I Didn’t Know it Would End Like This.

The title of this post sounds forlorn and a little melancholy. I suppose there may be some of that in there. A little bittersweet, too. This isn’t the end of a relationship, though, but rather a continuing in the journey. It IS the end of a year, however. It is the end of a year of growing, maturing, and wrestling with my faith. It is also the beginning of a new year of continuing growing and maturing, and I suspect there will be some wrestling again in there somewhere too.

phone-appIn the middle of 2015, I decided to check out the app, Daily Audio Bible. I really wanted to listen to the Bible from beginning to end, but much of the year had passed and I was not able to catch up by the end of the year. So 2016 arrived, and I decided again that I would make it a personal goal to follow the podcast and listen to the Bible in a year. I am not naive in that I knew my life would be different at the end of the year, but I did not expect how it would be different. I did not anticipate how listening to the last podcast of 2016 would have me sobbing, praying with the spirit of thankfulness, for Jesus’ mercy and faithfulness in the last year. I felt like I had come to end of the first BIG milestone in my faith, and I was breathless, completely poured out, but ready for the next part of the journey to begin. So I’ve committed to another year of reading/listening through God’s word via Daily Audio Bible. Thank you to everyone at DAB for your ministry, lives are being changed because of your obedience to God’s calling on your hearts.

Goodbye 2016. Boy, has it been real. I really didn’t expect it to end this way, but I am really looking forward to the journey in 2017. God has brought me this far, and I’m still trusting Him to lead.


nw mama’s dinner menu: week 23, 2014

The week is almost over, and I am late getting this post out to you. My apologies. Time management has gone out the window this week, but I’m reeling it back in.

The end of the month is always interesting when it comes to meal planning. I usually leave a few empty spots on my monthly meal plan at the end of the month. Why? Well, it’s a pretty good bet that I’ve banked some meals (haven’t used them or the ingredients) from earlier in the plan, and I can plug them in at the end. Life happens, people, and just because you have a plan, doesn’t mean it all goes accordingly. It does, however, give you the flexibility to move meals around according to schedule changes.. which seem to happen at a world-record-breaking rate around my house.

So here we go:

NW Mama’s Menu for June 2 – June 8

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nw mama: embracing culture shock at home

Culture. Shock.

Are you ready for it?

nwmama-lauraI don’t think.. rather, I KNOW I had no clue what I signed up for when my husband and I decided to host international students. I was not ready for the “culture shock” that would affect not only my students coming to the United States from the other side of the world, but how it would impact my own family as well. So far, it has caused my world views to be expanded beyond the borders of this country I live in, to be open to other traditions and practicalities, to realize some things are the same about us no matter our geographical location and patience. Loads of patience.Read More »


nw mama’s meal planning: leftovers & inspiration

What to do with Leftovers (Re-Purposing)

I was once discussing grocery shopping and meal planning with a friend of mine, and when I said the word “leftovers,” she said that her family refuses to eat the dreaded “leftovers.” I know, I feel the same way about them. But I hate wasting food, especially when good, nutritious, fresh foods are often “not cheap.” Honestly, my family doesn’t eat “leftovers” either. We re-purpose what was left over and use it to make something new for the next dinner meal.

A couple examples:

This week we are having chicken and mashed potatoes. Most likely the chicken will get gobbled up the first night, but we’ll have a mound of potatoes left over. That’s okay! The next night we are having breakfast for dinner. Mashed potatoes will become potato puffs via a great recipe I found on Pinterest! If you are planning on enough chicken left over, it can be used for chicken salad wraps or chicken tacos the next night.

Roast beef is also expensive when feeding a large family on a budget, so I like to make it stretch! We might have traditional pot roast with lots of vegetables one night, and the leftovers will be used for stir fry, stew or french dip the next day.

Suggestion: If you are planning on using “leftovers” to make something new the next night, put the amount you need in the refrigerator before serving dinner. If your family is like mine, mark it so that it doesn’t get taken for lunches. This guarantees you will have what you need for the next evening’s meal.

Where to Find Inspiration:

  • Let your family in on the planning! Get suggestions from whoever shares your dinner table. Find out what they would like to see on the menu.
    • Example: One daughter loves pizza, one daughter loves hot dogs, both love chicken (baked, bbq’d, fried). I try to get those things on the menu once each month as a treat for them. My husband loves a good salad, so especially during the summer, we have salad bar a couple times a month.
  • Are you addicted to Pinterest yet? Do you have any favorite recipe websites or magazines? Do you have a board or binder or recipe box full of recipes that made your mouth water? Go look at them before you make your grocery list! I use both Pinterest and a few of my favorite recipe bloggers / websites to put my plan together.

This is the second post in my meal planning series. You can find the first one here: “nw mama’s meal planning: getting started.”


nw mama’s dinner menu for week 22, 2014

I think the biggest benefit for meal planning is the flexibility it provides. I used to stress out at the beginning if I didn’t make what was on the menu for that particular night. Now that we have been doing this for a while, I am very comfortable swapping around the order of the meals as the week progresses, or “banking” them for another night if plans change. This week’s dinner menu is a little less creative and a little more simplistic. We are in the midst of some heavy spring cleaning and garden planting, so keeping prep to a minimum is key for us right now.

NW Mama’s Menu for May 26 – June 1

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