Homemade Laundry Detergent {DIY}

Not all of my recipes are because I want to be healthy.  This recipe is just because I wanted to save money!  On a fixed, tight budget, any way to save budget is the way to go.  When I first made the detergent, I didn’t have any children and did laundry once a week.  This lasted us more than 2 years!  It cost us about $20 to make.  This is definitely cheaper to make, and lasts way longer than commercial laundry detergent.  It cleans SO well!  It even cleans and deodorizes my husband’s stinky summer workout clothes.

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Burned Out {Lifestyle}

I became a Christian when I was 14 at a Christian camp in New Hampshire.  I meant it at the time, but when I went to a conservative college years later, I felt the fear of the fire and brimstone messages I was hearing during Bible Conference my freshman year that I rededicated my life to Jesus.  I felt that I didn’t live a life towards Him, though I was never one to rebel, or anything like that. (Though if you ask my mom, she would say that opposite, but that wasn’t in my nature.)   Now, I am not a fan of using fear to bring people to Jesus, but that’s a topic for another time.

Though my college was super conservative and legalistic, it was right for me at the time.  My church in my teens didn’t teach me much as far as what the Bible says (it was more for socialization in my book), so it was a good time for me to learn what the Bible says and to make more Christian friends. Read More

Soft Pretzels with Spicy Cheese Dip {Recipe}

With football season now upon us, now it’s time to start thinking of those football game snacks!  These soft pretzels are so amazing they make the store-bought taste awful.  Or, in my case, these pretzels make watching football bearable.  (I don’t like any sport that has a ball.  For real.  I am more of an artsy, cooking, gymnastics, horseback riding, dance…pretty much anything that requires having artistic talent.)  But, if I have to watch football, it’ll be the Philadelphia Eagles—cuz they’re so good!

Hahaha!  I crack myself up.

As I said, these soft pretzels can make any sport bearable. Read More

4 Ways to Mess up Raising Children {Lifestyle}

Do you not want your child to talk to you when you get older?  Are you tired of your child or do you regret having your child?  The following is a guaranteed way to ensure that your child will not call or talk to you when they move out of the house.

  • Talk down to your child.

Always scold her that she did wrong, but never tell her when she did right. Praising shows a sign of weakness, and could give her a big head.  You need to do your best to keep her humble!  No one likes someone who is confident in herself.  Make sure you chew her out for a minimum of an hour a day.  Bonus points if you say that you regret having her once a week.

  • Never have heart-to-heart talks with your child.

Unless you yell at him for something he did wrong of course. Talking to your child may show your child your weakness.  Never tell your child anything personal or show that you are human.  You need to keep the air that you are perfect and untouchable to your child.  Plus, you don’t have time for meaningless talks with your child!  You have Facebook and Instagram to update to show strangers out there what a perfect parent you are.

  • Don’t accept your child for who she is.

Try to change them to be who you want them to be, or who you think they should be. Your daughter wants to be an artist?  No way!  Artists can’t make it in the real world, and most don’t make enough money!  You need to tell her she is going to be a doctor, even if she does get squeamish at the sight of blood.  She needs to make good money so you can brag about her on Facebook and how successful she is and how much money she’s making.  Your son is an introvert and you are not?  This will not do!  Force him to go to social events and tell him that de needs to make more friends.  Tell her that he is too sensitive, too shy, too quiet, a hermit, and that is not healthy.  Do your best to change him to be an extrovert, even if it kills you.

  • Don’t develop a relationship with your child.

Never be there when he needs you. Unless it benefits you, of course. Work so much to make money for them* to have the life you never had, but make sure you are not around when they need you. Money and material things always trump quality time. Never attend their boring games; use work as an excuse.  Never ask him about his day.  Make sure you are never home, and when you are home, make yourself so busy cleaning (while muttering how worthless your child is under your breath) or on the computer/phone so your child can’t approach you.  Put your child in so many activities so you don’t have to deal with him.  Force him to go on vacations with you every summer, and grumble and scold him the whole trip.  Force him to be around you the whole time, but don’t do anything he wants to do.

Obviously, the points mentioned above are tongue-in-cheek.  It’s common to hear older adults complain how their child doesn’t call them, talk to them, or won’t even see them.  This is so disheartening to hear and experience.  Thoughts go around that the child is selfish, greedy, self-absorbed.  This could be true, but it could also be the fact that parents just weren’t there for their children (mentally and/or physically), mentally abused their child, or refused to accept their child was their own person.Child

What to Do Right
  • Praise Your Child.

I am not talking about giving her medals for just participating. Build her up; praise her for her hard work.  The harder she works on something, the more you should praise her!  If she does something wrong that needs to be corrected, do the sandwich method:  positive, negative, and positive.  Also, explain why they did wrong.  Focus more on the positive. It’s not wrong to let her know you are proud of them.  I know the Bible says “Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.” (Proverbs 16:18) and “When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.” (Proverbs 11:2), but being proud of your child is actually expressing delight in the child and a feeling of deep satisfaction with what the child has been able to accomplish.  This is basically saying, “I love my child.”  This type of pride is other-centered and can be nothing sinful about it.  In fact, even God was proud of Jesus.

Children desperately need to know they are loved and appreciated. Their self-esteem is based largely on the input they receive from their parents.  They tend to grow up seeing themselves the way their parents see them.  It’s absolutely vital to reassure her that she is valuable in the sight of God.

  • Have a lot of conversations with your child.

If you want your child to come to you when they have something big and important to tell or discuss with you, you need to listen to the small things. When children are a toddler, I know that they can talk for hours (and hours and hours), but listen to them when they talk excitedly about their favorite toy.  Listen to your child when he talks to you about Minecraft.  Listen to your child when they talk to you about their good friends at school.  Those little things will become big things when they can trust you and know you will listen.  You children will not come to you if they know you will not listen (or chew them out) in the first place.

  • Accept your child for the individual they are.

Your child is their own individual. There will never be someone the same as him ever.  Your child is not a mini version of yourself.  Your child is not your second chance at life. Do now force your child to do something they don’t want to do just because you didn’t get a chance.  Your child may love art—encourage that.  Your child may love soccer—root for her.  Your child may love animals—inspire him the best you can.  Your child may be an introvert that has a sensitive heart.  This is the way God may your child.  Embrace that.  Have your child be the best person they can be with the way that God made them.  Don’t try to change them—it won’t work.  Don’t make them feel inferior for who they are.

  • Try to be the best parent you can be for your child.

Develop a great relationship with them. Like I mentioned above, listen to them.  When you get home, try to keep your phone/computer away as much as possible.  Be there for your child.  Quality time, not quantity is the key.  Do puzzles, play tag, or whatever they love to do.  Go to their games or music events.  Be their biggest cheerleader!  Don’t sit there in the stand on your phone complaining to everyone how bored you are.  Talk to them in the car.  (This is a perfect place to bond with your child as you both can’t go anywhere else!)  Just take time to bond with your child, earn their trust, and be there for them.

Of course, doing all of these things doesn’t guarantee that your child will be close to you, but at least you can be self assured you did the best you could for your child.  You only have your child for 18 years.  In the grand scheme of life, that is so short.  Make every moment matter to your child.

*Working to make ends meet to pay the bills and such is a different story.  I am talking about those that work long hours so they look rich.



Merry Christmas!

Just a quick little note to wish all of you Merry Christmas!  I hope all of you have a wonderful day full of hope, joy, and love!


What Christmas Means to Me {Inspiration}

For most, Christmas is a time of frenzied Christmas shopping, stress, decorating, Santa, trees, cookies, and endless waiting.  But, for Christians who read and believe the Bible, Christmas takes on a whole other meaning.Christmas

For Christians, Christmas is a time to reflect and celebrate the born of our Savior.  The Savior who left the comforts and perfectness of Heaven to come to earth as a lowly human.  He is King of everything, yet He was not born in a castle on a blush bed.  Nope.  He was born in a dusty stable surrounded by dirt, poop, and farm animals.  Have you ever been in a barn?  It’s not sanitized, clean, or even smell-free.  Yet, Jesus humbled Himself to be born this way for us.  He was not transported down from Heaven in a celestial body, either.  He was born as an infant in a human body that could feel pain, hurts, and feelings.  He became human so He could understand our pleasures, sadness, agony, and struggles.  Jesus knew what it meant to be thirsty, have hunger, and go through temptation.  He knew what it meant to have such sorrow that you cry.  He knew what it meant to have such joy that you can’t help but laugh.  He knew what it meant to be so tired that you couldn’t keep your eyes open anymore.  He knew what it meant to be troubled.  Jesus was like us in every aspect—mind, body, heart, and will—except for sin.  He was and is the only human who didn’t have sin.

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.  We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. –John 1:14

Jesus came as a human baby to redeem mankind.  In Hebrews 10:1-8, it states that Jesus had to have a human body in order to pay the price for sin.  Without the shedding of His blood, there would be no elimination of sin!  Jesus had to be a human to pay the price for sin, but he must be God to satisfy God’s demands for sin.Christmas

How awesome that the divine Son of God would not just take on true humanity that first Christmas, then take that all the way to the cross for us! He became man in full so that he might save us in full.  Jesus was born to die on the Cross for our sins.  That alone is enough to be thankful and celebrate the birth of our Savior.

Slow Cooker Brown Sugar Honey Coated Ham {Recipe}

I have three confessions.  First, I don’t like turkey.  I mean, I don’t hate it and I can eat it, but I don’t go out of my way for it.  If I am at a dinner and there is another option besides turkey, I will take that.  Plus, last year, we were given a 25 lb turkey, and just messing with the raw turkey turned my stomach.  Second, we don’t drink soda.  Like ever.  I don’t want the fructose or anything like that in my house.  We don’t even really have juice in my house!  Finally, we don’t usually have sugar in my house.  I am not a sugar person naturally, and we don’t want Lemon to be addicted to sugar!  (That doesn’t mean she never has candy or cake ever!)  Of course, when Lemon needs her treatments, all of my sugar rules go out the window.  She drinks chocolate milk during her weekly treatments, and gets a large Icee once a month, just so she’s super hydrated.  The girl’s teeth are going to fall out!

Anyway, this recipe breaks two of those rules!  I figured once a year, especially for the holidays, rules are meant to be broken.  This recipe of Brown Sugar Honey Coated Ham is amazing!  It’s so simple to make, frees up the oven for other recipes, and allows you to forget about it all day.  You cannot mess this recipe up.

Brown Sugar Honey Coated Ham

You need a ham that will fit into your slow cooker. This is important because you don’t want a ham that won’t fit in it!  You can get any kind you want, just make sure it isn’t a sugar coated one.  If you do not get one that is spiral cut, you will need to cut it yourself. The one that I got was a boneless, whole ham.

Put the ham in the slow cooker (I suggest using a liner so you don’t have to clean the slow cooker after!) and pour the cola over the ham.  Turn the slow cooker on low to start warming it.

Brown Sugar Honey Coated Ham

Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, combine the honey, water, and brown sugar, and turn it on high.  As soon as it starts to boil, take it off the heat and pour over the ham.

Brown Sugar Honey Coated Ham

Allow the ham to cook for 4 hours on low.  After 4 hours, if your ham isn’t spiral cut, take it out and cut it.  Put it back in the slow cooker and, using a baster, put the liquid over the ham.  Turn the slow cooker to high for an hour.  If you would like every half hour, baste the ham slices to ensure the flavor is all over the ham.

Brown Sugar Honey Coated Ham Brown Sugar Honey Coated Ham

See?  Brown Sugar Honey Coated Ham is easy peasy, lemon squeezy!  It is so good and sweet, a nice contrast to the saltiness of the ham.

Print Recipe
Slow Cooker Brown Sugar Honey Coated Ham
Brown Sugar Honey Coated Ham
Course Main Dish
Cuisine Dinner
Course Main Dish
Cuisine Dinner
Brown Sugar Honey Coated Ham
  1. Place the ham in the slow cooker and pour the cola over the ham. Turn the slow cooker on to low to start warming the ham and soda.
  2. Meanwhile, in a sauce pan, combine the brown sugar, honey, and water, bringing it to the boil. Once it starts boiling, pour over the ham. Cover with the lid, and cook for 4 hours on low.
  3. If your ham isn’t spiral cut, after 4 hours, take it out of the cooker and cut into slices. Put it back in the slow cooker and baste with the liquid. Turn the slow cooker on high and baste every half hour or so, if desired. Turn it back to low after an hour. Cook for 6-10 hours (total) on low.
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Crabbies {Recipe}

Do you have a holiday favorite that you have had every Christmas for as long as you can remember?  For me, it is crabbies.  We always had that Christmas day, as well as bacon wrapped chestnuts, deviled eggs, and other appetizers.  We pretty much fill up on appetizers that, by the time that dinner rolled around, we were too full to each much of the dinner!  In recent years, we have all gotten smart enough to have a light dinner of something that isn’t too holiday-ish, such as sushi.

Crabbies are not what you think they are.  I have realized that this is a New England dish as many Southerners and Westerners have never heard of it.  Even people who don’t like seafood like these as you can’t really even taste the crabmeat!  It’s not like a crab cake at all.

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Stress Free Holiday Season

There was a time very recently when I didn’t like Christmas time at all.  Sure, I loved that it was about Jesus’ birth and loved the lights.  However, I hated the stress. I hated the pressure to find the perfect gift for family members.  I hated the commercial holiday being forced down my throat.  Most of all, I hated how the holiday made people mean, angry, selfish, and rude.  People aren’t usually nice in my area anyway, but I could see that people were extra mean just driving in their cars—never mind in the stores!  Yikes!  I’ve been shoved in stores during the holidays.  (Now I just avoid going to stores after Thanksgiving.)  But, this year has been different for us—we have been striving to have a stress free holiday season.  Sure, the rude people still get under my skin (happiest time of year, my foot!), but I am striving not to get things bother me.

I had enough of being stressed during the holidays.  I told people not to get us gifts in exchange for us not getting them any.  I told them that we need to keep our meals simple—no need for 3 main dishes and 20 sides, never mind the apps and the dessert! Just their presence and love was needed.  I simplified the holidays by starting to focus on what Jesus did for us and by creating memories for Lemon to enjoy when she’s older.

How do you have a stress free holiday season?  I thought of four ways you could change to make it easier for you, but there are more ways!

Limit the amount of gifts

Do getting the perfect gift and completing your children’s Christmas list stress you out?  Get them fewer gifts!  Kids are more grateful when they receive fewer gifts. When they get so many gifts, they just expect to get mounds of gifts instead of appreciating what they got.

Control yourself! Yes, I know that you love your kids, but why go into debt for one day?  Your kids may act surprised and happy when they get those gifts, but, most likely, they will not even play with it the week after Christmas.  They will forget about those gifts a month after Christmas, and, essentially, you wasted your money.

Do your kids say thank you when they get gifts?  No?  That bothers me too.  I had some children that I would give gifts to that would never say thank you.  I am less inclined to give those gifts because of that.  Why spend my hard earned money on children that don’t appreciate it?  Kids become more aware of gratitude when they see it or hear it.  Model the gratitude by regularly expressing appreciation for the things and people you have in your life.

We do the 3/4 gifts here at Christmas.  Jesus only got three gifts at Christmas, and that is good enough for my child.  (Sometimes we can’t help things and get her an extra gift.)  You may have seen online that some people get four gifts:  Something they want, something they need, something to wear, and something to read.  We don’t go by those rules, but it’s not a bad idea!

Another idea is experiences.  Monthly boxes (such as science or art boxes), memberships to local places (like the aquarium, zoo, dance classes), or a trip are good ideas for gifts.  These create more memories than a mound of toys.  Cornell psychology professor Tom Gilovich has found that people are more likely to be thankful for experiences than for material possessions.  A family dinner, a trip to the aquarium, or even a hike in the woods creates a spirit of gratitude that outlasts even the nicest Xbox.

Make Jesus the Focus

Do you remember that saying in the early 2000s WWJD?  Even though that turned out to be a cheesy saying, it wouldn’t be a bad thing to follow at Christmas time!  Instead of thinking of what you would like to get for Christmas (or allow your children to because obsessed with what they are getting for Christmas), make the focus on what you could give.  This will help take the some of the pressure and help you focus on making it a stress free holiday for you.

Focus on what Jesus did for you.  Christmas isn’t about Santa, the Elf on the Shelf, the presents, the food, the parties, or the decorations.  Sure, those things are nice, but those things shouldn’t be the focus.  I have noticed that when I focus on all the other things and not what Jesus did for us on Christmas, then I get stressed and not so jolly.  Jesus left the comforts of Heaven to come to earth for us, born in a smelly, dirty stable, roamed around the Middle East without a home to tell His message, died on the Cross for our sins, then came back to life three days later.  All for us!  Keep these in mind this holiday season whenever you feel the stress coming on. Jesus didn’t come to earth to get and do things for Himself; everything He did was for others.

Start by finding appropriate educational materials and talking about the experience of those that are less fortunate.  Some families sponsor other families, donate food, toys, and clothing, as well as giving their time and service.  Older children can help donate their time at soup kitchens.  Younger children can give their saved cash to the red kettle.  This helps get the focus off of you and onto others.  But, don’t just stop when Christmas ends!  The less fortunate doesn’t disappear when the holiday are over.

Just Say No

You don’t need to go to do everything you find on Pinterest, participate in every cookie exchange, go to every party you’re invited to!  You can say no.  In fact, doing everything is just a recipe that your child (or yourself!) will have a meltdown Christmas Eve!

If your child demands the Elf on the Shelf, but you know that it’s going to be stressful to move it every night, tell him no, or come up with a plan to make it easy for you!  You don’t need to give your child everything they ask for.  They’ll get over it.

If you’re invited to a party and you are just worn out and tired, decline!  It will be ok and life will go on if you don’t go to every party.

Say it with me:


Ah.  Doesn’t that feel good?


You don’t need to do every cute Christmas thing you see on Pinterest.  Your house doesn’t have to look like it belongs in a magazine.  If your tree has all the ornaments at the bottom because that’s where your child put them, so be it!  The experience excited your child, and to see you taking over the tree could break her heart.  If you don’t have time or the energy to get the light up on the house this year, so be it!  You can’t see the lights from inside your house anyway!  Allow the neighbors to decorate their house for you to enjoy.

If the tradition of cooking a ton of food for Christmas stresses you out, consider having a special, simple meal.  Ask others what their favorite dishes are to eat for Christmas dinner and focus on those.  If it doesn’t stress you out more, ask others for help make the dishes!  Having a week’s worth of leftovers can get old quick anyway, and having a simple Christmas meal can help your waistline as well.

Think of what is truly important to you, what memories you would like to pass on to your children.  Doing everything will not give them memories; it’ll just cause meltdowns and chaos.  Ask them what things they like about Christmas the most (besides the presents, of course!) and focus on that.  One of Lemon’s favorite things to do during the holidays is taking the links off her countdown garland.

Take time to stop and enjoy the holiday. Don’t make yourself so busy that you become so stressed and miss out on the holiday itself.  That would make for a miserable January and February!  A stress free holiday is a great way to end out the year.  Life goes by so fast—make sure you take time to enjoy it.  Don’t let it pass by with making yourself so busy.

Christmas Countdown {How To}

When you have little ones, the wait until Christmas is an unbearable one.  They don’t quite get time yet and even an hour seems like a year.  To make the time go by quicker (or at least without a million “Is it Christmas yet?” questions), I have made an easy Christmas countdown. As a result, it makes the long wait to Christmas a bit easier.  It’s quite simple to make as well! I add slips of paper on the inside to some of the loops to add a fun activity to some days to make the time go by.  If your children are in school, you could do these activities on the weekends! Read More

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