Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Let's Have a Lego Party

My Kids LOVE Legos! One of their favorite events is a free Lego build at the Library a couple of times a year. They have giant piles of Legos and kids just build and create to their heart's content.

I have a son and daughter who both have February birthdays, so we had a Lego Party to celebrate them turning 9 and 10.

It was so easy to plan and everyone has so much fun! We dumped a huge pile of Legos onto the rug, turned on "The Lego Movie", had a few themed snacks, and everyone had a great time. The kids played, the parents talked, and the clean up was easy.

Fun ideas we tried:

- Use dollar store yellow paper cups - draw "Minifig" faces on them.

- Frost brownies and/or rice cereal treats with red, orange, yellow, green, and blue - top with M&M's (M side down) to look like building bricks.

- Buy silicon molds in the shape of Minifigs and Bricks to make chocolate treats and ice cubes.

Hope you find these ideas helpful.
Here's my Pinterest board for more great ideas:

What easy birthday party ideas have worked for you??

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Cheddar Bacon Potato Soup

4 medium sized potatoes, peeled and chopped
2 c. shredded cheddar cheese
2 c. cooked, crumbled bacon
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 c. sour cream
2 c. milk
Salt and pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients in a crockpot and cook on low for 4 hrs. Stir occasionally. Serve with rolls or  in a bread bowl.

This is another family favorite! Hope you enjoy!

Looking for more easy crockpot meals? Check out my Pinterest board: Slow & Easy Crockpot Recipes

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

She Reached for Help

"I do it all by myself!" the little girl huffs as she tries for the umpteenth time to button her coat.
Do you ever feel like that? So frustrated that you don't have the strength, energy or know-how to do something, but too full of pride to ask for help? I know I do. A lot!

My problem is I need to get over myself and ask for help. But I don't want to bother other busy ladies (or be rejected by them). So I pretend to be superwoman and do it all myself, looking beautiful and all put together while I'm at it. When in reality, on the inside I pout and complain that no one will help me and I'm so overwhelmed.

We all reach points of desperation in our lives. We've spent all our money, given all our energy, tried every trick in the book - there's no way out, no hope left - except Jesus.

In Matthew 9 and Luke 8, there's a story of a woman who was at that point - she had been bleeding for 12 years with no healing, until she reached for help:

 And behold, a woman who had suffered from a discharge of blood for twelve years came up behind him and touched the fringe of his garment,  for she said to herself, “If I only touch his garment, I will be made well.” Jesus turned, and seeing her he said, “Take heart, daughter; your faith has made you well.” And instantly the woman was made well.    Matthew 9:20-22 (ESV)

And there was a woman who had had a discharge of blood for twelve years, and though she had spent all her living on physicians, she could not be healed by anyone. She came up behind him and touched the fringe of his garment, and immediately her discharge of blood ceased. And Jesus said, “Who was it that touched me?” When all denied it, Peter said, “Master, the crowds surround you and are pressing in on you!” But Jesus said, “Someone touched me, for I perceive that power has gone out from me.” And when the woman saw that she was not hidden, she came trembling, and falling down before him declared in the presence of all the people why she had touched him, and how she had been immediately healed.
And he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace.”      Luke 8:43-48 (ESV)

The bleeding woman had reached a point of desperation, she had no other hope for healing, so she reached out just to touch the edge of Jesus' robe, trusting that was enough for her healing. Her simple, consuming faith in the power of Jesus made her well.

I need a desperate and consuming faith in the power of Jesus - to change my life, set me free from the sin of pride, for humility to ask for help from others. God has put people in my life to help with physical needs, emotional encouragement, and spiritual maturity.  I need to accept, welcome, ask for help and stop presuming I have it all figured out and can do it all by myself.

Friday, April 7, 2017

You've Been Egged by the Raulstons

You've been EGGED!

This was such a fun family activity we did to surprise some friends with a little Easter Treat.
(I found the idea here:

First, we filled plastic Easter eggs with candy, 11 eggs per family you plan to "egg" (not chocolate if you live where it's warm, like Texas!), plus one empty egg.

Second, we hid the dozen eggs in the front yard of our friends at a time we didn't think they would be home.

Then, we posted this sign on their front door to let them know  about their surprise (find the free printable here:

We ended up "egging" 3 different families. All of the moms told me later about how much fun their kids had hunting the eggs.

I think Easter is the most important holiday we celebrate, but sadly we don't give it as much attention as it deserves. I'm always looking for fun new ways to make a big deal out of Easter that focus on the celebration of Christ's resurrection.

"Egging" our friends will be a new annual tradition for us. What ideas do you have that I can add to my Pinterest board:
Easter's on it's Way??

Monday, April 3, 2017

Recipe: Tater Tot Casserole

This is one of our family favorites! Hope you enjoy!

Tater Tot Casserole
1 lb. ground beef
1 can cream of mushroom soup
½ cup sour cream
½ c. milk
1 pkg. frozen tater tots
2 c. shredded cheddar cheese
1.   Brown beef in skillet on med-high heat, drain off excess fat.
2.   In 13x9 pan, mix beef, cream of mushroom soup, sour cream, and milk.    Then spread mixture evenly in the pan.
3.   In a single layer, place tater tots on top of the beef mixture.
4.   Sprinkle the cheese on top of the tater tots.
5.   Cover loosely with foil and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.
6.   Remove foil and bake 5 more minutes or until the cheese is melted.
7.   Remove from oven and let stand 10 minutes before serving.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Book Review: The Simplest Way to Change the World

The Simplest Way to Change the World by Dustin Willis and Brandon Clements is a wonderful book about making Biblical hospitality an important part of the Christian life.

A topic often promoted yet rarely fleshed out, Biblical hospitality is something every Christian should be practicing but many are not because of fear or lack of understanding. 

"...It's important not to lose sight of the fact that much of the gospel's spread through history and geography has been on the back of the more ordinary sharing of lives through biblical hospitality..."

This thoughtful, practical book is a great resource to give Christians a clear understanding of why hospitality is Biblical, how to overcome fears and obstacles that prevent us from making it a priority, and many easy ways to implement hospitality into our lives.

 The authors write with a personal and light-hearted tone as they share their own successes and failures in hospitality.

There are also discussion questions at the end of each chapter to use in a small group or for personal reflection.

This has been a hot topic in our church and small group recently and I can't wait to share this book with many of my friends who desire to be more intentional about building relationships through biblical hospitality.

This book is available on

*Special thanks to Moody Publishers sharing a free copy of this book for review.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

My Little Homemakers

My husband loves a clean home. It makes him feel relaxed. However, with homeschooling four kids plus an infant, my house cleaning radar is usually set to survival mode. Now grant it, my oldest daughter, who is 15 is a huge help. Let's call her Supergirl. But the middle three - the Artist (10), the Athlete (9), and the Animal (6) - would rather do almost anything other than CHORES!!
Then there's Tater Tot whose only 11 months old and her version of helping is to make a bigger mess to clean up!

So, I'm feeling overwhelmed with the housework. I want my home to be a place where my husband can feel welcomed and peaceful. Or at least not have sticky tables and Lego covered floors.

I have recruited the older four kids to take on more household responsibilities. For the past couple of years they have been doing Saturday morning chores (I don't know why we always do them on Saturday, we homeschool, we can do chores anytime, but alas, Saturday morning seems to be stuck with chores.)
Almost every weekend they clean the bathrooms and put their laundry away. They often dust, sweep, and vacuum. But it seems like the jobs are only done half way and Supergirl and I pick up the slack. Also, the daily cleanup doesn't happen like it should. So these are the things we're working on. Plus, I teaching them some kitchen skills in hopes that someday soon they can prepare a fine dining experience for the whole family - yeah right, I just want them to be able to make their own lunch.

Pinterest is full of great age-appropriate chore lists and creative chore charts. Here's a board I'm working on with some cool ideas:
Here's one of those chore chart ideas I made that worked for us for a while:

What ideas are working in your home to keep your sanity in tack and your house clean and organized??

P.S. My friend Christina just invented this amazing new product that attaches to a spray bottle and shines a black light to reveal unseen messes for cleaning - it's like CSI:Chores, check it out: