Archives for April 2012

Three Websites To Simplify Life

Written By Amy

I recently learned about three websites that have already been helpful/made my life easier and wanted to pass them on.

1.  PUNCHBOWL  is an e-card sharing site…I recently sent a quick thank you note to someone, and they have a good selection of free cards!  You can also do a paid membership, but I’m sticking with free.   Just go to

2.  THE KAHN ACADEMY is a website full of online lessons for your child to look up when he/she is struggling with a concept.  Math, Geography, History, you name it.  Mr. Kahn has uploaded hundreds of tutoring snippets which he presents on a chalkboard lesson–helpful for those of us parents who want to brush up on our Algebraic linear equations to keep up with the kids!  My friend who has a high school student recommended it to me, however my elementary-age kids were just on the site getting some math help.  Love this resource!  Click here

3. MANILLA is a website designed to help you organize all of your online bills. I recently joined Manilla and it was simple and straightforward. I linked all of my online bills to this site and with one password have access to everything–I am even getting reminers about due dates on my email.

Click on

We would love to hear your favorite sites to simplify and make our lives easier!  Comment below.  Have a great weekend.









Written By Jen


We had a lesson tonight in restitution.  The Mirriam-Webster definition of restitution is : an act of restoring or a condition of being restored  : a restoration of something to its rightful owner : a making good of or giving an equivalent for some injury.  The Bible talks about restitution too.  One time it is mentioned is in the book of Numbers 5:5-8 it says “5 The LORD said to Moses, 6 “Say to the Israelites: ‘Any man or woman who wrongs another in any way and so is unfaithful to the LORD is guilty 7 and must confess the sin they have committed. They must make full restitution for the wrong they have done, add a fifth of the value to it and give it all to the person they have wronged.” emphasis added by me.

So here is the plain english explanation, if you mess it up, break it, lose it, take it, steal it, ruin it… fix it, replace it, restore it, and make it even better than it was before.  Go over and above to make it right.  Be responsible.  Take accountability for your actions.  Do everything in your power to make it right and then some.


You send a baseball through someone’s window.  Replace it immediately with an even nicer window than before.

At our house tonight, I asked our child to stop playing with a glass candle holder.  The playing continued.  It broke.  We went to the mall and the child purchased another with their own ‘fun’ money.  Not because I wanted the money or needed the holder, but to teach responsibility.  To teach our children to take care of other people’s property.  If something breaks either by accident or misuse, restitution is always appropriate.

You don’t put your shopping cart away, and the wind takes it into someones car and chips the paint.  You fix it.

You step on your neighbors fence and the post breaks.  Fix the post and paint it while you are at it.

You borrow your neighbors propane.  You replace it with a full tank.

You take a sprinkler and it breaks.  You replace it with a better one.

You borrow a friends shirt and stain it.  You replace it and add in a gift card.

Your two-year old picks the neighbors tulips.  You plant new bulbs and get them a vase full for their table.


Confess.  Ask for forgiveness. Make it right, and then better.

Admit. Apologize. Restore and make it better.

Food for thought.  This requires humility, time, talents, care, and love.  It’s an inconvenient choice, that is the right thing to do.  Restitution requires character, honesty, honor, respect, and strength.  It requires a lot out of you.  It requires a lot out of your children. But, I say a worthy challenge in character and growth, indeed.

That’s Redemption

Written By Amy

The other night I sat down to watch a movie with my oldest daughter.  We had weathered a teenage girl vs. mom day and needed some time to reconnect and just hanging out while my husband was traveling and her siblings were in bed.  The movie started and we settled in with popcorn and blankets.  As the minutes passed I realized that I didn’t really like the direction the film was taking (how it was displaying relationships and some inappropriate humor) and wrestled as to whether to continue watching, hoping the movie would get better.  It didn’t…I made one last-ditch effort to figure out the decision and texted my friend who had just seen the movie…”Does it redeem itself?” I texted.  “Nope, actually my husband and I turned it off half way through,” she texted back.  Click, I shut it off.  My daughter was bummed, knowing in her heart that we should not watch it, but still wanting too. (It was laugh-out-loud-funny in some parts!) I was disappointed because I wanted us to reconnect and have a good night together.  Now what?

“Mom, how do I know when to make those decisions?  I liked that movie, so how come I didn’t decide to turn it off and you did?” my daughter asked.  The next two hours were spent, the two of us on the couch wrapped in blankets, talking about discernment and how the closer we draw to God the more clear those type of decisions become.  We talked about the Holy Spirit, and his gentle convictions that probe our hearts, and the strength he gives us to resist temptation. I shared times where I did not always make good decisions (and still don’t).  We talked about life.  There were some tears and hugs and ultimately we had reconnected on a deeper level than a movie night could have ever delivered.

That’s redemption.

Here’s another story of redemption.

“I am the Lord, and I will bring you out from under the yoke of the Egyptians.  I will free you from being slaves to them, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with mighty acts of judgement.”  Exodus 6:6


The story of the Israelites living as slaves under the Egyptians desperately needed redemption.  How much longer could they survive?  God swept in and delivered them from the mighty oppressive hand they were under.  And it was not just the lives of the Israelites that experienced redemption, but Joseph’s and Job’s and David’s and Esther’s life, and of course Jesus, just to name a few.  Of course, these are much greater stories of redemption than watching-a-bad-movie-turned-good night with my daughter.  But they are reminders to us that we are also God’s people, and we will personally experience redemption in our lives, now, in the midst of our circumstances, and ultimately when we meet him on the other side of death.

Our redeemer lives.


Be Encouraged

Posted by Jen

Hey friends.  I hope you all have a wonderful weekend.  I have been reminded lately that the world starts to spin these last few months of school.  It is a time of completion, parties, celebrations and life just starts to feel like it’s spilling over the top of my cup.  Instead of just pushing through, I am trying to enjoy it.  I am trying to be thankful for the business.  Look into eyes.  Give hugs.  Embrace the moments.  This is the only life we get.  So, I am trying to enjoy it.  Embrace the moments.  Let things fall for the sake of loving those around you and being present.  One shot. One life. One moment to embrace.  I hope you have a wonderful weekend.

Sausage and Lentil Soup

Written By Amy

Oh, the things (food-related) I have tried and liked this past year have proved that you can teach an old dog new tricks.  I have always been a very picky eater by everyone’s standards, although most days I seem to find plenty to satisfy my appetite.  However, I have branched out, added a few new vegetables to my repertoire and tried salad for the first time a month ago (really!).  This recipe I am going to share with you was one I tentatively tried at a women’s retreat and just loved it!  Unfortunately, I am the only one in my family who enjoys it, so I make a big pot for myself and heat it up for lunch for about two weeks.

Sausage and Lentil Soup (a recipe from Carrabas with a couple of modifications)

  • 1 lb Italian sausage (You can also use Italian turkey sausage)
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 stalk celery , chopped
  • 2 large carrots , chopped
  • 1 small zucchini  chopped
  • 6 cups chicken broth
  • spinach (to taste)
  • 2 -3 garlic cloves
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups dry lentils
  • black pepper
  • red pepper flakes
  • basil
  • oregano
  • parsley
  • thyme



  1. Brown sausage; drain off fat.
  2. In a large pot combine all ingredients bring to boil.
  3. Reduce heat,cover.
  4. Simmer for about 1 hour or until lentils are tender. Add water if necessary, for desired consistency. If you like a thicker consistency, puree about a cup and add back to pot.
  5. Add spinach at the last-minute to wilt
  6. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and serve.

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