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A Great Rainy Day Activity- Peanut Butter Playdough

peanut butter playdough

 

Our kids were raised playing with Peanut Butter Playdough.  It’s a great rainy day activity.  If you’re from Western Oregon…..you know we have rainy days nearly 9 months out of the year!  

Peanut Butter Playdough is a fun and inexpensive activity and treat, that help make those endless rainy days just a bit more bearable .

Recently when I was talking with a couple of younger moms, I was surprised to hear they had never heard of it.  So I thought I’d give the secret away!

I taught my girls, who babysit, how to make it.  They’ve had opportunities to make Peanut Butter Playdough for the kids they babysit and we’re making it for kids coming over tonight. 

If you’ve never made Peanut Butter Playdough for your kids, or even if you have….here’s our recipe.  Try it Continue reading “A Great Rainy Day Activity- Peanut Butter Playdough”

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Pain: Dealing With Grief

 

 

Dealing with grief is a painful experience. I don’t like to see my kids experience it.  Their pain translates into my heart and stabs as I walk painful paths along side of them.

As a mom, instinct says to jump in and reduce their pain at all costs.  At times it just isn’t possible. In fact, at times I am part of the cause of their pain. 

At other times, the Lord has inaudibly, yet clearly, pressed me out of His way as He works growth into my child’s heart through their pain.

My husband and I and our two youngest are dealing with grief;  a season of grieving.  We  lived in Brasil as missionaries for 10 years.  Our two youngest were 3 and 5 when we went.  

We are nearing the 1 year mark of returning to the states for medical reasons.

Now our 2 youngest are teens who were nearly as much a part of Brasil and its culture as those who are born here.  The threads of Brasil are woven into their hearts.  Brasil will forever be the answer they give when asked, “Where did you grow up?”

But we left Brasil, the place we had come to know as home; where we loved our ministry, church, friends,  the culture, the people, and even our dogs.

Continue reading “Pain: Dealing With Grief”

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Be Proud of Your Kids

proud

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There have been many times I have been super frustrated with my kids…. like pull-your-hair-out-crazy-woman frustrated.  🙂  (Generally, if I’m frustrated with my kids the feeling is pretty mutual!) 

And then at some time a little later someone compliments me about them.

 That compliment makes me stop and evaluate how I’m looking at things.  

It’s easy for me to focus on an area of needed maturity in their lives and miss their other very positive traits.

Over time, I have learned to focus on and to do better at demonstrating my appreciation for these positive traits, while quietly and gently helping them mature in needed areas. Continue reading “Be Proud of Your Kids”

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When Missing Brasil Calls for Cooking!

cooking

Brazilian Bolinho de Batata (Potato Cakes)

This post contains affiliate links please see my disclosure page

A few days ago, my daughters and I were really missing Brasil.  (Yes, it’s spelled with an S).  We decided it would be a day that we would make some of our favorites and speak in Portuguese together.  As we thought about cooking a favorite recipe, we knew we definitely needed to make Bolinho de Batata or Potato Cakes.

It was more than a time of just cooking and eating Brazilian food that we miss and speaking a language we love.  It was a part of our grieving process; a time for us to bond with one another through our common hurts.

We just plain miss our life there sometimes.  Yes, we know that God brought us back to the states, and we are ok with that, but there are times that we get overwhelmed by the fact that we are no longer there.

When we do something together that helps us remember the 10 years we spent there it helps us all savor the life we lived in Brasil, as well as seems to help us settle into the life we live here in the states just a bit easier.

We are missing our friends there a little more, but at the same time learning to more fully appreciate our friends here.  It’s a mixed up life we live…..but we do it together.  🙂

So….we had fun cooking little potato cakes, speaking in Portuguese around people who had no idea what we were saying, and smiling at great memories.

Along with missing Brasil, we missed the ingredients that we could get to make a variety of fillings.  Right now, as we live in the US and operating in the US$ instead of the Brazilian R$, we’ve had some pretty big adjustments financially.

Groceries are the area where we tend to cut since it’s the easiest to adjust.  The electric company frowns upon not paying them each month…..go figure.  🙂

I stumbled upon a way to help us navigate this transition back to the states and be able to save on groceries.  It’s called Grocery University, developed by Crystal Paine from MoneySavingMom.com.  Stop by and check it out!

Ok, now to the recipe that is yummy delicious!

Making the potato cakes is a messy deal, but oh so worth it!  Here’s how.

The Ingredients you’ll need to make them are:

For the Dough

5 medium potatoes pealed and cubed
1/4 cup of flour (plus a lot more nearby)
1 tsp salt
1 egg yolk

For the Filling

8 oz ground beef
salt to taste
pepper to taste
onion powder to taste
garlic powder to taste
1./2 Knorr beef boullion cube
Grated cheese of choice

 

You’ll Also Need:

Oil for frying

 

potato cakes

Instructions

First you boil the potatoes in water until they are soft.  Don’t let them sit in the water after they are cooked.  Drain the potatoes and then put into a bowl to mash by hand. (Don’t use a food processor or they will become too runny).

While the potatoes are boiling make the ground beef filling.  Brown the ground beef, adding the spices and the bouillon cube to the meat while you’re cooking it. Allow to cool when browned.

Get a pan and add the oil into it to begin heating the oil.  If you don’t fry often, please be careful!

When the potatoes are completely mashed, add the 1/4 cup flour, the salt, egg yolk to the potatoes.  Mix by hand until the dough is thick, similar to soft bread dough, but stickier.  This dough is sticky, but it shouldn’t stick to your hands when they are floured. If it is sticky, add more flour and continue mixing and adding flour until you reach the necessary consistency.   

Once the consistency is reached, spoon about 1/8 of a cup onto the palm of your floured hand and flatten into a round pancake.  Continue adding flour to the top of the pancake to allow you to work with the dough.  Keep your hands well floured.  When it is about 1/4 inch flat, add a small spoonful of the ground beef mixture and a pinch of grated cheese to the middle of the pancake that is in your palm then begin folding the edges closed and shaping it into a football shape.  You will get the feel for how much filling you should add the more little cakes that you make.

Once they are closed and shaped well, add them carefully to the hot oil and fry until golden brown.  Remove with slotted spoon and put onto a plate with a paper towel.  Allow to cool and then enjoy with ketchup or dipping sauce of your preference.

Enjoy! And don’t forget to check out Grocery University!

For more

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Monday Night Huddle–What Works For Our Family

www.connectingstronger.com

We started something that we still like to do with our family.  It’s one of those things that stuck because we realized we were on to something good. We started meeting together weekly as a family, thus began our “Monday Night Huddle.”  

Funny thing is we didn’t even always have it on Mondays.  But the main point is that we found it important to meet with our kids regularly so they can have an opportunity to talk about things, anything. It is important for us too.  We come prepared and with a mind ready to listen.

It’s a time where they know they can come and say anything, even hard things.  Not that they can’t at any other time, but this just gives that specific time where they can bring anything to the table.  Here are some things that we do at our Monday Night Huddle. We don’t do all of these all of the time because we like variety: Continue reading “Monday Night Huddle–What Works For Our Family”

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How to Plan a Family Purity Retreat

 Family Purity Retreat

He ran in from playing outside and shouted, “Mommy? How did Daddy get his seed in you?”  Oh boy! That’s a doozie of a question!  I’m sure my eyebrows shot straight up.  

In fact, I’m pretty sure I immediately picked up the phone and called a friend for help.  

Up to this point we had  been able to answer questions that fit with his age, but my son wanted to know more and since he was our first, I had absolutely NO experience in talking with kids about this topic. We were pregnant with son #2 and our first had a need to try and make some sense of it. Continue reading “How to Plan a Family Purity Retreat”

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How to Be a Close Knit Family

We had the privilege of living in Southern Brasil for 10 years.  It contributed to our being a close knit family. Our family experienced challenges and grew during our time there.  Yet, one of our struggles was in finding consistent ways to connect to each other. There were so many distractions and important things that vied for our time. Continue reading “How to Be a Close Knit Family”

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Connecting Through Critters???

 

Have you ever thought that getting critters would be useful in connecting with your child?  We recently had a “connecting through critters” experience that, although not so funny at the time, certainly was later.  Who knew that connecting through critters could happen?

We just moved back to the US after living in Brasil for 10 years as missionaries.  We had to leave our dogs and that was hard to do.  Our girls miss our dogs and both have their birthdays in October. 

We’re not quite set up to get a dog yet, but they both wanted these little critters called Sugar Gliders.  They spread the word to family and ended up with enough money to purchase them and fly them in from Houston. Continue reading “Connecting Through Critters???”

Creative Mind

The Struggle of Raising a Creative Mind Child

My husband and I are raising the last 2 of our 5 kids.  We have immensely enjoyed raising them.  That doesn’t mean that it has always been easy, in fact, most of the time it hasn’t been. Our second son presented some unique challenges with his creative mind, but we don’t choose to look at hard as equal to bad or something not enjoyable.

One of our particular challenges in raising our second son was his wildly creative mind. While my husband and I have windows of creativity that open and close….more often closed than open, The Lord blessed us with this incredibly gifted son who challenged our parenting in a way our first hadn’t. Continue reading “The Struggle of Raising a Creative Mind Child”

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Connecting Through Change

Connecting Through Change

Connecting through change

 

We’re getting pretty used to change.  This past year has been full of them.  Although they are hard…..Hard Does Not Mean Bad. (We have to remind ourselves of this)  

A year ago we were days away from changing our lives again.  We were leaving the states to begin our 3rd term in Brasil as missionaries.  Three months later, in January, we sensed the Lord leading toward another change and began the process of returning to the states to begin a new ministry.

In June 2016, our son graduated  and left our home in Brasil to go back to the states and begin summer work before entering Corban University in the fall.

In August, the rest of us left our home of 10 years in Brasil and returned to our original home in Oregon. This transition was super tough.  But even with it being tough, there were several opportunities to connect with our kids as we walked together through the difficulties. Continue reading “Connecting Through Change”