Fridays & Food

Fridays & Food

Ok so when I used to hear someone talk about cooking a roast, um, barf.  Seriously.  I’m not a huge red meat lover but I used to despise any form of roast or steak.  Thankfully, I found this recipe which allows me to branch out from chicken, turkey, or ground beef.  My poor kids.  Speaking of kids, they actually LOVE this too (even my youngest!) not to mention it is SO easy because you just throw it in the crockpot in the morning and let it cook all day so that you have your main dish already prepared and only have to worry about sides (have I mentioned my love for those steamable bags of veggies?!).  I usually do some kind of savory rice (will be sharing my recipe for homemade “rice-a-roni” sometime in the future!), a vegetable of some sort and maybe some biscuits or buttered toast.  So without further ado, the roast recipe from the heavens:

Savory Crockpot Roast

1 Chuck Roast (I look for the most marbled one I can find; they tend to come out the most tender)

1 packet of Italian Dressing Mix

1 packet of Ranch Dressing Mix

1 packet of Reduced Sodium Brown Gravy Mix

1 small chopped onion (I just chop in large pieces so theyre easy to pick around)

3/4 C. Water

  • Place roast in crock pot.
  • Add onion.
  • ,Mix the Ranch mix, Italian Dressing Mix, and Gravy Mix into the 3/4 C. water.
  • Pour mixture over roast/onion.
  • Turn crockpot on LOW for 8 hours and let it do its thang.
  • Serve at mealtime to your ravenous family.

I hope your family enjoys this as much as mine does and I hope that you enjoy NOT having that last minute dinner scramble with small children running under foot as much as I do, as well!

 

All Roast & no regrets,

Autumn

Unfettered & Unrestrained

Unfettered & Unrestrained


Unfettered: Free; Unrestrained

I close my eyes and inhale deeply.  Her fine baby hair tickles my nose as I breathe in her sweet baby smell.  Chubby fingers clutch my arms and rolly polly legs wrap around me.

She’s grasping tightly, but not too tightly.  She knows I would never drop her.

I am her caregiver. I am her protector. I am her nurturer. I am her momma.

I hum the familiar tune that we hum every night, soaking up her warmth.

Inhale, exhale;

Exhaling all the difficult moments of the day; every boundary test and every protested diaper change.

Inhaling the darkness and coolness of her bedroom;

Listening to the whir of the fan, the white noise from the noise machine.

This is what it means to be a mother.

Embracing the good, the bad, the ugly.

Embracing the beautiful.

My Daughter.

I am your cheerleader. Your secret keeper. Your bedtime singer. I am your momma.

My love for you is unfettered.

Graveyards & Great Potential

Graveyards & Great Potential

churchgraveyard

I don’t know how you personally feel about the Oscars.  I didn’t watch them but I did watch several clips of the winners’ award acceptance speeches and I was moved by Viola Davis’ in particular.  In the beginning of her speech, she says:

“There is one place where all the people with the greatest potential are gathered and that’s the graveyard.”

That was so profound to me.  It brings to mind the word ‘legacy’.  The very definition of the word ‘legacy’ is something transmitted by or received from an ancestor or predecessor or from the past.  Which is so weird to me because I feel like my generation is so focused on the ‘now’.  The bucket lists and the involvement in politics and the career goals and the degrees and the financial gains.  And yes, some of those things have lasting value, but will they be a part of our legacy?  Will our greatest potentials be untapped until we are in the ground?  Will we allow our entire lives to pass us by before we take the opportunity to do something that touches eternity?

This is one of the best parts (to me) about my faith.  I know that if I am serving the Lord where He has called me to be, then I am touching eternity.  I am touching eternity by ministering to my husband; modeling what real love looks like to my children.  I hope I am leaving a legacy for my kids of a mother that (although incredibly flawed) is faithful to what she believes.  Being a mother that is kind and gracious and patient, but also gently guiding my children to become better humans and ultimately, pointing them to Jesus.  That is the legacy that I desire.

This quote also reminded me how short our lives here on earth are; James 4:14 says:

14 yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.

Um, okay.  We forget how small we are.  We are significant, because we are made in His image, but we are small.  Our lives are small and they can only have lasting impact (a legacy, great potential) if we are submitted to Christ.  This speaks to me so loudly about this season that I’m in right now.

May your potential be great & your legacy be also,

Autumn

M.O.M (My Opinion Monday)

M.O.M (My Opinion Monday)

Ah yes, Mondays.

A day that brings all the chaos of a regular day, but approximately 10x worse (or better, if you are like myself and simply embrace the crazy).  Here on LPC, Mondays are going to be my day to sound off on whatever is tickling my fancy (or getting my goat, depends on what sort of writing mood I’m in) most recently.

This post is going to be all about what we use for our Kindergarten curriculum.  In full disclosure, I am NOT a veteran homeschooler, though I am a veteran homeschool-ee (hashtag hometeached) and being the oldest of six, I feel like I have gleaned quite a bit of knowledge from watching my mom’s trial and error (thanks, mom!) when it came to various curriculums, learning styles and personality types.  So, lets get down to it!

Math:

Number Skills K5 (Abeka Book)

This book has been amazing so far!  Math is not Big C’s favorite, but this book has just the right amount of “fun” activities (like counting fun objects & coloring a certain number of objects) while still making sure that my guy is learning all the fundamentals such as telling time, counting money, counting by 5s and 10s and word problems.

Handwriting:

A Reason for Handwriting (A Reason for)

This book is pretty much your run-of-the-mill handwriting book so its basically what you would expect:  basic handwriting skills appropriate for a kindergartener on one side of a worksheet (some tracing along with some space for the child to practice his own writing) then more tracing and a picture to color that corresponds with that day’s letter.  The thing that I do like about this particular book is its utilization of the “tree house” model.  If you aren’t familiar with this particular curriculum, basically, they use a treehouse to show the child how each letter is to be written.  I’ve found this to be quite helpful for Big C when it comes to letter sizing and placement.

Art:

Art Projects – K5

Not even gonna lie, ya’ll.  I HATE art.  I know, I know, that’s probably some totally taboo thing for a homeschool mom, but I just hate it.  Its messy, those supplies take up SO MUCH ROOM and don’t even get me started on my total disdain for glitter.  Nevertheless, I did purchase this book with lofty intentions yet, we’ve only done about 3 projects total.  The projects we did were great and the projects in the book look awesome, but realistically, my 6 & 4 year old would rather be doing some type of sensory activity (play-doh, kinetic sand, water play) or just freestyle it with some construction paper and safety scissors.  Needless to say, I probably will not produce any Van Goghs or Andy Warhols.

Bible:

Ok, so Bible this year was tricky.  I ordered a book that I really did like, but I think it was just a little too advanced for my little guys (we will probably try using it again once they are a little older) so we have basically just based all our bible time on what they are learning in AWANA (click here to learn more).  Thankfully, AWANA is a great program and it was pretty easy to “build” my own curriculum around what they already needed to learn for AWANA.

Reading:

Teach your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons (Simon & Schuster)

UGH. The bane of my existence.  That is what reading has been for me.  I knew before I even started this homeschooling journey that I would hate this part and boy was I right.  Having said all that, this book has made an arduous process a little easier.  We haven’t completed the book yet, so I cant attest to its magic just yet, however, just in the last week, I have seen Big C take HUGE strides in his reading attempts and practice.

So there you have it, folks.  What we have been doing so far this year!  We also do some random practice writing (if I see he needs some work on a specific number or letter) as well as a journal (we just use a simple composition notebook) that I try to have him write in at least twice per week (my original goal was daily but he started getting really discouraged about all the writing he was doing and lets be real, most 6 year old boys don’t have a burning desire to journal daily).

What are you guys using this year?  Do you stick to one particular brand or do you use a hodge-podge like me?  Let me know in the comments!  I’d love to hear from you (and if any of you veterans out there want to throw your girl some reading tips or hacks, I’ll love you forever)!

xsxs (hugs & sips of coffee),

autumn

Sundays & First World Problems

Sundays & First World Problems

 

So the plan for Sundays here at J&J is basically to share something that spoke to me from the sermon on Sunday morning.  Before I get into it, I’ll do a little “ten things you may not know” in regards to my faith, my church, and my walk with the Lord!

  1. I began my walk with the Lord at the age of 6, in a bathtub of all places.
  2. My dad is a pastor, but contrary to popular belief, I do NOT know every answer and it doesn’t automatically mean I was a wild child (although I definitely went through that phase).
  3. I did not get baptized in a traditional baptistery, but in a creek (it was backwoods Louisiana, y’all)
  4. My church’s official affiliation is Southern Baptist, however, I’d consider myself more “non-denominational”
  5. I have a heart for kids, so I volunteer in Nursery & in AWANA (on Wednesday nights).

Now that you know a little about my “religious” (ugh, hate that word) history, let’s get into it.

Today, my pastor preached on Matthew 28:16-20 & Acts 1:3-11.  He talked about how so often we put the emphasis on our kingdom vs His Kingdom.  We’re so worried about our houses and our cars.  About our clothes and our food.  About our careers and even our kids.  I know for me, my main ministry (and current “career”, if you will), is raising my children and even that can become an idol.  I can get so caught up in making sure that my kids are “happy” (i.e. comfortable, never challenged to learn or do new things), that I can forget to lead by example by living out “The Great Commission”.  It is literally EVERY believer’s job to play show and tell with this world.  Show them love (REAL, unfettered, unbiased love) and tell them about Jesus Christ and what He has done and can do.

He also spoke about how sometimes, we think that we are so much better off than places like Haiti, where believers live much harder lives, but in reality, our prosperity is often what cripples our walk with the Lord.  Christianity is so comfortable here in the US, that every little thing that doesn’t go our way tends to seem like a “trial”.  He said this and it really stuck out to me:

a real #FirstWorldProblem: Jesus is NOT first, He is last.

Talk about a mic drop.  This was SO convicting to me.  I am so busy with everything else and so easily distracted, that I often allow Christ to fall from the forefront of my mind and heart.  My attitude is so easily swayed by little things that inconvenience me that I forget that, in the end, the only thing that truly matters is Jesus.  His will, His way, His Word.  So, going into this week, that is going to be my goal: to do my very best to keep Him first.  I’m thinking of praying each morning in my quiet time for the Lord to show me a scripture for each day that can help me remember to do that.  I’ll probably be writing those scriptures on my hand, because, let’s be real hashtag mom brain.

Love & Sips,

Autumn

Fridays & Food

Fridays & Food

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So Fridays around here will be a little different (every other Friday at least).  The plan is to post my meal plan for the next two weeks and include one recipe.  I generally shop on Fridays and so, by default, I usually meal plan that day too, because I mean, who is proactive and actually does things ahead of time?  Yeah, me either.  So without further ado, the plan:

  1. Creamy Enchiladas
  2. Chicken Alfredo
  3. Black Beans, Rice, & Turkey Kielbasa
  4. Beef Hot Dogs & Fries
  5. Sloppy Joes & Chips
  6. Spaghetti & Meat Sauce
  7. Crockpot Roast, Baked Sweet Potatoes, & Rice
  8. Cheeseburger Sliders
  9. Crockpot Creamy Chicken Stew
  10. Chinese Chicken & Fried “Rice” (aka Quinoa)
  11. Slow Cooker Angel Pork Chops
  12. Best Baked Chicken Legs

So, let me just say, YES my family does eat veggies, I just don’t put them on the menu because generally they are the steamable bags and I just grab whatever tickles my fancy for that day (since it will be a battle for my two olders no matter what vegetable I choose *eye roll*).  Also, YES, they eat a lot of pasta/rice/carbs.  They’re fine and perfectly healthy, plus, sometimes they try to eat goldfish off the floor in public places, so I feel like its okay.  Not to mention, its easy y’all.  Sorry not sorry.  Also, this list is not in the order we will be eating the meals, I just sort of wing it based on what we have planned on specific days and the time I will have to cook that day (i.e.: crockpot meals for busier days, no-fuss meals for days we need to eat in a hurry, etc).

Moving on, the recipe I’m sharing this week is Cheeseburger Sliders.  I’ll put a picture up later (making these bad boys tonight!) but these are SO good.  Every person in my family loves these and eats them without a fuss!  Little Red calls them “baby cheeseburgers” and he also loves to help make them!  I love them because its easy enough to let him help and there’s really not much of a chance that he will destroy my whole kitchen.

Cheeseburger Sliders

1 lb. Lean Ground Beef

1/8 C. Seasoned Bread Crumbs (I usually use Italian)

1/4 C. Finely Chopped Onions (If you have whiners, make sure they are FINELY chopped or leave out)

1 Tbsp. Worcestershire Sauce

Pinch of salt

4 Slices of Cheese (Not the processed stuff, y’all.  We like American or Colby Jack)

1 Pack of King’s Hawaiian Sweet Dinner Rolls

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Combine beef, onion, breadcrumbs, Worcestershire sauce and salt in a bowl.  I usually use my hands to mix because, YOLO.
  3. Gently press ground beef mixture into a glass pan (I usually use a Pyrex 9×11″) and poke with a fork several times.
  4. Bake for 20 minutes.
  5. Remove from oven and drain off excess fat from the dish.
  6. Top with cheese slices and return to oven until cheese is melted.
  7. Remove again, Cut into small squares and serve.

The possibilities really are endless.  You can top with ketchup, mayo, lettuce, mustard.  The ball is in your court.  Its like the deliciousness of a real cheeseburger without the grill and mosquito bites (I live in Florida, for crying out loud!).

I hope your family enjoys this recipe as much as mine has!  Also, we’re headed out the door to Aldi… hashtag Jesus take the wheel.

May your meal plans be many and your grocery bill be small,

Autumn

Snotty Noses & Crows

Snotty Noses & Crows

Today, I pretty much woke up irritated.  Do you ever have days like that (if the answer is
“no”, please don’t answer)?  I slept right through my alarm, awoke to the melodious snoring of my spouse with the sun glaring in my eyeballs.  I immediately knew it wasn’t going to get my quiet time (my boys had to be up in 9 minutes) and it just got worse from there.

My  most, um, “spirited” child woke up in a terrible mood, my oldest woke up with a cough and my youngest STILL had a snotty nose, despite my arsenal of essential oils AND a prescribed antibiotic!  On top of all that, it was bill paying day.  *sigh*  We’re blessed and I should never complain about our financial situation, but “busy season” (read: lots of overtime and big bonuses) came late this year and it was making me mad.

As I logged into our bank account and paid each bill, I got increasingly agitated.  I finally just stopped altogether.  Little Red (aka my 4 year old son) was chasing his newly learned to walk, 15 month old sister around with a foam Minecraft sword, while Big C (my 6-year-old son) was complaining incessantly about his handwriting practice and explaining why last names are unnecessary.  So, I did what any normal SAHM does… went to the bathroom.

Now, this might not make sense if you are a June Cleaver type SAHM, I however, am NOT.  I just needed a minute to think.  To collect myself before I set our homeschooling books ablaze and our checkbook (ok, we only pay two of our bills with checks, but I digress) too.  I got it “together” ( we’re using this term very loosely here) and went back to bill paying.

As I logged into my final account to be paid, I saw there had been a $150 credit applied.  WHAT?!  I researched what it could be thinking it was a mistake, but NOPE.  It was legit and I burst into tears.  The Holy Spirit instantly softened my heart.  I hadn’t realized until that moment not only how angry I had been but how angry at God I had been.  As the tears flowed, the Lord brought to my mind Matthew 6:26:

“Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your Heavenly Father feeds them.  Are you not much more valuable than they?”

If God is going to take care of crows (the nastiest bird in the whole world besides vultures, if you ask me), how could I ever doubt that He is going to take care of me and my family?  I need to remind myself that His version of “taking care of me” might not be what I would consider ideal (say, unlimited Etsy funds and a fast metabolism?), however, He has met every NEED that we have. Busy season or not, The Lord is still in charge and unlike my moods (and cash flow), He doesn’t change.

Running on thankfulness & bathroom sanity breaks,

Autumn