

We all know the axiom, "When life gives you lemons, make lemonade." So what are we bringing to our marriages? Sweetness, or bitterness? And, most importantly, are we inviting the refreshing, renewing influence of the Master into our marriages as a third, equal party?

May the Lord bless us all in our efforts to make our marriages sweeter every day.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Banishing Discouragement

Why do I do it?

Why am I so very hard on myself?

Why is it that I can see the wonderful things that other women do, but never feel that what I do is enough?

What is "Enough"?

I have high expectations of myself-- I do. But I never seem to fulfill any of them.

My ambitions soar. My results? Not so much.

And so the cycle continues. I try things. I add more things. I fail.

And then I give in to discouragement once again, thinking that a bowl of ice cream, or some mindless internet surfing will make the pain go away.

But they only make it worse.


My new goal is this: to try to see myself and my fumbling efforts through God's eyes. But then that scares me, too. If I'm not "enough" in my own eyes, then how can I possible be "enough" in His?

I think I just heard God chuckle and then lovingly say "You ARE enough. Don't keep yourself away from me because you think you're not 'good enough.' I think that you are."

So I pick myself up, dust myself off, and go do something that truly rejuvenates me, like praying, sewing something for someone I care about, reading a little child a story, calling someone who might need to hear a happy voice, or like giving my husband a good kiss.

You know, ice cream can be highly overrated.


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