Thursday, October 30, 2014

help your kids have a thankful heart

With Thanksgiving around the corner, now is the perfect time to try these tips to help your children develop a habit of thankfulness.

shop & share.
Trips to the store are great opportunities to think of others. Next time you're at the grocery store, encourage your children to pick one or two canned goods to donate to AIM (Anderson Interfaith Ministries). After a few trips, gather up all your donations & have your kids help deliver it. (Click here to learn more about AIM's hunger ministries.)

write it down. 
Regularly keeping a list of things you are grateful for can build a rhythm of thankfulness into your day. Hang up a chalkboard or a large piece of paper & every night during dinner brainstorm things to add to your list. A daily time to reflect will help keep the whole family on the lookout for things to add.

thank your kids. 
We all teach our kids to say thank you when they receive a gift, but sometimes we forget how important everyday thank-you's are. Set an example by thanking your children for small things. Saying "thank you for sharing your snack with me" lets children know their efforts are appreciated & reminds them that thankfulness isn't reserved just for gifts.

notice the small things. 
giving attention to the small details around us is a great way to remember thankfulness. Collecting colorful leaves or pointing out the full moon in the night sky are great ways to remind kids of the beauty surrounding them & how much there is to be grateful for in nature. 

practice giving compliments. 
Help your children learn to recognize the gifts of people you encounter everyday by giving compliments. When we focus on the unique things other people do instead of focusing on ourselves, we are more thankful of the people around us. 

write love notes. 
ask your kids to write a handwritten note or draw a picture for whom they're thankful. Ask them to pick someone who makes their lives brighter & to share with that person some specific things they appreciate about them. 

(Adapted from Fall 2014 "Hello Darling" magazine)

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Tasty Tuesday: Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

Are you carving pumpkins at your house this week? Don't throw away your pumpkin seeds!

The Ingredients:

  • Pumpkin seeds, washed
  • 1/2 to 1 tsp olive oil
  • Salt (sea salt is delicious but not necessary)
  • Optional: cumin for a spicy snack or cinnamon & brown sugar for a sweet snack.

The Directions:

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Wash pumpkin seeds thoroughly. Put seeds in medium pot, cover with water, add 1 tsp of salt & bring to a boil. Once water is boiling, turn heat down to low-medium. Allow water to simmer, uncovered, for approximately 10 minutes.

Drain seeds & dry with towel. Put in medium bowl & add olive oil. Toss until all seeds are coated with oil. Spread seeds in single layer on baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt & any other desired spices.

Roast in oven for 10 minutes & stir. Roast for 10 more minutes & stir. Repeat for approximately 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until seeds are done**

**Note: the inner seeds bake faster than the outer shells! To make sure your inner seeds aren't burning, you should break open a seed every 10 minutes toward the end of the hour to monitor the "doneness" of the inner seed. When your pumpkin seeds are done, the outer shells will be crispy while the inner seeds will be very light golden brown. 

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Tasty Tuesday: Parmesan Crusted Chicken

This recipe is from Abbey... it's quick, easy & delicious!

The Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (about 1-1/4 lbs)
  • 4 tsp Italian seasoned dry bread crumbs

The Directions:

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In medium bowl, combine mayonnaise with cheese. Arrange chicken on baking sheet. Evenly top with mayonnaise mixture, then sprinkle with bread crumbs. Bake until chicken is thoroughly cooked, about 20 minutes.

Monday, October 13, 2014

the Day I lost my Smile

Here are notes from....

The October Devotional
by Jennifer

So one morning recently, my seven-year-old Maggie informed my husband & me that she thinks she was placed into the wrong family by mistake. Just what every mom wants to hear first thing in the morning. This comes after two rough days for Maggie (which have been self-inflicted by her new-found 16-year-old attitude). After getting her out the door to school, I found this post. Wanted to share with any other mommies out there who feel on a daily basis like they are probably seriously screwing things up...

The Day I Lost My Smile, by Lysa TerKeurst

I looked at my schedule and an overwhelming sense of dread started creeping into my heart. “What’s wrong with me? Why am I always running late, running behind, and running after my people who all seem to compound this issue?”
Because time refused to stand still while I pondered, it was necessary to jump right into task mode. There were lunches to pack, permission forms to sign, and tangles that needed gathering up into ponytails. I put one foot in front of the other and kicked into automatic, mentally crossing off one thing after another on my morning routine checklist.
I gathered up backpacks and lunchboxes and started announcing from the front door that we had to leave right this minute. And then I said it again. And then I yelled it in a tone that finally got my kids to appear. I quickly checked to make sure we didn’t repeat yesterday’s mistake of letting one leave with no shoes on. Then I marched out of the house while tossing out a stern reminder to please shut the door quickly so the dog didn’t get out.
But the dog did get out.
As I slipped the car in drive, the dog darted right out in front of me causing me to simultaneously slam on the brakes and spill both cups of orange juice I had gingerly perched between my purse and the little stacks of toast.
I jumped out to usher the dog back into the house and let hot tears just have their way. The green numbers of the dashboard clock seemed to simultaneously mock and remind me I had no time to sit and cry it all out. I handed my kids their soggy toast and in a rare moment of silence, they took it without protest.
We pulled into the carpool line at school and I stared at the long line of cars ahead of me. I imagined all the wonderful smiling mothers who were doing this better than me. They probably had organized systems for packing lunches the night before and making sure their kids kept up with their shoes. They probably did family devotions each morning, ate breakfast at the table, and sang songs all the way to school.
I compared all that to the realities of my morning and came to one heart-sinking conclusion: “I stink at this.”
Almost at that exact moment my phone buzzed with a text message from a friend: “I had a really hard morning with my kids today. I’d love to have coffee some time and learn how you do it all so well.” I couldn’t believe it. I half sighed and half chuckled at the irony.
I turned around to my kids in the back and said, “Hey guys, I’m really sorry Mommy was such a grump this morning. I think I misplaced my smile. So I just want you to know while you’re at school today I’m going to do everything I can to find it.”
After I dropped them off, I called that friend and told her what a gift it was to get her text. I shared with her. She shared with me. Together, we brainstormed better ways to prepare for these morning pitfalls we both kept finding ourselves in. Together, we gave ourselves the permission to admit how hard motherhood can sometimes be and that it’s okay to feel caught off guard by the endless demands. Together, we listed reasons to be so very thankful. Together, we found strength. Together, we regained our sense of dignity. And it wasn’t too long until we both found ourselves laughing together.
It reminds me Proverbs 31:25, “She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come.” But sometimes it takes a friend to bring us back to the place where we can live this verse.
We need each other. The key word that day I processed life with my friend and gained a better perspective was, “together.” It’s such a powerful word and the exact reason I wrote this post today.
You are not alone.
Oh, how easy it is to lose our smiles and forget to laugh at the craziness of our lives. I need reminders, like the truth of Proverbs 31:25 and that sweet time spent with my friend.
I imagine, though the circumstances might be different for you, you know that place where I was. And maybe you need a reminder to laugh too. We all have times where we feel like failures. We feel like others are doing life so much better. We feel so very alone in our struggles and issues and chaotic emotions. And we look up one day and feel like it was a lifetime ago since we laughed.
So, I slip this little encouragement into your life and whisper, you’re not alone. You’re doing this so much better than you think you are. God has entrusted you with your life, your loved ones, your unique challenges because you are perfectly equipped for it all.
Just don’t lose your smile. And if you run into me today looking a little worn out, might you remind me of this as well? (see original post)

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Courage to Find Significance in the Everyday

Yesterday was our second meeting of the 2014-15 year, & it was really great! So good to see you all!

We were excited to welcome Rozalynn Goodwin as our speaker this month. A very successful businesswoman & entrepreneur, Rozalynn talked about balancing the demands of her professional life with her role as mother & wife. She shared her personal journey of the last year & how she has learned (& is still learning) to find the significance in the everyday moments. Recently someone asked "So how do you do it all?" Her answer: I don't.

On her blog, Spit Up on my Blazer, Rozalynn writes:
"I am in a constant state of rebalancing -- adjusting commitments to best meet the needs of my first priority, my family. I've stepped down from various positions to help create the right work-life blend. Not to mention how many times I've said "no" or "not now" to opportunities. No one can "do it all" or "have it all," at least not all at the same time." (click here for full post)

As mothers, we all make personal & professional sacrifices. It's part of being a mom. We may find ourselves feeling discontent or unsettled or insecure with where we are in life. Or we may have a birthday & suddenly feel panicked because we're "getting old" & we just haven't accomplished enough.

Rozalynn reminded us that there is beauty in the seemingly mundane motherhood moments.. that there is opportunity that we may not even be tapping into. There are seasons of life -- & as mothers of young children, we are in a season of nurturing & developing others. There is joy & peace in submitting to your season... embracing where you are & seeing the significance of those small moments.

Mark your Calendars!
  • MOPS on the Town (MOTT) - Thurs, Oct 23 at 10am. We're heading to the Hardy Berry Farm & Play Patch again this year! The cost is $10 per family, & this includes admission, a baby pumpkin & a hayride. There will be tons of fun activities for the kids, including a corn maze, animals, go-carts & a giant jump pillow. It's sure to be a great time! (Address: 232 Strawberry Road Anderson SC 29626)

  • Moms Night Out (MNO) - Fri, Oct 17 at 7pm. Pamela S, one of our lovely Steering Team members, will be hosting a dessert & game night. Please come for a chance to get to know some mamas better in a small group setting!

Business Info:
  • The Tupperware fundraiser & fall wreath raffle went really well... thanks so much to all of you who participated! Every little fundraising dollar counts to keep our Anderson MOPS up & running & we truly appreciate your help!

  • REMINDER: Please bring diapers (sizes 4 & 5) & wipes to our November 13th meeting. As we head into the season of giving, we are excited about using our November meeting as an opportunity to show generosity to the Anderson Care Pregnancy Clinic!
  • Sign-ups are happening for family fall photos! Sessions are $40 for a 30-minute session & a CD of edited images. Please contact Margaret if you would like to sign up.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Tasty Tuesday: Hot Spinach & Artichoke Dip

This recipe is from Becca. Pair with crackers, bread bites, pita triangles or chips for the perfect crowd-pleasing appetizer!

The Ingredients:

  • 1 (8oz) cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup Italian shredded cheese
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled & minced
  • 1/2 tsp dried basil
  • 1/4 tsp garlic salt
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 1 can artichoke hearts, drained & chopped
  • 1/2 cup frozen chopped spinach, thawed & drained very well
  • 1/4 cup shredded mozzarella

The Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease small baking dish. In a medium bowl, mix first 8 ingredients (everything except spinach, artichokes & mozzarella). Then gently fold in spinach & artichokes.

Transfer to baking dish. Top with mozzarella. Bake for 25 minutes or until bubbly & lightly brown.