Last Night I Stopped and Listened…

I have to share how good I did last night!

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So last night we had some vistors over (two nephews and one pregnant fiance).  The men played video games in the living room while me and the pregnant fiance (Lisa, love her like my own niece) were in the kitchen talking and making

Pioneer Woman’s Homemade Pumpkin Puree with a 10lb pumpkin (this guy was big!).  We had a great time, but by the time they left, I was tired, my pumpkin was still half way finished, and my kitchen was a  mess!  I just wanted to be done with it and get to bed!

That’s when our 18 month old started his nightly crying.  He cries because he’s tired, but doesn’t want to sleep. He fights his sleep so bad.  My husband had moved from the main floor gaming system, to the upstairs gaming system and had taken the baby with him. I was so happy because I wanted to finish my puree as quickly as possible.

Not five minutes later, hubby came down the stairs with a screaming baby, dropped him off at the bottom of the stairs, turned around and went back upstairs to continue playing on his gaming system.  I was so frustrated and wanted to go upstairs and yell about how he’s been playing for hours already while I’ve been slaving away in this kitchen all day cleaning, rearranging, cooking, cleaning, cooking again, cleaning again, then doing pumpkin puree! Can’t he just put his game down and put Sam to sleep? PLEASE?!

I really thought about all the things I was going to say as I stomped over to my son and picked him

Imageup.  I was already at the bottom of the stairs ready to stomp my way up… when I really felt like the Holy Spirit just stopped me.  I knew the outcome of that argument: I would be upset, hubby would be mad, lots of yelling, and that’s how the household would end the day.  Not good.  As much as I know in my heart that what he was doing was just unfair and selfish, what I was about to do was just as unfair and selfish to my kids and our family as a whole.

So I turned around, sat down on the sofa, and took 20 minutes to rock my son and quiet him down.  My other three kids came by and we all sang him a lullaby.  It was sweet.  And I cried like a baby.  The choice to not go upstairs is so not me. It’s not the person I am. I am a fighter, a confronter, and when I get angry sometimes I can get into my rage so bad that I don’t hear any outside voices of reason.  But tonight I sensed God’s Holy Spirit – AND I STOPPED AND LISTENED.  That’s what it means to be a Growing Proverbs 31 Woman. These small choices that I make to listen to that small voice.

Just praising God for His Holy Spirit and praying to hear and listen to it more and more in this New Year!

Yasmin

Growing Proverbs 31 Woman

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If you suck at cleaning your home, this post is for you {free giveaway!}…

OK, so I have to admit, I’m not good at keeping the house clean and in order. I’m just not.  I wish I was, with all my heart and soul, I really wish I was one of those women who could not go to sleep unless every inch of the house was clean – and then some!

My mom is one of those ladies! She can clean… and she LIKES it!!  My mom loves coming to my house and cleaning my kitchen (she loves cleaning kitchens).  I come into my kitchen and clean. But my mom’s clean looks so much better than mine – and I really don’t get it.  I just don’t know how to clean.

When I see a big mess, I get overwhelmed and I don’t want to attack it.  I’m the type of person that needs to start in a little corner, clean all that up, and then move on to the next piece.  But one big job?  My brain can’t handle it – I actually get upset and cranky and have a meltdown. I’m serious. My family can testify under oath to that fact.

I tried all different types of cleaning schedules: monthly, weekly, daily – but none of them gave me the individual assignments that I needed to keep me from getting overwhelmed.  It was like Mondays: Kitchen; Tuesdays: Bedrooms; Wednesdays: Living Room… and for some people that works. But not for my brain.  It was too overall, too big.

Then somehow, I came across The Confident Mom‘s webpage.  The name alone really caught my attention because I desperately want to be a confident mom, wife, Godly woman! And that’s exactly what her website is about “empowering moms, strengthening families, and embracing God’s design” – doesn’t that sound awesome?

One of Susan’s great products is her Household Planner.  Now THIS is what saved my household from my lack of knowing how to clean.  I cannot express how much I love this planner and its daily checklist of tasks.  I just look at my task for the day and that’s what I do – I do them, check them off and I’m set!  And its not “Clean the refrigerator” task, no it’s “Clean top shelf of refrigerator”, “clean stovetop”, etc. Specific tasks that I can accomplish and check off. I LOVE IT! Every week I’m cleaning a certain part of my fridge – and so its clean on a weekly basis. I mean, it’s clean! Normally I wouldn’t touch the bottom shelf for months then wear a hospital mask to clean it out (again, my family will testify… under oath).  But with this planner, my fridge is clean on a weekly basis!

I don’t think I’ve EVER really cleaned my oven.  But it was on my checklist one day, so I really got into it and cleaned it.  Then I was able to check it off as being done, and let me tell you that was so gratifying!

Not only does it have weekly tasks, but it has daily task: make beds, clean kitchen sink, do laundry, etc. Things that should be done on a daily basis. It has an area for you to write down your dinner menu, another area for weekly items that can be done on whatever day you choose (pay bills that are due, iron/dry cleaning,etc.), and an area for notes.  I know the planner for 2013 even has a new checklist for your daily intake of water! I mean, this thing couldn’t be more perfect.

If you have a problem cleaning, like I do, then this planner is for you.  And if you don’t have a planner already, then you can win one right here!  Yes! I’m giving away ONE free copy of The Confident Mom’s 2013 Weekly Household Planner (w/Scripture Reading Plan) right here.  You can enter right below – just click on the Rafflecopter link and chose any or all options and you are entered.  The giveaway starts tonight (12/17) and goes through Sunday (12/23).  I will announce the winner on Monday (12/24) – just in time for Christmas!  Just think of it as my Christmas gift to you! What a better way to start the new year but with a cleaning and scripture reading plan.  I pray it’s as much a blessing to you as it truly is to me.

{By the way, if you can’t wait to get your own planner or if you don’t win – you can always use my link to the left to go purchase your own!  It is an affiliate link, so I would appreciate you using it if you plan on purchasing your own copy.  Thanks!}

God bless!

Yasmin

a Rafflecopter giveaway

What This Mama Can Do About Sandy Hook

Sometimes I have no words to express how I feel – I’m just not eloquent enough, my brain shuts down at times. But I was blessed to read this blog post and see how I feel in words I couldn’t write.

Lark & Bloom

Like all of you, I spent the day yesterday in a horrified shock. I cried off and on the whole day. It was nauseating and I couldn’t seem to shake it. I prayed so hard, for so many whose names I didn’t know. What on earth, God???

I went to bed last night haunted by the reality that there are 20 parents whose kids are no longer sleeping down the hall. My daughter went to school yesterday too, but she came home.

This morning I woke realizing that I can’t do so many things I want to & I felt hopeless.

I can’t homeschool my kids and never let them go into public again. After days like yesterday this is what I would prefer to do.

I can’t talk to each parent who lost a child & hear their story.

I can’t understand & fix gun control laws in a…

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Peanut Butter Kiss cookies

Earlier this week I was invited to a Cookie Exchange party by a very sweet sister from church that I hadn’t previously met (though had seen).  I was so excited to attend my first Cookie Exchange party that I began to look up recipes right away, and almost as fast I found one!  I didn’t want to do boring old chocolate chip cookies (mostly because my cookies come out looking like crackers!), and so I found a recipe for something that sounded yummy: Oreo Cheesecake cookie!  It was a delicious blend of crushed oreos, cream cheese, and butter – I was IN!  Not only did it sound great, but I had all the ingredients.  So I didn’t bother looking at the recipe again until the day of the exchange when I was ready to make my cookies.  I was so excited to get started, I got out all the ingredients and utensils I was going to need.  First step, 6 tablespoons of cream cheese.  I excitedly opened up the cream cheese and… it was green!  Little spots of fungus growing on the sides and around the bottom.  The party was only in a few hours and I had no recipe!  I thought of just going to the supermarket and buying some cookies… but really wanted to bring something homemade.

I looked around my kitchen to see what I could whip together… and that’s when I saw them.  Hershey’s Kisses! I remembered seeing a recipe for a cookie with a Hershey’s Kiss pushed in the middle of it.  After a few seconds of research, I found a recipe for the Peanut Butter Kiss cookie and couldn’t believe how simple it was! Just four simple ingredients.

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So I put my son Samuel up on the counter and we began to measure out cups of sugars (white, confectioners, and brown) and put it all together in Maribel (my Kitchen Aid Mixer I named after my Dominican aunt who is a baker).

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This is how it looked after mixing:

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IMG_2206 This is my Sam sitting on the counter mixing with his mom.  He loves to be in the kitchen pretending to cook and loves it even more when I let him help me cook.

IMG_2211I let him mix it a little.  Something so simple made him so happy.  I’m always in a rush to get things done, but I’m learning to slow down and enjoy the journey (just learning, I have a LONG way to go in that department).IMG_2213

IMG_2210Thanks mom!!

IMG_2215A boy with a spatula can be a dangerous thing to balls of cookie dough!  I let him go at it for a few then distracted him by asking him where his nose, eyes, and ears were while I fixed it quickly and pushed it in the oven!

IMG_2217While the cookies baked, I unwrapped the kisses.  I kept Sam busy by allowing him to play with the bowl of colorful wrappers, and it totally worked.  He didn’t cry to have a candy or anything.  He was content with the colorful, crinkly paper.

IMG_2218After only 10 minutes, I took out the cookie sheet and they were done.

IMG_2219Then came the fun part!  I mean this part was REALLY very fun! Take a kiss and push it into the center of each cookie.  Tada!  Your done!  Let them cool off and enjoy with a tall glass of freezing cold milk!

IMG_2221Yummmm….

Well, I hoped you enjoyed my FIRST recipe post.  Sam and I had a lot of fun and everything actually came out good.  The kids loved it and I can’t believe how easy it was.  Below is the full recipe which was adapted by another person on the original site (so the original recipe is quite different, but the comments section has the edits).

God bless,

Yasmin

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Peanut Butter Kiss Cookies

by

INGREDIENTS:
1 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup confectioners sugar
3 cups peanut butter
3 eggs
a bunch of milk chocolate candy kisses, unwrapped
DIRECTIONS:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Combine sugar, peanut butter, and egg.
3. Shape into 1 inch balls and place on ungreased cookie sheet. NOTE: If dough is too sticky, refrigerate 1/2 hour or until easy to handle.
4. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove cookies from oven. Press a chocolate kiss into the center of each warm cookie.

I’m tired.

I’m tired.
I really seem to be in a season of “me, me, me” because I just can’t get over how tired and upset I am.
My husband works as a truck driver and the job he has now is an over night, every other day job. So he leaves at 12:15pm on day 1 and doesn’t come home until about 4am on day 2. Then on day 2 he doesn’t wake up until about 12 or 1pm.  This is his day off, then he’s back to work on the next day.  So on his day off (again, every other day), he’ll lay around and watch TV or play video games.  If I push him, he’ll pick up the kids at 3pm, then comes home and gets back on the TV or video games.  
I still go about doing what I have to do, prepping dinner, helping with homework for 3 kids, dealing with the 17 month old – all this around my husband sitting in the living room.  On his days that he works, I allow the kids to relax after school and watch TV for about an hour.  Then it goes off and they all do HW, then dinner, and now we will watch a Christmas movie on ABC Family.  Some nights we’ll do a Bible study – though to be honest its been a few weeks since we did our last.
But when husband is around, the TV stays on all the time.  And its loud.  My 7 year old boy is easily distracted, especially with video games.  So its so frustrating that husband wont turn the TV or video game off for just 30 minutes until JJ gets his HW done (we have a small house which only has our bedrooms, living room, and kitchen.  There’s no family room or other area where we can be away from the distraction, other than the bedroom).  If I ask for help, it’s always “in a minute” or he calls our oldest daughter to get the baby brother.
I’ve spoken my frustrations and asked that he see my point of view. All I get in return is an “OK you’re right.  There, happy?”  Which frustrates me even more!
When my husband is not around, I can do it all and be fine.  The work itself can be overwhelming on some days, but I can do it and have peace in the home.  But the nights my husband is home, I feel he should help me.  I KNOW the right thing for him to do is help.  Help your kids with their HW, help me throw out the garbage, be present with your kids.  And the fact that its not happening is what frustrates me and makes me snap on some (most) nights.
I also need some me time.  I’d like to work on posts for my blog more or do a Bible study. I try asking my husband for some time to myself, let me go out to the bookstore once a week on my own.  But that gets shot down all the time.  So I’ll sit in my room and read my Bible or write the words of the Bible or listen to a podcast… which lasts all but 5 minutes before I have one of the kids coming up and just wanting to be in the room.  I’m sorry – but sometimes I just need to be alone. ALONE.  Or Sam will cry and as soon as that happens I hear “take your brother upstairs to your mom!”.
Sigh.
Oh, and my husband started coming to church with us, but since the new job he hasn’t been to church in many months.  So I take all four kids to church on Sunday mornings and evenings, and Wednesday evenings, and any special occasions we have (which are a lot during this time of year).  Which is fine… but I’m tired.  I go to church 3x a week and I don’t hear the Word at all.  I’ll get 5 minutes of a message before Sam wakes up from his short nap and it’s off to the nursery I go.  Of course he won’t stay in the nursery on his own, so I’m there with him.  I don’t remember the last time I sat through a full message.  So I’m basically going to church 3x a week to hang out in the nursery with other babies – and of course so that my older children can get the word.  On days that I just don’t want to, I think of my older ones and I go anyway because of them.  But it’s overwhelming to be around kids all day and then be around a bunch of other babies in the evenings as well.  I’m so tired.
I don’t have the answer as to how to make it easy.  I feel like no one knows what I’m going through.  I love all the Christian blogs I read, but I feel like their lives are a dream – something I can never attain.   I’m tired.  I will continue to praise my God and read His Word and love on my family – especially my husband.  But inside I’m crying and feeling overwhelmed and sad.  
I know that the Lord isn’t finished with me; I have to also remember that He’s not finished with my husband.  This is my journey and I have to trust that He knows how I feel and He has a great plan for me, for my husband, for our marriage, and for our family.  Because right now I don’t see it.  But that’s what faith is all about, right?

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