What Do I Need? #fiveminutefriday

Thinking about “needs” today, I was struck by how many things I think I need on a daily, or at least a regular basis:

I need quiet.
I need personal space.
I need my morning tea.
I need to write.
I need to read.
I need to create.
I need to connect with my husband.
I need to connect with my kids.
I need time outside in nature.
I need water.
I need wholesome food.
I need to feel understood.
I need prayer.
I need a plan.
I need a to-do list.
I need sleep.
I need structure.
I need flexibility.
I need peace.
I need a clean house.
I need the internet.

Most of all, though, I need the grace of God to get me through the day.

Some of my needs are healthy things. Others may be less than healthy. Some are things that are easy to get on a daily basis. Others are more challenging for me to get right now. Some of my needs are filled by means of self-discipline. Others are filled as a simple matter of habit. And still others are actually out of my control. All my needs, in the end, are ultimately fulfilled by God’s provision, either directly or indirectly. And to Him I offer thanks and praise at the end of the day for giving me what I truly needed.

And my God will supply all your need according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:19 (NASB)

This post is part of Five Minute Fridays. To read my other FMF posts, click the tag #fiveminutefriday at the bottom of the page. 

Feeling A Little Rusty

Creeeeeeak! Oh, sorry, that’s just the sound of my rusty brain and typing fingers trying to get warmed up. It has been far longer than I planned to be away from the blog, and I feel a bit out of my element as I try to start writing again. For starters, I guess a little update on our current situation may be in order.

Our little family completed our move successfully a couple of weeks back, thanks to help from a few friends, new and old. We feel pretty well settled in to our rental house now, and it is so nice not to be driving back and forth between states every week. However, we have yet for our old house to sell, so that still weighs on our minds and our bank account. But we know the Lord will provide and get it sol for us, all in His timing. For now, we are happy to be in Tennessee and to be together as a family.

Homeschooling is going along well again, and we are finding a new normal and new routines that work in our new house. Now I hope I can begin to add more normal activities back into my daily rhythm, not the least of which is getting back to blogging. Happily, I have a little external motivation to write more since I found the Five Minute Friday community. And it just so happens that there is a Write 31 Days challenge starting on October 1! I love the idea of kick-starting my writing with a daily free write challenge. Some of the free writes may show up on the blog, and others probably won’t. My main goal is just to have a time every day where I set the timer and use the prompt to write something, anything, for 5 minutes. I can hardly wait to see how this challenge impacts my writing!

If you want to follow along and find all my Write 31 Days posts, just click the Write31Days tag at the bottom of this page/post. I also plan to participate in Five Minute Friday posting as much as possible, so you can find those posts tagged FiveMinuteFriday.

If you are visiting Tuning Hearts from the Five Minute Friday community, won’t you let me know in the comments? I look forward to hearing from you!

Grain Free Dutch Baby Pancake (with dairy-free option)

Last fall our breakfasts were getting into a rut. It was a rotation of eggs or oatmeal nearly every day. Everything else sounded like too much time or work when we were all starving and in a hurry to eat. But I was bored. The kids were bored. My husband was probably bored, too, but he is pretty easy-going when it comes to food. Then I heard of the Dutch Baby or German Pancake, and it was just the shot in the arm our breakfast routine needed! At first I was making them using regular gluten-free flour, which was ok. But then we went grain-free for a while, and we all missed our puffy pancake goodness. Finally, I found a variation using coconut flour, and I was hooked. I have since tweaked it enough to make it my own, including making it dairy free so it can be completely paleo! This puffed oven pancake can be enjoyed on its own, but we think the topping options are what really make this breakfast shine! I am including a few of our favorite suggestions at the end of the recipe, but feel free to come up with your own creative ideas!

(Disclaimer: I am NOT a food blogger, nor do I plan on this becoming a foodie blog! I take pretty lousy pictures of food, and I usually don’t make up my own recipes. When I do, I almost always fail to write them down. This is just such a staple breakfast around here that I had to share because we love it so much, bad food photography and all!)

Grain-Free Dutch Baby Puffed Pancake

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 c. Coconut flour
  • 6 Tbl. Arrowroot or tapioca starch
  • 1/4 tsp. Sea salt
  • 1 c. Almond milk or other non-dairy milk (cow’s milk will work fine, too, if you can have it!)
  • 8 eggs (farm-fresh pastured preferable, but we use whatever we have)
  • 1-2 tsp. Vanilla extract (optional)
  • 3-4 Tbl. Coconut oil, ghee or butter

Directions:

  1. In medium large bowl, whisk dry ingredients together.
  2. Place oil, butter or ghee in 9×13 pan or glass baking dish, and put in oven while preheating to 375 degrees Fahr.
  3. Stir in milk until mixture is smooth, then add in eggs and vanilla, whisking until eggs are fully incorporated and mixture resembles runny pancake batter.
  4. Remove pan with melted butter from oven, and pour batter into hot pan, returning it to the oven.
  5. Bake pancake for 20-25 minutes, until edges rise and are golden brown and center is firm.
  6. Serve warm with favorite fruit or spreadable toppings. Enjoy!


Toppings we love:
Fresh summer berries (with a little powdered sugar if you aren’t avoiding sweets!)
Fried apples (finely chopped apples, sprinkled with cinnamon and sautéed in coconut oil or butter until soft)
Nut butter or sunflower seed butter and jam

Now go bake one for yourself and your family and let me know what you think! Enjoy!

Psalm 121: Help for Your Journey (and a FREE Printable!)

On Sunday, the pastor at our temporary church home taught from Psalm 121. This psalm has long been one of my favorites, and each time I read it, I am reminded of the Lord’s protection. If you are not familiar with Psalm 121, it starts out like this:

I lift up my eyes to the hills.

From where does my help come?

My help comes from the Lord,

who made heaven and earth.

Psalm 121:1-2

This psalm is part of a group of psalms known as the Songs of Ascent, meaning that they were sung on the journey up to the mountain city of Jerusalem for the Passover celebration. I really love the opening verses so much as they encourage me to look to the Lord for my help and remind me that my Helper is the very One who created the universe! But on Sunday the verse that actually struck me the most was the final verse:

The Lord will keep

your going out and your coming in

from this time forth and forevermore.

Psalm 121:8

When I read these verses this week it was as if the Lord were speaking to me directly, saying, “I know you are worried about this whole moving process. But don’t fear or fret, my child. I have this all planned out and will guard your going out of this place and you coming into the next in my perfect time. You are held in my hands. Be at peace.” It was just what I needed to hear at that moment. No matter how many times we have read a passage of Scripture, it can impress us with new insights because God’s Word is living and active.

Because of this truth, it is so valuable for us to spend time meditating on Scripture and letting it sink deep into our hearts and minds. In light of this, I wanted to create a tool to help us meditate on Psalm 121 together, so I came up with this little coloring page with the entire chapter centered on it. This printable is available FREE for my blog subscribers as a little thank you for joining me on this journey! Subscribe below if you have not already, and you will be sent a password for my new Resource Library. Then you can download the PDF and print as you wish. I encourage you to read and meditate on the psalm as you color the floral motifs, then display it somewhere where you will see it on a daily basis and be reminded Who is your Help and Keeper!




Scripture quotations are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved. May not copy or download more than 500 consecutive verses of the ESV Bible or more than one half of any book of the ESV Bible.

We Are Family: Child Chore Training, Pt. 3

Welcome to the final installment (for now) in this series on Child Chore Training! Last week I gave specific examples of what this currently looks like in our home. Today I want to share how and why we pay our children for doing chores.

I guess we should start with why we chose to pay our son for his chores every week. First, we decided at age six he was ready to begin learning some basic money management skills. We want him to grow up with an understanding of how much things cost, how long it takes to earn enough money to actual buy something worthwhile, and how to save and give back to God some of his earnings. Also, even though he does chores because he is part of the family, we feel that paying him now gives him an idea of what it will be like to work for an employer some day. We told him early on that if he did not do his chores when asked each day, he would not get paid, just like an employee does not get paid when he or she fails to show up for work. So it is an additional motivational tool to get those chores done! Plus, our son is at that age in which kids start to want to buy things themselves, and his is into Legos in a big way. We have never been able or willing to buy toys just anytime throughout the year, saving those things for birthdays and Christmas. So now he knows that he can earn his own spending money and save it up for as long or short an amount of time as he wants before spending it on that new Lego set he has his eye on. But he already has learned that the longer he saves, the better!

As to how we pay him, we started out with a rate of $.05/year of his age, so he is currently paid $.30 every Saturday. We will increase his pay as his responsibilites increase, probably right around his next birthday. I have sometimes allowed him to earn an extra nickel in the week if he has been especially helpful with extra chores that were not on his list. Yes, this is a small amount, but we do not have a big budget as a family right now, and he really does not NEED much of his own money yet anyway. It is more about the lessons learned than the money earned!

Since part of our goal was teaching him how to manage his money, we divided up his earnings into three categories: spending, long-term savings, and offering. Because I did not want to be counting out strange amounts of pennies each week, rather than divide his $.30 into exact percentages, I simply put $.20 into his spending pouch and $.05 into both the savings and offering pouches each week. We found a set of 3 matching zippered pouches in the school supply section at Walmart last year, and they have been perfect for this purpose!

In case you are wondering, my son is not allowed to spend from his savings until much later in life. This is truly meant for long-term savings and can only be spent on something big, like a car or college. We will eventually open a savings acount for him for this purpose. The offering money is supposed to go with him to church every week. You might not believe it, but he gets a real thrill out of putting that nickel in the plate eery Sunday! I cannot totally take credit for how we do this whole payment for chores thing, since I originally heard about it from organizing guru, Mystie Winkler of  Simplified Organization. (That’s my affiliate link, by the way, because Mystie and her courses are AMAZING!)  In case you want to hear how she and her family does it, here is her Youtube video “Paying Children for Chores“, so can get more inspiration!

So, that’s it from me! Now I want to hear from you! Do you pay your kids for helping around the house? If not, do your kids get an allowance? I am curious to hear your repsonse!