Wednesday, March 31, 2010

God and Housework . . . ?

I went back to "Sink Reflections" last night, and read Marla's take on marriage. Then I read it again, to make sure I really understood the message. The jist of it is (what I get out of it anyway) is that we CAN do it all, we just have to stop thinking that everyone has to do "their fair share".  In other words - if it's not getting done, just do it yourself. I need to go back and re-read this message periodically.  I'm notorious for using the words "It's not MY mess" and "Well, if they're not going to clean, I'm not . . . ".  Of course, I've gotten much better about that over the past few months and realized that I can't EXPECT them to do it. No, it SHOULDN'T all be on my shoulders, but most days if I don't do it, it won't get done.

So, I need to take a deep breath and forget when DH forgets to take the trash out - just pack it up and take it myself.  And I need to forgive when DD doesn't clean her room - just grab a trash bag and get after it.  The point I'm trying to make is this - if you are a wife and mother, and especially if you are a stay at home mom, more falls on your shoulders.  That's just the way it is.

If you want to look at it from a biblical standpoint, Titus 2:4-5 says "Then they can train the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God." Proverbs 31 speaks of the Noble Wife throughout. Verse 13 says "She selects wool and flax and works with eager hands". Proverbs 31:15 "She gets up while it is still dark; she provides food for her family and portions for her servant girls." And verse 17 "She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks." And 27 "She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness." The point I am trying to make here is that we should be looking at it all as a blessing to our families and to God.

It is for God that we wash the dishes.  It is for God that we make the beds.  It is for God that we vacuum, mop, scrub, wipe, and plan. It is for God that we raise our children. If we go through our days with God in our hearts and minds, then the "details" about who's doing the work (us) is forgotten.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Supermom Soapbox: What are We Feeding Our Children?? (Alternative Recipes Included)

I have been inspired.  Jamie Oliver has always been one of my favorite chefs in the world, and now he has just been upped a notch in my book.  I recently watched the premier episode of his new show "Food Revolution" and I am in shock and amazement.  So much so, that I decided to do my own bout of research into the food and nutritional system of our country.  If you visit the school guidelines (section 210) of the FDA regulations you will see that they appear to be pretty standard.  At first glance.  But further inspection reveals something almost sinister.  According to the FDA, a student age 14 or older is allowed up to 846 calories per meal! And the fat allowances are up to three grams.  What concerns ME is this.  I just took a peek at the school meal plan for my kindergarten.  What's on the menu? Frito chili pie.  Chicken fried steak.  Steak fingers. Pizza, hamburgers, lasagna . . . And the vegetables? Almost non-existent.  Corn, potatoes, beans, peas (all starches, BTW), MAYBE carrots or green beans.  And salad?  It's OFFERED (as a substitute) but is STILL loaded with fat and calories from the meats, cheeses, and dressings added to it!

This is a problem in my child's school, obviously. But what about across America?  Not much different.  The problem IS, not only the food and nutrition guidelines written by the nation, but the food budgets.  Schools would rather spend less money for a box of cheap chicken nuggets then shell out the extra cash for fresh meats, fruits, and veggies.

This is a problem that needs to be solved at the root.  The FDA.  The FDA needs to have stricter guidelines, first of all, on fat and calorie consumption.  They also need to add in their guidelines that at least one fresh, raw fruit/veggie should be served with each meal. Not to mention whole grains - which right now are NOT even mentioned in the guidelines. Second, the FDA needs to crack down on schools and do more investigations and checks on what is being served.  I can almost guarantee that the meal being served today at my child's school is NOT well within those guidelines.  They also seem to be under the misconception that JELLO is a FRUIT.  Uh, REALLY??

So, what can WE do about it, as parents?  Well, first and foremost, don't spend your hard earned money on that junk. Send your kids with good wholesome meals from home in their lunch bags.  My daughter today chose her own lunch - peanut butter and jelly on whole wheat with carrots and apples. She DID chose to carry cheetoes with her, but I only gave her about 1/4 of the typical serving size (serving size 26 puffs, I gave her 8 puffs). I can guarantee she's getting more fiber, more nutrients, and less fat and calories than what she would have eaten at school. So, boycott your school lunch!  Encourage other parents to do so as well! Perhaps, if no one is letting their kids eat the school lunch, the "powers that be" will take notice.

Second, write your school board.  Tell them you're unhappy with the current nutritional status of your districts lunch program.  Give specifics.

Third, write your congressman.  Sometimes change needs to be made at the top.

At home, teach your children how to eat.  Offer them fresh fruits and veggies.  Don't give them unhealthy alternatives.  The more they see the "good stuff" the more likely they are to at least try it.  When they DO try it, reward them! Kids THRIVE on praise and recognition for a "job well done". Look for healthier alternatives to their favorites - make home made chicken nuggets, add a whole grain crust to your pizza and throw some mushrooms and peppers on top while your at it.  Put a salad in front of your child once or twice a week.

The bottom line is this.  Our kids, our schools, our COUNTRY is UNHEALTHY.  We have a higher percentage rate of obesity, heart disease, and diabetes than ANY OTHER NATION IN THE WORLD!  There is a reason for this.  Let's make the change!


Home Made Chicken Nuggets
Serves 4

1 lb Chicken tenders, cut into bite size pieces
1/2 c flour
2 eggs, beaten
1 1/2 c seasoned bread crumbs
Salt and Pepper to taste
Cooking spray

Spray a baking sheet well with cooking spray.  Cut the tenders in half, then half again to get bite size pieces.  Put the flour and salt and pepper into a large baggie and drop the chicken in. Shake the bag to coat well.  Dredge the chicken pieces in the egg, then in the bread crumbs, and lay them on the baking sheet in a single layer.  Spray the tops with cooking spray. Bake at 350 for 10 minutes, turn and bake for another 5-6 minutes, until crispy.

Better Sloppy Joes
Serves Four

1 lb ground chicken or turkey breast
1 can sloppy joe sauce of choice
4 whole wheat hamburger buns

Brown the meat in a skillet over medium high heat.  Add sauce and stir to combine. Serve over hamburger buns.

Whole Wheat Pizza Crust

1 package yeast
1 C warm (91-102 degrees) water
1/4 c all-purpose flour
1 1/4-2 1/2 c whole wheat flour
1 tablespoon olive oil
pinch salt

Combine yeast and water in a bowl and allow to sit for five minutes.  Add all-purpose flour and oil and mix well to combine.  Allow to sit for another five minutes.  Add salt. Add wheat flour 1/2 cup at a time until you can no longer mix in any more flour. (If using standing mixer, add flour until it forms a sticky ball on paddle attachment). Remove from bowl.  Coat bowl with cooking spray or 1 tsp olive oil. Return dough to bowl and turn to coat (will be sticky).  Top with moistened kitchen towel or paper towel.  Allow to rise one hour, or put in fridge and allow to sit up to 24 hours.  When ready to make pizza, divide dough in half, roll out to fit sheet pan and par bake five minutes in pre heated 375 oven. Add toppings as desired and bake at 375 10-15 minutes.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Cleaning Frenzy!

It's spring time again! We all know what that means, right? Taking down the drapes, cleaning out the closets, decluttering the kitchen. Right? Well, not for me. That's right, I have taken a vow to SPRING CLEAN NO MORE. Why? Well, first of all, let's face it, unless you are "B.O. (born organized)" it is NOT going to get done. And if it does? Well, it's not going to make much difference b/c by next week it's all going to be right back to where you started! So what's my point?

Rather than planning on doing it one weekend, a year, why not plan on doing it ALL THE TIME! Stay with me here . . . No, I'm not crazy.

If you've ever heard of Marla Cilley (a.k.a. the Fly Lady), then you know just what I'm talking about. She has devised her own system (taken from several different systems and mixed in with her own genius) that takes away the need for "spring cleaning".

It's all about the baby steps. What's a baby step you may ask? Well, a baby step is EXACTLY what it sounds like. Rather than jumping right in and cleaning your entire house from top to bottom, Marla has shown us how to do smaller chunks of things, one at a time. And it all begins with shining your sink. But that's just the beginning. For the fist 28 days, you have a new task to try. Everything from the ridiculous to the mundane. But by the end of it all, your home will look better than it has ever looked.

The secret? Don't do more than you can do in small chunks of time. Got 15 minutes? Do a declutter in one of your messiest rooms. Only got two? Put out a hot spot. Get the point?

One of the Fly Lady's mantras is "You can do ANYTHING in 15 minutes". How true this is. From cleaning a desk to scrubbing a bath tub. It might not be DONE in 15 minutes, but it will surly look better than it did before you started!

And DON'T try to shoot for perfection. WHY? Well, because frankly, it's pretty much unattainable. In her book "Sink Reflections", Marla tells us "We are imperfect beings and PRAISE GOD FOR OUR IMPERFECTION" (15). The only perfect being that ever walked the earth was Christ himself. Although as Christians we should strive to be Christ like, we cannot attain it - which is why He paid the ultimate price for us. Not to mention the fact that the need and desire for that perfection is what got our homes as messy as they got to begin with.

SO, if you have a home that is frankly, embarrassing, then DO something about it. One 15 minute segment at a time.

Incidentally, my own mantra combines the wisdom of the Fly Lady and the catchiness of Geico - "15 minutes now may save you an hour or more later". And it is so true.

So, go. Meet the Fly Lady at And while your at it, go pick up a copy of Sink Reflections. I promise you, she will change your life. She changed mine!

Friday, March 5, 2010

When your child is underfoot . . .

Do you ever have issues with your children being underfoot when you're cleaning? I have a solution. It's not a new one, mind you, and I'm sure I probably heard it somewhere myself. But I know for a fact it works.

In the kitchen/bathroom: Give your child a spray bottle filled with water. You can add a drop of vinegar, essential oil, or bleach to give it that "cleaner" smell. Now give them a rag and tell them to "have at it". They LOVE to spray down cabinets, floors, walls, doors, baseboards, appliances . . . You name it.

In the living room: If your child is five or older, allow them to vacuum (with supervision, of course). Smaller children can "dust" (make sure any sacred breakables are put up and out of reach, first) with an old rag. Older children can dust knick-knacks.

This is what will happen - either 1) Your child will get REALLY into helping, so you gain an assistant or 2) Your child will botch at having to help (this is usually the older ones) and go retreat to their rooms. Either way, you get what you want!