Wednesday, November 22, 2017

When Worry Takes Hold

I would like to say that worry is not a part of our lives her at Family, Faith and Fridays, but that would not be true.  For years I teased my friends, "Why should I stop worrying?  It's what I do best!"  I have since corrected my ways- mostly!  I also have a daughter that was a worrier for years but after a few years of Biblical counseling classes she fixed her thinking and is free of that burden.

Now I have a 10 year old that is a worrier.  I am not sure if it is an adoption thing or just a personality thing, but none the less, we see it more often than I like.  Things like change, new situations, and sometimes even for seemingly no reason at all, he can make himself sick with worry if we do not watch him closely and intervene.  It is something we are monitoring, trying to teach him coping skills and right thinking.

All that to say, when I recently saw a friend talking about the book When Worry Take Hold, I was intrigued.  Anything we can use to help our kiddo  is great and the fact that it is a book is a bonus!

When Worry Takes Hold, written by Liz Haske, is a 30 page hardback back illustrated by InSong Nam. (You can also get it in paperback, but you know by now I am a sucker for a hardback book!)  The book is about a little girl named Maya that one day allows worry to enter her life.  With each new day and each new situation, her worry grows larger until she feels consumed by it.  Luckily for her, a teacher taught her a coping mechanism called calm breathing, to help her find her courage.

-One of the things that I love about this book is that it addresses that Maya made the choice to replace worry with courage by way of calm breathing.  It wasn't that she never worried again, but that she greeted it and then moved on.  Then she realized that she didn't meet each new thing with "what if", but instead replaced it with right thinking.

"I know you will get us there safely."

-The second thing I love about this book are the illustrations of worry.  It is like a whispy thought cloud seen over Maya's head at the beginning of the book.  You will also notice that the pages in the beginning are darker and more subdued.  As she finds her courage, the worry becomes smaller and lighter and then not visible at all in the pictures, which in turn have also become lighter and brighter.  The mood of the book changes as the mood of Maya and her family changes as well.

-The other thing that struck me was the reaction of the parents on the book.  "Her parents' smiles faded as they began worrying about her Worry."  This was a great conversation starter in our home about how our worry and fear can affect others as well.  I think it is also a good reminder to a child that they are not alone in their worry, and that the key is how we then handle it.

-And another one- the reminder that worry doesn't ever go completely away and that sometimes it is there to keep us safe, but that ..."courage was just a deep breath away."  I cannot think of many people who do not need to hear that at least several times in their lives.

-Finally, at the end of the book is a great how-to page on how to find your courage like Maya that explains in simple terms how to take a calming breath.  We practiced together after reading the book and now I simply remind Colby about it when he is beginning to walk the worry line.

Are our fears and worries gone?  No, of course not.  But I can tell you this book has been a God-send!  It has remained on my living room table for a week now and been read multiple times a day, together, but mostly alone by my son.  I think he has found comfort in the words, acceptance in the fact that he is not alone, and courage through the simple breathing technique. 

Empowering kids to work through their feelings is a must, and I think Liz has done a beautiful job in doing so


Monday, November 20, 2017

Monday Menu with a Turkey

Welcome to a holiday week!  Thanksgiving is upon us and we are taking the week off of school to relax and reboot our family.  Sometimes parents and kids all need a break.  We will be minus Riley this year again, but she is joyfully flying to her grandparents' house this week to also enjoy some down time.  We are looking forward to having her home in December, right before her birthday!  She will be 20, oh my!  That is a separate post altogether!

So on to our menu for the week- notice there will be turkey!  Gobble gobble.  You will see its reappearance in a few meals next week as well, since I buy large and freeze in handy 2 cup portions to use for other meals.  Saves time and money!

Monday- Orange honey Glazed chicken  (yes, I know this was from last week, but we ended up going out and it never got cooked so I am trying again this week.  If you are looking for something different, pop some chicken breasts in the crock pot and add your favorite sauce.  Serve over rice!

Tuesday- Salisbury Steak with wine sauce

Wednesday- Egg Roll in a bowl

Thursday- Thanksgiving Meal- Just for fun here is what we eat:
  • turkey
  • mashed potato casserole (recipe below)
  • green bean casserole
  • cranberry sauce
  • rolls
  • gravy
  • stuffing
  • and of course, pies!  Can't forget the pies!
It is simple but we love it!  Family time needs to be more about the family and less about the food!  Do what your family loves and don't worry about the rest.

Friday- Thanksgiving leftovers

Saturday- Sloppy Joes

Sunday- Turkey and rice soup

So funny story- I LOVE mashed potatoes.  Like REALLY love them.  As in often ate them for a meal in college.  Just them.  (hey, it's what poor starving college students do, right? Except I was never starving!) Anyway,  I always loved to use Thanksgiving as an excuse to make them in large amounts.  One year we needed to make for a crowd so my mom and I made them quite ahead of time and set them aside.  By the time we got around to serving them, they had turned into a bowl of starchy mess.  Absolutely horrible, though it did provide a good laugh later.  Since that time, because sometimes we feed larger crowds and I prefer to be in the kitchen before people come, not while they are with us, I started making the mashed potato casserole, recipe below.  I make it (or two or three) the day before and pop it in the oven an hour before we eat. Saves time, and is just as yummy!

I pray your family has a beautiful Thanksgiving!  I am grateful for many things, including YOU!


Mashed Potato Casserole


  • 5 lbs. potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 1- 8 oz block cream cheese
  • 1 C sour cream
  • 1-2 tsp garlic salt
  • butter


  1. Peel and cook potatoes until done
  2. Beat potatoes, adding the cream cheese and sour cream until smooth
  3. Add garlic salt and mix well
  4. Pour into a 9x13 pan and dot with butter.  You can sprinkle with paprika if desired
  5. Bake at 350 for 45 minutes


This can be made a day ahead and refrigerated until ready to cook.  You may need to add 15 minutes of baking time.
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Friday, November 17, 2017

Homeschooling Through the Holidays

It's that time of year again!  The holidays are drawing near and the excitement is growing.  When you homeschool, that often means distracted kiddos and derailed lesson plans.  Let's face it, there is something about cold temps, warm fires, snow, and all things Christmas that can just pull at our attention.  Not to mention decorations to put up and big feasts to plan, right?

So how does one manage to actually get school done in these crazy, but exciting times?  Here are a few ideas for you!

Unit Studies! I admit these are not my forte, but the few times we have tried them I have not been disappointed.  There are so many out there, especially over the holidays, that make learning fun while concentrating on seasonal subjects.

Use what you have! Want to do math?  Count candy canes.  Need to get that art project in?  Make Christmas cards for your friends!  How about History?  Study Saint Nicolas or the very first Christmas!  Reading?  That's an easy one!  Grab a seasonal book and snuggle in for reading time.

Make learning fun!  When kids are distracted, learning gets a bit more challenging.  During these busy times it often helps to add a little something different to your schedule.  Put their spelling words into a word search or simply change locations of your "school room" for a few days.  Shaking things up can often keep kids more motivated.

Cooking Day- Save an afternoon or two and let your kids spend some time baking with you.  Measuring flour can surely count as math and following a recipe can be included in our home ec. lesson plans.

Jammies Day- We all know that the "homeschoolers do school in their jammies all day" concept is a myth for most of us.  But why not interrupt your regularly scheduled day to put on your jammies, grab a cup of hot chocolate and a plate of cookies and school by the fire?  Or at least on the couch!  Your kids will love it and you might even decide jammies for school are not such a bad idea after all.

Embrace the Crazy!- Take some time off of school and just enjoy the season with your kids.  Watch Christmas movies together, string popcorn, and sing songs.  School will always get done, but the season is short and your time with your kids is even shorter.


Wednesday, November 15, 2017

What Are We Doing with the Turkey?

Every year at Thanksgiving I buy a BIG turkey!  A big one.  Regardless of how many we are feeding.  Some years our house has been full and other times it is just a quiet celebration with our family.  But regardless of the numbers, I still get a BIG turkey!

Why, you ask?

Because I love using the left overs for other meals.  Actually, sometimes those meals are better  than the actual Thanksgiving Day meal, in my opinion!

So what do we make with all that turkey?

  • Meal 1- Sliced turkey leftovers.  You need to have the Thanksgiving meal at least twice, right?!

  • Meal 2- Turkey Sandwiches on rolls (at the boys request, not just sandwich bread)

  • Meal 3- Turkey Rice Soup (you knew there was a soup coming, right?)  We found a great recipe for this soup in a little soup cookbook on the book clearance aisle years ago and it is still a favorite.

  • Meal 4- Turkey Enchiladas  This is a good one to freeze for later!

  • Meal 5- Turkey Divan  An old standby, but good way to get broccoli into your kids!

  • Meal 6- Turkey Alfredo

So yes, be looking for these meals on the menu plan after Thanksgiving, and don't worry, I do not have them all in a row!

Usually the Saturday after Thanksgiving I take all the meat off the bone and freeze it in 2 cup portions for easy grab and go use in recipes later!

I would challenge you to see how many meals you can get out of one turkey- you might be pleasantly surprised!

What do YOU do with leftover turkey?


Monday, November 13, 2017

Monday Menu and Printable Soup Recipe

It's Monday AGAIN!  Why does it always seem to come out of the blue?  This weekend has been busy and I feel like a need a rest from my weekend!  Like that will happen, right?

So here ya go, friends!  Enjoy!

Monday- Parmesan Crusted Chicken in Cream Sauce (this is new to us- I will let you know!)

Tuesday- Turkey Meatloaf (a family favorite!)

Wednesday- Roast and Potatoes

Thursday- Out to eat with out of town friends!

Friday- Hamburgers

Saturday- B-B-Q Chicken

Sunday-Beef Noodle Soup

Pretty simple, as always!

So let me tell you about the soup!  When we lived in North Dakota one of my dearest friends and I got the idea to have "Fun Fridays" together.  I have shared this before.  Each Friday one of us would make muffins for both families for breakfast and one would make soup for lunch for both families.  We had soup together after we did school with the kids.  Then the following week we would swap who made what.  It was about a year of blessings and beautiful memories and still brings a smile to my face whenever I think about it.

There is just something about soup that warms your soul.  Maybe it was just that it was shared with beloved friends.

Anyway, we tried a lot of soups that year, this just being one that the kids liked best so we kept it in our rotation.  Simple and yet yummy!


Beef Noodle Soup


  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 1 can (46 oz) V8 juice
  • 1 envelope onion soup mix (we use our homemade mix)
  • 1 pkg. beef ramen noodles
  • 1- 16 oz. bag frozen mixed veggies


  1. Cook beef, drain.
  2. Stir in V8 juice, soup mix,  seasoning pack, and veggies.
  3. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer 6 minutes.
  4. Return to boil, stir in noodles and cook for 3 minutes.
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