Spring Break Plans 2016

This week is spring break for a lot of families. Even though we homeschool, we try to do most holidays and breaks that the local school does since that's who we want to minister to ans well as do-life with.

as Jules is Spring Breaking

We'd fallen a bit behind compared to where I wanted to be in our school work so last week I bribed my big girls and trudged through a lot of work to get caught up, allowing us to take this week off from school paper work. Now we can focus on what I'd rather be doing: playing with friends OUTSIDE, enjoying our last days with our #spidie before he possibly heads to provisional care, spring cleaning purging, recovering after a traumatic baby injury, and doing a special unit about EASTER! That's just the stuff we plan to do at home, not including the valley stuff like working on interior construction, cleaning, partying at the building with friends, cleaning out storage units, preping for our Easter service, and normal weekly responsibilities.

El's ER visit

maybe someday I'll be able to talk about this...but not now

If I write all this down, maybe several things will happen, I'll have a better picture of what I want to accomplish and maybe I'll actually do the things on the list! #accountability

I was planning to publish a post last week about minimizing toys in your home BUT then I realized that toys had taken over again. They were everywhere. Requiring way too much of our time during our day to clean up. Having fosters who have been overly *blessed* with stuff as well as 3 birthdays and Christmas in resent months, I had not been diligent about keeping them out of the house.

Playroom Purge

new playroom shelves last year vs this year

The purge plan includes sorting items into #spidies toys to go with him, toys to be donated to the valley, toys to sell at Duck Duck Goose, and then a few toys to keep. The toys that are being kept will be open-ended toys that require imagination, are manipulative for school, and or are educational all by themselves.  

community easter egg hunt

Our Easter plans include the resurrection garden we made Friday night, helping prep for and attending the community Easter egg hunt, the holy week calendar that I'm already behind on, sinning rocks that we usually don't do until good Friday, and teachable Easter baskets that I'm doing similar this year but rather than 4-5 baskets, I'm doing one large "family basket". My hubs and I already had a date night and purchased all the things for it but they're currently in the trunk of our car in the baby pool because...where do you hide that? hehe

We also already have the stuff we plan to use to make our spring baskets for our neighbors. Now we just have to figure out how to get those items out to make the baskets for them without my kids seeing the other stuff. 

I like planning to just stay home. Its nice to be able to plan flexible trips with my family while others are in school. PLUS, lots of our neighbor friends don't have big plans either so we can play lots more with them. What are your plans for spring break?! 

Share Button

Post to Twitter

Our Family’s Monthly Menu

Menu planning can seem overwhelming and for the only super-organized types but I'm here to say it can be crazy easy and simplify life so much!

MONTHLY Summer MENU

Even before we did our decided to eat rice and beans for a month, I found out the benefits of being a "boring menu" planner. Identical weekly menu planning still has all the benefits of of monthly menu planning and still gives you enough variety to not get sick of things and enough wiggle room to allow for changes in your days from month to month.

This is what works for us. There are lots of random variables that got us to this summer menu but for starters, the weather- we want mainly light foods. While I'm going through our menu and why we do what we do, think about the routines in your life that could make a "boring menu".

Breakfast Menu Sunday-Saturday

Sunday mornings, we need something the kids will eat fast so we can get out the door to the valley. Mondays and Thursdays we can take our time so we have waffles with peanut butter and syrup and fruit. Friday we used to do "movie day" so I did cereal, no milk, so they could have it in snack cups in the living room. Even though we don't always do that anymore, we just kept it and Tuesdays as well just because...I wanted a pattern. Wednesdays we have a small lunch I wanted them to have a big breakfast sot hey wouldn't get grouchy. My hubs is off on Saturday so he uses his awesome electric griddle and makes the kids fancy pancakes- breakfast and a show!

blue breakfast menu

Lunch Menu Sunday-Saturday

Some lunches are because it was easiest to remember alliteration according to the day of the week so I don't have to think too much about it while doing school, like Mondays and Fridays. Sundays are my day off from cooking, so we go out to each after the valley. Tuesdays are when we try to get the most school work done so chicken nuggets make for an easy, no fuss lunch. Wednesdays we have Valley Group at our house so we do a lot of picking up/cleaning so hot dogs make for a simple, quick lunch. On Thursdays, one of my kids goes to Nanna's for the day and she always makes them PBnJ so we have it at home as well. And Saturdays we like to do a lot of resting so we do a snack lunch or sliders which are super easy and have to the option of having a living room picnic while watching a movie.

gray lunch menu

Dinner Menu Sunday-Saturday

I try to make a crockpot meal I can turn on when we leave for the valley so I can rest the rest of the day and have a real meal Sunday nights. Manic Mondays is when one of us is usually in town with the big girls for dance/gym so we have several easy chicken meals to choose from but sometimes we trade Wednesdays pasta meal if its easier. Tuesdays is...tacos! of course but some times its a form of "tacos": nachos, enchiladas, fajitas. Thursdays are Nanna days like I already mentioned and that means we usually go out to eat for Family Dinner. Friday nights are just a fun night to do a movie {sometimes Red Box} and pizza night: biscuit, french bread, homemade crust, frozen, occasionally take out pizza. Saturdays offer plenty of time to put together a beef meal or a new recipe.

yellow dinner menu

 

I hope this was helpful! HERE is a free printable menu if this particular one works for you. You could also make a dry erase menu board using some fun scrapbook paper and a thrifted, upcycled, painted 8x10 picture frame.

DIY Dry Erase Monthly Menu

Recipes links for some of our favorite meals:

Ranchy Chicken and Potatoes
Chicken Casserole
Tacos
Fettechini Alfrado
Shepherds Pie
Stuffed Meatballs
Chicken and Stuffing
3 Cheese Noodles
Biscuit Pizzas
Potato Soup
Mexican Chicken
Nachos
Taco Soup 
Stir Fry
Fajitas
French Bread Pizza
Baked Ziti

Share Button

Post to Twitter

Eating Rice and Beans for the Month of Love

Have I mentioned how awful our Monday Nights are? Yeah, I don't like them.

image

For the first couple months of transitioning to Manic Monday evenings, our 2 "big" girls and the parent who took them to dance and gymnastics grabbed fast food between classes. It was the easiest chose, saved me from having to think up and pack something that would last for a couple hours in a picnic bag before eating, allowed us time to grab some groceries in between classes most weeks, and to be honest was kinda fun.

Then Monday, February 1st 2016 happened.

We finished dance class, scurried around the corner to the Dairy Queen, because it was the closest fast food restaurant and the girls had never eaten there before. While staring at the menu trying to decide how to order the cheapest {we often share meals and get waters} I realized one of the main factors we have never eaten there...$$$. I couldn't find a cheap alternative so I chose to 'go big' and get everyone their own meal With drink. WOW! When we finally sat down to eat with little time to spare before having to be back for gymnastics, the girls opened their kids meals to find Mustard and onions on the burgers.

The world as we knew it had apparently shrunk up and therefore ended that night. There was whining, nashing of teeth, pouting, and fit-throwing when I explained that I would help them wipe the mustard and onions off but I wasn't going to take the burgers back. There wasn't time and they needed to learn to be thankful, better yet, GRATEFUL that we were beyond privileged to eating out weekly, especially between our not-so-cheap "extra curricular" that are paid for my their grandparents. {HELLO!}

I was appalled. I couldn't believe I'd created such entitled children. We've gone to extreme measures such as

  • minimizing the number of toys they have, never buying just-because toys
  • paying "commission" for chores to help them learn budgeting as well as having just-because-you-live-here chores
  • doing the 30 hanger challenge along with only buying clothes from consignment events
  • only allowing a single "extra" and only when they're 5 years old
  • having them always share rooms
  • becoming a foster family as a way to serve and open discussion about struggles we may have never known

and the list goes on and on. Where had I gone wrong?! Where was the "thanks for the pricey burger mom!"?

I continued to fume as I took my gymnast to her class and my dancer grocery shopping with me. I text my hubs and angrily announced, "Mags has just earned the family a week of rice and beans. Ungrateful, over-privileged, punk was non-stop complaining about the mustard on her expensive burger."

After talking through the awful night with my hubs, the decision was made to do a month of teaching through rice and beans lunches for a month supplemented with videos about children in 3rd world nations that have to eat this meal, videos about ministries that help these children, and lots and lots of conversations about how privileged we are.

One Month of Rice and Beans for Lunch one families attempt to learn gratitude

Negatives to the month-long lunches of rice and beans:

  • although our children understood the basic idea of why were were doing it, selfishness still exists
  • even with major efforts to make the experience a teachable time, it still ended up feeling like a punishment to the kids
  • our stomachs suffered...I have to admit that the last few days, I had to skip lunch or alter the meal by just eating rice with milk or something to try and finish out the month.
    This isn't the healthiest meal to provide children in poverty but it is the cheapest. 

Positives to the month-long lunches of rice and beans:

  • simple menu planning- we already have the same things, depending on the day of the week for breakfast and similar things for the night of the week for dinner
  • less than 10 minute meal prep- we cooked the rice/water for about 7-8 minutes in our large micro-cooker and the can/can and 1/2 of beans for about 2-3 minutes in our small micro-cooker. {side note: we use these almost daily for lots of recipes including browning our mix'n chopped meat. You can find them HERE.}
  • low grocery bill- we went through 2 large boxes of minute white rice and close to 35 cans of beans {mainly black but some great northern}
  • my kids could Easily help with making lunch
  • no options- there was less and less fussing about what we were having because they just knew what lunch was going to be. They could eat a little of it or a lot of it {I've seen similar effects with scheduling routine meals other times}
  • we all learned how privileged we are- all of us, even parents quickly saw how we were accustomed to having too many options when we didn't feel like eating something
  • we became more grateful for the gazillions of options we have
  • we became more interested in ministries that can help children without our options are are hoping to use money we saved on groceries to support them a little

What are you main concerns with scheduling an intentional rice and beans meal with your family?

 

I found very few simple recipes to try and switch up our lunches during the month of February. Most recipes I found on Pinterest only differed in the way they prepared the rice/bean {ie in a slow cooker or pot on the stove} Our fairly standard recipe was as followed:

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups water
  • 2 cups white minute rice
  • 1 can black beans
  • 1 Tbs garlic pwd
  • 1 tsp onion pwd
  • Salt/Pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Stir water and rice into large micro-cooker, attach lid, and microwave for 3.5 minutes. Open and stir to reduce overspill. Cook 3.5 minutes until all the rice is soft and water is fully absorbed.
  2. Open can of beans and pore beans into small micro-cooker. Stir in seasonings. Attach lid and microwave 2 minutes or until bean are completely warmed.
  3. Serve

 

Share Button

Post to Twitter

On Andy Stanley and The Size of Your ‘Church’

I believe Andy Stanley's statement hit a cord with so many in a negative way because there IS an [element] of true in it and as most things that sting, it's because there's a hint of personal guilt.

*PERSONAL JOURNEY* October 14, 2012 Alpharetta - Andy Stanley preaches during the 9 a.m. worship service at North Point Community Church in Alpharetta on Sunday, October 14, 2012. Andy Stanley, whose father was the most powerful preacher in Atlanta, has now become the most powerful preacher in Atlanta. His North Point collection of churches has 30,000 members, and is growing.In his new book, "Deep and Wide, " he tells the story of growing up in the shadow of Charles Stanley, preacher at First Baptist, of the conflict that led to him breaking away to start his own church, and of his subsequent rise to lead the biggest congregation in the city, and one of the biggest in the country. HYOSUB SHIN / HSHIN@AJC.COM

Stanley said:

When I hear adults say, “Well I don’t like a big church, I like about 200, I want to be able to know everybody,” I say, “You are so stinking selfish. You care nothing about the next generation. All you care about is you and your five friends. You don’t care about your kids [or] anybody else’s kids”… If you don’t go to a church large enough where you can have enough middle schoolers and high schoolers to separate them so they can have small groups and grow up the local church, you are a selfish adult. Get over it. Find yourself a big old church where your kids can connect with a bunch of people and grow up and love the local church. Instead… you drag your kids to a church they hate, and then they grow up and hate the local church. They go to college, and you pray that there will be a church in the college town that they connect with. Guess what? All those churches are big.

Read more of what Andy said HERE or listen to the full sermon HERE

Faced with the online outcry, Stanley apologized on Twitter, saying “The negative reaction to the clip from last weekend's message is entirely justified. Heck, even I was offended by what I said! I apologize.”

A wise WISE friend once told me something beyond profound when I message her about a big hurt someone had caused me with what they said. Fully expecting her to defend me, be upset with the other person, and tell me how right I was and therefore wrong they were she did something even better for me, in the long run.

She said, "Well, first I think you need to step back and see if there is any truth in their statement. Then you can decide if that truth means you need to fix something. If so, do it and move on. If there is no truth in the statement, move on without worry." Then she went on to give me her opinion like a sweet friend after being the spiritual guiding friend I needed first.

The question in this situation seems to be: Did Andy Stanley mis-speak OR call us out as The Church?

Don't get me wrong, I think there was a lot of false doctrine in his un-thought-out statements. That happens to the best of us when we're not careful.

  • "Church" isn't something you do or somewhere you go. It's the group of people who have become bond-servants of Christ. I so wish this one would sink in for us and a LOT of our misconceptions would be fixed.
  • 20, 200, 0,2000, or 20,000 are all just a number and each can serve a purpose in The Kingdom's work. Just like in business, there are benefits on both the sides of large and small.
  • The next generation doesn't necessarily need what a larger church. Not every large church is Bionically sound just as not every small church is.
  • Division by age, stage-of-life, gender, or any other qualifier is often the easiest way to manage large groups of people rarely the BEST for them. Maybe we could use RACE as an example here and see how that played out for us.
  • Mega/large churches are a fairly new commodity and it will take years to have any concrete studies on wither or not there are long-term benefits OR detriments. In reference to this specific topic, that means, we have no real proof if children will grow into adults who love or hate church [attendance] based on the size of their church.
  • If you are dragging your child to church, that highly indicates other issues...not with your church. Most studies indicate THE main factor found in those who leave the church is a hypocritical lifestyle lived by parents/those raising them. Meaning, living one way at home and another in front of others, ie The Church.
  • When you send your child to college, if you have taught them to group themselves only based on self-service and who looks, talks, sounds, etc like them, then of course, a larger church is where they will have the most likelihood to find such a group. But people become "dechurched", leaving church from mega and small churches.

If you were like me and initially offended by what Andy Stanley said, I think there are some questions that need to be ask.

  • Do you have the wrong view of what The Church is and what it's purpose is?
  • Are you proud of or embraced by the average attendance of your Sunday morning service? {either can be unhealthy}
  • Are you intentionally keeping your part of The Church small for selfish reasons?
  • Do you enjoy knowing 'everyone' and therefor selfishly don't care if you reach out to know [or MORE] people?
  • Are you living missionally {intentionally for The Kingdom}, chasing the lost even if that means you might have to share you church/christian club?
  • Is the effort to lead more people to Christ more important to you than the number of members your church has?
  • Do you worry about giving your children everything they 'want' rather than 'need', contributing to the entitled generation?
  • Do you attend your current church based on what it offers you and your family or based on sound Biblical reasoning?
  • Do you group you and others like a preKer sorting by colors, size, shape, and purpose when it comes to church and other facets of your life?
  • Are you bothered by small children "disturbing" the church service with typical childish behavior?
  • Do your children enjoy attending church service? Are they apart of The Church? What's the real factor there?
  • Is your church partnering WITH you [not for you] to train-up your children in the ways of following Christ?
  • Are you fully preparing your children to chase after Christ and His will for their future or are you guarding them in hopes of them leading a watered down, comfortable version of the 'christian' American Dream?

 

I know Andy's statements made me have to reevaluate a lot of this stuff. I hope you'll mull over both sides for you and your family as well. Your thoughts on the matter?

 

 

Related articles about the DechurchedMissional Living, and Church Planting.

Share Button

Post to Twitter

Seeds Family Worship new Lullaby album {review and giveaway}

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Congrats Hannah on winning the Lullaby Album!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Our family owns several Seed Family Worship CDs. They are on a mission to get God’s Word through Seeds into as many homes (and hearts) as possible around the world.

Seeds Family Worship

It's fun to listen to this music while we're doing school or in the car. The songs are so catchy that they're not distracting but can be amazing background that sinks deep into everyone's hearts. All Seed Family Worship music is pure scripture. No interpretation, no false theology. Just plain Bible verse to music. An amazing way for you AND your children to memorize scripture together. On top of that, the music is quality, variety of styles, repetitive {in a good way}, and rarely cheesey. I have to be honest, every once in a while it's a bit cheddar, but it's kids' music so little bit is expected. It's upbeat and fun. There are kids singing {again still quality} and encourages my kids to sing along  and dance up a storm. 

Recently, we were given their new Lullaby album to review. Logically, with new foster babes in and out of our "guest" room, it was nice to have more "sleeepy time music" for bedtime in their room as well as in the car for dreaded car-naps on long rides. But on a deeper level, it is an amazing thought to know that scripture is sewing into them, no matter how long or short a stay they have with us.

SEEDS FAMILY Giveaway!

Along with my album, they are offering my readers the same album for one of you to enjoy! To Enter To Win:: click through this link and fill out the Rafflecopter. I'll use this secure system to choose a winner and announce it on Monday {3-15-16}.

seeds lullabiesa Rafflecopter giveaway

winner be ready to communicate via email about shipping 
within 24 hours or I'll have to choose the next person

Who knows, maybe it will even get to you in time for Easter. 🙂 Maybe. Speaking of Easter...Seeds Family Worship has an Easter ep. Check it out HERE as well as click around to find more goodies including FREE scripture wallpapers. {NOT AN AFFILIATE, JUST A FAN}

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Congrats Hannah on winning the Lullaby Album!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Share Button
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Post to Twitter