Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Moving to a new site!

In order to gain a little more freedom and creativity, I've moved to WordPress.  
Please redirect your bookmark here:  http://coffeencaramel.wordpress.com

Monday, August 29, 2011

31 Days to Build a Better Spouse

Today I'm reviewing Ashley Pichea's new e-book, 31 Days to Build a Better Spouse, which is officially available today. (You can also join in the Twitter discussion using #31DBBS.)

One of the things that really struck me was the very first paragraph of Day 1 {emphasis is mine}:

Before I can begin to ask God to change my spouse – to pray for his godly character to be developed and matured – I must be willing to be changed myself. I must humble myself before God, submitting to His sovereign will, and allow Him to use my prayers to change my own heart.

Pichea, Ashley. 31 Days to Build a Better Spouse (Kindle Locations 134-136). 
As I began praying for my own husband a couple years ago, I honestly didn't understand why God kept pointing all my prayers back to myself.  It took me a while to figure out that God was going to change my heart in preparation of changing my husband's, but I'm so glad he did.  It's a wonderful thing to know that Manny and I are on the same page in how to manage our household and raise our boys.  I know this would not be the case if God had changed him without changing me first!

Each day starts with a short quote or song lyrics that are relevant to the daily topic.  Good, solid advice is then interspersed with and backed up by scripture. The day's reading wraps up with a brief prayer to get you started.   From salvation to strength, and humility to respect, I honestly think Ashley includes all the topics that we would normally thing of to pray over our spouse, and a few we probably don't.

31 Days to Build a Better Spouse touches on all the characteristics God wants us to have.  Characteristics that, with His leading, will help us become a person after His own heart.

I really enjoyed the topic of Obedience:

It is not enough to know what the Bible says – we must also allow it to change how we live.
Pichea, Ashley. 31 Days to Build a Better Spouse (Kindle Location 559). 

How true this is!  

Folks, we can talk and talk and pray a thousand times a day, but if we aren't modeling Godly behavior in our own life, what incentive is there for our spouse to be obedient to God's will for his or her life?

I have really enjoyed my time with this book and look forward to being able to go back and read it through one day at a time when I can focus on each prayer topic daily.  In fact, I'm going to share my book with my husband and ask him to pray these prayers over me as I pray them over him.

This is a great book and I highly recommend it for anyone with a spouse or spouse-to-be, regardless of gender.    So go get your own copy and start praying!

PDFKindle / Nook

Friday, August 26, 2011

#3in30 August goals - Week 4 update

You can read about my other goals for August here.

Goal #3 - Reclaim my mornings.

I have not been good about getting up this week, often dragging myself out of bed at 545 or later. But I have still spent time in prayer while I'm getting dressed and I've still be fixing breakfast for my kids.  Most days.

We've had breakfast tacos once, oatmeal twice, and cereal/smoothies once.  Today's another cereal today.

I think I'm just getting to bed too late and that's what is making it harder to get up in the morning, but I'm not positive.  SleepBot says I'm 4:33 hrs behind on my sleep, although it certainly feels like it's more than that.  {Today is a bad allergy day, which doesn't help.}

I need to work on my September goals today.  I have so many ideas floating in my head that I'm going to have to write them out and prioritize them.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Waiving the White Flag

Are you the mother of boys who often finds herself ready to waive the white flag in defeat?

Do they drain you, overwhelm you, steal your heart, break your heart and cause you more anxiety than you ever dreamed possible?

Maybe you only have one boy amongst a sea of estrogen and you just can’t figure out how to respond to him in a way that affirms all that is good about his masculinity.

You're not alone.

Last May, over 1300 women and a few dads in SEVEN different countries joined together to pray purposefully and passionately for the hearts of their sons in a challenge called 21 Days of Prayer for Sons. 21 Days is based on the best-selling eBook Warrior Prayers: Praying the Word for Boys in the Areas They Need it Most.

Even our best parenting efforts don't come with a guarantee. As much as we might wish we could change their hearts of stone to hearts of flesh (Ezekiel 36:26), we can't. But we serve a God who can. Knowing this, it becomes quite clear that there is only one thing we can do…

Plead with God.


“The fervent prayers of a righteous man avails much.” James 5:17.

It’s our hope.

The next 21 Days of Prayer for Sons challenge starts September 6 and ends September 26, 2011. How can you participate? Easy!
  1. Purchase your own copy of Warrior Prayers: Praying the Word for Boys in the Areas They Need it Most (just $5.97 as a PDF download or on Amazon Kindle!) You could, in theory, participate in the challenge without a personal copy, but your experience will be much deeper and richer with it.
  2. Commit to praying for your son(s) or grandsons 10 times a day for 21 days straight. This is a huge commitment, so if you feel God leading you to participate, pray and ask Him to give you the strength and endurance you need.
  3. Consider leading your own group on your blog or in your community!
  4. Sign-up HERE!

Get inspired by recent participants!

“This challenge…has given me my joy back in mothering” ~LaToya

“Thank you for giving me a tangible method for transformation in my family!!” ~Anne

“Thanks, Brooke for your help. I’ve always known that God was listening; I just didn’t know what to say!” ~Laurel

“So many heart changes are going on in our home and I’m just so thankful…” ~Ashley


Brooke is a mom of two young boys who leave her desperate for God’s grace. Her pursuit of being a better mom has left her at the foot of the cross, knowing that if God doesn’t show up … nothing happens. This dependence upon God to turn hearts of stone to hearts of flesh leads her to her knees in prayer. She’s the author of the best-selling eBook Warrior Prayers: Praying the Word for Boys in the Areas They Need it Most, creator of the 21 Days of Prayer for Sons challenge and co-founder of the well-loved online community for mothers of boys, the M.O.B. Society. She offers hope for change to the hearts of women at her main blog, A Life in Need of Change.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

#3in30 August goals - Week 3 update

Wow.  I can't believe it's already time for my 3rd week update, but it is.  School starts on Monday and my hubby is so glad!  haha

Goal #1 - Clean out and organize the bathroom cabinets.   
Goal #2 - Finish my Good Morning Girls book study. 

I am still working towards finishing up all the SOAP scriptures for the GMG study before the 1 John study starts on 9/19. So far I've been doing one a day, right before bed, but I may sit down this weekend and try to get a few weeks worth finished. 

Goal #3 - Refocus myself to #hellomornings and getting up early enough for exercise and quiet time.

My Sleep Bot app says I only had 2 late days this week, which is better than last week.  I've made it a point of getting my QT and worship time in regardless of what time I got up.  Exercise is somewhat limited right now.  I strained my upper right arm somehow, and being the relatively same location as a 5-year old recovered tear injury, I'm being very cautious until I know it's fully healed.  I do not want a serious injury like that again!  Officially, #hellomornings is between sessions but the fall session starts 9/15.  Head over to Inspired To Action and keep an eye out for her sign-up post if you want to join us next time!

I'm loving that I find myself now thinking ahead for future goals and projects that need to be done.  It's funny when I come across something and I catch myself thinking - oh, that'll be perfect for next month or that'll work better scheduling wise if I wait until October.  LOL  And to think back in April I gave up so easily!

Going traditional

After a lot of research, discussion, and prayer, Hubby and I have decided that we will begin transitioning our family to a fully traditionally prepared diet.  Meaning cultured dairy products, fermented veggies, soaked and sprouted grains, and *gasp* even raw milk if I can actually find cow's milk down here.

I laughed as we were talking about it last night. Who would have thought I, of all people, would turn into a crunchy momma?  But I have and there is a peace to our decision that I've never had before. :)

Today, for the first time ever, I made a sourdough starter. I followed the directions from Kitchen Stewardship's post on sourdough starters, except I stirred the flour and water together. Katie didn't say whether to do this or not, but I figured it didn't hurt and the worst it could do is ruin it and I make another batch.  I'm hoping it turns out because I'd really like to try other sourdough recipes! I think first up will be the sourdough crackers b/c the kids need something to snack on with their lunches.
Sourdough starter day 1: 9am 8.20.11

My guys aren't found of sourdough bread (although I love it) but Manny agrees with me that the health benefits are more important and they'll learn to like it. My concession is that there are plenty of other foods I have to learn to like, and a lot more that none of us have ever tried.  Would you believe I actually ate green onions on cheese fries last night?  Willingly???  I can't say I liked them, but they weren't all that bad.

Another thing I started this morning is my kefired water.  I really hope this turns out well. I have lots of plans for it, and I'm still on the hunt for a natural cola recipe.
Water kefir day 1: 9am 8.20.11

Of additional note, and my bestie Eryn will be so happy with me, I bought some unrefined coconut oil yesterday.  I haven't figured out what I'm going to make with it yet though.  {Of interesting note, it's so warm in my kitchen the oil liquefied within 30 minutes of adding it to my pantry. I hope that works in favor for my fermenting and not against it.}

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Boys need lots of prayers - and so do their moms!

As a momma to two teenage boys, I can attest that boys need all the prayers they can get, and then some more! And then when you think you've prayed all you can for one day, you need to pray some more because you know that in the next 10 minutes - or 2, if they're like my boys - they'll have done or said something that will leave you praying not only for your self-control sanity but their ability to learn self preservation skills as well.  By the end of the day you're tired and frazzled and begin to count the minutes until they go to bed. Unless you can make it to yours first.

But there's hope because you're not alone, and there's help for you.

The Lord in all His awesome wonder, laid it on the heart of a wonderful woman and fellow boy mom, Brooke, to share her heart and His words in the form of her e-book, Warrior Prayers: Praying the Word for Boys in the Areas They Need it Most.

This wonderful book contains 21 dedicated prayer topics chosen specifically for boys.  Brooke even gives you 10 scriptures for each topic that you can pray over your boys.  See how easy it is?  You buy the book {available in PDF, Kindle, or Nook versions; it's very inexpensive and more than well worth it}, you read it, and you pray for your boys. 

And if you're boys are anything at all like my boys, you'll read it so many times you'll eventually start to memorize those scriptures.  ;o)

Want to know what makes this oh-so-wonderful book even better?   The fall session of 21 Days of Prayer for Sons runs Sept 6-26 and you can sign up here.  There are even groups for all kinds of different boy moms, no matter what stage in life your boys are at. {I've joined FB groups for middle school, high school, and working moms. I figure between the 3 groups, someone will understand my frustrations!}

This will be my 3rd session, but not just my 3rd time reading it. :o)  Make the time to pray for your boys. You won't regret it.

Disclaimer: Although Brooke is giving away a free copy of the Leader's Guide to those that blog about the book and the fall session, I was going to do it anyway so the guide is just a bonus. I'm not ready to lead a session yet, but hopefully soon. 

Saturday, August 13, 2011

#3in30 August goals - Week 2 update

This week has been incredibly hectic for me.  Monday I was off work for a dental appointment and Friday I was off so I could help chaperone Andy's orchestra camp field trip.  So work was hectic cramming 5 days of things into 3, including the effort of scheduling 80+ people for software testing.  I love my job though and I'm so glad God put me in a position where my skills are both useful and appreciated.

Home has been just as hectic though, but it too has been productive.

My last July goal - to purge the boys' unused clothing - is complete.  To the best of my knowledge anyway. I admit that I have not entered their rooms to actually confirm that only the things they routinely wear remain.  That will be projects for another month. ;-)  But I dropped off 2 bags of clothing in the donation box on my way home from the grocery store tonight with a sense of satisfaction.

My 2nd August goal - to finish my Good Morning Girls book study - is also complete.   I'm still about 6 weeks behind on SOAP scriptures, but I'm going to make it a priority to do one scripture every night before bed until I'm done.  My goal though was to actually finish the book, and with 8 chapters to go, I spent the majority of my evening doing just that.  I'm not going to blog on the last 2 topics - Training and Service - because the answers to the study questions are ones that are more introspective to me and require thought and prayer. Maybe someday you'll get to read my answers.  I do want to share with you though my favorite quote from what I read today:
Sin in our lives makes us resist responsibility. (The Ministry of Motherhood by Sally Clarkson, p. 191)
I can't explain why this one little sentence resonates so deeply with me, but it does. My own conviction perhaps?

Goal #3 - Refocus myself to #hellomornings and getting up early enough for exercise and quiet time.  Only 2 days this week did I actually get up at 5am and exercise, but I did work in a 20-minute Zumba session this morning before I had to get ready for breakfast with our friends.  I whined a little bit Friday to my online friends about not having enough time for everything, but I think I've figured it out since then.  

If I actually get up at 5am, I have 45 minutes to myself before Alex's alarm goes off. That's plenty of time as long as I get myself into a regular morning and evening routine and get to bed on time.  Keep praying for me my friends. LOL
I did decide I'm going to do Good Morning Girls' Fall Bible Study on 1 John.  It's SOAP format and I'm going to keep up with it a journal rather than online.  My mornings will be much smoother if I keep exercise short and QT simple. Trying to fit time for actual #B90Days reading into my morning is too stressful, and often leaves me feeling slightly resentful that my time is not my own. So my bible reading needs to remain something that I do in spare moments throughout my day and finish up with at night.  Lately I've taken to reading in bed until I fall asleep and I love it.  It's such a wonderful way to end my day.

However, I'm happy to say that I'm holding steady with the #B90Days reading.  I did fall a little behind earlier in the week when I was just so mentally exhausted from work I couldn't comprehend what I was reading.  But I made the most of my off-time Thursday night and Friday and on this lazy Saturday, and caught up. Tomorrow's reading is Day 35 and the start of Nehemiah. I think it also makes us about 40% complete.

On that note, I'm calling it a night my friends.  Even though all I've done is read all day, I'm tired.   Have a great night a blessed Sunday!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

#3in30 August goals - Week 1 update

Goal #1 - Clean out and organize the bathroom cabinets.  Complete!

This was a time consuming task, even more so than I thought it would.  Our recent acquisition of a mirrored stand for our bedroom meant I could move my things into the bedroom. 

I was beyond thrilled since we only have 1 very poorly ventilated bathroom and it's always a hassle to share it with the boys in the mornings.  Moving my things was going to be part of my clean out process. Unfortunately Fortunately, that meant I had to first clean off my dresser in order to make space for the new stuff.

My make-up bag, the rest is not mine.

The white pail, peach soap, and purple/orange hair products are mine. The rest is not.

I claim only a few things from down here too.

Only the socks on the left edge belong to me.

As you can see, everything was cluttered and just tossed helter skelter and never really put away properly. {Most of the mess isn't mine though.}

After several hours of sorting, tossing, scrubbing, and organizing, it's done. And it'd better stay nice and neat or heads will spin.  ;)

Scrubbed clean except for things to be relocated to the bathroom

Done!  My stuff on the right, sunscreens and aloe in the middle, extra bath products and lotions on the left.

It looks so much better now!  {The blue container is homemade face wipes.}

Nice and neat and organized!  Lotions, perfume, nail polish, makeup.  {The brushes will get a good cleaning tomorrow.}

With the lotions now on the dresser, my hanging organizer is only for hair  products and accessories!

Goal #2 - Finish my Good Morning Girls book study.  I have a dental appointment tomorrow, so it'll be a good time to get caught up since they don't like you on your cell phone in the back.

Goal #3 - Refocus myself to #hellomornings and getting up early enough for exercise and quiet time.  This has to become a priority. I've got 2 weeks until school starts, and the boys have to start getting up early this week too.  

Coffee Mugs

I mentioned a couple weeks ago that I'd won 2 coffee mugs from Coffee Lovin' Mom's giveaway.  The designs come from JAG III.   Amy picked them out just for me!

Purple for home...

Green for work
I've gotten some strange looks and second glances as I wander through the office halls or set my mug down on a conference table, but nobody has actually said anything about it yet.  I think it's just a matter of time.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Cooking things up!

I've been on a roll this weekend.  Last night I ordered the books Nourishing Traditions and The Body Ecology Diet, along with water Kefir grains.  The Kefir grains we're going to use to try to make homemade soda and as a smoothie base.

Today, I started putting together my smoothie bags.   I measured 1 cup of frozen mixed fruit (strawberries, peaches, mango, pineapple) and 1/2 cup of frozen blueberries into freezer bags.  The bananas are cut into 1"ish chunks on waxed paper and popped into the freezer.     Then Andy and I washed, de-stemmed, and steamed fresh kale and spinach, along with half a cucumber.

Andy helping to de-stem the kale

Steamed spinach and cucumber

Kale in the steamer

The greens were poured into ice cube trays and are freezing with the bananas.    Once everything is frozen, each bag will get a banana and green cubes added to it.   All I'll have to do is add milk, coconut water (or kefir water once I've got some made!) and whey protein in the Ninja with a smoothie bag and blend for an easy breezy meal on the run. :)

Tray of freezing banana chunks, the first batch of green cubes, and the start of my smoothie bags
I think I need more bananas and more greens and more berries so I can make more smoothie bags.  Although what I really need is a deep freezer!

Once I try my recipe and tweak it to near perfection, I'll post it to share!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Reading lists

I'm a huge fan of books.  Maybe you didn't know that about me, or maybe you did and you're rolling your eyes at the obvious.  {You know you are.}

My bookshelf overflows with them, my PCs and phone are filled with e-books {some of which get printed b/c I *need* a hard copy too}, and I've just discovered why the Kindle is such a huge seller {thanks to the free Kindle app on my new phone}.

If you keep up with the lists in the sidebar, you'll notice they're both pretty long and they're about to get longer.

I've decided this weekend I simply must order a copy of Nourishing Traditions and The Body Ecology Diet.  Hard copy of course b/c I need to be able to share them with the hubby, and he's not getting my phone to read them on.  {Love you, baby!}

I've recently read Is Your Flour Wet?, an e-book by Kitchen Stewardship, and I'm really thinking there's something to the whole concept of soaking and fermenting grains. Now I need to know more. And I really really want to make a sourdough starter this weekend.  Even if I don't manage to get bread to bake right in this house, I can at least use it for biscuits or pancakes or tortillas.

Know what I really need though?  Enough time to read everything on my lists!

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