Monday, January 23, 2012

Give that mom a pat on the back

Being a mom of little ones can be exhausting. The diaper changing, endless laundry and temper tantrums can leave us drained. But I think moms with kids at any age can feel that way. When I imagine parenting teenagers... yikes.

So we bounce along and do our best, trying to live up to the job description. Our purpose in doing it all gets drowned out by the to-dos and daily battles. We lose sight of the bigger picture. 

That's how I felt last week when I received an unexpected email telling me I was doing a great job with my kids. I had tears while reading it. And I have tears thinking about it still. I needed that. 

Encouragement is so important. It costs almost nothing to give -- just a few words or strokes with a keyboard. Yet, many of us withhold it. 

I'm not talking about flattery. If you don't mean it, by all means, don't say it. But if you see a mom doing a great job, let her know. I think we could all use a pat on the back sometimes.

"Therefore encourage one another and build each other up." I Thess. 5:11

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

My Mom-mobile

Yesterday as I was getting my daughter out the car, I managed to pour half a large coke into one of the carseats. Fortunately, no child was harmed in the process. When I took the carseat out, the crumbs, candy and other gunk on the seat could no longer be ignored. "Yep," I thought, "This is gross."

Not my actual car. Imagine this level of dirty on the inside.

I considered taking a picture, but I was too embarrassed. Seriously.

At first glance, the backseat just looked cluttered. Shopping bags, toys, jackets and shoes hid the true filth lurking beneath. After a quick declutter, I began to vacuum. I found candy, sand, the equivalent of one McDonald's small fry, chewed gum, sucker sticks, used kleenex, finger nail clippings, half-eaten biscuits, cookies, an empty milk bottle, toy jewelry, a banana peel, receipts, etc.

I know, gross.

After the vacuuming, I took kitchen cleaner and wiped the gunk off the doors, console and cup holders. Huge improvement.

I'd like to keep my car clean, so I'm trying a couple of tips from a very wise lady (you know who you are). 
  1. Never walk inside empty-handed. Keep a bag in the car to bring things in and out of the house. I used a reusable shopping bag and folded it underneath the driver's seat. 
  2. Whenever kids are going to eat in the car, prevent the mess. Keep a beach towel under the passenger's seat and spread it the floor to catch crumbs. When you get out, dust off the seats and shake out the towel. 
So, there's a towel in my car and a bag under my seat. We'll see if I stick with it. What about you? Is your car's interior (or exterior) embarrassing? Or maybe you have some tips to share with the rest of us?

Sunday, January 8, 2012

It's All About Perspective

I loooove it when my house is clean. By clean, I mean an empty sink, toys put away, surfaces cleared... you get the idea. With three little kids, that doesn't happen much. About the only time that it does happen is at night, and I'd say that's maybe 25% of the time. The fact is, when the kids go to sleep, I'm zonked! But I really do try to keep the house somewhat tidy.

The other day, my husband was walking through the playroom on his way out the door and said the strangest thing. As he stepped over a sea of toys, he said, "I love this. I love seeing that they had fun in here."

"Whaaat? That's you reaction?" I thought.

My typical train of thought when I see the mess is, "We have too many toys. I should get the trash can. I'm so sick of picking up all this mess every single day! Uggghhh!"

So his perspective -- much better.

What if you took that mindset next time your house looked like this?

Or this? 

Let's try not to sweat the small stuff. Instead, let's focus on enjoying our families, being thankful for what we have and living life. In our homes, in relationships and in life, perspective is everything.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

A Purposeful Life

What if we actually did this? What if we really did what God wanted us to do? Many of us don't really know what that is. 

Sometimes I think I get a glimpse of it, but then I get busy and distracted. The day ends and I don't know where it went. But what if I were more purposeful in how I spent my time? What if I really did make the most of every opportunity?

Maybe I would accomplish something remarkable. It gets hard when the things that don't matter to God, really matter to us. Or when those things are good things, but not God's priorities for you right now. 

In James, we're encouraged to ask God if we lack wisdom. I know I could a new vision of what God want's me to be doing right now. How about you?

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Cabbage and Black-Eyed Peas

I've never been a fan of cabbage, but it's tradition, right? Last year I went to a friend's house for New Year's Day, and she served egg rolls. Brilliant!

So, this year I made my own. And they were yummy.

Here's what you'll need:

  • Egg Roll Wraps
  • Cooked chicken or pork, cut into small pieces (I used half a rotisserie chicken)
  • 2 carrots, grated
  • 6 green onions, chopped
  • 2 bags coleslaw (or you could cut up a head of cabbage)
  • Can black-eyed-peas, rinsed and drained
  • Light soy sauce
  • 1 Egg white
  • Vegetable oil (for frying)
To begin, put a little oil in a large pan or wok. Saute the onions and carrots on medium heat until soft. Add the meat, beans and one bag of coleslaw. Pour in about 1/4 cup of soy sauce. I don't really measure it, just estimate. Stir until it starts to wilt, then add the other bag. Add more soy sauce if it needs it. (I usually do a taste test.)

Once the filling is done, take an egg roll wrap. Add a couple of spoonfuls in the center, and fold it up. Seal it with a brush of egg whites. The egg rolls can be fried in a skillet, but they taste much better deep fried. I used a Fry Daddy. Make sure the oil is really hot and drop it in. Let it come to a nice brown and flip it over.

Drain it on a plate with paper towels, and you're done! This makes a huge batch. Either plan a party or cut the recipe in half.

This recipe does take a while. I wouldn't consider it a week-night staple, but it's a fun alternative if you want to do something special. In the hour or so it took to clean my kitchen and cook, this is what my children accomplished...

Ummm... that's why most of my dinners take 20 minutes. In case you can't tell, that's just about every toy they could reach pulled out onto the playroom floor. At least they were quiet though. 

My husband and the twins ate it. My daughter tolerated it. So it passed the kid test at my house.

I hope you'll try the recipe, and that you're blessed with health and prosperity in the new year!
Thanks for stopping by Doing More Than Laundry!

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The Little House. Check it out!