Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Menu Planning or Pantry Stocking?

I've had several inquiries as to what my menu plans look like...so here goes:

Growing In His Glory ~ Menu Plan

Yep, that's it...that's as far as I really ever get...a pretty menu...with nothing entered on it!  Seriously, I have purchased a ton of cute little menu/grocery planner items, and they just don't work for me!  Don't get me wrong, I LOVE the idea of menu planning, I seriously just never stick to it! 

One thing I have done is write out a list of meals that I frequently serve, and then have used that to help me pick a meal based on the ingredients I have...but it's not really the same as menu planning!

Last week I read an article on Pantry Stocking.  The basic concept is that you stock your pantry with the basic ingredients that you use all of the time, and then plan your meals according to your time, energy, and palate.  This is definitely more like how I "plan" our meals!

One thing that I have done in the past that I absolutely loved, and it worked for our family for a long time is: 

This cookbook has 5 seasonal recipes per week, that take 30 minutes or less to cook!  Her website has a Grocery List section where you can print off your grocery list for the week, and cross off what you already have on hand. {Each item has a number code that coordinates with the meal the ingredient is for...if you are not having that particular meal, cross it off!} Plus, the list includes ingredients for her suggested sides!

I don't use this on a regular basis now, but it does come in handy when I am having a busy season in my life! Of course we have to double every recipe to feed all of us!!!

I'd love to get some feedback on how others do their meal planning...I'm always looking for ways to improve!

Thanks for stopping by!  Be Refreshed!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Check Out These Buns...{Recipe}

For years I had looked for a good bun recipe...hamburger, hot dog, sandwich roll type of buns...a few years ago, I came across these:

I wish I could remember where I found the recipe {if someone sees this recipe somewhere else, please let me know and I will post credit}!

These buns are 100% whole wheat, and so fluffy!  I think the secret is in the eggs!  Plus, they only take about 35 minutes start to finish to cook, so you can throw a batch of these in, and finish cooking the rest of your meal to go with it!  Shape them however you like!

Here's the recipe:

3 1/2 cups warm water
1 cup oil
1/2 cup honey
6 Tbs. dry yeast
1 Tbs. salt
3 eggs
12 cups flour (a bit less if using white flour, I'd say 10 1/2 cups)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

If not using a Bosch, mix water, oil, honey, and yeast...let sit until bubbly.  Add remaining ingredients. Mix, then knead 5 minutes. 

Roll out to 1/2 thick and cut into buns. {I use an Illy coffee can, but you could use a water glass, wide mouth mason jar, get creative!}  If you want to shape them for sandwich rolls, or hot dog buns, simply roll your dough into a shape and place on pan.

Let rise for 10 minutes or until desired fluffiness.

Bake for 10 minutes.  Enjoy!!!

I usually get about 24 buns out of this recipe, so you could easily make a double batch and freeze some for Barbecue Season!  Won't your guests be impressed?

Thanks for stopping by!  Be Refreshed!

Friday, March 16, 2012

In Case You Thought My Children Were Perfect...{With a Word on Socialization!}

He walked out of The Y with two papers in hand. Loading in the van I could see that old familiar look.  The one that I used to see as he stepped off the bus ~ shame!

"What are those papers," I asked {knowing they were report cards}.  He handed them over to me and quickly took his seat.

"Noah is very interested in socializing and less interested in doing creative art work," read the comments from the teacher.

Exclaiming, "Looks good to me!" his expression changed. Relief and surprise filled his eyes.  So I asked, "What do you think you are in Homezone for?"  To which he replied, "Learning how to swim, learning gym, and learning art."  My answer? "No!"

If I could have captured his face at that moment!

"You know how to swim, right?  You know how to play games in PE, right? You know how to do basic crafts, right?"


"You are in Homezone to socialize!  Looks like you did what I expected you to do!"

{Don't get me wrong, I expect my children to respect their teachers.  I expect them to listen and follow instructions.  But seriously, he does pretty well at these things in other areas of his life ~ church, CBS Bible Study, etc.  I certainly was not going to let him hold onto unnecessary shame where it wasn't needed.}

Never mind that he completely diffused a fist fight instigated by another boy who has "anger management issues"!  I'd say Noah had a great day!!!

Just had to share!

Here's a little entertainment...my homeschooling friends will love it...for others it may shine some light on the issue of socialization!

Thanks for stopping by!  Be Refreshed!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

The Green Chair! {The Three "C"s of Discipline}

As you can see, this chair has seen a lot of use!
  {Not completely for discipline - I promise!}

I know there are as many different ways to discipline children as there are parents and caregivers to do so! 

First, I will say, we have run the gamut for discipline practices and beliefs...9 children later, we still don't have it down perfectly.  There are, however, a few principles that have proven themselves over the years:

~ Companionship ~ Currency ~ Consistency~


The number one place to start with training any child is in knowing their hearts! This actually is a pretty basic principle, but one that I think many parents over look.  Basically, are you spending time with your children?  Are you planting seeds of character into their hearts as you speak about and live out your faith?  The verse says, "Train up your child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not turn from it."  Notice it does not say, "discipline up your child"!  In other words you need to do the diligent work of speaking truth {God's Word}, directing their path, and being a living example before you bring down a heavy hand of discipline simply because their behavior does not suit your fancy!


The second area of discipline is what we refer to as currency!  In other words, figure out what motivates your child when they have done an offense.  For some children, this can equal a good, swift spanking.  For others you may have to get more creative. 

Our sweet angel Sarah is a perfect example of a child that spanking did not help.  It actually would provoke her to more anger.  But, she absolutely abhorred the green chair.  Having her sit in that chair quickly changed her demeanor ~ she became quick to comply with our expectations.  The chair method was so effective with her that she is the biggest success story of a "beast turned to beauty", even to this day! 

It stands to reason, that knowing a child's currency is more effective with your older children as well...losing privileges, extra chores, etc. all seem to be the currency or motivator for our older ones.

Which leads me to...


No matter what form of discipline you use, BE CONSISTENT!!!  And I don't mean, be consistent for the morning and then try something else after nap time.  I mean give any method you use a few days to see if it will work.  Children are very clever...sometimes one form of discipline will work for two or three days, and then they will go back to their old habits.  This is a test!  It is only a test!  Stick to your guns!  Let them know that you are the boss!  Really!  And Moms, don't threaten with "wait 'til your Father comes home!"  Remember, YOU are in charge, not little {insert your child's name here}! If you say you are going to do it, DO IT!!!  Don't count to three...don't warn again...just do it!

And, in this area...be on the same page as your husband!  Agree to discipline in the same manner.  If you do not agree, NEVER let your children know this.  Discuss it when they are not in ear shot!  Ladies, if you still do not agree...follow your husband!  Ultimately he answers for the "order of his home".  {Trust me...I have erred in this area and had to live with the consequences for years!}

I want to give a couple of quick words...

Yelling is not effective long term!  While it may work in the short term, this is not training...it is getting a quick "here and now" reaction instead of the long term heart change. {In fact, yelling will damage the Companionship I spoke of above!}

Your children's behavior does not represent how good or bad of a parent you are!  We all have bad days!  We all are sinners!  We all prove those facts...including our children!  If you have a bad day, or week, or month...consider it a phase..pray....keep your chin up ...and keep doing the hard work!  It will pay off!

Finally, but very importantly, if you have any inclination to spank in a manner that is abusive...decide now and commit that you will find another way to discipline!  Yes, it may mean it takes longer to see behavior changes, but it is still possible!{In fact, parents of Foster Children are in this very situation of not being able to spank, simply because they are Foster Parents.}

We do have a nifty motivating system that we call:  The Ticket System..I will blog on that later!

I'm happy to answer specific questions...feel free to leave them in the comments!

Thanks for stopping by!  Be Refreshed!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012


One of my absolute favorite gifts to give {and receive} is flowers!  You might be shocked to hear such a thing from someone who is so frugal, but let me explain...

I remember the event like it was yesterday.  I was 8 years old and walking through the grocery store with an older man in my life.  We walked past a display of beautiful flowers.  I said, "You should by some flowers for your wife."  His reply to me was, "No, I don't buy flowers!  They are a waste of money.  They will just die."

An impression was made on my little 8 year old heart that day!  If you receive flowers, you are worth having money wasted on!  Thirty-plus years later, and they still say the same thing to me!

When I give flowers, I am saying, "You are worth wasting money on!  Have some joy in your day...even if it's only temporary!" 

And, when I receive flowers, I receive them the same way...even if the person who gave them to me didn't intend that message!

The flowers in the picture above are a gift from some dear friends that we recently had over for dinner.  I smile every time I look at them!

The vase is from another special friend in my life!  {Unique circumstances brought us together, and now we walk every week  - though our lives don't cross much in other areas, we know very intimate parts of each other through our weekly "support session"!}  She gave this pitcher to me filled with another beautiful arrangement, and it is my absolute favorite item to display flowers in ~ I'm reminded of her every time I use it!

Do you know someone you would love to "waste some money" on?  Go buy them some flowers - or make some paper ones if the budget doesn't allow for them!  Share some joy!

Thanks for stopping by!  Be Refreshed!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Into the Arms of Jesus {Loss Mentioned}

OK – so there is no easy way to brooch this subject, so today I am diving in…

{Ashley Nelson Photography}

As many of you know, I often pray about what God would have me blog about and, over the past few days; this one particular topic keeps coming back to the surface.

Only, again, I have found myself wrestling with God!  “Really, God, that isn’t a very uplifting topic. I want people to walk away from my blog feeling refreshed, with a smile on their face not burdened.”  But, as He always does, He reminds me that “His ways are not my ways”…I cannot fathom how He might use my obedience to comfort someone or shed light in another’s life…so here goes…

A few weeks ago I discovered I was pregnant!!!  Our kiddos having a running joke about Lora and Ken plus 10, so I knew they would be excited to take the traditional trip to The Spaghetti Factory where we would make the announcement that a new blessing was on its way.

Ken and I were excited, but both of us found ourselves a bit guarded as we have friends who are experiencing a very difficult pregnancy and we have been walking through the “imploring the Lord for a miracle” days with them. We wanted to be compassionate and considerate of how our news may come to them.  Our timing would need to be well thought out…

So, as is typical, a 28 day cycle became 30, then 35…and Ken was asking when I would test…

One Thursday morning, I decided…OK, today’s the day…and there was a shadow of a line.  Some of you have seen these, the “is that a line, or is that where a line would be” result.  That afternoon, Claire had a one year check up, so I spoke with our Dr. about it.  She quickly said, “Let’s do a test here!”  That test turned out negative.  She told me to wait another day and test again…

The next day, I tested again and there was a faint positive line – definitely a line…but very faint!  So, just to be sure, I waited a few more days and took another test…this test had the same faint line…and, I had started spotting!

As the process of a miscarriage ensued…I found myself distancing myself from this little one who was not to be.  My thoughts began to have an indifferent undertone. I was trying to deny my disappointment.

Then I received an email from a precious woman whom I had ordered  pregnancy tests from…her words of comfort to me around the miscarriage spoke of not keeping this baby “at arm’s length” in my heart.

I finally allowed the doors of healing to be opened and God reminded and challenged me about what it is I believe about EVERY life!  Since I believe that life begins at conception,  then, though this child was but a whisper to me…he still existed…he was still my child…I will one day meet this little one in Heaven!

Sweet friends…I know many of you have experienced the same feelings!  As I am typing, memories flood my head.  Memories of attending my sister – in – law’s birth to a son that would not take a breath on this earth. Memories of so many women I known who have lost a baby or babies from their womb, memories of a friend who lost a twin but went on to birth it’s sister, memories of my friends, my cousin, my daughter! Memories of women who made a choice to end the life of their baby…but will forever be missing a piece of their hearts!
The purpose of every child is to glorify God! 
 Even those babies that we will not meet here on earth have a purpose…

Romans 11:36 (NLT) says it this way:
“For everything comes from him and exists by his power and is intended for his glory. All glory to him forever! Amen.”

And I know that the final question that most of us women ask is, “why?”  “Why me?” “Why does so and so have so many children and I don’t?” “Why are children born to women who {name the sin}, but I can’t give birth to one?”

Ladies, I do not have this answer!  I only know that God is Sovereign, He is your Comforter, and some things we are not meant to know the answer to.  Trust in Him!  Lean on Him!  He has not abandoned you!

And, if this is a topic that hits home for you, can I encourage you to celebrate your little ones life?  Find something meaningful, even if small, to remember your precious blessing (s). Perhaps a plant or tree, a necklace with that child’s birthstone, or simply a letter to them…just don’t keep them at arm’s length…it is never too late!

Be Comforted!

*{Revised}  One area I did not cover is the viewpoint of the men!  Since my blog is aimed mostly to women, I tend to write toward them.  I completely want to acknowledge that feelings of grief and loss are just as strong for the men as the women.  Often I think men do not know how to respond in these situations...silence is not indifference!  Try to keep the lines of communication open...lean in together...God can and will bring you through!

Thanks for stopping by!  Be Refreshed!