Monday, October 23, 2017

Encouragement For The Week

Our children are fully different creatures than we are, and we are in their lives for a time in order to nurture them, love them, and nudge then in certain directions.

We simply must accept that they are loaned to us for a time and then they are released into adulthood. 

When we believe this, we feel more joy and contentment in parenting them, we simplify our expectations of ourselves regarding parenting, and we experience a welcome levity in our relationships with them.

Meg Meeker

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Ten Ways To Raise A Reader

Ten Ways to Raise A Reader
by Gladys Hunt

1. Restrict television watching drastically.

2. Keep the computer under control and where it can be monitored. Don't allow too many hours on the pointless computer games or in chat rooms.

3. Have books and other good reading material within easy reach, an enticement to read.

4. Let your children see you reading.

5. Read books aloud together regardless of age.

6. Talk about books together, play games together.

7. Have well-lit rooms with comfortable chairs that invite reading.

8. Balance activity schedules with reading time. Let your kids know the library is as important as the gymnasium.

9. Encourage reading in bed with good lights to do so.

10.  Visit the library often, and listen to books on tape when traveling. 

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Encouragement For The Week

It is impossible to win the great prizes of life without running risks,
and the greatest of all prizes are those connected with the home.

Theodore Roosevelt

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Our Favorite Pumpkin Cookies

1 cup butter, room temp
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 cup canned pumpkin
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt

3 TBS butter
1/2 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
1/4 cup milk
1 1/2-2 cups confectioners sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a large mixing bowl, cream butter and the sugar together still fluffy.
Blend in pumpkin, egg and vanilla.
In a separate bowl, stir together flour, baking soda and powder, cinnamon and salt.
Mix flour mixture into the butter/sugar mixture.
Drop tablespoonfulls 3 inches apart on lightly greased cookie sheets.
Bake the cookie for 10-12 minutes until golden around the edges.
Remove warm cookies and transfer to racks.
Let cool completely for at least one half hour, then frost with glaze.

For glaze:
In a medium sauce pan, heat butter and brown sugar over medium heat until bubbly.
Cook, stirring constantly, for one minute or until slightly thickened.
Beat in the milk.
Blend in confectioner's sugar until the glaze is smooth and spreadable.
Keep the sauce pan over the stove on the lowest possible heat to keep from hardening.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

A Favorite Autumn Children's Book

Janey and I read this book almost every evening.  I love the message behind it, written in form of a poem,  and the illustrations are beautiful.  (Thanks Mom, the world's best book-picker-outer.:)  It's a message of gratitude, appreciation, prayer, and duty.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Encouragement For The Week

Second reading in Mass this weekend-love this verse and so powerful, especially when it comes to mothering.  Noticing the beautiful, the good, the Godly, the things worthy of praise, goes so much farther than doing the opposite.  And when worry about any little thing turns to prayer, it is so much easier to let our hearts be open to notice and praise all the good, from the little tiny things to the big ones.  I think it makes our children glow inside when we do this-truly allows their light to shine.
Have no anxiety about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.
And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, will keep your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Finally, brethren, 
whatever is true, 
whatever is honorable, 
whatever is just, 
whatever is pure, 
whatever is lovely, 
whatever is gracious, 
if there is any excellence, 
if there is anything worthy of praise, 
think about these things.
Philippians 4:6-8

Monday, September 25, 2017

Encouragement For The Week

“Here is a rule for everyday life: 
Do not do anything which you cannot offer to God.”  

St. Jean Marie Vianney, Cure d’Ars

Thursday, September 21, 2017

A Review Of the Book "The Miracle Morning"

I promised at the bottom of this post a review of the book  The Miracle Morning-The Not So Obvious Secret Guaranteed To Transform Your Life (Before 8 a.m.).

It's a super quick easy read-it took me one night and I read it fast and maybe skimmed some parts.

First off, I love the idea, and felt a difference in my days since I have started. I do think though it IS rather obvious in spite of the title, it's just more difficult to create a habit of it, especially through life transitions.  I'll get to that later.

Second, although I love the idea, it comes across as a really sales-pitchy type of book and maybe more for executives and sales people or those with huge aspirations that way.  Hal's story at the beginning is incredible-he came back from huge injuries after a terrible car accident.  He has a motivating voice, (again maybe for my old ears, a bit too motivating), and many, many good reminders, but I really had to get to the guts of the book and adapt the book's basic message to my life.

SO back to the idea in my own words-

S.A.V.E.R.S is the acronym Hal uses.
Wake up early.  Don't hit snooze (never have in my life, I HATE snooze, it just makes you more tired! I tell this to my older kids all the time and they don't listen.  I also don't ever need an alarm clock because I have one in my head, so who am I to talk.)  We need to carve out time to do this and it needs to be in the morning or something else will suck the time away.  This whole process starts the day out right, in a positive, calm, purposeful, grateful note. (Also if you have a baby that wakes up at the crack of dawn, or all night, just forget about it all until a tiny bit more of sleep is not the most essential thing in your life.)

S-Silence. Take some quiet time by yourself to pray and meditate and breathe or just to be grateful for all that you have.

A-Affirmations.  Remind yourself of who you want to be today to those around you.

V-Visualization. What does it look like to be that person you just affirmed?  It's a mental dress rehearsal.


R-Reading.  The Bible, an inspirational book, a self-help book that gives a new perspective. (I think listening can be substituted-a podcast, sermon, book...)

S-Scribing. Journaling-a gratitude journal.

That is super brief, but essentially what the message is.  He talks about the process ideally being an hour in length.

I kill all birds with one stone because I am a mom and that is what we train ourselves to do-be efficient and take what we can get. :)  I can walk in the morning and go through the steps at the same time I'm getting that exercise in.

I think what makes this really work is the time to myself, exercise to get energized and feel good (it's so much about those chemicals in the brain and body and that boost mood), and then being purposeful (reminding myself daily of my purpose!) before the day starts and the house is up and running 100 miles an hour.  It is calming, a ritual, and I feel like when I get that head start, I am more like who I want to be as a person and to my family. This is what I mean when I say it's all obvious, just so obvious we forget how important it can be when we are serving everyone else's needs-spending time being quiet, praying, reminding ourselves of our bigger purpose, exercising our bodies and our minds and being grateful.

As I wrote earlier, I think in the different season of our lives this whole process could look different. Maybe we can't leave the house so we just find a quiet place, and do some stretching.  Maybe we can take the whole hour, maybe we wait until the kid's are at school, and maybe it's a quick read of an inspiring quote and affirmation, or Bible verse, and a little list of gratitude.

Here is a more extensive review if anyone is interested.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Apple Fritter Bread

This is so delicious! I doubled the recipe because it looked so tasty and was glad I did so since it went fast.  Matthew requested his own loaf and then topped the slices with vanilla ice cream.  He knows how to do dessert.

Apple Fritter Bread

Heat oven to 350.  Coat a loaf pan with non-stick spray.

Mix together in a bowl:
1/3 cup light brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Set aside.

In a different bowl combine:
Two apples, peeled, cored, chopped.
2 TBS white sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
Set aside.

In a mixer bowl combine:
1 stick of butter (1/2 cup)
2 eggs
2/3 cup white sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 3/4 tsp of baking powder
1/2 cup milk

Pour half of the batter into loaf pan.  Add half of the apple mixture, and then half of the brown sugar/cinnamon mixture.  Repeat.  Lightly press apples into the cinnamon mixture and swirl through batter gently with a knife (I just made a figure 8 with the knife through the whole loaf pan once).

Bake 55-60 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean.

To make glaze mix 1/2 cup powdered sugar and 2 tablespoons of milk.  Wait for 15 minutes after bread comes out of oven and drizzle on top.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Encouragement For The Week

"Like happiness, holiness is always tied to little gestures. 

These little gestures are those we learn at home, in the family; they get lost amid all the other things we do, yet they do make each day different. 

They are the quiet things done by mothers and grandmothers, by fathers and grandfathers, by children, by siblings. 

They are little signs of tenderness, affection and compassion. 

Like the warm supper we look forward to at night, the early lunch awaiting someone who gets up early to go to work. 

Homely gestures. 

Like a blessing before we go to bed, or a hug after we return from a hard day’s work. "

-Pope Francis-