Superhero Saturday

It was Superhero Saturday at the mall in town and we packed up the kids to take part in the festivities. Like all festivities, we didn’t tell them until we drove up. (Young kids processing disappointment never really goes well, so we opt for the surprise factor.)

Here’s a handsome man. Armed and ready with the shield his daddy made for him from our Amazon Prime box! Go Brian!

And here he is weighing his chances of stealing this from the big man behind him…

They were all superheros that day. Nothing like getting to meet the guys they’re too young to watch, but old enough to know that they “save the day” from bad guys. Micah decided that Iron Man was busy doing just that, which is why he wasn’t there.

Grace was pretty excited about her mask, but she wasn’t quite sure how to wear it. Ruth however was ready to take on her role as Wonder Woman 2.0.

And of course, what is a superhero day without Marshall?

Pray for them

Maybe God calls us to be superheros in everyday clothes too…

Lord, I lift up (Name) to you and ask “that our God may make [Name] worthy of his calling and may fulfill every resolve for good and every work of faith by his power, so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in [Name], and [Name] in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.” In your name I pray, amen.          – 2 Thessalonians 1:11-12

Prayers taken from the BiblicalPrayers mobile app. Download today on the App Store or Google Play store.

Homemade Swords

Speaking of Superheros… if you have boys at home you should try this. This is an idea from Amber, one of the writers of the book I referred to called Triggers.

Buy a few $1 pool foam noodles from the store and cut them in half. Wrap each end in Duct tape to create a handle. Decorate with stick on jewels to create buttons or glam. And let your kids go to town on each other. Make yourself one and join them!

Lay some ground rules before the fun starts… like use them outside and never attack someone without a sword.


One-on-One Time

Last week I mentioned we had a rocky start to 2018. I had surgery and was in recovery mode all of January. At which time, the kids went through a destruction phase (which is when we donated about 70% of their remaining toys), a defiant phase, a teething molars phase and finally a potty-training regression phase. I have been asking God for a double portion of grace each and every day. At long last, I feel that we are getting out of the weeds and I am happy to report we are all alive and even healthy. Yay! It may sound dramatic, but lets be honest: being a parent of young children makes surviving each day feel like a personal victory.

For those of you who have entirely forgotten the physical and emotional demands of parenting young children please just give us a hug and a gift card to Starbucks and refrain from encouraging catch phrases. It is too easy to look back and only remember the nostalgic feeling of having little tots sitting on your lap. Which I do have lots of precious moments of. Although more often than not my little tots spring onto my lap like goats and with as much grace manage to head butt me right in the nose. That’s about the time I start pushing them off my lap and checking for blood.

Brian and I have brainstormed our parenting trials and it is our conclusion that more one-on-one time would do us all a world of good. Personally, in the midst of chaos I forget how cute they actually are. So when I am with just one they take my breath away. Suddenly they are beaming smiles and giving hugs the entire time. We used to take them out for dates, but it resulted in too many toys and treats and a “Gimme Gimme” attitude. It was hard on the budget and our schedule. A great idea in theory but not sustainable when trying to cycle through 5 kids.

Somehow I heard of a better strategy and we are implementing it. Here’s what we decided to do: Each kid has their own special night every week. Esther has Mondays, Micah has Wednesdays… so on and so forth. They get to stay up an extra 20 minutes with one parent on their night (next week is the other parent). We play games, we color, we read books. If any of the kids causes problems on someone else’s night they lose their turn. The other parent puts the rest of the kiddos to bed and oddly, this hasn’t affected the usual bedtime at all. We still manage to make it down stairs at the same time we always did. Win. Win. Double win.

Oh – side note. You have to actually tell them this is their “special time with mommy/daddy” otherwise they miss the obvious… because that is what kids do.

Pray for them

Over these last few months, I have been praying that God would give my kids obedient hearts. This is a prayer I highly encourage! The Holy Spirit is just as powerful in the heart of a child as He is in an adult. There is no child-sized Holy Spirit!

Lord, you have instructed us to obey those set in authority over us. I pray that (Name) will “obey [his/her] leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over [his/her soul], as those who will have to give an account.” May (Name), “let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to [him/her].” In your Name I pray, amen. – Hebrews 13:17

Prayers taken from the BiblicalPrayers mobile app. Download today on the App Store or Google Play store.

Book Review: I Will Not Fear

 For Black History month, I read I Will Not Fear: My Story of a Lifetime of Building Faith Under Fire by Melba Pattillo Beals. This is an autobiography of a woman who was selected at the age of 15 to be one of nine black students to be integrated into Central High School of Little Rock, AR in 1957. This story impacted me in a way that forced me to shift my previously held assumptions. Never have I been so happy to challenge my beliefs and broaden my understanding.

Click here to continue reading the full Book Review: I Will Not Fear.

Getting Crafty at Chick-Fila-A!

Forgive my absence! I have been trying to play catch up. These kiddos of ours have been keeping me hopping. The beginning of this year has been a little bumpy for us (as you already know) and I am only now feeling caught up. Yesterday I even did three loads of laundry (to which Micah looked at and said, “Mom, why haven’t you done that yet?” …yeah), the dishes and mopped my floors! And now I need a B12 vitamin.

Over here in our corner of the world it has been birthday mania! In the last two weeks we have enjoyed 4 separate parties for our friends and family. So yesterday, when I heard that Chick-Fil-A was doing a Dr. Seuss story time with free coffee for parents… I said, yes please!

So here we are… stuffed into a booth with each kid happily recreating their version of Oh! The Places You Will Go!  hot air balloon. Up to now, I have avoided taking all five to recreational things all by my lonesome. It’s too hard to protect them and keep them together. Very similar to herding cats actually. But the girls are walking now, so I thought to myself, “Hey Les, if it implodes just get back in the car and go home.” Always good to have an escape plan…

Which we didn’t need! Aren’t they cute?

Heads up: I have been reading lots of books lately and I will be reviewing them on the next two posts in lieu of recipes.

Pray for them

Oh. My. Goodness. I saved this prayer in my BiblicalPrayers app and for a solid year prayed it over myself.  Raising kids is hard and I daily need the help of the Holy Spirit. I can tell you from personal experience that spiritual growth does not happen over night, but this verse is powerful and I can see God moving.

Lord, I ask that self-control – fruit of the spirit- will grow to maturity in (name). “Let [him/her] be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of god.” In your name I pray, amen. – james 1:19-20

Prayers taken from the BiblicalPrayers mobile app. Download today on the App Store or Google Play store.

Book Review: The Sea Before Us

This is the first time I read Sarah Sundin, and I loved her. The Sea Before Us is the first of her Sunrise at Normandy series.  That fateful day at Normandy changed the tide of the war and Sarah Sundin did a beautiful job of representing those who served on the sea that day. More intriguing to me was Wyatt’s beautiful story of redemption and Dorothy’s story of self-worth… I highly recommend!

To continue reading the full review, please see The Sea Before Us here.


Interrupting Matters, Part 2

There are great resources out there for parents who need their kids to stop interrupting them. I personally prefer the free ones! In general, most agree in technique anyway. The website I found to be quick and to the point was from I’ll commence the paraphrase:

Teach them about interruptions

Take the time to teach your kiddos when they should interrupt you. For example, if someone is hurt or if there is someone is at the door that’s a worthy interruption. On the flip side, teach them about the things that can wait.

How to Interrupt

Decide how you want your kids to interrupt you. You know they will, so find something everyone agrees on and make you are all on the same page.

Don’t answer

If your kid interrupts you for the wrong reasons and you scold them for it but answer them anyway just to get them on their way… you have reinforced their behavior. They got what they wanted. May have been accompanied with a clipped response, but totally worth it. So, if it isn’t on your list of acceptable interruptions tell them to wait.

Plan ahead

I love Daniel Tiger because it has good parenting tips! The song goes, “When we do something new, lets talk about what we’ll do.” Such helpful advice. Tell them ahead of time that you are going to work in the office for a bit or you are going to take/make a phone call so they know what to expect.

Verbal Affirmation

If your kids are polite and choose to not interrupt or are patient then make sure you praise them for it! Tell them they did a great job. Kids thrive on positive reinforcement so make sure they feel good for doing what you asked.

– Our Plan –

Brian and I decided to go with the quiet, noninvasive “hand on the arm” technique for interrupting. When our kids need something and we are talking, they quietly put their hand on our arm and rest it there (no pounding!). We acknowledge it with a squeeze and then they wait until we are finished. If it is a longer conversation we will periodically squeeze their hand to let them know we haven’t forgotten them. Or, we try to find a natural break in the conversation to ask them what they need. We have been practicing this, and obviously it’s still a work in progress since Micah hasn’t fully embraced the concept of waiting… but they have been significantly better. I notice most of the improvement at the dinner table. At least we don’t have everyone talking over each other at once. One less headache at the end of the day!

Pray for Them

Pray for your loved ones to honor Christ in their speech and their actions by being respectful to those they spend time with.

Father, I pray (Name) be a (man/woman) who will “respect those who labor among [him/her] and are over [him/her] in the Lord and admonish [him/her], and [will] esteem them very highly in love because of their work.” May (Name) “be at peace among” (his/her) brothers and sisters in Christ. In Jesus’ name I pray, amen. – 1 Thessalonians 5:12-13

Prayers taken from the BiblicalPrayers mobile app. Download today on the App Store or Google Play store.

Chocolate Chip-Coconut Cookies

Two of my favorite things together… chocolate and coconut! This is a recipe is a variation of the original Toll House. I developed it when I was in college working as a part time cookie baker for a local motel. I would deliver the fresh baked cookies to the rooms of guests who were checking in. FUN! We should all find a way to spend our time doing what we love.

  • 2 1/4 cups Flour
  • 1 tsp Baking Soda
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1/2 cup Butter, unsalted
  • 1/2 cup Virgin Coconut Oil
  • 3/4 cup White Sugar
  • 3/4 cup Brown Sugar
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1 tsp Vanilla
  • 1 cup Chocolate Chips
  • 1 cup Shredded Coconut

Sift together flour, soda, and salt. In a large mixing bowl cream together butter, oil, white and brown sugar. Add eggs one at a time along with vanilla and blend until smooth. Add the chocolate chips and coconut flakes. Spoon dough onto baking sheet in 1″ mounds and refrigerate for at least one hour.

Bake in a preheated, 375 degree oven for 7-9 minutes. Don’t over bake!

Interrupting Matters, Part 1

On Valentines morning, I videoed the kids opening their cards from their grandparents since we live a ways apart. As I am narrating this sweet video (no pun intended!) Micah started loudly talking over me and just as quickly I went from sweet-narrator to angry-mom-mode snapping, “Micah I am talking! Stop interrupting me!” Nothing like my in-laws getting a close up view of my kind, loving parenting skills on Valentines Day.

Kids interrupt. As early as their first words and on into adulthood they will continue to interrupt unless trained otherwise. At first it is an annoyance to parents. When they grow older it is disrespectful. As adults, it becomes a way to aggressively dominate by overtly dismissing the thoughts and concerns of others as unimportant.

As I have mentioned before, Brian and I believe parenting needs to be intentional with long-sighted goals. We want our children to grow into adults who value others, have healthy listening skills and are able to confidently share their own thoughts and concerns.

I did some research and discussed with Brian how we want to approach this.  In my Friday post I will share my research results as well as what we have personally decided to do.

Pray for them

Valuing others goes beyond words, it is a belief that fuels our actions. Let us pray that the truth of God will take root in the hearts of our loved ones so that they will life a life of value and honor toward others.

Lord, I ask you to continue to shape (Name’s) character into one of honor and justice. As Joseph was “a just man and unwilling to put [Mary] to shame,” I pray (Name) will also be a (man/woman) of justice who sees people through your eyes and who is therefore resolved not to shame anyone, but rather to live a life that honors others. In Jesus’ name, amen. – Matthew 1:19

Prayers taken from the BiblicalPrayers mobile app. Download today on the App Store or Google Play store.

Creamy Ranch Pork Chops

  • 1 1/2 lbs Pork Chops
  • 6-8 medium Potatoes
  • 1 can Cream of Chicken soup
  • 1 can Cream of Mushroom
  • 1 package of dry egg noodles
  • 2 packages dry Ranch Dressing
  • 1 cup Milk
  • Sliced green onions (garnish)

Combine soup, ranch mix and milk until smooth. Add in potatoes and raw pork chops. Cook in a dutch oven for 1hr 20 minutes in a preheated 400 degree oven.

Valentines Blitz

I hope everyone had a happy Valentines day last week! We started the morning off right with a bouquet of balloons for the kids and cards from their grandparents.

As you can see it was good fun. Then we finished up the weekend with pink, heart-shaped pancakes. Brian’s creative skills at work there. (Yes, he looks good in a kitchen!)

Esther had fun at her Valentines Day party at school. They made little crafts together and for the last hour the parents were allowed to come. So I went and I enjoyed some Valentine Day fun with the littles in her class.

Then, the next day was 77! So we abandoned the house and played outside all day. I got a bad case of Spring Fever and I’ve been planning my garden ever since.

Pray for them

It is easy to get distracted with romance on Valentines Day, but in truth, love is the essence of the One who created the heavens and the earth. He left His throne in heaven and gave His life for ours so that we would know His love. All love originates from Him. I believe it is the most powerful force in heaven and on earth and there is nothing that can withstand the power of His love.

Father, “if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy,” I pray (Name) will with (his/her) brothers and sisters in Christ be “of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind.” Protect the bond of unity and peace between (Name) and the church. In Jesus’ name I ask this, amen. – Philippians 2:1-2

Prayers taken from the BiblicalPrayers mobile app. Download today on the App Store or Google Play store.

Pink Heart Pancakes

The base of this recipe is “Fluffy Pancakes” from Allrecipes. This is my favorite pancake recipe because it is delicious and I can alter it for whatever I want. (The secret is in the butter.) This is a double batch because anything less would result in a family mutiny.

  • 1 1/2 cup Milk
  • 1/4 cup White Vinegar
  • 2 cups Flour
  • 1/4 cup Sugar
  • 2 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1 tsp Baking Soda
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 2 Eggs beaten
  • 4 Tbsp Melted Butter
  • 1 tsp Vanilla
  • 8 drops Red Food Dye (adjust for desired colored).

Preheat griddle to 350 degrees. In a bowl, combine milk and  vinegar and set aside (Or, if you have it on hand you can simply substitute 1 3/4 buttermilk). In a large bowl combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add milk, eggs, butter, vanilla and food dye. Mix until smooth.

Use a squeeze bottle to shape batter into hearts on the griddle (or a spoon if you don’t have a squeeze bottle on hand). Serve hot with whipped cream and strawberries.


How Much Is Too Much?

  1. 1.
  2. an amount of something that is more than necessary, permitted, or desirable.

Lately, our kids have been going through a mega destruction phase. It has become a major source of stress for me. I would spend my time trying to fix their toys only to realize the destruction was deliberate … it’s as if they (my boys in particular) want to see how much force a toy could endure before it broke. In my exasperation I would try to get ideas from friends and family and too often I would hear, “Boys will be boys.” Or, “Oh you can just get another, it doesn’t cost that much.”

The problem is, I hated seeing the toys that were carefully chosen for my kids broken just so my “boy could be boys” and watch it break. It is the epitome of ingratitude and a lack of value for the things they have. I found myself looking at the faces on my refrigerator of other kids who do not have as much and my anger would just build.

When did we become the family that lived in excess? Do my kids have so many toys that they do not care when one breaks or when it is thrown away? Are they of the opinion it will be replaced just as fast as one is lost? After two weeks of having daily incidents (sometimes more), I found myself facing the third incident of the morning and I WAS DONE.

I called them all down to the kitchen and I told them about kids who did not have as much. When they got a toy it was so special that it would be cherished and protected. Since my kids clearly had so many toys that they did not care if one broke, I told them we were cleaning house.

Each kid got their own kitchen-sized trash bag. I told them to go through their personal toys (no one else’s) and keep only their most favorites. Everything else would be donated to kids who would appreciate and take care of them. An hour later I went through each bag and pulled out any I knew were special or would be handed down to the girls. Then I made them go again.

The next day we took our bags to the local thrift store and donated them.  Late that evening, at the dinner table Gabe was telling Brian about his day and how he gave his “toys to kids who would take good care of them.” That was a week ago and the kids still haven’t missed a single toy we gave away.

This issue of excess is a product of the American consumerism culture we live in. Brian and I are just as guilty for allowing this many toys to begin with. However, we believe parenting is intentional and needs to have long-sighted goals.  So we discussed them. Who did we want to raise up our kids to become?

How do we raise up adults who understand hard work and value for things? How do we raise them to be content with and grateful for only what they need? Do we want them to live within their means or become consumer-addicts and slaves to debt in an effort to keep up with the Jones’? How can we teach our family to be content and satisfied with God’s provisions? Do we ourselves live from a heart of gratitude? When is enough enough? How do we as parents instill those attitudes of gratitude and contentment into our children?

No sooner than the very next ride into town was Gabe telling me about the new toy he wanted. I said, “Gabe, we just gave your extra toys away because you could not take care of them. Now, I want you to list out loud five of your favorite things and tell me why each one is a favorite. Esther, your’e next.”

Pray for Them 

Pray your kids grow up to be thankful for God’s blessings and find a church who will develop this in them. Ask the Lord to give them value for their blessings and discernment between their needs and wants.

Father, what a gift the body of Christ is. Direct (Name) to the body of Christ where they “let the peace of Christ rule in [their] hearts, to which indeed [they] were called in one body.” I pray they have a thankful spirit and “let the word of Christ dwell in [them] richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in [their] hearts to God.” Father, I pray that “whatever [Name does], in word or deed, [(he/she) would] do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” In Jesus’ name, amen.                – Colossians 3:15-17

Prayers taken from the BiblicalPrayers mobile app. Download today on the App Store or Google Play store.

Cinnamon Chip Scones

I am on a scone kick and cinnamon is my favorite. After trying so many recipes, I have found this base (from Better Homes and Gardens) to be the perfect balance between flaky and soft.

  • 3/4 cup whipping cream (cold)
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup cinnamon chips
  • 6 Tbsp butter
  • 1 egg lightly beaten

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Combine in a large bowl flour, salt, baking powder and cinnamon. Cut in cold butter until it resembles course crumbs. Stir in cinnamon chips until coated and set aside. In a measuring cup light whisk egg and stir in cream. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients (helps blend quicker keeping you from over mixing) and add the egg mixture stirring until just moistened. Turn out onto a floured surface and knead gently 10-12 times until it comes together and can be shaped into a rectangle. Cut into six squares and then slice each square diagonally to make 12 triangles. Place 2″ apart on an ungreased cookie sheet and bake for 13-15 minutes.

If you want to top with a sauce:

In a sauce pan over medium heat, combine 2 Tbsp butter, 1 Tbsp water, 1/4 cup brown sugar, 1 Tbsp light corn syrup and 1 tsp cinnamon. Stir until smooth and when the scones are done lightly drizzle over top.