Father’s Day DIY for Your Kids

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This weekend Maddie had a friend over for the day, and they decided to have a “Pinterest” craft afternoon, creating gifts for their Dads for Father’s Day.  I put it into a video for my YouTube channel, HairstylesandHallways* (see below).  I have a couple of special guests on the video, plus bloopers which are somewhat entertaining and humiliating all at the same time–but apparently people like them.

*HairstylesandHallways is a new YouTube channel for tween and teen girls that I recently started.  My hope is to encourage girls during this identity-seeking, friendship-changing, stressful time of life for them with videos on Confidence, Faith, and Friendship.  You can watch the PROMO video when you first click on the channel to get a more in-depth description.

If you or your daughter would like to subscribe, just search HairstylesandHallways on YouTube and then click the RED SUBSCRIBE BUTTON.

Also, you can follow me on INSTAGRAM (HairstylesandHallways) where I post (almost) daily inspirational quotes, fun hairstyles and outfits for teens, and information about videos I post.

xoxo,

Amy

Healthy Peanut Butter and Honey Oat Bars

Peanut Butter and Honey Oat Bars

Here is an easy little recipe I made last night–a great low sugar option for a snack and delicious!  I sent a batch with my husband on a trip, and they will go in the kids’ lunches today.  I found them on this site.

Peanut Butter and Honey Oat Bars

 Ingredients
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1/3 cup peanut butter
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp. cinnamon, ground
  • 2 cups oats
  • 1/2 cup chopped honey roasted peanuts

Directions

Preheat oven to 300 F

Line an 8 x 8 pan with parchment paper, making sure the parchment paper hangs over the sides.

In a microwave safe bowl, add honey, coconut oil and peanut butter. Microwave for 30 seconds, stir until mixture gets runny and peanut butter completely melted in. You may have to heat for another 20 seconds or so. Mix in vanilla extract and cinnamon.

Add oats and peanuts, mix until everything is combined and the mixture is completely coated with honey and peanut butter mixture.

Pour mixture into prepared pan and press down with a back of a spoon; bake in the oven for 20 -25 minutes until lightly brown.

Once you take the bars out of the oven, press down with the back of a spoon to insure the oats are pressed firmly together. Let the oat bars cool slightly and carefully take out bars by grabbing onto the parchment paper and cut into 16 slices. Let bars cool completely and harden at room temperature.

Store bars in an air tight container in the refrigerator.

Makes 16 bars.

Nutritional Data

Calories per bar: 157.2, Fat: 8., Cholesterol: 0, Sodium: 31, Potassium: 38, Carbs: 18.8, Fiber: 2, Sugar: 10.4, Protein: 3.9

Enjoy and have a great day!

 

Meal Planning For The Busy Family

 

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I’d like to introduce a guest on the blog today–Liz Hayes.  Liz is my Mother-In-Law and friend.  She has many talents, like quilting and swinging a nine-iron, but where I have learned the most from Liz is in the kitchen.  Liz is who I call if I have a question about the best way to make gravy for a Thanksgiving meal, or if a food item can be frozen and still resemble its former self when thawed.  Which is why I do not hesitate to have her share some of her wisdom with all of us here on GracefullHome.  Here she teaches what she did for meal planning as a busy working mom of two:

 
My daughter-in-law, Amy, has graciously invited me to share some space in her blog.  I really enjoyed her recent blog dealing with chores and budgets.  I have been trying to figure out how the chore system might work with my husband.  I can probably guess what his “payment” might entail!
I do want to fully endorse using a budget system.  We embraced the cash envelope/allotment sheet budget 35+ years ago.  At that time we had credit cards with Sears, Penney’s, gas companies and Master Card – all with revolving balances.  We eventually paid them all off and have kept it that way.  Now we use Visa 99% of the time and pay it off every month – no exceptions!  We are retired and entered retirement with two fairly new cars paid for and no debt other than our mortgage.  We actually have a tighter budget in retirement, but we still travel and entertain quite a lot.  Things still happen that upset balances, liked having to replace the house A/C last summer, but the framework holds.

I know that many of you are in the midst of raising a family.  Some of you may also be working full time as well.  Life is hectic with all the different schedules and energy is often lacking.  Laundry, grocery shopping and meal planning and preparation never seems to end!  I understand, I was there once too, and you could have written the grocery list in the dust on just about any surface in my house.  I would like to share a stress reliever in meal planning I utilized at that time.  I still use it today when I am expecting houseguests.

1. Every other Sunday afternoon I would plan the meals for two weeks.  I would plan 10-12 meals since there would be the inevitable crazy night of grabbing fast food or a pizza.  A few of those meals might be assigned to a particular day but mostly they were free flowing and the list was posted on the side of the refrigerator so I could just wake up and pick a meal for dinner that evening.

2.  I would do the major shopping once every two weeks only returning to the store for milk, bread and produce.  This meant if the kids consumed all the granola bars the first week, I didn’t replace them until it was time to go shopping again.  Since I made my list on Sunday, I would typically grocery shop on Monday after work.

3,  In the morning, before I left for work, I would take a look at the list and then take the necessary ingredient(s) out of the freezer and leave them to thaw in the sink.   (I know – so unhealthy – but we all survived!)  An hour of planning twice a month took away the daily stress!

You know what meals your family likes and what you typically prepare and serve.  Start making a list and keeping it on your phone or computer.  Use categories like, meals, desserts, salads, appetizers etc.  When planning, look at the list and make choices or simply keep the same rotation.

Make everyone in the family share the responsibility for adding items to the shopping list.  When they use the end of something or run out of their shampoo, it is their responsibility to add it to the list.  I highly recommend the Apple app Grocery IQ, it can be synced to everyone’s phone and you can make separate lists for Costco, King Soopers, Home Depot etc.

Below is the list I used so many years ago.  I’m sure Jonathan and Jennifer will recognize many of these menus.

 

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In case you can’t read this, here are a few on the list:

Hawaiian Chicken, Hamburgers, Lasagna, Spaghetti, Meatloaf, Chicken Divan, Beef and Rice, Mac and Cheese

Ask your family what their favorites are and make your own list!

Stations of the Christmas Story–A Family Activity

 

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Yesterday our family braved the mall–the Saturday before Christmas.  Our annual tradition of shopping as a family and purchasing gifts for each other was a great day. After a quick pow wow to share ideas (small ones for the siblings to get each other) we split off into pairs to shop, texting each other with updates and location status throughout the afternoon.   There were tremendous crowds, long lines, returns as we realized we duplicated gifts, and more lines.  There was Christmas music, food, and beautiful decorations everywhere.  The air was filled with a buzzing of excitement.  We came home tired but successful on our mission–and as a mom, happy to see the kids scheme and strategize to get the perfect gift for each other.

Yet, it is not the full picture of Christmas.  There is a deeper river of meaning that flows through the season–one that easily might be missed as the 25th quickly approaches.  Which is why tonight, our family once again gathered to do something together this season, but something a little more serious, a little more, holy.

With the lights turned down, and candles lit, we invited our children and our oldest daughter’s boyfriend, Isaac, to join us in The Stations of The Christmas Story.  This is similar to “Stations of the Cross” but with a Christmas theme.  We moved throughout 7 stations, reading the Christmas Story in Luke and Matthew, and the kids writing responses in a journal we gave them.  At a couple of stations  a song was played, at some, just discussion and not writing.  My hope was to bring the story of Jesus’s birth into a more tangible form, something our family could take with us going forward, hoping to silence just a bit the wants and wishes and commercialism of the season.

We had a great discussion about angels (a theme that runs through the story) and tried to put ourselves in Mary and Joseph’s shoes as they traveled this journey together.  We listened and shared and did a little bribing with ice cream if everyone hung in there for the duration!

Here are the documents I created for the night.  Please feel free to print out and use, or tweak for your own taste if you want to try this with your family.  (When you click on link, it will take you to another page that you will need to click the link a second time).

Stations of The Christmas Story–leader guide

Stations Journal–Journal Cover

Stations–inside of Journal

The inside of the journal is not quite lined up right–you’ll see if you print it out.  Just cut down the middle and line up inside the journal cover.

 

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PLEASE don’t feel like you need to squeeze this in in the next few days before Christmas in order to complete the Christmas experience for your kids!  Maybe file it away for next year, and just read the Christmas story together.

Tips for the experience:

Dim the lights to create a nighttime scene–the candles are a great effect.

Set up 7 candle lit stations around the house, ending in a manger scene if you have one.

Move from station to station as a group.  The leader guide (first document) is helpful for the adult leading the group.  The group members carry their journals around with them.

Ask each child to have a bible with them–they can take turns reading the scripture.

For younger children:

Take out 2-3 of the stations for attention span.  You can re word the questions for age-appropriateness.

5 Bad Mom Habits I have

There is nothing like being a parent that exposes your weaknesses.  I actually (always in hindsight) am thankful that I have little people who say things daily to help me be a better me, like:

“Mom, your roots are showing.”

“Mom, why are you talking to me like you’re mad?” (uh, because you just dumped all the clean clothes from the dryer on the floor looking for your missing cheer gear and then walked away….but you’re right, I should try to have a more calm tone when I call you back in to the laundry room, yes.)

“Mom, you just went through a red light.” (barely)

“Mom, you have flabby arms.”

“Seriously, you can’t help me with my Trigonometry homework mom?”

“Mom, how come I can’t have a soda but you have one every day.” (um, good point)

“Mom, you are having BSS again” (They have coined this term BIBLE STUDY STRESS  as I get dinner finished and the house ready to host bible study each Monday)

Yep, I love it.  Not in the moment of course, but later as I process, it really makes me think about how I’m speaking, thinking, acting, modeling my life for my children (and reminds me to schedule an appointment with the hairdresser).  Our kids are also very sweet and loving, but bantering and respectful honesty is something we have permitted in our home–keeps us in check and helps us all learn how to take some constructive criticism, laugh a little at ourselves, and hopefully be less defensive in life.

Through this process of “child imposed awareness” I have discovered that I have developed some mom habits that are not so appealing:

1. I EAT MY CHILDREN’S FOOD

This is not food off their plate, but mainly candy they have stashed in their dresser or closet that I seek out when I realize after lunch that there is absolutely no dessert in the kitchen.  I try to only eat enough that I satisfy my craving, always promising myself that I will replenish their supply.  Which I forget to do 100% of the time.  And I get caught.

2. I HIDE MY FOOD

In the converse, I hide the sweets that I buy for myself because with three teen/pre-teen’s living here, anything really good to eat disappears faster than a water droplet on a hot rock.  Often my stash is found, but I get to stretch the York Peppermint Patties out a little longer when they are in the VERY back of the fridge behind the tall milk and OJ containers.

3. MY PHONE

I haven’t really developed enough guilt  regarding the first two bad habits to make any changes, but this one I am actively working on. My phone has become a rectangular not so soft attachment of me.  I find myself annoyed at how much my kids are on their phones, yet as soon as I pull into the garage I have to check my messages and email.  And while I’m cooking and doing laundry. And sometimes at a stoplight (see, I do stop at red lights).  You get the picture.  So, I am trying to not touch my phone unless I have to when my kids are around.  It stays in my purse or my pocket so it is visually out of sight.  This is harder than it seems when we all seem to have the habit of “checking” our phone as much as we….well I can’t think of anything else we check as much.

4. REMINDING

This is definitely part of my controlling nature, but I remind my kids about an awful lot.  This shouldn’t be the case as my husband and I are well versed in the Love and Logic parenting style, which frowns on any reminding.  But, it is in our nature to prevent our kids from forgetting something, or not doing chores, because it makes more work for us to enact consequences.  Yet, I know that it is when I choose not to remind, even when that means stepping over a sock, wrapper and backpack for two days as I go up the stairs, my kids learn faster (because then they earn an extra chore or pay me money).  So, I am trying to REMIND LESS.

5. IGNORING THEIR BATHROOM

So this is one I just choose to do because I’m in denial.  With three mixed-gender hormone laden kids sharing a bathroom, you would think nothing would surprise me.  Well, think again.  A month ago I walked into the bathroom (my fault, I should know better) to this:

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Yep, that is a PLANT growing out of the sink!  I stood there befuddled for about 10 minutes.  How the heck? ? ? Then, my motherly detective brain kicked in and I remembered that my son has birds which we feed bird seed, and for some reason he thought that it would be okay to send the bird seed remains down the sink instead of the trash.  The most scary part for me was that it took long enough for a plant to germinate for me to look into their sink.

So this goes on my “bad mom-habit” list.  I need to pay more attention to the goings-on of my children’s bathroom.

While I’m sure there are many more not-so-desirable habits I entertain, these ones currently stand out.  Hopefully this gave you a laugh or at least an encouragement that motherhood is a work in progress!  I try to remind myself daily to have grace for myself and my parenting journey, while trying to seek excellence as much as possible.  With God’s help, both these things are possible!

On another note, I would greatly appreciate you sharing this link, or asking your friends to “like” this on FB if you are a fan of this blog.  I am trying to grow it this year!

Have a great day,

Amy

 

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