Archives for October 2011

Parenting: Spice Up Your Child’s Lunch!!


One of my least favorite parts about the kids going back to school is making their lunches every morning.  For years I have made my kids suffer through peanut and butter and jelly sandwiches because, by golly, all I ever had as a kid was peanut butter and honey sandwiches…for years on end, and I turned out fine!  No matter how many times I just wanted to take the easy road and let my kids buy school lunches, I just couldn’t bring myself to do it.  Until Jamie Oliver has transformed our district lunch program (please do!) I just couldn’t swallow the idea of my kids eating junk (because they would only eat that part) day after day….and, truthfully,  I am a control freak.  Actually, my kids get to pick one day out of the week to buy school lunch, but inevitably they each choose a different day so I still end up spreading the same peanut butter on the same bread at 6:00 am each morning.

So, when I clicked on the link that Jen shared about a month or so ago on our GraceFULLhome Facebook page regarding a new lunch idea, I was fascinated!  The idea is really simple…purchase a compartmentalized plastic box and fill it with a variety of different healthy foods every day.  This idea was created by a mom who wanted to be creative with her kindergartener’s lunches, and she picture-journaled days and days worth of ideas…so great for someone like me who is a visual learner (won’t try a new recipe without a pic of the finished product) Here are a few that I have tried–notice, no sandwiches–and my kids LOVE them:

Above, this one has bagel chips, cream cheese, and ranch in the green container for dipping the broccoli.

Below, BBQ sauce for dipping the chicken.

Did I mention my kids love this?

Below, the morning line up…


I got the containers at Safeway, but the woman who originated this idea said she gets hers at Target…didn’t find them at our location.

Here is the link to “Ethan’s Lunches”  where you can see many many creative lunch ideas.  Thank you Ethan’s mom!!!


Sharing the Good Stuff : Messing with My Mind

Written By Jen

I listened to an AMAZING sermon called, I Didn’t Know on the way home from Jersey this weekend.  Jim our pastor lays it out.  We all have something in our life that is tossing us around, right?  Really big potentially, scary questions.  Should I do this? Can I have that?  Can I go here?  What if I do that?  It would feel really good if I… had sex with him, did that drug, spent that money, yelled at her, hit them, drank this, lied about that, had this, watched that, and the list goes on.  We all have this stuff.  I do.  In short the sermon is going to take a look at the excuses we use when what we want to do is in conflict with what God tells us to do.  Sometimes I feel there is a subtle battle raging in my mind, over what is right, what is good, what do you want and why?  For example, I want to buy all of us winter clothing.  Then it goes something like this.  How much should we spend, be wise, don’t care, just do it, no wait and see what you need, just do it, spend wisely, get what you want, be self controlled, set limits, no don’t.  These mind games can lead to serious situations.  What happens when they are about your relationships?   The stakes are high.  The battles begin in our minds.  If your decision could hurt the people closest to you, the people who you love the most then, the stakes are HIGH.    Our actions start in our mind long before we make a move.  I think this sermon is good for ANYONE.  I feel like my mind has been a battle field lately.  I needed to hear this.  Do you?  Do you have any side conversations going on in your mind? Have you been coming up with some good excuses lately? Me too!  I think most of us do.   You can click on this link and listen to it while you check your email or browse the web, or just sit and listen to it  but, listen.  The stakes are high.  It starts in our minds, and our minds can MESS with us.

I Didn’t Know

Bitter Words

Written By Amy

Do your words ever get you in trouble?  I mean, do you ever say things that you wish you could take back because they hurt someone?  I know I have.

I have been learning a lot about “words” lately in the bible study I am doing.   Priscilla Shrier’s study, Can We Talk?, takes us straight to God’s word to see what He has to say about what we say:

Let no foul or polluted language, no evil word or unwholesome or worthless talk come out of your mouth, but only such speech that is good and beneficial to the spiritual progress of others…that it may be a blessing and give grace to those who hear it.  Let all bitterness and indignation and wrath and resentment and quarreling and slander be banished from you, with all malice.  And become useful and helpful and kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.     Ephesians 4:29-32

Just for fun, go back to this verse and notice all the absolutes….all bitterness, wrath, etc.,  no evil word or worthless talk, only  speech that is good.  At first glance of this verse, I think that I live my life in a way that follows these commands….I’m not a bitter, gossipy, resentful, quarreling woman, and I don’t speak evil words or swear, yet…if I’m really honest with myself and don’t brush over the “All’s and No’s,” I have work to do.   I tend to make exceptions to my words when, for example, my kids have REALLY disobeyed or I REALLY think I’m right and need to make a point in an argument with my husband.  I feel justified in unleashing my tongue. My words can lack gentleness, be absent of grace, and often not tender-hearted in emotional situations . I wish that I could say as a Christian woman who has been walking with God this many years that I have this area of my life worked out perfectly, but I don’t.  I am still a work in progress.  But God, who is the model of good and tender and forgiving, gently ushers me toward the person he wants me to be.

God sets the bar very high, doesn’t he?  I think in his wisdom he knows the power of our tongue, for good and for bad, and gives us a loving warning, knowing our capacity to hurt ourselves and others.

So, let us ask God to help us in this area, just as David did in Psalm 141:3

Set a guard over my mouth, O Lord;

keep watch over the door of my lips.




Celebrate : Halloween 2011

Written By Jen

Here are a few of my favorite things for Halloween this year!

Trick-or-Treat Topiaries from Crafty Sisters! I want to make these with my kids this year!


Mumified Oreos from, How does she?



These cookies from Glorious Treats are ADORABLE!


Creative and Cute! I love the polka dots! From Half Baked.


You can buy these Cupcake Toppers from Edible Details.

This is cute and I think I could do this Pumpkin Rice Krispie Treat! (maybe not the leaves, but, the rest of it!


This is an Aqua and Orange Halloween Monster Brunch from Hostess with the Mostess. Great colors! I like the popcorn and candy corn idea too! Hay Bales are a great accent for a Halloween Party too! These cookies can be bought from The Cookie Jar!






Give Back: Pumpkin Carving


I found a SIMPLE and CREATIVE way to give to charity this Halloween!  In the October issue of Better Homes and Gardens (one of my favorite magazines) they are offering a free download of customized pumpkin carving stencils that represent five great charities: The Humane Society, Big Brothers and Big Sisters, Susan G. Komen for the Cure, Rebuilding Together, and  March of Dimes.  For every stencil downloaded, BHG will donate $2.00 up to $5000.00 per charity!

What a great way to share with kids the spirit of giving on this “spirited” holiday (and to educate them on the mission of these 5 charities).  Our family will be picking some of these designs for our pumpkins this year:

Just click on this link:

Please send us pictures if you decide to carve any of these designs, we’d love to see them.


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