Family life · God's Will · Home making

Maytag, Messes and Meals

I have never built a home, yet I am a home builder. That doesn’t make sense? It’s true! As a matter of fact, if you live in a home with at least one other person, you are a home-builder, too.

Every wise woman builds her house,

but the foolish plucks it down with her hands.

Proverbs 14:1

That verse reminds us that we are either building up or tearing down.

Recently I have had a couple of conversations about what is expected as far as the condition of our homes. Women have wondered,

Does it really matter that my home is a mess?”
“How clean and orderly does a home really need to be?


The first place we run to for answers to these questions and for our building instructions is the Giver of the home…our loving God!

Titus 2 tells us…

3 The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things;

4 That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children,5 To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home,


Wise home-building ALL starts with the condition of our heart. The verse above said, The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness. That simply means our behavior should mirror sacred character. You and I as home-builders should reflect the character of our God. That means…

  • We must spend time with the Lord in His Word so we will know Him. We must spend more time with Him than we do the world’s influence!
  • We must spend time in prayer so we will have the same heart for our home that He has for it! As we pray for those in our home, God can give us insight and wisdom about their needs that we would never understand otherwise.
  • We must have a heart of praise to the Giver of the home. Yes, praise Him for the laundry, the spilled milk and yet another meal we have to prepare. Let’s put it this way,

    We should praise God for Maytag, messes and meals!

    They all are from the Lord and He only gives good gifts!

It’s then that we build under God’s influence and guidance and we truly have a right heart for the home He has given us. Otherwise we will be confused by all the ideas the world shouts in our ears.

So my fellow home builders, make sure your heart is in the right place. Have a heart for your home. If you’re struggling with that, tell the Lord. Ask Him to give you His heart for this ministry. He will. His Word reminds us…

Except the Lord build the house, they labour in vain that build it: except the Lord keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain. Psalm 127:1

You won’t be building and working with empty results! You’re going to see progress and blessing – yes, even with your Maytag, messes and meals!

If you could ask an older woman for help in one area of your home, where would it be?

Refresh your heart about your home-building!

baking · Bars · Easy recipe · snack

Your Favorite Granola Bar

Homemade granola bars that are full of good protein and fruit are snacks I try to keep in my fridge. Before I walk in the morning, on a busy day when I don’t fix breakfast, or when I need a little afternoon pick-me-up, these are the perfect bars to grab!

Pan is ready for granola bars!

Cooking light has given a recipe that gives you the necessary amounts of grains, nuts, butter and fruits, then gives you the option to choose your favorites of each so you can create your best-loved granola bar! In other words, they give the formula to successively create your kind of granola bar your way. Here’s how to create them:

Create a base

Toast oats in the oven to give them a nutty flavor. Preheat oven to 350°F. Spread 2 cups old-fashioned oats onto a rimmed baking sheet. Bake until lightly browned and fragrant, about 12 minutes. Transfer oats to a bowl, and cool to room temperature.

Add richness

Creamy nut butter and toasty coconut oil enrich the bars. Liquid sweetener, well, sweetens them. Place 1/3 cup nut butter,1/4 cup liquid sweetener (such as honey, maple syrup, or agave), and 11/2 Tbsp. coconut oil in a bowl. Microwave 30 seconds or until warm.

Boost the flavor

Add 1 tsp. vanilla extract and 1/2 tsp. kosher salt to the nut butter mixture to heighten the flavor; whisk until smooth. Whisk in 1 large egg white; it’s a key part of the binder that will hold all the ingredients together.

Add Crunch and Chew

Stir 1/2 cup unsalted roasted nuts (or broken-up pretzel pieces) into the cooled oats for hearty crunch. Add 1/3 cup dried fruit (chop the pieces if they are large) for bright, sweet flavor and textural contrast.

Mix and Press

Pour nut butter mixture over oat mixture; stir well until all pieces are evenly coated. Transfer mixture to an 8-inch square metal baking pan lined with parchment paper. Press mixture very firmly into pan; packing tightly helps keep bars from crumbling.

Bake and Cool

Bake at 350°F until lightly browned around edges, 20 to 22 minutes. Cool in pan on a wire rack 15 minutes. Lift bars out of pan with parchment paper; cool completely on rack before cutting (warm bars might crumble).

MY favorite combination is oats, walnuts, dried mixed fruits, maple syrup (or honey) and peanut butter. I store them in the fridge because I find it helps them not crumble as much. So good!

Rather than buying these, consider baking your own so you can customize them to your dietary needs and likes! Because of that, they will be your favorite bar!!

Discipleship · Grandparents · Mentoring

The Influence of a Grandmother

Being a grandparent has so many blessings!

  • I have an older, gentler way of seeing these little ones! (My children probably wonder who I’ve turned into!
  • I have more time to just sit and play or read stories.
  • I’m not as uptight as when I was parenting – maybe because the ultimate responsibilities of my grandsons’ well-being is not on my shoulders.
  • Big things are little things. They don’t want to eat? “Okay., you can eat later.” Not sleepy? “Let’s take a drive!” That broke? “It’s just stuff!”

But I do realize that while I can play the day away with my grandsons, I do have a HUGE responsibility as their Gigi –

I must point my grandchildren to God!

It’s not my right to “spoil them then send them home,” but to have fun with them all the while I am showing a life that points them to Christ. We see this in Timothy’s grandmother, Lois in II Timothy 1:5. The faith that Lois had in God was passed to her daughter, Eunice and also to her grandson, Timothy!

Today I want to encourage you about one simple way you can do that with your young grandchildren. This is doable if they are local and you see them weekly, but also if you only spend vacation times together. As a matter of fact, part of this could be done using Zoom or an app like Maro Polo. What if you planned out a one hour teaching time, full of Bible truths in story form, activities and crafts to support the lesson, and maybe even a snack that continued the idea of what you’re teaching that day.

I’ve done this very thing with my neighbor children for years and now it’s time to pour into my twin grandsons! As a jumping off point for you, here’s what I do each week:

  1. Decide the lesson to be taught and then realize what the theme for day will be. Search the Internet for lesson ideas (make sure it’s doctrinally sound and not just “fluff.”). Some of my go-to’s are Ministry to Children, Happy Home Fairy and Hands on Bible Teacher. I also search Pinterest. Last week I taught about Day 5 of Creation. The main idea was God made the fish and birds on Day 5.
  2. I look in those places for songs, fun games and activities to go along with the lesson to reinforce the main idea. Last week we sang God is so good (“God made the birds” was one verse!). I got flannel fish and birds and let the boys put them on the flannel board either up in the sky or down in the water. They added pages to their notebooks, and they painted a wooden whale and owl. I added a magnetic strip on the back so they could put it on the fridge.
  3. I come up with a little snack that would help to continue the theme. This week I made “fish” crackers and cheese for their snack. They may not look like fish to you, but that’s the blessing of teaching an imaginative child!!!
Teaching time – God made the fish on Day 5. Where does he live?
Activity pages I found online. I added the pictures, but the little song was part of a lesson.

As we went about our morning together, I just kept repeating our songs about Day 5 of creation. When we went outside, we looked for birds in the sky and I asked them Who made that bird and on what day of creation.

They painted Wooden fish magnets with a “5” written on them to reinforce what God made on Day 5.
Fish-y snacks!

There is every level of lesson and activity out there and God’s Word is relevant to each child and each age. Just teach your grandchildren.
Make it fun.
Be creative.
Teach them God’s Word.

You will be exhausted and maybe even unsure if you got anything into their little heads, but we just obey and leave the results to God.

Some other little suggestions/helps:

  • If you live away from your grandchildren, you could do the story on an app on your phone or computer.
  • If you have teens you could do a Bible study with them. Here is a list of great resources for teens!
  • If you don’t have any children or grandchildren, look around for your neighbor children that could use a woman to teach them! Here’s a post about my weekly time with my neighbors. You can also see how I planned and scheduled our time together.

    The influence of a grandmother is so vital. We will often be able to speak things into our grandchildren’s lives that they would not accept from their parents.

Let’s be a “Lois” and pray for a “Timothy” to be nurtured at our knees.

I’d love to hear any suggestions you may have about how you’ve nurtured your grandchildren in the Lord!

Refresh the life of your grandchildren,

fellowship with God · forgiveness · guilt · sin

He Carries the Load

I have a husband who was taught to act like a gentleman.  That means he sweetly grabs anything from my hands or grasp that is heavier than an envelope!  There have been times when I’ve seen that he’s already carrying something else and I’ve said,

“It’s okay, I’ve got it.” To which he replies,

“Denise, give it to me.”

It’s then that I open my hands and hand it over.  My load is lighter and I have appropriated all he desires to be as my husband – loving, leader, gentleman, and helper.

Read mre
Fish · salad

Crispy Oven-baked Fish with Pineapple Ketchup

I love integrating fish into our weekly menu, in an effort to eat healthy. Cooking light created a recipe for crispy fish in the oven. This was a great alternative to frying and still gave a nice crunchy exterior! Don’t be afraid of the pineapple ketchup that accompanies this recipe! It’s merely a sweet and sour taste that is a nice change from tartar sauce!

We enjoyed this with potato wedges instead of fries. I also served this fresh Broccoli Salad, made from our garden-fresh broccoli! It was the perfect accompaniment!

What a Delicious meal!

Crispy fish with pineapple ketchup

Ingredients

  • Cooking spray
  • 2 cups cornflakes – I used crushed Rice Krispies and it worked great.
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon rind
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 pound tilapia fillets (I used whole pieces of Polluck), cut into 4 x 1-inch pieces (about 12 pieces)
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup cubed fresh pineapple
  • 1/3 cup reduced-sugar ketchup (such as Heinz)
  • 1 teaspoon lower-sodium soy sauce

Step 1

Preheat oven to 425°.

Step 2

Place a wire rack on a large baking sheet. Coat rack with cooking spray. Place cereal in a large zip-top bag; roll with a rolling pin until crushed. Place crushed cereal, rind, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a shallow dish. Combine juice and egg in a shallow dish, stirring with a whisk.

Step 3

Sprinkle fish evenly with 1/4 teaspoon pepper and salt. Dip fish in egg mixture; dredge in cereal mixture. Arrange fish on prepared rack; bake at 425° for 12 minutes or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork.

I did not cut my fish into sticks;
I baked it as whole pieces.

Step 4

Combine remaining 1/2 teaspoon pepper, pineapple, ketchup, and soy sauce in the bowl of a mini food processor; process until smooth. Serve ketchup mixture with fish sticks. I left the fresh pineapple chunks as pieces and we loved the texture in the Ketchup!

This is a nice crispy fish with just the right amount of flavoring. I will definitely repeat this menu!

With love from my country kitchen,