Friday, January 29

Quick Snack for Family and Friends

This is a great recipe to use when you have a ton of prezels left over!

Honey Spiced Pretzels

4 cups thin pretzel sticks
3 tablespoons honey
2 teaspoons butter or margarine, melted
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon chili powder

Line a 15 x10 baking pan with foil; coat the foil with nonstick cooking spray. Place pretzels in a large bowl.
In a small bowl, combine the honey, butter, onion powder and chili powder.
Pour over pretzels; toss to coat evenly.
Spread into prepared pan.
Bake at 350 degrees for 8 minutes, stirring once. Cool on a wire rack, stirring gently several times to separate.

Have a fun weekend and try a new recipe!

Thursday, January 28

Taco Pile Up

I saw that Barb had posted a Taco Casserole type dish on Monday and I thought I would add our family's version! YUM!

Taco Pile Up

1 can crescent rolls
4 cups chopped up chips (we use Doritos)
1 lb. ground beef
1 cup onion
1 package taco seasoning
small can of tomato sauce
1 cup sour cream
2 cups cheese

Preheat oven to 350. Brown the beef and onion together. Add the taco seasoning mix and small can of tomato sauce to the beef. Spread the unbaked crescent rolls in a greased 9 x 13 pan. Sprinkle 1 cup of the chopped up chips on the crescent rolls. Put the meat mixture on top of the chips. Spread the sour cream over the meat. Top the sour cream with cheese and finally sprinkle the remaining chips on top. Bake for 30 minutes. Serve this with salsa, olives, lettuce and sour cream.


Wednesday, January 27

3 Ingredient Taco Dip

This may be the easiest taco dip you ever make and it is so very tasty. A friend brought it over the holidays I couldn't get enough of it. It is great on its own or could be used in a typical Mexican layer dip if you choose. I think it would be a great football game appetizer.

1 pkg Top the Tater (found by the sour cream)
1 pkg cream cheese
add a few tsp of taco seasoning (for color-not needed for flavor)

Serve chilled with a bag of Doritos for dipping-Doritos really make the difference.

Enjoy! Thanks for the recipe Liz!

Tuesday, January 26

Family Dessert

Here's a fast and easy dessert you can make with ingredients you have on hand. I think it tastes ALOT better the next day.

Apple Enchiladas

(21 ounce) can apple pie filling (I make my own apple sauce and keep it chunky...add a good amount...more than 21 oz, it might ooze-out but that is ok!
6 (8 inch) flour tortillas
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/3 cup margarine
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup water

1.Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
2.Spoon fruit evenly onto all tortillas, sprinkle with cinnamon. Roll up tortillas and place seam side down on lightly greased 8x8 baking pan.
3.Bring margarine, sugars and water to a boil in a medium sauce pan. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring constantly for 3 minutes.
4.Pour sauce evenly over tortillas; sprinkle with extra cinnamon on top if desired. Bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes.
5.Makes 6 large tortillas; may be cut in half to serve 12.

Re-heat in microwave if you serve it the next day. Top with dollop of ice cream. Ummmm!

Monday, January 25


That's the word-of-the-day around here as The Vikings lost their final game of the year. Crushed are our SuperBowl hopes. No excuse for a party.

Good thing we celebrated yesterday with some goodies to share:

Here's a Beef Taco-Style Casserole recipe your family and friends will like:

1 large onion (finely chopped)
1 T butter
2# ground beef
1 t salt
2 clove garlic (minced)
2 cans (8 oz each) tomato sauce
2 T red or white wine vinegar
2 T chili powder
1# can kidney beans (drained)
1 pkg ( 11oz) corn chips
1/2# mild or sharp cheddar cheese, shredded

Brown meat with onion in butter. Add salt, garlic, tomato sauce, vinegar and chili powder. Cover and simmer 15 minutes. Mix in kidney beans
Lightly butter 10" square baking dish. Cover bottom with corn chips. Sprinkle with cheese and spoon over half meat mixture.
Repeat layer.
Top with chips and cheese.
Bake uncovered. 350 until cheese melts and chips are toasty

Serve with condiments:
Shredded Lettuce
Shredded Cheese
Green Onions
Chopped Tomatoes
Sour Cream
Black Olives
Hot sauce

Quite a colorful dish, so it must be healthy!

Friday, January 22


Donna Otto, author and speaker, has a great motto that goes something like this:

"The Common begin...the Uncommon finish"

Think about that for a moment. It's the 'everyday gal' that begins a task with gusto, only to move on to another endeavor, leaving the first undone. Donna says that is the common thing to do, everybody does it. But does that make it right?

I still struggle with this syndrome. I think women today have so many good choices it is easy to move from one task to another never really allowing ourselves to be accountable and complete a job well.

Self-examination on a regular basis helps me stay focused. It helps me complete a job or a goal or a task because I am reminded of why I am doing it. I re-commit and move forward.

I have learned there may be times when I quit along the way, but that is after I have evaluated what and why I am doing something and then I MAKE that choice. When I was younger, I used to flit from task to task...system to system but I think with self-evaluation I am more aware of completing a worthwhile exercise and I reap the benefits as I continue to evaluate my growth.

When my kids were little I made them memorize this jingle:

When a job is first begun,
Do it well and get it done

Whether it is big or small,
Do it well or not at all!

I said it along with my kids for years, but it took years for me to practice what I preached. Self-evaluation opened my eyes to what I wasn't getting done. It encouraged me to stay the course.

If you decide to make 2010 a year to evaluate your goals and priorities, think of yourself as 'Uncommon' and be proud!

Thursday, January 21


I am a big fan of starting things. I love starting simple things like crafts or organizing a closet. I even love starting more challenging things like new responsibilities, relationships, or activities. I am not a big fan of completion. I have many a craft undone in my craft room. I have a closet upstairs that is half organized. I have relationships that got started wonderfully but somehow I have lost touch with some due to the busyness of life. Does this sound familiar with any of you?

That is why when I sit down to write about goals or priorities I get a little discouraged. Will this be something I aim to complete but fail? Because life is busy and I am running on little sleep I get tempted to say that the only thing I am going to complete this year will be to love my husband and my sweet little girls. These are worthy priorities but I need to set some goals even in the busy times. Otherwise, how will I grow? How will I continue to become the woman God wants me to be if I take a timeout for a year because I am a young mother? I am clearly not saying that this would be the year to decide to take on new activities or commit to reading a book a week. That would be nonsense. But I am saying that even in this time when I am spread thin, I want to be growing and learning.

So, how am I going to succeed this year? I am going to evaluate myself on my goals. I honestly see the wisdom in a weekly evaluation. One of my goals is to eat a healthy breakfast in the morning with healthy snacks in between meals. On Sunday I am looking back at my week to see how I did. On the mornings I didn't do so great I can look and see what caused me to slip. Was I rushing to get out the door or was I just choosing something sugary despite my goal to eat healthier during the day?

This self evaluation will take some alone time and that is just what I need. I am in a demanding season of life and that is all the more reason for me to be intentional. I don't want to struggle to just keep my head above water this year or have intentions that never reach completion. This year I see my priorities clearly and have set goals that will be completed.

Wednesday, January 20

Making this a habit. . .

Life is cumulative . . .that is both encouraging and convicting all at the same time. In one sense our lives are not defined by one choice or moment, but on the other hand we need to be thinking about how we spend those daily moments because they are what make up our life.

After reading through our last chapter and taking a few personality tests, I have come to realize I am more of an introvert than I would have ever thought. (For those of you who know me that will come as a surprise as it did me). I am happy in the sense that by nature I self-evaluate on a regular basis, but I will admit I am not as intentional as I would like to be. After discussing this topic at homemakers on Monday I realized I fall into the category of wanting the system to work (ie journaling, recording on a calendar etc.) to record my goals of daily life, that I often get caught up in trying to find the perfect system instead of focusing on the purpose of that system. Do any of you have that problem? I think that has to do with my perfectionism. I want to have it just right before I jump in with both feet. I think I am realizing with this, I do not want to be that way. I feel that taking the time on a regular basis to review my choices and priorities will help me be more intentional. I have decided to take Barb’s advice and just choose one day a week, Sunday for me, and ask myself the questions she posted in the previous post(s). She suggested just getting into the habit of asking ourselves those questions so we can evaluate how our week went, not to beat ourselves up about our choices, but to help us evaluate if we are moving closer to our goals and living out our priorities. After awhile of just taking the time to ask the questions, it will hopefully become a habit and can transfer into a system that works.

I think this is one of those times where the rubber meets the road for me. I believe this is a great idea to help me be more intentional, but is not something that comes easily. I will have to make the choice to not do something else on Sundays in order to focus on my weekly review.

I hope some of you will join me in Barb’s challenge. In order to be intentional women we have to self evaluate. We need to write down where we are going, what our priorities are and then evaluate them on a short-term basis so that we can make adjustments so we can ultimately achieve our goals. I am so thankful for the reminder to not just let life happen to me but to be proactive and involved.

Tuesday, January 19

Life is Cumulative!

What we do in January will pay off for us next December. So what are you doing today that is significant in building your life?

Once you have identified what your priorities are, you are ready to set up some goals for yourself.

Goals are something YOU can master. If you say you want a good marriage you really can't say that is a goal. It is dependent on you AND your husband.

A marriage goal for January might be to speak a word of encouragement to your husband daily. It is something you can be responsible for and follow thru with it. It is measureable.

What goals do you have for your physical health?

What are your goals for your mental/emotional health?

Do you have any goals for the friendships in your life?

What goals can YOU be responsible for financially in 2010?

What are your spiritual goals?

What you do today will add to your quality of life or will come back as a burden.

Write down your goals in PRESENT tense.


Make them manageable for the season of life you are in.

Look at your goals daily or at least weekly. At the end of every month, adjust what you need to in order to keep those goals manageable and achievable for yourself.

Life is cumulative, so be sure your life is accumulating the right stuff!

Identify your priorities. Set some goals. Enjoy defining your life.

Monday, January 18


At homemakers we are always talking about our priorities. How do we know how to prioritize our lives?

When trying to figure out what your priorities are for this year...or for January, ask youself the simple question,

"Can someone else do this?"

If someone else can do what you are agonizing over, perhaps you should let someone else do it! If, however, only you can fill those shoes, you have identified a priority that you need to put on your list of MUST DO.

Can only you love your husband? (I hope the answer is yes!)

Can only you breast feed your baby?

Can only you speak words of comfort to your child?

Can only you take care of your body?

Can only you be responsible for eating healthy food?

Can only you move your body today to get your heart pumping?

Can only you hide God's Word in your heart?

Can only you honor your mom today as a daughter?

Can only you pray for your kids with a mother's heart?

Can only you clean your house?

Can only you know when your friend needs to hear from you?

Can only you do the dishes?

Can only you do the job you were hired for...and getting a paycheck for?

Can only you build your house as in Proverbs 14:1?

If you ask yourself questions beginning with "Can only you..." you will find it easier to identify your priorities.

January 2010...what are your priorities for the season in life that you are in?

Friday, January 15

Year in Review

If you don't have a lot to review on your own, here's are few questions to help you wrap up 2009:

1. What was the 'moment of the year' for you in 2009?

2. Who was the 'person of the year' that influenced you the most?

3. What didn't work for you this year?

4. What was good for you in 2009?

5. How many books did you read this year?

6. What is one thing you learned from a book?

7. What one choice did you make during the year that you will remember?

8. What Bible verse meant alot to you this year? Did you memorize it?

These questions will only begin making sense to you as you make a habit of asking yourself these questions each year. You will begin to be on the look for people speaking into your lives. Your 'moment of the year' might be the birth of a child to the death of a parent. You will be present in the moment each day. You will be more mindful of what, if anything you are reading.
We are forever reviewing ourselves in many other areas of life...our personal growth should be right up there in importance.

Asking yourself these questions and more will help you appreciate the life you are living. You will see how God is working it altogether for good even when everyday seems like a blur.

Examine yourself as you lived 2009. It will help you navigate 2010 all the more.

Wednesday, January 13

Participate in your growth. . .my thoughts

Participate in your growth was the title of Barb’s last post. What a novel idea huh? Be present, be purposeful, be intentional. I would guess that those are things we all want to be. I had a hard time thinking about what to write in response to Barb’s post, but it got me thinking back to our last homemakers meeting when we talked about what if our ultimate pursuit was knowing God. Shouldn’t we as Christian women be focusing on that? As Christians we sometimes get so caught up in the rituals and disciplines of Christianity that we lose sight of that purpose. The rituals and disciplines become our god instead of focusing on God and letting that determine our rituals and disciplines. It may seem like semantics, but I don’t think it is. I think that out of a purposeful relationship with Jesus comes a desire to spend time with him, a desire to put in place things in your life to help you focus on God. We live in a world, especially in America, that bombards us with everything possible to distract us. I say it often, but I think one of Satan’s greatest tools is busyness. We need to put into place rituals and routines that help us refocus and play an active role in our growth. We are saved by grace, but if we are truly focused on knowing God, there should be evidence in our life that we are loving Him. I hope I am making sense. I think as we strive to be wise women we need to have strategies in place to help up stay focused and on the right path.

I struggle each year in January as I figure out how best achieve this goal. Some years I use a notebook, some a calendar. . .I haven’t found the perfect system and maybe I never will since life changes so much. I think the main thing is that each year I am trying to keep my actions in check with my purpose. I would love to hear ideas from you on ways you record and measure your growth.

Tuesday, January 12

Participate in your Growth

Elizabeth Elliot, Bible teacher and author, says that women are 'called to participate' in their spiritual growth. We are to be accountable for what we are doing on a daily basis.

What is your attitude towards growing your soul? While I know that salvation is totally by grace and not by works, I have found that I have to participate in my growth or I quickly fill up my days and mind with alot of clutter.

Is there one thing you could do different in 2010 that would trigger a real change in how you are growing? As a young mom, start small. Start simple. Just start.

Then record it

Then think about it when you can during the day. See how God brings it to your mind, prompts you with a song on the radio or encourages you in an article you might pick up in passing. Pray for God to enable you to make the needed changes...whether it is to have more patience with your kids, speak kindly to your husband, or to be more grateful.

Then record what you are learning. Date your entries.

Then review it at the end of the year.

That's all. I am the voice of experience. If I had know 38 years ago what a simple thing such as writing down a prayer of change would mean to my soul, I would have done it! Instead, I kept procrastinating, thinking I had to come up with a new and improved me. God just wanted me to get on board with Him and He made the necessary changes. Recording what I was learning is where I really began seeing the changes.

Don't let alot of resolutions, systems and busyness get in the way. Pick ONE THING to focus on in 2010 and then 'actively participate' to make it happen in your life.

Monday, January 11

How Wise are You?

A woman isn't wise because of what she knows, she is wise in the way in which she lives.

The start of a New Year is a great time to take stock of how we lived in 2009. Did you live wisely? It sure is easier to put a plan into place than to execute it so that is why it is important to step back and examine just what we did.

Do you have a notebook or journal you can review? Notes from sermons or CD's that you enjoyed?

I have used probably every form of 'recording my life' possible so I could comment on the effectiveness of many systems, but the important thing is to record something each year.

Three items have become foundational in my growth each year. Not only to keep me on track but to have something to examine at the end of each year.

First, I have a notebook that I put all my notes from the year in. This is where I put my book reviews, my notes about my theme and other notes that I found useful during the year. There have been years where I used this notebook as a journal, writing in it everyday.

Secondly, I have a calendar from every year. I try to find a really flat one that fits inside my notebook. This has taken the place of my journal in that I record prayer requests in it and other important happenings. I love looking back at this calendar at the end of every year to be reminded of answered prayers and tough decisions that had to be made. This is an invaluable tool for keeping me mindful and grateful.

Thirdly, I have a Bible that I use only for highlighting the verses I know. This Bible prompted me to choose my theme for last year, as I realized I could mark alot of verses I was familiar with, but really didn't know them well. What I have found to be valuable about this tool, is that I can grab it at any time and take it with me when I know I have some time to review my verses. Dr appointments, waiting to pick up someone, business appointments that might keep me waiting...I don't need to have any fancy system. I just take this Bible with me and I have something that will be of value as I go about my day.

As young moms, I know your days are full, but that is all the more reason to find a system to record your simply as you can. Prayers, Bible verses, books read and quotes that are meaningful are just a few of the essentials that will feed your soul and remind you daily what it means to live in a wise manner. If you record just a page a year, you will have something to look back on and say, 'yes', I remember those days and I remember learning that piece of insight, whatever that might be. It will build on itself and soon you will have 5, 10, 15 years to look back on and see why you are the woman you have become.

That's when you will be living is a wise woman.

Thursday, January 7

My oh my is it really time to pick another theme? It honestly seems like yesterday that I was choosing my theme for the past year. Time really does fly and this is one of the reasons that I love picking a theme to focus on throughout the year. Life goes by so quickly and having a theme for a year allows me to focus on things that matter. When things are good and when things are bad, I am focusing on something that is allowing me to draw closer to Jesus.

This past year my theme was Hope. I focused on knowing who or what my hope is in. I saw numerous times where I was looking in the wrong direction and I also saw times that I was truly at peace even in tough circumstances because I know where my hope comes from.

As I pick this year's theme I would like it to be something that is more measurable. Picking a theme is kind of the easy part. :) The tough part is making sure I follow through. Having a way to measure my growth would be really helpful and I am hoping to implement some sort of action plan this year. If you choose to pick a theme this year, I would encourage you to find a way to measure your growth as well. I think it really will make a difference.

Wednesday, January 6

Reflecting on my 2009 theme

I am just like Barb when it comes to the new year. I am not sure what it is about January, but I always feel like I have been given a fresh start and I love that feeling.

Barb introduced us a few years ago to the idea of themes, and I must admit while I loved the idea, I wasn’t sure how or what it would look like for me and my daily life. Just like Barb stated, through the years I have chosen themes that have made a huge impact, and I can really see the Lord using that theme to help me grow while other years the year just seems to go by-and it hasn’t impacted me as much as I would have liked. If I am honest I think those are the years I didn’t take enough time to choose a word that relates to my stage of life as well as me not putting enough effort into applying and searching out ways to help me grow in that given area.

I have not officially chosen my theme for 2010, but I definitely have a few in mind. We will be sharing those at a later date so I will take a few moments to reflect back on 2009. My theme was to be intentional. I loved this theme, but also feel like one year was not enough. Being intentional is a daily decision, and I will need to continue on for the rest of my life.

Barb had us do an activity one time about writing out what we would like to have written on our headstone if we were to die. While I will probably never totally have it figured out, I would love for it to say somewhere on it that I was an intentional woman, that I did not do what everyone else did, I lived out a life where when others looked at me they would see something different. They would see me making choices, daily choices that made me more like Jesus. I have such a long way to go, and I know I can only walk that journey with the Lord by my side cheering me on. That is what I think Barb wants for us with these yearly themes. It helps us focus on areas where we can learn to be more godly women, wives, and mothers. I think having something to focus on is a great way to help in your walk with the Lord. While I will look back on 2009 as the year when I really focused on being intentional, I will know it was the year I made a commitment to be intentional for the rest of my life. I am so thankful I have a relationship with the Lord who will help me on a daily basis! Happy 2010!

Monday, January 4


I love new beginnings!

New calendars, new check registers (does anyone use them anymore?!), empty files, a new pile of books to read, new resolutions...and a new theme for 2010.

Did you have a theme for 2009 and if you did, how did it affect your year?

My theme for 2009 was to "renew my mind". I was curious to see how this theme would unfold for me. I have chosen a theme for many years now. Some years I really see how my theme just captivates me and affects so many different aspects of my life. Some years I fall short of what I hope to learn about my theme.

This year I shouldn't have been surprise how constant I was reminded of how and why I needed to renew my mind. My self-talk really took a beating as I became aware of how much of my self-talk needed to be improved upon.

I will talk more about my theme in abit, but for now, I would like to encourage any of you to consider a topic that you would like to go deeper in. I have found that a few guidelines made a difference to my growth in having a theme:

1. Pick a theme that is measureable. One year I studied prayer. Such a vast subject to focus on, so I narrowed it down to praying for my kids. I developed a system that would hold me accountable to praying for my kids in a very purposeful way. After 365 days, I had developed some strong muscles in this area just because I had chosen prayer as my theme that year.

2. Write down your theme. Sometimes I start a year with one theme, but as I write down exactly what I am trying to accomplish with the theme, I word it more succinctly and it becomes manageable.

3. Always refer to it in the present tense. This year I kept telling myself I was renewing my mind and therefore, I was thinking about such things. It kept me mindful of just what I was thinking daily, not just when I sat down to ponder my theme.

Choosing a theme each year has defined many years for me in very special ways.

Sunday, January 3

Renewing My Mind

Having a yearly theme has been a very personal exercise for me. Looking back, I think maybe I should have shared it with others just to keep my momentum going. I didn't want it to become like a resolution where I was determined to achieve a desired result. I wanted to delve into an area abit more purposeful, but I didn't want it to be a pass/fail type of endeavor.

This year I chose a theme to 'renew my mind'. I initally thought that would be simply to organize all the Bible verses I have memorized. I had alot of verses rattling around in my brain, but couldn't locate them accurately so my hope was to use my mind in a very purposeful way...and to learn the verse and reference once and for all.

I wasn't sure exactly what I wanted the end result to be, I simply wanted to be more mindful of my thought-life and I thought it would be measureable if I concentrated on what was in my memory bank.

I wasn't going to do this to sing my praises that I memorize verses

I was simply putting Rom 12:2 into an organized way of 'renewing my mind'.

I had a great time trying different systems. I spent the first 2 months trying to get a system into place...and in essence avoiding doing the work that this theme required, memorizing!

I finally set up a simple system of recording the verses in a handy way I could review them and recall where I would find them in the Bible. Very simple. Very accessible.

I was very ambitious to begin with, thinking I could memorize a verse a day...365 verses in 2009. Then I realized I would be doing it for all the wrong reasons and i would never be able to recall them all.

So I became realistic and simply made a point of 'renewing my mind' daily with verses and spent alot of time in review. I became much more conscious of WHAT I was thinking on an on-going basis.

'Renewing my mind' became alot more than just memorizing.

My theme for 2010? I don't know yet. Several ideas intrigue me, but I have learned not to force a theme. God will reveal what He wants me to work on.

How about you? Are you ready to have a theme that will help you define 2010 for your life?