Listen here.

phone on the bed

Do you listen? No, I’m not saying this in anger. I’m asking you honestly and kindly.

Do you really listen? Do you allow a break in a conversation to ask about the other person, in case they needed time to become brave enough to be ready to share their need or vulnerability? A friend of mine shared her story:

She has a dear friend whom she loves, who calls her often to share about her life. She is so happy to help her friend or simply just listen to her.

She’s not a big phone person, so she doesn’t call her friend often. But now she calls this friend even less.

If something is troubling her and she needs to vent, she finds that she can’t.  The conversation goes elsewhere. You see, sometimes it takes a bit to break down and talk about an issue that is bothering her.

So make sure you listen. Your friend might really need you to.

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Using 1 Corinthians 13:4-6


Article by Diane Stark from Thriving Family

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Super Simple from the Pantry

Now that my kids are adults and I’m working full time, I am not the cook I used to be. Actually, I was never NEVER Julia Childs but I did cook every day. Unfortunately,I still shop as if I continue to make things from scratch. It’s super hard bringing myself to buy any pre-prepped food and to stop buying 40 pounds of chicken at a time (hey its cheaper that way!).


But I DO keep some staples in my pantry and freezer that can be mixed and matched for meals at all times. Do you keep your pantry stocked?

I love keeping my pantry stocked because I HATE shopping! Unfortunately, though, as I try to eat more fresh vegetables, I sadly have to shop more often. However, my oldest daughter just shared a simple recipe that uses pantry ingredients and, if I want, also uses some fresh or freshly frozen veggies.

This can be as simple as you like!

Tortilla Pizza

  • Tortillas (pantry staple or you can buy the type that goes in the fridge)
  • Spaghetti sauce (pantry)
  • Mozzarella cheese (freezer)
  • Your choice of fresh or frozen veggies and/or precooked meat topping
  • Cook in toaster oven or regular oven at 425 for 7 minutes or until cheese is melted.

Honestly, this is so simple it doesn’t need words…  tortilla pizza sauce






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Take some and Make some…

In this year of the 2016 Presidential race, this Jeff Bridges video clip, from the HBO series The Newsroom, was going around Facebook recently. Apparently people were sharing it to highlight how great America was and how they wanted to make it great again. What a load of CRAP.

It is also detailed here, from Huff Post in 2012.


This makes me so angry. It seems to be older people blaming younger people for things they had no control over. Where were those adults when things were happening to make the lives we have now? The very adults who have contributed to life as it is now (apparently they only see the mess) were the gluttonous people running things in the 1990’s and 2000’s. They also started and came up in the “vulgar 80’s, the era of ”greed is good,” when many thought the party would last forever.”

So the students and young adults who are disgusted with today’s environment are the product of those people who were/are running things. No one is innocent, but doesn’t the blame for anything get to be placed on the shoulders of those in charge? Of course not.

And those same “grown-ups” were the ones who were dancing with glee at the big bonuses of 2006 and the same people in charge in 2008 during the worst single-day drop in stocks in two decades.

My original rant about this went on to become disjointed in my notes from the heat of the moment, so I’m leaving this here. It’s an outlet for my frustration but I’m often afraid to expound to the extend of my feelings! At the very least, I’m happy to have this off my chest.

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be nice

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Summer Eats Spring – Here’s something for you…

At our house my husband and I share the cooking, but FREQUENTLY, right after breakfast or right after lunch, he asks me what we’re having for dinner! Does this happen in your world?? When I ask him how he can be thinking of eating already, he says he’s just setting up his expectations of what to look forward to!

He’s so cute. I think I’ll keep him.

*     *     *     *     *    *     *     *     *     *     *    *     *     *     *     *     

It seems that we didn’t even get a true spring. I mean, it was winter and then the heat was upon us! So I have been grilling outside for weeks now. At our house we LOVE grilling because it means LESS CLEAN-UP!


So on that note I introduce a stand-by right from the grocery store shelf AND a recipe for when that bottle is NOT available…

Gazebo Room Greek Dressing!

Now if your stores don’t carry this, you can order it and have it delivered right to your door. We had never heard of this until we moved to Pennsylvania, and we LOVE it. If you use it on pasta salad, you will get rave reviews. Salad? Even the kids will eat it. And as a marinade, try it on chicken OR steaks! #Yum

But if you want a simple go-to homemade version, this is a good version of the original. I keep bottles of the real thing in my pantry (they don’t need to be refrigerated) but if we’re out (oh no!) then we whip this version together:


1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup canola oil
2 tsp oregano
2 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp basil
2 tsp black pepper
2 tsp brown mustard
1 tbsp sugar
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup white vinegar

Directions: Using a mason jar, pour in the oils and spices. Put the lid on tightly! Then shake the jar to mix. Next, add the vinegars. Shake again. Adjust the sugar to your own taste (though you should make it as listed, first). Enjoy! No refrigeration required.

I picked this up from a blog a few years ago and I want to give credit to this recipe’s creator, who can be found by clicking here.


Every time we have a picnic or grill outside, we always have to cook TOO much food. This way we can eat grilled left-overs on those nights when we get home from work and are too tired to cook. And my hubs knows what to look forward to for dinner those nights (and how much/how little work dinner will take him)!


Enjoy your cookout! And may your summer exceed your expectations!

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Why I throw children’s birthday parties

I recently read a post about a mom who spent $200 or more on birthday parties for her children. She reflected that she used to manage the parties herself using that budget, but now she gives her kids the reigns. She was proud of herself for allowing her kids to run their own parties, and that was the point of her post.

I have to shake my head. Why in the world would you spend that much money for a birthday party? There is no reason. I can see splurging at a milestone birthday, perhaps, but every single year? No. This simply leads to expectations that can’t be met.


And what if you just don’t have the money? Do you just not hold a birthday party because you can’t afford a fancy activity?

Have a party for any reason, but tone it down when you celebrate your 8 year old. Because before you know it, your 8 year old will be 16 and will expect the world to revolve around her. And this leads not only to issues with your own bank account but to how the world will relate to her in the future.

You might be surprised at how little kids need to have fun at a birthday party. A box of cake mix baked and frosted, some balloons, and some creativity, and the kids will have a blast.

Yes, there are kids who are already so spoiled and jaded that they won’t be pleased with the fun of a simple party, but some enthusiasm and creativity on your part can go a long way to success!

Here are some resources to get you started on party games:


New Zealand website Kiwi Families

birthday candles

Birthday Party Games using Household Items

cherry star bday cake

Twenty GREAT free Games for Parties

Just remember that it will take some time on your part but the payoff will be terrific!

And most of all, HAVE FUN!

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Angel babies

The older I get, the more painful it is to remember them.


Before the birth of my son, I experienced two miscarriages.

At the time, I took solace that the babies wouldn’t have felt much pain, if any. My doctor told me that they were probably not attached well and if they didn’t pass then they would probably have been born with issues and challenges.

And then we had our son. The night I became pregnant I lay on my back, my knees and hips in the air, for about 30 minutes after sex. I wanted to make sure this baby was attached to my uterine wall. I really wanted this baby. I also said that if I had another miscarriage I wouldn’t try for another pregnancy.

It stuck. Literally.

And we now have four grown children who are amazing contributors to this great earth.

So I am awesomely blessed and so fulfilled, but occasionally I am reminded of the little ones who didn’t join us here in this life. I selfishly wonder what they would have brought to our lives. And what they would have done with theirs.

Lori in writing Soli Deo Gloria size 28 copy




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The evils of electronics

I have read quite a few posts about the evils of electronics. I have sat through innumerable conversations about electronic appliances stealing our children’s youth. I have listened to parents express concern about the use of phones and electronics. I have read multiple articles about how devices are destroying the family.

14170320859euu6But wait for it – this post will be short:

Honestly, I believe the fault lies with parents not setting limits – mostly on themselves!!! Parents don’t take the time to put their own appliances away and they don’t set limits on their kids. Children do best with limits but parents are too lazy or too tired to debate (or quash) a child’s argument and just allow things to happen. And then society says negative things about children and teens and NO ONE points the finger at the REAL problem – PARENTS.

I know we are all working, and some of us work multiple jobs. But decide early what your responses are going to be when situations arise. Try to anticipate experiences and decide ahead of time what you will accept or won’t accept. Create expectations for your children’s behavior – AND YOUR OWN.

And instead of staying up late on the computer or watching TV, go to bed earlier to make sure you get enough sleep so you have the energy to deal with what life, and your kids, throws at you. 141058740403ie8

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S’more Shots


It’s party season!

While I am not a huge fans of jello shots (even though I love jello), I love the response this recipe gets!  I mean, everyone loves S’mores!


It is super simple! You start by allowing the marshmallows to sit out for a bit to basically get stale. And you pinch a hole into the center of each one. And then you make the filling mixture.

In a mixing bowl, combine 1 pouch Knox® Unflavoured Gelatine with 3 tablespoons of sugar.  Add 1/2 cup boiling water; stir constantly until granules are completely dissolved. Very gently add the vodka (I used Pinnacle Whipped Cream Vodka but you could use Chocolate). Whip it into thick jello. Let this cool so you don’t melt the marshmallows when you fill them!

Once you’ve made the filling, gently fill the marshmallows and, placing them on a cookie sheet, put them in the fridge.

almost done! smores shots

When the filling is solid within the marshmallow, take plain melted chocolate and place a small dab on top of each marshmallow. Now, this isn’t science so you can probably think of a better way, but we let that chocolate sit until firm as well. This image on the left is before the final two steps.


Ultimately, we topped them all off with MORE chocolate and while that was still wet, we dipped them all into graham cracker crumbs.

Viola! S’mores shots!


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