The Final Post from Today’s Housewife

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Four years ago, four friends came together to share our lives with the on-line world. Over a year ago we invited new friends to join our team to get even more voices involved. We’ve all had fun talking about our homes, hobbies, families, food, and faith with you. But our lives have changed and we just can’t devote the same time to Today’s Housewife we were able to in the past.

We want to say thank you to all who have read throughout the last four years. We’ve enjoyed getting to know you through the comments and interaction on our Facebook & Twitter pages. We’re thankful for each follower, subscriber, and visitor!

This isn’t the last time you’ll hear from each of the writers. If you have a favorite writer, be sure to check out her site and follow her there!

Thanks again for reading!

Hot Soup for Cold Nights

Though I am not the biggest fan of snowy, icy weather–that is literally just accumulating outside my door at this very moment, I am quite fond of the comfort foods that make up winter eats. Most people think that comfort food equals lots of fat, sugar, and calories. I don’t think it has to. Comfort food is all about flavors that are familiar and welcoming, and oftentimes that can be accomplished with less of the “bad” stuff when combined with the herbs and other seasonings or offset by loads of vegetables. Soups are one of my favorite ways to enjoy my favorite “comfort foods” and flavors without sacrificing nutrition. They are also a great way to warm up on cold nights. Here are links to two of my favorite soups that I have previously shared on my blog… as well as a new one for today.

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Lasagna Soup… spinach, tomatoes, beef, noodles, and plenty of cheese to make things happy! This is a must make.

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Turkey, Black Bean, and Sweet Potato Chili… a new take on an old classic.

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And last but not least, Cream of Broccoli Soup with Cheese. This soup does not disappoint. It is plenty creamy and cheesy to feel indulgent, but is also filling without feeling heavy, thanks to the use of fresh broccoli, skim milk, and flavorful Swiss cheese.

Cream of Broccoli Soup with Cheese [from Rosemary Perry, Lafayette Journal and Courier]

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 2 medium heads fresh broccoli, chopped [can also substitute 2 (10 ounce) packages frozen chopped broccoli]
  • 1 tablespoon onion, minced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • generous amount coarse ground black pepper
  • 2 cups skim milk
  • 1 cup cubed Swiss cheese

Directions:

Place chicken broth, broccoli, onion, and bay leaf in 3 quart saucepan. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to low. Simmer, covered, for 5 minutes or until broccoli reaches desired tenderness. [I like to leave it with a little bit of bite so that the rest of the cooking doesn't make it mushy.]

Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, melt butter then stir in flour and pepper. Cook for 1 minute, always stirring. Gradually add milk, always stirring to make a smooth sauce. Remove from heat.

Remove bay leaf from broth and slowly stir sauce into broth. Add cubed cheese. Heat gently on low until cheese melts.

Time: 30 minutes.

Yield: 4-6 servings.

sarahSarah began blogging at The Pajama Chef in order to chronicle her adventures in and love of cooking and baking. Sarah is currently a graduate student at Indiana University working towards a Master of Library Science and a Master of Arts in African Studies. Sarah’s efforts in the kitchen would not be possible without the assistance of her husband, Ben, and his stellar dish-washing and sous-chef skills. Sarah and Ben were married in May 2009 and enjoy running, reading, involvement in a local church, and spoiling their kitty, Sheba. You can also find Sarah on Pinterest.

When We Feel Helpless

I originally began writing this post with the question, “Have you ever felt helpless in a situation or event?”

But, I imagine most of us can quickly answer, “Yes” to that question.

Waiting sign on computerInstead, what situation first comes to mind when you think of feeling helpless?

Helplessness feels like forced surrender. Circumstances beyond our control leave us unable to take further action or change the current situation for a time.

I succumb to helplessness when wanting a situation to change.

Or when restlessly waiting for someone’s response or a test result. I can even feel helpless when surrounded by negative influences or in an unwanted environment.

God continues to teach me about praising through all circumstances. Even in helplessness, I can be reminded of God’s everlasting presence.

If I never felt helpless and always felt able to control any and every situation, on whom would I rely? Likely myself. But this world is at unrest. Everything is not under our control or going to go the way we always want. Thankfully, we have a God who is over all and knows all.

“You, LORD, hear the desire of the afflicted; you encourage them, and you listen to their cry, defending the fatherless and the oppressed, so that mere earthly mortals will never again strike terror.” – Psalm 10:17-18

Through any troubles or helpless feelings we may have, we hold steady to a hope in what is to come through Christ.

So what can we do when we feel helpless in a situation?

Trust in Him. Converse with Him through prayer. Responsibly and lovingly act. Present our requests knowing that He hears and He sees. Remember the truth found in Isaiah 55:8-9:

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”

How do you deal with feeling helpless and trust in Him?

Above image from http://office.microsoft.com

CarolineBlogPhotosmallAuthor bio: Caroline is a wife, mother of a beautiful and charming toddler son, avid reader, and writer.  She is honored to write with Today’s Housewife.  You can also find Caroline at her personal blog (Under God’s Mighty Hand) and on Twitter.

Hawaiian BBQ Pulled Chicken Sandwiches

About a month ago, my parents, sister, sister’s boyfriend, and grandfather came for a visit. Yup, that’s right–seven people in a two bedroom, 1000 square foot apartment. Pure craziness, at least in terms of space. As I do with any visitors, I wanted to be sure to prepare a fantastic dinner that everyone would love, but with several caveats: we couldn’t grill out (apparently outdoor grills in “multi-family dwellings” are now illegal in the state of Indiana) and I didn’t want to spend all night in the kitchen.

So what’s a girl to do?

Use the crock pot, of course!

When Ben and I got married two years ago, I was a total crock pot skeptic. I thought crock pots were for lazy cooks and that nothing good ever came out of them. I vowed I would never use the crock pot we received as a wedding gift (in fact, we only registered for it at Ben’s insistence). I totally ate my words on that one! Aside from my KitchenAid mixer (fortunately inherited from my grandmother), my crock pot is probably my most-used kitchen appliance. I love it for making soups, applesauce, and large hunks ‘o meat.

As I was brainstorming what to make, I kept coming back to this recipe I had seen on Tasty Kitchen for Hawaiian BBQ Pulled Chicken Sandwiches. The combination of sweet pineapple with vinegary, tomato-y BBQ sauce intrigued me to say the least. So I threw the ingredients together in my crock pot, crossed my fingers, and hoped for the best.

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And “the best” delivered. Many a sandwich were devoured by all that night, and the sweet yet savory BBQ just couldn’t be beat. This is definitely a recipe to make again and again. It’s so easy, so delicious, so tasty, so why wouldn’t you? Enjoy!

Hawaiian BBQ Pulled Chicken Sandwiches (from MyRetroKitchen via Tasty Kitchen)

Ingredients:

  • 3 pounds boneless chicken, thawed
  • 1 large onion, cut into chunks
  • 1 – 20 ounce can crushed pineapple in juice
  • 1 – 18-20 ounce bottle BBQ sauce (I used KC Masterpiece)
  • hamburger buns

Directions:

Place chicken in bottom of crock pot. Cover with onions. Drain pineapple, reserving juice (see note) and add over top. Pour in BBQ sauce. Cook on low for 8-10 hours. About an hour or two before it is finished, shred chicken with two forks, stir to incorporate the sauce, and let cook for the rest of the allotted time.

Serve on hamburger buns. If you’re feeling extra ambitious, try these: they are quite easy andreally tasty! Enjoy!

Note:

For an extra sweet sauce, the recipe recommends a BBQ sauce like Sweet Baby Ray’s (which is so great) and the addition of up to 1/2 cup of the reserved pineapple juice. I didn’t add any juice to mine and it was plenty sweet for us, but others might feel differently. I just chose to drink the juice! :)

~~~~~

sarahSarah began blogging at The Pajama Chef in order to chronicle her adventures in and love of cooking and baking. Sarah is currently a graduate student at Indiana University working towards a Master of Library Science and a Master of Arts in African Studies. Sarah’s efforts in the kitchen would not be possible without the assistance of her husband, Ben, and his stellar dish-washing and sous-chef skills. Sarah and Ben were married in May 2009 and enjoy running, reading, involvement in a local church, and spoiling their kitty, Sheba.

Uncovering God’s Truths

Honestly, the title of this post is a little too strong. God’s truths barely need to be uncovered. Many of them are obvious, shining as the brightest lights in dark, cloudy times. Like the ten commands or Christ’s directive to love our enemies. Those declarations boldly capture even quick scans of the Word.

Other truths might require a little digging, application, and open ears.

But we are still called to seek Him. And part of seeking Him is seeking knowledge of Him. Proverbs 1-4 discuss the need and benefit of wisdom and knowledge. But this knowledge is not just our worldly knowledge, but instead is knowledge that comes from God.

Tree Growing from BookProverbs 2:1-6 says:

“…if you accept my words 

   and store up my commands within you, 
turning your ear to wisdom
and applying your heart to understanding—
indeed, if you call out for insight
and cry aloud for understanding,
and if you look for it as for silver
and search for it as for hidden treasure,
then you will understand the fear of the LORD
and find the knowledge of God.
For the LORD gives wisdom;
from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.” (emphasis added)

So how can we discover more of the abundance of God’s truths?

  1. Read His Word. Submerse ourselves in it. Study it. Memorize it. But then, don’t just read it and ponder it… apply it. Act on it. Pray it over yourself, your family, your situations, your friends, your enemies. May I suggest a few study resources?

-The Scripture Dig ladies wholeheartedly dig into God’s Word and encourage fellowship on their always-inspiring site.

-Do Not Depart is another outstanding bible study resource that focuses on showing the reality of God’s Word in our real, true lives with a multitude of practical tips, thoughts, and even guided studies through books of the Bible!

-Check out a list of online bible study sites here on my personal site and another list from Katie Orr on Do Not Depart.

  1. Live life, especially a life focused on seeking Him – We can’t just study and never live out our lives. We learn from living. And we learn even more from living focused on God. As we both live and study, then we can apply what we learn from life and the truths we know from God together.
  1. Fellowship and pray. As we’ve talked about before here, we’re called to encourage one another and hold each other accountable for growth in our faith and our walk with Him.

These ways aren’t the only paths to understanding more of Him, but these ideas can (I pray) get you started or renew your focus to Him and His perfect, pleasing ways.

What do you do to seek more of Him? How do you uncover His truths and then apply them?

Above image from http://office.microsoft.com

CarolineBlogPhotosmallCaroline is a wife, mother of a beautiful and charming toddler son, avid reader, and writer.  She is honored to write with Today’s Housewife.  You can also find Caroline at her personal blog (Under God’s Mighty Hand) and on Twitter.

Careless Words

The Library of Congress has acquired the entire Twitter archive. From their site, “That’s right. Every public tweet, ever, since Twitter’s inception in March 2006, will be archived digitally at the Library of Congress. That’s a LOT of tweets, by the way: Twitter processes more than 50 million tweets every day, with the total numbering in the billions.”

j0409652That puts a little more importance on your tweets, doesn’t it? Twenty years from now your children can look at your tweets. And twenty years after that your grandchildren or great-grandchildren can see what you thought was tweetable!

Matthew 12:36 says, “people will give account for every careless word they speak.” I think we can safely include every word we type- emails, blogs, texts, comments on blogs/sites, tweets, status updates, and anything else the future holds!

Before we hit enter or publish, maybe we should think about the power of our words.

  • Know your attitude- When I have pride, anger, jealousy, I care less about my words. Check your attitude to make sure your words are not the fruit of a sinful heart. You know yourself- if you aren’t in a good mood, don’t get online. This is especially important when leaving comments on blogs. I’m amazed at what someone will say to people they don’t know. I’m not saying you can’t disagree, just make sure you communicate kindness, even in (especially in) your disagreements.
  • Know your audience- I’ve learned this lesson a couple times. Like when my mother-in-law called to discuss one of my Twitter updates with my husband. It wasn’t bad, but I wouldn’t have written it if I had known she was reading my Twitter page. Your small circle of friends on Facebook may know you are kidding when you make a joke or use sarcasm, but the hundreds of “friends” you have may not understand. Your audience is always bigger than you think it is!
  • Know you’re accountable- You are an ambassador for Christ. That means you’re held to a higher standard, and, unfortunately, open for attacks from those looking for an excuse to discredit your faith. It all comes back to Matthew 12:36- people will give an account. You aren’t only accountable to God, but also your employer, your family, your church, and other organizations you represent. We should all remember we are accountable to someone!

Because our words will live beyond hitting the enter button, we need to remember they have power. It helps to know your attitude, know your audience, and know you’re accountable!

The Beauty of Accountability

The world often tells us “if we want something done, we have to do it ourselves.” Today’s society frequently applauds those who have accomplished much, especially when completely by themselves.

Mother and childs hands around small seedlingBut we are made to participate in community. As sisters (and brothers) in Christ, part of our command is to encourage one another in our journeys with Christ, holding each other accountable for progressing to be more and more like Him.

In Christ, we are each separate parts with unique gifts of one unified body. Romans 12:4-5 describes this membership: “For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.” We belong to each other, because we all belong to Christ. Our purpose of serving Him unifies us in our faith, aims, and actions. With so many different talents, we can help each other grow and strengthen our witness of Him.

In our faith, we can hold each other accountable for experiencing growth, listening to discipline, and building trust and reliance. Accountability boosts growth in faith. We can disciplinerebuke, and guide each other.

Discipline – To discipline literally means “to train.” By motivating each other to study God’s ways and His Word, we can better train each other in this righteous race. Disciplining each other in our faith through teaching, sharing, fellowship, studying together, and encouraging increases growth.

Rebuke – Rebuking another does involve correction – meaning that we made a mistake in some capacity. But, as we are all imperfect until Christ’s return, we will make mistakes! As members of the family of believers, we need this correction, especially from like-minded people. Rebuking another doesn’t mean harsh yelling or angry reprimands (though it can be stern or tough when necessary), but rather speaking the truth in love.

Guide – I often turn to my husband for guidance, or perhaps my parents or others who have gone through a similar situation. People currently in similar situations can guide each other when done with the wisdom and knowledge God provides.

Colossians 3:16 instructs us in our accountability with each other: “Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts.” Here we see two more tips on how to hold each other accountable – teach (guide) and admonish (advise or caution) with wisdom. We can teach and advise through “psalm, hymns, and songs from the Spirit” – meaning God’s truths!

As the body of Christ, we can encourage each other to stay on the right path, fostering unity through truth in love. Ephesians 4:15-16 illustrates this love in fellowship: “…speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.” Loving accountability enhances us, allowing us to witness God’s name spread much farther than if we tried alone.

Suggested further reading: 1 Corinthians 12:12-31

Above image from http://office.microsoft.com

How have you grown from accountability partners or fellowship in your faith? Have you been able to help others stay accountable for growing in faith?

Author bio: Caroline is a wife, mother of a beautiful and charming toddler son, avid reader, and writer.  She is honored to write with Today’s Housewife.  You can also find Caroline at her personal blog (Under God’s Mighty Hand) and on Twitter.

Stress Refocused

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Source: Dreamstime

Stress, it is something that is a part of our everyday lives. Each one of us has those little things that can really push us to the end of our ropes and make us feel like we have nothing left to give. Right now, my husband and I are dealing with a lot of stress in our lives as we are getting ready to make our 14th move in 9 years for the military. Days are spent making lists of what needs to be done, houses to see in our new town, and getting our children ready for another move. As much as we have moved, it never gets any easier to say goodbye to the familiar and hello to the unknown.

But, as Christians we do not have to go through stressful times alone. Be it a move, job change, or illness, we have one consistency to cling too… God. He is right there with us, walking along the way, ready to strengthen us beyond anything we can imagine. We need to focus our eyes up and not just straight ahead!
Psalm 21 reminds us …

1 I lift up my eyes to the mountains—
where does my help come from?
2 My help comes from the LORD,
the Maker of heaven and earth.
3 He will not let your foot slip—
he who watches over you will not slumber;
4 indeed, he who watches over Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep.
5 The LORD watches over you—
the LORD is your shade at your right hand;
6 the sun will not harm you  by day,
nor the moon by night.
7 The LORD will keep you from all harm—
he will watch over your life;
                8 the LORD will watch over your coming and going
both now and forevermore.

It is very easy to get caught up in all the “To Do’s” we have to accomplish. I am very good at playing the “I have to do it all” card in my own life . The funny thing is the more I try to do it all alone the harder my life becomes, and the more stressed out I get. How quickly I am to forget that God does not expect me to handle it all by myself. He is always right there waiting for me to turn to Him for the strength to get thou the unmanageable times.

Source: CBlakeslee
Source: CBlakeslee

Life is full of its ups and downs, good days and bad. As wives and mothers we are the glue that holds our families together, and helpmates to our husbands. We must wear many “hats” and keep everything in balance for the sake of our families and marriages. But, we can take comfort in the fact that God does not expect us to “do it all” nor do it alone. We just need to turn our eyes and hearts toward Him, putting our focus on the rock that gives us the strength to carry on.

My question for you today is something that I myself need to thinkabout as well. Where are you in your own life? Are you like me playing the “I can do it all card” or are you focused on the Lord.asking Him to give you the strength to get through the daily ups and down that life brings.

Cassie is a military wife and mom to six who blogs at Day of Bliss.