Chicken Breast Parmesan Bake

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Ceramic tableware on the worktop. Black and white kitchen design.
So, one of my lovely readers commented and encouraged me not to give up the 31 Days series…even if it takes me beyond October, I will continue writing until I reach 31 days. I will share a closer look at some of our day to days, including how we do devotions and our favorite recipes.

This past weekend I traveled away from home to the Allume Conference in Greenville, SC. It was amazing. But it is good to be home again, too.

So today, I want to share one of my family’s favorite chicken dinner recipes with you.

Chicken Breast Parmesan Bake
This chicken just melts in your mouth and is super delicious! It doesn’t take long to prep either. I am all about keeping things simple, but eating delicious meals, too.

Chicken Breast Parmesan Bake

1/4 c. grated Parmesan cheese

1/4 c. Italian breadcrumbs

1 t. dried parsley

1/2 t. garlic powder

1/4 t. salt & 1/4 t. pepper

1 1/2 – 2 lbs. chicken breast

1/4 c. butter

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.

Combine your cheese, breadcrumbs, parsley, garlic powder, salt & pepper into a medium sized bowl. Melt your butter in a separate bowl.

Spray a long 13×9 baking dish with cooking spray. Rinse your chicken breasts. Dip each piece into the melted butter and than into the breadcrumb mixture until covered. Place in baking dish. Do all pieces the same way. Slide dish into oven for 15-20 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink.

Delish!

31 Days 2014

Stretching Me Into Hospitality

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Allume 2014

That’s what God has been working in me. Hospitality.

This weekend I went to the Allume Conference and our theme was hospitality. Hospitality doesn’t come natural to me…I don’t often think of unique and creative (or even common) ways to serve those coming into my home. Hospitality is a non-negotiable, but I don’t think it comes naturally to everyone.

That’s not to say I don’t want to welcome people in; it’s just I often freeze with what to do next once they’re in!

Allume challenged me this year; more than any other year I’ve attended (five years now). God is stirring this community and growing it and it has been so beautiful to watch unfold.

I love the web; it is a wonderful tool in many, many ways. It brings connections together and if allowed, can blossom into something tight and not easily broken. The catch is, we have to allow it to go beyond the screen.

There is nothing like hugging the neck of someone, skin to skin, heart to heart. But words are important, too, which is why I feel like I was born to write. But as a writer, we have to stop and look up, and often.

Unfortunately, I haven’t fostered my writing much at all. I haven’t allowed it space to grow and become better. I may write, but I’m not learning how to write better.

After this weekend, I’ve been inspired with a fresh vision and am really looking forward to what 2015 will bring. Not just to my blog, but to my community, my home, my life.

With the holidays upon us, I’ll have plenty of opportunity to practice hospitality among friends, so that when the opportunity arrives to open my door to people whom I may not know very well, I can meet them with a better foundation.

I came home with a stack of fabulous books, signed up to become a Mary & Martha consultant and want to invite you into the next adventure with me.

For the next two weeks, She Reads Truth is doing a devotional series on Hospitality. I would love the Moms in the Word Community to follow along as I gather our next study. That’s where I’ll be reading and studying for the next two weeks. So be sure to head on over there to read Day 1 and follow along.

SRT-Hospitality_day1_invite
I met the beautiful women behind She Reads Truth this weekend, and let me tell you, they are a-mazing. Beautiful women with a beautiful vision to help other women dig deep into His Word. Women after my own heart — which is to be after His own heart. ;)

Also, if you’re interested in listening to the keynote speakers from Allume, you can do so for FREE right here. My favorite was Shauna Niequist. And then Sophie Hudson.

So, 31 Days Was a Bust

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Joyful Mothering New Season
I had good intentions, I really did. But real life took over and I’m sorry…but I’m not sorry. As much as I love writing and sharing our day to day with you, I enjoy living it even more. And honestly, I did get some ideas for posts that I look forward to writing!

But writing everyday became a burden rather than a discipline to enjoy. That’s not what I want. I can’t thank you enough for rolling with me and for your grace. I hope that the small picture I provided was a decent glimpse into our lives and I will continue to share some of our days sporadically.

As a mom who has come out of being pregnant or nursing for 12 years, I feel like I’m entering a new season. (And the adoption process is very much a pregnancy; more like a high-risk pregnancy due to all the uncertainties involved and instead of lasting 9 months, the stressful process of it all lasted 18 months).

So here we are, stress levels down, hormone levels down and I feel like a new woman ready for adventure!

I don’t want to forget how hard being pregnant and having a baby and other littles underfoot is because moms, it is HARD. I had a hard time ever wanting to even leave the house just because it felt SO overwhelming. And leaving for myself? I felt overwhelming guilty. I think part of that is just hormones taking over and amplifying everything.

Now I am in a place where I’m getting off the couch, going to the gym in the evenings when my husband gets home and having lots of energy to take care of my family.

And I won’t lie: the computer was a source of comfort and at times escape for me during this time. Do I have regrets about that? Not really because I was still home and available to my children and I was in a place of feeling desperate and in need of a community that felt “safe”, but kept at a distance…know what I mean? I think the thing that may have been neglected the most was the house. And my husband is awesome and never pushed me to clean or made comments about it. He had a few pet peeves I tried to keep up with, but he has always been an amazing support to me.

Do you remember MSN groups? Oh how I was sucked into those! I even started my own group and ran my own community for moms. Sometimes there was so much drama involved from differing opinions that it exhausted me and eventually I gave it up. That’s when I found blogging…way back in 2005 (though I know blogs were around well before then). That’s when I started writing for myself — before I actually knew the powerful potential of the blogging community.

Now, 9 years and 5 blogs later, here I am, at Joyful Mothering. My season of motherhood has changed dramatically since I first began, going from two children to now seven children, two of whom are adopted. Naturally the dynamic of my blogging is going to change, too. How many times can I share the same information about how we do devotions and our morning routine, though?

What is it moms need? When I browse blogs as a mom, what do I look for?

Today I, personally, look for a challenge. I want to be stretched farther and pushed beyond my own limitations. And lately, I have found very little of that among my browsing. Instead I find posts on complacency and being content where we are and I think for some seasons, this is necessary. But complacency on the outside is really a battle on the inside. Sometimes all we can do is hold on and soak in—I get that, because I’ve been there and I want to speak from that place and offer encouragement to moms who are just tired; physically, mentally, and spiritually.  Moms who are too exhausted to take on more than merely getting through the day because that’s simply the season you are in. Moms who need to hear that it’s OK to be tired and that you’re not fighting that internal battle alone.

But not all moms are in the same season–not all moms are exhausted (and I totally appreciate the ones who are). Some moms are in different seasons and need that boost for growing into the next level. This is where I am. I’m ready for some new challenges and I want to invite you along for the ride.

And if you’re exhausted, you will not be left out! As a mom on the other side of exhaustion (at least for now), I want to be the one who pours into you. I want to be someone who understands and encourages you — someone I needed when I was in that place.

I am excited for 2015 because I have some wonderful things in the works and I want you to be in on the planning. So I need your voice to help me.

I have a short poll here that will help me serve you better. It will only take about 20 seconds to complete. What would you like to see me writing more about?  Choose all that would apply to you and even add your own suggestion.

To take the poll: CLICK HERE

I am looking forward to some new adventures — and a new design in this space. Are you with me? :)

Family Workout Weekend

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Day 11 and 12

So, I’d decided a couple weeks ago that my children are getting big enough to need more than the backyard to run around in for exercise—and during the winter months, they need some place to stretch their legs.

Since I have the membership at the gym now and recognize, already, the benefits of working out (other than weight loss), my husband and I also decided to get a membership to our local YMCA.

On Saturday we had our post-placement report done by our social worker. I really love our social worker! She gave us a few tips and suggestions, but overall, the girls are doing well.

After she left, we went to the Y for a tour and signed up for a family membership. It gives us full access to the pool all year round plus the open gym where we can go and play dodge ball or other kinds of games. We also get discounts on programs such as swimming lessons and gymnastics–so we are sure to stay active throughout the winter!

Sunday

Sunday we had church and we host home group 1-2 times per month and this was our week to host. So we came home, I made spaghetti for lunch/dinner, the girls made cookie bars to add to the snack for our group, and we finished cleaning. Then we rested for a couple hours before people arrived.

We had a wonderful time studying and discussing Romans 15:1-2. We always have great discussion! We were pretty tired once everyone left (just before 10pm) so Monday was a little rough.

31 Days 2014

Last Full Day

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Day 9 and 10

October 8

Thankfully, Wednesday was better. I woke up feeling better and went downstairs to get my coffee. And because I’m writing this on Friday morning rather than Wednesday night, I honestly don’t remember that far back. So on to Thursday!

October 9

Regular routine of wake up and have coffee. Felt quite well though the kids were a little slow getting moving. We started our devotions about 9:2oAM.

I pulled out Aesop’s Fables and worked on training my Ghanaian daughters how to narrate. They read English well and understand spoken English very well, but they struggle to say back what they have read or what’s been read to them. They are catching on and these little stories are just perfect to hold their attention for a short narration. My goal is not to make homeschooling overly complex for them, but to strengthen some things they already know and then expand from there.

Branching out too quickly will only spread them too thin before they are ready.

We worked through math and had lunch. My other children were keeping busy with independent work (history and literature readings, mostly)

And this is the day I realized writing about my life everyday is getting rather boring. So, in my next “day” I will share how we do devotions, specifically, since many of you have asked.

I will also share some of our dinner recipes, especially some of the new ones we’ve tried that have turned out awesome and don’t take forever to prepare.

Thank you for taking this journey with me. Let’s shift the angle a bit and get in a little close in the coming days, shall we? :)

31 Days 2014

Terrible Tuesday

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October 7

To put it bluntly, I woke up exhausted Tuesday. In fact, I just didn’t feel like myself. You know what pregnancy exhaustion feels like? Yea, it was beyond that. (No, I’m not pregnant). I drank a cup of coffee. Then another. Still felt exhausted. I felt so heavy. I wondered how in the world I was going to homeschool. My brain just felt so foggy and unfocused.

My husband and I think my workout on Sunday caught up to me. Apparently it’s going to take some time adjusting my body to this new routine. In the mean time, though, I had to deal with this day. This day, my responsibilities felt so very heavy on my shoulders. I felt like I wasn’t allowed to feel awful, I have too much to do!

I made the best decision for all of us — I let the kids watch movies. And you know what? It was refreshing for them as well. They needed the break as much as me. We turned on Netflix and, to my delight, they had just added one of my childhood favorites: Pippi Longstocking. On it went…and the kids loved it!

Once dinner time rolled around, again I felt overwhelmed. I just wanted to crawl in bed and sleep. What to do. What to do. “OK children. It’s ‘fend for yourself for dinner’ tonight. Whatever you can whip up in the oven or microwave is yours! Older children, help the younger ones.”

I had a phone meeting at 6pm and my husband still needed to eat. When he got home, I gave him my Paypal card and told him he could buy the two of us fast food. (I know, it’s a problem).

So, I went upstairs to my room with my laptop and phone and did my 30-minute phone meeting. Then I got ready to leave because I had hip-hop practice to go to, but first needed to attend another meeting on Google Hangout right before class. So I just carried my laptop along with me to do the meeting there. I still wanted to crawl in bed and sleep at this point.

I arrived at the dance studio and set up my laptop and had about a 45 minute meeting. Then went to hip hop class and pretended I knew how to dance hip hop — with my two left feet.

I came home really tired, but after a full day, even an exhausted body needs to wind down from the day before trying to sleep. So, on goes Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. And I fell asleep. With my mouth open. Hubby said I snored, too. Nice, huh? :P

I made my way up the stairs and fell into bed, worried the next day would be just as bad…I felt like I could sleep for two days.

31 Days 2014

Distract of the Dog

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October 6

Monday started off so well. I woke up early and did my Bible reading. I felt so good and ready to begin the day. I can only imagine it was from working out the day before.

I got lunch in the crockpot – Chicken Noodle Soup – and we began our devotions. Our great dane puppy, Kesse, was quite a handful. She is almost 15 months old and a couple weeks ago her training collar stopped working. It didn’t take her long to figure it out and she is back to being quite out of control. Constantly barking at our greyhound to play with her – constantly. It made it really difficult to get through devotions.

As you can see, Truman is not in the playing mood. (Click here to see video if reading in email)

Dogs from Christin Slade on Vimeo.

She would bark in her crate, she would bark outside (annoying the neighbors after a while). Walks typically happen in the evening because mornings are just too difficult. This dog is constantly wound up, so it makes no difference. I love her to pieces, but without her training collar, she has made homeschooling around here near impossible. So, we are {not so patiently} waiting for her replacement collar to come in the mail.

So we stumbled through school with constant distractions from the dog. She exhausted me by the end of the day! My husband is changing jobs and went to his new employer to pick up some paperwork and go have a drug test done (which we weren’t expecting to have to do that day). By the time he got home it was almost 9pm. I had the kids in bed by 8pm but I was zonked!

Then Tuesday rolls around…

31 Days 2014

Sunday’s Are For Rest

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October 5

So we woke up and went to church. We stopped at the library to drop off some books and pick up more for the upcoming homeschool week.

We also had the opportunity to tour the fire station because they just happened to have an open house. It’s funny, too, because my husband and I were just talking about visiting the fire station with the kids.

By the time we got home I was zonked. Sunday’s are always like that for me and I struggle to function just to get meals on the table. I warmed up left over spaghetti and made a pot of macaroni and cheese for lunch and then went and laid down for a bit.

Then I got up and made dinner — I had steak in the crockpot for fajitas, so I just cooked up some peppers and onions and a pot of rice and we ate.

I was pondering joining the gym -seriously- since last night, though it’s been in the back of my mind for months. And Planet Fitness happened to be having a deal to join. So after dinner, I went and joined and worked out for 45 minutes.

Day 6 Planet Fitness 2 Day 6 Planet Fitness

 

I came home feeling great and went to bed feeling great! I am definitely excited about making some changes now that I’ve finally taken the plunge!

That was my Sunday — very laid back and simple. :)

From now on, I will be posting the day’s events at the end of the day rather than the beginning of the next day because I have a better chance of getting something out and remembering the details better. So do expect my Monday this evening! :)

31 Days 2014

Today is the LAST DAY to PREREGISTER for the Homemaking From Scratch conference coming up October 7th-9th.  If you purchase your ticket by midnight EST TONIGHT, you’ll get over $200 of homemaking resources FREE. I will be speaking on Biblical Motherhood. Would love for you to join us! Click here for a full spread of topics, speakers, and the free resources.

Homemaking from Scratch

Saturdays

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Red heart-shaped candy on a wooden background.

October 4

It’s Saturday!!

I slept in until 7:45am, came downstairs and made my coffee. The children were getting their breakfast and I grabbed my lap top and headed back upstairs to get some client work done while the coffee brewed. Saturday’s are computer work days for me. I work on VA projects, blogging projects, menu planning and lesson planning and it pretty much takes the whole day.

Twenty minutes later I came down and poured a cup of coffee and sat on the couch to do more VA work. The children were scattered doing various things. At about 9:45am I called them to complete their morning chores. After that, my husband came down, poured his coffee and turned on Netflix for some “Saturday morning cartoons”. I moved my lap top to the kitchen to continue working.

I left for the post office at 11:30am to ship something back to a company that I was needing a refund from.

When I returned home, Jonathan and I discussed our upcoming weekly menu.

Day 5 Menu Planning

We both know we want to make some food changes so we discuss how that’s going to look. Lunches are some of our most unhealthy meals because they resort to hot dogs and overly processed lunch meat, typically. We decide it best to buy a bulk thing of chicken and make “real food”, even for lunches. So far I have chicken noodle soup with corn bread, and beans and rice on our menu for the upcoming week for lunches.

I also plan to bake more muffins and bread type products for breakfasts and snacks. Siding it with a piece of fruit and/or yogurt will work well.

Just after 1:00pm, my husband takes the children (all seven of them) out to run errands, including grocery shop. He does this every week and I stay home and work. He is my Superman.

And I work from then until 4:00pm on the computer.

After that I start dinner and they come home and we eat spaghetti. My husband tells me we are having a movie night and the kids want to watch Star Wars V so I hurry them through their chores and showers so there’s enough time to satisfy that and a normal bed time.

We had to turn it off by 8:30pm because there was still a ways to go and the children needed to get to bed. So my husband prayed with them and off they went.

Then, we stayed up later than we should have watching Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. I think it’s time to forgo the evening TV and put my Bible reading in there (since I can’t seem to wake up early) and possibly join a gym. No, seriously.

Until tomorrow…

31 Days 2014

Don’t forget to get your ticket for the Homemaking From Scratch conference coming up October 7th-9th. Today and tomorrow are the last days to pre-register. If you purchase your ticket before the conference dates, you’ll get over $200 of homemaking resources FREE. I will be speaking on Biblical Motherhood. Would love for you to join us! Click here for a full spread of topics, speakers, and the free resources.

Homemaking from Scratch

Mommy Work Day

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White cup with coffee on burlap with coffee beans

October 3, 2014

Today the morning greeted me with a beautiful, orange glow throughout my room and the upstairs hallway. We have these large windows that let in a lot of sunlight, so it was quite glorious.

Orange Sky

The children really dragged their feet this morning getting their chores and routine done. So we didn’t get to our devotion until 9:30am. Christina (8) said her belly was hurting so I suggested she go lay down. She slept for nearly two hours. After observing her these past weeks, I think she does better with an 8pm bed time than a 9pm bed time. In fact, most of my kids benefit from an earlier bed time, so I am adjusting it to 8pm.

Following our gorgeous, orange sky, the rain came, making for a rather gray morning. It’s enough to make anyone sleepy. And when Christina lived in Ghana, they had regular power outages and she would often sleep during them.

Fridays are light school days for us. We do math and catch up on reading and work on crafts or projects. We also spend this day doing a more deep and thorough cleaning of the house. This is also a good time for me to catch up on or get ahead in my VA (virtual assistant) work for my clients.

I declare Friday’s a Mommy Work day. I focus on house work and VA work.

After realizing a client project was taking longer than I thought, I decided to allow the children to watch Swiss Family Robinson on Netflix. I continued to plug away at the project, determined to get it finished before the afternoon was over. (And I did, woot!)

We have another ballet class to attend tonight so we need to leave by 4pm. I want to get some cleaning done before that happens, too. So I tidy my bedroom. Yep, that’s as far as I got. The children had a snack before we left and we headed out.

And this girl? She grabs a winter coat for 65 degree weather. I just love that smile!

Christina in her Coat

I worked on my newsletter and answered some emails from clients while waiting for the class to end.

On the way home I pondered how Christina missed her lessons because she slept a couple extra hours in the morning. Normally my Type A side would be cringing from not getting her lessons done, but I remind myself of two things 1) We homeschool year round so we can make margin like this and 2) there is more to life than reading, writing, and math on a schedule. There really is. In fact, our kids need to hear more from us than just what they should be doing all the time.

Our children need a little leeway sometimes, just like we do. So I let it go and gave her the day off (without saying so).

Once we got home I started on dinner right away. We had baked parmesan chicken with mashed potatoes and vegetables. One of the most delicious recipes I’ve ever made. And of course I forgot to take a picture of it! I’m confident I’ll make it again before the month is over.

The children then did their evening chores and routine and were in bed about 9:00pm.

Chores included clearing and wiping down dining room table, sweeping the kitchen and dining room floors, and emptying & loading the dishwasher. I take care of clearing and wiping down the counters and stove. Then when they put their pajama’s on, they spend 5-10 minutes cleaning up their bedrooms. Then they brush their teeth and meet us in the living room for our evening Bible reading.

I must be doing something right, because my evening ended with my 7-year old telling me I was the best mommy he’d ever had.

For His Glory.png

31 Days 2014

 

Don’t forget to get your ticket for the Homemaking From Scratch conference coming up October 7th-9th. If you purchase your ticket before the conference dates, you’ll get over $200 of homemaking resources FREE. I will be speaking on Biblical Motherhood. Would love for you to join us! Click here for a full spread of topics, speakers, and the free resources.

Homemaking from Scratch

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