What Your Mom Friend Needs to Hear

what your mom friend needs to hear

Becoming a stay at home mom is a huge transition. When a woman works in any other capacity, there is validation in the form of a paycheck, and often in the form of words of praise from others. Babies don’t have money, and babies don’t talk.

When a woman completes a project, the project stays done. Then she moves on to the next project. No matter how many times a diaper is changed or a mess is cleaned, it will need to be done again. And again. And again.

There is no external validation, no grades earned for patiently soothing a baby through teething. She never earns a grade or an award from a teacher. There are no honor society inductions, no landing high profile internships.

For a woman who was a high achiever in her educational and career pursuits before children, the change is abrupt and jarring. She loves her baby, but sometimes she vainly attempts to make her child eat for the 72nd time and wonders What am I even doing with my life?

She goes out to eat with her husband and the baby. One holds the baby while the other eats. When it’s her husband’s turn, a stranger approaches the table and tells him what a fabulous father he is for holding the baby.

She smiles politely, but thinks of the countless strangers who have told her she is doing it wrong.

While the specifics of every woman’s situation is different, there is one thing that nearly every mother needs to hear: You’re doing a good job.

There is so much negativity aimed at women in general, and at mothers specifically. We need to encourage each other. One lady at my church encouraged me when I expressed concern about my son’s weight percentile.

“Don’t let them stress you out,” she said. “My kids were around that percentile too and they’re fine.”

It may have seemed like a little thing to her, but to me it was just the balm my weary mama soul needed. He’s going to be okay.

Since I realized the power of a kind word, I’ve been trying to actively recognize other moms. If a child is well behaved when I take care of him in the church nursery, I make sure his mom hears about it. I send uplifting Facebook messages to my mom friends when I know they might be having tough days.

What would happen if we all focused on building up, rather than tearing down?  How can you edify someone around you this week?

“And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.” – Ephesians 4:32

15 Dairy Free Dinners

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I went dairy free when my son was 12 days old so I could continue to nurse him. At first, finding recipes without dairy was a daunting task. Everything has milk! No butter on my bread! How would I live without cheese? 😉 Eventually, I found my groove and we ate numerous delicious dinners. I also figured out some substitutions. We used a lot of coconut products.

Tigger is 9 months old now, and appears to have finally outgrown his dairy sensitivity (yay!). Over the course of my 8ish months of being dairy free, we tried numerous recipes. This list includes some of my favorites.

Dairy Free Dinners:

1. Peachy Crockpot Chicken – Briana Thomas (Super easy, super good!)

2. Sweet n Sour Chicken – Mrs. Criddle’s Kitchen

3. Rice and Beans – Briana Thomas (Good option when you need a budget friendly meal.)

4. Paprika Chicken – A Home with Purpose (This one takes some adapting to make it dairy free. I use coconut oil instead of butter and a can of coconut milk instead of the Greek yogurt/sour cream. Coconut milk from a carton doesn’t have the right texture.)

5. Paleo Chicken Salad with Dates and Walnuts – Paleo Running Momma

6. The Perfect Basic Burger – All Recipes

7. Healthy Sweet Potato Fries – Raining Hot Coupons

8. Grilled Lemon Pepper Tilapia – Eating on a Dime (I make this on my George Foreman Grill.)

9. Slow Cooker Chicken Fajitas – Cooking Classy

10. Sun-Dried Tomato Creamy Chicken – My Natural Family

11. Paleo/Whole 30 Chicken Tenders – Jay’s Baking Me Crazy (Not budget friendly, but fun for an occasional “treat” meal.)

12. Easy Mexican Chicken Quinoa Casserole – Pinch of Yum (I just leave off the cheese.)

13. Black Bean Soup – Money Saving Mom

14. Easy Lasagna – Mama Shire

15. Red Bell Pepper Chicken Salad – Mrs. Criddle’s Kitchen

I previously did a round up of dairy free breakfast recipes, which you can find here.

I hope you enjoy trying some of these recipes. Dairy free can still be delicious!

How to Practice Gratitude

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Since I started bullet journaling, I’ve kept a gratitude log. Every day I write down one thing that makes me feel thankful. Writing down a blessing helps me to keep a proper perspective in my life. Everyone has challenges, but everyone has blessings too.

Most of the things that I wrote down this month were small. I’m thankful for getting groceries before it snowed. I enjoy my Keurig. I love free Kindle books. Others were more major: we were safe in the ice storm, my son has started taking naps more consistently, and I got to host some college friends for a weekend.

Writing down blessings is good, but actually praying and thanking God for them is even better. I’ve been working on trying to be more consistent with prayer. Every good thing we have is from God. It’s so easy to lose sight of that!

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Faith of lights, with whom there is no variableness, neither shadow of turning – James 1:17

Everything we have is from God. Every breath, every step, every heart beat is evidence of His grace. Do we live like we know that? I know that personally, I fail often. When I do take time to realize this though, I find myself more content. Do I have challenges? Yes. But I also have a loving husband, a sweet son, and a home.

I’ve found that ultimately, gratitude is a habit and a choice. The routine of writing one thing per day helps me to see that even on bad days, I can find something that went well. Even if that something is minor, I should still be thankful. To quote Mrs. Campbell, let us focus on “Goodness, Beauty, and Truth.”

Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever. – 1 Chronicles 16:34


How I’m (Finally) Keeping Laundry Under Control

Ah, laundry. The endless, endless cycle. I used the once a week method during college. It still worked when I was a newlywed…then my son was born. If you’re a mom, you know babies create, shall we say, urgent laundry.

Urgent laundry does not need to sit for five or six days. Upon this discovery, I moved to washing clothes whenever I had a chance. “Whenever I had a chance” was not often enough. In my year and a half of homemaking, I’ve found that I really need some structure. If I plan to get to a task “some time,” then it never actually happens. Alternatively, it does happen, but it doesn’t happen consistently. Consistency is the key to success.

I’ve experimented with a few different laundry routines, and I’ve finally settled on one that works well for our family of three. I do one load of laundry every day, except for Sunday. Realistically, doing any household project other than cooking and the dishes on Sunday just isn’t going to happen. We’re busy with multiple church services.

Even with skipping Sundays, doing a load each of the other days keeps the laundry pile to a manageable size. I’m more likely to start on a project if I can see myself making significant progress.

I alternate between doing dark loads and light loads. I used to do a separate load for towels, but I don’t any more. Our towels are medium colors and can go in either type of load when needed.

Steps to Conquering Laundry:

  1. Start the washing machine with a load of light clothes.
  2. Move the light clothes to the dryer.
  3. Place the dark clothes in the washing machine. DO NOT START IT YET.
  4. Fold the light clothes as soon as they are done in the dryer.
  5. In the evening, place dark clothes in the washing machine as soon as you change out of them.
  6. The next day, put the detergent in the washing machine and start it. Your dark clothes should already be there.
  7. Repeat the entire process.

Using this method, nothing sits in the hamper for more than 48 hours. Some items never make it to the hamper at all, and instead go directly to the laundry area. The increased efficiency has transformed laundry from an overwhelming task to a simple daily habit.

How do you handle laundry in your home?

If It Feels Like No One Understands, Remember Our Great High Priest

The following is an excerpt for a guest post I wrote for my blogger buddy Veronica Anne. Click here to see the entire post over at her site.

Life can be tough. Medical challenges can shock us mentally and physically. Loss isolates. Rejection discourages. No matter what life throws at us, we can always turn to God with our troubles. Hebrews 4:15-16 describes Jesus as the great high priest. To fully understand the implications of that, we need to examine the historical context of high priests.

The high priest was a mediator between God and the Israelites. He entered the Holy of Holies on the Day of Atonement. Only the high priest could enter the Holy of Holies. Any other person who attempted to do so would die.

In the same way, we could not come to God on our own. Jesus became the mediator between God and man and created a way for us to come to God.

Read the rest at veronicaanne.com!


4 Effective Scripture Memory Strategies

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Awana is a program designed to teach children and teenagers the fundamentals of the Christian faith through Bible memorization. I participated in Awana as a child for five years. I taught Sparks for five years as a teenager and as an adult. Over the course of that time, my Awana kids memorized a lot of Scripture. While Sparks is a program for K-2nd graders, Scripture memory is a discipline that Christians of all ages should practice.

These are some of my favorite methods for teaching children the Bible.

  1. Sing your verses. For most of my Awana kids, learning to recite the books of the Bible is the most challenging task. I always tell my students that I do not care if they need to sing the books to me, as long as they know the information. As an adult, I sing Bible verses to the tune of favorite hymns and other Christian songs. Music aids in retention.
  2. The white board. When teaching a group of kids, I sometimes wrote the entire verse on the white board. We read it a couple times as a group. Next, I erased two or three words. We read it as a group again, hopefully remembering the missing words. The procedure was repeated until the entire verse was erased and everyone could recite it without prompting.
  3. Learning in smaller sections. In the revised Sparks curriculum, kids who are new to Awana memorize John 3:16 in short snippets. By the end of the introductory pamphlet, they can say the entire verse. For an unchurched child, learning all of a longer verse can be daunting. Breaking it up into smaller portions is less overwhelming.
  4. Place the verse where you will see it. Write the verse on an index card and put it on your bathroom mirror. Every time you wash your hands, read it out loud to yourself. It’s a painless way to learn more of God’s truths.

This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you shall make your way prosperous, and then you will have success. – Joshua 1:8 (NASB)

Budget Friendly Homemade Zevia

sugar free soda, budget friendly zevia, cheap healthy food

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As a personal health challenge, I’m giving up sugar for the entire month of January 2017. In the last few years, soda has crept into my life. My goal is to get it out of my life for good. It has no nutritional value, and it’s horribly addictive.

The documentary Fed Up is excellent motivation for kicking the sugar habit. Sugar is in so many foods. It’s even in chicken broth! Fed Up details the public health consequences that have come as a consequence of the rise in highly processed foods.

The authors of Trim Healthy Mama recommend Zevia, a stevia-sweetened soda alternative. It’s definitely a better choice than a regular soda, which is laden with high fructose corn syrup. However, Zevia is expensive!

Around the halfway point of my no sugar challenge, I decided to get creative.

My Aldi sells 12-packs of sparkling water for $2.99. I poured a can of the lemon flavored sparkling water into a glass, added one squirt of liquid stevia, and added some ice. The result is reminiscent of Sprite. I quite enjoyed my healthy treat.

What is your favorite trick to make healthy foods more budget friendly?

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