October 13, 2017

Ten Things You Might Not Know You Need This Thanksgiving


I think it's important you know right from the start that this post has nothing to do with the latest in turkey basters or brine injection systems.

I'm not going to tell you what to do if your turkey is dry. (Slice it thin and add some extra broth, I think...but I go with an herb-butter basted turkey breast every year and just skirt the dry meat matter entirely.)

On the other hand, if you find yourself needing one of these other Thanksgiving non-essential-but-nice-to-haves, here's what we're thankful to have on hand in our house.

1. If you need a Thanksgiving book that will become a family classic: Thanksgiving: A Time to Remember, by Barbara Rainey. This is our family's go-to Thanksgiving resource. Filled with rich details about the voyage to the new world (condensed version: this was no Carnival cruise), life for the Pilgrims (condensed version: this was no "woo hoo, we got away from jolly old England" vacation), and the history of Thanksgiving as a national holiday (condensed version: Sarah Josepha Hale was one determined woman), this instant heirloom also offers President Lincoln's entire 1863 Thanksgiving Proclamation and journal pages for recording your family's personal thanksgivings. 

2. If you need a new appreciation for what the Pilgrims went through: A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving with The Mayflower Voyagers. Trust the Peanuts gang to tell the Thanksgiving story in their own fun-but-factual fashion. Even my teenagers love to watch this double feature. For one thing, it makes them thankful they weren't Pilgrims.

3. If you need Thanksgiving dinner background music: George Winston's Autumn album. Soothing, somehow seasonal music, and no lyrics to compete with conversation. May possibly encourage your dinner guests to linger at the table for at least a quarter of the time it took you to put the whole meal together. 

4. If you need the world's best pie crust: My mom's pie crust. A couple unusual ingredients push this over the edge into flaky-yet-workable fame. Think you can't make your own pie crust? With this recipe you can..and with this recipe, you'll be glad you did. You could fill this crust with almost anything, and it would give you something to be thankful for.

My Mom's Pie Crust {print}

3 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, cold and cut into smallish pieces
1/2 cup shortening, cold
1 egg
1/3 cup cold water
1 tablespoon white or cider vinegar

In a large bowl, mix the flour and salt. Throw in the pieces of butter and tablespoon-sized "portions" of shortening and cut all these into the flour mixture with a pastry blender or a fork or two knives. Whisk the remaining crust ingredients and toss with the flour mixture until it starts to form a ball. Add a couple extra drops of water if it seems too dry. Divide in thirds, form into balls, wrap in plastic, and chill until you want to roll out and use. (You need to at least rest and chill the dough for an hour or so, but longer is even better.) You can also freeze your dough portions for at least a few months. Whenever you use it, roll it out and bake it according to the directions for whatever recipe you're using it with. 

Makes 3 (9") single-crust pie shells 

5. If you need a Thanksgiving banner even a "crappy crafter" (as the birthday card my sister gave me one year put it) can make: this gorgeous Thanksgiving banner from The Deliberate Mom. Truly, if I (personal hashtag: #idkhowtodiy) can make this, anyone can make it. 

6. If you need a plan for when the day doesn't go as planned: this post in which I recall the Thanksgiving I was surprised by good. 

7. If you need an alternative to "let's go around the table and say something we're thankful for": NOT, mind you, that there's anything wrong with doing that! I happen to love this tradition. But depending on the crowd you've got gathered, sometimes it's nice to have an option that doesn't require people to think on the spot. A couple years ago, I made Scripture place cards using the word "THANKS" as my guide. Each Scripture contained a word that started with one letter of the word "thanks." We went around the table, and each guest read the Scripture on their card. A little cutesy, but very Thanksgiving-y. It just so happened we had 6 people to go with the six letters, but you could adapt this idea based on how many guests will be gathered around your feast. And if you need a one-stop-shopping source for Thanksgiving Bible verses, you'll find a lovely collection here at Daily Bouquets

Click here for a printable version of this. 

8. If you need a classic Thanksgiving sitcom episode: "Thanksgiving orphans," from Cheers. (Warning: food-fight alert.) 

9. If you need a lesser-known-but-should-be-classic Thanksgiving sitcom episode: "Thanksgiving Until It Hurts" from Dharma and Greg. I'm already laughing just thinking about it. 

10. If you need a quote about gratitude that puts everything in perspective: "Gratitude gets us through the hard stuff. To reflect on your blessings is to rehearse God's accomplishments. To rehearse God's accomplishments is to discover His heart. To discover His heart is to discover not just good gifts but the Good Giver. Gratitude leaves us looking at God and away from dread. It does to anxiety what the morning sun does to valley mist. It burns it up." (Max Lucado)




Now it's your turn: what do I need for Thanksgiving that I don't know I need? 
Please let me know about it, either in a comment or over on my Facebook page
Blessings on all your Thanksgiving preparations!


**This post may be been shared at some of these blog link parties.**

September 28, 2017

13 Things To Say To Your Kids When They're Having a Bad Day

The other day, I got this text from my college freshman daughter:

"Didn't go so hot."

She was checking in with me about the Psych 101 quiz she'd just taken. The one she'd nervously asked me to pray about when she left for school that morning.

I responded to her message by assuring her of my love and telling her it would be okay and encouraging her to just do the next thing she needed to do, the best that she could. 

And then I ordered her a jacket she'd been looking at online. Because, retail therapy. (Also, because she needed one.)

When kids are hurting, moms want to make it better. So we pray...and pray some more. We worry...and worry some more. But there are also things we say--things that aren't new or groundbreaking but that are timeless classics for one reason: they work.

If someone who calls you "mom" is having a bad day, here are some go-to phrases you might want to have in your maternal arsenal. Don't let their simplicity undermine their power. I've said these things over and over, and often, not long after I've said them, my daughters have told me, "I always feel better after I talk to you." Which is pretty much the highest mom compliment I ever hope to get.


1. I love you.

2. I'm praying for you.

3. Take a deep breath.

4. I'm already proud of you. 

5. This is not your whole story.

6. Do you want to talk about it?

7. I'm here for you.

8. Just take the next step.

9. It will be okay.

10. I know you'll be able to figure this out.

11. Is there anything I can do to help?

12. I really, really love you.

13. How about some ice cream?


What would you add to this list, mama? 
Leave your wisdom here in a comment or over on Facebook
While I wait for it, I'm going to round up some ice cream.



**This post may have been shared at some of these blog link parties.**

September 13, 2017

Almond Poppyseed Muffins


Every so often, I work as a catering assistant, and here's one thing I learned right away: by the time the night is through, whatever we're serving will inevitably become The Thing I Most Want to Eat in the World.

At a recent wedding, the cake was an almond poppyseed affair, and the minute I was able to swipe a sample from a layer that had been cut and served and whisked away to our prep station, I began fantasizing about this cake. Specifically, about eating it. More specifically, about eating quite a lot of it.

But since neither a wedding nor a wedding cake were in my near future, I needed to apply this combination to something that would fit into regular life. Enter Sunday-morning breakfast. I often make muffins for my family while we're rushing around trying to get ready for church and negotiating face time at the house's "best" mirror. 

I don't make muffins for breakfast before church because I need one more thing to do on Sunday mornings (a.k.a., the time of the week when the members of my family generally like each other the least but must, by the time we pull into the church parking lot, pretend we like each other the most). I do it because making them on Sundays means I have leftovers for Mondays (a.k.a., the day of the week we most need mood-enhancing baked goods for breakfast).

After tasting and obsessing over that wedding cake, I tweaked one of my favorite muffin recipes and ended up with something that had the soul of the cake but the applicability of something I can legitimately serve for breakfast. 

My family liked them quite a lot the first time I made them, thanks for asking, AND we managed to make it to church on time with a minimum of discord. Which is as much of a Sunday-morning miracle as I'm likely to see again anytime soon.



Almond Poppyseed Muffins {print}

2 cups all-purpose flour (sometimes I substitute 1/2 white whole wheat flour, but don't get too grainy with these...you'll lose the wedding cake-esque quality)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon (yes) baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon poppyseeds
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
1 egg white
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup plain yogurt OR ricotta cheese
2/3 cup milk
1 teaspoon pure almond extract

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly coat a 12-cup muffin tin with nonstick cooking spray OR line with cupcake liners.

Whisk together the flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and poppyseeds in a large bowl. (I love to use my batter bowl for this, along with about a zillion other kitchen tasks.) Make a well in the center and set aside. 

In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the remaining ingredients (egg through extract). Pour into the well in your dry ingredients, and gently fold everything together just until you don't see any more dry mixture. Do NOT attempt to de-lump your batter. Lumpy muffin batter is happy muffin batter, and it will make you a happy muffin-eater.

Divide your batter among 12 muffin cups, and bake for 12-18 minutes, just until a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out mostly clean.

Remove from oven and cool 5 minutes in the pan before removing to a wire rack. Enjoy while warm or cool completely before storing or freezing in an airtight container. Makes 12 muffins.



Previous post that might have something to do with this one:Four Kitchen Tool Must-Haves Plus One I Just Really Like

This post may have been shared at some of these blog parties.


September 5, 2017

6 Verses To Help You Through


A couple months ago, I asked my younger daughter to pray for me about a struggle I'd been messing with for a while. I told her I just felt stuck, like I'd been going around and around in a revolving door and couldn't get out. 

My 14-year-old asked a few questions--looking for a little more detail--then promised to pray.

A day or so later, she handed me a piece of notebook paper filled front and back with her handwriting. At the top, she'd written, "Bible Verses To Help You Through." 



After I'd read just one verse and her personal commentary on it, I:
  • Thanked her in awe and gratitude.
  • Asked if I could share it. Because isn't everybody trying to get through something? 

Maybe you're just at the beginning of "through." Maybe you're feeling stuck in the middle of the middle of the middle. Maybe the end is in sight, but you're soul-weary from the journey.

Wherever you're at, I pray these verses and reflections from my sweet girl--shared here with her permission and blessing--will encourage your heart and mind. 


"But the Lord said to her, 'My dear Martha, you are worried and upset over all these details! There is only one thing worth being concerned about.' " (Luke 10:41, 42a, NLT)

"Your unfailing love is better than life itself." (Psalm 63:3, NLT)

"You satisfy me more than the richest feast." (Psalm 63:5a, NLT)

These verses help me to have a better perspective on things. They're a good reminder that the things we are worried about and stress over hold no importance compared to God. The things on earth we allow to hold our delight and joy do not begin to compare to Him and His love for us--His unfailing love that will never leave us empty or needing more, like earthly things do.

"God is not a man, so He does not lie. He is not human, so He does not change His mind. Has He ever spoken and failed to act? Has He ever promised and not carried it through?" (Number 23:19, NLT)

This verse puts me at ease. Naturally, as humans, we change constantly. This verse helps me to find peace in the fact that the One Who is greater than any other is constant. We never have to worry that He will change or that His love for us will change. He will always be consistently perfect.



"For my people have done two evil things: They have abandoned me--the fountain of living water. And they have dug for themselves cracked cisterns that can hold no water at all!" (Jeremiah 2:13, NLT)

Again, this verse helps me to get a better perspective. We become so upset when worldly things we take delight in fail, yet that is what they're bound to do! He is the only, only, only one who can fulfill us.

"You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed." (Psalm 139:16, NLT)

I think this verse offers peace, too. There is not one event that will take place in our lives that is too much for God. One bad event, or even many, isn't going to derail His outstanding plan for us. He has a great plan for us, immensely greater than what ours could ever be, and His plan works with the bad times, too.


And here's one add-on from me...

"The Lord is my shepherd. He gives me everything I need. He lets me lie down in the fields of green grass. He leads me beside quiet waters. He gives me new strength. He guides me in the right paths for the honor of his name. Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid. You are with me. Your shepherd's rod and staff comfort me. You prepare a feast for me right in front of my enemies. You pour oil on my head. My cup runs over. I am sure that your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life. And I will live in the house of the Lord forever." (Psalm 23, NIRV)

I loved the fresh insight I gained into this familiar psalm the other day during my devotional reading from Revealing Jesus, by Darlene Zschech. She quotes the Reverend Derek Kidner about verse 4, which is often translated "even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death": "Only the Lord can lead a man through death; all other guides turn back, and the traveler must go on alone." 

Maybe you feel like you're walking through a dark valley right now. Maybe you're going through loss caused by death or the letting-go of dreams or hopes or just the expectation of what your life would look like. Whatever you're going through, Yahweh-raah--God as shepherd--is with you.


Do you have a favorite "get through" verse? 
I'd love to have you share it here or over on my Facebook page.

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Previous posts that might have something to do with this one:

This post may have been shared at some of these blog link parties.

August 2, 2017

What To Think About Instead of That Thing You're Trying Not To Think About


You know That Thing I'm talking about, don't you? 

It's that subject, thought, problem, person, worry, or issue that's taking up mental real estate and (pre)occupying your brain. 

I'm not talking about something you genuinely need to remember or mull over or figure out or deal with or process. I'm talking about a dead-end road in the pathway of your mind. I'm talking about something you have given ENOUGH ALREADY mental attention to. 

You tell yourself to stop thinking about it, for crying out loud. Just. Stop. Get control of your thoughts and think about something else. Anything else. Except at the moment That Thing is front and center in your brain, you cannot come up with a single other thing to think about. 

A few months ago, I decided I needed a go-to, default action plan to reroute my brain away from That Thing--whatever it might be in various seasons of life--to something else. But not just anything else...I wanted something that would draw me closer to God and His power and peace. 

I started to think that gratitude was the way to go...that instead of mentally chewing on That Thing again, I should think of things I'm grateful for. But then our very creative Creator expanded the idea to include five more areas I could mentally detour to. And He kindly provided them to me in a handy mnemonic acronym (a.k.a., the tool of the memory-challenged). 

In short, God gave me a divine P.R.O.M.P.T. 

These days, when I'm tempted to think about That Thing again (for crying out loud), I try to redirect my mind toward one of these far better mental actions instead: 

Praise.

Praise God for Who He is. Praise Him for what He's like...His character and nature. Mentally list His attributes--"You are good" or "You are just" or "You are unchanging," for instance. I often tell God what His name is: Abba, Jehovah, I AM, and on and on. He already knows, of course...the telling is to remind me, because every one of God's many and varied names communicates something different and true about Who He is. Which is far better to think about than...well, you know.

Remember. 

Remember what God has done in the past. Recount His miracles and faithfulness. Rehearse the impossible situations He's worked out. I've spent plenty of time replaying That Thing in my brain; this is the time to recall what God has done before--and, because He is a consistent God, what He is likely to do again. He was good and just and kind and generous yesterday; He will be the same tomorrow. 

Offend (the enemy).

In the spiritual armor described in Ephesians 6, the sword of the Spirit--God's Word--is our only offensive weapon; all the other pieces are defensive. With the defensive pieces of armor, we fend off harm, but with the offensive sword, we can do damage. We can inflict some wounds. The enemy can't read our minds, though, so when I'm trying to offend him, I like to speak God's Word out loud. As loudly as possible. Which is why I don't usually choose the "O" of P.R.O.M.P.T. in the middle of the grocery store. (See "M," below, if you need to reroute your brain while you're in the produce section.) I favor "sharp" verses like Psalm 18:46 (capitalization mine): "THE LORD LIVES!!! PRAISE BE TO MY ROCK!!!" You've read that in texting and other written communication, using all caps is the equivalent of yelling? Well, in this case, that's exactly the point.

Meditate.

Here's where I turn a Bible verse over and over in my mind, thereby crowding out, ahem, other thoughts. I like something simple and hopeful...this is probably not the time for a mental recitation of the punishments for sin in Leviticus. I favor phrases like "Your love is better than life" (Psalm 63:3) and declarations like "I am still confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living" (Psalm 27:13).

Pray.

For others. For myself. Repeat indefinitely.

Thank. 

Back to the armor of God: during a fabulous Bible study I had the privilege of facilitating on this subject, I learned that gratitude is what activates the shoes of peace. That Thing I'm trying to mentally avoid is a great peace stealer, but gratitude is a great peace sealer. It's hard to think about That Thing when I'm thinking about everything I have to be thankful for. Which is exactly the point. 


Like any other new habit worth forming, training my brain to P.R.O.M.P.T. is an ongoing process and daily (hourly?) decision. But I'm determined to keep it up until this P.R.O.M.P.T. becomes my mind's go-to thought.

Do you have your own That Thing you're trying not to think so much about (for crying out loud)? I'd be thrilled to know if this P.R.O.M.P.T. makes any sense and, even better, if it helps you gain some ground in fighting the good fight. 

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I was so honored to share a condensed version of this P.R.O.M.P.T over on Of the Hearth, as part of the two-part series "Can Busy Moms Really Find Time to Spend with God?" No guilt here, just practical suggestions for finding God-time right in the middle of your crazy life.



This post may have been shared at some of these blog link parties.

July 21, 2017

Chocolate Malt Ice Cream Cookie Cake


My first job was at a little ice cream shop in my hometown.

We served about 20 flavors of hand-dipped ice cream, along with sundaes, shakes, and malts of every variety.

Everyone said I'd get tired of ice cream, working with and around it so much.

Everyone was wrong. Very, very wrong.

I didn't get tired of it then, and I haven't gotten tired of it since. I've passed this love onto my family, which is why we have at least five flavors of ice cream in the house at any given time.

I'm particularly fond of the combination of chocolate and malt, so I don't know why it took me until my 47th birthday to figure out that this variation of my favorite ice cream cake would be a very good idea. Apparently, with age really does come wisdom. 

And for the record, I don't expect to get tired of this ice cream cake any time soon.


Chocolate Malt Ice Cream Cake (with Malted Chocolate Sauce) {print recipe}

Base layer:
12 chocolate-cream sandwich cookies, crushed
2 tablespoons butter, melted

Main layer:
16 chocolate-cream sandwich cookies
1 1/2 cups malted balls
8 ounces non-dairy whipped topping, thawed OR 3 cups sweetened whipped cream
1 1/2 quarts chocolate ice cream, very slightly softened

Malted Chocolate Sauce (optional, but a very good idea):
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (natural or Dutch-processed)
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/3 cup plain malted milk powder
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup milk
1/4 cup corn syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the base layer: preheat over to 350 degrees and lightly coat with nonstick cooking spray the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan OR a 9-inch cake pan with the highest sides you can round up. Toss together the 12 crushed cookies and the melted butter and press into the bottom of the prepared pan. Bake for 5 minutes, then cool completely.

For the main layer: break 16 cookies in half and throw them into the work bowl of a food processor, along with your malt balls. Process like crazy (you may have to add in some pulse action) until you have very fine (and highly addictive) malt-flavored cookie crumbs. Reserve about 1/4 cup for garnish. Spread 1/2 of the ice cream evenly over the cooled base layer. Top with 1/2 of the whipped topping or whipped cream. Sprinkle evenly with 1/2 of the malted cookie crumbs. Repeat layers with remaining ice cream, whipped cream/whipped topping, and malted cookie crumbs. Press plastic wrap directly onto the surface of the cake, then wrap the entire pan in foil and freeze several hours at least, or up to several weeks. Cut into wedges to serve, drizzled with hot fudge sauce or plain chocolate sauce or warm Malted Chocolate Sauce and sprinkled with reserved cookie crumbs. Makes approximately 8-10 servings.

For the Malted Chocolate Sauce: in a small saucepan, whisk together the cocoa, cornstarch, malted milk powder, and brown sugar. Add the milk and whisk well, then whisk in the corn syrup. Set the pan over medium heat and stir while bringing it to a full boil. Lower the heat slightly and cook, whisking constantly, about one minute longer, until the sauce thickens and generously coats the back of a spoon. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Cool, then refrigerate in a covered jar. Makes about 3/4 cup.




**This post may have been shared at some of these blog parties.**


July 6, 2017

10 Bible Verses to Share With Someone Who's Celebrating (or Struggling)

I've had the great privilege of facilitating* women's Bible study for the past 12 years, and one of my favorite moments is when my study sisters and I discover a "who knew" verse in God's great love letter...as in, "who knew this was in the Bible?"

Some of these lesser-known** verses have become my standbys when I'm sending a text message or a card to a friend or acquaintance who's celebrating a gain (a new baby, a new job, a new house) or grieving a loss. If you're trying to rejoice with someone who's rejoicing or mourn with someone who's mourning (Romans 12:15), one of these might give you a place to start.

For someone who's just had a baby: "See, the Sovereign Lord tends His flock like a shepherd; He gathers the lambs in His arms and carries them close to His heart; He gently leads those that have young." (Isaiah 40:10a,11)

For someone who is graduating: "Love the Lord your God, listen to His voice, and hold fast to Him. For the Lord is your life." (Deuteronomy 30:20) 

For someone who is grieving: "The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms." (Deuteronomy 33:27) Also, "But you, O God, do see trouble and grief; you consider it to take it in hand." (Psalm 10:14)

For someone who is starting a new job: "May the favor of the Lord our God rest upon us; establish the work of our hands for us--yes, establish the work of our hands." (Psalm 90:17)

For someone who is suffering: "I will be glad and rejoice in your love, for you saw my affliction and knew the anguish of my soul. You have not handed me over to the enemy but have set my feet in a spacious place." (Psalm 31:7,8)

For someone who has moved into a new home: "My people will live in peaceful dwelling places, in secure homes, in undisturbed places of rest...how blessed you will be." (Isaiah 32:18, 20a) Also, "By wisdom a house is built, and through understanding it is established; through knowledge its rooms are filled with rare and beautiful treasures. (Proverbs 24:3,4)


For someone who is overwhelmed: "In all their distress He too was distressed, and the angel of His presence saved them. In His love and mercy He redeemed them; He lifted them up and carried them." (Isaiah 63:9)

For someone who is waiting for something: "All my longings lie open before you, O Lord; my sighing is not hidden from you." (Psalm 38:9)

For someone who is starting something new: "The Lord Himself goes before you and will be with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged." (Deuteronomy 31:8)

For someone you appreciate: "Your love has given me great joy and encouragement." (Philemon 7)




Do you have a favorite "who knew" verse? 
Please share it in a comment or over on Facebook! 


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*"Facilitating" rather than "leading," because "leading" implies I have all the answers (as if), whereas "facilitating" merely indicates that I set up chairs and make sure our stash of pens and tissues is replenished regularly.

**Or, at least, these are lesser-known to me. You might be thinking, "Honey, everyone knows these verses. Some Bible study leader you are." To which I would only ask you to see "facilitator," above.

Click here for a free printable of all these verses.

Previous post that might have something to do with this one: So You Want to Start a Women's Bible Study Group.

This post have may have been shared at some of these blog link parties.


June 6, 2017

Chocolate Caramel S'mores Snack Mix

A few weeks ago, I made a double batch of this snack mix for our church youth group. The sheet pans were sitting out on the kitchen table, cooling, and my family kept stopping by for quality assurance testing. I told them to keep their hands off, that they were eating the Lord's food. But they were wholly (though not in any way holy) unrepentant.

All of which is just to say that if you're planning to feed this addictive combination to anyone other than the people living in your house, you might want to make a double batch, too.



Chocolate Caramel S'mores Snack Mix {print}

4 cups graham-cracker type cereal (I used Golden Grahams)
4 cups corn or rice or combo cereal squares (I like Crispix)
6 tablespoons butter
3/4 cup brown sugar
3 tablespoons light corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon baking soda (yes, this matters)
approximately 1 cup M&Ms
approximately 2 cups mini marshmallows

Line a large sheet pan with wax paper or parchment paper. Gently combine cereals in a large microwave-safe bowl. In a 2-cup microwave-safe measuring cup, microwave the butter, brown sugar, and corn syrup uncovered on high power 1-2 minutes, stirring after one minute, until the butter is melted and the mixture is smooth. Remove from microwave and stir in the baking soda until dissolved. Pour this mixture over the cereal and stir gently to coat. Microwave on high power for 3 minutes, stirring after every minute. 

Remove from microwave and cool 1 minute. Sprinkle with marshmallows and gently fold in. Turn the mixture out onto your prepared baking sheet and immediately sprinkle the surface with M&Ms, pressing them gently into the cereal mixture. Cool completely before breaking apart and storing airtight. Makes 8 cups.



**This post may have been shared at some of these lovely link parties.**

May 17, 2017

10 Lists I Love (None of Which Has Anything to Do With Groceries or Buckets)


If this isn't your first time stopping by Guilty Chocoholic Mama, you've probably figured out that I'm a big fan of list and that most of my posts are lists. (Also: thank you so much for coming back!) 

In fact, if I had to rename this blog, I'd probably call it "I've Got to Make a List."

In the interest of reusing, re-purposing, and recycling, I've put together this list of lists. Okay, fine: this is actually total self-indulgence. Up to this point, these are some of my favorite posts in full-on list form. But it's also time management: I've got a high school graduation party to throw, and that list is titled "101 Things You Absolutely Must Do Before June 23rd and Honey, There is No Way You're Going to Get to All of These." 

Self-indulgence aside, I'd love it if something here somehow made your day a little bit better--if only by giving you a "me, too/I'm not the only one" moment. Which, when it comes down to it, is really item #1 on a theoretical list of why I have a blog in the first place.


1. 20 Classes Moms Would Take If Motherhood Was a PhD Program. Stain identification and removal, maybe? Or how about math for moms?

2. 10 Things I Don't Wish I'd Done Differently as a Mom, Parts 1 & 2. Oh, mama, believe me: I've got plenty of things I DO wish I'd done differently. (Two words: potty training.) But here are a few things I'm grateful to say I wouldn't change, even if God did offer me a maternal do-over.

3. You Might Be the Mom of a Tween Girl If.... "You have accepted that life runs more smoothly if 'it' is clean. Whatever 'it' is." For example.

4. 5 Ways to Feed Your Child's Faith (Without Preaching at Them). My husband and I are far from being the wisest parents ever to be sent home from the hospital with a baby, a bill, a birth certificate, and best wishes for our utterly changed lives. But we've tried to feed our girls' faith, and so we've learned a few things about what's worked for us...and what might work for you, too, while you lead your children along the way home.

5. Dear Children: 25 Things I Think You Need to Know. Some practical (hand sanitizer will get ink and Christmas tree sap off your hands), some preachable (as often as possible, try to "disrupt the world with grace"). 

6. 7 Reasons I Love Being the Mom of a Teenager. Among other things no one ever tells you, having a responsible teen driver on hand is the best thing ever. 


7. Four Kitchen Tool Must-Haves, Plus One I Just Really Like. Don't even talk to me about life without my batter bowl. 

8. These Are a Few of My New Favorite Things. With bonus "how I met Julie Andrews (yes, that Julie Andrews)" story!

9. Chocolate-Covered Popcorn...and 5 Other Habits of a (Mostly) Happy Family. One day, I asked my children a Very Important Question: "do you think we have a happy family?" Here's what they said and why I think they said it.

10. My Top 5 Mom Lessons (So Far). I've been a mom for more than 18 years now, and I'm not sure I could have learned these life lessons any other way.


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Bonus round...or, rather, a roundup of lists from some of my favorite bloggers. These ladies are hilarious and encouraging and you need them--and these practical, purposeful lists--in your life.




Thank you so much for stopping by. 
You're on my list of "people I may not have met but am really, really grateful for."

**This post may have been shared at some of these blog parties.**