Family Bible Memory

Family Bible Memory ::

I always wanted to be better at memorizing scripture. And to instill that habit in our kids.

But it didn’t happen.

The intention was there – and earnest – but there was no follow through. I kept getting held up by HOW we would do it and which verses to choose to memorize.

And, if I’m being totally honest, by wanting it to be pretty or fancy or cute.

After years of good intentions with no action following, I made decisions. One of our 2017 Annual Family goals was to memorize 12 passages of scripture.

That meant that, we as a family, would commit to memorizing one Bible verse a month for a year.

In order to do that, I had to get over my unrealistic expectations.

Instead of insisting on finding the prettiest or MOST PERFECT way to display the verse where we could see it, my husband found a chalkboard at Home Depot for $5 and we called it good (enough).

Family Bible Memory ::

HOW –> Write a verse on a chalkboard.

Then I typed “Bible Verse” into the Pinterest search bar and the first verse that came up was 2 Timothy 1:7 (Incorrectly written down and now memorized as 2 Timothy 2:17)

WHAT VERSE. –> Pick one verse from the Bible.

I also keep a note in my notes app on my phone and as I come across verses that would be good to memorize, I add them to that list.

For 2019, I used that notes app to pick all of the verses for the entire year, instead of trying to find next month’s verse on the last day of this month like I did in 2018.

You can come up with your own list, or feel free to use ours.



The next step was really hard. I wrote the assigned verse on the chalkboard.

That’s it. No art. No fancy calligraphy or lettering. Just wrote the verse on the board (in my sub-par handwriting) so that we could all read it.


Family Bible Memory ::

We hung the chalkboard in the kids’ room and say the verse together every night as part of the kids’ bedtime routine.

For too long, I let perfectionism get in the way of what’s important.

This solution came because I was able to identify the hurdles to the things we wanted to do and solved those issues one at a time.

Some of that meant making a decision. Some of that meant doing some work (i.e. finding the chalkboard), but MOST OFTEN it means getting over yourself and setting realistic expectations.

Because, when we don’t, we lose out on the stuff that matters and let discontentment and guilt rule instead of truly enjoying the gifts we’ve been given.

What is one area of your life where the only thing you’d have to do accomplish what you want is to lower your unrealistic expectations?

P.S. For more about how we are trying to teach our children about faith, read about why we have our children sit with us in church and our simple Advent countdown.

Menu Plan Monday

Menu Plan Monday ::


Pot Roast, Potatoes & Carrots

Roasts were on sale at the grocery store a few weeks ago and it was time to put that baby to use!

Pot Roast

  • 2-3 lb. chuck roast
  • Red Potatoes, chopped
  • Carrots, chopped
  • Celery, chopped
  • 1 can beef broth
  • 1 packet pot roast seasoning

Pour broth in crock pot and mix in seasoning. Place roast in pot. Place celery and carrots around the roast. Put chopped potatoes on top. Cover and cook on low 7-9 hours.

I like to take the potatoes out (that’s why I put them on top) and mash them with a little bit of butter and juice from the crock pot. They’re a funny brown color, but they’re, oh, so tasty.


Chili & Cornbread

My chili recipe is probably one of my greatest sources of pride. Mostly because I made it up all on my own. Through trial and error, I’ve found the perfect blend of what I’m looking for in chili.

I’ve even considered entering my chili in some (very informal, unofficial) chili competitions.

Kristin Chili

  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 1 lb. stew meat
  • 1 large yellow onion; minced
  • 1 large green bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic; minced
  • 1 15 oz. cans black beans; rinsed and drained
  • 2 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes; undrained
  • 1 can sweet corn, drained
  • 1 8 oz. can tomato sauce
  • 3 Tbsp. chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp. basil
  • 3 Tbsp. cumin
  • 1 packet chili seasoning
  • 3-4 cups tomato juice

In a large stock pot, cook ground beef, onion, green pepper & garlic until meat is almost brown. Add stew meat. Drain fat. Stir in everything else. Add tomato juice to desired thickness. Cook on low at least one hour (the longer, the better).


Pesto Paninis & Salad

This is one of my favorite meals for when we need something fast or we need something to go. Wrap the cooked sandwiches in parchment paper and they stay warm without getting soggy.

Pesto Panini

  • Favorite bread
  • Butter
  • Pesto (homemade or store-bought)
  • Chopped chicken
  • Mozzarella cheese, sliced

Spread a slice of bread with butter on one side and pesto on the other. Place the bread, butter side down on a panini grill (we use a George Foreman grill). Top with one slice of cheese, chicken and other slice of cheese. Butter another slice of bread and place the non-buttered side down on the sandwich. Close the top and cook 6-8 minutes to desired doneness.


Pulled Pork Sandwiches

I serve these with oven fries (from the freezer section) if I’m trying to appease my family or raw veggies if I’m feeling healthy. Either/Or works.

Pulled Pork Sandwiches

  • 1 lb. pork loin
  • Barbecue sauce
  • Hamburger buns

Put a thin layer of barbecue sauce on the bottom of a crock pot. Place the thawed pork loin in the crock, and top with more barbecue sauce. Cook on low 6-8 hours. When done, shred the pork and add more barbecue sauce as desired.


Pizza & Smoothies

I got the Standard of Grace journal for Christmas and I found myself writing this: “I think that my heart-bursting joy comes in providing stability for my family and prioritizing the “little things” – the simple stuff that become a foundation built on stability – i.e. Snacky Supper, Friday pizza & movie nights, Sunday open swims, Annual traditions, etc.”

I had no idea when we started this “Friday Pizza Night” thing last summer that it would come to mean so much to me.

I just thought it was an excuse to not have to cook on Fridays……


Almond Chicken Tenderloins & Salad

This was one of the first recipes that I tried from the Magnolia Table cookbook and it is DIVINE.

I don’t, generally, fry foods in my own home, but I make an exception for this meal.

It’s not at all labor intensive, but for simplicity sake, my favorite pairings with these chicken tenderloins are a bagged salad and your favorite loaf of bread from your favorite bakery.


Snacky Supper

See my note in Friday’s supper about the unexpected blessings of this tradition.

What’s your favorite recipe that you would enter in a competition?

Cleaning Schedule vs. Cleaning Day

Which is Better? Cleaning Schedule vs. Cleaning Day ::

There are three ways to clean:

  1. All at once
  2. A little bit at a time
  3. Not at all

If you’ve owned up to your adult responsibilities and decided that #3 isn’t an option, how do you decide which way is best?

Before you answer ‘How’, answer ‘Why’.

Why do you clean your house? Obligation? Guilt? To make your house homey and enjoyable? So that people think you have it all together when they come over?

Why you clean your house matters more than How or When.

The ‘why’ is rooted in your attitude, which is a much more effective motivator than the “right” method.

I don’t enjoy cleaning. I never have. But it’s a means to an end.

That “end” is taking good care of what we have. I’m grateful for our home and one way that I show that gratitude is by taking good care of it.

So, is it better to clean all at once or a little bit at a time?

Short Answer – It depends.

Both have advantages and disadvantages. What method works bet for you depends more on your personality and routine than anything else.

Cleaning Routine vs. Cleaning Day ::

Examine the pros and cons list. Weigh your priorities. What matters more to you?

Having an entirely clean house or getting your cleaning done quickly?

Having a “break” from cleaning or not being overwhelmed by cleaning the house all at once?

By answering these questions first, you can choose which method of cleaning will work best for you.

Which is Better? Cleaning Schedule vs. Cleaning Day ::

Our family’s schedule recently changed, which caused me to switch from a cleaning routine to a cleaning day. After a few months of this new pattern, I can honestly say that no one way is better than the other. However, each method has been the right fit for that time in our lives, which makes each of them a right choice.

Don’t be afraid to try something and, if it doesn’t work, try something else. That doesn’t mean that you failed. It just means that you haven’t yet found the best way.

Read more about creating a cleaning schedule here. If it’s helpful to see what mine looked like, use this as a guide.

How to Create a Customized Cleaning Routine that Works for You ::

My current method of doing all of my cleaning in one day means that these are the tasks that get done on a weekly basis. It is a lot, and I don’t enjoy doing it, but I sure do enjoy walking away when it’s all complete and knowing that I don’t have to touch that cleaning caddy for another six days….

Cleaning Routine vs. Cleaning Day ::
Cleaning Routine vs. Cleaning Day ::

P.S. See how I clean my entire kitchen in less than 20 minutes – because if I’m cleaning my entire house, I don’t want cleaning my kitchen to take the entire day.

Follow along with my cleaning day this Monday, January 14th on Instagram Stories to see how I break down the tasks and get all of my cleaning done for the week in a couple hours.

Menu Plan Monday

Menu Plan Monday ::


Coconut Shrimp, Fries & Broccoli

Day #5 of potty training meant that I had ZERO energy to prepare food. So, I went with frozen coconut shrimp that simply had to be put on a pan and put in the oven. A side of frozen fries and frozen broccoli completed the easy trifecta.

18 minutes and minimal effort later, we had a hot supper that was tasty and mildly nutritious.


Meatloaf, Mashed Potatoes & Green Beans

I got the meatloaf recipe from Pinterest years ago.

We like it because cooking the meatloaf in muffin tins means that they cook faster and there’s more of the crusty edge, which everyone knows is the only reason to eat meatloaf at all.

I definitely don’t pipe the mashed potatoes on the top of the mini meatloafs. They just get scooped on the side of the meatloaf.

Also, in case you’re wondering, if you accidentally add vanilla greek yogurt instead of plain greek yogurt to your mashed potatoes, no one notices. Or, at least, no one says anything.

Finish this meal off with some frozen green beans and you’re set.

My favorite way to cook green beans is to the put them in a microwave-safe bowl, add a splash of water and put a lid almost entirely on the bowl. Cook in the microwave for 5 minutes. Drain off the water, then add a little butter, salt and pepper and toss together. Sprinkle a little bit of grated parmesan cheese, place the lid back on and toss to coat. Even my kids eat these.


Homemade Pizza, Salad & Apples w/ PB

I am doing the Simplicity Challenge this month and today’s task was cleaning out the fridge. In doing so, I found a half jar of pizza sauce and a bagged salad that expired TODAY, so that’s the origins of today’s meal.

Mini Naans make homemade pizza a breeze. And fun for the kids. AND they help us adults with no self-control (ahem…) with portion control.

Throw some sauce, cheese & veggies (or pepperoni for the kids) on the Naan, Broil it for 4 minutes and supper is done.

Easy peasy.


Breakfast Casserole & Blueberry Muffins

I don’t impulse buy at the grocery store. If something’s not on my list, I don’t buy it.

Except this one time.

I found this seasoning packet on the end cap at the checkout and was intrigued.

It sat in our pantry for a few weeks because 1) I kind of forgot about it and 2) I didn’t have an occasion to make breakfast for supper in the crockpot.

Then we cooked some bacon a little too long – we are chewy bacon people – and the leftover over-crispy bacon seemed to be the perfect reason to add this breakfast casserole to our menu.

It couldn’t have been easier to assemble. The hard part is that it has to cook for 2 hours on high or 4 hours on low. That makes it a hard breakfast meal because it requires waking up really early to start it and it makes it a hard dinner meal because you’d have to be home during the day to start it.


Pizza & Smoothies

Does anyone else agree that Domino’s reward program where you get points for each ORDER (vs. each pizza) is dumb?

Moving on…..

Easy Smoothie Recipe

  • Liquid (I try to find one with veggies that’s not loaded with sugar)
  • Yogurt (we mix plain greek & plain vanilla)
  • Spinach or Kale
  • Frozen Fruit (partially thawed)


Out To Eat

My husband and I took a day just the two of us to do some shopping and and our Annual Goal Planning.


Snacky Supper

Otherwise known as fruit & veggie prep for the week disguised as supper. Or junk food disguised as a meal.

Snacky Supper came from my determination to not be so crabby that the weekend was ending. And it is a tradition that is here to stay.

Our current Snacky Supper Menu Consists Of:

  • Meat & Cheese & Crackers
  • Veggies & Hummus
  • Fruit
  • Pigs in a Blanket
  • Mozzarella Sticks (from the freezer section)
  • Queso & Tortilla Chips

Do you have a meal that you do the same every week and has become a tradition in your house?

Annual Goal Planning

Annual Goal Planning ::

I like to think that I’m not a resolution person, but I think it’s just semantics. I don’t want to say that I make resolutions because that’s what you’re “supposed” to do and that’s what everyone does. If there are two things that I’m not fond of, it’s doing what you’re “supposed” to do and doing what everyone else does.

Whatever you want to call it, planning ahead is never a bad thing.

Each year, my husband and I sit down and think through things that we’d like to accomplish over the next year. Individually, as a couple, as a family, in our home, in our spiritual lives and in our professions.

Annual Goal Planning

1. Identify Accomplishments

Think through the previous 365 and highlight what worked. What worked really well and how you and your family are better for it.

This not only starts you off with the right attitude, but it also gives you a springboard for where to start for the upcoming year.

2. Identify Pain Points

When you step back and take a look at your life, what needs to change? Don’t say everything.

You can start with everything, but then list what “everything” includes.

Annual Goal Planning ::

3. Turn Those Accomplishments & Pain Points into SMART Goals

SMART goals are a business tool, but using this acronym to establish goals in your personal life can be the difference between accomplishing those goals and wishing that you had.

SMART Goals are:


Annual Goal Planning ::

Each goal that you make should be Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant & Timely. Using those parameters, look at your list of accomplishments and pain points and choose which of those become your goals for the upcoming year.

Use these free printables (Accomplishments & Pain Points and Goals) and keep them in a place where you see them often.

I keep our goals in the front pocket of my planner so that I have easy access to it and can check periodically to see what progress we’ve made or are making.

Annual Goal Planning ::

What do you find to be the hardest part of achieving the goals that you set? How would writing them down and keeping them visible help?