Cinnamon Roll Waffles

Guest post by Erin Bradley

Cinnamon Roll Waffles

These waffles are so easy-peasy to prepare, yet they taste incredible!

Ingredients (serves 4):

1 can refrigerated cinnamon rolls
waffle iron
non-stick cooking spray
topping of your choice (icing from cinnamon rolls, fruit, whip cream, syrup, etc)

Directions:

Spray waffle iron with cooking spray. Place one cinnamon roll in the center of the pre-heated waffle iron.

Cinnamon Roll

Close lid tightly and cook until light goes off. Flip cinnamon roll and cook an additional two minutes. Top with icing or other favorite topping.Cinnamon Roll Waffle

As a wife and working mother of three girls ages 6, 4, and 2, Erin Bradley enjoys embracing the many life experiences that come with raising young children.  Erin seeks to follow and serve the Lord daily while working hard to provide for the needs of her family. Finding new ways of organizing her home and simplifying different areas of her life has become one of her many passions to make more time for the important things.

Why Comparing Yourself to Another is So Dangerous

Wonder Woman

Wonder Woman. I know who she is- the wondrous woman with all her feminine beauty, ability, and strength. She is able to do it all. And not only that, she does it all with relative ease, grace, and style. She may be fictitious, but Wonder Woman is bringing me down!

The constant comparison of ourselves as women—wives, moms, sisters, friends—is slowly breaking apart relationships and causing barriers to exist where none should. Rather than edifying one another and looking to each other for encouragement, we are cautiously bracing ourselves for the next encounter, the next gathering, where we are left feeling defeated and unqualified for our respective callings.

Here’s what I mean: when I compare myself to another, I am always going to feel inadequate and incompetent. There are always going to be people in my life who are better at things than I am. I am not terribly creative. I am not into exercising. I don’t keep a spotless house. I don’t play with my kids as much as I should. I’m uptight. The list continues…

Thankfully, most people I know are not like me. That is not a bad thing (that’s a very good thing!). What is bad is when I compare myself to my friend (or neighbor or whomever) and try to emulate her life. It’s just not gonna work. I have 7 kids. There is no way I could ever find time to complete Pinterest projects, play with my kids, exercise, and keep up with the house all on a regular basis! And that’s okay. Or, at least it is from now on because I am done trying to be like Wonder Woman, trying to do it all.

Moms, who are you comparing yourself to? Who is it in your life that you secretly wish you could be more like? Stop wishing and focusing your energy on that person, and instead focus your time, talents, and attention doing more to be like Jesus. He is the One we are to emulate.

Christ beckons,

Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. ~ Matthew 11:28

The word “rest” used above means to recover, to collect strength. Jesus wants us to come to Him to seek refuge during the hard moments in our day.

Jesus also warns,

And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ. ~ Colossians 3:23-24

So we have no reason to compare ourselves to anyone other than Jesus. The Lord is who will judge our actions and attitudes, motives, thoughts, and desires. If we are working so hard at trying to keep up with those around us, to be someone we’re not, we lose sight of our purpose and calling.

And that’s what happened to me, and that’s why comparing ourselves to another is so dangerous.

Grow!

“Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD,
And whose hope is the LORD.
For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters,
Which spreads out its roots by the river,
And will not fear when heat comes;
But its leaf will be green,
And will not be anxious in the year of drought,
Nor will cease from yielding fruit.”
~Jeremiah 17:7-8

 

This has always been one of my favorite verses in the Old Testament. I love the picture that comes to my mind when I read these words. I can just see a huge Oak tree, sitting on solid ground with a river running next to it. Its leaves are full and lush in spite of the intense heat from the rays of the summer sun. In the distance are fields of tall grasses, the tops parched from lack of rain. The tree is not simply surviving, it is growing. And it isn’t just growing, but it is producing acorns (fruit).

Isn’t this a beautiful picture of the Christian life? We should be so firmly rooted in God’s Word that when the hard times come (extreme heat and drought), we not only survive the difficulty, but grow through it!

I am a realist so I know that this seems easier said than done. I get that. However, this is what God desires for our lives. Moms, think about it- when our kids get hurt or run into trouble, don’t we desire that they come to us? Not just for comfort, but so that we can talk through the situation and help them to learn from their mistake? It is beneficial to them to elicit our help and support. In the process, our mother-child bond is strengthened and the child learns to better trust us, that we have his/her best interest at heart.

And so it is with our Heavenly Father. We are foolish to reject His comfort, wisdom, and most importantly, love. I challenge you today- what steps can you take so that you are like this Oak tree?

God desires that we GROW!

Like Your Children, Don’t Just Love Them

Quote

“Take heed that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that in heaven their angels always see the face of My Father who is in heaven.” ~Matt. 18:10

I recently had the privilege of attending my first homeschool conference. To be honest, I didn’t know what to expect. I figured I would hear about the “latest and greatest” curriculum, and of course listen to others share ideas for improving our homeschool for next year. And while I did get those things, I also received encouragement. Encouragement I was desperately needing.

I homeschool not because I am against public school (I have a degree in both elementary and special education, and I have one child who does attend public school), but because God has called me to raise my children for His honor and glory (2 Peter 1:3).  Now, I didn’t start homeschooling for that reason, but the more time I spend with my children, the more I fully understand my role as their mother and truthfully, the more I learn about my God.

If you know me well, I mean really well, then you know that I never planned to have a large family. When my husband and I began to talk “marriage” while dating, family size of course came into the discussion. He is from a family of five and I am from a family of three.  He wanted a big family, but I was happy with 3 or 4 children.  After the birth of my fourth child, I was content with our life. We had two boys and two girls and lived in a medium-sized house that fit our needs perfectly. Our mini-van was great in that we could all fit inside with extra seating space, and life was genuinely good. Until I found out I was pregnant when my youngest was 7 months old!

We now have a total of seven children, and I would be lying if I didn’t admit that daily life was sometimes challenging. There is a 10-year span between my oldest and youngest. Sometimes, most times, I view my children as a nuisance rather than as the blessing God says they are (Psalm 127:3-5).  I was convinced that my children woke up each day with one goal in mind: annoy me until I caved to the pressure!  Occasionally they did this individually, but typically they plotted together (there is unity in teamwork!).  Because I viewed them in the wrong way, I didn’t like them. Imagine being pecked to death by little ducks. That explains how I was feeling.

But my viewpoint was wrong!  And not just wrong, it was sinful!  Jesus holds a high view of children, mine included!  In the above verse, it clearly states that they have angels who watch over and care for them.  And not only that, those angels report to God the Father Himself- talk about convicting!!

I left that homeschool conference not just better able to teach my children at home, but to better mother them.  Have I perfected gentleness, patience, kindness, and the other fruits of the Spirit mentioned in Galatians 5:22-24?  No, of course not!  But, I am working on it, and I am liking my children in the process.

 

Overcoming Anxiety: or “How to stop feeling like you’re drowning in responsibility!”- Part 4

In this series, I will share my own struggle with constantly feeling overwhelmed and the steps I took to significantly reduce it.  This is a topic I think most moms can identify with, especially moms with young children.

frazzled-mom

So far, I have covered setting goals, implementing a schedule, and, meal planning. Regardless of the area in which you struggle, the key is to think about your thinking. Philippians 4:8 says,

Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble,
whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely,
whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy
meditate on these things.

None of my suggestions are going to completely help if you are still thinking the wrong thing. When you get your thoughts in check, act upon correct thoughts (or simply “do the right thing”), your feelings will follow. Trust me.

Managing your Home (McDonald’s Style)

Don’t get me wrong, my kids have been doing chores for years, but I often struggled in this area.  I had a difficult time enforcing chores on a regular basis because of guilt.  As a child, I had chores to do.  My mother worked and I was required to help around the house.  As I got older and the responsibility increased, I (selfishly) became angry at having to do so much.  Now, as a mom, I struggled with my own children because I didn’t want them to become resentful towards me for having to help out around the house.  It was a constant inner battle that often resulted in me trying to do everything that needed to be done…and accomplishing nothing!

One of my jobs as a wife is to be the manager of my home.  However, I didn’t know what that looked like.  It took me several years to really have a clear understanding.  I did not grow up in a house that modeled a father as the head of the home and a mother who was the manager; my mom was both!  As the manager that means meal planning, housework, laundry, child-rearing, and schooling (or homework for my children in public school) all fall on my shoulders.  It can be daunting at times, especially without help in the form of chores.  I began to pray about ways I could improve in this area, and literally one afternoon my understanding of chores (regarding why to implement them) became so clear.

My husband used to work as an assistant-manager at McDonald’s.  He is now a manager of the IT department at a local university.  He often shares some of his stories from his McDonald’s days with me (usually to make me laugh) and things he used to have to do.  I began to think about that one afternoon, and I pictured 2 scenarios in my mind.

In the first, the manager was scrambling around, trying to take customer’s orders, fill orders, run the drive-thru, and assist an employee with a problem.  The other employees were just standing around, watching him (or her) do this.  It was a chaotic scene and the atmosphere was tense, to say the least.  In the second scenario, I pictured the employees each performing their assigned duties, one taking orders, one on the drive-thru, the other cleaning tables and emptying garbage, while the manager was overseeing the employees and assisting when needed.  It was clearly a much smoother operation and had a calming atmosphere.  That’s when it hit me- my house is like that McDonald’s.  I am the manager. It’s not my job to do everything; it’s my kids’ jobs to each do their part with my help/assistance, in order for our house to function in a calm, smooth way.  And that brings us to this….

Delegate duties to kids

o   Older siblings help the younger ones
This is so important as it trains your older children to be mindful of the needs of others, as well as trains your younger children to not always come to you for everything. It also frees up much of the time spent on the “little” things.

  •   Pour drinks, get snacks, tie shoes, zip coats, etc

o   Daily room chores.
These chores never change and are the same for each child. This is for an “allowance.” I pay 25¢ for each chore, up to $1 per week day or $5 per week. Rooms are to be done before school. I check the rooms sometime during the school day and mark the child’s chart accordingly.

  •   Examples include make beds, pick up clothes, straighten up closet, etc

o   Daily house chores
This schedule rotates weekly and are not paid. These are the chores that are key to the smooth functioning of the household. All children help to the best of their ability.

  •   Examples include dishes, laundry, vacuuming, caring for pets, setting the table, etc.

o   Weekly house chores
These are age-appropriate chores that do not change and are not paid. Again, all children help but the assigned chore is based on age. My 2-year-old will wipe the glass on doors and windows, help with dusting furniture, and clean up toys.

  •   Examples include cleaning bathrooms, dusting living spaces, mopping, etc

Simplify your life

o   Say “No” to things/commitments that are not necessary

  • Overscheduling yourself and your kids has a major effect on the overall mood of your house. If you are constantly hustling and bustling to get from one activity to the next, you are bound to be frazzled, anxious, and overwhelmed.
  •   Keep in mind, things can be “good”, but not necessary (i.e. participating in Bible study, PTO)

o   Take one day off each week for rest/relaxation
For me, this is Sunday afternoon. Some Sundays are harder for me to rest than others, especially if we’ve had a busy weekend and I am behind in housework. But, taking a break for a couple hours each week helps me to re-energize and focus on the week ahead.

  •   No laundry, cleaning, grocery shopping, just simply rest!