Stretching A Whole Chicken for 4+ Meals

Every year our family purchases 12 lovely pastured chickens from a local farm. Chickens that have enjoyed the great outdoors to their hearts content makes the most nutritious bird. Only 12 chickens? Yes, I use one chicken each month and make it stretch for at least four or more meals for our family of four. It is a great frugal way to get the most value and nutrition by purchasing them whole. You get all bones which make fabulous broth! Here I am today to share our method of preparing multiple meals from one chicken at one time.

Roasted Chicken

The first step is to thaw the whole chicken and prepare it into a scrumptious roast while a batch of mashed potatoes, gravy, and a side salad!

Ingredients:

1 large chicken (4-6 pounds)
2 Tablespoons softened butter or coconut oil
2 Tablespoons melted butter, coconut oil, or olive oil
2-3 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon parsley, oregano, or basil (or combination)
sea salt and pepper
Rosemary

Directions:

1. Wash and pat dry the exterior and interior of your chicken. Remove any giblets that may be in the cavity and set aside for your broth.

2. Combine the 2 Tablespoon butter with garlic and parsley/oregano/basil seasonings. Carefully peel back the skin at the back of the neck and rub the butter seasoning mix all around the meat, between the skin and meat. This will give the meat a wonderful moist texture. You can skip this step if you are in a hurry and the meat will still be fabulous with just the outside oil and seasoning!

3. Place chicken in a roasting pan, dutch/french oven, or any oven safe pan you may have. Preferably the more fitted the container the better for keeping all the juices together. Place the chicken breast side down into the pan.

4. Cover chicken with half the melted butter/oil and season with salt, pepper, and rosemary as desired.

5. Place uncovered in a 350 degree oven for 1 hour.

6. After 1 hour, rotate the chicken and sprinkle on the remaining butter/oil and season as desired and return to oven for an additional 1 hour.

7. Chicken is done when the legs pull away from the body of the chicken and if you cut in between the leg and body and the juice runs clear.

8. Allow to sit for 5-10 minutes before slicing and serving.

We slice up this chicken and serve with this yummy gravy:

Chicken drippings
1 Tablespoon arrowroot powder
1/2 cup dry white wine
salt and pepper to taste

1. Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan over medium heat and whisk together till smooth and thickened. Season to taste.

We don’t eat a lot of meat at any given meal, but make it stretch further by eating more vegetables. As you can see in the photo, I serve the roast chicken over mashed potatoes with a side of broccoli and squash. This really helps to get the most amount of meals from one chicken.

After we have this fabulous chicken for dinner, I place the entirety of the remaining chicken in the fridge overnight. In the morning I prepare the following two dishes at once, because it saves time and energy. Sometime the next day, de-bone the chicken and remove all the chicken meat and place in a separate bowl. Set aside two cups of meat for Chicken & Dumplings, and two cups of meat for Chicken Curry or another dish of your choice. These can be placed in a half gallon jar in the fridge till ready for use. Any additional meat is used for chicken sandwiches to send with hubby for lunches.

Chicken Stock

Bones from 1 whole chicken
Gizzards or feet (optional)
1/2 cup white vinegar
12-16 cups filtered water
1/2 onion, chopped in half
2-4 carrot peelings
2 celery sticks and tops
1 bunch parsley (or 1 Tablespoon or so dried parsley)

Homemade chicken stock is full of healing properties.

1. Place all the bones in a large stock pot. Leave a small portion of the chicken on the bone if you desire to make a chicken soup. Add the reserved giblets, chicken feet, or any additional bones you may have reserved.

2. Fill the pot with approximately 12-16 cups of filtered water.

3. Add white vinegar and allow the mixture to sit for 30 minutes. Vinegar is necessary to draw out the minerals, particularly calcium, magnesium and potassium, into the broth. During this time, you want to prepare your vegetable additions.

4. You can use any older looking vegetables, carrot peels, onion peels, celery tops, potato peels, etc. I love making stock because nothing goes to waste! Many times I will store a bag of peelings in the freezer from other dishes that can be thrown in for the stock.  I will actually peel my ingredients for my next recipe, a double batch of Chicken & Dumplings, and use the peelings for my stock. I use approximately 4 carrot peelings, 1/2 onion (cut into wedges), 2 celery tops and 1 celery stalk cut in half, and 2 potato peelings. There is no need for perfection here. I use what I have on hand and it all goes in. ;)

5. After adding the vegetables, bring the pot to a boil and then reduce the heat to a simmer and let it cook for 12-24 hours.

6. About 10 minutes before finishing the stock, add 1 bunch of parsley.

7. After it has cooked, cool completely. Then drain the broth from the vegetables and bones. I will discard the vegetables and remove any additional meat on the bones for a chicken soup or other purpose before discarding the bones. I will freeze half of the stock by placing in a large gallon size freezer bag. This will be used for soup for another meal.

The remaining stock I will use for soup within the week – Garden Chowder or Zuppa Tuscana are regular delicious soups at our house!

Chicken & Dumplings

In the picture above, you see all the chopped veggies that I prepare for my Chicken & Dumplings dish. I have just peeled them all for my stock and use the remaining vegetable chopped nicely for this dish. I use the reserved two cups of chopped chicken for this recipe. I can then prepare this right away or cover and place in fridge for the evening meal. I can easily make a double batch of Chicken & Dumplings in two separate 8 x 8 pans and freeze one for another busy day.

Chicken Curry

With the additional 2 cups of reserved chopped chicken meat, I will often make Chicken Curry - another delicious and nutritious meal. Another favorite would be Chicken Enchiladas that could also be made with this meat.

Finally, any remaining meat makes some fabulous lunches for my husband throughout the week. Roasted chicken sandwiches with mayo, dijon mustard, cheese, pickles, lettuce and any other toppings make a full satisfying sandwich!

So my whole chicken has made 1 roast, 1 batch of chicken stock (enough for at least 2 soups), 2 main dishes, and enough for a few additional chicken sandwiches for lunch! I would say we used everything possible on that chicken!

How do you use your chicken?

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Serving Thanksgiving – With Breakfast

Photo Credit

Written by contributing writer, Ann Dunagan.

“Hey, that’s not fair! You already got one-and-a-half more pieces than me!” Our 11-year-old glared at her brother, as he proceeded to “stake his claim” by grabbing for the butter and syrup.

As I was working on yet another batch of French toast, I realized our kids definitely needed more than food on their plates. Our family needed a fresh lesson in thankfulness and gratitude. The petty bickering was really bothering me, especially in light of several stories I had read only a few hours earlier.

So, while the kids sat on their stools at our kitchen counter, waiting (not so patiently) for our next round of French toast, I proceeded to give a lesson:

“You know, kids, we need to be thankful for what we have, and realize that we’ve been given a lot! In the Bible, God says, ‘In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you’ (I Thessalonians 5:18). Instead of complaining, God wants us to continually live with an attitude of thankfulness and joy.”

Just that morning, I had been reading a Voice of the Martyrs magazine, about how a minister named Richard Wurmbrand had endured persecution while being imprisoned for his faith. He had spent over 14 years in Romanian prisons, including long periods in complete solitude – with no Bible, no books, no scrap paper or pencils, and (obviously) no one to talk to. Even during this horrible time, this man still found ways to be grateful. The article shared how Rev. Wurmbrand meditated on scripture he had memorized, and how he (along with other Christian prisoners) kept his mind active by praying fervently throughout the night for various needs from around the world. Yet the example that most-deeply touched my heart was reading about how this man of God learned to rejoice.

For a moment, I put down my spatula and reached for the magazine lying on the counter. “Just listen to this guy’s attitude,” I told my kids. “This man found reasons to be grateful, even in prison, and even when there was absolutely nothing to be thankful for:

“The Bible tells us about one of the great joys we can have,” Rev. Wurmbrand explains, “even in a prison cell: ‘Rejoice with those who rejoice’ (Romans 12:15). I rejoiced that there were families somewhere who gathered with their children, read the Bible together, told jokes, and were happy with each other. Somewhere there was a boy who loved a young girl and dated her; I could be happy about them. There they had a prayer meeting; and there was someone who studied; and there is somebody who enjoyed good food, etc. We could rejoice with those who rejoiced.”

- Quote by Richard Wurmbrand, Founder of The Voice of the Martyrs - (Excerpted from The Triumphant Church, pp.32-33).

We need to have hearts of gratitude, which means being thankful for even little things that we usually take for granted.

I asked my kids, “When was the last time you were grateful for your toothbrush or toothpaste . . . or for your teeth? Or when was the last time you were thankful for hot running water, or a good toilet?”

That morning, I was also inspired by three examples I had read in a little booklet about gratitude, and my kids heard about these as well:

Back in the 19th Century, a well-known commentator named Matthew Henry was robbed. Yet even in the midst of a terrible circumstance, this man found ways to be grateful. Just listen to this attitude, as written in Henry’s journal:

Let me be thankful, first, because I was never robbed before; second, because although they took my purse, they did not take my life; third, because, although they took my all, it was not much; and fourth, because it was I who was robbed, not I who robbed!”

David Brainerd, a devoted missionary to the Native American people, was characterized by a thankful spirit. Even when he had a high fever and great pain, he was thankful that this challenge had come when he was among friends; when he ill and alone in his little hut, he thanked God saying, “Blessed be the Lord, I am not exposed in the open air…”; and in another instance, facing weeks of outdoor solitude, forging through swamps, and enduring dark nights, he thanked God that his loneliness “drove him to experience intimate fellowship with the Lord…”

And if you remember Disney’s classic film, Pollyanna, the story of a missionary orphan who goes to live with a difficult aunt. This sweet-natured girl brings joy to the entire town by looking on the bright side of things, an attitude she calls her “Glad Game,” even in the midst of challenges.

(Examples adapted from The Attitude of Gratitude, by Nancy Leigh DeMoss).

Proverbs 22:6 tells us, “Train up a child in the way he should go”; and in Deuteronomy 6:7, “You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up.”

By the time the kids had a fresh plate of French toast, they also had a quick lesson in gratitude, and I was feeling better as a mom.

Later, our son came up to me and asked for forgiveness for his attitude; and I could tell he was truly sorry. And our daughter, who just moments ago listened to me read this article, asked me to please tell you all that she already said she was sorry, and that she’s thankful . . . but actually, her brother was the one who started it.

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October at Our Home

So as you can see it has been a full month of traveling at our home. Aaron attended two conferences, and I attended two conferences…all within 30 days! We decided to get all our traveling out at one time! But it was so rich! True Woman & Relevant were life changing experiences, ones I will cherish and continue to learn and grow from and will surely be inspiration for my writing. It is certainly fall here in the Northwest and the weather is mighty nippy. We are bringing out the warm soups and stews! Karis and Titus are doing very well – learning the importance of playing peacefully together has certainly been our challenge. Karis took the scissors to Titus hair this month and we had to say farewell to his adorable curls. I am praying they come back! But every moment with them is such a gift – of that I am certain!

We are settling down this month getting ready for a simple holiday season.

October Reading

Heaven at Home: Establishing and Enjoying a Peaceful Home by Ginger Plowman – a refreshing read about the importance of establishing a peaceful home for God’s glory. Your homemaking is your worship when completed with a joyful heart. True beauty radiates from a woman who gracefully walks the path designed uniquely for her. Ginger delves into addressing dealing with conflict gracefully, disciplining your children, and so much more in this inspiring and practical book.

“Home is a haven where energy is restored, spirits are renewed, and love resides.” – Ginger Plowman

Up next…Because He Loves Me by Elyse Fitzpatrick!

Real Food News Around the Web

Whole Foods for the Holidays: A Real Food Progressive Dinner - If you haven’t checked this out, please do! Real Food bloggers are sharing all their favorite recipes for the holidays – from breads, to main dishes, to desserts. Lots of fun!

Real Food on A Real Budget & Healthy Homemaking E-book Sale by Stephanie @ Keeper of the Home – Stephanie is running a huge sale on her ebooks while she celebrates her blogaversary! Get her books for 50% off! Real Food on A Budget is a useful tool to help practically assist you in saving money while buying good wholesome food for your family. And when you buy Real Food on A Budget, you get a free copy of Healthy Homemaking – a basic guide to establishing a healthy non-toxic home. And 50% of the profits is going towards caring for orphans in the Philippines as well as helping Stephanie’s family move towards international adoption.

Welcome new sponsors!

Bulk Herb Store is a wonderful Christian family business that offers whole nutritious herbs, books, and tutorials for your natural healing and wholeness.

Puritan Picks is a sweet reformed version of Netflix. Find a great collection of Christian movies, sermons, and documentaries to inspire your family through a monthly subscription!

Lilla Rose offers adorable hair clips for ladies to make doing your hair a breeze while maintaining lovely elegance.

Thanks for your support!

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Relevant Conference Recap

L to R: Lindsay, Leah, Kat, Stepanie & Donielle

The Relevant blogging conference was a rich time building new friendships, learning the importance of time management, balancing priorities, writing well, and striving to become intentional bloggers for the Kingdom of God. I was privileged to meet so many lovely ladies – including my lovely contributor and now a dear friend, Kat (pictured with me below). We roomed together for two of the nights and had a blast! She is a woman with a mission – God’s mission to encourage wives and mothers to live intentionally. I love her! I loved finally meeting Stephanie & Donielle as well (pictured above), my fellow real food bloggers.

Crystal Paine shared on the importance of time management and I have gleaned so much from her tips and suggestions. She stressed the importance of keeping a simple and clean inbox – unsubscribing from anything that is cluttering it! A huge help for me! She recommended an ebook: Tell Your Time: How to Manage Your Schedule and Live your Life Fulfilled by Amy Lynn Andrews that I have been delving into and can highly recommend. It helps you learn how to make a time budget and list out your priorities, scheduling and such. Amy (who was also at the conference) also blogs extensively about how to set up a blog, maintaining it and such, which is a great resource for those who are wanting to venture into this world of blogging.

I also was privileged to meet Sally Clarkson – a dear godly woman and author of my favorite book on motherhood, Mission of Motherhood. What a sweet challenge she had for us to become message maker’s after God’s heart in our blogging. She encouraged us to see the importance of being faithful in our homes because we are God’s word to our children. She stated, “it is the living of life not the writing of life that changes lives.”

Finally, Ann Voskamp (pictured with me above) gave a final challenge that was incredible about Blogging in the Upside Down Kingdom. Thankfully, you can read and listen to it here. This woman is an incredible writer and encouraged us to tell our story through our writing. Like a mother duck that plucks feathers from her chest to build her nest, we are to pluck feathers from our chest to meet the needs of our family first and for others in our writing (or whatever ministry God has called you too). She called us to humility. To see our writing as an art, a service, a worship to our King! To make our writing a gift. It’s not about the numbers, the statistics, but about the only ONE number that counts – Jesus! Her book, One Thousand Gifts comes out in January, and I highly recommend it! She gave out downloads to attendees and I have been blown away by her call to a radical life of thanksgiving. It’s changing my life and I plan to share more in the upcoming weeks as God changes me…

So my cup is full this month and I have much to process and pray through as I move forward in this ministry that God has assigned me. I want to glorify God in all that I do – including my writing here at Passionate Homemaking. I am seeking direction. Stay tuned for a special giveaway and survey as we move forward in planning out the new year!

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Natural Homemade Mascara


Photo by Michele of Frugal Granola

Post written by contributing writer, Michele Augur.

After using activated charcoal as a natural pimple remedy (moisten your face, and dab a little as a “mask” onto the spot; leave on for 15-20 min, then wash off), I realized that it could also work as a natural, inexpensive mascara option!

I have purchased the Aloe Vera Gel from Mountain Rose Herbs, and use the activated charcoal from NaturoKits. I have also found activated charcoal at natural herb stores in bulk.
.Photo by Michele of Frugal Granola

Natural Homemade Mascara

  • 1/8 tsp. Activated Charcoal (about 1/2 capsule)
  • 1/8 tsp. Aloe Vera Gel

Mix together aloe and charcoal. (I use a small baby spoon, since I’m not using them for baby food!) Then, dip in a clean mascara brush wand, pressing it against the inside of the bowl to coat it evenly onto the wand, smoothing out any clumps. Apply to eyelashes as usual. Wait a few seconds before blinking, to let the mascara dry, so that it doesn’t get on your cheeks.

I was able to remove the majority of mascara with a warm washcloth, just like typical mascara. (I haven’t usually purchased “waterproof” mascara, anyway.) The mascara has stayed on well, even when I got teary-eyed during a worship service, but I haven’t tried wearing outside in a downpour yet!

I haven’t tried storing this mixture, as it tends to dry out fairly quickly, and I don’t use makeup everyday. (However, experiment, and see what works for you! It might be feasible to store a little bit in a small airtight jar or makeup “pot.”) I was not able to successfully stuff it into an old mascara container, since this mixture is very thick and does not pour.

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Preparing for the Holidays: Recommended Resources

Photo Credit

As we enter the holiday season, I compiled an archive of all the helpful holiday tips, recipes, and encouragement towards intentionality this holiday season that we have shared previously here. Let’s start the season off right by taking time to plan and prepare our hearts. I encourage you to embrace the “one thing” that is truly necessary this holiday season: resting and sitting at the feet of Jesus.

“Serving is important. Our Lord also taught us: “The greatest among you shall be your servant.” But serving is not the most necessary thing. There is only one thing that is truly necessary—listening to the Lord speak. So as we head into the holidays, as we face the temptation to be distracted with much serving, or tempted about many things, let’s remind ourselves of Jesus’ words. Should I be serving? There is one thing more necessary! Should I be worrying? This is completely unnecessary! There is only one thing that is necessary. And what is that? To sit and listen to the Lord’s teaching, that’s what!

Let’s take our cues from Mary. We shouldn’t wait until things settle down after the holidays. We shouldn’t postpone listening to Jesus until January 1. We must choose to sit and listen to the Lord’s teaching today: right in the middle of the Christmas craziness. And we must strive to do so every day after.” – Carolyn Mahaney (from Only One Thing is Necessary This Holiday Season)

Purposeful Holidays

Sharing Christ on Halloween - learn a creative simple means of letting your light shine on Halloween
Trick or Treat?
– learn the history behind Halloween and how we can still redeem this holiday
Thanksgiving Journal: Preparing Your Hearts with A Month of Thanksgiving
– take this upcoming month to focus on recording God’s goodness
Simplifying Thanksgiving
– tips and resources for a purposeful and simple Thanksgiving celebration (including crafts!)
Our Jesse Tree- A Focused Advent Celebration
– a fun, Christ centered way to celebrate Advent
Celebrating a Simpler Christmas
- 9 ideas to help keep it simple but purposeful this year!
Celebrating Christ’s Coming
Holiday Evaluation Questions - help get your heart in the right place
Christ Centered Christmas Dialogue – helpful questions to encourage productive conversations
Simplifying Christmas Events & Building Traditions – how to cut back on outside events while building fun family traditions
Simplify the Holidays by Focusing on Giving – fun and easy ways to give unto others this Christmas.

Operation Christmas Child is one of these wonderful ways to pass gifts of love and sharing to children around the world through a simple shoe box. National Collection week is November 15-22, 2010, so please check out how you can participate and motivate others to do the same. Watch this compelling video of a young girl from war-torn Bosnia whose life was transformed through a simple shoe box gift. It brought me to tears to see how God can sovereignly meet all our basic needs and the life changing power of the gospel! Pick up a shoe box and pack it today!

Resource Recommendations

Thanksgiving: A Time to Remember by Barbara Rainey – Barbara Rainey has created an excellent resource for enabling you and your family to remember the past, recognize God’s hand in our history, and express thankfulness to Him for His goodness today.

This story of the Pilgrims’ faithfulness and biblical thankfulness is accompanied by a CD of songs of worship and praise that will call your hearts to gratitude. It’s a wonderful opportunity to enrich your family’s awareness of our nation’s Christian heritage, provide models of courage and sacrifice for your children, and establish a tradition of sharing your gratefulness with one another, which will build a legacy of memories for the future.

Squanto And the Miracle of Thanksgiving by Eric Metaxas – a solid historical based Christian retelling of the first Thanksgiving for young children.

This year I picked up What God Wants for Christmas, a new interactive kid-friendly nativity from Family Life that looks like a fun resource to use with your kiddos while you discover the true meaning of Christmas!

A fabulous collection of Advent readings can be found in Come Thou Long Expected Jesus: Experiencing the Peace and Promise of Christmas by Nancy Guthrie, which is a collection of articles by John Piper, Francis Schaeffer, John MacArthur, Charles Spurgeon and many other solid Christian leaders from the past and present. We read this last year and gave it away to many as a gift and it kept coming back highly recommended!

Gift Ideas

Simplifying the Holidays with Homemade Gifts - an assortment of gift ideas
Homemade Creative Play Gifts for Kids
Gift Ideas for the Natural Mama
Homemade Vanilla Extract – this turned out delicious and a fun Christmas gift!

Frugal & Green Gift Wrapping Ideas – learn to be creative in your gift wrapping this year!

Healthy Holiday Recipes

Healthy Pumpkin Pie
Holiday Eggnog & Eggnog Ice Cream

Blender Gingerbread Pancakes
Cranberry Candy Canes

Praying we all have a peaceful Christ filled holiday season this year!

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How Do You Take Care Of Yourself?

By MerWing*Little Dear

This post is brought to you by monthly contributor, Vina Barham.

As mothers, we look after our husband and children’s well being on a daily basis. And quite often, we’re guilty of forgetting to tend to our own. We’re quite capable of going without for a long period of time and running on reserves until crankiness and all sorts of foul mood start to seep in.

I for one, sometimes forget to eat lunch. Seriously, right? How in the world does one forget to eat lunch? I mean, sometimes I snack all day but there are days when I suddenly notice how light-headed I’m feeling. And that a simple remedy would be to eat something! Or perhaps we go for days without taking a break for ourselves. Or go for an entire day without taking time for ourselves to recharge.

But it is exactly that we are the nurturers and keepers of our family’s well-being that we need to be vigilant about taking care of ourselves. We can’t give what we do not have. We are called to serve out of fullness and wellness, not out of a sense of obligation and martyr-like service.

Here are some ways I’ve found helpful in making sure I am able to take care of myself:

  • Schedule a Time Out For Yourself. I am an introvert. And I’ve realized that I need half a day to myself during the week if I am going to thrive as a work-at-home mom. Before, our weekends were mostly family-time and were filled with social events. But we’ve worked it out so my husband takes my daughter out for a chunk of time in the weekend and I get to do whatever fills me up and breathes me Life. And it’s been a guaranteed refreshment for my soul. I’m then ready to start the week with a full cup.
  • Write a Mommy Time Out Menu. The very first day that my husband took our daughter out for a daddy date and I had blocks of free time on my hands, I honestly did not know what to do with myself. Although I badly needed recharging, I was not used to spending so much time just for me. Since then, I’ve made a list of Mommy Time Out Menu in which I write a list of things that I know would recharge me back to Life. Make sure that you dig deep in the Word of God as your number one priority on this list. Remember…a true woman is tethered to the Word. (Thanks to Lisa from The Well Grounded Life! for the idea!)
  • Incorporate Quick Life-Giving Remedies in Your Schedule. Read the Bible. A daily devotional. Get fresh air everyday. Go out for a walk as often as you can. Bring nature in your house. Talk with your girlfriends. Walk barefoot. Pray. Read. Listen to music. Or an inspiring podcast. Smile. Take a bath. Put on clothes that bring out the best in you. Wear your hair down (or put it up!). Hug your spouse. The list can go on.
  • Figure Out How to Do What You Love at Home with Your Family. I love to dance, read, and go out for a walk or a run. I make every effort to do these things with my daughter (and this can apply to our spouses too!),  in order that I am able to share my passions with her and she gets to see me do things that I’m really good at, things that make me come alive, things that help me feel the pleasure of God. If what you love seems incompatible with your life at home, think again. You might just find the best absolute bonding moment with your children when you share your passions with them.
  • Ask for help. If your day is starting to go really bad and you are in dire need for a break, ask for help. Tell your spouse. Ask your relatives or friends. Tell a trusted friend. Find a way to get the help you need. It’s not a sign of failure. It’s a sign of being human.
  • Practice gratitude, regardless of the situation. Sometimes, it’s just a matter of perspective. And giving thanks in all things is a practice in acceptance. Some people call it living in the moment, but on a much deeper level, it’s contentment fleshed out. Sometimes, I really feel the drudgery of the day to day tasks of what I do. And it is in that moment when I most need to practice gratitude. Because it is then that I am able to open up to new possibilities and new way of doing things. In accepting what is, I can then make space for the change that I need to happen.

What about you? Any other ideas to add to this list? I would love to hear how you take care of yourself. You need it, mama!

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Christian Literature for Kids Ages 0-8

Are you looking for some good solid literature recommendations which would be wonderful resources to add to your home library? I have received the question on numerous occasions and have compiled a list of high quality literature that will inspire your little tots towards godly living, building Christian character, and inspiring a love for giving and service. I hope you find this helpful! These are all excellent investments for birthdays and Christmas and will certainly be treasured for a lifetime.

Fool Moon Rising by Kristi & T. Lively Fluharty – One of our true favorites! It’s a crime of cosmic proportions: the moon is stealing the sun’s glory! This rhyming, rollicking tale teaches children the importance of humility and the dangers of pride.

Jesus Storybook Bible: Every Story Whispers His Name by Sally Lloyd Jones – The best Bible for little ones that we have found! Extremely sound and yet rich with insight as it traces God’s story throughout the Bible and how Jesus is seen in each story. Highly recommend!

The Tale of Three Trees by Angela Hunt – The sweet folklore story of three trees that dream about what they will become one day. They become key tools in the birth, death, and resurrection of Jesus.

The Crippled Lamb by Max Lucado – A touching story about a disabled lamb who finds he has a special purpose and place in this world. Check out other excellent stories by Max Lucado – All You Ever Need, Because I Love You. All of these titles can also be purchased in the Max Lucado Treasury.

The Christian Mother Goose Book by Marjorie Ainsborough Decker – another favorite in our house with a sweet God-centered adaption of the Mother Goose nursery rhymes. Karis loves: “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, God has placed you where you are.”

Princess and the Kiss: A Story of God’s Gift of Purity by Jennie Bishop – A young princess learns the value of saving her first kiss for the right man. Check out the companion study guide that teaches valuable life lessons about purity. The Squire and the Scroll is the young boy’s version (although Karis loves this one too!) about learning to live your life in light of God’s Word.

The Three Gifts of Christmas by Jennie Bishop is a sequel of sorts to the Princess and the Kiss, where the young princess learns the important truth that it is better to give rather than receive. An excellent addition for Christmas and all year long!

My ABC Bible Verses by Susan Hunt – learn Bible verses and character stories that correspond with every letter of the alphabet. We have been using this while we learn our ABC’s and it has been extremely valuable for character education.

Big Truth for Little Kids by Susan Hunt

Sammy and His Shepherd by Susan Hunt – the sweet account of a little sheep called Sammy while he takes a delightful trip through Psalms 23. A picture of the precious love of our caring Lord Jesus, our Shepherd.

Dangerous Journey by Oliver Hunkin – a child’s adaption of Pilgrim’s Progress with beautiful pictures.

Do You Want A Friend? by Noel Piper - A sweet story that helps children ages 3-7 recognize that potential friends are all around them, while reinforcing that Jesus is the best friend of all. This is a sequel to Most of All, Jesus Loves You.

The Gospel (Big Thoughts for Little Thinkers) by Joey Allen – A clear, doctrinally sound, introduction to the gospel for little kids. So cute! Others by this author: The Trinity, The Scriptures.

The Story of St Valentine by Voice of the Martyrs – want to learn the true history of St. Valentine’s day? This series of books published by VOM are extremely well done with beautiful colorful pictures and intriguing stories. Check out: The Story of St. Patrick and The Story of St. Nicholas for holidays throughout the year. VOM also offers other Kids of Courage books covering the lives of Paul, Stephen, and Richard Wurmbrand. Highly recommended!

My First Book of Question & Answers by Carine McKenzie – This is an excellent first little book for teaching the catechism.

The Creation Story for Children by Helen Haidle – Focused on God’s wonderful handiwork in Genesis 1-2 and Psalms 139, it is one children will enjoy over and over again! Also check out: D is for Dinosaur by Ken Ham.

The Prince’s Poison Cup by R.C. Sproul is an allegorical story about the fall of man and Christ’s sacrifice for our salvation through the story told to Ella by her Grandma during her illness and evaluating why medicine has to taste bad in order to make us better. Other in this series: The Lightlings & The King Without A Shadow.

The True Story of Noah’s Ark – learn the true story of Noah’s Ark with beautiful imagery.

The Beautiful Girlhood Collection by Tracy Leninger – Sweet stories of the lives of great women of the past who demonstrated true femininity, courage, and virtue. Included in this series is the life of Dolly Madison, Priscilla Mullins, Sacagawea, Nan Harper.

What is God Like? By Beverly Lewis – Before a father departs for his longest business trip yet, he encourages his children to remember that, “Even when I’m not here, God is always with you.” After he leaves, the boy and his little sister spend a fun-filled day and star-filled night remembering everything their father told them about their heavenly Father. Also by this author: What is Heaven Like?

Tell Me About Heaven by Randy Alcorn – Follow 10 year old Jake who learns about the reality of Heaven after the death of his grandma.

I’ve Got a Job to Do by Dandi Daley Mackall – help children understand the importance of the Great Commission and how they can practice it in their home, school, and extended family.

Our Home Is Like A Little Church by Lindsey Blair – This little book was written to teach preschool children the Christian doctrine of the home as a place of worship where the father teaches his family God’s commands and leads them to worship the one true God.

The Beggar’s Blessing by Mark Hamby – A true story from the 1800s about a little girl who sacrificed her savings for a starving beggar. Full-color illustrations will capture the hearts of children as they learn that sacrifice is the cornerstone for surprising blessings.

God Gave Us You by Laura Dyrant – When a charming polar bear cub climbs into bed one night, she asks her Mama a very important question–one that little “human cubs” often wonder about, too: “Where did I come from?” Mama Bear answers that “God gave us you.”

Hand Commands: The Ten Commandments for Little Ones by Ann Dunagan – Hand Commands is an easy-to-use tool to teach your children to love God’s law. It follows the most traditionally held numbering and the Biblical account from Exodus 20. This darling book can help you to train your little ones to love God and to love to follow Him.

What are your favorite godly reading materials for little ones?

Stay tuned for more recommendations for ages 8-12!

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True Woman 2010 Recap

We had an absolute blast at True Woman ’10 this past weekend in Fort Worth, Texas! We were challenged again and again by the beautiful high calling and design that God has for womanhood right alongside 3,800 other women attending. I was blessed to meet 7 lovely blog readers as well at the event. How fun! We helped volunteer at the event by running cash registers in the resource center. My sisters and I had so much fun meeting so many ladies and getting numerous, “Are you sisters?” inquiries. Apparently we look a lot alike. I highly recommend you check out all the sessions, which are available to download from the three conferences held this year. These messages will surely impact you and help build your marriages, strengthen your calling, and give you hope and vision for the future. I just wanted to highlight the main points of the conference that stood out to me.

Thursday night started with a powerful call to watch out for worldliness in our lives by Crawford Loritts from 1 John 2:15. He asked the question, “Aren’t you tired of the world defining us?” As women, we have been defined by outside sources for far too long. We find our satisfaction, our value, and position in what the world calls beauty, success, and the like. Crawford challenged us to see the world for what it really is. Worldiness is the celebration of self. It elevates me. Self-idolization. Don’t worship the world! This pursuing love belongs only to God. This is a fallen world with its system and will not bring fulfillment. He gave three challenging questions to help evaluate the things of this world.

1. The motive question: Why do I want this?
2. The worship question: Does what I want consume, control, or change me?
3. The purity question: Am I clean? Is my heart contaminated?

“You cannot be God’s true woman, without first being God’s.”

Nancy Leigh Demoss brought the next session with evaluating the question: What is a true woman? from Titus 2. I love this quote: “A true woman is tethered to the Word of God. Sound doctrine is the solution for the chaos of this world.” She is one who heeds the Word of God and her calling to love her husband, love her children, being devoted to her domain in the home, and seeking to mentor those younger than herself. It truly matters because if we do not follow God’s plan for womanhood, then we risk the word of God being reviled (Titus 2:5), the enemy will have something to slander us with (2:8), and we will not adorn the doctrine of God our Savior (v. 10). She left us with this question: Does your life adorn the gospel? Are you displaying a redeemed life so others can believe in a Redeemer?

I was struck by the challenge by many speakers throughout the conference by the important of God’s Word in our lives. We do not prioritize it enough. If we truly want to be women of God, women of influence, we must be anchored in the Word. Kay Arthur challenged us so profoundly: “What is your influence dear sisters? Is it for good, evil or nothing? Neutral is sin.” It is important for us to see if we just choose to not engage, not fight for truth, but rather sit back and go with the flow, we are walking in sin.

We must dig deep roots into His Scriptures. We must embrace God’s lifeline. It cannot be neglected. Even in the midst of busy motherhood, we must find God and moments of prayer in the midst of our day. Two way conversations should always be happening – between you and your children, and between you and God. While washing the dishes, thank the Lord that He is going to cleanse the heart’s of your children.

The final challenge that stood out to me was presented by Pastor James McDonald in his session on Suffering and Trials from James 1:1-5. He compared the difference between happiness and joy. “Joy is a supernatural God-given delight in the Person of God—who He is, in His attributes.” “A thimble full of joy will obliterate what the world calls happiness for a lifetime.” He opened my eyes to see the true meaning of enduring under trials. The Greek word for endure is hupomone: to remain under.

“But let endurance [perseverance, steadfastness, patience—let hupomone] have its perfect result so that you may be perfect and complete [check that out], lacking nothing.”(James 1:5) Hupomone is the funnel through which all Christian virtue flows. There will be no true women without hupomone. If every time trials come we lash out, bail, complain, despair and fold, God’s purpose is not accomplished. Some of us have been going round and round the same trial, not for weeks and months, but for years and decades because we haven’t learned what it is to quiet our hearts and to humble ourselves under God’s mighty hand.”

By remaining under, rather than folding, running, or complaining, we be participants in displaying the superiority of Christ to a lost and helpless world.

“The reason I get to draw another breath, the reason why you and I are here, is so that we can display the superiority of the life lived in God. That’s why Christians get cancer. That’s why Christians have prodigals. That’s why Christians go through painful financial times.”

Overall, my heart was stirred, challenged, and blessed, and I have much to ponder. I pray you would take advantage of these sessions by listening or reading them, and allow God to work and change you as well into a True Woman!

Listen to the True Woman sessions here.


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What Every Mom Needs To Know After a Bad Day…

Photo Credit

This post is written by contributing writer, Kat.

A few months ago I had one of those terrible, horrible, no good, very bad days that all moms have every once in awhile.

Sometimes every two or three times in awhile.

After finally putting the kids to bed, with a deep sigh felt through the ages, I buried my head in my husband’s chest and in true Anne of Green Gables fashion, I proceeded to pour out my frustration and deep despair at what a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day it was and what a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad mom I was.

I mentally calculated the future therapy bill my kids would require after our rotten day.

Finally, in an expression of true blogger angst, I said, “…and what the WORLD am I doing writing a blog about motherhood?!!! I’m a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad mom!!”

But I’m not dramatic. Obviously.

Yet my wonderfully patient, wise husband gently replied, “Sweetie, it’s not about the mom you were today. It’s about the mom you’re FIGHTING to be. And you? You’re FIGHTING to be a great mom…”

His words of comfort silenced me.

Friends, we all have bad days. Sometimes we have bad weeks. Maybe you’ve had bad years. But those are the past. We can learn from them, but they DO NOT define us.

Our mistakes are part of our journey. They are NOT our definition.

In light of the magnificent purpose to which we have been called, we cannot waste time nurturing our regrets. They require too much of us.

We can learn from our bad days, our mistakes and then we must lay them down, leave them behind and fight on.

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