5 D’s in Raising Boys

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I’ve been thinking lately about what sons need. What they need growing up. Thought about my four, obviously. And I came up with this simplified list, not all-inclusive and in no particular order but some of the things I think, from my experience are important.

Dirt

Little boys need dirt. They need to be outside, to dig in it, to marvel at creation, to watch ants and worms, (ok, they probably won’t just watch them) to find holes and wonder what is in them, to make tracks with their trucks, to feel it between their fingers and toes. They should get dirty and sweaty and smelly. Give them a shovel and let them dig holes, get them outside!

Dog

Every boy should have something that breathes to take care of. We are partial to dogs here, but we also have a cat, had a rabbit , but dogs are our favorite. Yes, having an animal costs money, requires a lot of nagging reminding to feed etc., requires time, but the pay-off is so worth it. After all, having a pet teaches empathy, sacrifice, commitment, unconditional love.

Dominion

It started in the garden. Men are created to conquer, to test their limits, to have something that they can triumph over.  You’ve got to find what will make your son feel confidant in himself. Don’t let fear hinder. My husband bought our sons boxing gloves and they would deck each other on Saturday mornings. He also taught them to wrestle. Sports are great, or spelling bees, missions trips to foreign lands, working with real tools, camping, working on their first car, the point is, finding something that challenges them!

Direction

Yes, young boys need men, real men, Godly and good in their lives. They also need heroes. G. A. Henty’s novels are great, as well as biographies of missionaries (“Before I eat and kill you” comes to mind and “High Adventures in Tibet”) and be selective with the movies, music and material that comes into your home. My oldest son, loved the movie “Chariots of Fire.” Thankfully, my sons have a father who is the same both in the pulpit and at home, and who if he wasn’t working, spent his time with his favorite people, his family.

Discipline

Sons need to be both disciplined and discipled.  Discipled (taught) to have discipline in their lives. Young men need to have self-control, control over their selves, their emotions & hormones. They need to be taught to follow through, to overcome, to be a leader and not a follower. Most importantly they need to have FAITH, to believe in miracles, the impossible, to be a valiant man of God.

What an honor it is to raise sons! To see little rascals become great husbands and fathers, servants in His Kingdom!

 

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Cajun Shrimp Chowder

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IMG_2834I have made this for both of my sons’ wedding receptions, plus for other events and always get asked for the recipe. The thing is, I don’t have one. But here is what I do. (The pictures are when I made it for a mission’s team of 75.)

First, here are the ingredients:

IMG_2828Hashbrowns, I used hashbrown patties that I purchased from a restaurant supply store and since they were frozen, I was thawing them in the oven. If you are making it for a smaller group you could chop and boil some new red potatoes, or use hashbrowns that are not patties : ) How much hashbrowns? Well, I’m not sure. I just eyeball it.

IMG_2830Shrimp, small is best and they have to be peeled, obviously. The size that would fit on a spoon. The slash through the number on this box indicates the number of shrimp in a pound. Thaw them too.

Seasoning mix. (See my crawfish recipe.) And minced garlic.

Frozen corn kernels. One bag for a small batch and go from there.

Seasonings:  Tony’s, kosher salt, cracked black pepper, hot sauce, dried or fresh parsley, dried thyme (this is a must!)

Butter, Whipping Cream, or whipping cream with half and half, or just half and half, and chicken broth. (I use the chicken base that you can buy at Sam’s. Not the squares with MSG.) Whipping cream can be expensive, so when I make it for a large group I use half and half with the chicken broth.

Second, here is how to put it together:

In a heavy pot (pick a size of pot that you think will feed the number of people you are serving), put a chunk of butter, real butter. Again I eyeball it. Over medium heat add the seasoning mix, I put in enough to cover the bottom of the pan, and cook until soft. Add a bunch of minced garlic. Cook for one more minute. Add the cream to the depth of one-third of the pot and a  couple of cups of chicken broth. Stir and bring to a boil. Add seasonings to taste. I usually make two passes of Tony’s across the pan and back, couple of dashes of hot sauce, salt and pepper, parsley and then maybe a teaspoon (or two depending of number of servings) of thyme that I rub between my palms before putting in pan. IMG_2831Now add the hashbrowns and a package of corn and cook until they are soft. Taste and adjust the seasonings. Now add the shrimp. 5 pounds of shrimp is good for 50 people. You can use more or use less. If you find it isn’t thick enough, add some cornstarch to some chicken broth and add to the pot and cook until thick. And it’s good to go. It really is easy to make and everyone who likes shrimp loves it! I always serve this as a first course but it is great as a main course too. I bet it would be good in a bread bowl. Or maybe throw in some bacon? Definitely bacon. I think I’ll try that next time : )

Sunday Pot Roast

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This recipe is really, really good. Like slap yo’ mama good. And it’s doubly good after church, with mashed potatoes or rice or noodles. Whatever you like. You will need to marinate the roast the day before. Buy a 6-8 pound piece of beef, I get whatever is on sale. Since you are marinating it, you won’t need an expensive cut because the marinade will tenderize it. Now what I do, is cut the roast in half horizontally. It will cook faster, plus there is more surface area to absorb the flavors. Combine the following ingredients for the marinade:

I cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
1 Tbsp. minced garlic, or just dump some in
1/4 cup prepared mustard (this helps bind the oil and lemon juice together)
1 Tbsp. ground pepper, coarse ground is the best, and yes that is one tablespoon : )

Coat both sides of meat with the marinade and place in ziploc bag, then pour the rest of the marinade over. Seal and chill for 24-48 hours, turning occasionally. Or not, sometimes I forget.

Remove the meat and place in a roasting pan (discard the marinade).  Sprinkle the roast with one chopped onion and add two cups of beef broth. Can sprinkle with creole seasoning. Cover with the lid. Bake at 325 degrees for 1 hour and 50 minutes. Or place in crockpot and cook on low for 6 hours. You could also cook it at 325 degrees while you are getting ready for church and then before you leave the house put the oven down to 275 or 250 depending on how long you will be gone : ) If you want to add carrots and potatoes, add some more beef broth and sprinkle the vegetables with salt and pepper.

Don’t be surprised if your family asks for it again the following Sunday!

And here’s one more way I save time on Sundays; I peel my potatoes on Saturday and place them in the pot covered with water. In the morning I boil them until they are soft, add butter and sour cream, salt & pepper. Put lid back on. When the butter is melted, mash and then just heat up when you are ready to eat!

Pasta Jambalaya Recipe

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So I made my version of pasta jambalaya tonight for one of the many missions teams that have blessed our church since Katrina. I don’t know how many times I’ve made it or how many teams have eaten it, but everyone likes it, and for all of you who asked for the recipe, here it is. This will make enough for 20 people.

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Start with 1/4 cup butter. Melt in a big pan. I use a heavy roaster that I put on two burners. Add a bag of seasoning mix, (a frozen vegetable mixture of the holy trinity: celery, onion and green pepper with some parsley) and cook till soft over medium heat. If you can’t find seasoning mix, use one onion, one green pepper and a couple stalks of celery. That should do.

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Now add some smoked sausage. I like Manda brand, but put in whatever you like. Two pounds should do, or more if you like sausage or less. I actually don’t know how much I put in. I had cut up 10 pounds because I buy big packages and just put some in the pan till it looked right to me. Cook this some more, till the sausage has browned. Now add minced garlic. I’ve never had anyone say I added too much garlic. So just put a couple of big spoonfuls in. I read it’s suppose to be good for you. Fry an additional minute. Add the meat that you removed from a rotisserie chicken. Doesn’t matter what flavor, traditional, bbq, lemon pepper. They all taste good in the jambalaya. Add two quarts of whipping cream. If you are watching calories and/or fat content, you can substitute milk or half and half, just mix in some cornstarch in with the cold liquid to thicken the sauce. I will use milk when I am cooking this for 100 people, cause whipping cream gets too expensive!

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Add two tablespoons of chicken base, sprinkle Tony’s, kosher salt and black pepper over the mix, splash some hot sauce in, and take a teaspoon of thyme, rub it between your fingers and add to the pot. Stir. Taste. Always taste. If it tastes good to you, let it simmer while you cook pasta. Bowtie or penne works well. Add the pasta to the pot, mix well, sprinkle some parsley and that’s it. We had it tonight with rolls and fried catfish.

Here is the list of ingredients:

1/4 cup butter

Frozen package of seasoning mix

Garlic

Rotisserie chicken

Two pounds sausage

Thyme, black pepper, kosher salt, hot sauce, creole seasoning (we’re pretty loyal to Tony’s)

Two quarts whipping cream

Chicken base

Fresh minced parsley or dried

Two pounds of pasta, penne or bowtie

Enjoy!

“more than one type of good mother”

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I loved this line from Downton Abbey’s first episode in season 4, spoken by Dowager Countess Violet to Mary, “My dear, there is more than one type of good mother.” 

However, we, consciously or subconsciously, have an idea of what a good mother is and it’s hard not to compare oneself especially while surfing social media, isn’t it? Even myself, doing this for 25 years sometimes wonders. I have worked full-time, part-time, stayed home, worked from home, sacrificed for ministry and His calling, stumbled, grew in faith, assurance and conviction, got up, pressed on, moved forward, scrimped, saved, spent, withdrew, questioned, analyzed, softened, and finally determined in my heart that I am the perfect mother for my children because He gave them to me and me to them. Of this I am confidant. I am not perfect, don’t act perfectly, but I do follow the One who is. He has promised that I can do ALL things, Phil. 4:13, that He has given me everything I need, 2 Peter 1:3, to be not just a good but a great mother.

So if you are caught in the trap of comparing, judging yourself, living with regrets or frustrated because you feel inadequate in your role as a mom, pull up your big girl underwear, put a smile on your face, get some attitude, you know that’s right, and in confidence love and lead the children God has given YOU!

Some of my favorite homeschool resources

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Ok, so the above quote really doesn’t have anything to do with curriculum or resources, I just like it. Homeschooling can be stressful at times but overall if you can stay home and be with your kids, learning together, playing together, imagining together, I’d say that’s pretty awesome. I’ve been doing this a long time, and did I do it perfectly? Nope. Could I have done more? Maybe. But honestly, I have and am doing my best. And I am thankful that when I started I had some great books that encouraged me, challenged me, and taught me about this lifestyle of learning at home.

More important than learning about the mechanics of home learning i.e., curriculum planning, record keeping, etc., is laying the proper foundation with your marriage, training your children to be obedient, and managing your home. Here is a list of books I love that helped me do just that.

Marriage and Family

The Shaping of the Christian Family by Elisabeth Elliot

The Christian Family by Larry Christenson

For Women Only by Shaunti Feldhahn

The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman

Child Training Tips by Reb Bradley

A Woman after God’s Own Heart by Elizabeth George

To Train up a Child by Michael and Debbi Pearl

Hints on Child Training by R. C. Ryle

The Surrendered Wife by Laura Doyle

If I had to pick just one marriage book, it would The Five Love Languages and if I had to pick just one child training book it would be To Train up a Child. Do I agree with everything written in To Train up a Child? No. The greatest thing that I took from that book was to be consistent in my discipline, to be firm and always follow through, and to make sure that there were many opportunities to strengthen the cord of love between myself and my children. If you have never read it, don’t quit halfway. Read it in its’ entirety and it may help you as much as it did me!

Home Management

The Hidden Art of Homemaking by Edith Schaeffer

Tightwad Gazette by Amy Dacyczyn

The Messies Manual by Sandra Felton

Confessions of an Organized Homemaker by Deniece Schofield

Clean Team’s Speed Cleaning by Jeff Campbell

Sink Reflections by Marla Cilley

Debt Free Living by Mary Hunt

“How to” Homeschool

Dumbing Us Down by John Gatto

How Children Fail by John Holt

Beyond Homeschooling, Abundant Living by Diana Waring

The Three “R’s” by Ruth Beechick

For the Children’s Sake by Susan Schaeffer Macaulay

Learning in Spite of Labels by Joyce Herzog

Home Style Teaching by Raymond and Dorothy Moore

The Successful Home Schooling Family Handbook by Raymond and Dorothy Moore

Educating the Whole Child by Clay and Sally Clarkson

You Can Teach Your Child Successfully by Ruth Beechick

The Christian Home School by Gregory Harris

Homeschooling for Excellence by David and Micky Colfax

The Christian Home Educator’s Curriculum Manual by Cathy Duffy

Mary Pride’s Big Book of Home Learning Series

The Ultimate Guide to Home Schooling by Debra Bell

Anyhoo, this is my list of oldies but goodies. I pray 2014 is great year for you and your family!

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10 Children’s Books Worth ReDiscovering as an Adult | RELEVANT Magazine

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10 Children’s Books Worth ReDiscovering as an Adult | RELEVANT Magazine.

Being from Canada, I have missed reading some of these books so I know what I will be doing this winter! I especially love reading the Newberry Award books and always love the illustrations of Caldecott award books. I would add to this list; 100 dresses which always makes me cry, Roll of Thunder Hear My Cry which also makes me cry, Owls in the Family  from Canadian (Yay!) author Farley Mowat, and all the Henry books written by Beverly Cleary. One of my favorite memories is my oldest son when he was around 8 reading to me the antics of Henry and his dog.  Ah, the joys of books that open up our understanding, that teach us to empathize with and learn about those different from us, that take us to new places and fill our imagination!

What books would you add?

crawfish etouffee (ay-too-fay)

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crawfish etouffee (ay-too-fay)

This recipe was given to me by my dear MIL. It’s simple, great for company served with a green salad and french bread. Of course Louisiana crawfish is the best, especially leftovers from a boil, but I usually use Bernard’s found in the frozen seafood section.

Start with a heavy pot, I love my Magnalite. Add some butter. Depends on how rich you want it. Anywhere from 1/4 to 1/2 a cup. Add a package of seasoning mix. IMG_1936

Found in the frozen vegetables. Btw, grab a couple of these because it is the base of pretty much all creole/cajun dishes. Nicknamed the holy trinity. If you can’t find it, that would be very sad. You would have to chop up some celery, green pepper, and onion.  One onion, a couple of stalks of celery and a green pepper chopped fine should do.  Cook over medium heat till soft. Add some chopped garlic. I buy a big jar from Sams and just dump some in. I’ve never dumped too much in and besides garlic is good for you. Cook for five minutes or so. Add a can of mushroom soup. I prefer Campbells. Or you can make a cream soup base yourself. But that won’t be as easy. Mix it up and then add your seasoningsIMG_1668Tony Chachere’s, Louisiana hot sauce, kosher salt, cracked black pepper, a few red pepper flakes. Start with a little then taste. Chopped fresh parsley would be better but dried will do in a pinch.  Also taste your cooking as you go along. No, I didn’t add the soul seasoning, I just thought it would be fun to add in the picture.

Now add the crawfish! IMG_1669

I also add some water to the bag, swish it around and dump in the pan to get all the goodness into the etouffee.  If you have it, add some whipping cream, for added richness. Reduce temperature to low and simmer for 5 to 10 minutes. you’re done! Serve over rice or fried catfish. Fried catfish would be really good and take it over the top. Which is what I did, of course.IMG_1670Serves 4-5.  Bon Appetit!

If you have any questions, just ask!

Sundays

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As a pastor’s wife, Sunday services are huge. We meet the seekers, the skeptics, the sincere, lives hung in the balance, deciding for eternity.  People come needing  to be loved and encouraged, for their faith to be refreshed and renewed. To see Jesus.

I {HEART} Sundays. I go with expectation, to serve, to be poured out. But Sundays are also a “work” day and I know how I approach this pivotal time is so important. So to give my best,  here are some points that I have learned that make my Sundays great!

1. Get things (meal, outfits, lessons etc.) ready the night before.  I don’t watch TV or make plans to go out and try to get to bed early!

2. Know the triggers that will start arguments on Sunday mornings.  Avoid these triggers, obviously : )

3.  The best thing to wear is a smile.

4. Look people in the eye, give a firm handshake or hug (I love giving big momma hugs) and tell them how glad you are to see them!

5. Refuse to listen to insecurity, doubts, and fears. Have faith, believe that God is going to use you, that He is going to give you everything you need to be an instrument of His mercy.

My Sunday yesterday was awesome! Pray yours was too!

 

 

Top Ten Ways to Ruin Your Kids for Life by Tricia Goyer – Church World Direct

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Top Ten Ways to Ruin Your Kids for Life by Tricia Goyer – Church World Direct.

I would also add to this list: 11.  Allow unrestricted access to internet/cable/literature.

On of my greatest concerns especially if you have preteen or teenage sons, is a lack of parental controls on the above.  Invest in online security services, use passwords and locks and be diligent! I not only have to do password and locks on our satellite service, but I also have to block specific channels.  If I don’t, even if the content is blocked, just by scrolling through the channels one can still read the descriptions of the garbage shows that appear on adult channels, which really ticks me off. Also check out the safe search options in search engines.  It takes time but the time not taken will in the long run yield too high of a price.

I hate porn, I hate its’ effects, I hate the insidiousness of its’ lies.  I hate its’ destruction of innocence and its’ entanglement.

I am going to stop now.  I am starting to get worked up and I won’t get anything else done today.  Because it makes me so mad.

As always, committed to helping you in your journey!