Teaching Your Kids Self-Control

Self-control is tough at every age (I know that’s true!), but it’s especially hard for children.  Still, there are ways we can teach it to our kids, and it’s important that we try.  In fact, one research study that I find fascinating, makes that point loud and clear.

Posted On: July 28, 2014     cat-folder Parenting Leave a comment


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7 Life Hacks for Wives

7 Life Hacks for Wives

Every mom needs a few life hacks.

The Urban Dictionary defines a hack as a clever solution to a tricky problem.

Being a wife is a tricky problem–it shouldn’t be, but it is.  The world–the culture that I live in bombards me with images and ideas that make me think I have a problem.  What I need is a clever solution to fight back.  So here are 7 of my life hacks for being the wife I want to be:

Television, movies and magazines tell me I need more romance, passion and intimacy. What I really need is a hack for contentment in my marriage.

1. Be Content Life Hack

Distraction and busyness drain my attention from my husband.  What I need is a hack to help me remember how to make him a priority and show him that I adore him.

2. Adore Him Life Hack

The problem with social media is that I begin to believe that everyone I know has a perfect husband, a perfect house and a $10,000 vacation every year.  What I need is to be thankful for my real husband and the real pictures of sweet memories posted on my not so perfect but real walls.

3. Be Thankful Life Hack

Guilt is a problem for me.  I often feel as if I am not being or doing enough. I seem to remember all the negatives with razor sharpness and they cut into me painfully.  What I need to do is challenge myself to small successes every day and to let go of the negative.

4. Be Challenged Life Hack

The problem with communication is me–this gift was left out of my genetic box. The solution is work and I promise I have been working hard on this for 25 years–still a problem but not giving up!  This hack is from my hubs because he is better at it.

5. Communicate Well Life Hack

The simple things, that is what counts–hundreds of simple gestures all piled up together.  But the problem is if you get busy you forget. That’s what happened to me and my husband noticed.  The solution is a simple hack for giving little bits of love.

6. Love with Actions Life Hack

The problem is that my husband needs encouragement.  He has a lot of pressure on him and I am often guilty of adding to it! The solution is a hack to remember what he needs to hear from me and to tell him.

7. Speak Kindly Life Hack

Wives, do share! What are the most helpful life hacks that you can’t live without? 

Related Resources:

Posted On: July 21, 2014     cat-folder Love This 3 Comments


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Baked ‘Fried’ Chicken, Sweet Potato Casserole, No-Bake Cookies

This is a delicious, easier, and less messy alternative to frying chicken in a fryer or skillet.  But, it still tastes like fried chicken – yum!

Baked ‘Fried’ Chicken in a Bag


  • 3 pounds chicken, cut into pieces (you can also use skinless chicken)
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon sage (if you don’t have sage on hand, the recipe will still work)
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup butter


  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F (230 degrees C).
  2. Melt butter in a 9×13 inch baking dish in the pre-heated oven.
  3. Mix flour, salt, paprika, sage and pepper together in a large Ziploc type bag. Add chicken parts to bag and shake until well coated.
  4. Place chicken in the baking dish skin side down and bake for 20 minutes. Turn pieces and bake another 20 minutes until tender and juices run clear.

The Best Sweet Potato Casserole Ever

Sweet Potato Casserole


  • 4 cups mashed sweet potatoes
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • ½ cup milk
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup butter, melted
  • 1 t vanilla extract
  • 1 c packed brown sugar
  • ½ c all-purpose flour
  • ⅓ c butter, melted
  • 1 c chopped pecans
  • Marshmallows – optional


  1. In a mixing bowl, combine the sweet potatoes, sugar, eggs, milk, salt, ⅓ cup butter and vanilla. Mix together and pour into a greased 9”x13” baking dish. (Your casserole can be frozen at this stage.  When you are ready to cook, proceed to Step 2.)
  2. To prepare the topping, combine in a separate bowl the brown sugar, flour, ⅓ cup melted butter and pecans. Mix together and crumble over sweet potato mixture. Bake uncovered at 350°F (175°C) for 35 to 45 minutes.
  3. If desired, add marshmallows to the top of casserole during the last 15 minutes of baking.  Check periodically to make sure marshmallows do not burn.

No-Bake Chocolate Chip Cookies

Older children can make this treat on their own!  No baking required—just stirring in a pot on the stove.


  • 2 cups white sugar
  • ¼  cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • ½  cup milk
  • ½  cup butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ salt
  • ½  cup chunky peanut butter
  • 3 cups uncooked oatmeal


  1. In a saucepan over medium heat, combine the sugar, cocoa, milk and butter.
  2. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally for one minute.
  3.  Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla, salt and peanut butter until well-blended.
  4. Stir in oats.
  5. Drop by rounded spoonfuls onto waxed paper, or lightly greased foil or baking sheets.
  6.  Allow cookies to cool for at least 1 one hour before bagging or boxing for gift giving.
Posted On: July 11, 2014     cat-folder Sunday Suppers 1 Comment


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BBQ Pulled Chicken, Scalloped Potatoes and Red Velvet Cake

Crowd pleaser meal that is what this meal is–the potatoes are loaded and the cake is the Merrill Family favorite cake in the world.  To keep it simple we did not picture this with a vegetable but you know you should–every child needs a little green.

Barbecue Pulled Chicken


  • 4 lbs chicken breast
  • Hamburger buns
  • Cole Slaw (optional)

Dry Rub:

  • 2 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper

Wet Drizzle:

  • 2/3 cup cider vinegar
  • 4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper


  1. Combine brown sugar, paprika, salt and pepper rub over chicken.
  2. Combine vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, red pepper flakes, sugar, mustard, garlic salt and cayenne stir to mix well. Drizzle 1/4 of vinegar mixture over chicken. Cover and refrigerate remaining vinegar mixture.
  3. Place chicken in slow cooker and cook on low 10 to 12 hours or on high 5 to 6 hours.
  4. Use the remaining vinegar mixture to baste the chicken several times throughout the cooking process. If you don’t have time to baste the chicken, then you can always pour the entire vinegar mixture over the chicken prior to cooking!
  5. Remove meat and drain. Chop or shred meat.

Serve meat and onions on buns. If desired, top sandwiches with coleslaw.


Scalloped Potatoes

Preheat oven to 350°F.


  • 2 Tbs. butter
  • 1 large onions
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • 3 lbs. baking potatoes
  • 2 cups shredded cheese (of your choice)
  • 2 1/2 cups heavy cream


  1. Generously butter a 9-by-13-inch baking dish.
  2. In a large frying pan, melt the butter over medium heat.
  3. Add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 7 minutes. Remove from the heat.
  4. Mix together the salt and pepper.
  5. Peel the potatoes and thinly slice into rounds. Spread one-third of the potatoes in an even layer in the prepared baking dish and season with about one-fourth of the salt mixture.
  6. Top with one-third of the cheese and half of the onions and season with about one-third of the remaining salt mixture.
  7. Top with half of the remaining potato slices, half of the remaining cheese and the rest of the onions, seasoning with half of the remaining salt mixture as you go.
  8. Finish with the remaining potatoes and cheese and season with the remaining salt mixture.
  9. In a small saucepan, heat the cream over medium-high heat until it is simmering.
  10. Pour the hot cream evenly over the potatoes.
  11. Cover tightly with aluminum foil and place the baking dish on a rimmed baking sheet.
  12. Bake for 1 hour.
  13. Remove the foil and continue baking until the potatoes are tender, coated with a creamy sauce and golden brown on top, about 30 minutes longer.
  14. Let stand for about 5 minutes, then serve hot.


Susan’s 4-Layer Red Velvet Cake

red velvet cake, cream cheese frosting

Ingredients for Cake:

  • 2 ¼ cups Buttermilk
  • 3 cups Oil
  • 2 tsp Vanilla
  • ¼ cup Red Food Coloring
  • 2 tsp Vinegar
  • 4 Large Eggs
  • 5 cups Flour
  • 2 tsp Baking Soda
  • 3 tsp Cocoa Powder
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 3 cups Sugar

Ingredients for Frosting:

  • 2 sticks of Butter at room temperature
  • 24 oz Cream Cheese, softened
  • 3 cups Confectioners’ Sugar
  • 2 cups Pecans, chopped

Directions for Cake:

  1. Combine and mix first six wet ingredients.
  2. Slowly incorporate remaining dry ingredients, mixing until well blended.
  3. Spray four 9-inch pans with non-stick cooking spray.
  4. Bake for 20 minutes at 350°F.
  5. Allow cakes to cool completely before removing from pans.

Directions for Frosting:

  1. Using a hand mixer, cream together butter, cream cheese, and sugar until smooth and creamy.
  2. Place the first layer on a cake plate and place a dollop of frosting in the center of the layer
  3. Using an offset spatula (or any flat knife), spread the frosting to cover the top of the layer, but don’t worry about the sides.
  4. Stack another cake on top of the first layer and repeat the frosting process, do this for all four layers.
  5. Put remaining frosting on the top of the cake and using your spatula, frost the sides of the cake, applying any decorative swirls or marks you desire.
  6. Sprinkle the top and sides with nuts.
Posted On: July 04, 2014     cat-folder Sunday Suppers 1 Comment


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Pulled Pork, Slaw and Corn Muffins

This is a great meal to enjoy with your family and friends on any summer holiday! It is so simple to make, leaving you more time to celebrate!

Pulled Pork Meal


Slow Cooker Pulled Pork 


  • 4 lbs. pork shoulder or butt
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. pepper
  • 1 Tbsp. canola oil
  • 2 Tbsp. parsley
  • 1 ½ tsp. oregano
  • 5 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • ½ cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 Anaheim peppers, seeded and sliced
  • ¼ tsp. crushed red pepper flakes


  1. Season pork with salt and pepper.
  2. Heat oil in a large skillet over high heat. Add the pork and cook for 5 minutes per side (until browned).
  3. Remove from heat and transfer to the slow cooker.
  4. Add remaining ingredients to the slow cooker. Cover and cook on low for 6 – 8 hours (until fork tender).

Zesty Peach Salsa


  • 1 ½ cups chopped, fresh peaches (about 3 medium peaches)
  • ¼ cup diced red onion
  • 2 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp. diced fresh jalapeno (more or less depending on personal preference)


  1. Combine the peaches, onion, lemon juice, and jalapeno in a bowl.
  2. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Let sit for at least 10 minutes for the flavors to meld together.

Cole Slaw


  • 2 cups of prepared coleslaw (carrots included!)
  • 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 3 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • ¼ tsp. ground red pepper
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Place slaw in a large bowl. Set aside.
  2. In a separate bowl, combine remaining ingredients, whisking together well.
  3. Pour vinegar mixture over slaw and toss to combine. Let stand 30 minutes.

Corn Muffins with Raspberry Filling

These yummy corn muffins with raspberry filling are definitely a crowd pleaser! The perfect side to go with this summer meal.


  • 3 cups flour
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 2 Tbsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 ½ cups milk
  • ½ pound butter, melted and cooled
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup raspberry jam


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Line 12 large muffin cups with paper liners.
  3. In a mixing bowl, mix the flour, sugar, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt.
  4. In a separate bowl, combine milk, butter and eggs.
  5. With mixer on low, pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir until just combined.
  6. Spoon batter into liners (3/4 way full) and bake for 20 minutes exactly.
  7. Let cool, pipe the jam into the muffin using icing bag or Ziploc bag (just cut the tip off the corner!)

For more recipes like this one, visit eMeals.

Posted On: June 27, 2014     cat-folder Sunday Suppers Leave a comment


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