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Nov 23, 2015

Funny Find - Snickers

I think the folks at Mars were inspired by a few members of my family when they labeled these Snickers bars.

Nov 15, 2015

Recipe - Creamy Banana Bread

The ripe bananas have been sitting on the counter calling to me for a few days.  I finally got around to making banana bread and we've all been scarfing down this amazing bread all afternoon.  We can't seem to stop eating it!  Merrick was my assistant cook.  He "reads" the recipe to me as well as any three year old can and he dumps the food I measure into the mixing bowl.

I used my usual plain old banana bread recipe, but I decided a few spices would be fun.  I added a bit of cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and a tiny shake of ground clove.  Of course, I didn't measure any, but it really was just a taste of each.  That's just how I cook, if no one has an exact recipe.  I also add chocolate chunks because I don't love nuts in baked goods.  Then the party started.  I found this recipe and made the cream cheese filling for it.  The egg in the cream cheese kind of threw me off.  To me, cream cheese is mostly for bagels.  Who mixes it with raw eggs and bakes it?  Very smart people, let me tell you!

First, I used the small and medium Pampered Chef scoop thingies to make muffins.  One medium scoop of batter, one small scoop of filling, topped off with about half of a medium scoop of batter.  Then I still had plenty for a large loaf of bread.  I did the same thing in the loaf pan; batter, filling, batter.

Four out of five loved it.  Malachi refused to even try it.  His loss and the more there is for us!  Now I think I've eaten too much to exercise tonight!

Nov 9, 2015

My CFS chapel 2015

I can't believe we are on our *seventh* year at Christian Friday School.  Time flies.  Each year, all the kiddos are assigned a week to present on a topic of their choice or play an instrument.  Moms get to come up with a chapel presentation.  Some moms invite a guest to do their chapel.  I admit, every year I am sorely tempted to do the same thing.  I haven't yet, but I do half-heartedly attempt to get Micah to do it for me. He won't present, but he does sometimes help me prepare.  

My chapel presentation at Friday School this year was a mixture of Micah's idea last spring and some thoughts I had as I started to try to put it together. Every year, I think of some great chapel ideas. I never write them down. So when Micah suggested a topic along the lines of “Don't believe the lies you're told, you have value.” and mentioned someone trying to sell a rare comic book and being told it was worthless by the nefarious comic book store owner, I wrote it down. I've read it a few times since then and I've mulled over how to make it my own, keeping the great message.

What I ended up doing, was a game show. I invited three of our co-op drama kids to help me out as well as one mom. Each of the girls were given the assignment of finding some crazy object around the house and making up a silly story about it's origin, uses, and value. Then I (the crooked talk show host) would try to take advantage of them.

Two of my helpers were very quick to “sell” their items to me. One, in exchange for a “genuine” chicken egg (a pink, plastic egg) and one for a candle with the wick removed (so it could never be lit, natch!). The third girl flat out refused my offers of pocket lint, fame, fortune, etc. It was quite frustrating, actually. But our co-op mom stood behind her and kept telling her encouraging words about her value as a child of God. 

At the end of the show, I asked her how she was able to resist the wonders I offered. She had a Bible. And darn it all, she *read* it!

Then I spoke about the enemy's lies. The egg represented the false things we believe are true, how something can be nearly right, but deceives us. The candle without a wick could never be lit. The darkness can never overcome light, but without that wick, this particular candle can't shine.

The real “secret” is to hide God's Word in our hearts. Memorizing verses can seem tedious. Maybe we think we've forgotten all the verses we've memorized. But when the time comes and we really need a verse, it's still there. We find it when we need comfort, protection, and guidance.

What are some lies you've been told?  Do you know your true value?


Aug 28, 2015

What's a Parent Training Center? And a Book Review

As part of the Parent Training Center blog launch, I have had the opportunity to review Parenting is Heart Work by Dr. Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller.  I love the idea of a heart based parenting approach and this book has been on my short list for a long time.  I think a lot of the Turansky/Miller books were at one time on my short list and are now on my book shelf or Kindle!

I have let bad parenting habits take root, just like the boys have some bad behavior that has become habitual.  They're just automatic reactions and don't require any real thought.  Together, we are working to change these harmful relational patterns.  I have *reasons,* or excuses, for why things get the way they sometimes do, but I know I wouldn't accept those excuses from my boys.  I really can't use them myself.

Parenting is Heart Work is divided into four sections.  Each part starts off with a look at a heart issue from the Bible.  We read about David, Abraham, Nehemiah, and Hezekiah and their struggles in their hearts.  Each of the chapters ends with a moving prayer.  You may use that or use the information covered in the chapter to raise your own prayer.

Part 1: Understanding the Heart
A Heart Story from the Bible
1.   What is the Heart? (Part 1)
2.   What is the Heart? (Part 2)
3.   Will I or Won’t I?
4.   Do It Like You Mean It

Part 2: Connecting With Your Child’s Heart
A Heart Story from the Bible
5.   Emotions Have Feelings Too
6.   Turn on Their Heart Lights
7.   Avoiding Congestive Heart Failure
8.   Making the Connection

Part 3: Working Out Heart Change
A Heart Story from the Bible
9.   Talking to Yourself
10. Teaching Your Child’s Heart
11.  Meditation Management
12.  A Light on the Path to Heart Change

Part 4: Touching Your Child’s Heart
A Heart Story from the Bible
13. Constructive Correction
14. Turn Around for Change
15. Defibrillating Your Child’s Heart
16. Cross Your Heart

Parenting is Heart Work is published by David C Cook.
256 page paperback
Retail $15.99

Why am I telling you about Parenting is Heart Work?  Well, because it is an essential part of every Parent Training Center.  And what is a Parent Training Center?  From the NCBPwebsite:  "It's a new initiative from The National Center for Biblical Parenting.  It is a church that intentionally trains parents, providing resources and tools both for discipleship of believers and for evangelism to families in the community."

The discipleship mandate applies to more than individuals.  Churches can be helping and strengthening their families by equipping them with the tools necessary to reach the hearts of children.  The National Center for Biblical Parenting provides the church with the guidance and support to equip families.

The cost: $200 the first year and $100 each year thereafter.  (The first 20 Early Adopters can receive a discount of $50 using code PTC5D upon checkout.)

Learn more:

Aug 4, 2015

This Giveaway is for You! from NCBP

A great new giveaway from National Center for Biblical Parenting.  This time the prize is for you.  I'll be sharing more about Parenting is Heart Work here on the blog very soon.  Good luck!

Heart Parenting Giveaway

We are back with another great giveaway from the folks at the National Center for Biblical Parenting. This one is for the parents and includes a great little camera, as well as a $50 Amazon gift card! Here's what your church could win: 

Parenting Is Heart Work ($15 value)

This foundational parenting book starts with a study of the 750 times the word “heart” is used in the Bible. That changes everything. God’s Word reveals new insight into strategies for change in a person’s life. Concordia University’s Family Ministry Program requires that every student read Parenting is Heart Work. Dr. Ben Freudenburg says, “This is our go-to book for parenting. It’s biblical practical approach is powerful.”

Parenting Is Heart Work Training Manual ($50 value)

The Heart Work Training Manual with Audio Sessions is designed to help you integrate key success principles into your family. Answer the questions in the lesson, look up the scriptures, reflect on the teaching, and watch yourself make significant changes in the ways you relate. When parents change, children change. You’ll love the difference.

Canon Powershot ELPH 170 IS ($150 value) 

High quality still images and video are practically effortless with the slim and stylish new PowerShot ELPH 170 IS camera. The ideal tool for capturing everything from daily fun to special occasions, it's equipped with a powerful 12x Optical Zoom for maximum versatility, plus Intelligent IS to make images clear and almost shake-free even at high zoom lengths. Sharp, high-resolution imaging is fast and easy thanks to the 20.0 Megapixel* sensor and DIGIC 4+ Image Processor. Beautiful 720p HD video is as simple as pressing a button, while Smart AUTO intelligently selects just the right camera settings based on predefined shooting situations, so all different types of shots come out perfectly. 

Amazon $50 Gift Card

A fun gift of $50 to spend at


To enter, please use the Rafflecopter below.
 a Rafflecopter giveaway Terms and Conditions: This giveaway is open to residents of the U.S. only.  Void where prohibited by law. Must be at least 18 years of age. This giveaway is in no away associated with Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or Pinterest.. No purchase necessary for entry. Odds are determined by the number of entries. Selected winner will have 48 hours to respond to email notification to claim their prize or another winner will be drawn.  Entrants to this giveaway will be added to the email list for the National Center of Biblical Parenting.

Jul 28, 2015

Parent Training Center Giveaway for Churches

Several years ago, I purchased Hero Training Camp from the National Center for Biblical Parenting.  Since then, I've used quite a few of the parenting resources NCBP has available and I've been happy to tell you about a few of them.  This new resource for churches is no different.  I'm pleased to share this giveaway to help make *your* church a Parent Training Center!  Good luck!

A Parent Training Center is a church that intentionally trains parents, providing resources and tools both for discipleship of believers and for evangelism to families in the community.
The National Center for Biblical Parenting offers resources, and practical support to help you become the Parent Training Center God designed. The Equipping Program contains a number of mobilization tools to help you advance to the next level in your parent discipleship ministry.
With this program you'll interact with experts as well as other pastors and church leaders. Receive personalized guidance for your unique church situations. Use resources that will equip your parents to reach their children's hearts.
Parent Training Center Giveaway for Churches

To introduce your church to the Parent Training Center concept, we are hosting an awesome giveaway that includes some of our best church and parent training resources, along with a $100 gift certificate to the National Center for Biblical Parenting store. Here's what your church could win: 

Parenting Is Heart Work DVD Church Kit ($199.95 value)

Equip parents to touch the hearts of their kids with this biblically-based, practical training program. Parents and teachers of children 2-18 years will benefit from this life-changing curriculum. The Parenting is Heart Work Church Kit includes: • Eight 35-minute video sessions • A Leader's Guide with reproducible pages for attendees • A copy of the 256 page book Parenting is Heart Work
The videos were filmed before a live audience of parents and children. Using drama, Bible stories, and lots of illustrations, Dr. Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller, RN, BSN will energize you and provide you with tools you need to strengthen your family. Use this eight-part video series in your church, small group, or even in your own family. Many times parents have to change the way they parent in order for children to change the way they live.

The Family Toolbox DVD Church Kit ($179.95 value)

The Family Toolbox has 8 lessons for parents, teens, or both in a small group setting. Each one has a 1-2 minute scene of a family living life and experiencing common challenges in their relationships. A discussion guide prompts dialogue among parents and a 10-minute teaching session featuring Dr. Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller, RN, BSN gives practical tools to use right away.
As the group works through the lessons parents learn:
• How to focus on the heart instead of just behavior • The cues you give that tell your children when you mean business • Practical ways to remove conflict from the problems of family life • How to end correction times with impact • A tool for maximizing heart change in the correction process • The value of teaching kids to accept no as an answer • Ways to reduce anger episodes in children
The Family Toolbox is designed for families with children ten years old and up and is an excellent resource for small groups. Each lesson can be done in 20-30 minutes, but could also lead to discussion and dialogue lasting an hour or more.

Coupon to purchase resources in the NCBP Store ($100 value)

Visit the NCBP store to discover a plethora of church and parent training resources. 


To enter, please use the Rafflecopter below. a Rafflecopter giveaway Terms and Conditions: This giveaway is open to residents of the U. S. only.  Void where prohibited by law. Must be at least 18 years of age. This giveaway is in no away associated with Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or Pinterest.. No purchase necessary for entry. Odds are determined by the number of entries. Selected winner will have 48 hours to respond to email notification to claim their prize or another winner will be drawn.  Entrants to this giveaway will be added to the email list for the National Center of Biblical Parenting.

Jun 10, 2015

Motivate Your Child Action Plan {Review}

This post may contain affiliate links.

I recently had the opportunity to read and now review another National Center for Biblical Parenting product.  This follow up book, Motivate Your Child Action Plan, has just been released.  Dr. Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller have co-authored another convicting parenting guide.  You do not need to have a copy of Motivate Your Child to use with the MYC Action Plan, though it is helpful.  It was an excellent resource and I reviewed it as well.  Motivate Your Child is referred to frequently in footnotes throughout the MYC Action Plan, letting you know when it would be a good time to read a specific chapter.

In identifying conscience prompters, I found a long list of traits of good character.  Each is to be marked Already Strong or Needs Improvement.  This section was a bit disheartening, and I know I wasn't the only reviewer who felt this way.  While it was encouraging to know others are in the same boat, I also hated to hear how many good people are struggling with their kids. The enemy is dangerous and these are troubling times. This book really brings to mind the very real war we are engaged in for our children's eternities.

Thankfully, we were able to get some clarification from Dr. Turansky who said, "If you have a lot of things and wonder which direction to go first, just choose one that the Lord impresses on your heart. The interesting thing about the heart is that when you work on one area often you'll see other areas of the heart change as well."  You are also encouraged to group like issues together.  Fifteen traits which need improvement can easily become four general issues to tackle.  That simplified matters so much when taken in smaller bites.  

"Meetings" have become more frequent.  I hold a conference with one boy or another every few days.  Sometimes we just chat about our concerns and sometimes we have an all out brain storming session.  The boys still tend to not be especially helpful here, I get a lot of "I don't knows."  Something that has helped give me insight into their minds and hearts was when Daddy asked them some of those interview questions you sometimes see.  How do you know Mom loves you?  What is something Mom is not very good at?  How old is Mom?  (OK, that last one wasn't relevant, but the replies really cracked me up!)  Some of their answers were eye-opening and gave me plenty to think about!

One of the things I've needed to do during our chats is try to remember to change up my vocabulary.  The boys have heard "obey" and "be kind" so much, they just tune it out.  I know they need more clear instruction and to hear words they aren't already sick of hearing.

I've been using far too much reactive parenting.  I don't respond well to issues that arise, mostly because it's the same issues again and again.

Likely, the change in your child will require change in you.
                                         page 14

I've found very clear encouragement and assistance in the MYC Action Plan in the form of dialog examples and fill-in sections for my own thoughts on each boys' specific needs (as well as my own!).  This isn't a book that was written as a "one and done" read.  I will be able to use the information to map a route to our character destination at each phase of their time with us in the family home.

Motivate Your Child Action Plan includes 12 audio session downloads which correlate with each chapter of the book.  The chapters are
  • Change in Forty Days
  • Where Do You Want to Go?
  • The Map to Get There
  • Working Together
  • A Place For Firmness
  • Visioning Moves You Forward
  • Teaching Shows the Way
  • Spiritual Energy Provides Strength
  • Coaching Sets the Attitude
  • Building Motivation from Within
  • Growing Together
  • Good Theology Makes it Work

If you've never heard Dr. Turansky speak on radio shows or at a conference, I think you'll really enjoy listening to him and to Mrs. Miller.

Motivate Your Child Action Plan is a 162 page paperback published by The National Center for Biblical Parenting.
List Price $39.95, is currently $29.95 (a savings of 25%)

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