Archive | May, 2012

Summer Bucket List – Family Fun for All Seasons

What fun activities do you have planned for the Summer? This week I made a list of family fun activities we could do throughout the upcoming summer months and jotted tentative dates on the calendar for each of these events. Things will likely come up and we will adjust as necessary, but making a simple plan will help encourage and guide us to more intentional moments of investing in our family in the warm days ahead. We like to include specific service opportunities to our list that will encourage us to reach out and bless those around us. I also found this wonderful resource offered by a church in Texas, for helping create intentional family activities and Biblical discussions with your kids. I added many of the ideas to our plans:

Check out the Village Church’s free Summer Family Fun Activity Book for some great ideas for intentional family living this summer.

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Homemade Healthy Mayo with a Stick Blender in 10 Seconds

I received a stick immersion blender for Mother’s Day this year…and I have certainly been thrilled with the performance of this little machine. I have made guacamole, mayonniase, baby food, pureed soups right in the pot, deviled eggs, and numerous other food items and it has been a huge time saver with fantastic smooth results. This tool retails for approximately $30. I have tried making homemade mayonnaise in my regular blender several times over the years in my pursuit of using more natural home prepared ingredients, and never had the best results. It sure never got really fluffy and took forever to gradually pour the oils in drip by drip as most recipes required. I was stunned when I made mayonnaise in just 10 seconds with my hand blender. Yes…10 seconds.

This recipe is pretty flexible to use whatever oils you desire. For the nutritional benefits, I chose to use 1/2 olive oil plus another oil. Olive oil alone results in a pretty bitter mayo. But coconut oil alone will give you a very solid product in the fridge once it cools completely. I liked 1/2 olive oil and 1/2 coconut oil, but it still got solid over time in the fridge. So our current favorite is 1/4 cup olive oil and 3/4 cup grapeseed or sunflower oil for the mildest flavor. It also does not get so solid with these oils. It is easily adaptable to your preferences.


1 egg yolk (we use local farm fresh pastured eggs)
3-5 teaspoons white vinegar
1/4 + 1/8 teaspoon sea salt
1-4 teaspoons sugar, optional (we used xylitol)
1/4 teaspoon lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
1/4 cup olive oil (cold pressed) or coconut oil, melted
3/4 cup grapeseed, or sunflower oil

  1. Make sure all ingredients are at room temperature. Break egg yolk into the bottom of the hand blender jar that comes with your stick blender (or a container that is just wide enough to let the blender pass through – a wide mouth mason jar would work as well).
  2. Add all the other ingredients except oil on top of the egg.
  3. Carefully pour 1 cup oil on top of all the ingredients in the bottom of the jar.
  4. Put mixing blades of hand blender (turned off) flat at the bottom of the jar over the egg yolk, pressing down over the egg yolk.
  5. Turn the blender on high and blend for 5 seconds, holding it in place at the bottom of the jar. Gradually pull the blender up to the top of the jar over an additional 5 second period. Turn off blender. You will then have beautiful fluffy mayonnaise.

Yield: 1 1/4 cup

Caution: Learn from my mistake and make sure to unplug your stick blender before cleaning out the excess ingredients that collect inside the blades. Yes, I lost my finger nail this week in this manner. ;) It wasn’t a pleasant experience. I make silly mistakes just like any other homemaker…

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The Blessing of My Husband

My husband and I celebrated six years of marriage this week.

It has been a beautiful and yet stretching six years. Three adorable babies. Two homes, a new business, started a blog (which very rapidly become a family ministry since my hubby is web manager and my biggest cheer leader!), my husband became worship director and deacon in our church, and so much more. I have been blessed to enjoy the trials and joys of life along side my very best friend.

I am so thankful for my husband.

This man that I am privileged to serve the Lord alongside is passionate about serving others. He loves playing with his kids and leading them in family devotions so patiently and graciously even when they are wiggly and struggle sitting still. He prays for them many a night before bed time, singing the Doxology over them as he kisses them goodnight. He takes them on walks regularly one on one to be able to invest quality time with them. He plays wrestling games, builds forts, and reads stories to them inside. He faithfully takes me on dates every other week and gives me multiple hugs, kisses, and “I love you’s” throughout every passing day. He loves opening our home in hospitality and can make a mean hamburger or steak on the barbecue. He’s supportive of all my crazy new adventures in the kitchen and around our house. He keeps my blog going and solves every problem. He is the most committed husband imaginable. I am confident in my heart that he would die before ever leaving me. And all of this amidst working 12+ hour days. But to be perfectly honest…many of these practices have only started in the last six months, since God started changing my own heart from focusing on demanding to be served to serving.

I’ll be the first to tell you he’s not perfect. He has a tendency to leave his clothes everywhere. He rarely makes it to the dinner table on time. He’s likely never vacuumed a floor or cleaned a toilet in our home since the day we were married. He is a bit infrequent on buying me flowers or sending me a mushy love note. His love for computers and technology leads to splurges on all sorts of little gadgets. These are the little things that used to drive me crazy. These were the little annoyances that would easily build a wall of bitterness in my heart. It would build up over time only to come out in a truckload of tears and desperation that got me nowhere. It all depends upon what you choose to focus on.

When my husband first quit his job earlier this year and started on this new business endeavor I fought tooth and nail against his commitment to work overtime, nights and weekends to get the business launched. I wanted “our” time together. I pressed and nagged him on the importance of balancing his priorities. I honestly was often teary eyed as he went off to his office. Ultimately, I did not support him very well. And I could sense very quickly the impact this made on him. He was more gloomy, discouraged, and depressed as a result. He pulled back rather than pressed into our relationship.

It was when God graciously opened my eyes to see the beautiful potential that a woman has to influence her husband to accomplish great things for God, and when I learned that I had the power in my hand to build him up or tear him down, that I began to see things differently. A wife can be the greatest good or the greatest destruction to her man. Her nagging and discontentment can be the ruin of any marriage. I needed to focus on changing my own heart first rather than focusing on all his shortcomings. I needed to start taking my eyes off of what he was not doing and start thanking him for all that he was doing.

When I started seeking to serve my hubby instead of demanding to be served, that God has transformed our marriage into the most glorious of unions. It was when I started getting creative every week in thinking of some way to bless him through a love note, text message, word of encouragement, or small act of service instead of just waiting for him to express it to me, that our love has blossomed and deepened in greater ways then I would have ever imagined. I wiped down his BBQ one week, or washed his car another, or simply brought in the trash cans from the curb on another day. I bought some special new sexy undergarments, or his favorite candy bar or snack. He is easy to serve. He’s not picky. Most guys aren’t. I don’t have any excuse not to show this man that he means the world to me. I’m reminded of the bible verse…”Where your treasure is…there your heart will be also.” (Matt. 6:21) It applies to marriage just as much as to money. If I invest my time and energy into this man, my heart will follow…and the love and sparks will stay alive!

When I started expressing my thankfulness for every simple thing he did to contribute, for the small things of simply taking out the trash, watching the kids for an hour or two while I did errands, or praising him for the hard work he was doing on the lawn, that he has started to take more initiative to get involved in our family in ways I never dreamed possible (as described above). He started initiating in leading family devotions, and praying over the kiddos before bedtime.

I’d watch him tending the lawn, and get frustrated that he was spending too much time out there instead of being with his family. Then the light came on…this is therapeutic for him. He finds it restful. It gives him a little more exercise and fresh air. Why not get out there with him? I am not a fan of gardening, but I could tell my husband really did desire our lawn to look nice, so I decided to get out and get dirty. I started weeding and getting my hands dirty. And you know what? I’m really enjoying it and my hubby is quite proud of my work…especially when visitors take notice. ;)

I love this man more deeply than words can express. And you know what…this week he surprised me with my favorite chai beverage concentrate and a bouquet of my favorite lilies. He has been starting to express his appreciation more faithfully for all the little things I do. I think it’s working. ;)

I’m married to a steady man, cautious, thoughtful, smart, servant-hearted. He may not become a CEO, president, or great philosopher or teacher…but he is the head of our home and he does an incredible job being there to lead and love me when I step back and encourage him in his manliness and leadership. He still has all the shortcomings I mentioned above, but I’m learning to see that picking up his clothes after him is one little way that I can serve him, one little way to be his helpmeet.

I’m praising God for my man. He loves me just the way I am. He doesn’t care that three pregnancies has taken its toll on my physical body. He actually thinks they make me more beautiful.

How can you thank the Lord for your hubby today? How can you express thankfulness to your man in a practical way this week? Make a list of 10 things you admire about your husband (or those 10 things you loved about him before you got married) and use it as a reference point every time you get frustrated. It’s never too late. Get down on your knees. Pray for grace and creativity to love your man. Sure…he’s undeserving. But so are we. You and I are desperately undeserving of the beautiful grace and forgiveness that Jesus Christ purchased on our behalf on the cross. Let’s embrace it and let God shine beautifully through our marriages as we seek to show love and affirm the man that God has given us.

I’m looking forward to many more years to come…

Photos taken by my lovely sister, Christa Taylor. If you live in the Portland metro area and you are in need of some photography services, please check her out!
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The Woman Next Door {On Building Community}

Photo Source

Written by contributing writer, Trina Holden.

Do you know the woman next door? Or the one across the street?

Chances are, she’s not much like you. Statistics predict she’s not a stay-at-home mom, and doesn’t have more than 2 children–if she is a mother at all. She may not cook like you, dress like you, or read the same books. And she might not even go to church.

So, why would you want to have anything to do with her?

Because we’re called to love our neighbor and we were created for community.

We as believers all-too-often gravitate towards those who are like us, thinking that the more we have in common, the stronger will be the community we enjoy. While compatibility is a significant factor in relationships, I feel we overlook another key factor:

You live on the same street. And that, sisters, is a connection that is often missed in the face of all that makes us different. Yet that one commonality—physical proximity—is another huge factor in building a relationship, and has been the foundation of many life-long friendships.

It was when we left our first home and the trailer park we’d lived in for 3 years that I became convicted that I had not been a good steward of the relationships that had—literally—been right in my backyard. Part of my delinquency was due to the natural inward focus of that first season of marriage, but I also knew I had let differences in lifestyles keep me from reaching out and building relationship with my neighbors.

At our new home, I resolved to be more faithful to God’s commission by His grace. To step out of my comfort zone, to put forth a little effort, and see what would happen when I chose to love my neighbor. We started by hosting an open house that first fall. I made a huge pot of chili, several trays of cornbread, and we had a bonfire and music and invited everybody we knew—including the family that had just moved in across the street from us. In this group setting we enjoyed our first casual conversations with our new neighbors, and watching them walk back over the street to go home, I thought what fun it could be to have a friend who lived that close.

So, I reached out again. First just a hello across the road when we fetched the mail or were both doing yard work. Then a play date with our kids. Then dessert as families when the strawberries were ripe. For the first time in my life, I was experiencing what it was like to have a neighbor. And I liked it.

There’s something about being able to run down the driveway to borrow an egg, or sympathize over the heat wave or have someone near when the weather’s too bad to go anywhere. Opportunities to fellowship are right out the front door, instead of an hour’s drive.

And while reaching out and being willing to deepen the relationship, I discovered that, though she and I were raised differently and our lifestyles were not exactly the same, we did have other things in common–she was a believer! And we both desired to be a better wife, more loving mom, and to grow in our faith.

So, we started a Bible study together. Three or four times a month, while my kids were sleeping and hers were in school, we opened our Bibles, read a few verses and prayed and asked the Lord to speak to us. Despite our differences, the Lord had brought us together, bonded us, and revealed to me the joy He planned when He told us to ‘love our neighbor’.

Lately I’ve been inspired to explore new levels of community that await at the end of my own driveway, and to encourage you to see what relationships God may have called you to in your own neighborhood. God designed us for community, but it won’t happen unless we invest ourselves.  And perhaps, while celebrating what we do have in common—the same street, weather, and postman—we’ll have opportunity to share our love, our hope, and the God that can change lives.

Little {and Big!} Ideas for Investing in Your Neighborhood Community:

  • Time your afternoon walk for when kids are getting home from school or parents get home from work so you can say hello
  • Share extra produce from your garden with a basket or cooler at the end of the driveway
  • Organize a neighborhood garage sale
  • Initiate a book study
  • Plan a play date in the backyard
  • Invite the locals for a bonfire or seasonal summer dessert
  • Plan a family movie night
  • Find your neighbors on facebook and begin the connection in the non-threatening meeting-place of social media
  • Make friends with the kids first–make your yard the fun, hang-out place
  • Send a personal note on a holiday or just to say hi

How have you been able to reach out to your neighbors? What has worked for you? What challenges or successes have you experienced? How do you foster community in a more rural setting? In the City? I’m still new at this and would love to hear what you’ve done! Please share in the comments!

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Trades of Hope Giveaway!

One out of seven people in the world are hungry. Women around the world are forced to put their children to bed hungry every night. Many times these children sleep on dirt floors. For most of those children, there is no hope that they can go to school the next morning. Can you imagine your child hungry and lacking hope for tomorrow?

Trades of Hope is a unique business structure that helps partner with these women. Some have been forced into the sex trade. Some have been acid attacked. Some are just in the unfortunate circumstance of being born in a desperately poor country. Each of these beautiful women has a gift.

They don’t want charity, they want an opportunity! They have handcrafted unique works of art that Trades of Hope is marketing on their behalf giving them the opportunity that they need to improve their own lives and the lives of their children. It is sustainable, long term, multi-generational change!

There are two wonderful ways you can support this ministry as a business model. You can help support your family, while helping a family in Haiti, Uganda or Peru by joining the Trades of Hope Team of like-minded, motivated women!  Become a Compassion Entrepreneur promoting Fair Trade products by women around the world, and you earn an income.

And secondly, by purchasing any of the lovely assortment of handcrafted jewelry, scarves, journals, bags, candles, and other home decor you are helping to support impoverished women around the world.

Today, we are excited to give away a few items that have been handcrafted by these precious ladies around the world. We will have three lovely winners, one for each of these prizes that are being offered.

1.  Multi strand silver necklace from India (pictured at top of post – $20 value)- This beautiful necklace is simply stunning and classy. Through the sale of these necklaces,  children in three poor villages in India can go to school.

2. Capiz Feather Earrings from the Philippines (pictured just above – $16 value) – I am in love with these earrings. They are beautiful and large, and very elegant. Help abused women in the Philippines gain opportunity.

3. $20 gift card  - the final prize is a $20 gift card for you to use on any product of your choice!


1. Visit Trades of Hope and browse their product line. Come back and share your favorite item in the comments below. Also, pick which of the three prizes mentioned above would be your choice if you were to win.

2. For a second optional entry, sign up for the Trades of Hope newsletter (sign up through the link on the bottom of their homepage), and come back and let us know in a second comment. If you have problems signing up for the newsletter, you can also text TRADESOFHOPE to 22828 and follow the instructions there to sign up for the newsletter.

You can also follow Trades of Hope through Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest to stay informed on this wonderful ministry.

Giveaway Closed.


1. Necklace: Deanna (dmfitzpatrick16@…)

2. Earrings: Alicia (scrugglenamp@…)

3. Gift card: Jessica (jessicamumford@…)

Giveaway open to US participants only.

Winner will be randomly selected and contacted on the Wednesday following the completion of the giveaway. The end of this post will be updated to announce the winners. 
Email subscribers: You must click through to the original post on Passionate Homemaking to be entered into this giveaway.
No purchase necessary.

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Summer is for Ice Cream

We have been enjoying 10 days straight of glorious sunshine here in the Northwest. It’s a little taste of summer. We are soaking it up before it disappears back to rain. With summer on our minds…we have been thinking about homemade ice cream! Summer is such a fun time of year to whip up some homemade ice cream to serve to your family and friends. It is a fun thing to create in the kitchen with kids and come up with all sorts of yummy concoctions. Here are a few helpful tips and recommendations for making the best ice cream:

- Add more sweetener than you think – it kind of disappears in the freezing processing. You want to make it slightly too sweet when preparing and it will be perfect when frozen.

- The more cream the better- Try to go for at least 1/2 heavy cream and 1/2 whole milk. The more cream you use, the more creamier the results will be. I have also substituted coconut milk many times as well for easy dairy free ice creams. Coconut milk has a really nice creamy texture to it.

- Keep it simple. You don’t need to add egg yolks or cook your ice cream as many recipes call for. Skip the eggs as they really aren’t necessary in the recipe. Some say they make it creamer, but I haven’t really noticed much difference. I just throw all the ingredients in my blender, whirl it around till smooth, and then throw it in to my ice cream maker. Works every time and takes less than 10 minutes to prepare.

- Transfer to another covered container and keep in your freezer for no more than 2 hours before serving. This will maintain the soft creamy texture. If you leave in the freezer too long, it will become very solid and more icy. If you have leftovers, just make sure to give it 20-30 minutes to thaw. But it will always be the best texture if served shortly after preparing.

- Use a quality ice cream maker - An electric ice cream maker is such a fun summer investment for your family. It gives you opportunity to make yummy ice cream with quality ingredients in just a few minutes. We have been using the Cuisinart Ice cream maker for several years now and we absolutely love it! It takes just 30 minutes to make a fresh batch of ice cream.

- Make sure your ice cream maker bowl is completely frozen for at least 24 hours before using! I have learned the hard way that it just doesn’t work without this time period for the bowl to become re-frozen.

- To prevent freezer burn, make sure to wrap your ice cream maker bowl in a few plastic grocery bags and store in the freezer between uses in this manner.

Here are some of our favorite recipes:

Banana Ice Cream
Coffee Ice Cream
Chocolate Peanut Butter Ice Cream
Strawberry Ice Cream 
Egg Nog Ice Cream
Coconut Ice Cream 

And our newest concoction (pictured above)…

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookie Dough Ice Cream

Adapted from Just Making Ice Cream 

Ice Cream:
2 cups heavy cream
1 1/2 cups whole milk (or substitute all milk for coconut milk for a dairy free alternative- yum!)
3/4 – 1 cup sucanat, sugar, honey, maple syrup, etc (use less if using honey or maple syrup)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup cocoa powder

Cookie Dough:
1/2 cup sucanat, rapadura, sugar
1 cup peanut butter
1 egg

For cookie dough: Combine sweetener, peanut butter, and egg and combine until blended. Roll into very small balls and place on a cookie sheet. Place in freezer until frozen.

For ice cream: Throw all the ingredients in your blender and pulse until smooth. Transfer to your ice cream maker, and let it go! Once the ice cream maker has completed its cycle, fold in the cookie dough balls, even if they aren’t totally frozen yet. Transfer to a covered container to store in the freezer for 1-2 hours before serving. Enjoy!

For a whole array of ice cream recipes make with real ingredients, check out Just Making Ice Cream. While I personally don’t feel it necessary to add eggs or cook the ingredients as I mentioned before (I tend to be very simplistic), this ebook has lots of fun inspiring ideas for you and can easily be adapted for your preferences and choice of ingredients.

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Dry Erase Menu Plan Display with a Repurposed Frame

This last week, I shared with you all my updated Spring/Summer monthly menu plan. Although I can compile a monthly menu plan fairly easily since I have been following this method for a few years now, I rarely break it down week by week for myself. I haphazardly live day by day more often then not. What’s for dinner tonight? Shoot…I forgot to thaw that meat out. Now what? Recently, I realized I just needed to get something visual before my eyes. I needed a place in the kitchen to display my menu to serve as a gentle reminder to make sure I make necessary dinner preparations for the week.

My solution?

I took an old 8×10 picture frame with the glass inside and printed out a free menu planner document behind the glass. I then hung it up on the wall in my kitchen with a dry erase marker resting on the top of the frame. With this method, I can easily write in my menu for the week and see it clearly every day! I can erase with a napkin, toilet paper, or a rag, and start afresh next week. I like to make a monthly master list of my menu plan, but then like to break it down week by week and chose from the 4 selected recipes ideas for each day of the week (following my daily themes for meals) to see which is most appetizing for our family for the week. This gives us more variety and flexibility each week.

I tried it with both a monthly menu plan printable (pictured at top) and a weekly menu plan printable (pictured just above), and I think I have concluded that I prefer to display one week at a time so that it isn’t as cluttered or confusing. But feel free to use whichever method you prefer! You could also use this same idea with a plastic sheet protector and tape it to your fridge!

There is no end to the ideas for using a repurposed frame for helping you stay organized. You could put your weekly schedule in there or keep track of whats in your fridge/freezer with an inventory sheet. Have fun!

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The Beauty of Motherhood

“Who can measure the long-term effects of nurturing helpless infants, supervising wandering toddlers, discipling self-willed children, and counseling self-absorbed adolescents? Of family outings planned, traditions built, memories made, books read, songs sung, Scripture taught? That’s why motherhood belongs under the heading, ‘Engage the World’; no one shapes generations or fashions cultures more than mothers.

~ Jeff Purswell, Worldliness, (edited by C.J. Mahaney, p. 159). (HT: GirlTalk)

Dear Mother, your work to love and nurture your children is a beautiful task. It is your worship. To raise up children that love and serve Jesus is a glorious mission. To faithfully discipline, train, guide, and nurture them is the work of the Kingdom. Jesus welcomed the little children, and so by welcoming them, getting down and dirty with them, washing off their bumps and bruises, and seeking to be present for them, and loving them as Jesus did, is the most beautiful thing you can do.

“How can it be a large career to tell other people’s children about the rule of three, and a small career to tell one’s own children about the universe? How can it be broad to be the same thing to everyone, and narrow to be everything to someone? No. A woman’s function is laborious, but because it is gigantic, not because it is minute. I will pity Mrs. Jones for the hugeness of her task; I will never pity her for its smallness.”

- G.K Chesterton

It is hard. You won’t have much free time. In fact, you may seem to have none at all. But each moment that is invested with joy and grace will bring such glory and honor to your Maker. Every little moment invested reading a story, wiping a nose, changing a diaper, teaching a child a chore or task, making messes together, is Kingdom building work. Don’t neglect filling up your own cup in the presence of your Lord so that you can freely pour out for them. He designed you for such a purpose…and together, we can change the world.

Be blessed! And may the joy of the Lord be your strength!

“A mother…by her planning and industry night and day, by her willfulness of love, by her fidelity, she brings up her children. Do not read to me the campaigns of Caesar and tell me nothing about Napoleon’s wonderful exploits.  For I tell you that, as God and the angels look down upon the silent history of that woman’s administration, and upon those men-building processes which went on in her heart and mind through a score of years;—nothing exterior, no outward development of kingdoms, no empire-building, can compare with what mother has done.  Nothing can compare in beauty, and wonder, and admirableness, and divinity itself, to the silent work in obscure dwellings of faithful women bringing their children to honor and virtue and piety.”  Henry Ward Beecher - Gene Fedele, ed. Golden Thoughts of Mother, Home & Heaven, pp.75-76.

Happy Mother’s Day!

“The world may not applaud us for wiping running noses, driving in carpools, or talking with our teenager into the wee hours of the morning. And until they are trained, our children might not thank us either. But as we set aside our own selfish desires and glorify God by joyfully serving our children, we are pursuing true greatness according to the Bible. Let us do so with tenderness, affection, and with a smile!”

– Carolyn Mahaney

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2012 Spring/Summer Monthly Menu Plan

Our favorite fish tacos!

Spring is here and time to refresh the menu! Here is my updated menu plan for the Spring and Summer months for May through September. I have a few new recipes to try that I am excited about, including making my own homemade gyros and pizza on the grill! Can’t wait! For more information on my strategy for monthly menu planning, visit here.

Mondays – Main Dish Salads

1. Cobb Salad
2. Macaroni Ham Salad
3. Chicken Caesar Salad
4. Bacon & Blue Cheese Steak Salad 

Tuesdays – Sandwiches 

1. Grilled Veggie Sandwiches (an awesome vegetarian frugal meal!)
2. BBQ Beef or Pork Sandwiches (throw a roast in the crock pot with soy sauce and your favorite BBQ sauce and let it cook on low all day! Shred the meat and serve with additional bbq sauce on hamburger buns! Yum!)
3. Eggplant Sandwiches – (this is a new recipe to try! I love goat cheese, so may mix and match with this recipe)
4. Beef or Lamb Gyros - this is on my new list to try and experiment with this summer! I am a huge fan of gyros and want to learn how to prepare them myself!

Wednesday – Italian

I like to use brown rice pasta for all our pasta needs – it’s yummy, more easily digestible than wheat, and far more nutritious than white, and still light and flavorful!

1. Pasta Presto (twice a month)
2. Summer Squash Chicken Alfredo (with homemade alfredo sauce and substitute with raw cream)
3. Penne w/Chicken and Asparagus (or in season produce – summer squash, bell peppers, etc.)

Thursday – Mexican

1. Grilled Stuffed Burritos (We love to put all the ingredients in a tortilla and wrap it up and grill on all sides on the stove)
2. Fish Tacos (twice a month)
3. Chicken Fajitas (sliced chicken, bell peppers, onions, tomatoes, black beans, and corn, sauted together with taco seasoning mix! Serve with sour cream, salsa, and guacamole.)

Friday – Pizza

Friday is family night, so it is usually our traditional homemade pizza! I make a batch of 4 crusts at one time and stick them in the freezer for easy pull-out on Friday nights.

1. Homemade Pizza Supreme on Homemade Pizza Crust - one of the things I want to try this summer is pizza on the grill! (twice a month)
2. BBQ Chicken Pizza
3. Pepper, Onion & Feta Pizza (add humus underneath ingredients)

Saturday – BBQ

Saturday is Daddy’s opportunity to have fun on the grill and give Mommy a break! ;)

1. Pork Chops
2. Hamburgers 2x
3. BBQ Chicken, Steak or some other special meat


We like to try to intentionally keep Sunday as a day of rest at our home, so one way we have found to make it fun, simple, and intentional is to often eat out as a family on Sunday evenings. Otherwise, we eat leftovers, baked potato bar, nachos, etc.

For further inspiration, check out Real Food Meals for Summer and Busy Seasons.

What are your favorite summer recipes?

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Spring Bucket List – Family Fun for the Seasons

A glimpse of spring at our house shown above includes reading stories in the sunshine on our front doorstep with green smoothies in hand and bare feet romping around the lawn. Any time we get a glimpse of sunshine we bring it all outdoors. One of my goals this month has been to compile a seasonal list of fun doable family activities that we would encourage family togetherness throughout the seasons. I have been inspired in various lists around the web, but wanted to adapt for our own season of life and to what’s also available in our area. I need simple and easy activities that we can do together to build our family and encourage a heart of service as well. My list includes various giving opportunities that are relavant to the season as well to keep our focus on being a blessing to a needy world around us.

Check out this fun colorful Spring bucket list printable to help get you started.

What are your favorite family activities for Spring?

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