Friday, August 19, 2011

Bacon goes with...Chocolate Chip Cookies?

I enjoy trying new, unusual recipes, and last week my sister sent me a link to a recipe I just couldn't resist trying--Brown Butter, Bacon, and Chocolate Chip Cookies. ( ). The recipe called for three kinds of chocolate, giving me an excuse to buy three bags of chocolate chips, and I'd never made brown butter before, either, so I was really looking forward to trying it.

Making the brown butter wasn't hard, just a little time-consuming since I was worried about burning the butter (the recipe and my sister both warned that the butter could go from "a little brown" to "burned beyond being able to use" in just a few seconds). The instant it started to turn brown and smell nutty, I took it off the heat.

The batter tasted just like batter for chocolate chip cookies...with bacon. (I felt an obligation to try the batter, just to make sure it tasted ok to bake. I wouldn't want to serve my family an inferior product, after all!).  As I spooned out the batter on the cookie sheets, it was a little strange to see bacon pieces among the chocolate chips...but they came out of the oven smelling wonderful!

Morgan wouldn't taste a cookie until I did...I bravely bit in...waited for the taste to hit me...and the cookie tasted like...a chocolate chip cookie with bits of bacon in it. It wasn't horrible or disgusting, but wasn't anything fantastic either. I tried another cookie this morning (OK, two of them) just to see if "aging" overnight made a difference...nope.  I'm going to send some of the cookies to my niece; maybe she'll take them to school on Monday. I don't know if they'll make her "the-most-popular-girl-to-trade-lunches-with," or "the- girl-to-avoid-trading-lunches-with"...but I bet she'll try them.

My suggestion? Try the recipe but leave out the bacon. Tim was right--chocolate chips and bacon are both essential food served separately.

And I will look forward to the next unusual recipe Becky sends me!

Can you see the chopped up bacon?
The recipe calls for a whole cup!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

What would YOU Like to See?

So far on this blog I've told you a little bit about myself and my book, Home is Where the Mom Is; A Christian Mom's Guide to Caring for Herself, Her Family, and Her Home.

My prayer is to make this a blog that will encourage readers, especially readers who have children. My faith and my family are the most important things in my life, and I want to share those with you in a way that will help you in your faith and parenting walk.

What would you like to read about in this blog? I have a list of ideas :-) but I want to make sure I cover topics that are important to you! Although I have a child in college and one who will be a high school senior, I've loved all of their ages and stages (yes, I've really loved them all...although there are a few stages I wouldn't want to go back to!) and I've collected a lot of good ideas and "real life" advice from friends along the way--advice and ideas I'm happy to share, all the while encouraging you to do what you know is best for YOUR unique family. I plan to have guests write posts too--if you would like to write a guest post, please email me.

Please let me know what you'd like to read about--and don't be afraid to ask about touchy topics like difficult family members, frenemies, and trials of parenting.

Please leave your suggestions as a comment or e-mail me at

I'm so excited to get this blog started! I've wanted to do it for a long time and am very happy that the time is finally right.

God bless you and your families and I hope to hear from you soon!

Giving Birth to a Book

I’ve heard the process of writing and publishing a book compared to giving birth to a child…while I agree that they are both huge accomplishments, giving birth to Home is Where the Mom Is took a lot longer than giving birth to my children (and there is nothing that can compare to giving birth to my children—not even publishing a book!)!

It was so exciting to be writing a book! I had quite a few (rejected) ideas for magazine articles, so those were the start of the book. I used a file folder for each topic and put notes, articles, and even sticky notes that contained ideas pertinent to that topic, in the file folder.

Gradually it became obvious that Home is Where the Mom Is would have three main sections: Taking Care of Yourself, Taking Care of Others, and Organizing Your Life. Chapter titles and topics naturally evolved from there.

Throughout the whole process of writing and publishing I asked for God’s guidance; I knew I couldn’t write a book without His help and leading! There were times the words just flowed, and I know it was God guiding my thoughts and sentences—it couldn’t have been me! I asked God to guide me to write the words that would encourage the moms who would read them; I wanted them to feel the joy and peace I have in my faith.

I began by writing a few chapters. I worked to include Bible verses and Christian beliefs as appropriate; my faith is a major part of my life and I wanted Home is Where the Mom Is  to encourage readers to strengthen their faith and incorporate it in every part of their lives and their kids’ lives.

Eventually the title of the book, became clear; Home is Where the Mom Is; A Christian Mom’s Guide to Caring for Herself, Her Family, and Her Home.

I wrote in longhand, on legal pads, and when I completed a chapter I typed it on the computer. Then I began editing. I actually enjoy editing; it’s a challenge to me to make ideas flow more smoothly and make my thoughts understood. I used a red pen to make corrections or edits, and most of the time on the first draft, by the time I was done editing,  there were more arrows and red marks than typed words! I knew I was done editing a chapter when my edits turned out to be the way I’d worded that sentence originally.

After I wrote a few chapters it was time to look for a publisher. I researched Christian publishers and found about 15 who I thought might be interested in Home is Where the Mom Is. I carefully prepared a proposal package that contained several sample chapters, an outline of the remaining chapters, and a marketing plan, and sent the package off to the appropriate editors.

I began to receive responses a few weeks later. I was encouraged to receive several letters expressing some interest in Home is Where the Mom Is, but discouraged when that sentence was followed by…our publishing schedule is full for the next two years…or …not right for us at this time.

I became discouraged at this point, and was tempted to just throw all of my files, my papers, and my research into a file box and hide it in the basement! I told my friends and family this and they strongly encouraged me not to give up. I prayed about it and felt God telling me not to give up, either. I prayed for his guidance as to what to do next.

I knew a little bit about self-publishing and at this time did a little more research, eventually feeling that this was the way to get Home is Where the Mom Is to moms. I focused on working on Home is Where the Mom Is every day; at times it was very difficult to do so, but eventually (after much more than nine months) it was completed! A few weeks later I received the very first copy of Home is Where the Mom Is in the mail…and after all that work and time it was almost as satisfying as holding a new baby in my arms. I was so happy that my dream of publishing had come true!

My next task was getting Home is Where the Mom Is into the hands of moms.

Future posts will include more about self-publishing!

Why I Wrote "Home is Where the Mom Is"

I joined MOPS (Mothers of Pre-Schoolers) when Cody and Morgan were toddlers. During a typical MOPS meeting we’d drop off our kids (baby-sitting was provided by volunteers), eat breakfast—sitting down!--(a different group of MOPS moms prepared breakfast for every meeting), have a short devotional, speaker, craft time, and discussion. MOPS met one morning a month, and it was a morning that I looked forward to every month!

(For more about MOPS, and how to find a group near you, go to )

I quickly became friends with many of the moms, and I’m still friends with many of them…although now we are talking about high-school trials and empty nests rather than potty training and stranger anxiety. MOPS was the highlight of the month for many of us; the time of sharing our stories, our faith and our worries with other moms encouraged us and renewed our commitment to motherhood, no matter how little sleep we’d gotten the night before or what trials we were facing. We often marveled at how these few hours completely refreshed us—and we wondered why we didn’t take time for ourselves more often!

Of course there were serious talks, too. As young moms we were often uncertain about what was “normal” behavior (both our own and our kids’!) and how we should deal with sleep (or lack of sleep) issues, new siblings, and behavior. We would discuss the latest “research” and what the “experts” were saying…and then shared our “real life” solutions, which usually seemed the best solutions of all!

In the months before I joined MOPS, I had been sending query letters (outlining articles I wanted to write) to many parenting magazines. Unfortunately none of my ideas were right for the magazines, so I had lots of ideas…and nowhere to use them.

I don’t remember how I finally connected my talks with other moms at MOPS, my desire to write a book, and all of the article ideas I had, but one day I did…and the idea for Home is Where the Mom Is was born. I knew then that I wanted to write a book for moms, with several main themes; encouraging moms to take care of themselves, encouraging moms to consider “real life” advice as well as that from “experts,” and encouraging moms to nurture their own faith, and that of their families.

I told friends about my plans to write a book, and they were very enthusiastic about giving me ideas of topics to include. Many MOPS moms filled out questionnaires and gave their advice and “real life” ideas about a wide range of parenting issues; these “real life” ideas are included in Home is Where the Mom Is and are part of what makes it unique.

Click on the “Table of Contents” tab at the top of this page to see the comprehensive range of issues covered in Home is Where the Mom Is!

In the next post…Giving Birth to a Book

Monday, August 15, 2011

Beginning at the Beginning...A Little about my Family

Let’s begin at the beginning!

My (now) husband and I became high-school sweethearts after meeting in band in the early 1980’s. At the time I never dreamed that years later our children would attend the same school, even having some of the same teachers we did—and some of their teachers were friends we’d gone to school with!

While Tim went to college in Colorado, I attended nursing school in Nebraska. We got married the summer after I graduated. I worked as a nurse in various areas for several years, but was blessed to have a husband who agreed that for our family it was best that I stayed home with our kids. I’d always dreamed of being (in no particular order) a nurse, a writer, and a mom. I became a nurse, and then the mom to Cody, now 19 years old and a sophomore in college, and Morgan, now 17 and a senior in high school.

When Cody and Morgan were toddlers, I was asked to be on the steering committee for the first MOPS (Mothers of Pre-Schoolers) group started in our area. Being a MOPS member was one of the best things I’ve ever done—it was so nice to get together with other moms every month for fellowship and sharing. As a fairly new mom I often wondered if other moms faced the same trials and troubles as I did, and it was a relief to find that I wasn’t alone in my experiences (with one exception; no one else ever admitted to dropping a coconut on her child’s head…more about that in another post).

While I was in MOPS I made friends that I know now will be life-long friends! I received encouragement and inspiration from other moms during those sometimes frustrating, trying days as the mother of a young child.

It was also during MOPS years that I started writing Home is Where the Mom Is; A Christian Mom’s Guide to Caring for Herself, Her Family, and Her Home (I’ll tell you more about that process in another post, too!) fulfilling my dream of becoming a writer.

And now I’m at a different stage in life, with one child in college and the other headed there in just a year (I’m not thinking about that too much…while I’m happy she will be pursuing her dreams, it’s hard to believe my at-home mothering days are almost over).

I’ve found, however, that I’ve become friends with women who are in the beginning years of their mothering. It’s so fun to see their joy and excitement as they are with their children. I find myself wanting to encourage them and share my “wisdom”—but only if and when asked! I want to encourage other moms just as I was encouraged when I was a young(er) mom.

And of course I have friends who are also sending their kids off to college, or will be doing so shortly. As well as asking ourselves where the years went, we’re asking ourselves if we’ve taught our kids everything they need to know, what we should teach them before they go…and how our mothering role has changed.

When I started writing Home is Where the Mom Is, there was no such thing as blogging—at least not that I was aware of. I’m excited to use this blog to share encouragement with moms of younger children, and also to share the experiences of moms with older children. I plan to have guest posters, and look forward to hearing from readers about what issues you would like to see covered. Please let me know in the comments, or e-mail me at, what you would like to see in this blog!

I will leave you with several pictures of my family, with more to come!

Tim, Morgan, Cody, and me at graduation 2010

Morgan riding her horse, Maggie

My sister Deb, niece Logan, myself,
our mom, Morgan, and my sister Becky