Friday, January 31, 2014

Monthly Menu: February

February is not only a short month, but a busy one for the Raulston family with 3 birthdays to celebrate this month. We are also trying to make healthier choices - however, buying healthy food during the winter on a budget is challenging, so with much dollar stretching and planning, here are our dinner plans for the month:

 Week 1 Menu:
1. Grilled Chicken, Steamed Carrots & Green Beans
2. Superbowl Party: BBQ Wings & Cheesesticks (not healthy, just fun)
3. Grilled Shrimp with Apple & Mango Salsa
4.  Pork Chops, Mashed Potatoes, Apple/Blackberry Cobbler
5. Leftovers
6. Beef Fajitas with pepper and onions, Corn Salsa, Rice & Beans
7. Beef Quesos (leftover beef and veggies with cheese toasted in a tortilla)
snacks: popcorn, pears, apples, graham crackers

Week 2 Menu:
8. Spaghetti, Salad & Breadsticks
9.  Dinner out with friends
10. K's Bday: Order Pizza, Cake & Ice Cream
11. Baked "Fried" Chicken, Sweet Potato Fries
12. D's Bday: Eat Out, Ice Cream Cake
13. Saugage and Sauerkraut, steamed carrots
14. Chicken Fried Rice with squash, zucchini and broccoli
Snacks:bananas, homemade granola, yogurt, oranges

Week 3 Menu:
15. Cilantro Lime Chicken Tacos
16. Eat Out: Sandwich Shop
17. Roast & Mashed Potatoes, Strawberry Shortcake
18. BBQ Beef Sandwiches, Mac & Cheese
19. Beef Stew
20. Grilled Chicken on Caesar Salad
21. N's Bday: Cheeseburgers, Cake & Ice Cream
Snacks: pretzels, carrot sticks, strawberries, string cheese

Week 4 Menu:
22. Roasted Chicken with Carrots and Broccoli
23. Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup
24.Chicken Salad Sandwiches with
25. Really Good White Chili
26. Egg & Sausage Bake
27. Leftovers
28. Chicken Tortilla Soup
Snacks: apples, peanut butter crackers, fruit smoothies

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Book Review: The Beauty of Broken

The Beauty of Broken is the personal story of Elisa Morgan, former CEO of MOPS International.

Although I disagree with her on several theological issues, I greatly appreciate the depth of how her faith has been tested and refined. The raw honesty in which she shares about her life and the difficult situations and circumstances she has lived through will surely be a great encouragement to many who have also experienced similar trials in life. This book should also be read by those superwoman moms who think they have life perfectly planned out - just to be prepared if it all doesn't turn out as planned.
This is an inspiring story, however, I don't know how often I would recommend this book, simply because I think there are better resources for women to be encouraged in life and faith. It was a good read that gives clarity to the mission and motivation behind MOPS International. 

*Special thanks to Thomas Nelson Publishers through for providing this book in exchange for my honest opinion.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

OREOS: Our Family Rules

When our family was doing foster care several years ago, I wanted to come up with an easy way for kids who came into our home to know what our expectations and rules were. So I came up with an acronym for OREOS:

Obey - Obey all the way, right away, with a happy heart.
       Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. Ephesians 6:1 (ESV)
Respect - Treat others the way you want to be treated.
      And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them. Luke 6:31 (ESV)
Effort - Give your best effort in everything you do.
      Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men. Colossians 3:23 (ESV)
Organize - Take care of your things by putting them away.
       A slack hand causes poverty, but the hand of the diligent makes rich. Proverbs 10:4 (ESV)
Safety - Is this a safe choice? If not, don't do it.
     Doing wrong is like a joke to a fool, but wisdom is pleasure to a man of understanding.
     Proverbs 10:23 (ESV)

I found that almost all of my specific rules and instructions, like no jumping on the furniture or put your toys away, fell into one of these five categories. So any time we had a specific issue, we could point the kids back to our poster on the wall that stated our expectations and more importantly point them back to Scripture.

Whenever new foster children came to us - we would have an OREOS party after dinner, usually the first or second evening they were with us. We would give each child some milk and cookies and explain our family rules and expectations while they were staying with us. We included our biological children in the party because it was always a good reminder for them about the house rules.

Even though we are no longer doing foster care, we still use these rules in our home and occasionally have a cookie party with our kids to remind them our how we conduct ourselves in this family.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Book Review: Travels with Gannon & Wyatt

I've been on a quest for some quality middle school literature. The new series by Patti Wheeler and Keith Hemstreet is a treasure of educational fiction. "Travels with Gannon & Wyatt" is an adventure/travel series where twin brothers journal about their global expeditions.

In the first book, Botswana, Gannon & Wyatt tell of their adventures in the African Savannah trying to stop a poacher and save an injured lioness.

While exploring for a "Spirit Bear" in the second book, Great Bear Rainforest, the boys go in search of the captain, a famous scientist and their parents who all go missing in the protected rainforest.

This series is great for 4th-8th graders. The books have short chapters, designed like journal entries that reluctant readers won't mind. Advanced readers will enjoy the animal and geography facts along with the suspense and adventure in both stories.

                                                The 3rd Book was just release this month:

 * I received these books from the publisher, Greenleaf Book Group Press through in exchange for my honest opinion.