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Women Living Well Blog: August 2010

Women Living Well Blog

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Tasty Tuesday: A New Cook Is In the Kitchen of Women Living Well

A new cook is in the Kitchen of Women Living Well and I can't be more excited!!! Not only is Janelle the new cook for Tasty Tuesdays but she is also the newest addition to my personal Good Morning Girls group (Becky in the middle is also a new addition to my personal GMG group)! Woohoo!

Janelle has popped up a few times on Women Living Well. Once she brought an amazing Pineapple Pretzel Fluff to my house and I immediately took pics and posted it. And about a year previous to that Janelle ran my first 5K with me!

Janelle and I also happen to be BIRTHDAY TWINS! We were both born on August 26th (although I must admit I am much older lol!)! Isn't it funny how God works?!!

Next Tuesday I will feature her first recipe but first here's what Janelle has to say:
Oh, how I love to cook…just the thought of cooking gets me so excited! Some of my favorite memories have started by being in the kitchen preparing meals for a celebration, a person in need, or simple meals for my own family. I have also been blessed to share these memories with my children on chairs, pulled up to the kitchen counter, eager to help and learn.

Ephesians 2:10 says “For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Cooking is one of my favorite ways to serve our Lord and I truly believe it is a gift he has given me to share with others.

I come from a long line of amazing cooks - not chefs - not professionals, just simple Italian ladies who insist on feeding every soul who walks through the door. Many of the recipes I will share with you are “Secret Family Recipes”-so bear with me, if you have ever known an Italian cook, we typically don’t like to measure. For the sake of this blog, I am willing to give up “pinches” and “handfuls” for teaspoons and cups.

I am a wife and mother of 3 young children. I hold a bachelor’s degree from Kent State University in Journalism and Mass Communication with an emphasis in Advertising. After being in the work force for a small while we became pregnant with our first child. I then decided to work from home and went to school to become a real estate appraiser. After baby # 2, I found out that working from home wasn’t as easy as it looked and became a full-time stay at home mom. My husband owns and manages a local Hedge Fund.

I enjoy spending quality time with family and friends, attending and hosting bible studies, entertaining, reading Christian books and traveling. I am a people-person and am happiest when surrounded by others.

Thank you for this opportunity to serve you!

Having Janelle cover Tasty Tuesdays will free me up to write extra posts on the new Good Morning Girls site. Also, to be honest, cooking is one of my weaknesses, so I look forward to learning off of Janelle!

Although it was hard to admit that I needed help here on Women Living Well, I am so glad I opened up to Janelle and told her on a warm July night that I was overwhelmed. She is an answer to prayer. So join me in welcoming Janelle for Tasty Tuesdays!

And Walk with the King!

I am participating in Tempt Your Tummy Tuesday, Dining With Debbie , Balancing Beauty and Bedlam and Tuesdays at the Table recipe exchanges. For more blogger recipes go to these links.


Sunday, August 29, 2010

How Christian Romance Novels May Be Affecting Your Marriage and a Giveaway

Today I have a great giveaway and I wish I could give one to each and everyone of you!!! Love and Respect by Dr. Emerson Eggerich, is my #1 favorite book on marriage. If you have not read it - I highly recommend it.

So I've been in contact with his daughter Joy Eggerich and she offered to giveaway his second book titled The Language of Love and Respect: Cracking the Communication Code With Your Mate. All you have to do is leave a comment below and you will be entered to win!

But first, Joy has a message to share with all of you that I feel is very relevant. She writes:

Courtney was so kind to ask me to guest blog on her site regarding the topic of romance novels. In my video below, I will answer how I see them paralleled to the struggle some men have with pornography. Seems kind of drastic, huh?

Maybe it is, but maybe it’s not.

I believe that as women, we can be less aware of our sin because it can take on the form of “the lesser evil”. One of the things I have tried to look at with men and women are the pre-cursers and by-products of our actions instead of focusing JUST on the action.

Example: Pornography is bad. (If not evil and destructive.) I think many would agree. But what I think is more important is looking at what led the person to pornography, its effects on people and their own expectations of their partner.

I want to ask you these questions before you watch my video:
1) When you are stressed, depressed, tired, bored and looking for a way to unwind or be entertained, what do you turn to for release or escape?

2) After you turn to those outlets, (and be HONEST about those outlets) how do you feel?

It may not be romance novels for you, but the reason I think they are a perfect analogy is because we are easily deceived by how they can affect us. Women are not reading romance novels in private. In fact, many of you are probably reading “Christian” romance novels and believing that they are helping your faith. Some aspects of the novels may do that, but I think for the most part they can be an escape, veiled in something good and can cause us to want a situation that is not realistic to our own.

You may be able to handle it and still be satisfied with the husband you have chosen or the husband you desire, but for many women I believe it can simply create dissatisfaction with reality. And like many pornography users, it’s a simple thing to turn to when life isn’t going the way you wanted and you need something to make you feel good…and usually that’s because your husband isn’t.

Do you see the cycle this can create if not tended to?
Do I want everyone to go out and have a romance novel book burning? No. But I want us to be aware of the things in our life that create false expectations or pull us away from our husbands or our hope of a husband.

Move towards your husband. Move towards the hope of a husband. Move towards reality.
- Joy Eggerich

Thank you Joy for your wise words and for something to chew on.

If you'd like to win her father's book - leave a comment below. I will choose the winner on Sunday night, September 5th.

Walk with the King!

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Friday, August 27, 2010

I Live In A Miserable Place

Two years ago Forbes magazine dubbed my hometown among one of "America's Fastest-Dying Cities"(many of our steel mills have closed leaving people jobless). This year we ranked 9th among the magazine's "Most Miserable Cities" in America. Our closest city to the north is Cleveland, Ohio who was voted NUMBER ONE as the most miserable city! This is not a list you want to be ranked on!

How did we get to 9th place? The newspaper says, crummy weather, high unemployment, high rates of violence and crime, problems within the education systems, corruption with public officials and poor sports teams (while we boast of having the Pro-Football Hall of Fame in our town, our pro-football team - The Cleveland Browns - haven't had a winning streak in decades!)

The newspaper says I live in a miserable place! But I beg to differ! No matter where my home is - a hut in Africa, a city studio apartment or a ranch in Texas - God, the giver of joy is there! My joy is not dictated by weather or public officials but by my hope in Jesus!

I'm in agreement with Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz, "There's no place like home!".

One of my favorite blogs to read regularly is A Wise Woman Builds Her Home. I found this quote there:

"I work for a King. He has put me in charge of his home. When He comes to see how I have managed His possessions and His children, I do not want to be found wanting. I want to do my best. Everything I have is on loan from Him. I have room and board and a job to do, but it is all for Him. Therefore I want to dress my best and do my best in all my work. I also want to be creative, for this is a sincere attempt to glorify Him and His beautiful creation. How I manage my home is a form of worship to Him." --Lydia Sherman

Do you sometimes feel like your home is a miserable place? You have the power to turn it around. The woman influences the entire tone of the home. We all know the saying "if momma ain't happy, ain't nobody happy."

Hold your tongue. Build your family up with your words. Create memories and special moments by adding special touches like lighting a candle or baking a cake for no reason at all. Work hard to create a joyful haven, a peaceful rest, and a place of growth for your family. Do your best! Be creative and glorify the King of Kings as you manage your home. Our homes are a form of worship.

Proverbs 14:1 "The wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down."

Walk with the King!


Thursday, August 26, 2010

I'm 35 Today!

I woke to a new beginning. The age 34 is behind me and today I'm 35! A lot happened in my life last year - I began my first year of homeschooling and LOVED it! We moved to a new home. The blog grew with the Rachael Ray appearance. The Good Morning Girls groups began on-line and grew to over 600 ladies this past summer! My husband began a new business. We lost two loved ones to death. We made many wonderful memories as a family and have grown spiritually. I grew as a wife, mom and friend. It was one of the busiest years of my life. It was a good year filled with many blessings but we also had our fair share of struggles and sadness.

As I reflect, my heart is filled with thankfulness to God. I sat this morning quietly with the sunrise - alone with Jesus. I looked at the communion cup that I keep by my computer. It's a reminder to me of why I honor my husband, why I read God's word daily to my children, why I do this thing called "blogging". It is my whole reason for living. Jesus is everything to me.

The last time we took communion at church, I was at a discouraging point with blogging. I felt "exhausted". As I held this cup in my hand there in the pew, I sensed God's presence. And these thoughts went through my mind - "Jesus is Worthy of all my sacrifice. He is worthy of my complete surrender. He is worthy!" And so when communion ended, I slipped this cup into my purse. And now it sits by my computer reminding me of the blood Jesus shed on the cross that takes away my sins and THAT is what I am MOST grateful for on my 35th birthday.

I don't know what the age of 35 holds for me. I don't know what's going to happen next on my journey. But I know who holds the future and I know "My Redeemer Lives". I am not alone. And that gives me great hope for the future.

If you do not listen to anything else I say on this blog, this is the one thing I so desperately want for my birthday from you, my dear reader. For you too to experience Jesus in your daily life. He is alive, he speaks through his word. He hears our prayers and answers them. He is worthy of our complete surrender to him. He is worthy of us rising early to meet with him. He is worthy of our sacrifice to serve our family and friends. Don't let your life slip by too busy to sit down alone with him. One day we will look sweet Jesus in the eyes. We will see his nail scarred hands and feet. Will we have regrets? What we do today in our homes matters. Live it for him alone!

This is my life verse and my prayer for you. Galatians 6:9 "Do not grow weary in doing good, for in due season you will reap a harvest IF you do not give up."

Persevere sweet sisters. You are not alone - we are in this together! I love you!

Walk with the King!

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Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Our First Day of School Pictures and Traditions

Monday we began our first day of school. So, the traditions began. At bedtime, the family gathered in the upstairs hall and we went around the circle praying out loud for the new school year. It was so precious I wish I had video taped it! Then once the kids were asleep, I set up stuffed animals in both of their bedrooms with books in their hands. So they woke to their playmates already deep into their studies!
Then they came to the kitchen to find that it was "Daddy Donut Day". Periodically, daddy surprises the kids and announces that it is "Daddy Donut Day!" and he takes them to a donut shop. The start of a new school year definitely demands a Daddy Donut Day.
Another mom at church recommended I have my daughter put on one of my dresses and my son one of my husband's shirts. Then take a picture of them every year in the same dress and shirt and watch them grow. Someday they will fit into our clothes. So we did this! Although I laughed when Alexis announced - "it fits"! It sorta does - I guess I should have chosen one with sleeves that was longer! Lol!

Then we put on our "school clothes" and took pictures outside like my mom always did when I was a kid.

Then we went into the school room and began school (if you wonder where we got two computers read my post here).

It was a picture perfect day. The schedule was working perfectly until after 11am when Alexis clogged our bathroom toilet and it flooded her bathroom and leaked into the light fixture in the kitchen. Needless to say, that was NOT on the schedule - but it was definitely a learning experience for all of us!

May God bless your school year as you go through the ups and downs of the year ahead.
3 John 4 "I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth."
Walk with the King!

I am linked up here today:

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Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Tasty Tuesday: How I Menu Plan

Last Thursday I shared my Daily Schedule and My Weekly Cleaning Schedule. Today I want to share with your my Menu Planning Schedule.

As we get life in order for the fall, creating an organized meal plan is a piece of the puzzle for me. The average woman will plan, shop, cook, and clean up over 1,000 meals in just one year!!! So for me, finding a system that works, is efficient, and stays within our budget is important.

I use an Excel spread sheet that I just literally plug in the meals and voila - it's quick and easy! Often times I leave the breakfast, lunch, snacks and desserts the same and just change the dinners. I hang this chart on the fridge and I find that it resolves all meal time dilemmas. And I must admit "candy" eating is not on the chart - but we do eat it. The chart is too big to plug into this blog so click on this link to see an example of my "Meal Plan".

In Excel I have created a couple of pages titled Meal Plan, Grocery List, Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Dessert and Snacks. As I make my meal plan, I just click to my breakfast ideas or lunch ideas and plug them in for the week. I also look at ads for the best deals and what coupons I have.

But I also want to share with you a Meal Plan that one of my readers (Denice at Living Spring Drops - who also happens to be a Good Morning Girl) uses. She commented on my Daily Schedule post with this meal plan and I LOVE it and am going to give it a whirl this fall as a guide.

Here is what she wrote:

I am a scheduler but with 5 children ages 17 to 6 it doesn't always go the way I schedule it. I get in Menu ruts. So, to help me stay creative but stay structured I came up with this:

Mexican Monday
Tomato-ey Tuesday
Wild-Card Wednesday
Thrifty & Thankful Thursday
Fancy Friday
Soupy Saturday
Sandwich Sunday

Mexican is anything from tacos to cumin-lime chicken, burrito, black bean soup, etc.

Tomato-ey is anything tomato based, from the obvious like pizza and spagetti, to bruchetta or tomato soup.

Wild-Card is my freedom day. I can do leftovers or another Fancy if I like.

Thankful is something ALL my kids truly enjoy AND isn't very mac & cheese with hotdogs.

Fancy is our night for grilled salmon, marinated london broil, and en extra special dessert.

Soup and Sandwich speak for themselves....but sloppy joes, BBQ, and pbj grilled have all been had.

Sooooooo, this helps my menu and market jobs go by faster!!! Then I'm not sitting around staring at my menu sheet with writer's block!!! :)

I love it Denice! Thank you so much for sharing such an excellent tip!

Walk with the King!

I am participating in Tempt Your Tummy Tuesday, Dining With Debbie , Balancing Beauty and Bedlam and Tuesdays at the Table recipe exchanges. And Raising Homemakers Link Up. For more blogger recipes go to these links.

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Monday, August 23, 2010

Waiting For Your Husband To Change

I have received emails from wives who have been changed by the power of God. They have heard God's commands within marriage and are ready to change and obey them. They are beginning to respect and honor their husbands. They are trying to be mindful of their words and of their husband's needs. But now they wonder. When will my husband change?

I am reminded of Mary the mother of Jesus. The angel appeared to her telling her that she was to bear a child, the Son of God. Joseph wasn't with her when the angel appeared and it appears from the story that initially he may not have believed her as he made plans to quietly divorce her (Matthew 1:19) We do not see in the scripture Mary trying to convince Joseph that what God said to her was true.

I think it's easy for us as wives to feel God speaking to us and then take it upon ourselves to tell our husbands how they should be behaving. We feel it is our responsibility to get them to see this great truth. Often times this pushes men further away from doing what the Lord wants them to do.

Because Mary loved and trusted God deeply and was a woman who pondered things in her heart, she waited and trusted in the Lord. In God's timing God revealed the same truths to Joseph. Soon, God sent an angel to Joseph who gave Joseph the same word as Mary. Joseph believed what God revealed to him and was changed!

But first, Mary had to wait. I imagine this was not easy as it felt that her world around her was falling apart. But she trusted and in God's good timing God moved.

We wives are nurturers by God's design but sometimes we take our nurturing ways and twist it into trying to fix our husbands. Sometimes we want everything fixed right now! But God wants us to wait on him. We must let God have a chance to work in the hearts and lives of our husbands just as he did in our lives.

D. Gordon, says in his book Quiet Talks on Prayer "Waiting means steadfastness, that is, holding on; patience, which means holding back; expectancy, which means holding the face up; obedience, holding oneself in readiness to go or to do; listening, holding quiet and still so as to hear."

And God says in Psalm 27:14, "Wait for the Lord, be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord."

If you are struggling with wanting to see a change in your husband today. I want to encourage you to cover your husband with prayer and wait. Continue to do what is right, be strong, take heart and wait on God to change your husband. Look at the photo of the Lion. Jesus is the Lion of Judah - powerful! He is the lamb of God - the one who takes away the sins of the world! He changes people! God is more powerful than you - let go and let God! Do not under estimate the power of prayer. God is faithful.

Walk with the King!


Friday, August 20, 2010

The Unveiling Of My Brand New Website

In the title of this post I said "my" but really it's "our". Angela (pictured on the right - one of my dearest friends for 20 years) has built a beautiful new website for the Fall Good Morning Girls groups.

Let me be honest, I LOVE writing here at Women Living Well. I LOVE my readers so much and pray for you all often. I enjoy opening the doors to my home and saying - this is what I am learning in the areas of my marriage, parenting and homemaking.

But at the end of the day, if I didn't have my walk with the King, if I wasn't daily in God's word and praying... my marriage, parenting and homemaking would crumble.

The only thing that sustains me daily is God's word. I am utterly and completely dependent on God for everything.

I have written on the first page of my prayer journal "Observed duties maintain our credit, but secret duties maintain our life." It's the secret duty of getting alone with God every morning that maintains my life.

Do you struggle in your consistency with your quiet times? Do you wish you had a few friends you could discuss deeper things with - like your quiet times with God?

Let me explain the concept of "Good Morning Girls".

The "Good Morning Girls" is a title for a group of women who use email (or Facebook, Twitter and text messaging) to keep each other accountable for their quiet times. For 3 years, I have been a part of 5 girls who email each other each weekday morning after we have our quiet time. We say "Good Morning" and then share what we read in our quiet time. Some of us have our quiet time first thing in the morning, while others squeeze it in during children's naps or at bedtime.

This past summer there were over 600 Good Morning Girls!!!! And it's almost time for the fall session to begin, so invite a group of friends and join us on this journey. If you don't have someone to ask - check out the Good Morning Girls message board. From September 1st through September 15th - you can enroll on this message board. This is a 3 month commitment (ends December 15th).

I hope you will stop by today and take a peak. There's a video there from me to welcome you, a new message board and a blog where Angela and I will be writing about our quiet times. So if you want a sneak peak into my secret duties that maintain my life - be sure to subscribe.

Go check it out and tell us what you think!!!

Walk with the King and let him knock your socks off - he loves you so!


The Winner of the Vintage Pearl Giveaway Is...

I numbered the linky entries as 1-38 and then the comments to follow as 39+. says Melissa at Kaufman's Cottage is our winner!!!!

Congratulations!!! Please send me your home address and I will be sure to have the $50 gift certificate sent to you!!!

Thank you to everyone who participated in the summer challenge. You held me accountable in my own life and have helped me work on my own marriage! Thank you!

Walk with the King!


Thursday, August 19, 2010

Our Back-To-School Daily Schedule

Let me just be honest, I love a schedule. I'm not sure if there's ever been a day that I have perfectly stuck to it. But I have found that creating routines and a rhythm in the home creates peace. It also helps me to keep my priorities a priority and accomplish everything that needs to be accomplished in the day.

I have been practicing this schedule recently and tweaking it and I am sure it may get a few more tweaks by the end of September but here is an idea of what our days will look like this fall.

5:30am - wake and go for a run or do Pilate's

6ish - Quiet Time

6:30 - Write/Post blog post

7-7:45 -Facebook, twitter, emails, surf Blogs

7:45 - Breakfast / Devotions with children

8 - Begin school with Alex (Math,Phonics)/ Alexis does chores and free time

8:45 - Begin school with Alexis (Math, Phonics) / Alex does chores and free time

9:30 - School with Alex (Language Arts) / Alexis participates in Alex's school time

10 - Recess for kids (play outside if weather permits) /Facebook, twitter, email

10:30 - Snack / School with Alexis (Language Arts,Handwriting)

11:15 - School with Alex (Phonics,Handwriting)

12 - Make Lunch and eat

12:30-1:30 - Free time for Kids / Clean, facebook, email

1:30-2:30 - Finish School with kids (Art,Music)

**Note: History and Science done all day on Fridays

2:30-3:30 - Quiet Roomtime for kids / Clean, read

3:30 - Snack & TV time (usually Curious George) / Facebook

4-5:30 - Kids have freetime/ Clean, make dinner

5:30 - Family Dinner

6 - Chill

7:30 - Begin bedtime stories and talk time on each child's bed

8pm - Write the next day's blog post

9pm - Chill with my man

10ish - Fall into bed for some beauty sleep lol!

Through out the week I will insert different activities for the children such as baking together, swimming and gymnastics lessons, flag football practice, women's Bible study group for me and other fun things like play dates and trips to museums.

You may notice that showering is missing in there. I'm not sure where I'll put it lol! During one of the school breaks I'll squeeze it in. This schedule is simply a goal. In an ideal world, everyday I would have my quiet time, exercise, post my blog, homeschool the kids all of their subjects, clean, give my husband some lovin', and interact with my blog readers. But we live in a fallen world - so this will be our goal each day.

And for those who haven't seen my cleaning schedule let me just throw this in there too:

Monday - Menu and Market (Grocery Shop)
Tuesday - Toilets, Tubs, Towels
Wednesday - Wash (Set timer and rotate laundry every hour)
Thursday - Dust
Friday - Floors

If you are a "scheduler" have you written yours up yet? Please share it in the comments section. If you are not a scheduler, do not let my methods frustrate you - this is NOT for everyone. Different personalities really hate this type of thing and flourish under flexibility. God wired me this way and wired you that way - each for his own good purpose. This is what makes the body of Christ beautiful. God uses us all for his glory!

Walk with the King!

Not Back to School Blog Hop

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Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Journaling With Your Children

As the new school year begins, journaling with your children is a fun way to capture memories while communicating with your children.

One of the girls in my "Good Morning Girls" group (Melanie) sent me photos of the journaling she has begun with her daughter. First she got a simple notebook and they keep it on her daughters bed.

Below you can see one of their entries. Melanie wrote a little note to her daughter. She told her how she loved her, some plans for the next day and apologized for a disagreement they had earlier in the day.

Her daughter answered her back in the same journal. She apologized and told her mom that she loves her.

Their journal is not usually used to deal with issues but it was sweet to capture this moment in writing.
Ideas of things your children can put in their journal.

1. Draw a picture of something they did that day.

2. Write a verse they are memorizing.

3. Interview them and have them write down all of their favorite things. Their favorite friend, food, book, song, game etc.

4. Write down all the events of their day.

5. Write down all the details of their vacation.

6. Draw a picture and write down all the details about their pet fish, dog, cat etc.

7. Dream. Encourage them to write down what they want to be when they grow up.

8. Use the journal to be interactive. As a parent write notes to your children in the journal and encourage your children to write notes back to you.

I have always loved journaling and from the age of 16 to 33 I journaled every single day!!! Then I started blogging and there hasn't been enough time to keep up my journals. But I really want to get back to them. One of my personal inspirations for journaling is David and the book of Psalms. Much of that book is simply David's journal. He wrote when he was happy, sad, confused, fearful and on top of the world! I love his raw expression of faith.

I treasure my journals and someday your child's journal will be a treasure to them. Don't correct their misspelling - it's adorable! Children love to look back and remember previous years of their life. And as adults they will appreciate the tender moments that were captured in their journal.
Lots of things are going to happen this school year in your child's life. Help them capture it.

Walk with the King!


Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Tasty Tuesday: Homemade Waffles

For Mother's Day my mother bought me a new waffle maker. Yep, you heard me right - my mother bought ME a Mother's Day gift!!! She's so generous!

So here is my recipe for delicious Homemade Waffles!

2 cups flour
2 tbsp sugar
4tsp baking powder
t tsp salt

Mix together.

In a separate bowl whisk these together:
1 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups milk
1/2 cup oil

Add these to the dry ingredients.

Cook your waffles according to the waffle maker instructions and Enjoy!!!

Walk with the King!

I am participating in Tempt Your Tummy Tuesday, Dining With Debbie , Balancing Beauty and Bedlam and Tuesdays at the Table recipe exchanges. For more blogger recipes go to these links.