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Guard Your Joy and Peace this Holiday!

by Amanda on December 1, 2009
category: Humor/Random,Inspiration


This post was originally published on Dec. 21, 2008, but I think this is a wonderful reminder for this year too! Today is the first day of December and this month is going to fly by FAST! Let’s remember to enjoy it! Say no when we need to. Get off the computer when we need to. Get on the carpet with our children. Laugh. Eat. Enjoy. Count our blessings!

Original post:

The Christmas cards sitting on my mantle are bellowing at me in their cursive gold fonts to have a joyful and peace filled holiday season.  I think the cards are mocking me as I run about town shopping and stressing about cookies and wrapping presents.  I do desire to have joy and peace over the next two weeks and I am determined to guard my joy and peace.

Joy stealers come with many different faces.

Unmet expectations certainly steal your peace when you are disappointed and upset. Anger is a form of unmet expectations. So next time you are angry ask yourself which expectation you had wasn’t met. Then you have the choice to look at a situation logically or choose to just get over it. My spiritual mom would ask me when I was upset “What is the worst thing that can happen?” Once you worked out a situation backwards, you realize that it is just money, stuff, a bummer, or a disappointment. Then you come out thankful that you are alive and everything is relatively okay.

Unresolved conflict steals your joy when you are fighting with a your spouse, family member or a friend. Some conflicts can be resolved quickly. While others have been the elephant in the family living for years. My parents have unresolved conflict between themselves as long as I have been alive, but I decide not to take sides and not let their conflict between each other bug me. They are both wrong and my only concern is their relationship between them and me. Even when they complain about the other to me, I have to let their comments roll off my back. Sometimes putting on a hard shell and letting stupid comments roll off my back is my way of guarding my peace and joy.

There are joy stealers on the road!
They steal parking spaces, go too slow, block the parking lot by waiting ten minutes for someone to load up their car and start it just so they can walk 20 steps closer to the door. One joy stealer may even be in the driver’s seat of the car! Your husband may be driving like a maniac or not going the route you would have gone. Just close your eyes and remember you will get there eventually.

Remember the big picture and keep your peace. What does Christmas mean to you? Is it spending quality time with your family? Is it remembering the Savior coming to earth so we can spend eternity in heaven? Is it being generous to others or a good time off from work? Whatever reason you celebrate Christmas, remember the big picture when something goes wrong and ask yourself if the big picture is still being accomplished. Don’t sweat the small stuff.

As you have joy and peace the rest of your family will feel it too. Don’t keep that joy and peace to yourself let it radiate from you wherever you go!

How do you plan to guard your peace and joy? Are you having a rough holiday season or this one being pleasant to you?

Thankful for Thanksgiving Food: Link up your recipes!

by Amanda on November 23, 2009
category: Feeding,Humor/Random

We don’t usually talk about recipes here on The Mom Crowd, but how can you NOT when its Thanksgiving? I LOVE Thanksgiving food. I always look forward to eating several Thanksgiving meals during this season. I can’t wait for the leftover stuffing, turkey and gravy that is going to fill my fridge at the end of this week.

My family is spending the night at my in-laws house the night before Thanksgiving this year. We will be cooking the night before and getting up early to cook some more. Each family member is responsible for different parts of the meal. I am always in charge of green beans. Last year I added creamed corn and this year I will also be baking a ham. My mother-in-law and brother-in-law usually handle the turkey.

Here are the recipes that I will be using this week. Please link up your favorite thanksgiving food recipes at the bottom in Mr. Linky.

beansFresh Green Beans with Bacon

I made up this recipe based on how I remember my my mom making them. Fresh green beans are so easy to make and so good! You can even make these the day before. If you make the day before, store them in their boiling juice to preserve the bacon flavor.

2 pounds of green beans (or more)
4 to 5 strips of bacon (this can be Maple bacon, Peppered Bacon, or regular bacon. I have used all different kinds)
pinch of Salt and Pepper

1. Snap the green beans by snapping off the ends, then breaking the rest of the bean into bite size pieces.
2. Rinse the snapped beans
3. Cut the bacon into 1.5 inch pieces.
4. Put the beans, bacon, salt, and pepper in a pot and fill with water.
5. Boil the beans for about 30 minutes. Pull one bean out to taste to see if it is cooked through enough for you. Be careful not to boil too long or they might get mushy.

Links to other recipes I use:

Cream Corn - I LOVE this Cream Corn recipe on Allrecipes.com. I have made this one several times and it is so good and easy to prepare.

HamHoney Glazed Ham – I don’t usually eat ham, but for some reason I was craving one this year. I didn’t want to spend the money on a Honey Baked Ham and the pre-done ones at the grocery store were too expensive. I found a regular ham at the grocery store on sale for $.99 a pound! So I bought a big one for $7 to practice with. I made this Honey Glazed recipe and it was delicious! The recipe says to use the broiler at the end for a few minutes. My ham burned on the very top when I used the broiler, but I cut off those burnt bits.

I then used the ham bone and made this Crock Pot Ham Bone and Beans recipe. We licked our bowls clean after this dinner!

I really enjoy discovering new recipes that have already been test driven. Please use Mr. Linky below to post any recipes that you love to make for Thanksgiving!

Abiding Monday: Why We Need To Be Thankful

by Amanda on November 23, 2009
category: Abiding Monday

abidingmondayThis week is Thanksgiving. We know that it is polite and good to be thankful. We strive to teach our kids our thankfulness. But why should we be thankful? What if we weren’t thankful and just took everything for granted?  We can see the importance of thankfulness in Romans 1: 20 – 25:

20 For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.
21 For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles.
24 Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. 25 They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.

In these verses we get a clue as to how the degradation of mankind began – with ungratefulness. Because we have not glorified God or gave thanks to Him He has allowed our selfish desires to take over. As a result our world is full of perversion and fake idols. The tipping point is ingratitude.

Let us be careful in our own lives and don’t forget to be thankful. Thankful not just for His mercies and His creation, but for EVERYTHING. For everything good is created by Him (1 Cor. 8:6).

What things are you thankful for this week? We ask this of our children in Sunday school and maybe we’ll write a blog post or update our Facebook status with our list of gratitudes, but do we really answer this out loud as adults? Write what you are thankful for in a journal this week, in the comments of this post, or on your own website! There is plenty to which we should be grateful!

7 Tips for Running Your First Marathon

by Amanda on November 20, 2009
category: Healthy Mom

AmandaMarathon1-300x200Last Sunday Dawn and I ran the San Antonio Marathon and Half Marathon! Dawn did a great job running her second half marathon. I am so proud of her.  She did fantastic! I completed my first full marathon. You can read more about the details of my marathon at this site. The race was harder than I expected, but I did it! I ran the race 8 months after having my second child. If you have ever wanted to complete 26.2 as a life goal, you can do it!

Here are 7 tips I learned from my marathon training:

1. Train with a group. When I got up to 10 miles in my training I found it difficult to create long routes from my house with water stops. It also gets lonely when you run for more than 2 hours by yourself. I joined a training group at my local Fleet Feet store that ran on Sunday mornings at 6:00 a.m. They had a marked route and water stations every 2 miles. I also loved the community and encouragement of the runners in the group. You can check to see if you have a USA Fit or Team in Training group near you. You can also ask your local running store if they have training group.

2. Learn how to hydrate properly. I once trained for a half marathon and didn’t drink enough water or eat anything to refuel. For water you can carry a water bottle in your hand or use a water belt. After about an hour of running you may feel hungry.  To refuel try different types of GU’s, jelly beans, or chomp blocks while training. I really like the GU gels. The other gel brands don’t taste good to me.

3. Have family and friends that will keep you motivated.
My friends and I kept a running blog together to detail out our struggles and triumphs. Follow other runners on Twitter. Make sure your spouse is on board to encourage you.

4. Spend money on a good pair of socks. One book I read said its like buying popcorn at a movie theater. Just spend the money and then don’t think about it again. A good pair of socks will save your feet from getting raw. I LOVE my balega socks!

roosterandAmanda5. Make time in your schedule. Amelia’s husband, Jon, said that training becomes like a part time job. It is true! My husband would have to take off early from work to watch the kids so I could my mid-week long runs in. My longest run took over 4 hours to get done. The long runs will take a chunk out of your weekend.

6. Remember why you are running a marathon. At some point while you are running you are going to ask yourself why you are doing this to yourself. You need to have an answer ready or you will talk yourself into a funk while running. My answers to the question were “One, I signed up, because I believed I can do this. Two, I wanted to be able to tell people that I ran a marathon 8 months after having a baby, before I turned 30 in 2 months.” I know its pride, but it kept me motivated!

7. Don’t worry about your time on your first marathon. Almost every runner told me this advice and I didn’t understand it until after I ran my race. At some point in my run I didn’t care about my time, but to finish in one piece. I did have fun greeting my friends and family cheering me on along the way! I am glad I added a few minutes to my time to enjoy my race.

Have you ever ran a marathon? Would you ever want to run one? What about a Half Marathon?

Save Money by Bartering Services: A Guest Post by Clair

by Amanda on November 17, 2009
category: Finances

ClairBoonePortraitResizeThis is a guest post by Clair. Originally from England Clair blogs daily over at www.mummydeals.org where she scouts out bargains and shows you how to cut your grocery bill all while doing it through the eyes of a Brit in America. Her family of 3 lives on a $50/week grocery budget which includes diapers and if you head on over to www.mummydeals.org she’ll show you the ropes!


hammerI’m preparing to go to a conference where I’ll more than certainly need my laptop plus I’ve got articles that need to be written and emails that need to be checked when all of a sudden my computer won’t start. Several more attempts and I want to throw it out of the window. As much as technology has blessed us with the ability to connect with friends and family all over the world, research new exciting recipes and see your house from space, there are still moments when although it acts like one you realize your computer is not a human and therefore can never be your friend.

It was at this moment that I realized it was time for a new laptop. Here’s the problem. We don’t have a spare $700 sitting around devoted to computers and I was in a bind. What is a frugal girl to do?

I talked to my secret weapon in the form of a 5”8 ruggedly handsome man and called my friend Lynda. Her husband is a computer whiz, mine not so much. But mine can swing a hammer with the best of them and lays floors for a living. Lynda had mentioned that they wanted to put some new hardwood floor in their living room. Now Computer Whiz is a whiz at computers but not so much with the hammer.

Enter the perfect solution: A trade off that involves Lynda and I eating ice cream while the guys trade services. Computer Whiz spends time re-programming one of his computers for us that he has just “lying around” and gives us this one as a loaner while he fixes ours. Oh no wait, it’s lying around so he informs us we can actually keep it and I do the Giddy Dance in delight! Accompany that with some spare batteries and an external hard drive he also just has “lying around” and we’re set for a while.

In the meantime my handsome Secret Weapon will lay their floor for them free of charge in exchange.

Lynda and I sit and giggle with glee at our smarts and chow down on ice cream while our Hubbys save us a fortune in repairs.

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