Gluten-free · Menu Plan

Menu Plan

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I am working more healthy meals back into our dinners. The past few weeks I have been making a lot of easy meals, so we could focus on school and get through our busy schedule outside the house, too. My gut isn’t too happy with me right now, unfortunately, so I know it is time to get back to more meals without breads and dairy. I am pulling from my paleo books and favorite paleo sites for some gluten-free and veggie-heavy lunches and dinners. My plan is to also juice again a few mornings a week. Hopefully my stomach will get back to normal, soon. 😉

Breakfast

Sweet Potato Hash, fruit x 2

Eggs (Arthur and me), Cereal (kids)

Eggs (us), Waffles (kids)

Omelets x 2

Oatmeal with toppings (cinnamon, fruit, maple syrup)

Lunch

Egg Salad

Smoothies, Air-popped popcorn, carrots and ranch

PB&J (kids), Tuna avocado lettuce wrap (me) x 2

Hummus and cheese pitas (kids), Large salad and hummus w/veggies (me)

Lunch drawers (kids), salad w/hard-boiled egg (me) x 2

Dinner

Pulled Pork, Steamed broccoli, carrots and ranch

Chicken Barley Soup, salads

Chicken Parmesan orzo (mine will be without orzo and maybe just spooned over quinoa or brown rice)

DATE NIGHT!!! (kids will eat at grandparents)

Chipotle Chicken Wraps (lettuce wrap for me, bread wraps for the others), Veggies w/ranch, Applesauce

Citrus and Herb Chicken, Brown Rice, Green Beans

Pizza (others), Salad (me)

Snacks

Apples with honey and cinnamon

Berry Shakes (dairy-free)

Banana Chocolate Shakes (dairy-free)

Homemade larabars

Raw brownie bites

Air-popped popcorn

 

lessons in love

The Tongue

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In our small group Bible study, we are covering the book of James. We have covered more than half the book now, and I just love it. James is such a practical book, with a TON of things we can all apply right now where we are in any stage of life. I have really enjoyed working through it, learning some of the background of the author, and really just seeing how I can be better in my Christian walk.

The things we are discussing and learning about in our small group I have learned since I was very young. Growing up in church means you hear many of the same lessons from the Bible over and over. As a kid, this can seem boring and cause you to daydream and not really absorb much. Then, fast forward to my adult life as a Christian, and I really have not applied anything I have been taught or read, which means I don’t have much to strive to work on. And then I think I am doing ok

Until…

I am a mom and realizing I have never really gotten a lot of my vices under control. I won’t go into detail on how ridiculously sinful I am, I do want to share something I have never truly worked on and have (yet again) begun to regret.

My words.

If we have never talked in real life, you may not know this. BUT, if you have ever spoken with me, you probably know I am no good with words. I speak faster than I think, I am not really witty, I often make jokes at others’ expense. I have never been great with words. Encouragement is NOT my spiritual gift, and I think that has caused me to never really focus on controlling my tongue. My gift isn’t in encouragement, so it doesn’t matter what I say or how I say it. I would never come out and say that, but that is pretty much how I live. I have worked on how I speak to my husband, and I feel like I am growing in that area. I have worked a little on how I speak and what I say to the kids….aaaand, I still need to be working on that one.

The one thing I have not ever focused on is how I speak to other people. I just say things, and then I regret them. This past weekend, I attempted a joke at one of my sisters and it was horrible. First, it wasn’t even funny because….I am awful with words. Second, it struck a nerve with her and caused her to cry. I cannot remember the last time I made one of my sisters cry. (Mom, no need to jump in here with the date. I am aware I did it a lot when I lived at home.) 🙂

I felt so bad as soon as I saw her face. Thankfully, no one around even understood my attempt at the joke; I guess I can be thankful that words do not flow well out of my mouth. But, the point is, I said something stupid and hurtful without even realizing it while I was saying it. I apologized, and she forgave me….but, I can’t go back and put a filter on my mouth. I can’t go back and stop myself from sounding stupid.

James tells us in chapter 3 verse 8 “…no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.” 

Proverbs 21:23 says “Whoever keeps his mouth and his tongue keeps himself out of trouble.” 

Proverbs 18:21 states “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits.”

There are many passages in the Bible that talk about our tongues, our words, what we are saying. Obviously it is a serious matter if the Bible has covered it so extensively. I searched online for verses about the tongue, and one of the results showed 84 verses! Clearly the tongue is a challenge and something I need to pay better attention to.

I have a desire to be liked, and one of the ways I find people like me is if I am funny; however, I am not great at being funny. My mom and dad are funny. My siblings are funny. Me? Not so much. I am better at cleaning and baking than being funny. 😉 I should probably just stick to what I am good at, honestly.

So, while I have heard and learned about the tongue many times growing up and even as an adult, I still am so awful at doing it. No filter. No thought before I speak. No control.

James says no one can control the tongue. He says it is like a small spark that sets a whole forest on fire (3:5). Think about that – one small spoken word can ruin someone. One lie. One mean statement, whether true or false. One word to describe someone. The tongue is powerful enough to ruin someone’s entire life. Bullies use words to demean and ruin their victims. And here I am using words without thinking first, which I guess makes me a bully by default.

After starting this study with our small group and now the incident from this past weekend, I have learned a couple of things:

1.I need to STOP and think before I say anything.

Giving myself some time to think through what I am going to say, BEFORE I say it, is always a good thing. I can decide if it is even worth saying.

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2. I need a filter.

We have a sign posted in our kitchen to remind us of what to consider before we speak. Apparently, I need to pay better attention to it!

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3. I have to remember the power of my words. I can either build someone up or tear them down.

There is no point in trying to be funny if it is going to hurt someone’s feelings. I have heard “your child’s inner voice will be whatever they hear from you, the parent.” That is kind of scary, when I think of how hurtful I can be with my words. And when James compares the tongue to a fire, it is a strong reminder (ok, slap in the face) that our tongues can literally ruin a life.

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While I cannot go back and un-say all the stupid or hurtful things I have said, I can go forward and work on stopping myself, filtering myself, and reigning in the power of my words. Obviously, this will not be something I can do on my own. I will need to go to God for overcoming this. Here’s how I plan to stay on top of it:

1.Be in the Word every day and work to memorize more Scripture.

Knowing what God’s Word says about my words and my tone and my tongue are a good start. How can I know how to act if I don’t know what HE says?

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2.Share my struggles.

Whether I talk to my husband (which I usually do first) or my mentor or my mom or my sister….I need to share what I am struggling with to have some accountability for my actions and words. I am really good at assuming I will figure stuff out on my own; I don’t like to be told what I am doing wrong or how to fix it. That is not a good way to live. Marriage and mentorship have really helped me start to correct that. I tell you what, my mom is full of wisdom…but for the longest time I just viewed it as something moms say. Then I grew up 😉 and realized she really does pray for us kids and is pretty wise when it comes to the Bible. The things I used to see as her just telling me what to do were, in fact, godly counsel. It just took me foooorrreeevvverrr to realize it. If you struggle with something, tell someone. Find a godly mentor and share your struggles. They can steer to you Bible passages to help you curb a bad habit or get control over an area in your life with the Lord’s help. They can also pray with and for you, which is such an encouragement to me personally.

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3. Put it into practice…NOW.

I have this habit of reading something in the Bible, thinking of ways to apply it to my life…and then never applying it. Knowing what I know about the tongue and my words really makes me responsible to APPLY it. I can’t say I didn’t know. I can’t say I have never heard of controlling my tongue. I know it, I have heard it, I have studied. I must DO it. I can’t wait for the perfect setting or a calm moment or a sunny day. I have to get into the habit of stopping and filtering and praying and controlling this tongue. I have to make it a habit to rely on the Lord to help me….starting this next time I open my mouth. Waiting til my kids’ runny noses are gone or until I have had a good 8 hours of sleep just won’t do. Putting it into practice should start as soon as I learn it. Reading the Bible and sharing my struggle should propel me into action now. So, I need to get to it. Hurting my sister’s feelings this weekend really opened my eyes to how much I slack in that area and really how much more I need to be aware of my words and the power of them. I have the tools to do it; I just have to use them!

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Do you struggle with your words? Do you have trouble with stopping, filtering, and understanding the power of your tongue? Please tell me I’m not alone! 😉 

Recipes

Recipe: Griddle-Baked Pitas

I have only attempted pita bread once before, and it did not turn out so well. I attempted it again this past weekend, and the pitas turned out beautifully. My pitas are not perfectly round….but neither are my pancakes. I just am too impatient to make a nice circle! I just want to eat the foods. 😉

Having a few years of bread making under my belt helped with making better pitas this time, I think. I understand a little more the science behind yeast and the other ingredients. When I made it this time, it seemed so easy. So, maybe I was just too new to the whole making my own breads thing the first time I made pitas. Who knows. Regardless, they were yummy!

This recipe uses the bread machine. I suppose you could do the dough step by hand, I just haven’t tried it with this recipe. I like putting the bread machine to work for the dough making. Also, this recipe doubles very well (and easily). The original recipe here only  make 6 pitas, so if you have more than a couple of people in your family, you may want to double it.

Griddle-Baked Pitas

3/4 tsp salt

2/3 cup warm water

4 tsp oil

1 cup bread flour

2/3 cup whole wheat flour

3/4 tsp yeast

Olive Oil

Add the items in the order recommended by your bread machine and run the dough cycle. When finished, punch down and dump onto a floured surface. Divide dough into 6 balls then flatten by hand into 6-inch rounds (or whatever shape you happen to make!). Place on floured parchment or a baking sheet and cover to rise for 30-45 minutes, until puffy.

Heat griddle (I did my electric griddle between 300 and 350 degrees) to medium-high heat. Brush both sides of pitas with oil. Cook on griddle, 3-4 minutes on each side or until browned (my griddle took more like 6-7 minutes to brown them) and puffy.

Makes 6 pitas.

These pitas would be good for pita pizzas, if you like making individual pizzas. I know my kids do!

 

Menu Plan

Menu Plan

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We are busy this week! Church groups, visits with friends and family, Arthur’s school work, and, of course, homeschooling…all leave us pretty busy all week. I loaded our menu with easy favorites that should give leftovers for several days, so we can just reheat things for lunches.

(As a side note, some day I will be fabulous with taking photos for these posts. I am just barely staying consistent with posting for now.) 🙂

Breakfast

Eggs

Pancakes

Biscuits and Gravy

Oatmeal

Baked Oatmeal

Cereal

Lunch

Leftovers

Egg Salad

Ham Sandwiches

PB&J

Lunch Drawers

Dinner

Philly Cheesesteaks

Parmesan Chicken and Orzo

Homemade Pizza

Cobb Salads

Chicken Barley Soup

Crockpot Baked Ziti

BBQ Meatballs

Broccoli Cheese Soup

Chicken Alfredo

Snacks

Granola Bars

Energy Balls

Chocolate Chip Oat Cake

Banana Chocolate Chip Bread

Apples and peanut butter

Recipes

Recipe: Blueberry Oat Cake

Blueberries. Yum!

While the kids were away at the movies with my in-laws on Saturday, I had a few hours to bake…all by myself. 😉 I love having my kids help with cooking and baking, but some days I really love to just make some things without having to stop 100 times.

I whipped up a Blueberry Oat Cake for this morning’s breakfast….and for me to have a yummy snack, while I waited for the kids to return. It was a simple recipe, but it also has 2 cups of blueberries, which makes it extra delicious.

Blueberry Oat Cake

2 eggs

2 cups buttermilk

1 cup packed brown sugar

1/2 cup oil

2 cups flour

2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp salt

2 cups quick oats

2 cups blueberries

1 cup walnuts (optional)

Powdered Sugar

Beat eggs, buttermilk, brown sugar and oil until mixed well. In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Add to egg mixture and beat on low (or by hand) for 2 minutes. Fold in oats, blueberries and nuts.

Pour into greased and floured tube/bundt pan. Bake at 375 degrees for 40-45 minutes or until knife/toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes in the pan, then turn onto a plate.

After it cools, you can dust on some powdered sugar to make it look pretty. 🙂 You could also make a little lemon glaze or a plain powdered sugar glaze to drizzle over it.

Enjoy!

Kitchen · Recipes

Honey Pizza Dough


There is just something about homemade pizza that makes it so much yummier than frozen. We have been using frozen pizza or the Aldi Take & Bake pizzas for our pizza nights lately. I have just not been motivated to make our dough. This week, though, I had a taste for homemade, so we are back at it!

I LOVE this recipe for honey pizza dough. I don’t remember where I pulled it from, but it is the only one I have been using for a few years now. I think the honey in it gives it a unique sweetness! 

Honey Pizza Dough

1/2 cup warm water

2 TBSP yeast

5 cups bread flour

1 1/2 cups cool water (i use room temp)

2 tsp salt

1/4 cup olive oil

2 TBSP honey

Mix yeast into warm water in a largw bowl. Let sit about 10 minutes or until bubbly. Add in cool water, salt, oul and honey. Then add in flour and combine well. 


Dump onto lightly floured surface and hand knead for about 7 minutes. Place jnto a grease bowl, cover and let rise for 30 minutes. 



*I cover with a warm wet towel, like how I cover my bread dough. The humidity creates seems to always be perfect for rising. And I have cute tea towels to use that my in-laws brought back from Australia for me. 🙂

Punch down the dough and divide into the sizes you want (several smalll to make individual pizzas or two larger for big pizzas). Shape into balls and cover to rise. Once doubled, roll out the balls to use for your pizzas!

We did two large pizzas. My helpers did the sauce and cheese. Addy made a pepperoni smiley. Lily made one with a ham heart. 




We baked ours at 450 degrees for about 20 minutes. Yum!

lessons in love

Consistency….

I mentioned at the beginning of the month that my word for this year is CONSISTENCY. This is my first year to pick a word and really focus on it. This word, though, has been hanging around for several months.

At the end of last Summer, I was really starting to feel overwhelmed. We had just come off of a crazy tax filing debacle (thankfully, it all worked out…just a huge lesson in patience!). We were in the middle of schooling year round for 2016. I was trying to plan for a trip to the Creation Museum and Ark we took in September – our first family vacation. My husband was starting up another semester of Bible school online. And after a nice Summer break, AWANA (kids’ Bible program) was about to start up again on Sunday nights, and I was a group leader for the 3 & 4-year-old kids. All of it was exciting…except the tax filing…but I was just feeling too busy.

I also taught the 2-year-old Sunday school class at church every week at 9:00AM (which actually means we were there around 8:30 every Sunday… and every other Sunday my husband works, so it was just me and five kids rushing to get there by 8:30). I had been really enjoying teaching the kids, but felt a little burnt out with it. Didn’t really feel like I was doing my best or giving 100% at it. On top of that, I was ramping up to be on the steering committee for the mom group at church, as well as continue to meet twice a month with my mentor from our Titus 2 program.

My husband had made a comment about me doing too many things. He didn’t mean anything by it, but I took it to heart. I started thinking maybe I was doing too much, and maybe that’s why I wasn’t really enjoying too much of it anymore. I started thinking about how hectic it was trying to get lesson plans done and how we had been winging it the past few months because I just didn’t have quiet time to set aside and work on them each week. I started thinking about how busy Sundays had become and how challenging it was to finish teaching and then gather my own kids and find my husband and get everyone home in time for naps before coming back in the evenings for AWANA. After talking with my mentor about the busyness, she had me write down all the things I was committed to in a given week. Every group, class, study, whatever. After writing it all down, I couldn’t really see how homeschool fit in there at all. There was something almost every single day! She then had me write down the things I needed to be doing or be a part of and the things I could let go of and let someone else do.

After a lot of praying, worrying about other people’s perceptions 🙂 , and talking with my husband…I decided to let go of some things. I UN-committed to be an AWANA leader – hardest thing to do! One of my dear friends is the director, and I felt awful for having committed and then backing out. I gave her a ridiculously huge explanation, and she was so gracious and understanding my reasons. I then emailed our Sunday School director to let her know I needed to move to only teaching every other week; God was so awesome in filling that position just a few weeks later with a friend of mine. We now rotate every other week with teaching, and it goes so smoothly!

Things changed with my Titus 2 mentor, and she now goes to another church. She and I both discontinued going to the Titus 2 program, but we are continuing our mentoring. It has worked out beautifully, and she is such an encouragement.

As I let go of things and said “no” more to things, I could see where I was able to be more consistent in the activities that God was directing me to be involved in. Homeschool become a much bigger priority (as it should), and I started using Sunday nights as my planning time, while the kids were in AWANA. If Arthur is working, I just lug all my books to church and plan in our little cafe area. If he is off, I stay home and he takes the kids (he is a sub for the older kid groups). I feel so much more prepared and able to be consistent on Monday mornings with getting our lessons started by 9:00.

So, before I chose the word CONSISTENCY for this year, God was already moving me in that direction back in August. I am very thankful He patiently waited for me to get it through my thick skull that I can’t volunteer for everything just because there is an opening. I just can’t. It isn’t fair to my family or to the position I am filling.

I have noticed myself saying “no” a lot more since the start of the January. I was asked to fill a really awesome homeschool co-op director position for this coming Fall, and I just had to turn it down. I knew right away that it would be too much for me, with Ethan not really schooling yet and having four older kids that are.

I am able to be more consistent with our meals because I have more time to plan and execute the menu. We are able to do a 4-day school week, with a flex day for errands or library visits or whatever. If we were still doing all those other things, I probably wouldn’t enjoy our school time as much because I would still be overwhelmed. And with my husband in school, I work to make sure he doesn’t feel like there is anything he needs to do around the house, so he can focus on his readings and writing his papers.

Consistency is very important. Boundaries and limits are, too. Knowing where to draw the boundary or where to set the limit is key. Prayer and Bible reading are the biggest keys in all of this.

I write all of this to share that God is so wonderfully patient. And His desire is for us to know Him and follow Him. Without prayer and Bible reading, though, I am unable to know or follow Him because I won’t know anything about Him or what He has to say. Really studying what I am reading and not just reading to check off my to-do list is something that is new for me, too. I tend to rush my Bible reading/study in the morning, completely forgetting what I’ve read just 10 minutes later. I am learning to take my time, read and reread the passage and pray over it. That helps me a lot with understanding and applying the truth in the passage.

So, this post wasn’t really a well planned post. Just some thoughts in my head about how God has been working me to be consistent in specific areas of my life even before I decided to pick a word for this year. And that the only way I would have come to this conclusion and really focused on this word and these areas is through prayer and Bible reading/studying. He is changing me, and I can see/feel it. I pray my husband and kids can see it, too.

I also pray that I continue to let Him change me.

 

“Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart.

Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act.”

Psalm 37:4-5