Now blogging at THIS SIMPLE HOME.

Now blogging at THIS SIMPLE HOME.

At This Simple Home

  • Homemade Magic Shell - I remember having Magic Shell once as a child. The chocolate syrup drizzled over my ice cream magically turned crispy hard. Mmm... So I was rather excited t...

Monday, September 26, 2011

Bacon Ranch Chicken Recipe

Bacon Ranch Chicken is definitely a keeper for it's taste and ease.

Bacon Ranch Chicken

2 tablespoons of real bacon pieces (from jar or freshly cooked) 
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 packet Hidden Valley Ranch salad dressing mix

Please visit This Simple Home for the remainder of the Bacon Ranch Chicken recipe!  Thanks!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Simple Birthday Decorations

This past weekend we celebrated the 60th birthday of Derek's mom.  It was a low-key surprise party, with mostly family and just a few friends as guests.  But it still celebrated Janice!

We hung sixty balloons through the dining room and living room.  Many of the balloons were split between two balloon banners.  (See inspiration photo/directions here.)  Instead of using tape or glue dots, these balloons were tied to the ribbon with thread.
 We also saw another neat idea of hanging balloons from the ceiling to make them look like they were floating in the air like helium balloons...without the helium.  Each of the balloons below had a thread tied to them.  However, the person hanging the balloons didn't know the idea behind the thread, and just hung them.  I thought it still looked fun!
Depending on when the baby arrives (due within days of both M and E's birthdays), I would enjoy doing something like these simple decorations for them, too.  We'll see what the reality is.  I certainly don't have air in me to blow balloons though!

It was a fun party, and most importantly a good way to celebrate a great woman.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Kids in the Kitchen: Chex Party Mix

MMM...Chex Party Mix.  The best is homemade!  Have you made it before?  If not, I would encourage you to do so.  No party is needed.  I cannot imagine it going stale, though if you are single with no children you may just want to try a half batch...but probably only the first time you make it if you are as naughty as I am.

For years I only made this in the oven.  (I made my first batch in 2001.)  This was my first time using the microwave.  Wow.  Salty goodness in just 5 minutes instead of an hour!  It didn't lose any flavor or crunch in the microwave, so this will be my new way to make it!  (And FYI, for years when I would make this I would buy generic Corn Chex and Rice Chex, but my stores never had generic Wheat Chex.  Walmart carries a generic version of Wheat Chex, in case you wanted to know.)

3 cups Rice Chex
3 cups Corn Chex
3 cups Wheat Chex
1 cup mixed nuts (I just use dry roasted peanuts.)
1 cup bite-sized pretzels (I prefer broken pretzel sticks.)
1 cup bite-sized bagel chips (I omit and increase pretzels and nuts.)
6 tablespoons butter or margarine 
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt (In the past I didn't have this and just used garlic salt...worked fine.)
3/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder

In large microwavable bowl mix cereal, nuts, pretzels and chips; set aside.  In small microwavable bowl, heat butter until melted-about 40 seconds.  Stir in seasonings.  Pour over cereal mixture and mix thoroughly.

Microwave mix on high for 5-6 minutes, stirring every 2 minutes.  Spread and cool on paper towels. Store in air tight container.  YUM!!
Kid tasks: 
Breaking pretzels
Dumping and snacking
Mixing dry ingredients
Mom (and older child) tasks:
Measuring, if you have younger children,
Thoroughly mixing butter mixture into cereal mixture
Stirring heated mixture

Final results:
Chex Party Mix for a happy family!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Owl Card for Owl Baby Shower

The Owl Valentine's Day card I made for my husband was featured with other great ideas for an owl baby shower.  Check the shower ideas out!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

God's Priorities for Today's Woman- GIVEAWAY

book title front
As women, it can be difficult to understand just what God desires for us when the world teaches us drastically different things.  (It can be equally hard to follow His lead, too!)  Written by Lisa Hughes, God's Priorities for Today's Woman focuses on Tituse 2:3-5 to teach about God's calling for our lives in regard to characer, relationships, and home. 

Women of all ages and stages of life can benefit from her teachings of growing in godly living.  God's Priorities for Today's Woman utilizes much of the Bible to teach about godly living, not just the well-known verses of Titus.  Also included is a study guide to help the reader dive deeper into God's priorities.

"The world would have us believe that God's ways cannot exist in today's culture, that they are unnecessary and outlandishly archaic.  Yet God's priorities for women are neither outdated nor irrelevant.  God's purposes for us were created out of His wisdom and love.  They are perfect and just right for us no matter who we are or what circumstances we face."
     ~ Chapter 1, page 12

Personally, I loved this book, despite the way it exposed my sin.  Lisa Hughes has a friendly and realistic way of writing and sharing...and yet quite convicting-too convicting at times.  So much of my life is not about what it should be.  Being a Christian is hard; seeking God and making His priorities mine is even harder.  

"You need to fight against neglecting your husband while you see to the needs of the little ones in your home." 
     ~ Chapter 8, page 120   

Tough stuff for me, but the author doesn't just say do it, she really does share practical ways to help you to accomplish this.

"The goal of our discipline is to teach our children right from wrong, to instill in them a love for righteousness and a hatred for sin.  But that can never be accomplished if we aren't parenting in the fruit of the Spirit."
     ~ Chapter 9, page 142

Then she goes on to say that we can't obey God and train our children if we are not under control...and that is sin.  Oh my.

Though I just recently completed God's Priorities for Today's Woman, I am really thrilled to get to use it with my Bible study this fall.  We'll be getting a bit deeper than I did with my first read.  (I didn't complete the study guide, yet I still learned much.)  Obviously, the quotes I share touched me for a reason. 

I just pray that I will allow God to truly use it as a tool in my life to help me get my priorities aligned with God's.  

Winner:  Pyria, #18!  Congratulations!  I have emailed you and will pass along your contact information after you contact me!

Thank you, Harvest House for providing me with this book!  I highly recommend it!  I urge you to get your hands on this book, too.   Harvest House is helping you do that by offering a copy to one Live, Learn, Love reader !  Please leave a comment below (with email address so I can contact you unless you know it's in your profile). 

For additional entries, be a follower of this blog, follow on Facebook, or share about the giveaway.  Leave a separate comment for each additional entry.  This contest is open to US residents only and will be open through September 12th.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Summer Highlights

Wow!  Summer is over!  It's hard to believe.  Recently, here in southeastern PA we have had very lovely weather!  It is such a blessing to turn off the air conditioning and let the mild temperatures and low humidity be enjoyed.  Below are just a few pictures from our favorite memories from this summer.
Water and mud play in northeastern PA
 We now have a van (in preparation for the baby).
 The Empire State Building
 Both children love the Statue of Liberty!
 Late night stops at the ice cream shop at family camp.  Yum.
 The beach
 And some days, it was just a blessing to stay home!
This summer I had a lot of fun buying children's books at thrift stores (and one bag sale).  I'm guessing I bought about 200 used books.  (I should explain that I bought about 100 for $10 at the bag sale!  The others are typically 3/$1, though occasionally $1 or $2.)  Some were board books.  Most were picture books.  Quite a few were chapter books of varying levels, including for the future.  We haven't read them all!  Many will be shared with others, but most are for our family.  I really need to sort through the books that I put in storage!

Early in the summer, I had shared some ideas for summer plans.  You can go here if you would like to see which of these we accomplished.  We did pretty well, especially for not looking at it for reminders.

Welcome fall...though that means we really need to prepare for this baby!

Friday, September 2, 2011

A Lesson for Me: Tea Party

We had never had a real tea party.  With real dishes.  
(I have never even been to a tea party or been served tea formally...any pointers for me??) 
My daughter was having a rough morning with a lack of self-control.
Typically, I would only do something as special as a tea party as a reward or as part of our day.  Definitely not in the middle of a rough day!  Thankfully God was working on me.  
In the middle of a heat wave, we needed something different, but indoors.  This was perfect!
AND it helped change ALL of our attitudes.
A simple snack of ♥-shaped bread, Fig Newtons, and chocolate chips, served with warm tea was a refreshing way to remember that God gives me so much more than I ever deserve, and my children deserve the same grace.
Though my son enjoyed the food, this tea party was really for M.  It was a bit of a struggle for me.  I prepared the tea party while M spent some time recovering from yet-another-incident in her room.  Not ideal.

She enjoyed every little bit of it, including using proper manners.  She arrived at the table with her own idea of a tea party.  She spoke in a high voice.  On her own she called me Mrs. W and Miss Annette, as she knows other children call me because she desired it to be a formal time!

It was just what we needed to to restart our day.  What do yo do when you are at wit's end?  (I don't create special moments like this daily...nor do I always extend the grace that my daughter may need.  This was one day...quite a while ago.  It was good for me to write about it and remember the good that came from me changing my MO.)

A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.
~ Proverbs 15:1

Oh, I need to keep that nugget of God's wisdom close to my heart and lips!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Children's Books about Heaven

My nearly five year old is curious-and cautious- about heaven.  Though I think she likes the idea of heaven, she fears leaving what she knows.  That is perfectly reasonable.  Adults are often apprehensive of leaving this earth, even when they are certain of their home in heaven.

We have a couple of books that I like to share with my daughter to help her understanding of heaven.  Of course, the Bible is the authority on this, but I do like using books as a tool to help me explain heaven.
God Gave Us Heaven
God Gave Us Heaven is excellent at clearing up some misconceptions about heaven in a very child-friendly way.  The reality is that we are not all old when we go and we won't be angels!  Papa bear also explains to Little Cub how to get to heaven.  This is an excellent book.  (We have it as part of a three-book treasury God Gave Us So Much, linked to review...Awesome book.)  This collection is written by Lisa Tawn Bergren.

Heaven is a Wonderful PlaceHeaven Is a Wonderful Place written by Joanne Marxhausen is a colorful book with bold, crisp illustrations.  (When I saw this and another book, called 3 in 1 about God in three persons, at our family camp's gift shop, I was thrilled to purchase them since I had not seen them at other bookstores, though I had heard of them.)  God's love, heaven, hell, and how Jesus gives the gift of eternal life are all discussed.  Great book (and I highly recommend 3 in 1, too).  It is very appropriate for a family looking to discuss heaven in a biblical manner.

What about Heaven? is a book of questions a child might ask.  It's cute, and has rhyming text.  The main text does not help a child understand better about heaven-because it is a bunch of questions that a child might ask about heaven.  However, the back of the book is full of answers and Bible references that clarify some of those questions.

On a personal note, I thought I would share what prompted my writing this post.  I'm rather aware of the fact that we have friends and family that may or may not be in heaven one day.  I don't assure M that every person who dies will be in heaven to greet us.  I remember clearly when she asked me about one of my family members who passed away when I was young.  She asked if he was in heaven.  It was tough, but I had to be honest.  I also let her know that we can't be sure of someone else's life, but we can know for ourselves.  (I hope that makes sense.  M hasn't accepted Jesus as her Savior, but we still have these discussions.)  The Bible is the authority on this, and it makes it clear that "believing in God" isn't enough.  (See James 2:19.)  There is more to faith than acknowledging His existence. We need to trust in God and accept his gift of Jesus' sacrifice for us.  It's only through Jesus' blood that we can be accepted by God because we are each sinners.

So do you have other books you reall

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