Sample Saturday

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Good Morning and Happy Spring! Grab a cup of coffee or tea and settle in for this week’s roundup of my favorite posts.

Kisses and Kiddos

No Fail Parenting Phrases – From The Confident Mom, this is a good list of clear and concise statements to improve communication with kids of all ages.

Top 10 Tips to Get Kids to do Chores – The Home Sanctuary blog has some wonderful ideas for encouraging (not nagging) kids to do their chores.

A Marital Intimacy Playlist – J from Hot, Holy, and Humorous put together a great list of clean romantic songs from different musical genres.

Yumminess

Bacon Cheddar Waffles – What can I say? It’s a waffle with bacon and cheddar cheese, and that sounds awesome. I’m looking forward to trying this recipe from Shutterbean.

Corned Beef Hash Eggs Benedict – If you are celebrating St. Patrick’s Day this weekend, consider making this breakfast spin on the tradition dish. (From spoon fork bacon)

Cinnamon Espresso St. Patrick’s Day Cupcakes – And then you can serve these beautiful treats from Bakingdom for dessert.

Just for Fun and Giggles

DIY T-shirt Dress – I have very few sewing skills, but this project from The Kurtz Corner looks so cute I might just have to try it someday when I learn to use a sewing machine.

And then there is this awesome picture of Baby Kraken! I dare you not to smile.

The Kraken! Art Print

Enjoy your weekend!

Happy Homekeeping Moments

Hi, everyone! I know I’ve been away from the blog lately; just been catching up on normal life. Anyway, here is this week’s list!

1. The Little Ones really enjoy playing together now. I love watching them run around, sing, practice the ABC’s, and play on the computer together.

2. Big Man and I enjoyed our Valentine’s dinner out. It was nice to be together, have a relaxing meal, and enjoy a movie that did not include singing Veggies.

3. Little Man looks so cute in his “big boy” crew cut. Plus it is easy and less expensive now that we can cut his hair here at home!

4. Little Lady is talking more and more each day. She knows most of her letters now and is starting to count. Very appropriately, her favorite word is “me.”

5. I’ve had lots of success in my recent kitchen experiments. One of my recent goals has been to include more veggies in our meals and trade pre-processed ingredients for homemade wherever I can. I’ve found some great veggie recipes that even I enjoy and I’ve successfully DIY’ed bagels, jam, flour tortillas, and chicken stock.

Hope y’all are having a great Friday! See you tomorrow for Sample Saturday.

Sample Saturday

Good Morning! Here’s this week’s Sample Saturday of my favorite posts from the last couple weeks.

Kisses and Kiddos

Love Changes Everything – A beautiful perspective in this Becoming Minimalist post.

On Raising Little Women (or Men) – A great post about the parenting and teaching lessons to be learned from Marmee, of Little Women. (post from Simple Homeschool)

Make a Homekeeping Mission Statement – A really cool idea from Home Sanctuary.  I’m still working on my mission statement, and I’ll be sure to share once it is complete.

Beyond Movie Night – A great list of fun and inexpensive at home dates from Beauty Through Imperfection.

Parenting 001 – I actually said “Amen” out loud when I finished reading this fantastic post at The Gospel Coalition

Yumminess

Espresso-Biscoff Heart Cake – I was all prepared to have a healthy, no dessert weekend until I saw this awesomeness from Sprinkle Bakes and decided I need to make it now.

Crockpot Salsa Verde Chicken Enchiladas – I like the idea of Mexican flavors in the slow cooker. This dish from the Foodie Bride looks like a great change from the usual pot roast.

French Onion Soup Grilled Cheese Sandwiches – I actually made these last week and oh boy, were they good! Big Man loved them too. This Tasty Kitchen post has a nice set of step-by-step photos.

Cinnamon Streusel Chocolate Bread- Streusel and chocolate in the same recipe. Thank you, Bakingdom!

Just for Fun and Giggles

Paperman – This cute Disney short film has been floating around the internet for the last few days, and it is totally worth a look.  Does anyone else think the guy looks like Jim from The Office?

And finally, I found this on Pinterest and just couldn’t stop laughing.

Unless you’re a rhino who wants to be a unicorn. That’s not giving up, that’s refusing to bend to the pressure the media puts on rhinos to be more mythical.

Enjoy your weekend!

Sample Saturday

Here’s this week’s roundup of my favorite blog posts. Enjoy!

Kisses and Kiddos

You Can Never Ask Too Much – This post from the Desiring God Blog is full of encouragement and hope grounded in Biblical promises.

31 Days to Becoming a Frugalista – The Confident Mom is doing a series this whole month on saving money and running a home on an efficient and frugal budget.  It’s a great series and I’m learning a lot from each new post (the link above is for the kick-off overview post)

Household Organization, Part 2, Part 3 – Another great series is this one from Home Sanctuary.  I’m always looking for ways to run the house better, and I like they way this system is really easy to tailor to individual homes and priorities.

Yumminess

Cookie Butter Cream Cheese NY Style Crumb Cake – This just sounds absolutely amazing. (from the Vanilla Sugar Blog)

Creamy Crock Pot Mac ‘n’ Cheese – I’ve been getting a lot of use out of my slow cooker recently, and I’ll be trying this dish from Pennies on a Platter soon.

Soups to Warm the Soul – It’s soup season and this post from Picky Palate has a whole bunch of soups that look perfectly warm and satisfying.

Chocolate Chip Cookies with Nutella, Brown Butter, & Sea Salt – Is it possible to have too many chocolate chip cookie recipes? I think not. (from Annie’s Eats)

Just for Fun and Giggles

And now, a real-life Angry Bird:

via *Very Clean* Funny Pics, Facebook

Enjoy your weekend!

Video Games are Not the Enemy

Video Games are Not the Enemy

I generally don’t use this blog to “rant” about things. I want it to be a positive place primarily focused on faith, family, and life as a full-time homekeeper. That said, sometimes I just get so bothered that I have to say something. Thus, a rant.

I read a lot of Christian marriage & parenting blogs. And there is a common theme among them that has been growing in popularity: the vilification of video games and those (especially men) who play them. There are the Q&A posts where wives write in complaining that their husbands play video games too much and the comments are filled with ladies women bashing men for enjoying this hobby. There are the advice columns written to Christian women warning them that guys who play video games are not worth their dating time because gaming is a sure sign the guy is still a child. There is the nationally-known pastor who categorizes all men who enjoy video games as immature, useless boys. And so on. The problem with this popular “Christian” stance on video games is that it is deeply flawed and is causing more harm than good.  Most of the articles condemning video games revolve around a few common points. I’d like to provide a counter-argument to these popular talking points in hopes that the Christian culture can move toward a more balanced, Biblical stance on video games.

Please understand that while this post is primarily written in terms of defending men’s right to game, I know there are women gamers out there (I’m one of them) and I think that’s great. But since most Christian anti-gaming posts focus exclusively on men (probably because they don’t want to believe lady gamers exist) my rant is written with that bias in mind.

1.) All video games are created equal. This is perhaps the biggest flaw in the “video games are bad” logic. Every post I’ve read about the evils of video games lumps them all into one category. However, that just isn’t reasonable. MarioKart is vastly different from Grand Theft Auto in terms of content and morality.  Angry Birds can’t be compared to Call of Duty. There are some games out there that are not appropriate for Christians (of any age) to play due to sexual content and other immoral situations. But the vast majority of games fall into that “personal conviction” area of acceptability in terms of content. If there is to be a discussion about the rightness of grown men, and women, playing games there needs to be an understanding that the content of each individual game matters. All games should not be condemned as evil just because there are some out there that truly are immoral.

2.) Addiction to video games is a sin. This is the most popular argument laid against adult gamers. Examples are trotted out of “World of Warcraft (WoW) widows” and men who play to the detriment of every other area of life. And those situations do exist and absolutely are sinful. However, the sin is the addiction, not the video games themselves. Video game addiction is no different from alcohol addiction, shopping addiction, or gluttony in terms of sin. Yet we don’t see many Christians out there arguing that no adult should ever drink a beer or take a second helping of cake. But have a wife write in to a Christian blogger complaining that her hubby games too much for her liking and the only response you’ll see is confirmation of his “failings” as a husband and father and calls for him to “man-up.” Now, if the husband is truly addicted, yes he needs to be confronted and fight the addiction. But the “addiction” card is thrown much too casually, and often just because a wife is unhappy her husband is using his free time for something she doesn’t enjoy.

3.) Video games are marriage killers. Well, no. The correct statement is “video games can be marriage killers.” And that’s true; just like every other hobby. Internet surfing, knitting, working out, Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook, blogging, watching TV, reading, any of these can kill a marriage if a person overindulges or doesn’t correctly prioritize. Moderation and time management are key. Any hobby should be lower in priority than God, marriage, kids, church, job, and any other necessary responsibilities. But video games in moderation are a perfectly acceptable hobby, and not the bane of marital bliss. Gaming can even be a mutually enjoyable activity. Big Man and I both enjoy gaming, so some nights we’ll spend an hour or so on the couch together while he plays XBox and I play on the laptop. We enjoy each other’s company, relax, and have fun.

4.) Playing video games is a waste of time. Ok, this one is true. Video games are purely entertainment, and in general don’t offer great mental stimulation or lasting benefits. However, this argument is generally just a front for what anti-gamers, particularly women, really mean. When a Christian woman complains that her husband is wasting his time playing video games, what she really means is that she would prefer that he waste time in the same way she does. It’s OK for her to spend a few hours on Pinterest or watching TLC but her husband shouldn’t spend a little time gaming? Talk about a double standard.

Usually at this point the Reading Trump Card (reading is a better use of time) is thrown. I’ll agree to a point. Reading the Bible or a piece of challenging literature is better than gaming. But usually “reading” refers to what Christian women are reading, that is, Christian fiction. And the vast majority of that is no more mentally stimulating than a Call of Duty online match.

5.) Video games are childish, and not an acceptable hobby for grown men (and women). And this right here is my biggest beef with the Christian anti-video-game crowd. The ever-present “boys play video games, but men have better, more mature, and holier hobbies.” Really? Sitting on your couch for hours watching the NFL or UFC or NASCAR is more mature? It’s holier? Puh-lease. Video games are no different from any other entertainment in terms of maturity. Choosing to spend a few hours gaming rather than armchair quarterbacking a sports team doesn’t make a guy less of a man, or too immature to be a husband and dad. I don’t know why the Christian sub-culture has decided sports-fan-dom is socially acceptable while gaming is not, but it is a position that desperately needs to be changed.

I’d like to mention one less-obvious side of this anti-gaming stance and that is the ongoing attempt by the Christian sub-culture to feminize men. The church has worked hard, especially in the last 20 years or so, to uplift women and “tame” men. This is a problem that has resulted in a large percentage of men giving up on church altogether because they are tired of being told they are disappointing husbands, bad fathers, and oversexed animals compared to their wives who are emotionally mature, spiritual angels. Traditionally masculine careers like military service, construction, and law enforcement are discouraged and hobbies like martial arts, hunting, motorcycling, and adventure-type sports are looked down upon. Men can’t even have a poker night with the guys anymore lest they indulge in “gambling” and smoking a cigar or two. And so as the feminized church worked to destroy every shred of masculinity, the men retreated into the only source of adventure and manliness they could find: video games. And the church wants to take that away too. It’s a very sad situation and one that I hope changes before it is too late.

So there it is. My “rant.” I hope this has provided a different viewpoint than the standard Christian anti-gaming post. I’d love to see more support out there for Christian gamers and hopefully work toward removing the stigma attached to an adult who enjoys video games. As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts on this so if you’d like to share your views the comment section is wide open. Thanks for reading!

Slow to Anger

Slow to Anger by Homekeeping Adventures

The LORD is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love.  He will not always accuse, nor will he harbor his anger forever;  he does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities.  For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him;  as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.  As a father has compassion on his children, so the  Lord  has compassion on those who fear him; ~Psalm 103:8-13 (NIV84)

I’ve had the “slow to anger, abounding in love” part of this passage memorized for a long time. It’s one of those verses that is quoted often and even though I can recite it without trouble I’ve never really given it a whole lot of thought. The few times I did think about the verse, it’s been “Well, this is one of those verses that applies to really bad sinners. I bet those murderers and rapists that come to faith are really glad that God was slow to anger.” Prideful as it is, I’ve thought that God didn’t need to exercise his patience that much with me since I’m not a Really Big Sinner. Well, this past week I was convicted about this line of thinking. God used my own interaction with Little Man to show me how wrong I was.

Little Man is almost entirely potty trained, even at night (yay!). For months now he has been consistent about telling us when he needs to go and making it to the bathroom on time. Then we had one of those days where for some reason he just decided he didn’t want to bother and had several accidents in a row. By the 4th change of clothes I was really frustrated and got angry with him. I took a “mommy timeout” and as I prayed asking God to forgive my overreaction, this verse came to me very clearly. The LORD is slow to anger and abounding in love. Pretty much the opposite of how I had reacted to Little Man.

Two things were very apparent to me. First, I need God’s patience and mercy every bit as much as those Really Big Sinners. Just look at how angry I got with Little Man over something as minor as a potty accident. And that’s a human mother interacting with her child. How much more would our righteous God be justified in becoming angry with my “minor” sins? And yet he is slow to anger. Abounding in love. Ever patient and merciful. Compassionate far beyond understanding.

Secondly, as God shows His love, patience, and mercy to me, so should I show patience and compassion to those in my life. Especially Big Man and my Little Ones. Not to say that I shouldn’t discipline my kids or teach them right and wrong. But I should approach them with compassion, not anger. With patience, not frustration. Allowing Jesus’ abounding love to flow through me to them.

God often uses my kids to teach me things. Sometimes I look are Little Man and Little Lady and just marvel at God’s amazing creativity and how he has blessed me with my precious children. Other times I look at them and see my own human frailty. This week God used Little Man to convict me of sin and teach me something new about His perfect character. And while such growth is seldom painless, it is always, always good.

I’d love to hear your thoughts. Does God use your kids to teach you?