Archive for August, 2009

08/31/09
Amy

(Home Management) An empty dishwasher


img_3851Can you imagine waking up to an empty dishwasher every morning? That would mean no piles of dirty dishes on the counters and no full loads of clean dishes to put away greeting you with the morning sun. There is nothing more demotivating than having to trudge through unfinished chores from yesterday before you can charge ahead with today’s tasks.

Make it a priority to leave an empty dishwasher at the end of your day. It is the best 10 minute bedtime preparation that you can make. There is no better feeling than waking up and already feeling like you are ahead of the game.

Go here to get more cleaning strategy ideas!


Amy

(Living Love) Kicking off the season


The college football season officially kicks off this week. For many men, this is a much anticipated event.

Whether or not you also get into the game, dare to be a companion for this season’s first event. Break out the burgers, chips, snacks, and drinks, and join your husband in front of the TV to cheer on his favorite team. Catch him by surprise and make an event of it. The important thing is to recognize what he loves and take part in it. The double-take that he will give you will be worth it.


Amy
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(Deep Cleaning) Mixer


mixerOur mixers get a lot of love in the form of sugar, butter and flour. The obvious post-baking clean-up is fairly routine: clean the mixing bowl and the beaters. If you are like me, though, you probably don’t always give the entire mixer a wipe down after every use.

Take a damp rag, and maybe an old toothbrush, to your mixer this week. Dust off the flour, get the old cookie dough out of the crevices, and make it shine.


Amy
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“Not Me” Monday


We all have those days…or weeks. “Not Me” Monday was created by MckMama to give us an outlet to laugh at our own imperfections. Will you join me? When you are done here, you can head over to her blog and read about what everyone else has “not” been doing.

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It was not me who was using 409 All-Purpose Cleaner this week to kill ants in my kitchen…or this entire season. I would have laid out a professional, or at least an effective, long-term plan.

I always purchase food in reasonable quantities, so it was not me this week that purchased 18 boxes of granola bars.

It was not me that procrastinated for weeks before calling to withdraw my son from preschool for the fall. Once I make a decision, I never second-guess myself or mull over every.other.possible.scenario (that I have already considered ten times each).

I always eat healthy snacks. So you would not have found me baking a can of Pilsbury Orange Rolls for myself during the kids’ nap time. I would never!!!

And last but not least, it was not me that managed to melt my son’s favorite toy trucks and tractors in the oven. If his favorite thing to play was with these toys on a cookie sheet with rice, I would never temporarily stick the tray in the oven when company was coming over. Especially not in light of my son pleading for me to not melt his tractors. I wouldn’t brush him off and tell him that I would never do such a thing. After doing this a numerous times, I most definitely would not accidentally preheat the oven with the tractors still inside. That would break my son’s heart and I would have to hear him say over and over in between tears to, “Please Mommy, next time don’t melt my tractors.” That was not me.

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What did you not do this week?

08/29/09
Amy

(Cooking) Homemade Tortillas


Once you have tried fresh, hot homemade tortillas, there is no going back. They are delicious!!

If I am making them for dinner, I will often make extra for breakfast burritos in the morning.

Homemade Tortillas (yield 6-8 tortillas)aug8

2 c flour
1 t salt
1/2 t baking powder
*1/4 c shortening
1/2 c warm water

Combine flour, salt, and baking powder.

Cut in the shortening until the mixture resembles a course meal.

Gradually add the warm water a little bit at a time, mixing and kneading until smooth.

Form the dough into 6-8 balls (depending on how large you want the tortillas to be).

Dust the countertop with flour and roll each ball of dough into a circle, as thin as possible.

Cook one at a time on a griddle or cast-iron pan (this works best) over medium-high heat. Flip the tortilla after bubbles begin to form. Cook for about 30-45 seconds for the first side, and 10-20 for the second side.

Serve warm.

*Note: I often substitute half of the shortening with butter, but have even occasionally used all butter.


Amy
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Of Gatsby hats and yellow dresses…


I did a really fun photo shoot this week! What could be more fun than taking pictures of such adorable kids?!

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Amy

Motherhood Musings


Why doesn’t the post office have a drive-through?

Why do I purchase items that are “hang dry” only when they all inevitably end up in the dryer at some point?

Why does my family go through bananas like water one week and then the bananas go bad on the counter the next?

Why do kids find peanut-butter-and-jelly-sandwiches to be so magical?

Why do kids consider hair and face washing to be a medieval form of torture? And at what age do they grow out of that??

Why does unhealthy food taste so good?

Why isn’t there an item limit on self-checkout lines?

What were your Motherhood Musings this week?


Amy

(Parenting) Grumpiness


You woke up on the wrong side of the bed and are having a bad day. You were up too late the night before, greeted by too many demands first thing in the morning, and are just plain grumpy. Is it any wonder you have narrow margins with the kids, don’t feel like being social, or snap at your husband? If somebody demands a lot of you or jumps on your case for your bad attitude, does that magically motivate you to change your tune? Usually it just pushes you further into your grumpiness.

On days like this, sometimes you need a restart button. Or at least 15 minutes of quiet time by yourself to reset your attitude. Sometimes a hug, a few understanding words, or a listening ear is all that is needed to turn your day around.

Our kids have these days too. Sometimes there is an obvious reason for it and other times there isn’t. Yet instead of showing them compassion on these rough days and teaching them how they can effectively change their attitudes, we often become extra stern in our demand for obedience. The next time you see that they are having a rough day, don’t combat it with a harsh word. Gently pull them aside, give them a hug and say something like, “I see that you are having a rough day today. Do you want to spend a few minutes cuddling on the couch with me or spend some time by yourself until you are ready to try again?” Reflect their feelings back to them and show them that you are on their side. This gives them a chance to open up with you and, even more importantly, figure out for themselves what is bother them.

When you walk them through an attitude adjustment like that, you do much more than just avoid an unproductive confrontation. You equip them for life.

08/28/09
Amy
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(Breath of Life) Jeremiah 29:12-13


“Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.”

Jeremiah 29:12-13

God is not unreachable, elusive, or untouchable. He is ever-present, waiting for you to simply talk to him. Here he promises that if you talk to him and seek him, he can always be found. Don’t over-complicate your relationship with God. Seek him; talk to him. He’s there.


Amy

(Family Activities) Eating-out Tradition


This idea doubles as both family activity and a money-saving tip!

We have all heard the age-old advice to not shop when you are hungry. Have you ever thought about applying that money-saving concept to eating out?

Try being intentional about eating out. Pick a night of the week, say Tuesday night, and make it a family tradition to eat out. It will be a weekly event that the whole family will talk about and look forward to. An added bonus to this strategy is that eating out then becomes more of a special and looked-forward to event, rather than something that is done by default. Potential low-grade guilt for not cooking can be put aside and you might be surprised to find renewed energy to cook on the other nights, knowing that you have that night off to look forward to.

Planning to eat-out additionally provides the opportunity to look for coupons or “kids-eat-free” nights and locations.

Tip: If your schedule or lifestyle doesn’t lend itself to eating out on the same night every week, you can achieve a similar result by planning the meals to be eaten out at the beginning of the week. Reference your activities calendar when making this plan to account for nights where the break would fit most logically.

For these reasons and more, you will find that you end up spending less on eating out while simultaneously creating a family tradition that everybody will look forward to.