Meal Plan Monday #27

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Happy Monday everyone! I hope your weekend was great. This weekend my hubby and I did some last minute Christmas shopping for our boys and finished some odds and ends for baby. It was an interesting weekend to say with contractions rising and no results. Hopefully we will get to hold our baby girl soon. I decided to dig a little deeper into my meal plans and give you more detail because I usually plan three meals a day for two-three weeks at a time. I suck with lunch though, it’s a struggle for me to be creative in this area because I can’t get out of sandwich mode but I digress. Lately I’ve been kicking it up to make sure we are eating a balanced meal daily. So that means making sure there are some fruits and veggies along side. I tend to follow a ratio of one fruit, one veggie, protein and dairy. Lot’s of times through the week we have leftover’s so if you see three or four things listed it’s not because I don’t feed my family, we just have more to go around at some point. I can’t cook everyday of my life you know. We also tend to eat out or find something quick on the weekends. Here is what is on my list for the coming week.

Breakfast Honey Banana Muffins/pina colada smoothie Baked oatmeal Egg muffins and sausage Cereal Breakfast sandwiches German pancakes/fruit and sausage

Lunch Grilled cheese with pepperoni, grapes Parmesan noodles and peas Apple salad and fish sticks Dinner Parmesan honey pork, salad and garlic mashed potatoes Corn dog muffins/veggies Cheese steak sandwiches and chips Weeknight chicken stir fry I keep a meal plan journal where I can write down recipes that I want to try and the website, book or magazine to find it and also if we liked the recipe or not or my notes. This makes it easy and I have everything in one place. I also have a meal plan board, which I will share in a future post, that allows me to write down what’s happening for the week and my shopping list. I’m the crazy lady with a bunch of lists in her pocketbook. ha! I hope you find a recipe here that you can keep! We have a lot of catching up to do. Meet back here next Monday for coffee and tea? See ya then! howtotrainasuperhero.com

Linking Up With: Titus TuesdaysLiving Proverbs 31, Joy Dare

How I plan to do life with a newborn

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This post has been a little while coming. It’s been four years since I’ve cuddled and held a newborn. Some may say pish posh, I say ahhhhh!!!

Life just settled down and then I throw a baby in  the mix!

Anyways, I wanted to share with you all how I plan to do life with a newborn. This post will cover what I am doing to get ready for….duh duh duh DUHH!! My sweet baby girl. There is not much I can prepare for. She will either throw me for a loop or wrap me around her princess band. Either way I’m here to stay.

Here’s the thing:

I may make my plans but the Lord determines the outcome.

(We may throw the dice, but the Lord determines how they fall. Proverbs 16:33)

So while I am super-duper planner girl, I know that my plans are tentative to the Lords…..Shall we?

There are two things that I marked as my goal during this pregnancy that are super important to me. One of those is freezer meals. Preparing meals ahead of time will help me and my hubby stay sane. I made a list of meals my hubby can choose from to make and recipe ideas for him when he is feeling creative. I also made a list of what is in the freezer so that he can see a list of inventory and we know what we are getting low on and need to restock.

My church usually sets up a meal train for the prego’s and I’m super grateful…but I know it will take me a while to get into the swing of things so I wanted to have a few things on hand after that. And quite frankly who wants to cook right away when they’ve had a baby?

I’ve known that I wanted to do this since I first got pregnant so I’ve been collecting meal ideas for my family since. I used to do freezer meals to send to my mom and I think I’ve tried all those bagged one pot crockpot meals. I can’t stand them. They usually sound so good but….sometimes the flavors don’t quite go right, at least for me they haven’t. We want real meal ideas that I’d cook on a regular basis, not something made up and slopped together in a crockpot.

So here’s what I planned to have stocked before baby comes.

Breakfast:

Zucchini muffins and bread

Banana muffins and bread

Waffles, frozen

Pancakes, frozen

Granola, frozen

Breakfast sandwiches

Lunch:

Pioneer Woman roast beef sandwiches

Mini corn dog muffins

Dinner:

Sausage with onions and peppers

cilantro lime chicken

Pioneer Woman lasagna roll ups

Pioneer Woman chicken spaghetti

Spaghetti meat sauce

Ground beef browned

shredded chicken

Dessert: 

Cookie Dough

In the beginning of November I set aside a day to get all my freezer meals done. My sister came up for the day as well and did some for her household too. We have all of this stocked with the exception of chicken spaghetti and roast beef sandwiches. I also froze apple pie filling, peaches, raspberries and strawberry, peach and blueberry applesauce. When it was all over my sister and I had a table full of great meals.

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I’m almost out of granola…it is seriously delicious with my homemade yogurt and a few frozen berries sprinkled in. This picture does no justice for what my taste buds feel.

Next up, what’s in my bag? How do you prepare for meal time? 

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Linking Up With: Titus TuesdaysLiving Proverbs 31Joy Dare

Thanksgiving: Intentional Living

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howtotrainsuperhero.com Thanksgiving has come and gone! I’ve literally been trying to get this post out all week. With my due date also around the corner the holiday’s are about the easy and practical. Getting dinner on the table for my family this year is less about tradition and more about saving room to savor the time spent together. Which it should always be. A few weeks ago I skimmed through my little black book of pinterest recipe’s and put together a simple menu plan for Thanksgiving. While I had to talk my myself out of not doing too much plenty of times, I think I came out with the simplest menu and plans for my family. I also wanted to think of some fun things to do for us since we will be enjoying a quiet evening at home. My kids loved the minute to win it that we did for Valentine’s day last year so I was thinking I’d put together some silly games for the evening. Aside from that, Thanksgiving was very stress-less for me and my guys. The key here to me pulling this off and coming out under stressed physically was planning ahead to make ahead. My husband and I always plan to be intentional with our children when we have a day off so most of my meals options were prepped Wednesday to spare more time together. I got up early with my hubby and cooked everything that could be the day ahead and come that day, my turkey was done at 9 am. I want to add that while I was prepping my food yesterday, I could not resist licking the spoons. All these recipe’s were delicious! So here is what was on our menu. 1 Crock pot turkey breast Lightened up sweet potato casserole Pioneer Woman Mac and Cheese Pioneer Woman creamed spinach Stuffing Cranberry sauce- my recipe is a 12oz bag of cranberries, 1/2 cup of water, 1/2 cup of sugar, 2 tsp each of vanilla and orange extract. Cook down until cranberries burst. The longer you cook, the more gel like it will become. Buttermilk cornbread Pumpkin Pie

Here is what our table looked like. The kids colored their place mats while they were waiting for food to be warmed and then we played bingo while we ate.

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Before we ate we played some minute-to-win-it games which were so fun.

howtotrainasuperhero.com   I made up a few: Turkey gobbler- Dab a dot of Vaseline on your nose and move 10 cotton balls from one plate to another using only your nose. Turkey on the Run- Keep 3 balloons in the air for 1 minute without them hitting the ground. Hunting for turkey-  Practice your hunting skills by plucking as many rubber bands into a basket as you can in 1 minute Penny Pilgrim stack- Stack as many penny’s as you can in 1 minute. (we did 25 for my little guys..I won!) Turkey blow- Blow your “turkey” (balloon) across the road (room) safely through a straw in one minute

Lastly we ended our evening singing Happy Birthday to Hulk Smash. He is Five! I can’t believe it!

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How was your Thanksgiving?

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Linking Up With: Titus TuesdaysLiving Proverbs 31Joy Dare

Meal Plan Monday #26

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I have to admit to you. I haven’t been very creative in my meal planning lately. Since week thirty of my pregnancy I’ve gotten a little slow, “turtle like” in my words. Meals around here have been simple and less timely and that’s okay with me.

Today I’d like to share a meal that goes over well and is fairly easy and enjoyed in my house. My boys, carnivorous at heart, won’t go near anything green or labeled healthy around here. So I have to sneak things in and tell them what it is later. Ha. Sneaky? Manipulative? Maybe. At least I tell them what they are eating at some point in their lives. (warning: this was just a joke.)

This meal has the perfect blend of flavors and the quinoa adds a nutty flavor that balances the whole dish. I make this on our easy breezy mornings. I keep cooked quinoa in the freezer so that I can just thaw it the night before and use it the next day. This also works well with quinoa salads. Try it!

kale quinoa scramble

I like to add all kinds of things to this meal. Tomato, peppers, bacon, it all turns out good with different types of cheeses too. Options are endless!

Ingredients:

2 cups kale, loosely packed and chopped

10 cherry tomatoes sliced in half

8 eggs, beaten (I usually add a splash of milk)

1 cup quinoa, cooked

1/2 onion

1 package of breakfast sausage cut up(We like brown and serve or any fresh deli sausage links)

Cheddar cheese 1/2-1 cup or more if you like

Directions:

In a large frying pan cook sausage per directions and cut up. Throw in onion, tomato, kale and saute until kale is cooked through. Dump in eggs and scramble. Don’t over cook. Next add in quinoa and cheese. Toss until mixed through. This usually doesn’t need any seasoning but season to taste if you’d like with salt and pepper. That’s it!

Recipe adapted from withstyleandgraceblog

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Linking Up With:  Playdates with God,  Titus Tuesdays, Living Proverbs 31, Joy Dare

Meal Plan Monday #24

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 Welcome back guys! Today I am starting with a new approach to Meal Plan Monday. Aside from my usual posting, I will be posting what new recipe’s I find to put on my meal plan and what mine looks like through the week.

This may not happen every week but I plan to incorporate it a few times throughout the month. I think the way I meal plan is unusual. I am the type of person to get bored with the same old things all of the time. Too much chicken, too much beef, way too much shrimp just makes my mind go crazy. Since I have been married, we have only eaten the same meals twice a handful of times-I can count on my fingers-My taste buds are weird. I wonder why that is?

Anyway, when I meal plan I usually do it for the month. I don’t schedule specific meals for the day and I shop biweekly. The first thing I try to do is figure out how many times a week I cook, what activities we have going on so I know not to make a time extensive meal that day and consider different themes. The themes are optional. I throw them in randomly.

I cook four times a week and throw in an easy meal like pizza, sandwiches, fajita’s or nuggets for days we unexpectedly eat the whole meal and nothing is left-which is often. So one day a month I search about 16-20 meal options through my cookbooks or on Pinterest, write them on a list and pick biweekly which one’s will go work for me that coming week. So I look for 8 crock pot meals for Sundays and Wednesday’s, four pasta meals for Tuesday’s , four one pot meals, and a few casserole’s. That way I can pick from my list for the month and shop how I need. Here’s what it looks like for us.

Sunday– Our big meal day. I know Monday’s are rough for me to start with and Sunday’s are days we relax and do nothing so I usually plan a casserole or crock pot meal. Something that won’t hinder our time as a family.

Monday– Our leftover day. This gives me more time to spend with the kiddos and kick off our weekly routine for bed and homework.

Tuesday– This day is one of the easy meal days because my hubby works late so usually a pasta meal or one pot meal will do. (We are pasta people!)

Wednesday– We have clubs at church and school so during the winter I do soup and salad/sandwiches and in the summer lots of veggie casseroles like tuna stuffed tomatoes. In the summer though, this is another big meal day where we eat and play outside as a family. I use my crock pot frequently for this day.

Thursday– This is a leftover day usually during the summer but in the winter months it’s a night we relax and play games as a family or take a trip out for the night. I try to do theme nights (pumpkin family night, valentine date, bowling at home etc..) on this day because we are all home early.

Friday– Our travel day. My boys are usually doing weekend visits so my hubby and I will eat out. When the boys are home we do a one pot meal, homemade chicken nuggets, cauliflower pizza, zucchini boats or whatever else is easy.

Saturday– I usually cook a super healthy meal this day or make Chinese.

So that does it. Lately I’ve been trying to stick to meal themed nights like crock pot night, soup night, pasta night, freezer meal night, international food night, Paleo night and the like. I try to mix it up often. I also meal plan our breakfast, snacks and dessert for the month. It’s a lot of work but a few hours one day for a lot less hassle the rest of the month is worth it to me.

Here’s what’s on our meal plan for this week.

Garlic Parmesan Chicken Lasagna Bake! Layers of lasagna noodles, chicken, peas, creamy garlic Parmesan sauce --> no cans, all real, totally yummy. 300 calories. | pinchofyum.com

Sunday– Garlic Parmesan Chicken Lasagna bake via Pinch of Yum (I can vouch for this now, it wast tasty. I doubled the sauce with less milk, ditched the poultry seasoning using 1/2 tsp basil instead and two tsp of salt)

Crispy Southwest Chicken Wraps

Tuesday- Southwest Chicken Wraps via Mel’s Kitchen Cafe

Wednesday– Parmesan Corn Chowder via My MIL

Broccoli beef

Friday– Broccoli Beef Stir Fry via Center Cut Cook

Balsamic Roasted Pork Loin | Just 5 minutes of prep and you have a delicious meal perfect for Sunday dinner and leftovers throughout the week.

Sunday– Balsamic Roasted Pork Loin via Allrecipes

There you have it all my meals for this week. Stay tuned for how I plan to survive meal time with a newborn and three hungry young men.

How do you meal plan?

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Linking Up With:  Playdates with God,  Titus TuesdaysLiving Proverbs 31, Joy Dare

Meal Plan Monday: Potato Gnocchi

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What on earth was I thinking? Perhaps on the frugal side of things and the natural benefits of homemade. You know that copycat Chicken Gnocchi soup from Olive Garden that has been floating around Pinterest for a few years now? Well just last week I had it on my meal plan, I was the last-minute mom running to the store at 3pm to snag a box of potato gnocchi and too tired to run 15 mins to our local Wal-Mart where they might not have it for this soup.

I was trying to avoid being the homemade mom, I promise. BUT. A few hours later and a sick Kid Hero landed me desperate to just finish this meal. All the ingredients were in my cupboard and I had (I can now say that loosely) no experience. First day on the job and hubby says I nailed it.

I had a bag of potatoes on their way to the trash and had managed to save four. So I cooked them, mashed them, rolled them into the dough and my gnocchi was born. 2 pounds 8 ounces?

I like good food, you know. I like easy food. I love homemade food, don’t ya know. This recipe pretty much fits in to all those categories. Took me less than 30 minutes to complete two batches (one for freezing). I encourage you to try it if you are making a good gnocchi recipe. About my soup? My gang slopped it and asked for seconds. A great little potato dumpling. Yum-o!

Try it! I got the recipe from here!

Have you ever tried a recipe with a fear of it not turning out? 

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Linking Up With:  Playdates with God,  Titus TuesdaysLiving Proverbs 31, Joy Dare

Meal Plan Monday on Tuesday: Stove Top Lemon Chicken

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My mommy came for a visit a few weeks ago and she brought my nephew with her. I’m always excited to have my mommy over and show her a little country hospitality. She loves it here. All she does during her is sit outside. Literally.

I knew I wanted to try this recipe because it reminded me of a meal someone made for me with stewed chicken. I’m also a fan of lemon chicken. This recipe was a hit and I used fresh herbs and veggies from my garden.

I served it over rice with fresh sautéed green beans. I also doubled the recipe for the sauce because I used a few more pieces of chicken. The sauce got thicker and creamier and we slopped it up over rice. Try it!

Ingredients: Recipe slightly adapted from themotherhuddle

*I used two pans with 5 chicken pieces each

10 bone in chicken thighs, skin removed

1/2 cup flour

3/4 tsp salt

1/2 tsp pepper

1/4 tsp garlic powder

8 tbsp butter

2 cups chicken broth

2 cups of heavy cream

6 tbsp of lemon juice

1 large onion, sliced

Combine in a large Ziploc or plastic bag flour, salt, pepper, garlic powder. Throw a couple of pieces of chicken in the bag and shake to coat with flour mix.

In a large, DEEP frying or saute pan brown 5-8 chicken pieces in one pan in 4 tbsp of butter until both sides are nice and brown. (I used 4 tbsp of butter per 5 pieces of chicken)

Add 1 cup of broth, 3 tbsp of lemon juice, half the onion and 1 cup of cream to one pan of 5-8 pieces of chicken. (I added the broth, cream and lemon juice to each pan in the same measurements. If your pan can fit 10 pieces of chicken add it all)

Cover and simmer for thirty minutes until chicken is tender and sauce cooks down a bit. Season with 1tsp of salt to taste and garnish with a bunch of fresh parley.

My guys like thick sauce with their rice so I took some of the sauce out (1/2 cup) and added some cornstarch for a more gravy like sauce.

Serve over riced or mashed potatoes and enjoy!

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Linking Up With: Titus Tuesdays, Living Proverbs 31Joy Dare

Meal Plan Monday: Pizza Stuffed Zucchini

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This picture is raw. No edits, no filters. How I took it is how you see it. Could use some editing but I love it just the way it is. It reminds me of mama being in the kitchen making her good sauce for the family. A meal so simple yet so flavorful that brings everyone together. It tells a story. I don’t know what yet, I’m working on it because this was a day that hubby and are were home alone and it was chilly and damp out. No big family, just us and HGTV.

Lately I’ve been cooking a lot of clean meals. Low carb, less sugar and additives, more of God’s green earth. Clean eating makes me feel so clean inside and veggies have always been my favorite. I struggle though in a house full of carnivores, to get something hearty on the table, clean and tasty so they won’t say yuck.

My belief is that part of my job as the lowly homemaker is to provide my family with the best options for life that I can give. Opinion only: My best option is healthy, clean and as close to natural as I can get it. I haven’t always been this way. I have my fair share of a sweet tooth, but in meditating on my role as mom and babe, I feel it is my duty to steward well all areas of my life because my first role is Jesus lover, God server. Call me a hippy.

Now I’m not saying this is going to turn into a crazy health blog where all I do is show you pictures of squash and quinoa ( pronounced kenwa says big sister). But in my efforts to get my family to a healthier place, you may see a few.

This recipe is from Melissa and it’s called pizza stuffed zucchini. I didn’t follow the recipe exactly to the Tee but it was good and flavorful.

Ingredients:

5 Zucchini
1lb beef
1-24 oz can tomato sauce
1 cup diced bell pepper
1/2 diced onion
3 minced garlic cloves
1 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp seasoning- oregano, basil, parsley
2 cups mozzarella cheese

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Slice zukes in half and place them cut side down. Cook for 10 minutes and then remove them from the oven. While you are waiting brown your beef.  Add onions, green pepper and garlic and cook until tender. Add tomato sauce, sugar, Worcestershire sauce and 1 tsp each of basil and oregano. Cook to let flavors mix for 5-10 minutes. Fill zuke boats with meat sauce and top with cheese. Place them back in the oven and bake for about 10 mins or until cheese is melted.

The extra sauce made these very juicy which I love! It was also very filling. I gave my hubby two boats and he couldn’t finish the second one.

I hope this recipe makes it to your meal plan. Let me know how you love it!
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Linking Up With:  Playdates with God,  Titus TuesdaysLiving Proverbs 31, Joy Dare

Why I have So Many Journals: (part2) of gratitude all year Round

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It’s a conundrum of a situation really. I can’t even keep up most of the time with remembering calendar events from day-to-day. How in the world do I keep up with five journals? Well,  one will soon drop off is what I tell myself to keep it all together. Maybe not. ha.  But writing has always been an outlet for me. I’ve written books and thrown them away for fear of my tear-stained words being captured by the public, written letters to my children many times, filled pages with poetry and solicited my cries to the lord for many years. Writing is truly more than just words or my expression, it is partly my makeup. What I use to display my blemishes of life and my hearts beauty.

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This post is focusing on the journals that I keep for my children. I’ve had them since they were born. What do I keep in those dusty lined paper books?

Significant events: bringing them home, Seizure episodes, asthma occurrences, first surgeries, teeth, records of milestones like the first book read or when they tied their shoe, recognition of Jesus (accepting Christ), birthday party recaps, trips, teachers

Prayers: for future mates, heart issues I recognize, things that are special in their lives and characteristics of integrity

Funny Stuff: phrases they say, things they do

Books: I need to get for them or read for raising them (would like to do this more)

Scriptures: for their lives and that I pray

What I do not keep in these books:

Records of wrongs

My anger and frustration with them

Negative things about them

A friend recommended the book While They Were Sleeping to me a while ago. I love this book because it keeps me focused on the things I need to be praying and desiring for my children. It gives me specifics and is almost written in devotional form.

Since baby #3 hasn’t arrived yet I journal my pregnancy. This journal is filled with prayers for baby, my food aversions, month by month recaps, things that change about my body, Ideas, favorite foods, sleeping patterns. nursing plans etc.

Keeping these journals year after year is my way of savoring memories and reflecting on past times of growth and maturity. I hope that when my children are grown and married that I will be able to share these with my children, their spouses and my grandchildren.

Do you keep journals for your children? What are some things that you keep in them? 

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Linking Up With:  Playdates with God,  Titus Tuesdays, , Joy Dare

Things only God can do-gratitude all year round

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(low quality picture. Sorry for it.)

I’ve been journaling  for quite some time now. Though I’ve never kept a journal that I’ve written in, I’m a sucker for hard backs and stationary. I currently keep five journals on my nightstand (more on that later) not because I am a hog but because writing the joys and sorrows of life on un-bias pages have become a hobby for me. It’s something about pouring your heart out and leaving it there. Ya know?

Over the summer I was encouraged at church one Sunday morning, by a guest pastor, to start a family journal aside from the ones I have. One that records the great things God is so doing in my family life and things we can look back on and either help someone else or help ourselves. It’s for the moments we forget how good God has been no matter what the circumstance and the moments we need to be reminded of God’s hand and work in our lives. At least I’ve determined it to be that.

The Pastor talked about the struggles he had with his young son battling cancer at the worst stage and how him (the pastor) and his wife prayed that the Lord would rid their family of this struggle. He went on to speak about the many friends and family members they had coming alongside of them to also pray and plead with God to heal their son. The reality of this for this family was that God was not going to heal this son right away and that they would have to suffer through that period of their lives-with God’s help. He explained the numerous doctor visits and surgeries to the point of edge and had us all thinking that the Lord had called his son home. But at the end he revealed that this son is doing good now and even gave him his first grandchild. Praise God! The title of his sermon was Does God reveal Himself to us? His testimony that God may not reveal himself the way we want him to but through his will and plan he will certainly show us his character is amazing.

He tells how this story was the inspiration to his sermon and encouraged the congregation to start recording those ways God is and did reveal himself in our individual lives.

So we call ours the things only God can do book and any one out of the four of us can put something in it. As a mother I can pull several stories of grace God has blessed us with and stories we thought we’d never live through.

I went to target and found an inexpensive notebook. I glued a tag to the front of it with a ribbon tied through and wrote the title. Nothing fancy or elaborate. Not even my usual craftiness added to it because I want us to be drawn by the greatness of God through the ink that we pour. Whether it be large or small.

So I encourage you to do to the same if you have not something like this already. Because It’s hard in the midst of a trial to see through it let alone grab strength for it. Hopefully this idea will encourage you and your family to start a journal journey together and record the high’s and low’s of life in God’s hands.

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Linking Up With:  Playdates with God,  Titus TuesdaysLiving Proverbs 31Joy Dare