Monday, September 28, 2009


I picked up this book at the library after it was enthusiastically recommended by a fellow blogger, but after barely sampling the first chapter, I set it aside. Danny Silk had served up a biblical interpretation that makes me gag and I decided I couldn't choke down the rest of the book.

But for some reason I didn't return it.

Then I lost it with my kids, and I was shocked to recognize that I was using the same juvenile tone, attitudes and words as they were. We were either threatening each other or throwing our hands up in disgust. It is pretty ugly when the adult in the situation is rolling her eyes and declaring, "What-ev-a!" and "Right back atcha." When I crawled into bed feeling exhausted and defeated, there it was staring me in the face, Loving Our Kids On Purpose. By that point I figured, "What the heck; he might have a point in there somewhere."

So I devoured Loving Our Kids on Purpose and learned a great deal about peacefully helping my kids discover what's really going on in their hearts when they act sinfully, and how to help them see that it is those heart happenings that leads to their interpersonal conflicts. Instead of nagging or giving orders followed up by, "Or you'll be grounded," I've been trying to help them make good choices based on realistic outcomes. Thankfully God's provided the circumstances. We had a day with one child in the basement playing Legos while the others were diligently doing school work. Well guess who had no time with his friends after they came home from school? I didn't have to get mad; I just pointed out the fact that there is a time for school and a time for play, and he had made a choice. We've had some interesting discussions and I've learned a lot about my kids' hearts in the process. They're really neat little people with real hurts and dreams and fears, and I love them a lot.

While I still disagree with a lot of Danny Silk's psychological take on the Bible, his book has made me take some giant steps back to look at how I parent. I've built my whole doctrine of parenting on a few "cut and paste" verses that give me way too much power. I've put too much personal stock in whether my kids do things my way and haven't considered them as Image bearers, too. And with my "my way or the highway" parenting style I forgot that you truly do catch more flies with honey than you do with vinegar.

So we're all practicing a bit of self-control around here and are making choices that consider each other as more important than ourselves. It's definitely not perfect, but it's nice.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

The Best Roasted Chicken on the Planet

Oh I had a little chicky and she wouldn't lay an egg...I can't talk about chicken without that little ditty popping into my head! What really happened was that I had a wacky day and forgot to put the chicken in the crockpot this morning. When I realized it was too late I decided to make up my own oven recipe. The result was a lip-smacking, finger-licking success.

Oven Roasted Chicken

1 fryer, cut up
1 stick of butter
1/2 cup flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp chili powder
1/8 tsp black pepper
1/8 tsp dry mustard

Plop the stick of butter into a roasting pan, pop the pan into the oven, and heat oven to 425. Mix the flour and spices in a pie plate, coat the chicken with the mixture, and place skin side down in the pan with the now melted butter. Bake for 30 minutes then turn the chicken over and cook for another 15 minutes.

The finished product produces lots of great bits on the bottom of the roasting pan for making gravy.

So if you don't have the time or the inclination to make Amy's fab Newspaper Chicken, this is a fast and delicious alternative, with gravy possibilities to boot!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Jumping over the Clif

When at his office, my husband used to survive on microwave popcorn and pots and pots of coffee; not the healthiest thing in the world. For a while I packed him a lunch but most of the time it came back uneaten. I’ve fitted him out with nuts and dried fruit only to have him complain of gas. (Believe me, this is an occupational no-no! Who wants to spend an hour talking about his problems shut up in an office with a gaseous man?) He really likes Odwalla Bars and Clif Bars but in order to eat them regularly they’d need a budget line item of their own. So I experimented with ingredients and came up with these moist and tasty bars.

Homemade Energy Bars


2/3 cup honey
2/3 cup natural peanut butter
1 tsp. vanilla
2 eggs, beaten
2 2/3 cups rolled oats
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup dry milk powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 cup wheat germ
1/2 cup unsweetened dried coconut
1/2 cup dried apricots, chopped
1/4 cup dried mango, chopped
1/2 cup slivered raw almonds


1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a 9 x 13 inch pan.

2. In a large bowl, mix honey, peanut butter, vanilla, and eggs.

3. In a separate bowl, stir together the rest of the ingredients. Stir this mixture into the peanut butter mixture to make a uniform dough. Press it into the pan.

4. Bake until golden brown, about 25 minutes. Cut into bars while still warm but allow to cool completely in the pan. Wrap each bar individually and store in an airtight container for up to 1 week, or freeze for up to 1 month.

I used apricots and mangos because that’s what my husband requested, and almonds because I had some left over from making granola. Feel free to substitute other fruits and nuts or add chocolate chips, and leave me a comment about what you came up with.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Food's more fun with dip

While we haven't officially taken the Eat More Fruits and Veggies challenge over at Heavenly Homemakers (one of my new favorite sites), we've been trying to do just that: eat more fruits and veggies. We like veggies but I'm a lazy lunch lady. Because it takes time to cut all those buggers into finger-sized pieces, lunch often is eaten with a lone baby carrot or scoop of applesauce to "count" as our selection from the produce section.

What's a mom to do? Serve dip, of course! Dip makes everyone beg for peppers and cucumbers and cherry tomatoes, making Mom feel like a heel for saying, "No. Eat chips." But the veggie dip from the market is a chemical slough and the Unseen Ranch of the Lowlands mix is full of all sorts of mystery items. Even the recipe from an old cookbook included MSG as an ingredient! So this afternoon I started playing around with some recipes, starting with a ranch dressing mix recipe I found at Heavenly Homemakers. This is what I came up with:

Veggie Dip
(makes 2 cups)

16 oz. container of sour cream (I like Daisy brand. It contains one ingredient: cultured cream. Yay.)

3 3/4 tsp. dried minced onions

1 3/4 tsp. dried parsley

1 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. garlic powder

2-3 drops of hot pepper sauce

1/2 tsp. dried dill

Mix spices into sour cream and refrigerate at least a few hours for flavors to marry.