This Site Has Moved!

Same blog…new location…please come check out the new site:
More Than Mundane
And while you’re there, feel free to subscribe to receive posts by email or RSS.
Or, leave a comment to let me know you’re reading!
Thanks for stopping by!

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Sabbath: Finding Rest, Renewal, and Delight in Our Busy Lives by Wayne Muller

Rest, Renewal, and Delight? I’ll take some of that!

I LOVED this book. Wayne Muller discusses several aspects of Sabbath, such as Rest, Rhythm, Time, Happiness, Wisdom, and Consecration. He also gives practices at the end of each chapter, which I enjoyed. I always appreciate a practical way to put things into action.

When I read the first chapter of this book, I was underlining almost everything…it just made so much sense to me and over and over I thought, “I want this.” Now, after finishing the book, I feel completely equipped and excited to bring these Sabbath practices into my daily life. I think it will be a challenge to find the time, and develop the habit. But I also want to be flexible with myself, and understand that at this season in my life, with young children, working, and being a mom, my Sabbath times might not look just like I might want them to. But I do want to try and incorporate some of these practices and add more as I’m able.

As you might imagine, in this book Wayne Muller examines the practice of Sabbath and why taking this time is so important for us. “Our culture invariably supposes that action and accomplishment are better than rest, that doing something—anything—is better than doing nothing” (p. 1). This is one of my biggest struggles. I have a very hard time doing nothing. How important it was for me to read, “Sabbath is not dependent upon our readiness to stop…Sabbath requires surrender. If we only stop when we are finished with all our work, we will never stop–because our work is never completely done. With every accomplishment there arises a new responsibility” (p. 82-83).

But as Muller described Sabbath, it was something I long for, something I know I need.
Sabbath is…

  • “a way of being in time where we remember who we are, remember what we know, and taste the gifts of spirit and eternity” (p. 6)
  • a time when we “restore our souls” (p. 7)
  • when “we remember to celebrate what is beautiful and sacred”
  • when “we become available to the insights and blessings of deep mindfulness that arise only in stillness and time” (p. 7)

I think the section that was most important for me was the section on Rest. Muller discusses how important rest is, and how “if we do not allow for a rhythm of rest in our overly busy lives, illness becomes our Sabbath…” (p. 20). He shares how in his personal life he became very ill just from working so hard and never taking time to rest.

How interesting it was to me to be reminded that we are commanded to take a Sabbath, that God wants us to rest.

You are not made for the Sabbath; the Sabbath is made for you. Mark 2:27

Another key point Muller made about Sabbath time, is that it’s a time to stop and enjoy our blessings. “We consume things, people, and information. We do not have time to savor this life, nor to care deeply and gently for ourselves, our loved ones, or our world; rather, with increasingly dizzying haste, we use them all up, and throw them away” (p. 4-5). I want to be more intentional about stopping and dedicating time to spend with my kids and husband, friends, and family. Time just being together.

I also had always thought of Sabbath as just a day in the week, and had never really understood how it’s more of a practice. I loved the many ways Muller suggested for enjoying Sabbath time: cooking and sharing a meal with loved ones, lighting a candle, turning off all media and electronics, going on a walk, spending time in silence, spending time in prayer and gratitude.

He does include many rituals and practices from a variety of religions, so if that’s something that you would have a hard time getting past, this book may not be for you. But I enjoyed hearing about the traditions from a variety of cultures and religions.

One final note…if you do read this book, and want to enjoy some discussion as well, you can follow along with the videos over at The Bloom Book Club. My original intent when I first started this book was to keep up with them as they read it, which of course, I didn’t do. But I was excited to see that I could still go back and view the videos of their discussions on each section. The first one on the Introduction and Rest section is here, and from there you can find the rest.

They have now moved to (in)courage and I have vowed that this time, for sure, I will keep up with them as they read their latest book, One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp. And….good news is, you can still get in on this one too. They are starting Sunday Feb. 6th with Chapter 1. And let me tell you…I’ve only read the first two chapters, but I love this book so far. So, get in on the fun! Read an excerpt from the book and learn more about the book club here.

Posted in Time to Read | Tagged | 3 Comments

Cooking Together…BBQ Chicken with Mango/Pineapple Salsa

The weather here in Southern California has been wonderful for the past couple weeks, and this recipe really hit the spot! Here it is again in case you missed it last week:

Mango/Pineapple Salsa:
(Sheriff family recipe)
Mix 2 diced mangos, chopped red onion (small), diced red bell pepper, diced cilantro, 1 can crushed pineapple, 1 lime’s juice, dash of cayenne pepper, and salt in a bowl.  Refrigerate until serving over BBQ chicken and steamed rice.
Tomato Red BBQ sauce (for chicken or beef):
from the Weber’s Real Grilling Cookbook
1/2 C ketchup
2 T white wine vinegar
1 T  Worcestershire sauce
2 t molasses
1 t soy sauce
1/2 t chili powder
1/2 t garlic powder
1/4 t celery salt
1/4 t liquid hickory smoke
2 T water

Mix together in a small sauce pan over medium heat.  Cook for about one minute, stirring occasionally.

Here are our thoughts on the recipe:

Ease of preparation:
Kim- Lots of chopping, but I love my Pampered Chef chopper.  Pretty easy overall.  Can make right before you eat or earlier in the day and stick in the refrigerator.
Krissa-This was easy, but the salsa did take some time because of all the chopping of ingredients. The BBQ sauce was very quick and easy.

Overall opinion:
Kim-Delicious!  Makes us so ready for summer and the BBQ!
Krissa-I thought this was the perfect summer time meal, and would also be great for entertaining. The salsa could be made ahead of time and then served with chips as an appetizer and later served with the chicken, because the recipe makes plenty! The BBQ sauce is quick and something that could easily be whipped up even while company is over. I’m actually not usually much of a fruit-based salsa lover, but I liked this a lot.

Mango/Pineapple Salsa

Husband’s thoughts:
Kim-Really liked it.  He actually made the BBQ sauce and grilled for me, yay!
Krissa-He liked this a lot as well. He said he could just sit and snack on the salsa all night…so maybe not such a good idea to put it out as an appetizer ahead of time!

Would you have it again?
Kim-Definitely.
Krissa-We would have it again, especially during summer when we grill a lot.

Did you omit or add anything?
Kim-Couldn’t find good/ripe mangos at our grocery store, so it was just pineapple salsa…still good.
Krissa-I didn’t have celery salt for the BBQ sauce, so I just added a dash of salt. I thought the sauce still tasted great.

How did you serve it?
Kim-BBQ sauce on chicken, grilled.  Served over brown rice and salsa on top.  With a side of broccoli, yum!
Krissa-We grilled the chicken and basted it with the BBQ sauce, then served it over brown rice with the mango/pineapple salsa.

Would you change anything next time:
Kim-I will look for ripe mangos!
Krissa-I think I would cut back on the red onion…the recipe called for a small red onion and I think the one we used was a little too big and we should have only used part of it. I also think it would be yummy to add some chipotle to the BBQ sauce.

General Comments:
Kim-So good, and can’t wait for summer grilling!  Salsa was good at room temp and the next day after sitting in the refrigerator…ate it with tortilla chips!
Krissa-I had never heard of the liquid hickory smoke before but found it easily enough next to the other marinades, etc. in the store. I was also excited to make my own BBQ sauce…something I’ve never done before and now that I have all the ingredients and it’s so easy, I think I’ll do it more often…just wondering how long it would save for?

Next Week’s Recipe:

This recipe for Quick & Cheesy Chicken Pot Pie comes from Kitchen Simplicity. If you want to print the recipe, there is a link on her post to do so.

Quick & Cheesy Chicken Pot Pie

  • 2 cups chopped cooked chicken (or turkey, or ham)
  • 2 cups leftover, fresh or frozen vegetables
Cheese Sauce
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 1 cup shredded cheese
Biscuit Topping
  1. Place meat and vegetables in a 9 inch round or 8×8 square baking dish.
  2. Make the sauce: Melt butter over medium heat, add flour and cook 1 minute to take out the raw flavour. Slowly add chicken broth, whisking constantly to avoid lumps. Bring to a simmer, whisking occasionally. Remove from heat, add salt and pepper to taste and stir in cheese until melted. Pour over meat and vegetables. Mix well.
  3. Biscuit topping: Stir together all ingredients with a fork until even moistened. Spread thinly over mixture in casserole dish. (Don’t worry if there are gaps, it does not need to be perfectly covered and it will fill out more as it bakes.)
  4. Bake at 400ºF for 25 minutes or until topping is golden and filling is bubbly.

Makes: 4 servings

*if using fresh chicken, simply chop 2 chicken breasts into bite size pieces and saute until cooked through.

Posted in In the Kitchen | Tagged | 3 Comments

J Is For…

jellybeans, jellyfish, Jesus, joy, jewelry, Japan, and more! I finally got our learning board up at the new house, but haven’t been keeping up with the letters of the week very well. We skipped I, and after J we’re moving right over K to L. I’m trying to keep up with the letter of the week at Charlotte’s preschool, but it takes me about two weeks to get through each letter. Oh well…we’ll just have to skip some for now! Here’s our learning board for the week:

She colored some pictures of jewelry, the flag of Japan, and our last name of course!

Country: Japan

We only checked out a couple of books from the library this week, and they were both about Japan.

The Way We Do It In Japan by Geneva Cobb Iijima. This is the story of an American boy who moves to Japan and learns all about the way things are done in Japan. I thought this was a great book for learning about Japan while holding the interest of a young listener or reader. There were also several Japanese phrases included which was fun.

The Falling Flowers by Jennifer B. Reed. This was a sweet story of a girl whose grandmother takes her to see the cherry blossoms falling. There is also an informational page at the back with information on cherry trees, and some customs and traditions in Japan related to cherry trees. I liked this fun and easy craft to go along with the story, but we never got a chance to do it.

We did make a Jellybean J, which Charlotte really enjoyed…and Isaac really enjoyed sneaking in her room later and eating the jellybeans! It was super easy…I just traced a J on a piece of paper, dotted glue all over it and had her stick jellybeans on the glue dots. Simple and fun!

Verse: Always be full of JOY in the Lord. Philippians 4:4. This is a good one for mommy to work on too!

Charlotte decorating our verse for the week.

Posted in Time to Learn | Tagged , | 1 Comment

Cooking Together–Chipotle Black Bean Soup

Chipotle Black Bean Soup

Serves 4

3 15 oz. cans black beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup boiling water
1 dried chipotle chile (or you can buy the canned chipotles)
1 tsp. olive oil
1/4 cup onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 tsp. dried oregano
1/8 tsp. ground cumin
1/4 tsp. ground red pepper
2 cups chicken broth
1 14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes and green chiles, undrained

Toppings:
Shredded jack or cheddar cheese
Sliced green onions
Chopped tomatoes
Cilantro
Sour cream
Tortilla chips

Combine boiling water and chipotle chile in a bowl; let stand 15 min. or until soft. (Skip this step if you are using a chile from a can) Drain, seed, and chop.

Heat oil in pot over medium high heat. Add onion, saute for 2 min. or until tender. Add garlic; saute 1 min. Add 2 cans of beans, chipotle chile, spices, chicken broth, and diced tomatoes and green chiles. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 30 min. Puree until smooth. Add the reserved can of black beans and heat through. Serve soup with toppings of your choice.

Here are my thoughts on the recipe:

Ease of preparation: This was easy to make, but you do have to let it simmer for 30 min. so give yourself some time. Also, I highly recommend using one of my favorite kitchen tools for the blending part. Pouring it into a blender is just so messy. Seriously…if you make a lot of soups that involve blending (or even just every once in awhile) invest in a hand blender.

Simmering

Overall opinion: For me, I thought that without the toppings this soup would be a bit lacking. But I did enjoy it with the toppings. Also, I finally found a recipe my husband liked! So that’s worth a lot! I would say you definitely need to like black beans if you’re going to try this one.

Husband thoughts: He liked this soup a lot….well, at least a lot better than the past couple dishes I’ve tried. 

Would you have it again: We would have it again, especially since Rick said he’d like to have it again, but it’s not at the top of my list.

How did you serve it? We had it for dinner, and topped it with sour cream, cheese, and tortilla chips. Don’t skip out on the toppings! I think this soup would be really boring without them.

Would you change anything next time: I think topping with green onions, diced tomatoes, and cilantro would be good!

General Comments: If you like black beans, and like soup, this would be a great recipe to try!

Next Week’s Recipe:

Mango/Pineapple Salsa:
(Sheriff family recipe)
Mix 2 diced mangos, chopped red onion (small), diced red bell pepper, diced cilantro, 1 can crushed pineapple, 1 lime’s juice, dash of cayenne pepper, and salt in a bowl.  Refrigerate until serving over BBQ chicken and steamed rice.
Tomato Red BBQ sauce (for chicken or beef):
from the Weber’s Real Grilling Cookbook
1/2 C ketchup
2 T white wine vinegar
1 T  Worcestershire sauce
2 t molasses
1 t soy sauce
1/2 t chili powder
1/2 t garlic powder
1/4 t celery salt
1/4 t liquid hickory smoke
2 T water

Mix together in a small sauce pan over medium heat.  Cook for about one minute, stirring occasionally.

This week’s recipe comes from Kim…with the beautiful weather we’ve been having here in California, grilling some BBQ Chicken and serving it with some Mango/Pineapple Salsa sounds great to me! Join us…






Posted in In the Kitchen | Tagged | Leave a comment

Boundaries with Kids

Over the past few months I’ve been meeting with my good friend Claire to read and discuss Boundaries with Kids by Cloud and Townsend. Out of the handful of parenting books that I’ve read, this is one of my favorites so far. Of course, it always helps to have a good friend or friends to discuss with.

I’m afraid that if I start to share all the highlights from this book, I’ll end up retyping the whole thing here. But I’m going to try my best to just give a brief overview and hopefully whet your appetite enough that you will go pick it up and check it out for yourself.

One thing I loved about this book is that it was the perfect mix of explaining Cloud and Townsend’s parenting philosophy and sharing specific examples. I’m the type that needs specific examples. They help me remember the philosophies behind the examples…if I’m just reading about the philosophies, there’s no chance I’m going to remember. I need a picture in my mind, a story to tell, etc. This book had just the right mix of explaining and showing.

Another thing I liked is that they explained developmentally where kids are at during different ages and phases in life, so that we know what we can expect from them and what we need to do to help them grow from where they’re at.

This book is also based on biblical principles and incorporates verses to back up their philosophy. Always a good thing in my book!

Part I discussed why children need boundaries. Basically, kids need boundaries in order to develop character. This section went into details about character, why raising kids with character is so important, and what that looks like in their future. This section also included the important chapter about kids needing parents with boundaries. It was important for me to read–”Your child is reacting to your parenting.” And they also addressed obstacles to teaching boundaries–”The kid’s job is to test your resolve, so she can learn about reality. Your job is to withstand the test, including anger, pouting, tantrums, and much more.” Easier said than done, right?

Part II went into the 10 guiding principles of boundaries.

1. The Law of Sowing and Reaping: Basically, kids need to experience consequences for their actions, and better now, when the consequences are minimal, than later when the consequences may be a job, marriage, etc. The general guideline here is to give kids choices, and a proper amount of freedom, but require responsibility. However, when they make bad choices, consequences need to be given, and as much as possible, those consequences need to be in direct relation to the “crime”. I also love how they stress the point of being loving throughout the book and always responding with empathy to our children when disciplining and enforcing consequences.

2. The Law of Responsibility: This is a huge one…teaching kids to take responsibility for themselves, their choices and decisions, behavior and problems is something I think is so important. We want our children to become mature adults who “see themselves as problem solvers instead of trying to find someone else to blame or to solve problems for them”. One point that really jumped out at me as something I need to do as well, is “teach your kids, whenever they have a problem, first to examine what they may have done to contribute to the problem.” I also took note that (to some extent) it’s important to share our own weaknesses with our kids, so they learn that we’re not perfect.

3. The Law of Power: This is all about teaching our kids about what they have power over and what they don’t. This is a balancing act–we need to teach our kids that they can’t do everything they want and that they aren’t in control of everything, but also teach them to become more responsible as they get older and learn to make positive decisions on their own. This ties in with learning to avoid negative consequence by making good decisions.

One super practical tip I gleaned from this chapter is: “If you aren’t sure about your child’s request, simply say no. If you can’t say yes wholeheartedly, you may be giving grudgingly or under compulsion. Moreover, remember that the parent who says no and then changes her mind is a hero, but the one who says yes and then no is a traitor.”

4. The Law of Respect: I’m sure we can all agree about the importance of teaching our kids The Golden Rule, and teaching them that they aren’t the only one who matters. This chapter talks about respecting others, and also talks about respecting boundaries. One of the points that is made over and over again throughout the book is the importance of not only setting limits, but sticking to those limits in love, and empathizing with our children while being firm with our boundaries.

The following laws deal with motivation; experiencing pain in order to grow; teaching kids to respond maturely to problems; envy, and teaching thankfulness and gratitude to our children; activity, and teaching our kids to take initiative; and all about honesty.

In Part III they give six steps to implementing boundaries with your kids.

I learned so much from reading this book…now the tricky part is putting it into practice. This is one of those books I will probably reference for years and go back to again and again. It has helpful principles for parents of toddlers through teenagers. And the best part is that I learned a lot about myself and areas I need to grow in and work on as well. I highly recommend this book!

What’s a helpful parenting book you’ve read?

Posted in Time to Read | Tagged | 2 Comments

Cooking Together…Quinoa Salad with Roasted Vegetables

The finished product!

This week’s recipe for Quinoa Salad with Roasted Vegetables came from Deliciously Organic. Here’s the recipe:

Quinoa Salad with Roasted Vegetables

Adapted from Food and Wine, Serves 8

4 cups chicken stock
2 cups quinoa
1 medium zucchini, cut into 1/4-inch thick slices
2 medium carrots, cut into 1/4-inch thick slices
1 medium red onion, cut into 1/4-inch thick slices
1 red bell pepper, cut into 1/4-inch thick slices
3 tablespoons coconut oil
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
3/4 teaspoon coarse sea salt

Preheat oven to 400ºF and adjust rack to middle position. Bring stock to a boil in a large sauce pan. Pour in quinoa and bring to a boil. Lower heat to low and cover with a lid. Cook until quinoa is soft  and stock has been absorbed, about 15-20 minutes.

Place vegetables on a large baking sheet and toss with coconut oil. Season with salt and pepper. Roast vegetables in oven until edges are golden, about 30 minutes, stirring half way through roasting. Cool. Pour the quinoa in a large bowl. In a small bowl whisk together tomato paste and lemon juice. Pour mixture over quinoa and stir until incorporated. Add vegetables and salt and stir. Serve at room temperature.

Here are my thoughts on the recipe:

Ease of preparation: This was an easy dish, but took a little time to cut the vegetables and roast them.

Vegetables cut up and ready to roast.

Overall opinion: I enjoyed this dish. I think it would be great as a side dish, or you could add in chicken for a main dish.

Husband thoughts: Unfortunately, he didn’t like this at all. But…he’s not a fan of quinoa so that could have something to do with it. When I asked him what he didn’t like about it, his exact words were, “The texture, the flavor, and well…everything.” Ouch.

Would you have it again: Well, I’ll be having it for lunch all week because it made a lot and I’m the only one who will be eating it. I would make it again to bring as a side dish to a potluck or to have on hand for the week as a quick and nutritious lunch, but I won’t be serving it for dinner again anytime soon.

Did you omit anything? Nope.

Did you add anything? Thanks to some great suggestions from some of you, I added sweet potatoes, and some toasted pinenuts. They were my two favorite flavors in the dish, so I’m glad I did, and I highly recommend it.

Roasted Vegetables

How did you serve it? We had it for dinner, and it was a little lacking on it’s own. I would recommend adding chicken if serving it for a main dish, or just serving it as a side dish in a meal.

Would you change anything next time: Nope.

General Comments: Don’t let my husband’s comments prevent you from trying this one. It really was delicious.

And our recipe for next week:

Chipotle Black Bean Soup

Serves 4

3 15 oz. cans black beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup boiling water
1 dried chipotle chile (or you can buy the canned chipotles)
1 tsp. olive oil
1/4 cup onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 tsp. dried oregano
1/8 tsp. ground cumin
1/4 tsp. ground red pepper
2 cups chicken borth
1 14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes and green chiles, undrained

Toppings:
Shredded jack or cheddar cheese
Sliced green onions
Chopped tomatoes
Cilantro
Sour cream
Tortilla chips

Combine boiling water and chipotle chile in a bowl; let stand 15 min. or until soft. (Skip this step if you are using a chile from a can) Drain, seed, and chop.

Heat oil in pot over medium high heat. Add onion, saute for 2 min. or until tender. Add garlic; saute 1 min. Add 2 cans of beans, chipotle chile, spices, chicken broth, and diced tomatoes and green chiles. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 30 min. Puree until smooth. Add the reserved can of black beans and heat through. Serve soup with toppings of your choice.

Let me know if you tried the Quinoa Salad and what you thought of it…and if you have any recipes you think I’d like to try, send them my way!






Posted in In the Kitchen | Tagged | 2 Comments