Getting the point across as a parent…musically

As a mom, I sometimes have to make up goofy songs when my children aren’t behaving, ahem, the way they should. These songs sometimes make little sense, but they certainly are effective. If nothing more, we all end up laughing hilariously – probably me the most. :)

So when I came across Tim Hawkins singing parodies to get his point across as a parent, I knew I had to share it. Love the way he even acts like the singers!

He is Risen!

Today we celebrate Easter…the day that Jesus Christ rose from the grave and gave us hope. Hope for eternal life spent with our Lord forever.

After Jesus was crucified, thankfully, He did not stay dead. He rose again and is alive!

This world is but a pitstop, a blink of an eye, really, as we journey through on our way to an eternity spent with Him.

As I contemplate what He did for me – the sacrifice He made, my sins He took upon Himself, I am beyond humbled. Thank You, Jesus, for what You did for me. While I was yet a sinner, Christ died for me (Romans 5:8).

Do you know Jesus and the hope His death and resurrection brings?

Happy Resurrection Sunday to you and yours!

he is risen!

fun and easy chickadee cupcakes

My girls and I recently made these adorable chickadee cupcakes for a homeschool baking project.

chicks3Below are the fun and easy instructions…

Whip up a batch of cupcakes. We used Betty Crocker milk chocolate cake mix, which made 24 cupcakes. Pour batter into cute spring-type colorful cupcake wrappers.

Allow the cupcakes to cool. While waiting, gather Whoppers Robin Egg candies and frosting. (You can make your own frosting or store-bought pre-made frosting in a squeeze bag/tube).

b1Set out a Robin Egg for each cupcake. For the chickadee face, use orange oblong sprinkles for the beak. Attach it to the Robin Egg using Cake Mate Confetti Gel. Dot two eyes using Wilton’s green Sparkle Gel.

b2Set the Robin Eggs carefully aside. Using a “star” tip, squirt green frosting in the center of the cupcake.

Place a Robin Egg gently into the middle of the frosting.

chicks1Wah-lah! You have just created a fun and easy chickadee cupcake, perfect to deliver to friends and neighbors.


quick and easy delicious crock-pot chili (gluten free)

We’ve had extremely cold weather this year, so what better meal than a crock pot of chili? Here’s the quick and easy directions for a delicious dinner of crock-pot chili – one of our personal family favorites:

chiliThe night before: wash, then soak 2 1/2 cups of pinto beans according to directions on package. If you forget to soak them the night before, no problem. Simply wash the beans, then boil them until softened the day of the meal.

Brown a package of hamburger meat.

Combine the hamburger meat and the softened pinto beans in the crock pot. Add two cans of Hunt’s Dinner Starters seasoned Tomato Sauce for Chili.

Add two cans of water and stir.

Turn your crock-pot to low and let simmer throughout the day, stirring on occasion.

For side dishes: fresh spinach or tossed salad and homemade cornbread. :)


*Note: Since my husband is Celiac, this is a safe meal for him. At the time of this posting, my research concluded that Hunt’s Dinner Starters Seasoned Tomato Sauce for Chili was gluten free. If you have a food allergy, always double check the label and call the company (or find their website online) to determine if the product is gluten free.

We use The Cravings Place Grandma’s Unsweetened Cornbread Mix (gluten free, wheat free, nut free, dairy free) for the cornbread. We add honey to the mix (per package directions) to sweeten.



Quick and easy delicious gluten free crock-pot chili recipe (click to tweet)

Perfect dinner idea for a cold day! (click to tweet)

What’s for dinner? (click to tweet)


Don’t Miss this Upcoming Conference for Women of All Ages!

photoI’m super excited to share with you about a conference coming to the Southeast for MOMS, MENTORS, and MINISTRY LEADERS!

It’s BETTER TOGETHER, a conference by The M.O.M. Initiative and it’s for women of ALL ages and in ALL seasons.

It’s a conference for you!

Being a mama isn’t easy and kids don’t come with instructions… and sometimes we just need to step away from things to refuel and be refreshed.

And being a ministry leader can be daunting, and at times, we need to just get away and get our batteries recharged and gain a fresh new perspective that will fire us up to keep on keepin’ on!

SOMETIMES…we just need a weekend to laugh together, cry together, and discover you’re not alone in your journey. BETTER TOGETHER is a weekend to connect with women just like you….moms, wives, single moms, moms in blended families, divorced moms, moms of teens, moms of toddlers, grandmas and ministry leaders.

With powerful keynotes from moms and ministry leaders just like you, and over 40 breakout sessions that are taught by experienced leaders and include a wide range of topics such as:

  • When Motherhood Should Come with a Training Manual
  • You Can’t Be 1/2 a Mom (for moms in blended families)
  • Social Media Wise Parents
  • Bully Proof
  • Balancing Life and Ministry
  • Fight for Your Family
  • The Making of a Mom
  • Lord, Help My Marriage
  • Building a Top Notch Team
  • Reaching the Hard to Reach Child

And MANY MORE BREAKOUTS that will meet you right where you are!

You’ll experience an amazing time of worship with The Journey Worship Band, you’ll learn, you’ll share, you’ll grow in Christ… and as a mother… and as a mentor… and ministry leader.

Expect to have fun, meet other moms, find hope and encouragement, and laugh…a lot!

  • Great worship with the live band
  • Lots of giveaways!
  • Late Night Bash with the M.O.M.s on Friday night!
  • Lots of opportunities to shop in the Exhibit Hall!
  • 15 Minutes with M.O.M. appointments where you can meet a M.O.M. and chat about what is on your heart
  • Lots of breakout sessions (over 40) to help you in your mom journey, your mentor journey or your ministry journey!
  • Panel Talk on Saturday with some of YOUR questions answered by the M.O.M. team!

Here’s the details:

When: July 31st – August 2nd, 2014

Where: Trinity Baptist Church, Jacksonville, Florida

How Much: Only $49 ($39 for tickets purchased before 12/1/13 & groups of 10 or more)


More Info: Click here for more information

Seating is limited so you will want to get your tickets now and invite your friends!

You’ll be empowered, encouraged, refreshed and refueled…ready to fulfill your God-given calling with the confidence of knowing you don’t have to take your mom journey alone.

Don’t miss THE Southeast’s MOM conference of the year, BETTER TOGETHER by The M.O.M. Initiative…

Because we are ALL better together!

Interview and Giveaway with Author Deb Raney – 3 book giveaway!

I’m super excited to welcome Author Deb Raney to my blog and she is giving away, not one, not two, but THREE books. Yes, you read correctly! Deb is giving away a copy of each of the three books in her Hanover Falls Series.

Here is a bit about this awesome series:
An unlikely group of people are drawn together to cope with the tragic aftermath of a fatal fire at a downtown homeless shelter in Hanover Falls, Missouri. Four widows, one widower, a battalion chief, and a son of one of the heroic firefighters—a rookie fireman himself—struggle to make sense of their broken lives in the midst of discovering the mystery surrounding the fire that destroyed their dreams and their futures.
Doesn’t this sound like a series to be added to your TBR list? And now, let’s take a minute and meet the author behind the books…
Thank you for being with us today, Deb. It is such an honor to have you here discussing with my readers your latest series. Speaking of which, what was your inspiration behind your Hanover Falls Series? A few years ago, my husband placed a newspaper clipping beside my plate at breakfast one morning, the story of nine firefighters who died in a tragic blaze in South Carolina. “I think there’s something worth exploring here,” he said. I began thinking how the tragedy would change the lives of those firefighters’ families, yet how they would pull together, because the firefighting world is a “family” unto itself, and before long, the Hanover Falls series was putting itself together in my mind. My niece is married to a firefighter whose family has a proud history of serving as firefighters and my nephew-in-law was an invaluable resource to me, sharing stories and details about the world of firefighting, and loaning me his training manuals for most of the three years I was writing these books.

I love hearing the inspiration behind books, Deb! Do you have a favorite book in the series? A favorite character? I am learning that I’m a little fickle when it comes to books. At one time, I would have said that Almost Forever, the first book in the series, was my favorite, but with After All (book 3) just released with a nice review from Publishers Weekly and readers responding so favorably, now I’m leaning toward After All as my favorite. I really love my “middle child” Forever After, too! Fickle, I tell you!

I completely understand! I can never answer that question when I’m asked to choose which book I like most in my Montana Skies Series. Speaking of books, what is your favorite verse in the Bible and why? For several years now, I’ve thought I really should change my “favorite verse” because it seems like my verse is everyone’s favorite verse: Romans 8:28. And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. And yet, that verse has been so foundational in my life that I want to shout it from the rooftops. It’s wonderful to know that even when I can’t see anything good in a certain circumstance, God’s intention for me is good. And everything that happens to me serves HIS purpose for my life. That’s a truth you can live by!

That is such a great verse!  And now, for my favorite question… if you were suddenly given one million dollars, what charity would you like to found and why? I don’t suppose I could talk you into letting me found the Deborah Raney Travel Through Europe Fund, could I? Well, in that case, I would want to fund a charity that provides workers to rebuild Haiti. My parents served on the board of an organization that supported a girls’ home in Haiti, and for more than a quarter of a century, they spent a week or two every winter working at that orphanage. Twice my family and I were scheduled to go with my Dad to spend time at the girls’ home near Port au Prince (I was researching my novel, Over the Waters, set in Haiti) but both times the trip was cancelled at the last minute due to unrest in Haiti. But because of my parents, I have a heart for the country and people of Haiti. What amazes me is how much an American dollar can accomplish in that poverty-stricken nation. We have so much and are so often discontent. They have so little, and seem always to be smiling. There’s a lesson there!

What a wonderful idea for a ministry – and I loved learning about your parents and their ministry to Haiti. Lastly, where can readers connect with you?

Thank you again for being here, Deb. You are truly an inspiration!

Deborah’s first novel, A Vow to Cherish, inspired the World Wide Pictures film of the same title and launched her writing career after 20 happy years as a stay-at-home mom. Her books have won numerous awards including the RITA, National Readers Choice Award, HOLT Medallion, the Carol Award, and have twice been Christy Award finalists. Deb’s 23rd novel will release from Howard/Simon & Schuster Spring 2013. She and her husband, Ken Raney, enjoy the wildflowers and native grasses in the Kansas prairie garden in their large backyard. They also love traveling together to teach at conferences, and to visit four children and four small grandchildren who all live much too far away.

And now, readers, here’s your chance to win all THREE books in Deb’s Hanover Fall’s Series! All you have to do is leave an encouraging comment for Deborah. A winner will be chosen at random. Sorry this giveaway is open to U.S. residents only. If you are a subscriber to this blog, you will receive two entries.  The contest ends on October 25, 2012.

Also, stay tuned as I will be announcing the winners of Lisa Buffaloe’s book Nadia’s Hope and Darlene Franklin’s book A Bride’s Rogue in Roma, Texas tomorrow.

And the winner of Carol Ann Erhardt’s book “Trapped” is…

As you have probably figured out by now, I love announcing winners! Thank you so much to everyone who entered the recent giveaway of Carol Ann Erhardt’s suspense novel Trapped.

The winner is…

Brenda Parker!

Brenda, Carol will be in touch with you soon. For those of you who didn’t win, I would highly suggest you order a copy at your favorite bookstore or online.

The giveaway for Margaret Brownly”s new release Dawn Comes Early is almost over! Be sure to stop by and leave a comment to win her book at and I’ll see you each Thursday for a new giveaway!