Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Valentine M&M Bars

Ok, I know Valentine's Day has come and gone....but...
It's still February, and these are really good!

All during the month of February, I collected bags of pink M&Ms because, well, they're pink  :)  But what was I supposed to do with them?  I had such a random assortment of things in my pantry, and wasn't quite sure what to do.

Enter the White Chocolate Chip M&M Cookie Bars!

Cast of Characters
♥ 1/2 cup butter, softened
♥ 3/4 cup sugar
♥ 3/4 cup brown sugar
♥ 2 eggs
♥ 2 tsp vanilla
♥ 1+1/2 cup flour
♥ 1 tsp baking powder
♥ 1/2 tsp salt
♥ 1 cup white
♥ 1+ 3/4 cup M&Ms, divided

In a large bowl, cream butter and sugars until they're light and fluffy.  Beat in eggs and vanilla.  Add flour, baking powder, and salt.  Stir in 1 cup of the M&Ms and the white chocolate chips.

Spoon into a greased 9x13, and sprinkle the remaining M&Ms over the top.

Bake at 350* for 25-30 minutes.

Cool on a wire rack, and then cut into yummy bars.

These are super sweet, but they make a nice Valentine treat!

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Monday, February 27, 2012

Kayleigh's First Trip to the Beach

***Looking for the Dayspring Giveaway?  Don't miss it!***

The beach has always been a special place to me.  When I began dating Jesse, I shared my love for the ocean with him, and it became our special place.

Now that Kayleigh is part of our life, too, I've been dying to take her to the beach.  We finally got to go last week.  It was such a wonderful day!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Dayspring Giveaway

My grandmother is the strongest woman I know.

She is mother to 6, "Gramma" to 29, and Great Gramma to 3.  She worked hard to raise six kids on her own, and she has always been someone I could depend on no matter what.

Gramma with 2 day old Kayleigh

My papa has been declining in health over the past year.  It's hard to watch him slip away, but even harder to see the look in Gramma's eye as she squeezes Papa's hand.  Shouldn't best friends be able to be together, always?

Gramma's structured, scheduled, predictable life has turned into a haze of transporting Papa from doctor to doctor, rearranging her home to make room for hospital beds and wheelchairs, and always having a nurse on hand.  It's stressful, and discouraging, and all of it is a reminder that their golden years aren't going as planned.

But God's hand is in it all, and Gramma needs reminders of that.

So when I was given the opportunity to review Dayspring products, I knew exactly what I wanted to do with them afterward.  I wanted to encourage my amazing Gramma, and remind her that she is blessed and loved.

Look at this beautiful Blessed and Loved collection I was sent by Dayspring!  I am absolutely in love with it.  I love the green, blue, and black color scheme, the wispy white flowers, and the ever-comforting blessing,

The Lord bless you and keep you
Numbers 6:24
I think having these reminders around Gramma's home will be a blessing to her.  I can't wait for the package to show up on her doorstep!

I love thinking about this sweet little mug being added to the collection that hangs next to Gramma's kitchen window, and I think the daily calendar will be an encouragement to her as she sits at her desk.  I had to become creative with the journal, because I haven't seen Gramma use one before, but I hope she will be blessed by the passages of Scripture I wrote inside of it and the excerpts from favorite devotionals I shared with her.

Through (in)courage, I received this beautiful gift set from Dayspring.  (in)courage is a wonderful website for women to be inspired, comforted, and encouraged in their daily walk with their Savior.  I've been very blessed by reading posts from other Christians, and hope you will be, too!

Dayspring is an incredible company.  You probably recognize them from their beautiful cards in Hallmark and inspirational gifts in Christian bookstores across the country.  I'm so excited to get to share a $20 credit to their online store with you, because it gives you the ability to choose anything you would like!

Some of my favorites du jour are:

There's even a "buy two, get one free" deal this month--check it out!!!
And now for the fun part...
Enter the giveaway for a $20 credit to Dayspring Online!
(click "Read More" to see the Rafflecopter giveaway)

{You must spend a minimum of $20 in order to use the coupon code.  
Purchases of $50 or more receive free shipping every day!}  
Enter below!  This is a Rafflecopter giveaway and will go through Monday, March 5th!  A winner will be announced on Tuesday, March 6th. :)

Saturday, February 25, 2012


I fell off the boat last week.

Sorry about that.

It's been a crazy 10 days!

Between keeping up with my roly poly baby girl,  the first day of teaching an online writing course through a Christian university, the death of a dear friend, a 4 day migraine, and my husband receiving his very first Call to a congregation, life has been pretty busy in the Brubaker home.

But I'm back!

And I have lots of exciting things to share with you.

Including a post about Kayleigh's first trip to the beach

Two wonderful days of family visits

And I'm sure I'll be sharing thoughts about our last day (tomorrow) at our current church

But right now, I'm mostly excited about getting to share a wonderful giveaway from Dayspring with you tomorrow!

So be sure to check in before all of the Oscars fun begins, and enter for your chance to win a $20 credit to Dayspring's beautiful online store!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Valentine's Day

We had a quiet Valentine's Day, but it was full of lots of sweet things.
Kayleigh's first!  We brought her with us on our "date."  It's so much fun to celebrate little things like this with her.  

We just love our little Valentine!

And Kayleigh loves the Valentine Bear [Great] Gramma sent to her in the mail.

After our munchkin went to bed, Jesse brought out the dessert that he had made as a surprise for me:  pavlova!
I was so impressed that he made it all by himself.  It was amazing.  I told him that this is my new birthday cake request.

(kiwis on half because Handsome Man is allergic!)

It was a wonderful Valentine's Day!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Joy on Valentine's Day

I'm thinking back to last year with a smile today.

Valentine's Day 2011 was the day we told our family that we were having a baby.

We bought a pack of onesies and personalized them for our family members, and then sent them off in the mail.

Across the nation,Valentine's Day is a day full of roses, chocolate, and romance, but I think from now on, Jesse and I will always think of the joy we felt on the day that we got phone call after phone call as our family received their Valentine packages and discovered our exciting news.

Isn't it amazing how time flies?  Last year, all we had were these little tissue-wrapped onesies {and a lot of morning-sickness} to show for our newest little family member...

And now we have this beautiful, pink, curly girl with smiles brighter than the sunshine and enough chubby little rolls to kiss over and over and over.

She brings us so much joy!  This is the happiest Valentine's Day ever.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Sprinkles' Strawberry Cupcakes

Sprinkles Cupcakes is a world famous bakery in Beverly Hills.

So when I found a recipe for their strawberry cupcakes, I had to try it!  I've had many a cupcake in my life, but never before had I made one with fresh strawberries.  In love!

At first, I was a little intimidated.  A recipe from Sprinkles?  With their cupcakes selling at $4 a pop, that must be some crazy-difficult recipe to follow.  Either that, or they put gold dust in the frosting.

Turns out, it's super simple!  And the result is just lovely.

Cast of Characters:
♥ 1 cup whole strawberries
♥ 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour, sifted
♥ 1 tsp baking powder
♥ 1/4 tsp salt
♥ 1/4 cup milk, room temperature
♥ 1 tsp vanilla extract
♥ 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, room temperature
♥ 1 cup sugar
♥ 1 large egg
♥ 2 egg whites

Prep work:
Set out milk, eggs, and butter to allow them to adjust to room temperature.  Preheat the oven to 350*, line a muffin tin with 12 cupcake liners.

Wash and hull all of your strawberries.  Place them in a food processor and process until pureed.  Try to resist drinking it.  I know, it's hard.  You will need 1/3 cup of strawberry puree for the cupcakes, and 3 tablespoons for the frosting.  Once you've measured it all out, you can devour what's left :)

In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, and salt.  In a small bowl, mix milk, 1/3 cup strawberry puree, and vanilla.

Using an electric mixer with a paddle attachment, cream butter at medium-high speed until light and fluffy.  Slowly add sugar, and then reduce speed to medium.  Add egg and egg whites.

Lower the speed once again, and slowly add half of the flour mixture.  Pour in strawberry puree mixture, and then blend in the rest of the flour.  Be careful not to over-mix--it will make the cupcakes dense and heavy.

Pour the batter into the cupcake liners, and put in your oven for 25-30 minutes.  The tops of the cupcakes should be golden brown when you take it out, and you should be able to stick a toothpick in the center of one and pull it out cleanly.  Set the muffin tin on a wire rack and allow the cupcakes to cool thoroughly.

Now for the good stuff...frosting!

For the Frosting, you will need:
♥ 3 T strawberry puree
♥ 2 sticks (one cup) butter, room temperature
♥ 3 1/2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
♥ 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
♥ pinch of salt

In your mixer, beat butter and salt together until light and fluffy.  Add powdered sugar slowly, beat until well combined.  Stir in vanilla extract and strawberry puree, and watch pure magic unfold.  Again, be careful not to over-mix.  This is the most amazing frosting I've ever had!  And why wouldn't it be?  Butter/sugar is my favorite baking combination!  Add strawberries, and it's pure heaven.

Pure heaven.

Happy homemaking!
♥ Bethany

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Saturday, February 11, 2012

Happy Thoughts

The Heart of the Homemaker Series is over.
But right now, I'm thinking of the most amazing homemaker I know.

I'm so thankful for my mom:
For the wonderful example she set for me
For all of the smiley-face sandwiches and owie-kisses
For always having her phone nearby so that I can call her to ask how to make pot roast, what to do for Kayleigh's fever, or just to say hi.
For giving me the confidence to raise Kayleigh, for telling me that she believes in me.
For giving me life, so that I could raise this precious girl:

Her children arise and call her blessed.
Her husband also, and he praises her.
Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all.
Proverbs 31:28-29

I love you, Mom!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Heart of the Homemaker: Christi

Today is the last day of our Heart of the Homemaker Series. I hope you have been blessed this week by the five women who have shared their beautiful hearts with us!
Our last guest blogger is Christi, of Soli Deo Gloria. I'm pretty sure she's in line for the Super Mom award! When I wrote her to ask her if she would be willing to write for my series, she emailed back and said that she would be happy to. Little did I know that I was asking her the day before her due date! Nevertheless, Christi, Super Mom, sent me her post three days later and apologized for not adding pictures. "My water just broke, so I'm not sure what this night holds."
Christi, you are amazing!!!

At 40 weeks and 3 days pregnant with boy #3, I have been inundated with little things.  I have been washing newborn onesies, folding receiving blankets, putting tiny diapers away, and gathering supplies… feeling little kicks and hearing little pitter patters of heartbeats each week….Little Things

All we do as mommies are little things:  cook meals, clean rooms, do loads of laundry, read short books, comb hair, kiss owies, apply Band-Aids, push swings, change diapers, fill sippy cups, play games, praise accomplishments, vacuum….this is our domain, this is our joy….or is it….

Coming into motherhood in my mid-thirties, I struggle each day with my role as Woman.  Who am I?  My time is not my own anymore.  I don’t have the luxury of a consistent, reliable schedule.  I don’t even have the luxury of being consistent and reliable.  It’s always humbling to cancel after saying yes or just saying no.  My body isn’t my own anymore.  I am milk machine, I am nurturer; I am using my arms and legs and hands and head for making sure my family is fed, clean, taught, and safe.  My body doesn’t even look and function like what it used to.  (So much for working out consistently.)  My career is almost non-existent.  Where does this part fit in between cooking, laundry, and quantity time?  

Who AM I then?

I suppose I am all these things—wife, mommy, career woman, and yet, none of them fully.  I am still creative and gifted and intelligent, using these abilities in small ways each day.  But where are the big dreams and goals I had planned to accomplish?  How am I using my educational degrees I earned in school?  Where are the accolades and the recognition?  

Perhaps I have let the world define me for too long.  I have believed the world and the Bible simultaneously.  Yes, God gives us our dreams, talents, circumstances, experiences and even goals.  “The mind of man plans his way, but the LORD directs his steps,” Prov. 16:9.  Yet, the way never looks like what it does in our minds.  After all, “who can make straight [the path] God has made crooked,” Eccl. 7:13?  But I look at what I used to be and what I feel I’m missing out on now and have reached Discontentment.  

What I need to accept is that those gifts, talents, callings, and passions are applied differently at different seasons of our lives.  And as His beloved daughters, we have a different path than the world.  We are NOT our own.  We do not own our lives.  The world wants us to believe that we can do and have “it” all.  And what’s more, we deserve “it.”  But the truth is we are bought by and dearly loved by the Lover and Creator of our souls, who governs all our circumstances, invents all our steps, guides all our talents and gifts.  What joy to know we are owned and taken care of by the One who has woven each cell of our body together for His joy and glory!  

How does this look on a daily basis?  The Psalmist says in Psalm 131:1-2, “O LORD, my heart is not proud, nor my eyes haughty; nor do I involve myself in great matters, or in things too difficult for me. Surely I have composed and quieted my soul; like a weaned child rests against his mother, my soul is like a weaned child within me.”  As a dearly loved daughter, with my Lover working out all the details of my life, orchestrating all my circumstances and giving me all I need for the step I’m on, I can choose to remain content.  A weaned child, who is not distracted by the breast, rooting around seeking contentment, I rest peacefully against my Lover’s breast.  I sit contented, fed, nourished, not wanting for anything, because, just as the child knows, I, too, am fully provided for, resting in that which has been given to me as all I need.

The Psalmist also makes the determination not to involve himself in those lofty ideas and questions that belong to God and His sovereign plan.  He has determined to not be so prideful as to write his own answers or go his own path in response to those desires and passions that vex him.  Ultimately, to not determine his own path, but to submit to God’s sovereign will.  He “composes and quiets himself,” sitting contently, not being squirmy, by choice, in his mother’s arms.  He trusts all is well.

With the big questions left to be answered and worked out by the One sovereignly organizing the universe, I can joy in the Little Things, and the Little People entrusted to me.  After all, isn’t that what God requires of me, to be “faithful in the small things?” As Jesus said, Matthew 25:21, “Well done, good and faithful servant: you have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.”  Isn’t His joy our joy?

So….who am I?  I am the beloved of my Lover, child of my Creator; I am the keeper of my home—watcher of what comes in and goes out; I am the lover of my husband and children, I am a talented, gifted woman, using my gifts as God provides the circumstances and in unexpected ways each day as the path unfolds.  I am a contented child, resting quietly against my Father’s breast, God helping me.  

Soli Deo Gloria.

Congratulations for Christi and Rob on the birth of their beautiful son!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Heart of the Homemaker: Mandy

I discovered Mandy's blog a little over a year ago, while she was pregnant with her sweet smiley girl, Lily.  I've learned healthy green tips from Mandy, watched her baby grow, and been encouraged by her beautiful perspective as a stay at home mom.  I pray that you are blessed by her today!

Hi, there!  This is Mandy from "She Breathes Deeply."  I am so happy to be here chatting with you all today!  Bethany asked me to share some thoughts with you about my life as a homemaker.  So, brew a cup of tea, and let's chat.  

To be honest, I am still pretty new to this whole homemaker position.  I married the love of my life almost 3 years ago now.  We welcomed the second love of our lives into the world almost a year ago when our daughter Lily Beloved was born.  

I wasn't necessarily planning on becoming a homemaker.  The "position" was given to me, and I am honored, blessed, and humbled that I get to create a happy home for my family on a daily basis.

Being a homemaker is an amazingly wonderful, rewarding job... But, it also is one of the hardest jobs I have ever held.  I cannot tell you how many times I have found myself flat on my face, begging for the Lord to give me strength to be the wife and mother I need to be.  

Here are a few things I have found that are essential in my life to being a homemaker.

1.  Spend daily time with Jesus....
 All day, everyday.  To be honest, this is an area I am working on.  Jesus is the reason why we as women can create a loving, caring home.  Without Jesus, I am nothing.  I cannot do anything on my strength.  

2.  Creating a happy home is not about having an impeccable home.
I am a tad O.C.D.  I love having my home in order, clean, organized, etc.  That is all fine and good, but sometimes it is not "real life."  Homes are meant to be lived in... Which means messes a lot of the time.  Lately, I have come to learn that it means a whole lot more to my husband and daughter to leave the mess, and go and spend quality time with them. 

3.  Allow yourself some "me" time.  
Yes, being a homemaker does mean a lot of self sacrifice.  You learn to give, and give, and give some more of yourself to your family.  This is why it is so important to find time to re-charge.  You cannot continue to give and give, unless you allow your self a little "me time."  That doesn't mean you have to spend enormous amounts of  money going to a spa... It just means carving out an hour a week to read your favorite book, journal, get a cup of coffee with a friend.  

4.  Create a (loose) schedule.
I'm finding that have a loose schedule really helps me get done the things I need to get done.  Running a household can be an intimidating task.  Prioritize what needs to get done, but if life gets in the way and gets busy, don't stress over little things getting done.  

 " A wife of noble character who can find? 
   She is worth far more than rubies."  -Proverbs 31:10

Have a wonderful day, homemakers!  Your role in the home is so essential.. But remember you don't have to do it on your own strength.  Fall madly, deeply in love with Jesus and allow him to carry all your burdens.

Stop by my blog and say hi!


Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Heart of the Homemaker Series: Kayse

Welcome to Day 3 of the Heart of the Homemaker Series!  Today's guest blogger is Kayse from Finding Hope.  Kayse is an organizing wonder, a sweet Christian wife and mom, and, {my favorite part} she lives across the street from me.  Such an unexpected blessing arose last August when my Handsome Man and I moved to a new town--only to find out that one of our old orchestra friends from college was going to be moving to the same area the very next day.  Isn't it amazing how God works?  Just when I was about to have a baby and begin the journey of being a stay-at-home mom, He provided a friend to encourage me along the way, provide helpful tips, and become my exercise buddy.  Oh yes, we get our exercise in several days a week by stroller-walking to Target.  It's a rough life.

Please be sure to stop by Finding Hope and share some homemaker love!

Hi!  I'm so excited to be posting here at Happy Homemaker Me today!  I'm Kayse, a work-from-home teacher, wife to my musician Hubby, and mommy to my sweet Emily Ann.  You can usually find me over at Finding Hope, where I write about real-life stuff like faith, easy recipes, living happily on a budget, and fishing baby poop out of the bathtub (something I'm sure has never happened to you, right?  Stop on by anytime!

I'm a big believer in being well acquainted with your strengths and weaknesses.  So when Bethany asked me to write for this Heart of the Homemaker series, I almost told her that I wasn't the woman she was looking for.

You see, I'm great at some parts of homemaking, primarily the brownie baking and eating parts.  But there are quite a few areas where I could use some improvement.  For example, laundry, dishes, house-cleaning, and especially vacuuming.  You know, just a few minor areas.  No big deal.

So I wracked my brain for something inspirational to share with you all.  Because I really do believe that homemaking is part of every woman's God-given purpose.  Call me anti-feminist if you will, but I think it's a true privilege to be charged with creating and maintaining the home where your husband and children will grow, create memories, and share love.

See?  I can be inspirational. ;)

Anyways, while I believe all those things wholeheartedly, I am also well aware that I have quite a bit of growing to do in these areas.  {Namely cleaning...there's a reason I won't be talking about that today!}  So today I'm going to share with you the one aspect of homemaking that I actually do well.

It's a task that requires resourcefulness, creativity, and organization.  It shapes the entirety of your month, and has the ability to literally save hundreds of dollars.  Without even clipping a single coupon {although I'm a big fan of coupons, and highly recommend them}!  Guess what it is?

Meal Planning. :)

Now, I'm well aware that this is not a new concept.  However, I'm always surprised at how many people talk about it but don't actually put it into action.  So here's how I meal plan, and why I do it.  I'm hoping it will give you just that little boost you need to invigorate your kitchen with a little organization.

At the beginning of the month, I sit down with my Home Management Notebook, whip out my Meal Planning Calendar, and get to work.  I take a look at my freezer, my pantry, and my sale ads and start creating menus.  I have found that it's easiest for us if I plan every single dinner, complete with side-dishes, for each night.  Then, for breakfasts, lunches, and snacks, I just have a working list that I pull from depending on how we feel each day.  I try to look at the sale ads, see what's on sale, and go from there.  I also try to choose recipes, for the most part, that can have any kind of meat.  That way, even though I'm planning for a month at a time, I can use whatever meat was on sale at the store this week.  Sneaky? Nope - resourceful! :)

You can see my Meal Planning Calendar here on the right.  I have each day of the month labeled with a number, a space to write the day of the week, and then a large space for each night's dinners!  On the opposite side, I have lists for Breakfasts, Lunches, and Snacks.  I try to write down as many healthy options as I can, so that when I'm hungry I have a great resource to go to, instead of just pulling another brownie out of the pan. (Mmmmm...brownies...)

Honestly, you can do this by the week or the month - whatever suits your family best.  I personally prefer planning by the month because then I sit down once and it's done.  I just have to create a shopping list and go!  And every Monday, I share the upcoming week's Meal Plan on my blog.  That way, I'm held accountable, and I'm able to share recipes and ideas with others!  Win-win. :)

So here's what a typical week might look like...

Crock Pot Mexican Chicken over Rice, with Corn

Veggie Bake, with Toasted Bread

Taco Salad {using leftover CPM Chxn from Monday}

Cheddar & Cracker Chicken with Green Beans

Date Night! {Every Friday} :)

Cheesy Zucchini Enchiladas


Breakfast Ideas: Oatmeal, Eggo Waffles, Eggs and Cheese, Cereal, Pancakes
Lunch Ideas: Lunch Meats, Grilled Cheese, Soup, Trader Joe's Taquitos, Quesadilla
Snack Ideas: Granola Bars, LF String Cheese, Cuties, Grapes, Bananas, Yogurt

A few tips...
  1. If you save your meal plans each month, you can rotate entire months of plans back in, corresponding with store sales!
  2. Make sure you plan meats according to what is on sale.  Meats are almost always the most expensive.
  3. Coupons are your friends.  They make it fun to stand in the checkout line forever, waiting to see just.how.much you saved!
I'm hoping it's obvious to you that I don't claim to be Susie B. Homemaker. :)  But as a follower of Christ, I do feel a responsibility to steward well the roles He has given me.  Meal Planning is one way I can feel responsible, actually be well organized, and provide for my family in a unique way.  It's a great way to catch deals, be a little creative in the kitchen, and feed my little family well.

Thanks for letting me share with you today!  I'd love for you to stop on by Finding Hope any day, but especially Mondays, when we link up our Meal Plans for the week!  Hope to see you over there soon!! :)  And a special thanks to Bethany, who, I'm sure you agree, is about to give Ms. Martha Stewart a run for her money. ;)


Heart of the Homemaker: Disney

I discovered Disney's blog, Ruffles And Stuff, a few years ago when I inadvertently stumbled upon one of her craft tutorials during my lunch break at work.  It was love at first sight, and I happily spent my lunch breaks from then on scouring her blog for fun ideas and gleaning peace and comfort from her encouraging posts.  As I prepared to host this series, I decided to "shoot for the moon" and send an email to Disney, asking her if she would be willing to guest post.  I nearly fell off my seat when I received a reply within an hour saying that she would be happy to write for me!  Thank you, Disney, for taking time out of your beautifully busy life to share your heart with us today!

This post was so much more difficult to write than I thought it would be. "Write about homemaking? Sure! Piece of cake. After all, I live it!" But there are so many different aspects of homemaking that I really had no idea where to start. As I was sharing these thoughts with my husband, he asked "Well, what is your favorite thing about being a homemaker?". Ah. Hands down, it's being able to be at home with my daughter. 

Don't misunderstand me-being with my daughter all day is by no means the most enjoyable part of being a homemaker (that would probably be not leaving for work at 6am), but it is definitely my favorite. Let me explain...

(And so begins the longest post in history.)

My husband and I decided before we got married that if we ever had children, we would do everything we could to make it possible for me to stay home with them. So, when I was five months pregnant with our daughter, Paige, I quit my job and for the first time in my adult life I was unemployed and at home. The next three or four months were pretty great (although a little boring at times); I felt free as a bird! What a great life this was going to be. 

At this point most of you can guess where my story is going. The moment my daughter was born, "free as a bird" flew out the window. Almost since her first moments of life, that sweet angel was the queen of high-maintenance. From refusing to sleep to refusing to be alone, from refusing to latch properly to refusing bottles; she wanted me to know that I was at her beckon-call at all times.  By now, (four years old) she's a little more pleasant to be around, but her strong will and bossy--ahem--"leadership oriented" attitude makes her a full-time job and a half. Just today, as I was trying to think of ways to include Paige in the household chores, I asked her: "Paige, what would you like to be in charge of?". She paused for a moment, then looked at me and replied: "Everyone." That's my daughter! She is bold and strong, and so smart. I fully believe that God has plans for her to do something incredible for Him someday, but the idea of it being my job to prepare her for it, frankly, makes me want to pee my pants. I still don't even know how to guide my own life, let alone hers! 

I said all that to say: being at home with kids all day is hard and scary, by far the biggest challenge I've ever faced. But it is my favorite part of being a homemaker because I know that of all the things I could do in this world, raising this girl will make the most difference. My big chance in life isn't to have a successful craft blog or to write books or do seminars; Paige is my big chance. She's my life's work, my greatest opportunity. And any earthly thing I need to give up in order to help God mold her and shape her is my pleasure.

When I reflect on my feelings for Paige, I can't help but think of God's feelings for us. What silly, stubborn little people we are. :O) And yet He would, and indeed did, give up anything to train us, mold us and perfect us. How His heart must break when some of His children grow up and move away from Him, never coming back. I pray that we never become those children. 

I also think of what a wonderful example of a perfect parent we have in our heavenly Father. Whenever I have doubts of the specifics of my job, I think of God's wise, patient, firm and loving ways and it puts things into perspective. I'll never be a perfect mom, but using God's standards certainly points me closer to that goal. I wish I had more specific tips for you all, but I'm still quite in the learning process myself. All I can say is: study God's love, and pass it on to your family.

And on that note, I think I'll end my ramblings, go kiss my sleeping princess, and thank God that I've had another day with her. :O)

God bless you, homemaking friends! And good luck :O)