Creating and Keeping Family Harmony: part 2 Calm Reminding

TK brings the hammer down.

I am here to calmly remind you that you have to calmly people to do the things they need to do.

Our spouses and our children are people just like we are. They like to be treated nicely, just like we like do.

Now this is something that is really hard for me. Sadly. I don’t like reminding 7 people to do 700 things a day. I want them to take care of their business without needing reminding.

But they don’t do it. And if I could just remind them simply without anger and frustration, things would be more peaceful around my home.

Of course things would be more peaceful if they didn’t reuire reminding, too. But remember this little sanity saver: you can only control yourself. I can’t actually make them remember, or care, which is really why their not remembering upsets me.

Pleasantly prompt teens to tidy up after their baking escapades.

I want them to care about the things I want them to do. But they care about the things they want to do.  I’m not dealing with the “they should’s” and the “how do I get them to’s” today folks. I’m keeping it simple. When you see that something needs attention :
use your indoor voice,
use your kind words,
and plan on doing at least once more after this time. They obviously haven’t gotten it yet. And pray for them, and me, and yourself. We can all use all the help we can get!


12 Weeks of Christmas Treats- Peanut Butter Zucchini Cookies

A plate of assorted cookies is always a welcome Christmas gift. I love Christmas treats. Fudge, cookies, chocolate covered anything. But sometimes I look for a way to sneak in some nutrients.

Hence these cookies. They’re low sugar and butter free.  Be sure to check the link at the bottom to find more recipes on our 12 Weeks of Christmas Treats blog hop organized by Meal Planning Magic.

Peanut Butter Zucchini Cookies

½ cup peanut butter
2/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs
2 cups finely grated zucchini
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt

Mix the first five ingredients. I wrung out my zucchini by giving it a squeeze over the sink before adding it. Then sift together and add the dry ingredients. Drop by spoonsful onto a sprayed cookie sheet. Bake at 350 for 11 to 13 minutes.

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Is Simplicity Your Answer?

I read an article by a guy named Dave. He said:

Yet, simplicity cannot handle all questions. For example, how do I find purpose in my life? Simplicity says, “Why are you asking me that?”

How do I rekindle the passion? Simplicity says, “Huh?”

I admire the personification of “simplicity”. I makes his explanation so simple.

I’ve been decluttering for the last several months. And I’ve gotten rid of a lot of stuff. But it doesn’t seem to be enough. Now I’m frankly not done. And I’m hanging on to a few ridiculous things in the hope of getting some sewing crafts done this winter i.e. two boxes of denim scraps.

But I’ve given some thought to the results I want. What do I want from decluttering? Here (in no particular order) is what I would like to gain by decluttering:

Places to store our belongings
Knowing where things are having them easily accessible
Room to play, work and relax at home
A calm, peaceful home
A clean home
Tidy children who don’t feel comfortable in a mess and clean it

Now I have to ask simplicity which of these things she can solve. Hold on . . .

She says, “I can accomplish the first three, no problem. But as for you feeling calm and feel, I can have little bit of effect, but you’re the boss of your actions, thoughts and emotion, Woman. Take charge!

“And speaking of taking charge, Clean your house and make your kids help.”

Decluttering is important, but won’t solve every problem. And a messy table during school isn’t actually a problem.

Okay, so my simplicity is not as simple-minded as Dave’s. But seriously, no amount of decluttering will make my house stay clean.

I have six kids and a husband for goodness sake.

And most of the mess is made with things you use all the time—Hello, they wouldn’t be decluttered anyway.

This in a nutshell is why I was disappointed in my possession purging: I wanted my house to stay clean. Well, that’s just not going to happen, Sister. Eight people live at your house. ‘Nough said?

So what can help? I’m telling myself to “keep on keeping on.” Classy advice, I know. But This is a teaching and training season of my life. And a loving, nurturing, enjoying season. A season that is going to come to a close some one of these years. And you’re going to miss it when it’s gone.

Keep teaching and working with those kids. Remind till you have the hang-up-your-coat-when-you-come-in dream echoing through you sweet dreams. Keep things simple when and where you can. And as Winston Churchill, great man, is said to have said, “never, never, never, never give up.”

Thanks to the Dave guy and Simplicity for clearing that up for my. I think I’ll have a happier future because of it. 🙂

How has simplicity helped you?

Almond Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies-12 Weeks of Christmas Treats

I love peanut butter cookies. They taste wonderful on their own, but are only improved when you team up peanut butter and chocolate. That said, if you really want to treat yourself try substituting almond butter. Out of this world!

I pulled my recipe from the Southern Living 1984 Annual Recipes, because I have a stereotype that southern cooking rules. It started out as peanut butter-cinnamon cookies. Which would be great as well, but would do nothing fore hubby’s “gotta-have-chocolate” problem. I omited the 1 teaspoon of cinnamon.

1/2 cup butter or margarine
1/2 cup almond butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/4 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
12 ounce bag chocolate chips

Cream butters; beat in sugars; beat in egg and vanilla.
Blend dry ingredients and add to wet. Add chips. Mix well.
Drop cookies and flatten a little. Bake at 350 12 to 14 minutes.

In case you haven’t heard, another good peanut butter cookie is the 1 cup peanut butter, 1 cup sugar and one egg recipe. The dough is a bit crumbly and they are firmer. Pros – they’re gluten-free,and I once saw Emerile make them, which means my husband is honor-bound to love them. Cons – they use more nut butter to make fewer cookies.
Happy Baking!!
Remember, this is a blog hop. Check out the link below for more fantastic recipes!

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Almond Snowball Cookies on 12 Weeks of Christmas Treats

Week two of the 12 Weeks of Christmas Treats. Do not fail to checkout this blog hop. All the traditional tried-and-trues and exciting experiments you need are here linked together in one festive Christmas blog hop!!

So what’s our offering? Ta-da! I make cookie mix into maximum flavor.

My wonderful cousin, Beccah, gave us a couple packs of sugar cookie mix. I wanted to dress it up a little, ’cause sugar cookies, eh, they tend to be methods of getting frosting to your mouth at functions where finger-lickin’ if frowned on or a cute craft project for the wee ones that isn’t going to be sucking up prime real estate on the fridge for an eon.

So I was pleased when Sis, aka DS 8, asked to use a recipe found in this cookbook (in the Party Treats section):

The ingredients were as simple as the procedure.


Almond Snowball Cookies

We poured everything into a bowl and mixed it, sugar cookie mix, 1 cup almonds, 3/4 cup flour, 1 cube butter, 1 egg, 2 T honey,  1/2 t almond extract. Dropped dough balls into a shallow dish of powered sugar to coat and baked at 350 degrees. Easy-peasey.

They tasted great. As you can see, Benjamin has happy eyes. And he can barely hold the cookie, because he didn’t allow it to cool at all but ate it straight out of the oven. The dough tasted great too. According to the kids. Because how else would I know? Oh all right I ate plenty of dough–it was fab.

The dough was crumbly we had to mash it together a bit before rolling it in the powdered sugar.

Thank you all for hopping by. We’ll have several more tastey recipes coming out this Christmas season along with my series on creating and keeping family harmony, so be sure to stop back by.

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Creating and Keeping Family Harmony: pt 1 Clear Expectations

Our family member are hard-wired to our hearts. Everything they do, both good and bad, is magnified by our emotional reactions.

Because we want to be kind and give our families the best possible interactions, we may take a deep breath or count to ten before we fly off the handle at someone. But we can also improve relationships by avoiding problems before they start.

Clear expectations that are well-understood by both parties keep us from ever having to become frustrated or disappointed.

The first step in establishing clear expectations is to clarify to ourselves exactly what we want. If it’s a big deal or complicated, write it down.

Then calmly present this list at a time and place where both parties can focus their complete attention. If my husband didn’t read this blog, I’d use him as an example of unfocussed attention. If he is wearing earphones, sitting in front of a TV of monitor, or holding his cell phone, I don’t have his undivided attention. I need him to empty his hands and look at my eyes.

For my kids nothing I usually opt for a hard copy, expectations we can see, hold and refer back to.

This picture routine helps Sis remember what she’s expected to do, and it helps me remember what I’m supposed to be checking up on.

We can avoid hassle and heartache, too, by practicing through problems at a time/place when we have more time-slash-patience.

A basketball coach can’t run out onto the court and work on those pesky free throws during a game. They hold practices for that.

We can inspect our children’s chores on easygoing nights and discuss problem areas then. Or hold a dry-run. Walk through the morning routine for a few minutes before starting supper. Let the kids pantomime their activities.

Most important—don’t give up. You don’t want them to give up. You shouldn’t give up either. Hang in there and keep working, working till everyone can be happy that their expectations are being met.

How do you make your expectations clear to loved ones?